Why Blog's Are Good For Increasing Traffic To Your Website

"If you write it, they will come"
[Well, as long as it's interesting, useful, informative and has value to the reader!]

Blog's or Articles are a great way to increase traffic to your website. A quality blog post will attract new visitors to your web page and increase your website traffic. Other benefits might include increased back links, better search rankings, relationship building with your customers / readers or newsletter subscribers to name but a few.

Give it Value!
Your blog needs one important factor; Value. It needs to have a value to the reader, something they want, need or share a deep interest in.

Blog Success Case Study:
We received 1820 Visits, 2327 Page Views & 1107 Downloads in the first 7 days after we published our Rugby World Cup 2011 Poster Download.

As fanatic rugby fans we designed a poster for the New Zealand rugby world cup that listed UK kick-off times and TV listings for all matches. I had looked for a similar poster myself but they were all in NZ time. So I identified an opportunity and used my graphic design skills to produce a document I felt people would find valuable. The result was a huge increase in traffic and very successful search rankings. Though not related to our normal trade it shows how giving value to your blog posts are key.

What do I write about in my blog?

When suggesting to people they add a blog to their website I usually get the same response;

  • What would I write about?
  • What do I put in my blog?
  • How do I write a blog?
  • I haven't got the time to write a blog!

A little creative brain storming can go a long way here and I've also found an outside point of view usually brings out some good ideas. If time isn't available to you to write a blog consider handing the task to a member of staff, friend or your web designer. You don't have to post everyday, it could be once a week, month, or even quarter.

You want your blog to be valuable, interesting to the reader and something they might share with others in their social circles. Here are some working examples;

  1. Holiday Accommodation / Bed & Breakfast Blog Ideas
    A blog telling potential visitors / new visitors about local events, festivals and activities going on in the area. What beaches to visit and why, recommendations on where to eat out, top 10 things to do with the kids while staying there. The blog's objective is to promote the area to the potential visitor, not necessarily the accommodation it's self. They can also build a trust relationship with potential visitors by having a factual, informative website that isn't too salesy and "me me me me".
  2. PC Repair Shop Blog Ideas
    A blog or article base full of common computer problems with solutions or great advice on how to remove viruses, speed up your computer or what to look for when buying a new computer. They could also publish tips on how to use particular software and how to get the best out of it.
  3. Renewable Energy Business Blog Ideas
    Blog about the latest advancements in the renewable energy industry. What installations are paving the way for future energy supply and what grant schemes are available to customers. What about the Governments Feed in Tariff? Publish tips on saving energy, the best appliances for energy savings, how to reduce our carbon footprint, how to save fuel and pay less. We all like to save money and knowing how is always intriguing.
  4. Small Business Blog Ideas
    You probably don't realise it but you have knowledge that other people want. Your knowledge and expertise in your business area are valued by someone, probably your target audience and customers. So take what you know and apply it to your blog, feed your potential customers with information and allow them to engage with your blog and business; building a better customer relationship long term.
    Interview someone in your business sector who has authority or influence on your target audience. Suggest an idea, blog about an event / exhibition, ask a question for readers to respond to (use the Facebook commenting plugin to allow readers to engage with the blog post), review a product, write a how-to blog.

Optimising your blog posts for better search rankings

It's worth mentioning that a good blog post is only good as it's search engine optimisation. SEO is a complicated process and provides many avenues for optimisation. But basically there are a few factors you should keep in mind when blogging.

  • Choose a good title for your web page and possibly use the same title in the file name.
  • Optimise your keywords and description meta tags to relate to your blog post.
  • Use keyword rich H1 and H2 heading titles within your content.
  • Use bold on a few of the keywords within your written content.
  • Link to the new blog post from your home page, ensuring search engines will find it.
  • Link to your new blog post from other website's, forums or social networks and encourage people to share it around.

Tracking your blog success

Once you have your new blog up and running you'll want to monitor it's performance, ensure it's easily found and receives the increased web traffic your hoping for.
There are many SEO and web marketing techniques you can apply here to maximise the performance data you receive. Here are a few key practices;

  • Install Google Analytics
    Firstly would be to use Google Analytics on your website, or at least another web statistics provider. This will give you in depth data on page views, traffic sources, number of visitors and keyword sources.
  • Add Social Media Sharing Buttons
    As well as this you can use social media widgets like the Facebook 'Like' button or the Twitter 'Tweet' button to help readers share your blog post across the major social media networks. These such tools are free through the Facebook and Twitter interface and simply need installing into your blog web page.
  • Use Link Shorteners with Tracking
    Link shorteners are used to shorten a web link to a page that ordinarily has a lengthy web address so it can be shared more easily, especially on social media platforms. If you use Twitter you'll know that any links you post are usually shortened and look a little like this; http://bit.ly/naTAON. You can use external link shortening services like that at www.bitly.com who provide tracking data for the links you shorten. Again, this information can help you see who clicked your links that you may have posted on Twitter or Facebook.
  • Track Downloads of a File, such as PDF
    Using Analytics Event Tracking you can track how many visitors download a file, such as a PDF from your blog post. Perhaps you post a blog about an up coming event and provide a PDF download of the registration form, you can track how many visitors download it.

[This page uses the Facebook and Twitter widgets, see top of page.]

Do blog's work?

Yes, they serve a purpose and if done well can benefit a business / website greatly. The key is adding value to your blog posts, giving your readers something they want or need. From this you can build up regular readers and possibly employ a Email newsletter to gather reader information and begin email marketing campaigns.

Using sufficient tracking data is a must to ensure you can monitor performance of your blog posts. Optimisation again is important and I cannot stress enough the benefits of employing a professional web designer to help you with this. Search engine optimised pages can obtain you good search positions and really generate the traffic to your website. So at minimum cover the basics mentioned above and consider employing a web designer to help you from time to time.