Not Blogging? You Must Read This!

Blogging is without doubt the most effective marketing tool for a business. It is easy, cheap and powerful. And yet there is resistance to it.

writing on a laptop

One of the major frustrations of the last few years has been my inability to persuade my clients to blog consistently. Here are the most common “excuses” against blogging and my answers to them.

“I’m not comfortable with the idea of blogging”

Don’t get hung up on the word “blog”. It’s just a website which is easy to add content to. And this is the important point: adding content regularly to a website gives people reason to return. It gives search engines the idea that it’s alive and kicking.

A website that doesn’t get updated regularly is dead, dead, dead! Nobody cares about it, no one will visit it.

writing

“There are loads of blogs already. What’s the point of starting another one?”

Those who don’t blog don’t see the point. “There are people doing that already,” they say. “What are you doing now?” I say. Watching TV? There are people doing that already. Working in a job you don’t like? There are people doing that already. Surfing the internet? Ah, there are lots of people are doing that – wouldn’t it be better if you were adding to the debate rather than being on the sidelines just watching it?

“I don’t have anything to write about”

You’re right, you don’t. That’s because you haven’t started writing yet. I didn’t have anything to write about when I started. Look at my first blog post. Utter, utter crap. “I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, do you?” Do you know what? It didn’t matter. No one read it.

That’s the beauty of blogs. Nobody reads them if they aren’t any good. So you might as well practice in the open.

the kings speech

If you tell yourself to write an article every week you will eventually “find your voice”. You will find out how to research articles to make them useful, you’ll learn how to balance information with entertainment. You’ll see what’s good about other websites and mirror their techniques and style.

Write about what you do and you will benefit in two ways. Firstly, actually writing about a subject will increase your knowledge as you have to research and check your facts. And secondly, people interested in your particular specialisation will come to your website in increasing numbers, this will help you gain a better business profile, clients and … more money.

It will be original because it’s by you. And there’s nobody quite like you in the whole universe. And the secret is: the more you write, the better you get at it and the more subject matter to find to write about. So you don’t have to worry about content. You just have to start.

clocks

“I don’t have the time”

You don’t have the time not to. Your competitors are blogging. If you hate your job you’re not going to get anywhere without a website.

The traditional model of a 9-to-5 job for life at a large organisation is, thank God, hopelessly outdated. When said large organisation finds your services surplus to their requirements you are left with skills which are best suited to that organisation and a couple of lines on your resumé.

If you blog you have a permanent piece of web real estate where you can gradually and constantly add to your worth with article after article demonstrating your expertise.

And, what’s more, it doesn’t take much time! How long does it take you to write 300 words? 20 minutes? WordPress can be set up in 1 minute! You can use dictation software if you don’t like typing.

And, again, the more you do it, the faster it becomes. You just need to start the habit and get into the rhythm of writing every week. It’s not much of an undertaking.

doughnut

“I won’t see immediate results”

Here’s the thing: sometimes when we do things that are good for us (giving up smoking/alcohol/drugs, exercising, eating healthy food) we don’t see the benefits straightaway. In fact, our initial reaction to these good things is one of pain and discomfort.

So, often in life we need to sacrifice present comfort for future gains. And, blogging is like this? Well, no, not at all really.

For starters, blogging is enjoyable. You are involved in creating something for the benefit of yourself and others – that’s a pleasurable experience.

And, also, you can see instant gratification. Always set up Google Analytics and keep an eye on it while blogging. In Google Analytics, look up your Traffic Sources > Search > Organic and you will find that people have been visiting your website as a direct result of your blogging. The words they have entered in the search engines will be very similar to the titles and content of your blog articles.

“I already do social media”

You’re already doing social media? Great! Happy with the results? I didn’t think so.

Those time-consuming tasks of engaging and promoting through Twitter, Facebook et al should be peripheral to your blogging endeavours not central to your marketing plan. You have to have something to promote on social media first and blog posts are ideal for this.

Adding social media buttons to quality blog articles will be more effective than any amount of time spent promoting on social media.

What you can do

If you don’t have a website, here are some important points to think about before setting up a website, how to choose a domain name plus a tutorial on how to set up a website.

Also, for even more information, you can download my free e-books, How to Market Yourself Online and Starting An Online Business. Otherwise, if you need any help, you can always ask me. I don’t bite!

Comments

  1. says

    Very true, I personally like to write long blog posts so I often ‘don’t have the time’ but then I look back and see what time was wasted while chatting rubbish with the missus whilst watching coronation St!

    Great way of taking pressure off people with the idea of new blogs being a practice ground… ‘ Nobody reads them if they aren’t any good. So you might as well practice in the open.’

    As you stay, get started, what have you to lose apart from the job you don’t like, or at least find a hobby you enjoy!

    A great post Ron.
    Andi

    • says

      It’s true, Andi, you’re much better off trying to write regularly whether it’s every day, every other day, every week. Once you’ve done it regularly for a month the habit should stick and your blog will turn into an excellent resource for you that never stops giving!

