Why Develop a Blog When a Static Page Will Do?
I was reading a post which encourages businesses to have a blog, as if that is all they need to do. The answer to life, the universe and everything for a business is to have a weblog. It’s not. It’s actually very wrong.
First, let’s sort out what a weblog actually is.
A blog (AKA web log) is an online record of your thoughts, activities and information you choose to share online. A blog is actively updated, which means the posts are dated so they can be read in sequence. A blog is a form of communication which requires frequent maintenance to keep it active. This is not the kind of online communication a business needs.
Secondly, people are not taking time to read everything you blog.
Any business starting online, whether they sell entirely online or just want to set up an online presence, needs basic information available for the consumer. Basic information is not likely to change. Your contact information, what you sell and how you sell it are not going to change daily or weekly or even monthly. Yes, you may have new objects to add to your catalogue but that is a catalogue, not a blog.
A blog is more likely to be information overkill and just make things confused and cluttered looking. What use is a blog if the consumer has to hunt down the address (or some other key information) for your business? A simple site presents the information upfront and keeps it easily visible.
Lastly, running a blog is going to take up too much of your time and energy.
A business online should focus on giving that basic information on a static website. Starting a blog is just putting in more time and energy than you need – especially in the beginning when you really just want people to find you online so you can tell the consumer who you are and what you have to offer. This is not the time to start a blog with articles about what you sell. Just give them the basic information they need. Not all the fancy stuff, the extras and the media hype. Keep it simple.
Don’t put your time and resources into developing a blog just because everyone seems to be doing it these days. Focus on your real goal, not impressing other people with how big your site is or how much traffic your blog gets. Your real goal for a business is sales, not marketing.
Consumers are not asking for more marketing. Less is more, in the eye of the consumer. Consumers want information so they can decide to buy your product or service. The more marketing clutter to add to your message, the less likely a consumer is to find it. So keep it simple. Create a simple site with simple navigation – keep the most important information to the consumer right out front and centre. If you have extras, like a catalogue, give them a link to take them directly there.
A Business Site Should be for the Consumer, not the Business
If you want to add extras to your site think about it in a practical way. What would your consumer really find useful?
- A catalogue of your goods or services.
- A contact form with the physical address, email address and phone numbers for your business.
- A list of prices for your services and packages available.
- Any events you may be taking part in locally.
- Specials or promotions or contests currently running.
- A coupon they can print out. (Or refer to if they don’t have a printer).
- Your mission statement.
- Your guarantee or warranty.
- Your returns policy.
- A how to guide for using your product.
- A list of relevant groups or associations locally.
- Any health warnings or risks.
This is just a generic sort of list. Each business will have their own needs and limits in the information available or necessary for the public and consumers.
Most of the necessary information can be located on one main (index) page of your site. Extras like a catalogue of goods or services can be on another section of the site with a link easily found on the index page.
Make the contact information a priority. Think about your own experience using a site for a business you wanted to know more about. What was the most frustrating thing? For me it is almost always trying to find a way to contact the business. How stupid is that? What was the point of them putting up a site if I can’t ask a question or get some feedback?
Simple Websites Help Your Business
If you Still Must have a Blog Make Sure it Adds Value to your Business
If you still must have a blog, spend time planning your goals and strategy for using it.
Make sure the time, energy and resources you will put into the blog will pay off.
Make sure you have the stamina, writing skill and the content to keep a blog active.
In short, make sure the blog is worth the expense of maintaining it. Chances are there are other things you could be doing which would bring you a better return on your resources.