Visitor acquisition is arguably the single most difficult challenge facing marketers these days. In spite of the incredibly rapid growth in the size of the internet community in recent years, the competition for user interest has never been more fierce. Marketers with substantial budgets at their disposal invest heavily in various promotional efforts like PPC (pay per click) campaigns across popular ad networks, paid features on more popular websites, and even TV and radio ads – all with the aim of driving more traffic to their web assets.
To understand how this ties into blogging, we have to consider the original purpose of the Internet – information sharing. Traditionally, users visit a website because it interests them. As simple as it might sound, far too many marketers forget this simple fact and waste energy (and money) trying to drive traffic to a website that lacks the necessary content to engage visitors. Visitors that aren’t engaged are far less likely to respond positively to a call-to-action (critically important if your website sells a product or service) and they certainly aren’t likely to share your website via social media or link to it in any other way (which pretty much rules out the gold mine we call organic traffic).
Having an active and well-written blog on your website helps solve this problem in a number of ways.
1. It adds value to your website. In some cases, it even makes sense to put more effort into promoting your blog content than the parts of your website you might instinctively consider more important (a sales page for example). This is because blog posts are so much easier to promote due to their highly “social media friendly” nature – especially if you add a nice little social sharing widget in each of your posts. Visitors that enjoy your content (a particularly interesting or controversial post for example) are likely to share it with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, and other popular social networks.
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2. This leads us right into our second point; the social nature of a blog encourages user interaction and keeps them engaged. A really good blog is likely to attract lots of visitors (depending on the niche) and a significant number of these visitors might inadvertently create a little community of their own via the blog comments section. You might even attract other bloggers with high social value (called influencers) and be able to build a potentially useful relationship with them. As a side note, this is why interacting with your blog readers in the comments section is so important. An active community is one that is engaged with your content and your brand and represents a gold mine of marketing potential.
3. It positions you as an expert in your field. This is particularly important if the primary purpose of your website is selling some kind of product or service. People are more likely to buy something from someone they perceive to be highly knowledgeable about whatever they’re selling and about their niche on a whole. For example, would you rather set up your website with a hosting company run by someone you’ve never heard of or with a company that has an established track record of being run by experts in the web hosting industry? It could be as simple as a frequently updated blog detailing quick fixes to common server issues, or even some insightful commentary on the latest industry trends, expert content on any subject will inspire confidence in you and your brand – critically important if you’re looking to improve your conversion rates.
4. It provides additional entry points to your website for organic traffic (from Google and other search engines). One of Google’s timeless mottos is “Content is king.” Search engines love fresh, useful, and relevant content which makes keeping a steady stream of high quality articles/posts flowing through your blog one of the most effective ways of bringing new visitors in. A little keyword research can tell you what your target market is most interested in reading about and creating high quality content on these subjects is an almost sure-fire way to get a steady influx of organic traffic from Google and other search engines. It’s a lot easier than paying for advertisements that link directly to your sales page or trying to outrank your competition’s sales pages unless you’ve got a stellar budget and a lot of patience.
5. You get to plug your own products and services to your loyal readers. This ties into some of our earlier points as well but the value of this one can’t be stressed enough. Your blog can give you access to a huge set of readers that already trust your opinions implicitly. This puts you in an excellent position to rally them in support of any new products or services you might want to add (or anything else you might be trying to promote in the future). Love your readers and they’ll love you back.
6. It gives you bargaining power/leverage in your industry. Your blog is like a platform; one that allows you to exert substantial and ever-increasing influence over your customers, peers, and the other players in your niche as your readership grows. This will come in handy if you ever find yourself in a position where you need to defend your reputation or stand out from the crowd in a positive way.
Convinced yet? The sooner you start providing a steady stream of useful content for your visitors the sooner you can expect to see the benefits listed here play out in a very real and measurable way on your promotional efforts. Even if your website already has a blog, this post should motivate you to redouble your efforts at making it a hot spot for readers in your niche. There’s a gold mine of free promotion and happy users just waiting to be tapped.