When it comes to web content, there are basically three types; the web copy you use on your home page, various descriptive pages, services, FAQs, et cetera, and then there are blogs and articles. The web copy on a professional business website is generally written by a professional writer or writing service with the purpose of marketing the services or products being offered, and is fixed, or somewhat permanent copy. In order to keep the site’s content fresh and informative and bring in new customers, websites often feature one or more pages of blogs or articles.
Characteristics of Blogs
A blog is usually written by or on behalf of the site’s owner, and is more informal and personal in nature. Blogs should be written at regular intervals to keep customers interested, as well as up to date on events, sales and new product lines at the business. Blogs are generally written in a conversational tone, without particular attention to grammar, professional writing skill or any sort of facts or details. Some characteristics of blogs are:
- Informal in nature – more conversational;
- Less emphasis on grammar and form;
- Very little professional skill required;
- Superficial with little scientific backup;
- Extremely popular form of web content;
- Written at regular intervals to keep readers’ interest.
Blogs are usually written “off the cuff,” and are not considered as reliable a source of information as articles. A blog, therefore, needs to be extremely compelling to be effective.
Characteristics of Articles
While search engines will consider both blogs and articles when determining relevance, articles are generally treated as a more credible source of information. A compelling article is generally written by a professional writer, is more formal and fairly flawless in construction, and gives the reader the impression that much more time and effort has been put into its writing. A well written article has a longer posting life, as readers do not expect a new article to be posted as frequently, and will generate many more returns than a blog post. Some characteristics of articles are:
- Require more research and verifiable facts;
- More formal in nature;
- More grammatically correct language;
- Generates longer-term links to your website;
- More informative and accurate;
- Longer periods between posts.
While blogs are acceptable to help generate sales of lower priced items, a serious marketer will use informative, well-written articles that provide some sort of value to lure readers to their site. Even though a blog post may bring in a customer, if the long-term goal is to sell a product or service, customers will be much more inclined to purchase from a site that publishes thoughtful and informative content.
In summary, while all content is considered web content, usually the term is reserved for the long-term, semi-permanent web copy on the various pages of your website. Blogs and articles are shorter term in nature, and while both can be informative, an article has more clout with potential customers than a blog.
If you’re looking to increase local traffic to your business, writing a blog based on local happenings and community events is a great way to do it. By writing about local events, you’ll receive traffic from customers who live in your area and are searching for information about these affairs. These can include anything from news, politics, crime and social gatherings to classes, exhibits, performances and demonstrations.
Whether you write about local events on your own website or blog, or post articles about local happenings on other blogs, you’ll become known as something of a subject matter expert as to what is happening around town, and receive visitors to your site who are most likely to also be your business customers.
Reduced Competition for Search Results
When you blog about local news, concerts, parties, parades and other happenings, there is a reduced amount of competition in search results for those events, and your blog is more likely to end up near the top of a search page. You are only competing with others who are blogging about those very same topics.
While local businesses may have taken all of the necessary steps to optimize their site for SEO, if they are not blogging – and most of them probably aren’t, then the business that does start a local blog will quickly rise to the top of the heap, with the best rankings in Google Local searches.
Better SEO Results
Blogging about local events allows you to add fresh, timely and relevant posts to your blog, which triggers search engine algorithms that look for fresh content. Having a blog will also enable you to be ranked in blog searches and local map searches along with regular keyword searches, giving you much wider exposure.
Your readers are more likely to interact with you when you blog about local happenings, leaving comments and feedback that will also benefit your search engine rankings. Having subscribers and regular readers will also give your site more of a friendly, local atmosphere.
Jumping on Local News
Having a regular blog where you post about local happenings around town gives you a natural forum, where you can jump on local newsworthy occurrences and ride the crest of the media feeding frenzy. It also allows you to engage locals by posting opinion pieces and commentaries. Try linking up to your local newspaper and see if you can write a column or article for them from time to time.
Linking to Social Media
A blog can be used to feed content out to social media pages, such as Facebook and Twitter. You can increase your visibility tremendously by posting content on your blog and having it show up in a multitude of social media pages at the same time, giving you much more reward for your efforts.
When all is said and done, if you are a local business that gets much of your sales from the surrounding neighborhoods or towns, then writing a local blog is a fantastic way to bring in customers, as well as to network with other businesses and prominent members of your community.
Depending on your business or industry, you may be struggling with the question of whether or not your website really needs a blog and if it is worth it. The fact of the matter is that if you look at the many benefits that a blog can provide you SEO wise, then you will agree that your website does need a blog.
According to HubSpot, websites with a blog bring in 55% more traffic. This is because you are improving the quality of content that your website has. You have more opportunity for links and landing pages to be created in the search engines results pages, which means more chances for converting visitors into sales.
Websites with blogs get more backlinks. According to HubSpot, they get 97% more inbound links. Much of page ranking in the search engines is determined by how many inbound links you have. The more backlinks, the higher your ranking.
Blogs attract the search engine spiders. With a blog, you have the opportunity to get even more pages indexed in the search engines. The more quality pages with quality content that you have, the more pages that you will have indexed which ensures that you’ll come up in a variety of different searches.
Aside from the SEO benefits, a blog also provides you with the ability to provide your customers with an inside look at your business. You can post news, behind the scenes information, stories related to your business and industry and more. Consumers really like it when your business has a personal touch to it and they can see that you’re more than just another corporation.
A blog allows you to position yourself as an expert in your industry and create a relationship with your customer base. By discussing the issues surrounding your business that are worth discussing, you can get your readers involved. The more you interact with your readers, the higher your chances for sales conversions.
If you’ve been considering a blog, now is the time to stop thinking about it and to do it. If you do decide to implement a blog, we highly recommend WordPress. There are a variety of free plug ins that you can use that will dramatically increase your blog’s SEO and will help improve your website’s SEO overall. It’s also very easy to customize and use.