Does my business need a blog?

A Wild Questionphoto © 2010 [F]oxymoron | more info (via: Wylio)

I get this question a lot – and not just from clients but also other folks looking for insight. It used to be you could get away with just a website for your business. But now there’s an ever-expanding list of online tools you have to decide whether are right for you or not. And a blog tops that list.

And blogs take work. A lot of work. Unlike a static website that you might occasionally update, you have a time commitment associated with a blog that is more than you might realize. You have to spend time initially setting it up: deciding on a blogging platform, selecting a theme, customizing your template, adding widgets, links, about me text, etc. Then comes the real work… Coming up with topics, crafting posts, monitoring comments, and driving traffic. And those are just the basics.

Absolutely none of this is meant to discourage, but rather ensure you start out with the right expectation of the amount of work you will be facing. And as every small business owner knows, time is a very valuable commodity.

So you need to ask yourself some questions:

  • What kind of area of expertise could I demonstrate my knowledge of? Whether you are a chef, florist, hair stylist, real estate agent or race car driver you have a base of knowledge that you can show you have a complete handle on. This could mean the difference between a new customer coming to you or going to your competition.
  • Will a blog provide an edge for you over your competition? Most of the time the answer is ‘yes’. But some businesses are so geographically-limited that a blog won’t provide much additional value because the audience is located all over the world. A mom-owned business creating organic lunches for school children may find very little value in a blog that’s getting most of it’s traffic from places far away.
  • Can I reasonably come up with topics to blog on regularly? If you aren’t going to keep up with your site and contribute to it on a consistent basis, you will be wasting your time. Clients don’t always see an abandoned blog as a sign of a busy business owner – they may see it as a place you have abandoned and maybe even a sign of a business gone sour.  (The same goes for your Facebook and Twitter accounts, by the way.)
  • Does the time commitment necessary to maintain my blog come back to me in the form of value found in new clients? If you spend 10 hours a month keeping up your blog, and you gain one new client per month, is that extra business worth the 10 hours? Initially you may see this increase in business taking off very slowly. It may take a while to establish your blog and generate the kind of traffic necessary to convert prospects into clients. Over time those conversions will occur at a quicker pace, assuming you continue to build your blog presence at the same rate.
  • And finally, is it something I will enjoy? A lot of blogs start of as a work of passion (this one is a great example) with no plans to generate business or leads from them. That passion carries through in your posts and interactions with those leaving comments. Conversely, people can tell if you are just going through the motions and generating posts because you have to. Keeping in mind that blogs are work, if the work is not fun and rewarding to you then you won’t stick with it.

Ultimately you are the only one who can decide if your business can benefit from a blog. Take these points into consideration before embarking on a new project and you’ll be in good shape to ensure it lasts.

– Christy