Do I Need a Blog For My Business?

I recently spoke at the Dream Rock retreat in Sedona about creating a website content strategy. I showed some example websites from our portfolio on Aeolidia that had very well-organized, goal-based navigation, and then during the Q&A time, someone asked me, “I noticed that all the sites you showed us had a blog. Do I need a blog for my business?” We talked about that briefly as a group, and when we chatted in person later, she thanked me for the insight and confessed to me that she didn’t have any idea that blogs drove traffic to a website, but instead thought that blogs were, “just something women liked to do.” This really surprised me, and I made a note to tackle this topic on our blog.

So, if you think that women business owners are blogging because they’re chatty and enjoy sharing their lives, think again. These women (and men, of course!), are strategically driving traffic to their websites, enjoying tons of love from Google, and making their other marketing efforts easier. Let me explain how.

Do I need a blog for my business?

What is a blog?

A blog is part of a website that displays articles. Your articles (or blog posts) are usually updated on an ongoing basis, listed in chronological order on your blog, and show dates of posts and an area for people to comment. Some websites are blogs (you go to the main page and see the posts), and some websites contain many pages, with a blog being one of the pages on the site. This article is mostly about ecommerce websites also including a blog, though I’m also talking about service providers, who want to supplement their portfolio with a blog.

Do I need a blog for my business?

No, you don’t. There are plenty of other ways to drive traffic to your site without a blog, and if you don’t have the time or the talent (or the money to hire someone) to start a blog now, it is fine to concentrate on other ways to bring people to your website and keep them engaged. But the blog is such low-hanging fruit, if you’re able to do it that I would recommend it.

I resisted starting a blog for a long time. Then I did it a couple of years ago, and now that’s how we get most of our traffic.

A blog will bring traffic to your site

Um, heck yeah it will! If you write useful, interesting, or inspiring articles, your readers will share those with their network and bring new people to your site. For an ecommerce site, it can be easier to promote a post about a product than to try to promote just a product itself. Blogs can be used for giveaways and contests, or to announce sales, all of which will keep people reading and will bring new people in as people share the good news.

A blog is good for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Yes, absolutely! Think of it this way: an ecommerce site without a blog has a handful of informational pages (about, contact, FAQ), then all the products. If you add in a blog, that adds to the number of pages on your site which have content that others are linking to (Google likes that), with as many juicy keywords about your business as you’d like. If you decide to blog once a week, at the end of the year you’ll have 52 new pages on the site that Google will be returning to people who are searching for exactly that type of content.

A blog can establish you as an authority

Regularly writing posts for your blog (and guest posts for other peoples’ blogs) will showcase you as an authority on your subject, whatever it is. If your competitors don’t have a blog, and you’re continuously showing up with timely articles about trends, techniques, and news about your industry, you will have the edge and appear to be a leader in your niche.

A blog can make your other marketing efforts easier

What? It’s true! If you’ve gone to the trouble of writing a blog post for this week, you can now use that post to promote your site without having to come up with any new content. Grab a photo and paragraph from the post and put them on Instagram. Pin the most compelling photo from the post to Pinterest with a blurb interesting people in heading back to the blog. Tweet about your post with a link, and let everyone know about it on Facebook. Ask your colleagues to share your great new article. Include a blurb and a link to your blog post in your newsletter. You don’t want to only be recycling content on these social media outlets, but remember that people want to hear about your blog post – go let them know about it where they’re hanging out!

A blog humanizes your brand

As creatives, handcrafters, and makers, people come to us because they enjoy being part of our world, rather than hitting the big box stores. That means they’d love to hear a bit about your personal life. Of course you need a balance, and your blog can’t be all baby pictures, but taking the time to share a bit about your life, your process, your team, or your opinions can draw people in. Even sticking to business, but infusing your posts with your own voice, sense of humor, or outlook on life can serve to make you more real and compelling to your customers.

A blog drives sales

Above all, a blog can drive sales or be used to steer your readers to help you with your business goals. You aren’t writing these posts selflessly, entirely to entertain people. You want something from them, and each of your posts should have a call to action: something you’re asking your readers to do. For ecommerce stores, this will usually be to purchase a product, so make sure after you talk about the product, you give people a link to go take a look at it. You can also use a blog post to ask people to sign up for your newsletter, follow you on social media, share info in the comments, vote for you in a contest, share your site with their friends, attend an event you’ll be at, go read another great blog post you wrote, look at your portfolio etc.

You want the time you spend on each blog post to have value, and the best way to do this is to have a business goal for each post, then write it in a way that will help you with that goal.

What if you don’t want to blog?

I mentioned that there are other things you can do if a blog is not for you. Read the followup post, What to Do If You Don’t Want to Blog.

More help with your blog

Dig into our big blogging category here to learn how to start a blog or improve your existing blog (plus 260 blog post ideas to get you going!).

Do you have a blog? Are you thinking of starting a blog? What questions do you have about blogs for business, or blogs on ecommerce sites? Please share in the comments. I’d love to offer some personalized tips.

