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To Blog, or not to Blog…

Web Hosting Blog

Jorn Barger coined the term “weblog” in 1997 and not long afterwards this evolved in to the short form “blog”.

The earliest instance of a commercial blog was an ‘Online Diary’ section of the Ty. Inc. website, where monthly entries were “written” by the featured Beanie Baby, voted for by the website’s visitors.

Blogging continued to gain popularity over the years, particularly during 1999 which saw the arrival of the first hosted blog tools, such as Open Diary, Live Journal and Blogger.

Now, of course, blogging is far more mainstream with a large majority of corporate and organisational websites choosing to feature publicly accessible blogs for marketing, branding and public relations purposes.

So, what are the benefits of hosting a blog on your business website?

Dynamic content – Constantly posting fresh content means that your customers have a reason to keep returning to your website. It also gives you a talking point for your social media accounts and it’s a really good way of relaying useful news and information about the industry to your customers keeping them informed and also demonstrating that you are an expert in your field. Not to mention that businesses that publish regular content on their website receive 8x more traffic.

Higher Search Rankings – If you’re writing blogs around keywords that your potential customers will be searching for, firstly, you’re publishing relevant content so well done on that. Secondly, when the crawlbots come to call, they will find that your blog has used the relevant keywords multiple times. This causes them to rank your website higher on the search results page due to your increased relevance.

It humanises your brand – In a world where people can connect directly with their favourite brands, businesses, public figures, places, celebrities, the human touch is best. Consumers look for personal connections with those they connect with, and faceless, cold corporations are so old fashioned. A blog is inherently more informal than the rest of your site content, and so it reminds your customers that your organisation is populated by real people, with opinions and a sense of humour. That’s what people identify with, and it will make them more likely to be interested in what you’re selling.

Are there any downsides to blogging?

The danger of a poorly written blog – Blogs, as we’ve mentioned, are usually more informal than the rest of the site content. But informal should not equal poorly written. Make sure you check spelling, grammar and style before publishing to your site. It can be light hearted and humourous, but it should still be professional. A poorly written blog will do your reputation far more harm than good. Don’t risk it.

Time consuming – If you’re a small business and therefore writing the blogs yourself, they can be time consuming and it may feel like you’re spending time that could be better spent in the running of your business. The way around this is to write little and often. Keep a notebook with you all the time so you can jot down potential ideas for points and topics. Also, plan out the bare bones of the blog before you start writing. That way, when you come to do your writing, it will flow a lot smoother and quicker.

The struggle of uniqueness – After you’ve been writing your blog for a while, particularly if it’s about a very specific industry, it can become increasingly difficult to think of original and interesting content. Using a notebook when inspiration strikes as mentioned above will help this, as will staying up to date with your industry news, so make sure you’re checking relevant news sites regularly.

It does take time and energy to maintain a good blog. But ultimately, it’s worth investing the time, when you consider it drives traffic to your site, improves your SEO rankings and really helps to connect you to your customers. We certainly enjoy maintaining our own blog here at CWCS and recommend doing so to any business looking to improve their website.