5 Reasons Why Blogging May Be a Waste of Time, Money, and Effort
By Chris Behan
I know that many of you have been told to blog by Internet marketing companies and “expert” speakers, and some of you may even be paying a firm to blog on your behalf, but let me ask you a very simple question. How many of you, when searching for a product or service online, want to read a blog about it, as opposed to a well-written, informative page that describes the specific product or service for which you’ve been looking?
This article will expose the fundamental problems your company will face if your primary Internet marketing program is wrapped around a blog. But first, it will be helpful to explain the genesis of the problem and why the overuse of blogs is so prevalent.
Let’s start with the root cause of the problem. Internet marketing firms know that you must have original, readable content on your website for it to rank highly on the organic, or free, side of search engines like Google. Useful, original content is the primary ranking variable for all search engines, and this simple, well-established fact is often the origin of the “blog problem.”
Knowing that you need readable, optimized content for your website, but lacking the resources to create content and then easily implement it on your existing website, many Internet marketing firms simply add a blog to your website and tell you to start writing. This means people have started blogging about everything from plumbing to payroll services. But if I have a broken pipe flooding my house, do you really think I want to read a blog about how bad a situation it might be, or how much of a mess it might cause? No, I want a plumber to come and turn off the water and fix the pipe!
The following are five reasons why you may want to reconsider blogging, or not optimizing your website through blogging efforts alone.
1. Blogs don’t rank consistently – This is obviously a deal-breaker if you are actually trying to get traffic to your website. But don’t take my word for it; start conducting some searches in Google for your favorite products and services and see how many blogs rank on the first page. You are going to be hard-pressed to find even one highly ranking blog.
In the rare case that a blog does rank on product- or service-driven keywords, it is usually ranking on seldom searched keywords with very little competition. Here is an example of what I am talking about. Recently, my digital media manager and I attended a free Internet marketing seminar conducted by an “expert Internet marketer” and we watched him tell the audience how highly blogs rank. He quickly searched the phrase “extreme welding helmet” and showed how his blog ranked on the first page. What he failed to tell the audience is that, according to Google’s own keyword tool (which tells us how often keywords are searched), the phrase “extreme welding helmet” is searched exactly zero times a month. Where is the benefit in ranking on a phrase that Google says is not searched at all?
Note: You can identify a blog by simply looking at the URL. If it looks like “blog.anyurl.com” or “anyurl.com/blog,” it’s a blog.
2. Blogs often show a poor click pattern – Some topics just cannot support a blog, as they are simply not relevant to the large percentage of product and service searches. Google tracks where people click on search engine results pages (SERPS), and, more often than not, people don’t click on blogs when looking for products or services. Google’s click pattern algorithm tracks that data, and shifts pages that aren’t clicked on as much (such as blogs) further down the listings.
3. Blogs usually have a high bounce rate – A “bounce” occurs when a visitor hits one page on your website, then leaves (or “bounces”) back to the search engine. Blogs tend to have a very high bounce rate, particularly blogs that are optimized around product- or service-related keywords and phrases. This simply gets back to my first point: people looking for a plumber don’t want to read a blog about plumbers; they want a plumber. Google also tracks the bounce rate of your site, and if it gets too high, your site can slip in search engine listings.
4. Blogs don’t convert traffic very effectively – Even on the off chance you can get your blog to rank on highly searched keywords and phrases, blogs usually lack the proper conversion points to get visitors to convert into a sale or lead. Additionally, the copy that resides on a blog is usually more article-style, as opposed to marketing copy that works to motivate a visitor to call or e-mail for more information.
5. A blog automatically dates itself – How many of you have been to a company’s website, clicked on the link to view their blog, and the last time they had posted an article was when the real estate market was booming? The date of the last update is posted right at the top of the page, and if you are not posting to your blog very consistently (at least twice a month), your site will look dated to both visitors to your site and search engines alike.
I certainly don’t believe there isn’t a place for a blog on your website, but blogs are most useful for very specific online searches related to sports, politics, and entertainment. Blogs just aren’t an effective marketing strategy if you are offering a product or service. I also believe that if you have a well-written blog, it can be part of a more diverse Internet marketing strategy, but only after you make sure that your core website contains optimized product and service pages that are specific to who you are, what you do, and, if you operate locally, where you do it.
About the Author
Chris Behan is the President and Chief Optimization Officer of Socius Marketing, Inc. (www.sociusmarketing.com), Tampa’s top-ranked search engine optimization company, which provides Internet marketing services to small, medium, and large businesses looking to expand their online presence. With offices in Tampa and Atlanta and clients across the country, Socius Marketing is one of the largest, and fastest-growing online lead generation firms in the United States. Specializing in organic, white-hat search engine optimization, Chris has more than 11 years of Internet marketing experience and has helped hundreds of companies generate leads online. Chris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (813) 282-8300. – Offices Rocky Point, Tampa