What is a Blog Website? (& Why Every Business Needs to Start Blogging)
One question that we often get asked at Zinora Media is – what is a blog website? Though blogging began as a sort of digital journal, allowing individuals to write about their lives and experiences, it soon also became a marketing tool for businesses to connect with their target audiences.
Today, small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than those without a blog. That’s because blogs are a great way add value for your leads and customers through educational and engaging content that addresses their greatest needs and challenges. Not to mention, businesses are able to show a little personality in their blog content, which can help them establish and reinforce their brand persona.
Below, we’ll answer the question, what is a blog website and explain how blogging can help your business reach and connect with your ideal audience. We’ll also give you the information you need to get started creating a business blog of your own.
What is a Blog Website?
First, let’s go over the basics.
What’s a blog? A blog is a piece of written content that is published on a web page or site. The topics of blogs can vary from person to person, or even business to business. The main purpose of blogs is to convey information in a way that is more informal or conversational than other long-form written content.
So now, what is a blog website? And how does it differ from your company’s main website?
A blog website is a site that is updated with new information on an ongoing basis. It normally consists of a collection of posts. Posts may be short, informal, controversial, or more professional.
There are a couple of things that set a blog apart from a traditional website. The first is that blogs are updated on a consistent basis. Whether a brand updates their blog daily, weekly, or monthly, they will be putting new content up on the blog on a regular basis for readers to engage with. With a traditional site, you may still find yourself updating content from time to time, but, for the most part, the content remains the same for longer periods of time.
The other main difference between a blog and a traditional website is that blog content encourages engagement. While a traditional website page provides information for the visitor and encourages them to take a specific action, blog content provides the option for readers to comment and ask questions on individual posts. That means that visitors are engaging with your blog posts in a different way than they are your main site pages.
Why Every Business Needs to Blog
Now that you know the answer to the question – what is a blog website – it’s time to talk about how a blog can help you grow your business. One of the greatest benefits of blogging is that it helps you connect and build relationships with leads and customers. Your blog is a great place to provide content that adds value for readers and helps them better understand how to solve their greatest challenges. By consistently publishing engaging and thoughtful content on your blog, you are working to show leads and customers that your brand has something to offer.
Also through your blog, you can develop your own community. Imagine getting comments through your blog post comment section from your audience then exchanging thoughts and ideas with them. If you encourage an active comments area in your blog, you will create a community of people who are obviously into your brand.
Blogging is also a great way to help set your business apart from competitors that offer similar products or services. In your blog content, you are able to show a little personality while also demonstrating your experience in the industry. This can be the deciding factor for a consumer who is on the fence about whether to buy from your company or one of your competitors. You can use blog content to show consumers how your company is different and what new value you are ready to provide.
Another added benefit of blogging is that it helps improve your search engine optimization. Any time that you add keyword-focused content to your site, you are working to build authority and improve your chances of being found on the search engines. Not to mention, quality blog content helps improve your inbound links, which contributes to your search ranking. In fact, Social Media Today reports that companies who blog get 97% more links to their site than those who don’t. And another interesting number to note is that there is 126% increased lead growth for small businesses that have blogs.
Blog content doesn’t just drive traffic to your site immediately after it has been posted. Search engine users can continue to find your blogs in search engine results long after the content has been published. Some evergreen blog content can compound, meaning that it helps increase organic search traffic over a longer period of time. Compounding blog content can provide immense value for small businesses that rely on organic search to grow their business.
Still unsure about the merits of blogging? Check out our very own Zinora Media blog website – there we continually publish blog posts as a way to inform and generate engagement from our audience. We’ve seen great results from our own blogging efforts, and your business can too!
How to Get Started with Your Blog
If you’re ready to get started with your company blog, the good news is that it’s relatively easy and affordable to add a blog section to your existing company site. If your site is built on WordPress, then adding a blog to your site is as easy as creating an additional blank page. However, if you work with a developer who manages your site content, then you will need to speak with your web developer to find out how to add a blog section to your site.
If you are starting from scratch, blogging platforms like WordPress.com and Blogger allow you to get started for free. However, to create a seamless brand experience and maintain your professional image, you will want to invest in a unique domain name and hosting. Most of these blogging or site-building platforms will walk you through the steps of creating your very own business blog.
Once you have the blog up on your current site or have started a new blog from scratch, it’s time to start blogging. Follow these steps to set yourself up for success:
1. Start with a blogging strategy.
Behind every great content marketing endeavor is a detailed strategy that helps guide the process. And blogging is no exception!
First, you should outline the purpose for your blog. Why are you creating blog content, and what are you hoping to achieve? Answering these questions will help you stay on track while you are brainstorming topics and creating blog content. This will help you make sure that you’re providing value for your visitors each step of the way.
Next, you’ll need to consider who your audience is. If you’ve already built buyer personas, you can use these to identify the people who will be reading your blog. If not, you can get started by creating descriptions of your ideal customers. In addition to basic demographics, you should also consider your audience’s likes and dislikes as well as their greatest challenges and motivators.
As part of your blog strategy, you will also want to determine how often you will publish content and who will be involved in the process. Identify key team members that can help in planning, creating, and promoting blog content. Make sure that everyone is on the same page and understands expectations for their role in the blogging process.
2. Do some keyword research.
Once you have a general blog strategy in place, you’ll want to focus on building a keyword strategy. Remember, your blog will play an important role in your SEO efforts, so it’s important to start with a researched keyword list that you can build content around. The goal is to develop a list of keywords that are relevant to your company and product or service offering.
Keyword research is a complex process. Not only do you have to work to find the keywords that your target audience is using to find companies like yours, but you’ll also have to keep in mind what the search volume is and how much competition there is for those keywords. For instance, if you’re competing with larger businesses that have much larger SEO budgets, then you’ll want to focus on keywords that have less competition.
