I have a friend—let’s call him Bob—who does double duty as a home repair/contractor and restaurant owner. He wants to talk to me about his web site. Bob, like a lot of small business owners starting out on the web, is dissatisfied with his web traffic. It seems to have peaked at around 300 unique visitors a month and most of this is due to referrals coming from Google. Bob tells me that some web designer he employed assured him that the “search engine optimization” techniques he implemented would eventually increase those numbers, but it’s been months and the numbers aren’t getting any better. Bob desperately wants his PageRank to increase, because, to him, that’s what’s bringing in the bacon.

HTML Form Builder

Well, after hearing Bob out, I offer a solution. I explain to him about weblogs or blogs—how a lot of other organizations and successful entities like Microsoft, Mark Cuban, presidential candidates and even Donald Trump are using blogs’ unique ability to leverage influence to increase traffic and presence on the web dramatically. “Bob,” I say to him, “you need a blog.” And Bob looks at me and he shakes his head and he says, “Yeah, but that’s not my business.”

Bob didn’t get it. And that’s because Bob wasn’t sold. And he’s not alone in thinking blogging doesn’t work for small businesses. According to a recent survey by Duct Tape Marketing, “The biggest surprise for [the researcher] was the fact that a large number of respondents (60 percent) still aren’t convinced that blogs are worth the work.” The examples I gave weren’t small businesses and Bob didn’t feel he had anything in common with them nor the resources, he felt, to compete with them in the blogosphere. And the thing was, there wasn’t much I could do. I was positive blogging could help Bob out, but I didn’t have the facts nor the compelling arguments to change his mind.

And so we here at Particletree started doing the research. We’ve collected a lot of information. We’ve gathered the statistics. We’ve written down some guidelines. And we’re sharing all of it. This is for all the Bobs out there, who still don’t believe, and for all the blogging evangelists, like us, who do.


Let’s start with the numbers. According to a recent study conducted by Comscore, a research company that specializes in doing research on consumer behavior and attitudes, “50 million Americans, or about 30 percent of the total U.S. Internet population, visited blogs in Q1 2005. This represents an increase of 45 percent compared to Q1 2004.” Not only are there a LOT of people reading blogs, there’s more people reading them every single day.

In addition to the growth, the study also revealed that “the average Blog visitor viewed nearly 16,000 pages over the course of the Q1 2005 � 77 percent more than the 9,000 pages viewed by the average Web user. The average Blog visitor spent nearly 18,000 minutes or about 23 hours per week online, while the average Internet user spent just over 10,000 minutes or 13 hours per week online.” What’s even more startling than their enthusiasm, is who these readers are. The following details are from the results of a survey conducted by Blogads:

  • Blog readers’ median income hover between $60,000 and $90,000

  • 75% of blog readers are over 30 years old

  • 75% of blog readers are men

  • 75% of blog readers are looking for news they can’t find elsewhere.

  • 72% of blog readers never read blogs through an RSS

  • “Clearly the blogosphere is crawling with certified grade A opinion makers.”

To summarize, there are a lot blog readers out there and not only are they multiplying, they’re intelligent, they have disposable income, and they’re actively looking for new information from unexpected sources longer than your average user. These readers are trendsetters, early adopters, opinion makers, news junkies and the biggest advocates of their own personal interests. If you’re a fan of the ideas behind Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, you can immediately appreciate how valuable and rare it is it to see a single audience of people who represent the prototypical mavens, connectors and salesman that are supposedly responsible for every viral phenomenon and trend.

And for those you who need anecdotal evidence of the results blogs provide to businesses, check out what’s going on with Danali Flavors. The company specializes in creating and licensing ice cream flavors and uses its three blogs, Denali Flavors , Moosetopia and Team Moosetracks, to cover issues the company itself is dealing with, new product ideas, marketing ideas and small business issues. Their posts include practical tips, references and links to other articles. Here’s what the executive vice president had to say about their blogs’ effects:

[Blogs] have greatly helped us realize tremendous quantifiable results in terms of driving people to our main website. We’ve had an increase of 18 percent in web site visits, 10 percent more hits, and total time on the web site is up more than 26 percent. We’ve received most of our attention on, which attests to the validity of character blogs,

