Blogs are better than traditional static websites because…

You may have heard the “buzz” about blogs. However, what may not be immediately clear is WHY blogs are better than traditional web sites, especially if you’re looking at a blog as a potential marketing tool for your business.

  • What is a blog?
  • How is a blog different from a static or regular web site?
  • Are there times when you’d be better off WITHOUT a blog?

As for What is a Blog…. blogs are just another type of website. They’re as diverse in look and content as “regular” websites. Chances are that you’ve visited blogs and didn’t even know that it was a blog.. This web site is an example of a blog and this is an example of a blog post.

Blog posts are simply short (or not so short in my case) articles which are easily posted to the web site.

A blog is really just a CMS (Content Management System). The most recent articles are listed first, in reverse chronological order.

Blogs are MUCH, MUCH, MUCH easier to use and maintain for “regular” people than a traditional website. Heck, blogs are much, much, much easier to use and maintain for “geeks” as well! In addition to being easier to use… blogs allow visitors to interact with the blog owner. Visitors can leave comments and express their opinions via comments on the blog. Other blog owners can reference content on other blogs and in the case of WordPress blogs, you can see those incoming links. WordPress will even create trackbacks for you! (Trackbacks are also known as “reciprocal links”…. except you don’t have to beg, borrow and steal them. The other blog just has to approve it and VIOLA! LINKAGE!)

While blogs are great, and WordPress is the best of the bets…. there are times when ‘Yes, Virginia… tis far nobler to have a static web site. As a general rule, if you’re making a Minor Sale, then your business would be better served with a traditional web site. What is a Minor Sale? According to Rackham in his book Spin Selling , your business is making Minor Sales if:

  • There is a single decision-maker
  • The buyer’s financial or emotional investment is low or insignificant
  • The purchase does not warrant the time/energy necessary to research alternatives
  • There is little interaction between you and the customer
  • The consequences of making a purchasing mistake are inconsequential or insignificant.

Sound like what you’re selling? Then skip the blog and hire a web developer. YOU my friend are the lucky owner of a business which is engaged in making Minor Sales!

On the other hand, blogs are simply communication tools which means they are really the web presence of choice for the business that is engaged in making Major Sales. Your business is making Major Sales if:

  • There is more than one decision-maker
  • The buyer’s financial and/or emotional investment is significant
  • The purchase warrants significant time and research into alternatives
  • There is the potential for a long-term relationship between you and/or your business and the customer.
  • The consequences of making a purchasing mistake are high.

Sound like the kind of sale YOUR business is making? Well, congratulations because of the nature of your business YOUR potential customers need a LOT of information before they make a buying decision. This is important. It requires time, thought and research. A buyer has to have a certain level of trust established before they make the leap and complete the Major Sale.

Lots of information…. TONS of information… no such thing as too much information. The more check marks you can make beside the factors listed above, the more trust you have to build BEFORE the sale.

THAT is the biggest reason for a blog. You need to provide TONS of information… some of it over and over again… you need to educate your customer…. they want to know more… and a blog is a great way to deliver that information to your potential customers.

Tangible Evidence: Your Blog Can Increase Your Profits

David Maister is an expert on the management of professional service firms. In his post Pricing Consulting Services he writes:

Raintoday.com has just released a new study Fees and Pricing Benchmark Report: Consulting Industry 2008. 645 respondents in the consulting industry completed the survey. Among the findings:

Firms that are well-known in their target markets receive higher fees, see their revenue grow, and earn higher profits than their lesser-known counterparts. Brand leaders were more likely to price their services at a higher level than their competitors in the market (42% of brand leaders were premium-price vs. 28% of lesser-known firms). And, they were more likely to actually get higher fees by up to 35%.

There are a LOT of ways to become “well known” to your target market.

  • You can spend money on advertising in various media that reach your target audience.
  • You can write articles for publication in magazines read by your target audience.
  • You can arrange to speak before groups of your target audience.
  • You can write a book to demonstrate your expertise to your target audience.

If you want to become well known to your target audience, I STRONGLY encourage you to engage in any and all of the above activities.

However, if your budget is screaming and your time is limited, then the best low cost, highly effective method of becoming “well known” to your target market is to launch a self hosted WordPress blog.

Becoming well known used to be thought of as an “ego” thing.  The report above demonstrates that becoming well known is necessary to affect the bottom line performance of your service based business.