If you don’t have an SEO expert on your team, then you may find it worthwhile to hire some outside help for this part of the blogging process. Though hiring an SEO company does require an initial investment, it can help you save more time and money in the long run by helping you avoid costly mistakes like chasing after keywords that aren’t a good fit for your brand.
3. Generate topics and create a content calendar.
Now that you have a keyword list in hand, you’ll want to start generating topics and creating a content calendar. Start with your keyword list when brainstorming potential topics for your blog. Though SEO keywords are important, you also want to make sure that the topics you are choosing add value for your readers. Make sure that any blog topics that make the list are relevant to your target audience. This means focusing on topics that address your audience’s pain points and challenges.
Once you have a list of topics, you can start to create a content calendar. Your calendar will help you plan your content ahead of time and keep you on track throughout the year to ensure that content is published consistently. While building your content calendar, look ahead for any relevant events or holidays that you may want to create content around. For instance, the new year is a great opportunity to talk about building new habits or improving different aspects of one’s life.
Whether you use a content calendar tool or just build a simple spreadsheet, you should include the following information on your content calendar:
Description of Content
Feel free to make your content calendar your own by adding any other pertinent information. If you have multiple target audiences, you may want to include the corresponding buyer personas. You may also want to add any information about how the content will be promoted, such as social media or email.
4. Create blog content.
Once you’ve got a plan in place, it’s time to start creating your blog content! You should have already identified who will be responsible for research, writing, editing, and creative. If not, consider using an affordable content marketing service to help you create this content. It’s important to have a process in place for helping your team work together to complete the blog content. Once you have this process established, things should go rather smoothly.
In addition to written content, you should also include images and other visuals that help the reader understand the information you’re presenting. You can develop infographics or videos to publish alongside the written content to further educate and engage your audience.
5. Publish and promote your content.
Once you’ve got the blog content ready to go, it’s time to publish. When uploading the content to your site, pay attention to important SEO factors like titles, subheadings, and meta descriptions. These details help search engines better understand your blog content so that they can show it to the right search engine users.
After the content has been published on your blog site, you will need to promote the content on different channels. You can start by posting links to the content on your social media pages. Many businesses also use email marketing to get the word out about new blog content. Don’t forget to link to relevant blog content in any new blogs that you create. This helps you improve SEO while also adding more value for your visitors who are interested in finding out more about the topic.
How to Set Up Your Blog
There may still be some confusion surrounding the difference between a blog and a traditional website when it comes to the design and structure of each. There are a few different ways that businesses can position their blog in relation to their main website:
1. You can attach your blog to your company’s website.
An integrated blog is housed on your company’s main website. It can either appear as a subfolder on your site (company.com/blog) or as a subdomain (blog.company.com). For most small businesses, this is the best option for housing your blog as it provides a variety of benefits:
An integrated blog helps to create a seamless experience for your site visitors as they do not have to go to a separate site to read your blog content.
Having blog content on your site helps visitors recognize your brand as an industry leader because you can provide thought leadership content.
Blog content helps you add a great deal more content to your site, and the more content you have on your site, the better your search engine rankings will be.
Any backlinks that are coming to your blog posts will help improve your company site’s overall search engine optimization (SEO), helping your site rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP).
In addition to these benefits, an integrated blog is also more cost effective and easier to establish and maintain. This makes it an effective option for small businesses that are looking to start their blog on a budget.
2. You can use your blog as your company’s website.
Another option that you may see while browsing the web is a business whose main site is their blog. This is most common for professional bloggers who have an established following and have found a way to monetize the content that they publish, often through advertising and affiliate marketing.
If your business model does not center on a blog, then this is not the best option for you. If you’re selling your products or services online, it’s best to have a main website that provides visitors with static page content that describes your products or services. The blog is meant more for providing fresh content on topics that your audience finds interesting.
3. You can host your blog on a separate website.
Another option is to have a blog website that’s entirely separate from the company’s main site. This is something that’s often seen with larger companies that are working to build separate content marketing assets or industry thought leaders that want to separate their blog content from their company’s website content.
When it comes to the logistics, a separate blog will have an entirely different domain. For instance, instead of company.com/blog or blog.company.com, your blog will have its own URL, such as companyblog.com.
A great example of an entrepreneur with separate blog and business sites is Neil Patel. Patel founded several businesses with individual websites, like CrazyEgg and Kiss Metrics. However, he also blogs on his personal site where he advertises his consulting services and established a separate blog (quicksprout.com) as a way to establish himself as an industry influencer.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to have a blog site that’s separate from your company’s main website:
You want to establish yourself as a thought leader or industry experts, separate from your company identify.
You plan to cover a scope of content that may not be directly relevant to your company’s product or service offering.
You want to develop blog content that adopts a tone that may not be appropriate for your company’s main website.
You want to promote your blog as its own brand, separate from your main company.
With that being said, there is one major downside to keeping a separate blog from your main website. The most glaring issue is how a separate site will impact your search engine optimization. The best way to improve SEO and build authority for your company’s website is by regularly publishing engaging and relevant blog content that users can find when they search relevant terms. When your blog site is separate from your main site, this does not help drive as much traffic back to your company’s main website.
For most small businesses, a blog that’s integrated into the main website is the best option as this helps with SEO-building efforts for the main site. However, if you are considering having a blog that is separate from your main company site, you may want to consult with SEO experts to develop a strategy for each separate site.
By now, we hope that we’ve successfully answered the question – what’s a blog and what is a blog website? It’s important to remember that your blog not only helps you improve your SEO efforts, which can lead to increased traffic, but it also plays an important role in helping you establish connections and build relationships with your audience.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Zinora Media.