John Nardini - PowerBlog Review: Denali Flavors

And the thing is, anyone can do it. Because blogging is still in its infancy, the effects are only going to increase. Although readership grew 45% last year, the majority of blog readers read less than 10 total blogs. We firmly believe this number is low, because people haven’t discovered efficient ways of processing the information overload. There are thousands of blogs created every second and thanks to RSS technology, the number blogs people are going to be able to keep up with is only going to go up. When RSS becomes a mainstream technology, current readers will only read more blogs and a new crop of voracious readers will emerge. While millions of readers looking for content should be reason enough to focus your energies on them, the importance of courting these influential, eager and financially secure readers should not be undervalued.


I mentioned earlier that Bob’s goal for his web site was to increase its PageRank. I can understand his logic, but I can’t see how basing your website’s promotional plan on a computer programmer’s algorithm is a very good strategy. The goals you have for your business in the real world, should be the exact same goals you have for your business on the Internet : increase sales, growth, and profits. Those are the real goals.

Some companies that offer Search Engine Optimization (SEO), they’re offering shortcuts. I think shortcuts are dangerous ideas for businesses. They only lead to trouble. In 2003, Google revamped their calculations for determining PageRank and it sent the entire SEO industry in a panic because the sites they were managing that used to be at the top of the results were now sitting behind the fifth “o” in the Google navigation at the bottom of the results.

Google’s goal is not to help those people make money. They actually spend money on fighting SEOs, not helping them. They also spent a lot of money buying the largest growing and used blogging tool out there, which should also give you something else to think about. Google knows that the moment their results aren’t solving people’s solutions or giving people answers, is the moment the people go somewhere else to find things. They have the best programmers and an army of PhDs dedicated to the problem. They’re worth billions. If you’re a small business, (putting aside the fact that these practices are morally and ethically questionable) wasting money on fighting Google might be the worst thing you could possibly do financially.

Oh and here’s another reason why you should reconsider using SEOs. Last summer, there was a contest held on the Internet to see who could get the #1 Google rank for the never before linked term “nigritude ultramarine.” Hundreds of SEO companies competed for the prize. They created link farms, tampered with metadata, comment spammed, trackback faked and implemented a hundred other sleazy tricks and optimization techniques. In the end, after all their plotting and shenanigans, it was a blogger who won the contest. He didn’t spend any money either. He just asked his friends to talk about what he was doing on their blogs. This is the power of blogs. This is what he had to say about it:

For all the back-and-forth about how Google is or isn’t evil, the end result of PageRank is that it’s a hell of a lot more work to fake your way into being a top result than it is to just have high ranking as a fringe benefit of just being a person who loves writing.

Anil Dash

If you think about how most people are using Google (how you use Google), you should realize that people aren’t really using them to search for new businesses or ways to spend money. People search for solutions. People search for answers. People search for things to do. And blogs are the best way to help your business share its answers, solutions and things to do.

How to Approach Blogging

For a small business, a web site should always be seen as a form of publication. Jeffery Veen, one of the top Internet consultants on the web today (Google was actually one of his clients), is always surprised by the number of businesses that make this mistake.

All publications require editorial expertise. Few companies are publishing companies; most provide other kinds of goods and services. Yet over the last few years, every company has found that it must build and maintain what is essentially a constantly updated publication: a corporate Web site. Publishing is a skill set that most organizations have never needed, but one that’s integral to producing a quality site …

This is more than just a way to manage content, it’s the beginning of a content strategy— a plan for how your site will respond to your customers, inform them, and help them make decisions that will ultimately increase their loyalty to you and your site.

Jeffrey Veen - Why Content Management Fails

You’re one of a million search results approached by users with goldfish-like attention spans. How do you show them you have a quality publication on the web? Search result placement and the design of your web site are two ways to do this, but I would argue that it’s one thing to look like quality, and quite another to sound like quality. You want your customers to listen, not just stare. Blogs can give your company that voice.

