You may have heard that it is beneficial for your website if it has a blog, and you probably know several companies who have a blog on their website. But have you ever wondered what the point of a blog is and whether you should set one up on your site? There are quite a few reasons why your site could benefit from a blog, and the answer is yes, you should have one. Here's why: It's a great place to put keyword-rich content to increase traffic from the search engines, it keeps your website fresh, and it gives readers an incentive to return because of your free, quality content, which builds trust, which potentially turns into leads. And that's not all! People love free stuff, and when a company offers valuable free information, people share it, which brings in more traffic, and even more sharing–it's a win-win relationship between you and your readers.
Free, quality content qualifies as "free stuff", and interesting, unique, helpful or useful content is irresistibly sharable. This is called link-bait, and a blog is the best place to put it. You want to make sure that within your link-bait articles are good keywords, because when those articles start attracting traffic, you want to make sure Google knows what keywords to rank your page under. And when your article starts collecting link juice, you want the anchor text of your inbound links to have good keywords in them.
A blog is a great place to put content centered around specific keywords you want to target on your site. This will broaden your rankings and reach more people in the search engines. Just make sure that your blogposts are easily sharable via social media. Install an app for social sharing, so Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc buttons are visible on the article pages. Readers will appreciate your free content, and if it's good quality, they will share it, and you will begin to build trust with them. The more pages a viewer reads on your site, the more likely they are to become a lead, which may turn into a sale. Trust doesn't just build a higher probability of sales, it builds credibility and authority for your site. The more trustworthy as a website and a company you are, the higher your status is, and generally, your search engine rankings.
Having regular blogposts gives readers a reason to return to your site, even if they aren't interested in buying anything yet. Quality blogposts that are posted every day or every week entice readers to come back, most likely sharing your content in the process. A good way to encourage readers to keep up with your blog is to offer Feedburner or an RSS feed option, so they can subscribe to your blogposts via email or a chosen platform. You may have also heard about "freshness", which Google takes into account when determining your search engine rankings. They love frequently updated sites. Having frequent new content builds and expands your online presence, as well as earns points with Google.
A blog can also make your company more personal. An overly corporate website without the team listed or any sign of an individual's name can seem daunting, but seeing blogposts on a website with the author's name can make a company feel more personal and real. People like to know the individuals who are behind the logo, especially Digital Natives, who find it mandatory that a company feels trustworthy and has names and faces to refer to.
Another good reason to have a blog is to encourage reader participation and feedback. Comments are a great way to find out what your readers think, and interaction on your website also builds credibility and trustworthiness. Some of the articles on my first website I created have over 5,000 comments, because the comment sections became so interactive between my readers. Just that quality alone gave the site a huge boost not only in popularity but in credibility, because when people would come to the site, they would see how many people were communicating and interacting with each other and think "hey, now this is the place to be!".
Incorporating a blog into your website can be extremely beneficial for your business, in many different ways, and isn't all that hard. My recommendation is to go ahead and try it, if you do not have a blog already. No harm in seeing how it goes! In fact, you will most likely see many of the benefits discussed here. Keep in mind that it may take some time to build up, to determine a schedule and the right kind of content and to build awareness of your new blog. But just remember–no risk, no reward!