Blogs are one of the most popular forms of online content – just about anyone can start one, but many people worry that their blog is never read… or, if it is, that the readership doesn’t justify the time spent maintaining it. Does my small business need a blog? Let’s take a look at some real statistics.

How Blogs Appear in Search Engines

Blog posts are a type of link known as “organic content” in search engines. Organic content covers the actual results that a search displays, as opposed to elements like paid advertising that may occupy the side of a screen. To get a sense of the difference, reports have indicated that paid advertisements have a click-through rate of about 2%… as opposed to the 70% of clicks that go through organic results. A full 60% of all clicks for a given search will go to the top three organic results on the very first page, which is thirty times the efficiency of paid ads. Granted, each spot will only get a part of that total, but still… ten or twenty times the clicks can make a world of difference.

Companies cannot pay for the top results in searches – they can only earn them by consistently providing valuable information and following the best practices of the blogging industry.

Popularity of Blogs

Back in 2010, about 40% of all US businesses integrated blogs into their advertising methods. This number has only grown since – likely because of the reports that 92% of those companies also noted that, if they blogged multiple times per day, they were able to obtain customers through it. In short, while blogging may not be a guaranteed success, it’s one of the closest things the advertising industry has ever produced to that elusive dream.

Blogs are also very popular reads, especially when they provide truly valuable content. About 46% of people will read blogs more than once per day, and most who do will read anywhere from five to ten blogs on a regular basis. That’s a lot of readers who could be funneled towards your business.

" A blog (a truncation of the expression weblog) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”). A typical blog combines text, digital images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave publicly viewable comments, and interact with other commenters, is an important contribution to the popularity of many blogs. "

— Wikipedia

Why Blogging Matters

The key with blogging is its ability to make an impact on search engines and start appearing in results for very different searches. Blogs are also one of the easiest ways of increasing the page count of a website – which does matter, because businesses that have between 401 and 1000 pages will typically get six times the number of leads that a site with only 51 to 100 pages has. Statistics and reports are very clear on this matter: Blogging can and does make a difference in a business’ ability to attract customers.

The Truly Successful Blog

A company blog can only succeed when there are a few things it keeps in mind. The first – and most important – element is that the blog needs to include content that people want to read. Yes, it should be written in ways that search engines like, and there are numerous guides on the best practices for doing this. However, blogs should never be written solely to take advantage of search engines or artificially improve the ranking of a page – the algorithms are too smart to be fooled by that, and search engines will punish your website if you violate their code of ethics.

More to the point, nobody wants to read a blog that’s poorly written and does little except spam links back to your homepage. This is why the most successful blogs are used to showcase ideas and concepts, drive innovation, and generally explain the actions of a company in ways that the average reader will be interested in.

Does my small business need a blog?

If you’d like to capture traffic from searches – either at home or on mobile devices – then yes, your business should have a blog. However, there is one more upside to using blogs that companies have begun to take into account: pricing. If you don’t write all of the content yourself, then chances are you’ll use your advertising budget to hire a professional blogger who can create the content for you… and once you have that content, it’s yours forever. Paid advertising only works once – after the result is posted on the search engine (and completely ignored 98% of the time), it’s gone. Blog posts will endure for years to come, constantly beckoning to users who are searching for content of that type, and the long-term return on your investment can be many times what you put in.

Blogging isn’t very difficult to do, and the rewards could be incredible – if there are slow times in the office, all you really have to do is sit down, start writing, and watch your base of customers grow.