Because blogs are publications of personal voices, they can provide three business functions quickly and efficiently. They provide marketing, advertising and customer relations at a fraction of the price it would cost to do so via traditional outlets. The thing to remember, though, is that you can’t use them or treat them in a traditional manner. The keyword is personal and so the rules for blogging are pretty simple. They’re EXACTLY like the rules for personal relationships.

You need to create a bond. - Don’t write entries just to sell a product. Those are just longer text ads. People want to know about you, your character, your ideas, your passions. Blog readers are savvy enough to smell an ad or public relations representative from a mile away and so you have to genuinely care about helping your readers to create any kind of connection. You want your referrals not to be computer generated, but human generated and soi don’t become random_contractor, but Bob the Contractor. What you are seeking from your customers with a blog, is a rare gift in the business world � the benefit of the doubt. Once readers arrive, you have to keep them intrigued with unique and beneficial content. And yes, attracting new customers is more expensive than keeping current ones.

You need to be honest. - One of the nice side effects of spreading your business’s personal voice, is that it humanizes you. People are very hard on companies, but are very understanding of people. A person can make mistakes. A person can be fallible. You’d be surprised how understanding people are when they’re reminded there are people behind the scenes trying emphatically to do the right thing for both you and them. Here’s what BizInformer has to say about setting real expectations:

Customers want and deserve to know the truth about their order, restoration, and business with your company. Never cover-up for your mistakes, never tell a customer what you think they want to hear � just be honest and sincere.

Even for the worst of news; most people can handle anything if they truly know what they’re dealing with and believe they have the information necessary to make decisions and explore alternatives. Just let your customers know what to expect and when.

BizInformer - The Best Customer Service Tip Ever

You need to listen. - People want to be heard and a blog allows that communication to take place. With your blog, you are afforded the opportunity to improve customer relations through comments. Here, you can allow your company’s personality to shine by publicly dealing with complaints, comments, and recommendations. Respond to feedback with respect, openness, and honestly and you may earn another rare gift in the business world for when things go wrong—a second chance. If it’s obvious nobody is really listening to their problems, your readers will leave in a heartbeat and never come back. Great customer service will not create as much buzz or word of mouth as a great product or service will, but bad customer service leaves a nasty scar for years and years.

Providing useful content that establishes personal relationships also creates some of the strongest forms of marketing you can find on the web. According to Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba’s blog, Church of the Customer, there are three different types of people you want to forge relationships with using your business’s blog: customer evangelists, citizen marketers and word of mouth referrals.

People from all walks of life want referrals—not just the business community, but the general public as well. Few people want to choose a dentist, for example, from a printed advertisement. One nice thing about the internet is the vast number interests that are represented and so the probability is good then that you can find someone out there that’s already tried what you want to do.

People want to have more personal information before making such selections because whenever you choose a professional exclusively from an advertisement and have no other source of information, you may be taking a big risk as to the quality of service you will receive. With referrals, the risk is greatly reduced. Someone else has done business with that person and is recommending that professional to you with confidence.

The No. 1 Way to Grow Your Business

If you properly manage your personal relationships with your customers, you will have a well oiled self-sufficient marketing machine. While this strategy, termed relationship marketing is not a new one, you’ll going to be light years ahead of the competition if your follow it successfully.


Blogs are a cheap and effective means to attract readers, retain customers and provide old-fashioned customer service. By offering tips, current news, and expert advice on a regular basis, your readership will grow. Current readers will not only visit more often, they’ll tell their friends of your commitment to quality. Eventually, other quality websites will link to your helpful information, send additional traffic and help you increase your PageRank. If your business uses its blog wisely and focuses on creating a unique voice that establishes personal relationships, we are positive that it’ll attract traffic your static site could never achieve.

While how to start and run your blog is beyond the scope of this article, the Particletree team would never leave you hanging without a good roundup to get you on your way. Read the following additional resources and you’ll be an expert in no time.

  • What makes a weblog a weblog? — Hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. At Berkman we’re studying weblogs, how they’re used, and what they are.

  • Guide to Business Blogging � Made by the guys at The Blog Studio, this free pdf outlines the planning process, goal setting, choosing software/service options, writing tips, and promotional ideas. Do yourself a favor and read it.

