Is adding a blog to your small business website to attract more local customers a good strategy or not?
If you’ve been thinking about this and have done a bit of research on the web, the top results seem to indicate it would be a smart move.
But before you make that jump, let me tell you what I think because you might be surprised?
So you’ve read or have been advised you should be starting a blog on your website to attract more customers.
Whether you are a local business or a nationwide business, content is what is primarily going to drive traffic to your site.
The pros of adding a blog to a website
In theory, the more content you have on your site, the more keyword opportunities you create which will yield traffic.
And logically, the more traffic you get, the more sales or customers you will generate for your business.
So adding a blog to your website makes a lot of sense, right?
They are plenty of benefits when running a blog on your site.
Your blog articles, depending on their quality, may attract links from other websites, and we know external links are a key ranking factor that will boost your visibility in Google search results.
Within each article you’ll be able to create keyword rich contextual links pointing to internal pages of your site which will improve overall organic visibility in Google search results.
Publishing regular in depth articles may help you become recognized as a leader in your industry.
Someone like Neil Patel for example who is an SEO guru has tons of blog articles which have helped him become the go-to expert for anything SEO related, and his blog is driving millions of visitors each month.
A blog is also a great tool to provide your audience with the latest news in your industry or what’s been happening within your own business.
I personally follow several specialized blogs to stay up to date with everything that’s happening within the local SEO sphere, and I keep going back to these almost weekly.
Based on everything I’ve mentioned so far, you’d be right to think you should put pen to paper and get going with your own blog as soon as possible. Not so fast.
Despite the numerous advantages of running a blog, there are also plenty of downsides, especially if you are a small business.
Here are a few:
The cons of adding a blog to your small business website
Blog articles are generally written around broad topics or to answer generic questions within your industry rather than aimed at your local market like in this blog example for a roofing business.
On this blog, there is a range of articles targeting roofing related type of keywords which makes sense.
And if I search for this very question, HOW MUCH DOES A CEDAR SHAKE ROOF COST? Which they’ve created an entire article for, they are quite high up in Google search results, which is great.
The only issue is, I’ve done my search in London and this business is based in Washington, DC.
If I need a cedar roof, am I going to call them? Of course not.
This business may drive a significant amount of traffic through their blog, but since it has no local relevance, I doubt very much they will generate a lot of leads through it.
The other challenge you will come across is competition.
If I search for how many blog posts are published per day, the answer is a mind-boggling 7 million posts.
Google’s job is to determine which ones are the most relevant and order them accordingly in its search results.
For this they use something you may have heard before called EAT which stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust.
It means Google will prioritize their results based on websites that are well established, experts in their own field and can be trusted, which is almost never going to be a local website.
If I go back to my roofing example and check which sites rank above this particular page you will find many households companies such as roofing superstore, home advisor, angieslist etc… above them making it very difficult for this small business to ever rank higher than where they already are.
So much content is being produced daily, getting your blog post to rank is generally nothing less than a miracle.
And that is if you are ready to put the work in.
What you should consider when adding a blog to your small website
As I’ve already mentioned, competition is fierce, and you will be facing not only well established websites but also professional bloggers. If you want your blog articles to be found, these are some tasks you’ll need to consider.
1st, you’ll need to do some keyword research if you want to understand what the audience you are going after is searching for and if there is enough volume.
Next you’ll want to look at the competition in search results based on the keywords you’ve identified.
As we’ve already discussed, if there are plenty of well-known brands already ranking at the top for your chosen keywords, it will be difficult to outdo them.
You will also need to look at the content that sits on the pages which rank in the top results. Because to outrank them you will likely need to produce better quality content that is already there.
That’s what Google rewards. This means you may need to come up with your own original photos and not stock imagery, maybe some graphs, sometimes videos etc…the richer the content the better.
You’ll obviously need to write your content.
The average content length of a blog post ranking on page 1 of Google is just below 2000 but the recommended length for a better chance to rank is more in the region of 2500.
That is a fair amount of words. Are your copywriting skills good enough to churn out regular blog posts of this magnitude?
Once you’ve completed these tasks you need to build your page and make sure all the SEO elements have been considered such as Page structure, Meta title, description, Alt tags, headers, internal linking and so on.
Once your blog post has been published, you might want to start promoting it across various social media platforms and to do an outreach campaign to get external links pointing to it, so it boosts visibility.
This is a very tedious exercise.
After you’ve completed all of these tasks, and I’m sure I have forgotten some, don’t expect traffic to be flooding in and for the phone to ring relentlessly, especially if your blog is fairly new.
It can take months for a post to start ranking, so a lot of patience will be required.
The question is, if you are a small business owner, can you really afford to go through this process knowing that
- a) you might not increase your website visibility anyway
- B) if you do, the traffic coming into your site is unlikely to be local.
As you’ve probably guessed, as a local business owner, I don’t think it is very wise to focus too much time on adding a blog to your small website.
A blog can be a very good idea if you already have a large audience who wants to find out a bit more about your industry and who will be coming back for more information on a regular basis.
But let’s face it. Who is going to visit their local plumbers’ blog weekly to read about boiler repair or toilet leaks? Nobody.
There are some exceptions to the rule however and in some cases, I think a blog can work for a small business.
For example, this estate agent located in Scottsdale, Arizona has made a lot of his blog posts locally relevant by providing tips for people who are looking to move to the areas where he is selling properties.
His blog posts rank for a lot of local keywords, which no doubt will drive qualified leads.
But overall for most small businesses, adding a blog to their website doesn’t make a lot of sense.
What should you do instead of adding a blog to your website?
Instead of creating blog posts hardly anyone is going to read, spend time on your key pages, the ones that are already getting traffic such as your home page obviously but also your service or location pages.
Make them as locally relevant as possible by adding more context such as local jobs you’ve completed in the area, frequently asked questions, dedicated offers, client testimonials maps and so on.
Optimizing these first and improving their ranking positions will be a lot more beneficial and will generate more qualified traffic that any blog post you can think of.