Is blogging worth it for you and your business?
In 2017, I tossed up between attending a plain language conference in New Zealand and a blogging conference on the Gold Coast. The blogging conference won because I thought I would learn practical tips I could apply to my blogging.
I discovered that even though I had been writing blogs for years, I was very naive about the world of blogging. I had no idea there was so much money to be made by being an affiliate marketer and on-selling products. Amazon is a major player in the affiliate space, but there are also websites dedicated to letting you know what companies have affiliate programs. Many of the people using affiliate programs at the conference were travel or lifestyle bloggers.
I felt totally out of my depth and thought longingly of the plain language conference.
Do you like longer blogs?
After the conference, I decided to blog less frequently and just write the occasional longer blog. I decided to do this for two reasons:
- I enjoy reading longer blogs. I subscribe to the weekly newsletter of Arts and Letters Daily and the blogs and articles I read most avidly are always the longer ones that have a point of view. Short blogs are fine for writing and grammar tips, but not for opinion pieces.
- Longer blocks are better for search engine optimisation. Read what marketing guru Neil Patel has to say about longer blogs. In brief, he says that they ‘perform better and add immense value to your audience by going beyond just scratching the surface’.
I am never going to write the 2–3,000 words that Neil Patel advocates, but I now occasionally write more than 600 words. My early blogs were mainly 300–600 words.
The problem with writing longer blogs is that they are time-consuming. I wrote a long article on how to write a board paper for a LexisNexis in June and it took me a week.
How many of us have the time to blog weekly? I aim for monthly at the most.
Is a blog necessary for your brand?
When I was developing this new website, I automatically added a blog page. Then I asked myself why.
This isn’t the first time I have questioned the point of blogging. I wrote a blog about blogging fatigue in February 2015. At the time I was reading Debbie Weil’s The Corporate Blogging Book, first published in 2006. At that time, she saw blogs as the home base of your social media platform. I wonder whether other platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are now more important than blogs. And many solopreneurs and small businesses thrive without any social media.
Can your business survive and thrive without a blog?
I decided to investigate what some of my colleagues are doing in this space:
- A corporate trainer wrote one blog in 2016! I know she had a very successful year, so she was obviously too busy to blog.
- A high-profile PR person last updated her blog in 2015. Judging by the photos she’s posting on Facebook, she’s travelling a lot and having a great time.
- An editor and trainer has posted one blog since creating her website a year ago. She’s also busy and taking wonderful holidays.
- Another colleague created a new website and wrote three blogs quickly, then lost momentum and hasn’t written another one since.
My colleagues’ blogs are monuments to the past. Would their site be better off without them?
I realise my research is limited, but it seems clear to me that a blog is not essential for business success.
Do blogs help with search engine optimisation?
I am sure that blogs do help with search engine optimisation, but I am a bit cynical about the power of search engine optimisation to earn you money. Over the last couple of years, I have spent quite a bit of time learning about search engine optimisation. I have two other websites, Online Writing Training (hosts online courses on writing and grammar) and Write to Govern (my board paper services).
People who visit my board paper website tend to stay longer and this is the site that brings me the most profitable work. I seldom give it much attention and update it irregularly. In spite of my neglect, I think it does well for two reasons:
- Writing about board papers is very niche and I am a specialist in this area.
- People may be visiting this site because they have already heard of me through word of mouth.
On the other hand, Online Writing Training is competing in a very cluttered market.
I won’t stop optimising my websites, but I don’t regard search engine optimisation as the greatest marketing tool ever.
So why blog?
I seriously considered not having a blog on this site, but have decided to continue blogging because I enjoy it.
I find that writing about something clarifies my thinking. If I don’t write my thoughts down, my brain goes over and over the same thought without developing it. Of course, I could write down my thoughts without publishing them, but I am going to continue publishing in the hope that you enjoy what I write.
I will also continue to write shorter posts on writing and grammar tips. You will find most of them at Online Writing Training.
By the way, this post is 909 words.
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