  • Blogs: Small Business - It includes blogs that are written by small business for small business. Its purpose is for small business owners to find what they need without having to search all over the place and dig through oodles of categories to get to just the right nugget of information.

  • BlogWrite for CEO’s- The blog of Debbie Weil, author of Beginners Guide to Blogging and founder of theWordBiz Report. If you are the lone blogging evangelist at your company, she can help you make the case for blogging by delivering an informative, cogent presentation on Corporate Blogging 101 to your team.

  • BusinessLogs - Our fellow 9rules friends help companies communicate better with their customers through the use of weblogs and smart user interface design. It’s all good stuff. Definitely check out their free PDF whitepaper on writing for the web.

  • PowerBlog Reviews - “What’s the connection to a site that tracks trends? Simple. Blogging — and especially blogging about business topics — is one of the hottest trends on the Web today. We can think of no better way to track this fast-developing trend than by profiling the unique and interesting uses of the blog medium today for business purposes.”

  • Naked Conversations - The promising book by two corporate blogging figureheads, Robert Scoble and Shel Isreal isn’t out yet, but worth keeping an eye on.

HTML Form Builder
Chris Campbell

An Argument for Small Business Blogging by Chris Campbell

This entry was posted 5 years ago and was filed under Features.
Comments are currently closed.


  1. Kev · 5 years ago

    Very good article overall but a tad harsh on SEO specialists and, in my opinion, missing a rather large point.

    Firstly, by utilising a blog to promote your business/product/service you become an SEO developer. By definition, if you’re using a website for the purpose of increasing your business rankings in search engines (even if thats just one aspect of your blog use) then you are optimising for search engines.

    The technical (non social) reasons blogs seem to do well in search engines is the way that the content is structured in its raw markup form. Most blogging software is careful to at least try to be semantic and accessible in its markup generation and thus heading and paragraph tags get used well, as do lists.

    Content is very ‘tight’ to one subject (the exception being blogs like my own) and thus they get points for being on message and of course, the all important linkbacks come as you build up a mini community around your blog and blogs of a like nature.

    I agree with you that PageRank is vastly overrated in importance, as is the reported links one can view on the ‘’ switch but I think your article overstates the advantages of blogging as an SEO tool in one important regard.

    At the end of the day, a blog is a website and is thus ammenable to control from an engines algo. If all the world and his wife have a blog to do well in SERP’s, the engines will simply tweak the algo to lessen the positive impact of blogs. This will cause exactly the same meltdown in the SEO community as Florida, Autsin and Brandy all did to varying degrees. Blogging is not a panacea for bad positioning. Its one aspect that can, at this time, carry more weight than other aspects. It won’t always be so though.

    As I also mention, you’re a trifle hard on the SEO community. Just as our own community has people who care about web standards and those who don’t give a toss, there are SEO specialists who practice what they term ‘white hat’ SEO (as oppose to ‘black hat’ SEO) in which a responsible long term strategy is employed and no attempt to ‘fool’ the engines is attempted. Its no surprise that these optimisers tend to do better for clients in the long term.

  2. Chris Campbell · 5 years ago

    Thanks for the response Kev.

    While the SEO part may be a bit harsh, it’s dangerous to place too much value in SEO. Google can change their PageRank system and those believing SEO is the key could be in for some trouble. It’s important to make your site friendly for the crawlers, but I’m disappointed when a web designer says to “keep waiting” for PageRank to increase. SEO is an overused buzzword and not nearly as important as content. Some designers fail to inform the client of this.

    I understand blogs are a form of SEO, but was referring to the common practice of “SEO optimization” in the context. True, semantics may help PageRank, but not like quality information valued by the community.

  3. Jonathan Snook · 5 years ago

    I have to agree with Chris on this one. Kev, if everyone was using a blog to create quality, linkable content then you’re competing on the quality of your content and not on the SEO tricks. And if everyone (and his wife!) are creating blogs with quality, linkable content, is that a bad thing? :)

    As he mentioned, SEO optimization in and of itself is not the key. Creating personable, quality content that connects with your customers is the key.

  4. Scrivs · 5 years ago

    I would argue that your buddy Bob doesn’t need a blog for home contracting. Assuming it is just a local business his time would more than likely better be spent focusing on advertising within the city and getting word of mouth spread.

