When it comes to blogging, you might be thinking, “my blog is only one in a million blogs out there. How can I be found?” I hate to break it to you but it’s actually more like one in 200 million! Yikes! Numbers can be mind boggling. I knew there were a lot of blogs out there in the world, but just a cursory amount of research has yielded numbers that make my brain hurt. At the end of 2011, an independent company called NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company, tracked over 181 million blogs around the world, up from 36 million in 2006. If it was 181 million in 2011, then my guess of 200 million today is probably understated! Internet marketing is big business, and blogging is a key strategy in internet marketing.
WordPress.com, a leading blog platform, reports that as of March 2013, nearly 50 million new posts a month are happening on their sites alone. That is up from just under 600,000 in 2006, and this is just WordPress! Blogger.com has about another 34 million they claim! While statistics vary from researcher to researcher, and not all the blogs being tracked reflect regular activity, the fact remains that blogging is an activity that a heck of a lot of people have their fingers in.
Where did it start?
When blogging first started in the mid 1990’s it was used primarily by people who wanted to have an online journal of sorts, a way to share their lives with their friends. The word “blog” actually comes from a shortened form of “web log” which is what blogs were originally called. Along with personal journals, we saw lots of “Here’s a blog about my trip around the world” or “Our Year in Spain” types of blogs. Then it morphed into a place to share our day to day family lives with photos and daily or weekly updates.
Facebook took over that social need pretty handily, but blogging did not disappear as some thought it might. Instead, its purpose and users began to shift, and business minded people began to see it as a way to build a platform, to provide ongoing information that would help people see them as an expert in an area. Journalists stepped into the blogging world and as the internet platform grew and enabled interaction, comments etc. a new world was born. Certainly the travel journals, personal lives and ponderings, and a myriad of other blog types persisted, but the blogosphere began to shift.
Check out this Infographic from blogging.com about the state of blogging in 2012:
Infographic source: Blogging.org
So, why bother?
If you’re like me, one of your questions at this point might be “why bother?” With so many blogs out there and so many voices, why would I even bother adding to the conversation? Do I have anything unique to say? Is there anything that hasn’t already been said? And even if the answer to those might be yes, is anyone ever going to find my blog amidst 200 million others available for perusal on any given day?
Great questions! I find myself wondering at this point, of course, if anyone is reading my blog right now!
Business Blogs have a long way to go
Look again at the infographic….did you see this part?
I’d like to fix the spelling of actively, but never mind that. Two things here. Only 60% of businesses have a business or company blog, but even better news for you, only 35% are actively blogging, and of those, many see “actively” as once a month. Depending on the industry you are in, the stats may be even more in your favor. Let’s face it, half of that 35% are probably competing in the internet marketing industry so they are mine to worry about, not yours!
Building a good blog platform takes time
There is no time like the present to start your blog. It takes time to build a blog platform so start building while the odds are still in your favor! Writing and posting with disciplined regularity is one of the key ways for your blog to be found. It isn’t instant, which is why people often give up. Like anything worth doing, it takes time! People who come to us for marketing advice often want quick fixes, immediate results, page one of Google instantaneously. If anyone promises that by the way, run out of the room (or their website) screaming!
Any form of marketing that will last takes time, and internet marketing is no different. By blogging regularly you are building a foundation, a platform from which to grow. Besides, in an internet marketing world where blogging has become a key strategy, the better question is can you afford not to?
Laying the right foundation
There are great tips and tricks out there for writing a good blog, and we’ll be talking about those in other blogs about blogging! Today I just want to give you a few tips for starting, or re-tooling your overall blog.
1. Blog about what you know
We live in a world that doesn’t appreciate phony people much. You have to be who you are and write about what you know no matter what your blog is about. People love a bit of honesty so be honest in what you write.
2. Find your unique voice
Avoid the trap of wanting to be like somebody else. You have your own way of thinking, writing and seeing the world. It is a good thing to let your blog show it. If your blog is a company blog like ours, where multiple writers contribute, then the blog should have the character of your company in the blog. Humor and authenticity are a part of our HaBO culture, so our blogs typically reflect those qualities (I hope!). When people read your blog, they will hopefully learn something, but they will also get a sense, a feeling about you or your company. It is the uniqueness that will help you stand out.
3. Don’t be boring
Be serious if you need to, be educational and informative, but please, please don’t be boring. Most people on the internet aren’t looking for a lecture or for an academic treatise. If you are an expert, remember that you are writing to people who aren’t experts, so make sure what you write is accessible to people. In some cases, a more academic or technically detailed post might be important, but warn people up front if that is what you are doing. In most cases, you should find a way to get your point across while keeping your reader engaged.
4. Write often
Remember that building a platform takes time so you have to start and then consistently build. If each blog is a brick, and you only lay a brick once every few weeks, it will take a long time to have the foundation laid, let alone begin to see a structure. We know that blogging regularly takes commitment and it can be intimidating. Some hire companies (like ours) to help blog for them because they know they can’t do it, but whatever way you choose, you have to start. We recommend a minimum of 2 blogs per week as a good schedule. If you can only do one, then do one, but do it faithfully.
If it isn’t already, blogging needs to become a key piece of your internet marketing strategy. If you have started, keep going! We applaud you for what you have already achieved. If you haven’t started, get going! If you need help, let us know and we’d be happy to work with you to lay the foundation for a blog that will help grow your business online.