July 30, 2014 | Web Design
As a web design and development firm, we create a lot of web sites and set up a lot of blogs. There are many great reasons to add a blog to your business web site. The majority of web sites we build these days seem to have a blog built in. Unfortunately, I would also add that a majority of web site owners are not ready to blog.
Here are 7 signs that you’re not ready to blog, plus some ideas to get you ready.
- If you can’t pull together a few sample blogs, you won’t be able to consistently have a blog. When we design a blog for our clients, we ask them to send along a couple of sample blog posts for us to use to show the layout. We like to have an idea of how long the blogs will be, if they will use photos, if there will be subheads, lists, etc. Many of our clients take months to pull together just a few blog posts for us to use as sample content. If you cannot pull together a few blog posts within a three month time period, you will not be able to maintain a regular blogging calendar.
- You use up all your ideas on the first 3 blog posts. On the other hand, some clients have ideas for blog posts and are ready to get them live. Sometimes the sample posts are huge and basically cover all of their thoughts on the subject in 3 massive posts. It’s like they had some big issues they wanted to get off their chest, but once they do there’s nothing else to say. First, start by splitting up long posts into many, shorter posts. Then, consider whether you really have additional, ongoing thoughts you want to share.
- You can’t write well. This is harsh, but has to be said. Some people are just not very good at writing. If you are not a good writer, but want to blog, you’ll need to find a team mate to get your posts shaped up and ready to publish. This could be a marketing firm that does content marketing (such as Visible Logic), or an employee or VA who can help you.
- You never read any blogs. I’ve had clients who come to me, convinced they need blog, but don’t regularly read any other blogs. While it is possible to be a great blogger without reading other people’s work, it can be much more difficult to understand what it takes to write, maintain and promote a blog without watching others do it first.
- You cannot make the time to blog. Face it, we’re all too busy. A blog is hard work and takes a lot of time. You’ll need to carve out that time. Otherwise, the posts will not get written and the blog will not succeed. Some people like a specific publishing schedule to keep on task (for example, they publish a blog every week on the same day). Others can function more loosely, but still are committed to creating new posts on a regular basis. Think seriously about how you will fit this into your schedule before you make a blog live on your web site.
- You don’t understand the mechanics of your blogging tool. We like to create our clients’ blogs in WordPress, because it’s easy for them to use. Most of the blogging tools promise to be easy. But if you don’t learn how to use them, and practice using them, you may always feel intimidated or frustrated with the platform. If you are suffering from these feelings, you’ll never want to sit down and write a blog post. Make sure you are trained. Try out all the features. Give it a go! It’s unlikely you have hundreds of readers waiting for your blog to go live. So just get in there and test it out. Try to have some help (your web developer or an experienced team mate) ready to answer your questions.
- You’re not ready for a long term commitment. Blogging takes a lot of time, and it also takes a lot of time to start seeing results. In addition to writing the posts, you’ll want to commit to promoting them via social media, e-newsletters, etc. It takes time to build an audience of readers. You’ll also find that it takes a while before your web traffic rises from the search traffic. You’ll want to give yourself six months minimum and ideally a month of consistent writing and promotion before you see results.
3 tips to get your blog started
- Before you start a blog, create a list of at least 25 blog posts you could write. These could be titles only, you don’t need to actually write the posts. If you have trouble generating 25 ideas, you will probably struggle to find content for your blogs.
- Then, take 5 of those ideas and turn them into blog posts. Consider how long it takes and whether you enjoyed the work. Have a few people read them to see whether they are understandable and interesting to others (make sure they are in your target audience).
- Finally, think realistically if you want to do this over and over and over.
The world wide web is littered with abandoned blogs. Unfortunately, an out-of-date blog on a business web site can reflect poorly on your company. There are many great reasons to add a blog to your business web site, but if you are not ready to commit to it, you’re better without it.
Have you started a blog and let it go fallow? Why? Do you think you’ll go back to it, or are you trying to turn it off?