    The restaraunt part could use a blog or just simple a website with gasp great SEO.

    You point out a lot of quality small business blogs, but do you know how many are out there that nobody hears about or pays attention to? If you are a blogger it sounds very easy to blog and it is easy to put words to a screen. However, creating a successful blog takes a lot of energy and hardwork, otherwise everyone would be successful.

    Looking at ParticleTree for example, you guys have a small business here with a high quality sites. These type of articles take time. Would the time you spent researching this article be better spent sending out proposals to potential clients? I don’t know the answer to that, but not every business will have the time and resources to devote to making their blog the best.

    I know that sounds a bit ridiculous because what company wouldn’t want to spend time making themselves better?

    As for the SEO part and the “blogger” that won the contest, I think it would be only fair to mention that the blogger was Anil Dash who has a popular blog with a high PR and he was able to receive links from other high PR sites. He didn’t get that status overnight and blogging is essentially his job. Just thought I would get all the facts out there.

    Great article though, but it would be much better if in the future when you are making the case for something you also bring up the counterpoints to argue against.

    Because I am on a roll here I will write an entry now at Business Logs covering what I talked about.

  5. Ryan Campbell · 5 years ago

    When looking at the scenario with Bob, I agree that he doesn’t need a blog for home contracting; however, a blog could definetly improve his business. Take a look at it this way. First, let’s consider a blog a website with good content – not just a single column layout with journal entries.

    So Bob goes ahead and makes a website with good content. At first, no one reads it. He gets involved in a few communities, but the time payoff is not worth it. He goes ahead and gets another client from advertising, and installs kitchen cabinets. This time, he documents his installation, and adds a few additonal tips like maintenance, further improvements, and honest habits of his construction style. After he is finished the job, he posts the article and directs his most recent client to it.

    The client is going to love this. First, they have written documentation of something that is in their house, by the person who installed it. Second, honesty is brought to a somewhat sleazy industry. While reading the article, they may also explore Bob’s categorized archives, and ask him to do further work for them. Most importantly, the word of mouth benefits will be huge – not to mention the SEO benefits.

    Bob could pay a reasonable fee to have a developer set up his blog, and then a nominal monthly fee. If he were to do an entry a week, he could probably accomplish that in 5 hours. He could even spread that to two weeks. Over time, his time investment may pay oiff.

    I believe a blog is not needed, but it can easily help your business grow or become the best in your area.

  6. Scrivs · 5 years ago

    We are hitting on semantics here of what a blog is, but what you describe could be done just as easily with a basic website with articles. I think a blog gives the impression that it will be updated during certain intervals where if he had a website he can just post an article once every couple of months or whatnot to keep the customers happy.

    The benefits you list are tangible and I don’t think Bob should ignore blogs, but you have to think if he could get more done with the 5 hours that he is spending on blogging by doing local advertising of some kind.

    I think we are on the same level Ryan, but are just coming at it from different sides.

  7. Kev · 5 years ago

    Chris and Jonathon – Absolutely content is the key concept. I learnt my SEO skills at the feet of one of the gurus Jill Whalen who runs High Rankings whos ethos is purely white hat and who’s primary mantra is ‘good, regularly updated content at all times’ and who always advocates to write for users first and foremost.

    Its not that I felt you were overly harsh on the bad SEO-ers who do exist in big numbers but that, just as web develoeprs who care about standards, there’s a sizable minority who do things the right way.

    Jonathon said:

    if everyone was using a blog to create quality, linkable content then you’re competing on the quality of your content and not on the SEO tricks. And if everyone (and his wife!) are creating blogs with quality, linkable content, is that a bad thing? :)

    Not at all :o) but in our mythical friends Bob’s case it sounds very much like quality content written for a user is a secondary goal after improving business for Bob. I’m not saying that Bob shouldn’t improve his business as he sees fit, I’m saying if everyone else does the same thing then whilst we may get good quality content, we definitely will get content designed solely to improve SERPs. If that happens, the engines will react.

  8. Peter · 5 years ago

    Actually, I’ve got a feeling that when Chris goes “Bob, you need a blog” he’s really saying “Bob, the only way you’re going to get anywhere is by constantly posting relevant content”.

    I agree with Scrivs in that Bob’d be better off with local advertising – in the short/medium term anyhow; not out of being slightly conservative, but becuase Bob would have to be a hell of a blogger (like Chris) to achieve anything tangible out of his site.

    So, assuming the whole article is about helping out Bob, I would say: “Bob, if you want to make something out of the web, you need to understand it first; you need to be a user, you need to observe or join communities, you need to look up timetables and buy stuff online. You need to find the web useful, and get to really like it. So, for the moment, stick with local ads, and always remember to ask new clients how they got to know you. In the meantime, pop in every so and so in my office, I’ll show you some cool stuff you can find and do on the internet, maybe some day I’ll get you interested, you’ll eventually come to use and understand the web, and start putting useful stuff online for your clients; and then other people will find that stuff, find it useful, and some of them might call on you”.

  9. Nathan Smith · 5 years ago

    Great writeup. I couldn’t have put it better myself. It’s true: It’s absolutely crucial to keep investing time and effort to make a good website great. I’ve dealt with people like Contractor Bob in the past, even done sites for them. It’s disappointing to watch them squander the potnential of a CMS-enabled website, by just letting it sit fallow after the design and functionality are in place. To me, that totally defeats the purpose of hiring a designer / developer in the first place. More people need to realize the power that they have to be heard, and start getting their message across.

  10. Hendry Lee · 5 years ago

    Well written.

    Regarding SEO, I am afraid I have to agree with Kev.

    While good content encourages high quality inbound links, it is just one of the many factors search engines use to measure webpage popularity and rank among SERPs. And this alone may change in the future.

    Moreover, if you don’t target specific keywords you have little chance to rank on those keywords without those keywords or keyword phrases in your content or someone links to you using that in the anchor text link.

    Google Information for Webmasters has some information regarding basic optimization. In fact what Ithink the least optimization every blogger should know about.

    In conclusion, for long business retention, avoid black hat SEO.

  11. Justin Palmer · 5 years ago

    Great article Chris. I tried many times to get my previous employer (a web design firm) to start blogging. They just “didn’t get it”.

    I assume it was because they we’re comfortable in there current situation. They’ve been in business for over 10 years and had a decent customer base and didn’t think the extra effort involved would make any difference what so ever. I can come closer to understanding why a home repair guy might not want to blog than a web design firm.

  12. Bryan · 5 years ago

    First let me say that I really enjoy reading a number of blogs, especially those within the 9rules network, however, the one thing that usually makes me reach for the nearest bucket, or at least go and find something else to read, is the insistance by many in the ‘blogging’ community that everybody needs a blog.

    The self-centred, incestuous way many ‘blogmasters’ proclaim that blogs are the way forward in terms of web success for small business is, to my mind, flawed.

    I believe that the web is about communication of information, thoughts and ideas, it is after all what it was originally invented for.

    I also believe that blogs - at least the better quality ones - meet this requirement; which - along with the fact that they are generally tightly focused - also means they are interesting to read for the target market and they therefore attract unreciprocated, natural links and plenty of relevant traffic that, after all, is the lifeblood of a business website.

    Furthermore, I agree that to succeed long term in the search engines, what is needed is a well designed, well presented website, with regularly updated quality content written by people who know their subject. This, however, does not neccessarily have to be in the form of a blog.

    It also does not mean that all businesses need a blog to be successful. I am involved with a number of sites which have enjoyed long term success in some very competitive markets. Updates come and updates go, without a flutter in search engine rankings.

    These sites are not blogs, granted they have much in common, providing regularly updated quality content and the like, but they are definitely not blogs.

    A blog can be a useful weapon in the marketing armoury of a business, but they should not be seen as a cure-all.

    To be honest, when I read articles about blogging, I cannot help but be reminded of the hype that went around in the dot-com boom and I really believe that you will be the purveyors of your own demise if not careful.

    The answer - as always - is balance.

    Let us preach the benefit of good quality, websites with dynamic content written with passion, of which a blog may be a part, but don’t be so conceited as to fall into the trap that blogs are everything.

