Let’s start at the beginning. What is a blog? Aren’t blogs those websites people use to talk about themselves and rant? Why would I want one for my business?
A blog contains regularly updated informational content which is displayed on a website. The blog article topics are generally related to the overall focus of the website. Of course, you can choose to rant about your day, but that isn’t commonly found on business blogs.
Why Should I Have a Blog?
A blog provides you an opportunity to add content to your website that isn’t directly related to your core product. This allows you to optimize the pages of your website for keywords and phrases that wouldn’t naturally appear on your main landing pages. This content can help you target an audience higher up the funnel process. You can bring some new people to your site before they have realized your product could help them solve a problem.
How to Configure Your Blog
Where Should the Blog Live on Your Site?
There are two common places where you would put a blog on your website. The first place is as a subdomain, such as blog.yoursite.com. The second place is as a directory, such as yoursite.com/blog. The other place you might see a blog is right at the root of the homepage, such as yourblogsite.com. Since it should be clear to you if your blog belongs on the homepage, we will focus on the subdomain and directory placement options.
The Difference Between a Subdomain and a Directory
The number one most significant difference between a subdomain and a directory is that a subdomain (blog.yoursite.com) is considered a separate site, whereas a directory lives on the root domain.
What that means is a subdomain keeps your blog completely separated from your main website. This can be beneficial for a couple of reasons. You can link to relevant pages on your main site from your blog site, and they will count as external links. This setup also gives you a little protection if you receive a ranking penalty. Since it is considered a separate site, the penalty won’t necessarily apply to your main website.
One of the main downsides of setting up your blog as a subdomain—and the primary upside for setting it up as a directory—is that any backlinks your blog site acquires won’t directly benefit your main site. This is one of the principal reasons to set your site up as a directory. Typically, your blog’s primary goal is to reach a larger audience through social shares and backlinks. If your blog is a directory on your root domain, those backlinks help increase your root domain’s backlink profile.
To decide if your blog should be a subdomain or a directory, you have to think about your blog’s goal and what’s best for your readers. For small businesses, having a blog as a directory is typically the smarter option.
Do All Blogs Have Comments?
Traditionally yes, blogs have comments. These days, however, more and more companies are removing commenting systems from their blogs. About fifty-percent of blogs have a commenting system in place. Some companies find they spend a considerable amount of time maintaining the comment system and the vast majority of comments are low-quality or spam.
With that being said, a company would want to have comments on a blog to build a sense of community. It provides a way for your readers to reach out and ask questions. This not only gives you a channel to communicate directly with people and publicly offer exceptional service, but you can also take these comments and feedback to get ideas for new content and new questions to answer on future blog articles.
Another benefit of having comments on your blog—and arguably the most practical reason—is that they keep your blog article fresh with keyword-rich content. New comments make the piece appear current and updated. When people add comments to blogs, they naturally use keyword-rich phrases more often than you can insert them organically to the main content piece.
Like any other online marketing tactic, you need to decide if comments make sense for your demographic and your blog’s goals. If you decide a commenting system is right for your blog, make sure you maintain it. When appropriate, reply to people and make sure to remove spam to keep a high-quality blog.
Do Blogs Need Social Share Icons?
Almost every blog makes it easy to share on popular social networks. The most common purpose for a business to maintain a blog is to increase traffic to their website. One of the main tactics to do this is for people to share the content on social media. Why not make this easy to do?
If you’ve decided it makes sense to have a blog for your business, you might as well make it easy for people to share the content. If you don’t, you’re missing an ample opportunity.
What makes this an even more straightforward decision is that there are so many free tools these days to make this a super simple experience, both in regards to technical implementation and the user experience. Some of the most popular social share tools today are AddThis, ShareThis, and AddToAny.
How Often Should I Update My Blog?
The easy answer is: as often as possible. It’s recommended that you post a blog article a minimum of once a week. Large companies will post much more often than that, anywhere from three times a week, to every single day, to multiple times a day.
I would recommend setting up a blogging schedule that makes sense for you and your business. Do you have time to blog every day? Great! Then do that. Do you only have time to do one blog a month? Well, one blog per month is better than no blogs. Start with that. The most important thing is to keep a consistent blog schedule.
If you have the time and resources necessary, commit to a weekly blog article. Otherwise, create a schedule that works for you and stick to it.
So, Do I Need a Blog?
About eighty-percent of the top business websites have a blog. If maintained, a blog can be a great traffic resource and expand your audience and bring new people that may not have been directly searching for your product.
Content is a vital piece for search engine optimization. The content on your site is the valuable asset you want search engines to provide to users. So, how do you know what content is the right content for you to direct your focus? Let’s go over three different scenarios.
Scenario 1: Your website already has excellent content on all of your product pages. You already have a thorough FAQ section, and your website answers every question people have about your core product. But you want to keep expanding content and get more traffic. Then yes, build a blog!
Scenario 2: Your website doesn’t have great existing content. But you aren’t worried about that. You have enough time or resources that you’ll be able to continue to build out landing page content for your core product while creating and maintaining a blog. Then yes, build a blog!
Scenario 3: You’re just getting started. Your website doesn’t yet clearly describe your core offering. You have limited time and no budget. In this situation, where you feel forced to choose between starting a blog and creating product-specific landing pages on your main website, start by optimizing and maximizing your landing page product copy. But as soon as you’ve taken care of that, start focusing on your blog articles.
A blog is essential, and it’s beneficial for business websites to maintain one. Find a blog schedule that works for you and stick with it.
Do you want to listen to this article? Here’s the podcast episode: