With Social Media being at the forefront of almost every conversation I have with clients these days, it is amazing to me how few websites have the presence of an onsite blog. To me, a blog is the first step in becoming “social”. If you do not yet have an onsite blog, I encourage you to implement one, and fast. When I pose the question to clients and prospects: Why don’t you have an onsite blog? The common responses I get are: I don’t have the time. I don’t know what to write. I am afraid people will write negative comments and the list of excuses goes on. In this post I will address each of those concerns.
Let’s start with the time factor. The good news is that a blog does not have to be a novel. That being said, there is no magic number about how long a blog post should be, though I have read a lot of interesting and funny responses over the years on this topic. One in particular that stuck in my head compared the length of a blog to a women’s skirt. “A women’s skirt should be long enough to cover the topic, but short enough to keep it interesting.” An SEO Engineer also once told me, “No good blog post is ever too long and no bad blog post is ever short enough.” A good rule of thumb is to be somewhere between 250 and 500 words. If you find that you have important things to say and your post is turning out to be longer than you originally planned, maybe consider making your blog post an article instead?
Next, let’s focus on what topics to blog about. This is actually much easier than many people realize. You should simply write about topics that are relevant to your business or industry. For example, if you are an online jeweler retailer, your posts could be topics that include: how to safely clean your precious gems, what to look for when shopping for the perfect diamond, ideas for gifts for different occasions, current trends in jewelry, tips to properly insure your jewels, etc. Seasonality also plays a factor in blog posts. Mothers Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc. are all holidays to take advantage of for interesting and timely posts.
Finally, don’t be afraid of negative comments. It is next to impossible to please every single customer every single time, however, you can hear what they have to say and perhaps make things better. Maybe their gripe is warranted and if so, don’t you want to know so that you can try to resolve the particular issue? In other words, join the conversation, respond, encourage interaction and engagement. If the post is unwarranted and untrue, it is best to avoid sweeping it under the rug, and instead acknowledge the post. Then, kindly and professionally (both very important adverbs in this case) correct the post with an appropriate explanation. Often times people just want to be heard. An example: You are offering free shipping on all orders of $150. The negative post came from a disgruntled customer, complaining that you lied about free shipping, as they ordered a $100 pendant and were charged for shipping. The first step would be to acknowledge the post with something along the lines of: Thank you for your feedback. I am sorry you are upset about being charged for shipping. We currently offer free shipping on orders over $150, which is why your purchase did not qualify. We do sometimes run specials that offer free shipping on all orders. Please check back often and hopefully you can take advantage of this special promotion. If you’d like to discuss in more detail, please feel free to email me at ______@____.com. The last sentence will hopefully take the discussion offline and you can interact directly with the customer.
Blogs are an excellent way to regularly add fresh content to your website, which the search engines love when crawling. This will help boost organic rankings, as well. In addition, below is a screenshot taken from a recent eMarketer article, which estimates that “this year more than half of internet users will read blogs at least monthly. By 2014, readership will rise to more than 150 million Americans, or 60% of the internet population in the US. One reason for the rise in readership is that blogs have become an accepted part of the online media landscape.”