    Remember, not all quality content is in the form of a blog and not all blogs provide quality content.

  13. Chris Campbell · 5 years ago

    Thanks for the response Bryan. I agree, not all small businesses need a blog. Bob, for example, makes good money and has very little web presence. Thousands of companies are successful and do not blog. I don’t think the article states that all small businesses need to blog or blogging is a cure-all.

    Blogging is not for everyone. Not because they cannot benefit from a blog, but because the small business does not have the knowledge or time to invest. This being said, many small businesses can benefit from a well maintained blog — especially those looking to build a web presence.

  14. Dominic Mansour · 5 years ago

    I have to admit, I agree with a little bit of what everyone is saying. I run a small business and to avoid any accusations of profiteering I will avoid mentioning its name or URL. Suffice to say, it’s an internet games business.

    I am desperately curious to learn more about the blogging world and how it can work for my business. I am very much the real life Bob in the example above but would consider myself and internet marketing expert - or so I thought…

    We spend considerable amounts of money advertising the site and whilst it works pretty well, we tend to lose a lot of the money we invest. We also spend considerable time and effort (which equates to high cost) in SEO. We have outsourced, insourced (if such an action exists!), paid specialists, big companies and small medium size - we’ve tried it all. Despite all the effort, we cannot shift our PR above an average of 4, peak at 6 and low of 2.

    The website is very community driven - we have several successful chat rooms, a forum/ message board and people play games at the same time (yes, it’s game website - bingo - & that’s how we make our money).

    Given the interest in our message board and especially in our chat room it seems to me the logical approach is to get our community to build our blogs on a regular basis and to let them do our SEO work as outlined above by Kev. So long as I can avoid people recommending other competitive sites I should find myself with more search engine sourced traffic and a more successful business. All of this, for very low investment of a bit of time of some of our techies implementing some blogging software and a person to moderate it.

    Is it that simple or am I missing something? Am I the commercialisation of blogging - and if so, is there anything wrong with that?

  15. Chris Campbell · 5 years ago

    Hi Dominic,

    Do you want to blog or do you want your visitors to link to you from their blogs? Not sure I understand the part on “get our community to build our blogs on a regular basis”.

    If you do decide to blog, I would recommend reading the links at the end of the essay and learning as much as possible. If you’re looking for outside help, a couple of the pdf’s linked to are written by companies who build websites and can help you understand the pros and cons of blogging.

    The key is to make an informed decision. I still believe blogging can help most companies, but you can’t half ass it.

    Good Luck!

  16. Patrick Smith · 5 years ago

    I spend every day building sites for small businesses, mostly contractors of one stripe or another.

    Unfortunately, most contractors, frankly, aren’t communicators.

    Although a great blog could be really beneficial for a small business, the practicalities of actually writing the blog are a huge barrier to overcome. Of the several hundred contractors and other small business owners I’ve worked with, this is true for 95% of them.

    They don’t enjoy writing, and when they say they want a better page rank, they’re really looking for the magic bullet. They’re far more willing to spend money on PPC or SEO than they are able to write engaging posts.

    There’s great news in this for the rare contractor who is also a good communicator: they have a highly leverageable competitive advantage.

    Like your quote from Anil Dash indicates, an effective blog has to come from someone who loves writing. That’s not the case for the vast majority of contractors.

  17. Dominic Mansour · 5 years ago

    My initial thoughts were to use our community to write blogs on our site about their experiences on the site. Since it’s gaming related, we do get some funny, interesting & crazy stories…when people win they love to tell everyone about it. When they lose, they love to tell people how “close they came”. We have a message board on the site and we use it to post promotional material onto - at least that was the initial idea. Nowadays, people are as keen to write about personal experiences as they are about the gaming related stuff. So we now have sections for tricks on using the site, being a mom, sports, recipes etc etc. So from being a game website, we have really turned ourselves into a community. Back to the issue - since the message board is so popular, we are hoping our users will treat a blog in the same way and as a result, we’ll get a load of google traffic as well as something that is genuinely useful to our users. Am I making sense?

