Tag Archives: blogging

Is most blogging waste of time?

Is blogging waste of time

At least the title of this article seems to say so. Actually you can say the same with content marketing: is content marketing waste of time?

Okay, I’m going into a loop – is most driving waste of time? Is most reading waste of time? Is most physical work waste of time? Is most studying waste of time?

I personally believe that an activity is rarely a waste of time. The thing that decides whether it’s a waste of time or not is the end result that you achieve. Whether a particular business promotion activity (for that matter, even an enterprise) bears results or not depends on its implementation, execution and targeting. The same is the case with blogging, whether you indulge in personal blogging or business blogging.

There are many businesses that are doing great with the help of their blog. Most of my business comes due to blogging. Yes, it is time consuming and I would rather have an activity that gets me targeted traffic without having to blog every day, but for now, blogging gets the business. The more I blog, the more business I get, the less I blog, the less business I get.

I have observed that with more blogging I get more targeted traffic. It’s not that my clients give me more business because they can see me blogging everyday. It’s because my visibility increases and more people come to know of my services whether my search engine rankings are improving, new blog posts and webpages are continuously being added to the search engine index or more people are having more content from me to share on social media and social networking websites. Whatever is the case, ultimately, I experience an improvement when a blog more. So at a personal level I can never say that blogging is waste of time.

In a blog post titled Why every business should blog Neil Patel shares the following statistics regarding business blogging:

  • 61% of consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post that they read.
  • 60% of consumers feel positive about a company after reading its blog.
  • 70% consumers learn about a company through its blog vs ads.

According to an infographic shared on the same page, websites that blog have 97% more inbound links. Websites that regularly blog have 434% more indexed pages compared to websites that don’t.

Is blogging good for your business? It depends on your targeting, your intention, and your seriousness. Please don’t think that I’m trying to preach, but most business blogging ventures fail because people are not persistent. The problem is not with blogging, the problem is with commitment. Business blogging requires serious commitment, whether it comes directly from you (you writing the blog regularly) or it comes from someone you have hired. Persistence is the key.

Still not blogging? Here are the 10 reasons you should

Reasons to have a business blog

“There are actually people who are not blogging for their business!” exclaimed one of my social media marketing clients recently who often outsources his content writing needs to me. Sometimes you get across the advice “blogging isn’t for everybody” and people end up interpreting it all wrong.

When someone tells you “blogging isn’t for everybody” it doesn’t mean your business doesn’t require blogging. What it means is, not everybody can handle the level of commitment required to run a successful business blog. Having said that, yes, there are many businesses that don’t require a blog and still experience lots of success but then there are many people who can spend 5 minutes underwater without running out of breath and drowning themselves – exceptions are always there and if you want to be an exception, well, it is your choice.

While you may have your own reasons not to have a business blog, here is a nice link that gives you 10 reasons why you should. Some of the reasons are…

  1. Make money: In one of my recent LinkedIn blog posts I wrote there are different ways you can make money from your blog and you don’t always have to rely on third-party advertisement networks. So yes, if you want to make money, blogging is one of the best ways to do it, though it requires lots of hard work and commitment.
  2. Become a better writer: A good thing about blogging is you don’t have to mind much about how you write. It doesn’t mean you run amok and use whatever sort of language you want to use, but you can relax and let your guards down. What am I saying? Instead of becoming a better writer, am I advising you to become a worse writer because nobody is judging your writing on your blog? No, what I’m saying is, on your blog you can write without fear so it can be a good writing practice. Business blog, on the other hand, needs to be professionally written but still, it can have your personal touch.
  3. Build an audience and also your own broadcasting platform: Once you start publishing a blog regularly people will start coming to your blog regularly. This will help you build an audience and wherever there is an audience, there is a broadcasting platform. You can use this platform to build your brand and hence, your business.
  4. Become an expert in your field: Provided you are serious about your business blog, you will be constantly sharing your expertise and in order to share your expertise, sometimes first you need to gain that expertise. Sometimes I learn new content writing and content marketing concepts while gathering material for my blog posts.
  5. Get new customers and clients: People who regularly come to your blog trust you more compared to those who don’t. Many among your regular blog readers will gladly become your paying customers and clients provided you have something valuable to sell.
  6. Improve your search engine rankings: Well, this point is not present in the link above, but this is one of the main reasons why most of my clients approach me to write content for their blogs – they want to improve their search engine rankings and yes, a business blog can definitely help you achieve that. This is because when you have a blog, you eventually end up creating lots of focused content and it is the focused content that enjoys higher search engine rankings.

Image source

How to come up with relevant blog topics for your audience

Relevancy is essential for meaningful engagement. If people don’t find your blog posts relevant to their needs they are neither going to read them nor promote them.

A successful business blog requires regular posting. Your publishing schedule shouldn’t be intermittent – it should follow a consistent schedule. The problem with following a schedule is you constantly have to come up with relevant, interesting and well-written blog posts.

Many of my clients require me to send them a blog post every day and fortunately, most of them send me their own topics because they want to improve their search engine rankings (of course there are many others who pay me extra to come up with topics on my own). When they are not able to come up with topics they send me a basic idea of the wording and the keywords they would like to feature within the topics and then accordingly I create them.

You should constantly keep this in mind that whatever you publish on your blog it should help the readers. After reading every blog post they should go back enriched in one way or another. They shouldn’t feel like they wasted the time they spent reading your blog post.

