For many people, it’s a tough question. Do you start a blog, in this day and age, or not? Well, there are a number of things to consider when making your choice – some of which may be applicable to your niche and your target market:
1. Blogs attract people (if done correctly, of course). They can be used to create communities. Many people visit popular blogs just to read the comments.
Note: To get to the comments, they have to go past your ads.
2. They offer you a platform to build your authority and establish your credibility. As you continue to add useful information, and answering questions that people already have in their minds, the online perception of what you offer will improve. In addition to that, some of the comments – from people who have found your information useful – will become your “social proof” that you actually do have some value to offer.
3. Blogs can be used as a lanuch pad. Once you have a number of people who visit your blog every day, you already have a measure of exposure to start something new. In addition to that, your regular visitors are more likely to share your stuff on social media if you ask them to, and can exponentially increase the number of people you reach.
4. Blogs can be used to get feedback. Instead of paying a survey company to ask random people a bunch of questions with little substance contained in the answers, you can simply pose a question on your blog, and get honest, detailed feedback from people who are really interested in what you offer.
5. Blogs can be used for branding your business online. The useful content you produce can be shared all over the internet, allowing you to reach people in places you never dreamed of. Just have a look at your Google Analytics reports once your blog starts getting visitors, and see all the weird and wonderful places they come from.
6. Blogs can be the basic foundation on which other sites are built. You can expand your blog to include a forum, an online store, a membership site, a business directory, an article directory, product sales pages, and more. Once your blog is in place, the possibilities are incredible.
7. By far the most important feature to us as internet marketers, however, is the capacity for lead generation, and/or building your mailing list. Yes, you can simply buy a domain, slap up a lead capture page, and buy traffic for it – but then you have to keep paying to build your list. If you have a blog, many of your blog posts can attract new visitors for years to come, and each of those can still help to build your email list after all that time.
8. Blogs generate passive traffic. By that I mean partly the traffic that Google sends you (if you did it right), and partly the traffic you get from people who share your content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and many more.
But here’s the kicker:
The busier your blog becomes, the more passive traffic it will generate. Not only will more visitors result in more shares, which will bring more visitors, but Google actually looks at what is happening on your blog. When people share your content regularly, Google sees that as a sign of “a good user experience”. They value that, and will reward you with more visitors – people who are actually searching for that which you have written about.
9. The best thing about all of this is…
If you don’t factor in the physical work you need to do, it’s all FREE. You get the credibility and authority for free, you get the branding for free, you get the visitors for free, and you build your mailing list for free. Heck, even all the other stuff – which you can add onto your blog – can be done for free. Paid plugins and tools are optional.
Now – about the objections you may still have…
1. Yes, it’s a lot of work to get it up to speed. Derek Halpern of Social Triggers spent more than a year building an audience before he launched his first product. He never even thought of selling anything to his list before then.
When he did, he made more than $350,000 in his first year after the initial launch.
Think of it as planting a tree. It takes quite a bit of time before you can start eating the fruit, and it take a lot of work to get it there. And even when you get it to that point, you still need to do some work to keep the fruit coming.
At that point (when your blog is “bearing fruit”), the effort you put in becomes a lot less, and the rewards just keep growing and growing. Unlike a tree, there are no limits or life spans for blogs.
2. Yes, there are more blogs out there than ever before. There are also more potential customers than ever before. The good side of this is the fact that, due to the fact that many people only see the competition, and fail to keep working consistently, there are also more and more people giving up than ever before.
That means that, while there seems to be a lot of competition, the actual number of competitors is much lower than that.
3. Yes, there is quite a bit to learn – although none of it is rocket science. But since this is a medium to long term project anyway, you can learn as you go. There is plenty of time to gain experience and correct your mistakes.
So – the bottom line:
Should you be starting a blog, or not?
To put it bluntly…
Do you still need to ask?
Great post on the effectiveness of having your own blog.
I have been blogging for awhile, but as you said in your post, it takes time and dedication to gain an audience to your blog.
I have given up way too many times on my blog, but reading this definitely makes me want to get back into it.
I especially like point 7 the best (which I’m sure most online marketers would) about getting free leads to whatever offer you are promoting. Although it takes a lot of work, it definitely pays off to see those leads coming in from articles that you may have posted a year ago.
Definitely looking forward to the next article!
Thanks for the comment. Yes, as you said, time and dedication are the keys to gaining an audience on your blog.
I got a chance to visit your blog as well and I must say you have done a great job! Keep up the great work!