There’s one massive reason why you should incorporate a blog on your website: Visitors!
A blog doesn’t have to look like an online diary. While some are just that, others are recipe books, news broadcasts, comic publications, review sites, etc.
The blog on this website is broken up into categories: resources for anyone to use, frequently asked questions and set up instruction for my clients, and a general blog where I talk about the web in general.
Search engines will love you!
Google and the other search engines, like Bing and Yahoo all like fresh, current content. Their ‘spiders’ are continuously ‘crawling’ the web- looking at every website that’s registered with them and updating their ratings each time. If the content of the site is rich with unique articles and has been updated since the last time, they’ll love you!
You may already have a content management system (CMS) installed on your site so that you can keep your events diary up to date, update your homepage as you please, etc. This is great, but a blog will give you a massive boost. I’ll give you an example: four days after installing this blog on my site, I’d received the same amount of traffic as I was previously getting in a whole month! Frightening statistics!
Keep your visitors on your site
Search engines second guess what a human visitor would like to see on your site and, if someone spots a source of information/entertainment on your site, the chances are they’ll stick around for a quick look. This is what your blog does- hooks in your visitors and helps them remember you!
With this in mind, it’s important to integrate your blog with your site. Not only will people think they’ve been taken somewhere they didn’t plan on heading if your blog looks different, but they might not come back to your site as there won’t be the navigation to do that on your blog. If they Google you and find your blog first, they might not even know your website exists, so you could be missing out on potential customers!
Keeping your visitors up to speed
A great way of keeping people coming back to your site is an RSS feed. Your blog will generally have a way to subscribe to future posts- Have a look at my article about RSS feeds here. By subscribing, you’ll know about every new recipe that’s posted, or your football team’s latest signing without having to visit the website! You’ll be ‘fed’ a header and a snippet of the text and can decide whether it’s a subject you’re interested in and click the link you’re given to the article on the site if you want to find out more.
Links between sites
The internet is made of a network of links from one website to another, then to another, and so on. Back to search engines, Google and its rival search engines all measure your site’s strength by looking at how many other websites link into you. The more links in, the stronger the site. And if you get a link from another site with lots of links you’ll get extra brownie points!
This translates in a pretty common sense manner to your human visitors- the more links to your site from others’ sites, the more traffic you’ll get from people clicking through for a look, and you’ll get more human visitors from a popular website that links to you than from a relatively weak website.
So you need to get links. There are various underhand ways of doing this, but Google’ll be on to you, so don’t cheat- the best way to do it is to attract people with great content that they’ll be interested in telling people about (via a link)!
So let’s assume you’re posting great content and people are starting to take notice, spreading the word and posting links to your site’s articles. Google will see this and your search engine ranking will improve, potentially bringing even more visitors to your site! In the meantime you’ll be posting articles on your blog and linking to other interesting sites you’ve found, improving those sites’ rankings.
It used to be the norm to have a ‘Links’ page on your site so that you could direct visitors to other sites you were interested in, but as you can see, blog articles are a much slicker way of doing a similar thing in a much more powerful way!