You’ll be hard pressed to find a decent site nowadays that doesn’t have a blog – from e-commerce to brochure sites, any website worth its salt has a ‘blog’ button on there somewhere.

But what is the benefit of such a feature, and is it really worth the effort?

fresh fruit

Fresh content can be the key to success… if you don’t let it go stale

Image via Rachel Titiriga

Fresh Content

Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand for the past year, you’ll be well aware of the benefits of having fresh content on your site.

Google, that search giant we all have to pander to if we want out websites to be seen by its users, is loving fresh content right now, and rightly so – it keeps the internet a more interesting place to be, rather than flooding us with stale, out of date information we’ve read a hundred times before.

So you first need to ask yourself, how regularly is my site updated? As a brochure site, it’s likely your site content doesn’t change very often. You’ve paid a copywriter to write the best copy possible, so why change a thing?

In this case, a blog is almost a necessity to keep your content fresh and avoid stagnation!

If you’re an e-commerce site on the other hand, how often do you update your product range? If you add new products on a daily basis (and assuming you take the time to write engaging, unique descriptions for each) you’ve already got new content going up regularly!

Of course, this doesn’t mean a blog won’t be beneficial to you too, but read on before you dive in and set one up – if you’re not ready to blog, it could do you more harm than good.

man on laptop

A successful blog requires commitment – if you can’t offer that, you’re not ready for a blog

Image via Ed Yourdon

Regular Content

By its very nature, a blog needs constant maintenance and updating – it’s what differentiates it from a static webpage.

So, think about your time management. Do you really have the time to dedicate to keeping a blog updated? Remember it’s not just now that you need the free time to do it – a blog is like a child, and will need ongoing commitment from the day it’s born to, well, the day the site closes down, if it ever does.

Customers expect a certain level of dedication. They’re on your site, they’re loving your content, they click through to your blog… and they see that the last entry is dated 2010.

A blog that has been disregarded and forgotten about reflects badly on the company. It shows customers you lack commitment, and don’t see projects through to the end. And if you’re in any kind of technological or other trend-led industry, it shows customers you’re just simply not up to date.

So whip out your calendar and pencil in a schedule to update the blog. If you’re not sure you can stick to it, you shouldn’t be blogging.

woman on laptop

Can you provide content people actually want to read?

Image via Ed Yourdon

Interesting Content

Of course, posting ten articles a day won’t help you either if no one wants to read them.

Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re blogging for Google – with recent updates focusing more on user-friendly content as well as social signals such as high levels of interaction, it’s truer now than ever that blogs need to be written for human eyes, not search engine spiders.

Perhaps you’re Apple and people go crazy for your products around the globe. Then again, most likely you’re not, and people like your products but don’t want to sit around all day reading blog after blog on your new product launches.

A blog that’s purely self-promotional is like a magazine but without the articles, just the classifieds at the end. Would you read that? I thought not.

Before you set up a blog you need to be sure that you have the time and the commitment to researching your industry and writing about topics that people want to read.

By all means blog about the latest products in store or a new service you’ve launched, just don’t make it the be-all-and-end-all of your blog.