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As a follow up to my last post, 7 Questions to Answer Before Launching Your Blog, I wanted to suggest some alternatives to creating a blog as well as the pros and cons of each.

The reason to add a blog to a corporate web site is that it’s a perfect vehicle for adding new, relevant, search-engine optimized content. A blog can also help your business offline too. But the demands of writing a blog are challenging. Also, some people may feel that the term blog doesn’t fit their corporate brand personality. Many bloggers write about personal views and have an opinionated style. That doesn’t have to be how your blog reads, but there are some people put off by the whole blog category.

Each of the options listed below are alternatives that could be easily integrated into your web site design and marketing strategy.

What are the alternatives to starting a blog?

1. Create an articles or resource library on your web site. If you have meaningful content to share with your clients and prospects adding an article library to your web site can hold a lot of the same value as a blog. Generally, an article library would not have comments enabled, but otherwise a library could be developed using the same CMS to build a blog, such as WordPress. Articles are generally loaded with key words which makes them search-engine friendly, but don’t forget to announce and market new entries just as you would a blog.

Pros: Adds keyword-rich content to your site, which Google likes. Is more formal sounding than a blog.

Cons: Can take just as much time as a blog to write and keep current.

2. Write case studies. Like a blog or library, a case studies section of your web site can be created using any CMS. We like to design many web sites using WordPress. Case studies allow you to “toot your own horn” a bit more than some other types of content because you generally feature your own work as the case study. It can give a very in-depth look at the process your company uses to solve other people’s problems. It demonstrates your expertise. Like an article library, each case study is key-word rich and should be promoted via social media and news services.

Pros: Adds keyword-rich content to your site, and allows you to promote your own work.

Cons: Can take just as much time as a blog to write and keep current. May require gathering and organizing visuals.

3. Add a news section to your site. A news section can be an effective catch all for posting new information about your organization. Unlike a blog, it’s perfectly OK to promote your own events, and talk about things like new clients that you’ve landed and new hires. If done correctly, you can do a mix of different content types (ie invitations, photos, summary of recent work, etc.) and still have them all work together.

Pros: Readers have different expectations of a news section, it’s OK to have a mix of contents and to promote your own work.

Cons: Nothing looks worse than an out-of-date News section. Make sure you have a plan to keep it updated.

4. Use Facebook and/or Twitter. Many organizations are jumping onto Facebook and setting up company pages. Compared to other content management systems, it’s very simple, and you probably don’t have to train anyone very much to use it. It also can be great because, depending on your client base, you may already have connections established with “friends” who may be eager to like your brand and hear your news. But, one of the biggest problems with Facebook or Twitter is that there is no formal archiving system. Because your content is not posted to your own domain, you don’t fully own it and it’s not available at your finger tips. There is no easy way to search and share links to old content.

Pros: Easy to use. Easy to share content. Postings can be brief.

Cons: No archiving system, you don’t truly own your content. Some business owners struggle with personal vs. corporate identities and how to connect and share appropriately.

What about you?

I started writing this blog over two years ago. I’ve found it to be hard work, but very worth the effort. We use Facebook and Twitter as ways to share our blog posts with others, but we don’t use them as our primary publishing platform.

What are you doing? Do you blog? Are you thinking about blogging, but are considering alternatives?

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