About the Author

Hello, I'm Arianne! I am the head storyteller, idea hatcher, and yaysayer here at Aeolidia. I started making websites for friends in 1997, and never lost interest in building online homes for fascinating people. I have a great boss (me!) and I'm unafraid to play hooky to head out on an adventure. Some day I'll tell you about the time when, as a marine biology student, I was bitten by a baby elephant seal.

View more articles written by Arianne >

17 comments
  1. Jen says,

    Thank you for this post, Arianne! I have two questions:

    1) Do you recommend hosting your business blog on an alternate platform than your main site? I have a Shopify site and wonder if I should be sending traffic into my site (via Blogspot or Squarespace), rather than hosting everything on one platform.

    2) I have heard alternate advice about blogs for businesses. Some experts say that it should be solely business, providing info about sales, trade shows, etc. I have read opposing advice saying that business owners should write a personal-ish blog in their own voice, and write about subjects that compliment their business (ie. children’s clothing company should write about kids party ideas, food, decor, etc.) Thoughts on this? Thanks for your help!

    • Great questions, Jen!

      1) It’s almost always going to be easier to promote your shop if your blog is part of your shop – because people are already there! We always recommend using the Shopify blog when you’re using Shopify for your site, unless your blogging needs are specialized and require the features and plugins of WordPress. This has other advantages, such as being easier and less expensive to maintain, and easier to update your site when everything is in one place.

      2) Boring business blog – no way! People are not going to get excited to read that. Option number two (personal-ish) is a better idea, and we’re going to cover that in an upcoming post (what the heck do I blog about?). Stay tuned!

  2. Angie @ GnomeAngel.com says,

    Thanks for this interesting article – it’s great to see someone else’s perspective on a topic that’s affecting a lot of people at the moment.

    Can I ask, what do you recommend as a technique or how do you combat the fact that not everyone that owns a business will have a compelling writing style, that they may not make content that people will want to read?

    Also what if writing a blog is something you really don’t enjoy and it doesn’t come naturally to you it seems counterproductive to spend and invest precious time on something that takes away from your enjoyment when you could be spending that time building up other areas of your business. Do you think this is where platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook help people who don’t enjoy blog writing carve out their niche and gain their voice of authority?

    I guess it comes down to the business owner knowing their strengths, weaknesses and where their passions lie and the best way to promote and engage with their community. Thanks for the thinking material – love a piece that inspires thought and discussion. <3

    • Great question, Angie! I’m going to do another post that covers some other way to get your stuff out there if you decide blogging is just not up your alley. You want to be careful spending too much time building up your business on a place that you don’t “own,” like Facebook – because they can take your platform or your audience away from you at any time. I’m gathering my full thoughts on this one – stay tuned!

    • ^^^ This is just how I feel!

  3. I cannot express how valuable your wisdom is right now with me starting to blog. Thank you!

    • You’re so welcome, Sharon! We have more blogging tips in store!

  4. A really insightful and interesting perspective on a much-written-about topic. Thank you Arianne!

    • Thanks, Claire! It looks like you’ve been keeping up with your blog, so you’ve got a handle on this stuff.

      • Thank you :) I’m trying… Starting to post more consistently and currently planning out a realistic schedule that offers more value & interest. Looking forward to hearing more from you on topics other commenters have mentioned :)

  5. That’s a really useful post for me right now, thank you.
    I totally agree that the blog is a great way to feed all your other social/communication/newsletters/etc. It was a real light-bulb moment for me when I realised this!
    We recently shifted to Shopify, and unfortunately lost our WordPress blog and have had to start again. My problem is that the Shopify blog is so much less sophisticated that a WP blog, and doesn’t have the tools like Yoost that can help to focus content with SEO in mind. We are finding that posts don’t feature in search in the same way that they did with WP.
    I wonder if the advantages of the blog being an integral part of the site is less valuable than blogging on a well optimised platform like WP if the main purpose is to provide great content that will ultimately drive traffic?

    • Hi Ellie,

      Google’s algorithm is a big mystery, but it seems to me that the exact same content will perform the same way on Google, regardless of what software was used to create it. The Yoast tool is super helpful in planning and editing your content. It seems like there must be some software available that would help you in a similar way without requiring a WordPress site. Something to look into!

      That said, sometimes it does make sense to have both a WordPress and a Shopify site. It takes some finessing, but we’re able to make these two sites look like one to your customers and readers, while giving you the power of both behind the scenes.

  6. fgivings says,

    How personal is too personal, when writing a blog with the goal of leading readers back to my handmade products? Can you recommend guidelines or have a cautionary tale or two to tell?
    And, with time at an all-time premium, what’s the minimum length/number/frequency of blog posts I should commit to before beginning at all?
    Thanks!
    Faith

    • I love these questions! We’ll talk more about getting personal in the upcoming post about what to post about.

      As for minimum length/number/frequency – there just aren’t really any rules! A post can be a picture and a paragraph, if you’re providing value of some kind. I guess I would say if you can’t commit to blogging at LEAST twice a month, blogging is probably not for you – and I have more info about that in the next post, too! :)

  7. So, I don’t have the time or skill, or desire to start a blog for my e-commerce site. You mention that there are other ways of promotion, but can you go into more detail? I’d love any advice you might have.

    http://prints.stompinggrounds.com

    Thanks
    James

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