How do you come up with relevant blog topics?

One way is to keep track of conversations going on on social networking websites like Twitter and LinkedIn, but mostly Twitter. I have created a separate column in Hootsuite for tracking conversations on all the niches on which I need to write regularly (content marketing, content writing, blog writing, etc., for instance, for writing on my own blog).

This Moz blog post titled 3 Steps to Identify Blog Topics That are Relevant to Your Audience suggests that you can also take ideas from popular blog posts on your own blog, but then of course for that you have to be publishing for a long time and you have to be having some popular blog posts. This is a good way of knowing for what people come to your website and what sort of blog posts they find useful.

Another suggestion is to take hints from your competitors’ websites. Although the Moz blog post advises you to use one of their own tools in order to track the performance of individual websites and links, you can also do this by manually visiting websites and going through the comments section. Normally popular blog posts attract way more comments compared to those that are not very popular. You can also gauge the popularity of a particular blog post if the publisher happens to use some social networking plug-in that shows how many times that link has been shared and recommended.

My favourite way of coming up with relevant blog topics for my audience is to maintain an ideas list. This list comes handy when you need to publish every day. You need to develop a habit of quickly jotting down ideas as soon as they come to your mind. You can use Evernote or any of the note-taking applications freely available. You can also use the voice recorder of your phone to quickly capture your thoughts.

So how much effort and money do you invest in guest blogging?

Guest blogging, as Matt Cutts says in this blog post, isn’t as good an idea as it used to be a few years ago.

Guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.

Being lazy, being possessive about what I write and being highly distracted (and of course there was also this fear of rejection faced by every author) I was never much into guest blogging although it always hung over me like a heavy weight. People were doing wonders with guest blogging. People made entire careers out of first guest blogging and then blogging.

Let’s be frank. There are very few bloggers and webmasters who guest blog simply to add value to the blog or online magazine where their content is published. In most of the cases guest blogging is done to get quality back links because when you publish your writing on another blog or website, they also publish your profile with a link back to your website or blog. Fair enough.

In a recent blog post titled After content marketing, definitely focus on networking I stressed upon the point that it is not wise to solely depend on Google and other search engines for qualified traffic. You should develop your own traffic sources. If and when I indulge in guest blogging, it will be more for expanding my presence rather than getting back links.

Guest blogging gives you recognition. It helps you build audience for your own blog or business website. It gives you the much needed initial thrust. In fact, it would be wrong to say that I barely invested in guest blogging. In the early days of business I submitted scores of articles (those days I used to develop websites so my articles were on this topic) to many websites and most of my traffic came from their and this gave me a big boost and I’m still benefiting from that effort.

Why it makes sense to publish your own blog even in the times of social networking

Recently, as you may all know by now, Google decided to shut down its RSS feeds management service Google Reader. For more information you can read Want to save as many RSS subscribers as possible? Before that it also closed down Google Wave which was a rage when it was launched (I remember people were running over each other in order to get an invite). And not just Google, you can find many instances where services closed down because either they didn’t have a revenue model or the couldn’t figure out how to make money out of them.

There are many who claim that since the arrival of social networking and various social media channels blogging is becoming obsolete. Though it is true that fewer and fewer people are blogging, now that they can broadcast their thoughts using Twitter and Facebook, blogging is far from becoming obsolete. But then this post is not about whether blogging is dying or not, it is about why you shouldn’t put all your marketing eggs in the basket of third-party websites and channels.

If you seriously produce content for these services you run the risk of losing all of it, or having to move it to another service in case the present service closes down. Yes, it can also happen with Facebook and Twitter although there is less chance because these services have matured enough and evolved into full-fledged businesses just like Google.com (not one of its services, but the main company).

There has been this trend among many people to write intensive articles and opinion posts and then publish them on services like Google Plus, Tumblr, Quora and other such places. There is nothing wrong in participating in conversations and discussions and writing detailed pieces for that, but if you are putting your entire articles and blog posts on these websites, you are benefiting them more than yourself.

Benefits of publishing content on your own blog

Your blog is a platform. Just imagine, if all the effort you have been making producing content for other websites had been made for your own blog you would have had a vibrant platform by now from where you could have not only spread your ideas extremely fast but could have also promoted your business in front of a loyal audience. Content, especially unique, well-written content, is an invaluable asset and it doesn’t make sense to build this asset on another platform.

Targeted content also improves your search engine rankings organically. It makes your website immune to the various algorithmic updates Google keeps on rolling out one after another, decimating business after business. Valuable content on your own blog encourages other people to link directly to your blog or website rather than to your Facebook or Google Plus posts.

Unlike on Google Plus and Facebook, content on your blog has a longer shelf life. Timelines on social networking websites move extremely fast and no matter how valuable information you have shared, if your target audience at that time is not online and on one of these social networking websites, they will miss your message.

The message on your blog on the other hand is always there. You can share the link again and again from your social networking profiles. It appears in your RSS feeds. You can share it with your e-mail subscribers. It is always there.

Do you think it is easier to share content on social networking websites rather than on your own blog? Not at all. Even a very simple blogging tool these days comes with highly evolved publishing features. Aside from text, you can easily post audio and video clips, create image slides and embed all sorts of stuff.

It’s also a misconception that a blog post needs to be more than 400 words. Well, ideally it does you good to have longer blog posts, even if you can manage just 100 words, something is better than nothing. Besides, you can always come back and add more thoughts later on.