Does Your Website Need a Blog?

Guest post by Ashleigh Mattern, co-owner of Vireo Creative.

Should your website have a blog? While the majority of marketers are going to tell you that yes, absolutely, your business needs a blog, my answer is more nuanced.

If you’re not sure you need a blog post, my first question for you will be: 

Do you have a strategy for your blog?

Most people think of a blog post as a single item — an article they read, like this one. But a good blog post is part of a bigger strategy.

Strategy questions to consider:

  1. Who will be reading your blog? 
  2. What topics are they interested in? 
  3. What is the goal of your blog?
  4. Who will be writing the blog posts?
  5. How will you promote the posts?

As an example, here’s a breakdown of the strategy for the Vireo blog.

Who reads the Vireo blog? The Vireo blog is aimed at business owners, like you. Every blog I write has those business owners in mind. 

What topics are our readers interested in? I choose topics based on the questions our clients ask us (using the They Ask, You Answer strategy) and information I think might be useful for them.

What is the goal of the Vireo blog? Our number one goal with our blog is for it to be a resource that we can point clients to when they have questions, as well as a resource for ourselves. I often reference our own blog to remind myself of the answers to questions we’ve been asked before. Secondary goals for our blog include improving our search engine optimization, creating content to post on social media, and to show our expertise in the field.

Who writes Vireo posts? Almost all of the articles on the Vireo blog are written by me, Vireo Co-owner Ashleigh Mattern. I’ve been working as a journalist since 2007 and I love writing.

How do we promote our posts? We post them on FacebookTwitter, and my personal LinkedIn, and share specific links with clients when the topic is relevant to our conversations and could be helpful.

Your strategy will be a lot different than ours, and it will stem from your goals.

Goals for business blogging:

  • Rank #1 on Google.
  • Rank first page on Google.
  • Humanize your brand.
  • Showcase your work/act as a portfolio.
  • Update followers on your progress in a project.
  • Create discussions in your community.
  • Inspire your followers.
  • To be a resource for clients or customers.
  • To be a resource for staff.
  • Improve your SEO.
  • Create content for social media.
  • Show your expertise.

The strategy for ranking number one on Google is going to be much different than updating your followers on your progress in a project. And if you have multiple goals, you need a plan that ties them all together.

If you’ve worked out your strategy (or we’ve helped you work out a strategy), great!

My next question for you is: 

Who will write the blog posts?

Without really thinking about it, your first answer might be, “I’ll write them,” or “Our office manager (or some other staff member) will write them.” But let’s examine that first.

There quite a few steps to writing a blog post:

  1. Idea generation.
  2. Research.
  3. Writing.
  4. Editing.
  5. Packaging.
  6. Promotion.

You probably noticed that only one of those items is about writing. That’s the thing about writing that non-writers may not know: Very little of the work is actually writing.

Are you confident in your writing skills or your staff member’s writing skills? We’re not necessarily writing Pulitzer Prize-winning content but it does need to be readable and useful for your target audience.

The biggest challenge with having a blog is ensuring someone will regularly write the posts. This requires that person to set aside time from their other tasks. It usually takes me 2-4 hours to write a blog post, including promotion. It might take someone less experienced longer. 

Do you have the time? Does someone else on your staff? 

Which leads me to my next question:

How often will you post to your blog?

Assuming it takes you 2-4 hours to write a blog post, how often can you realistically post something? Can you set aside that much time every week? Every month? A few times a year?

If you’re hiring Vireo to write the blog post for you, how often you post may come down to your marketing budget. We would charge about $210-$420 for a blog post, depending on the topic, content, and strategy.

The Vireo blog has been running since 2015. Most years, we have posted 4-5 articles. In 2018, I made a concerted effort to put aside time to write every week and we posted about 17 articles.

There is no right or wrong answer about how often you post, only that you actually do post

If this all sounds overwhelming, don’t give up on blogging yet!

Coming up with a strategy and writing posts can be difficult but if the thought of starting a blog discourages you, there are some solutions.

  1. Hire Vireo. We love strategizing and we love writing! Yes, this is the more expensive solution, but creating a strategy and writing articles takes time that you may not have. Plus, we have years of experience, so you’ll get all of our expertise to boot.
  2. Just start. Starting is better than never beginning at all. Just by starting it you’re already working towards your goals. That sounds like the beginning of a strategy to me! You can always refine your strategy as you go.

When you shouldn’t have a blog

Why do you want a blog? If you don’t know why you should have a blog, then maybe you don’t need one. A blog with a clear purpose will help keep you on track and be attractive to your readership.

Lots of people and businesses start a blog with good intentions. There are many benefits to having one, afterall. But it’s also easy for the blog to fall to the bottom of your to-do list, especially if you’re a small business owner. If it’s been a year or more since you posted and you’re not using your blog as a resource, maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy or take the blog down.

Keeping a blog takes time and requires a financial commitment, whether you’re hiring Vireo to do it for you, or you’re doing it yourself (your time is money!). If you’re not willing to put in the time or pay us to do it for you, then move on to marketing ideas you can get on board with.

Having a blog is great but it’s not the right direction for every business.

TL;DR (too long; didn’t read)

Having a strategy and someone with the time and ability to write the blog posts is a good recipe for blogging success. You can hire Vireo to create the strategy and write the posts, or you can do it yourself. If you can’t afford to hire us and the thought of coming up with a strategy and writing the posts yourself is discouraging but you still want a blog, just start. You can refine your strategy and improve your writing as you go. Finally, it’s not absolutely necessary for your business to have a blog. If it doesn’t work for you, there are many other marketing strategies you can explore.