Is writing a blog worth it? You can start a blog for less than the price of a cup of coffee. But is it worth your time? Before you jump in, you want to consider the return on the investment of your precious minutes.
This is an especially pertinent question if you’re an entrepreneur, small biz owner, or freelancer. As you get started, you may have a steep learning curve, particularly if you’re technically challenged like me.
And while the idea of blogging to reach more online readers may sound good, you’re aware that blogging takes effort to build a following and keep it going. It’s a long term commitment. Discouragement visits often.
But then there are those whose entire businesses have been built by blogging, like Michelle Gardener (blogging about frugal living at www.makingsenseofcents.com) and Lindsay Ostrom (blogging about food at www.pinchofyum.com). No question — blogging can lead to financial profit. It’s also a way to process a personal experience, demonstrated by Anna (a breast cancer survivor) at My Cancer Chic.
So is writing a blog worth it? The answer is yes and no. It depends on what you hope to achieve with your blog. If you‘re compelled simply to keep up with the Blogging Joneses, then you may want to hit the “pause” button. But there are plenty of good reasons that blogging is worth the time.
If you’re thinking of writing a blog to get more online exposure, then you’ve got a solid reason to move forward. A blog builds web traffic. More pages, more reach. If you carefully structure your blog posts to feature keywords in your niche, your pages will pull in more organic web traffic, thereby increasing your cause’s visibility. Plus, the more useful content you add to your site, the more appealing the site will be to readers.
A blog allows you to stay in front of your readers on a regular basis, particularly when you send links to new posts to your email list (see Reason 5 below). When you follow news about what’s going on in your niche and know the latest information and statistics, then share them on your blog so your readers can know about them, too. What about the fear of sharing too much value on your blog to that point that readers don’t “need” to buy your products or services? No worries because …
As you blog, users begin to find you on the web. They read your blog posts about topics that are important or relevant to them. Your content helps them gain information or skill. Soon, you become recognized as an authority in your field. When it comes time for them to purchase a product or service, who will they go to? You. They trust you. You’ve given them outstanding information so far. Plus, you’ve offered that information for free.
Users leave comments. Other bloggers ask to guest post on your site(which can save you time, when you offer clear blogging guidelines.) Readers who like your content will return to your blog again and again, particularly because …
Include a free opt-in on your blog and you’ll gather readers’ email addresses. This way you can send them an email each time a new blog post goes live. You’ll build a list of enthusiastic fans. They’ll be the first to take advantage of your sale offers or buy your new products and services.
Blogging forces you to teach yourself what you don’t know about your topic and to articulate what you do know. If there are any gaps in your content, you have to learn about them. Blogging pushes you to master your niche and be as informed as you can be. Along the way …
Get yourself on a regular blogging schedule and soon, your site begins to accumulate posts. You can repurpose that content into a book, eBook, audiobook, course, or presentation. You can sell those products and create an additional income stream.
Maybe you’re a stay at home mom and need a way to keep your mind active. On the other hand, perhaps you’re passionate about a hobby and your blog allows you to connect with fellow enthusiasts. Or you may be walking through a season of life that begs to be shared with others: your child is transitioning to college. You’ve experienced a divorce. Your parents moved to assisted living.
Write a post and it stays on your site until you take it down. That’s a distinct advantage over sending one email or newsletter, which readers quickly skim and discard. Plus, with consistent posting and increasing numbers of inbound links to your site, your page rankings will increase over time. You can continue to reach and educate readers about your product, your service, your cause, or your niche long after you write posts.
There are a handful of situations in which an entrepreneur or small biz probably shouldn’t start a blog.
Everyone’s blogging, so you should too, right? Not necessarily. A good blog is a commitment. You need to set up a regular schedule and produce content consistently. A half-hearted approach will lead to a half-hearted result. But if you’re committed to finding more users online, then a blog is an excellent way to do so.
Perhaps your schedule is already extended too far. You cannot add one more thing and you have absolutely no wiggle room. If you started a blog, you’d be likely to abandon it after the first few posts. And you have no one on your staff interested in helping you to create posts and maintain the blog. If that’s the case, then perhaps this is not the time to add blogging to your marketing mix.
But be sure to ask yourself this question: “How much time is too much time?” You can write one new post every two weeks. In a year, you’ll have those 25 new pages on your website. That’s a lot better than one or two. Stick with that minimal schedule, and in just four years you’ll have a 100-page blog that will boost your online presence. (Here's a way you can build your blog just 20 minutes at a time.)
Maybe your site is already getting thousands of hits a day and you’ve got a robust email list. Your business is booming, particularly online. You have more orders than you can fill and no need to extend yourself online. In that case, you may not need a blog. Or perhaps you’re going through a biz overhaul. A blog would distract you, at least temporarily.
For biz owners and freelancers, a blog is not a get-rich scheme, but a long-term strategy for building your online audience. If you’re in your business for the long haul, then it’s a good way to build your platform. For creatives, a blog can be a way to connect with other readers near and far.
Thousands of people start a blog every day, but just 1% of internet users regularly add new content to blogs over time. If you find a way to blog regularly, even if it’s just once a month, then yes, writing a blog will be worth it. Because you’ll reach more users online and build relationships that enrich you … and them.
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Award-winning content writer and author Kathy Widenhouse specializes in writing for nonprofits and faith-based organizations.
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