• Carla de Klerk

Socially Speaking: Why blog?

Over the last ten years the word "blog" has become a complicated term in the world of digital content. Thanks to services such as Tumblr, Wordpress, Squarespace and Wix everyone and their sister now has a website, commonly referred to as their "blog". Today, when most people hear the term "blog" they immediately imagine some influencer wannabe posting badly-written restaurant reviews on their Facebook.

A few years ago when I joined the digital advertising game and saw that we were contracted to write blogs for a myriad of clients spanning from tourism providers to anaesthesiologists I was astounded. "But why would these people even want that kind of thing on their website?!" I remember myself asking when I looked at blogs somewhat disgustedly.

Well, I'm here to tell you today that blogs (or let's call them news entries) are actually THE most important part of a website, maybe except for your contact details.

Let me boil down a website content hierarchy for you. All websites, no matter how big or fancy they are, are built on the same principles. This is the same for a free Wordpress site just as much as an intricate hotel-chain site. You have static pages that are your solid content, things that are as they are and not likely to change. Mostly this would be an "about us" or "contact us" or while we are in the hotel theme, room profiles. Although this content may be updated (in many cases never) this informs the structure of the website. Imagine building a house, this would be the foundation, bricks and mortar.

So now you have solid and heavy content. Depending on the sophistication of the site, you may have 30 of these pages or less than three. But just think of it vividly for a moment – static content, as its name implies, it doesn't move. A site purely populated with static is essentially a dead site, nothing moves, no fluidity, there is no life.

This is where the blog comes in. Whether a site posts a news entry once a month, or three times a week, blogs are what will give a website life.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a bit of a buzz word and companies pay thousands on this every month. To be very frank, the cheapest and easiest way to tell Google what your site does is through blogs. The more relevant content about a certain topic is found on your site, the more likely Google (or any other engine) will recognise that site as a contender for a search topic. You could have the most beautifully written "about us" page in the world ever, but unless you regularly write about what it is you do, you'll never reach the number one spot on a search ranking. It's a simple case of showing Google that you do what you say you do.

Please note I'm not talking about Adwords or intricate SEO strategies, I'm simply talking about the value of a blog.

One case that speaks for itself, is about a year ago when I was proposing a website overhaul for the umbrella company of a hotel chain. I have been doing content (two monthly blogs) for one of their hotels for two years and it got to the point that if you were to search for the umbrella company, the next three search pages only linked my hotel. (The umbrella company's website at that time did not have a blog, but they do now!)

Whether you are posting press releases, writing notes from the field or simply generating basic information about your services, your blog is the life of your website. Many companies find it a chore to update, but the fact of the matter is, unless you update the internet about your business, someone else will, and that someone else will walk away with your traffic – simply because your site seems dead.

 

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