Nearly every marketing consultant is advising their clients to create a blog. Why? Because blogging is one of the best ways to increase website traffic and improve search engine rankings.
But let’s be honest: Blogging can be a big commitment. A smart marketer has to ask, is it worth the time and effort? Can someone prove that it really works? And what can you do to increase your odds of success, especially if you’re in business-to-business (B2B) marketing?
Here’s how traffic to my website skyrocketed in one year thanks to the addition of a blog, and four lessons from this blogging case study for your smart marketing strategy.
A Year of Blogging Produces Eye-Popping Stats
I launched my Smart Marketing Strategy blog in January 2010. My goals were to share the best practices of marketing strategy, showcase my expertise as a marketing consultant, and generate new business for my Cleveland, Ohio marketing agency.
I’ve been blogging weekly now for more than a year. To see how the blog has impacted my website traffic, I compared my site’s Google Analytics stats from March 2010 to March 2011.
I knew site traffic was way up and I’d also seen a jump in web-generated new business inquiries. But even I was stunned by the one-month, year-over-year numbers:
- Total number of website visits: Up 562%
- Unique visitors: Up 583%
- Page views: Up 195%
I set up my blog to repost automatically on LinkedIn and Facebook and I tweeted every post on Twitter. That strategy has paid off. LinkedIn referrals to my site are up 825% and Twitter referrals shot through the roof: a 2,933% increase. Google referrals also are up 500%.
In addition, I’ve gotten global exposure from my blog. In March 2010, my website had visitors from 21 countries. A year later, visitors came from 82 countries.
What Site Visitors are Reading
Google Analytics shows that visitors are reading my blog to learn about what’s working in marketing strategy and creative. The most popular posts were:
- Boring! The 11 Most Overused Creative Themes in Marketing
- 40 Questions for a Smarter Marketing Strategy
- New Benchmarks for Direct Mail Response Rates: How Do Yours Compare?
- What Makes Bad Advertising So Bad? It’s Not Believable
- 10 Steps to Building a Great Brand
But visitors aren’t just reading blog posts. They’re also checking out our capabilities and contacting us for new assignments, which is the ultimate payoff.
And search engine rankings are just as important. We’ve gained page-one prominence on Google for multiple keywords related to our business, thanks to Google’s indexing of blog content.
4 Lessons for Your Smart Marketing Strategy
Publishing a blog is bringing thousands of visitors to my website every month. Here are four valuable marketing lessons I’ve learned from this experience:
- Content marketing – especially blogging – is one of the most powerful marketing tactics you can deploy. Generating a constant flow of high-quality content linked to your website can dramatically impact site traffic and your search engine rankings. The results are measurable and real.
- Promotion is crucial for success. I promote every blog post via social media, email, and my website, and I’ve been fortunate to have marketing colleagues around the world share the blog with their clients and friends.
- Once you start, don’t stop. Starting a blog is much easier than sustaining one. You need to keep at it to build readership and momentum. Plan to devote a few hours each week to producing high-quality content your readers will value. Writing a few posts before you begin can help during the introductory phase.
- If you don’t have the internal resources to publish a blog, get external help. I have a writing background and many years of experience in creating marketing strategies and campaigns, so creating content was not my challenge. But I needed help setting up the blog and optimizing it for search engines. Look for content marketing and web consultants that can speak to you in terms you understand – and ask lots of questions to keep them on their toes.
The bottom line: Blogging is worth the effort. Publishing a quality blog takes time, effort, and thought, but the payoff for marketers can be huge, whether you’re selling to business decision-makers or consumers.