  18. Chris Campbell · 5 years ago

    That makes sense, but I guess the hard part is getting the community to blog about your site. One possibility could be to pay someone in the community with writing skills to blog. If the community is as active interested in your site as it sounds, blogging could end up being a great idea. If you do begin to blog, please let us know how it goes.

  19. Nathan Burke · 5 years ago

    I really enjoyed this article and want to point out a couple of things.

    First, I work for a law firm and design/develop their web sites. After two years of continually updating the main site with new publications every month or so, there was a huge dropoff in content production. Publications went from being added once a month (2-3 articles) to once a quarter, to twice a year. And when that happened, stats dropped. People were asking why.

    I knew the answer, of course. Why would people come to the site without fresh content? Sure, the site had some residual traffic, but there was no push to lure new visitors.

    Attorneys came to me saying “We need visitors”, to which I said “Great. Write some articles.” But no one was willing to write the content. It became a catch 22….why write content if we’re not getting visitors….why would we get visitors without fresh content?

    In my case, the answer was blogs. I came up with a strategy and had an attorney (or two) have a blog to represent a certain practice area.

    You may be thinking: Wait. If they’re not writing, how can asking them to update a site frequently solve the problem? The answer: Because it was theirs. There’s something about giving people their “own thing” that makes them want to write.

    So in some cases blogs are definitely the answer. And regardless of the size of the business, I think the main advantage to having a blog is that it shows personality. This is huge when you’re in a business with heavy concentration without much differentiation. Again, from my experience, law firms are perfect for this.

    Second, I agree with the disdain for SEO. I don’t mean the actual people or practices, instead I just mean the term. For some reason the definition of Search Engine Optimization has been darkened. It is almost a curse word. I think this has come mostly from the fact that some SEOs have historically engaged in practices that aren’t very honest. Maybe it’s time we come up with a term that means “Individual or business that works with web site owners to ensure their site can be found by visitors.”

    Just my opinion.

  20. Kevin Hale · 5 years ago

    Nathan, that’s a really great example with the lawyers. It’s interesting to see that people are more interesting in keeping up with a relationship on the web if they feel like they own it. There’s always something about making writing feel like work that makes the words harder to pull out.

  21. Mark Stiles Keller · 5 years ago

    Ever wonder how eBay gets top search results for its main page utilizing the back filler of its listings? Search Engine Marketing is turning into a whole new world with many colors in the rainbow rather than just white hat or black hat technologies. Add this killer tool to what you put into practice in your SEO efforts, for the ultimate compliment to your already thriving Seach Engine Optimization campaign: Ultra Ranker SEM Software Suite v3.0

  22. Mike M · 5 years ago

    Excellent job. I found this article when I posted a similar one on my blog at called Blogging for Businesses. While I focus more on the mechanics of getting started, this article provides mroe great reasons and incentive for small Biz owners to consider taking the time to blog.


  23. Sam. K · 5 years ago

    I am impressed with this page…setup really nice. Doesn’t take forever to load pics, like mine… Very impressive..

  24. william · 4 years ago

    I am desperately curious to learn more about the blogging world and how it can work for my business. I am very much the real life Bob in the example above but would consider myself and internet marketing expert - or so I thought…

  25. shredder · 4 years ago

    I think a blog gives the impression that it will be updated during certain intervals where if he had a website he can just post an article once every couple of months or whatnot to keep the customers happy.

  26. Smart Boards · 4 years ago

    Apart from that Blog can also enhance traffic throgh blogsphere as outlined by mentioned research. But yes the user is always after fresh and dynamic content which a blog can server well.

  27. Smart Boards · 4 years ago

    Apart from that Blog can also enhance traffic throgh blogsphere as outlined by mentioned research. But yes the user is always after fresh and dynamic content which a blog can serve well.

  28. cordless phones · 4 years ago

    I’m planning to start a blog, partly because it does seem the done thing and more accepted these days. I’d love to see more on “getting started” tips, and more on the potential pitfalls. :)

  29. Larry Smith · 3 years ago

    Everyone needs a hug and that was very useful.

  30. Natural Gain Plus · 3 years ago

    We have helped literally thousands of men successfully enlarge their penis and increase their performance our pills are thoroughly tested and naturaly enlarge your penis.