Last week, after I wrote a post on how to make your business look more professional, I was telling my husband about it and asked him if I missed anything.
“What about blogging?” he asked.
Oh yeah. Blogging. The thing I spend 30% of my time on each week. And the thing I completely forgot to add to last week’s post. Some blogger I am…
Because the fact is, blogging is one of the best ways to make your business look more professional. It might seem counter-intuitive: if you’re such a pro, how do you have time to blog? The answer is simple: you make time because blogging helps grow your business. Here's how.
1. Blogging helps your website show up for search terms
Now, I’m not an SEO pro, but I do know that the almighty Google rewards websites with a blog for a couple reasons:
More search terms
The more content on your site via your blog, the more room you have to use keywords that will help you get ranked higher on Google. For example, there’s only so many times I can justify using keywords like “copywriting,” “branding,” and “communications” on my services and about page without looking ridiculous.
That’s where my blog comes in. It’s yet another page on my site, every single week, where I can reinforce what my site is about in the eyes of Google.
More indexed pages
Since showing up in searches is all about giving Google what it wants, something to keep in mind is that Google wants more pages on your website. The more indexed pages on your website, the more leads you’re likely to get through Google.
And how do you add more pages to your site without mucking up your navigation? Oh yes, my friends: your blog. Every new post you write creates a new page on your site for Google to index: making your site more likely to move higher up on the list.
The search engine gods are constantly looking for new content to index and rank, so a static site just won’t cut it if you want your website to show up in searches. What's that? You can only manage one blog post a month?
That’s still 12 new, indexed pages with fresh, searchable keywords each year that Google can reward you for.
So if you’ve been dragging your feet on blogging because you just don’t have time, I beg you to reconsider: your search rankings will thank you.
2. Blogging drives traffic to your site
Blogging isn’t all about appeasing the omniscient Google, it’s also about making your site more likely to be visited by potential clients.
A reason to visit your site
Let’s be honest: if your site always has the same five pages that never change, there’s no reason for anyone to ever come back to your site after the first visit. That means you only have one chance to convert those visitors into clients. And knowing that businesses generally need at least six contacts with a potential client to close a deal… well, good luck with that.
That's why you need a blog. Your blog provides more information for visitors and gives them a reason to come back and see what you’re up to. But they’re not just going to come back on their own-- which brings me to the next point.
Promote without looking salesy
If you want traffic to your website, you have to promote it. There are literally millions of websites your potential clients could be visiting, and they’re not going to come to yours unless you remind them.
But remember: people don’t like being sold to. They don’t want to feel like you’re always asking them for something without giving them anything in return. Promoting your services page over and over again simply isn't going to create the interest you need to drive traffic to your site.
That’s where your blog can help. It's the perfect way to promote your business without overtly selling, to share what you do on social media, without screaming, "HIRE ME!"
When you share a blog post, you’re giving away free knowledge, rather than asking someone for money. And we’re all more likely to click on something we don’t have to pay for, right?
Those not-too-promotional blog posts have another benefit: they’re more likely to be shared by others.
Because your potential clients don’t want to look salesy either. They don’t want to be constantly sharing promotional material from your site with their social media followers-- that’d be super annoying and a little weird.
But a blog post that not only adds value to people’s lives but also makes the person sharing it look good? That’s your blogging content sweet spot.
So write value-packed, share-worthy blog posts and then share them far and wide. They'll promote your business so you don't have to.
3. Blogging helps clients know, like and trust you
Blogging isn’t just a tool to get people on your website; it also gives them a reason to stay there. A well-written blog about a topic your audience cares about can build your brand and convert readers into clients by helping them know, like and trust you-- which is key to getting people to open their wallets for whatever you offer.
We’ve touched on the “know” part of the equation in the first two sections: people can’t hire you if they aren’t even aware of you. But there’s more to being known than just having people know you exist: they need to know who you are and what you do. And your blog can help with that.
You can use blog posts to explain in greater detail what you do and how it can help your clients while also bringing them value by teaching them something new. In a way, you’re actually educating them to help them know whether or not they need your services.
If you’re thinking, “Wait, what? How do I do that?”, here are some questions to ask when you’re thinking about what you should cover on your blog:
- What do people need to know or believe before they’d hire you?
- What should potential clients ask you that they don’t?
- What knowledge or experience would someone need in order to realize they need to hire a pro?
Your blog isn't just there to inform your audience, it should also help you build a relationship with them: making them like you so they want more of what you got. While your brand voice should come out on every page of your website, your blog is the place where your audience really starts to feel like they know the human behind the brand-- like you’re a friend. It's the place where they'll see more of who you are, and if they like what they see, they'll stick around.
So don't be afraid to show your personality, your humor, your vulnerability. With so much competition for your audience's attention, being human on your blog will help you build a loyal following of readers who feel at home on your site.
The trust part of the equation is often the trickiest for creative entrepreneurs, because it requires us to position ourselves as experts. And I know that sounds scary: imposter sydrome alert, right?
But that’s exactly where your blog can help. You can use blog posts to show your expertise without sounding like you’re bragging, trying to sell something or trying to be something you're not.
For example, one of your blog posts could showcase a client case study that might be helpful to your readers. Or you can share an experience you had with a client and how you helped them. Both show that you know what you're doing and can solve your audience’s problems, without overtly saying: “I'm the one for the job.”
4. Blogging helps you hone your knowledge and expertise
So far, all of the benefits we’ve talked about have been about your website visitors: using your blog to become known, liked and trusted. But, speaking from experience:
One of the greatest benefits of blogging isn’t what it does for your audience, it’s what it does for you.
If you’ve started your own service-based business, you know just how hard it is to figure out what exactly you offer and why someone might need it. Often, we can offer a bunch of different services, and we’re never quite sure which offer resonates the most with our potential clients.
Blogging is a great way to try out ideas and get feedback on them-- risk-free. You see which blog titles your audience clicks on, which topics get the most comments, and what area of your expertise really excites them. That feedback is invaluable: it lets you know which areas have the most potential-- and which should be dropped. It also helps you understand what--exactly--your audience needs from you.
When I first started blogging, I read some advice from the infallible Regina of ByRegina that you should blog about the topic you could talk about for 100 hours. At the time, that felt overwhelming: on one hand, I’m a multi-passionate with a bunch of interests (travelling, minimalism, personal development, productivity, communication, food and wine, running), but on the other hand, do I really have 100 hours of knowledge about any of those?
That’s why my first few blog posts were allll over the place. (Don’t believe me? Just click on those links above.) But as I did it, as week after week, I wrote a blog post, I realized that a couple topics kept coming back more than others.
And the one that came up most? Communication and branding.
Which makes sense now, of course. I have over a decade of experience in that topic. It’s what I do for a living. It’s what I get paid for. Obvious, right? Well, let me tell you, it wasn’t so obvious when I first started and I wouldn't be nearly as focused now without blogging.
Blogging not only helps you get focused, it also helps you hone in on your core area of expertise and cultivate knowledge around it. When you know you'll have to write a regular blog post, you start seeing your work differently: you start asking yourself, "What am I learning or doing that I can share?"
Blogging makes you really think about and research whatever you’re writing about-- which turns you into even more of an expert.
Take this post for example. I knew I wanted to blog about blogging (so meta, right?), but I also knew that if this post was going to be valuable, it couldn’t just be about my personal experience: I needed to bring in the experts. So all those links at the beginning about SEO tactics? That’s research I had to do for this post-- research that helped me better understand the topic and will help me give more informed advice about it to my clients.
And that's the hidden beauty of blogging: it doesn’t just help you look like an expert, it actually helps you become one.