      You’re the third person here to call me Ron. It’s Rob, but no to worry!

      • says

        I just read this and thought it was a great post and that I would leave a comment, then saw that I already had, so I guess I enjoyed the first time round as well lol.

        I am going to share again and I have taken a quote to share on twitter as well.

        I would also like to say that the name issue has more to do with 1) me miss hitting the keys… B and N are next to each other and 2) I obviously didn’t read my comment properly before I hit ‘Post Comment’ D’oh.

        I didn’t really get your name wrong Rob….. or did I :-)
        Speak soon Ron… :-) bloody keys
        Andi

  2. says

    I love it. I can feel the frustration too in your writing.

    Web statistics can disabuse anyone of the idea that a lot of Facebook “likes” are better than empty comment boxes on blogs. Yet many are abandoning their blogs to put their efforts in to sites own by someone else that will probably go out favour.

    I think the (largely true) message about SEO moving away from SERPs to social media is confusing the issue for many. I notice also (in the UK) there are state funded courses for small business with plenty on social networks, and little on blogging.

    Except perhaps a few local site with little keyword competition, everyone with a business website should be taking updating it as seriously as they do buying new stock or servicing equipment.

    Thanks for a great post Rob.

    • says

      Haha, I’m sorry the frustration came out, David.

      Thanks for putting it better than I could have. You’re so right, everyone is so social media mad at the moment without realising, if you want to keep sharing, it’s best to have something to share in the first place!

      I know lots of business people who spend hours and hours on Facebook and Twitter and don’t have a blog. Folly!

  3. says

    Hi Rob, I love the way you said, “It didn’t matter. No one read it”. We have a little group of bloggers where get together each week and offer blogging tips on video. None of us are worried about perfection and I keep saying, “No one’s watching anyway”. lol That’s not entirly true of course but if we wait for perfection it will never happen.

    I actually have a related post in draft scheduled for tomorrow morning and I think I have a great spot to link back here. I’ll shoot you a tweet if I do. :)

    • says

      Hey, Brian, great to see you here. I’m so glad you said that. I’m really anti-perfection – I’d much rather get things done.

      I’d love to see your post on this subject when you put it out. And let me know about your blogging tips video group that sounds fantastic. Feel free to give us the link here!

      • says

        Hi Rob, It’s actually a guest post I need to edit but the guest blogger still needs to finish it. If they don’t do it pretty quickly I’ll have to reject it and write it myself since my emails are being ignored.

        You can see our videos on our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/HotBlogTips and we’re actually getting ready for another one today. We meet each Sunday at 1PM eastern for a Google Hangout and talk about different blogging tips. It would be great to have you on as a guest someday. I just subscribed to your channel as HotBlogTips. :)

        • says

          Hi Brian, I have subscribed to HotBlogTips as well. I’ll be sure to checkout a few of your shows as well. I missed the one today but I’ll try to see another one. I would love to be on there as a guest as well. :) I’ve added you and HotBlogTips to my Google+.

    • says

      That’s a really good post, Fasil. You’re a natural blogger! Continue with one post like that every week and your visitor numbers will eventually be very impressive, believe me!

  4. says

    Everyone should write a blog even if it’s just to write about your every day experiences. I started my blog as I wanted to write some recipes to share with my sons who were at Uni. a couple of years ago and didn’t think anyone would see my blog. My recipes got better with the addition of step by step pictures and before I realised it, I had so many people following my blog. I have now linked it to my FB, Twitter and Linkedin page and I am always surprised at the number of people appreciating my simple everyday recipes. What I call simple recipes are being appreciated by so many people who email me regularly to say that they find them useful. Now I am in the process of updating my older recipes as I feel so much more confident in sharing them with everyone.

    Mina

    • says

      Thank you, Mina, what a fascinating story! It’s always the blogs that start out as a labor of love that continue to be successful. Congratulations on all your success so far and thank you for coming here to tell us your story. I looked at your blog and I like the recipes!

  5. says

    My own blogging tends to cater toward my initial audience, composed mostly of friends and family. But I see the context as a platform from which to build an identity- starting with my home connections, and gradually branching out until my online presence and expertise are perceivable.

    Good advice, and well presented. Thanks for the reminder as to why blogging is so worth it!

    • says

      Thanks, Dan, I like the synopsis of your experience – first writing for a very small, immediate circle and then branching out and developing authority and expertise. I think that’s the same for all bloggers.

  6. says

    Thank you for this useful information Rob. I’ve been talking to a client about is very thing so I will now send him your article for his review.

  7. says

    its true that its difficult to have mindset to start blogging. but once we start we will gain momentum. also the blog writer must be willing to brainstorm new topic relevant to target market. most small business owners don’t want to spend time to learn and continue blogging. this is against the very nature of blogging

    • says

      Very true, Vinodh. It’s a skill that most business owners don’t believe they possess. But I believe that everyone can become a brilliant blogger!

  8. says

    I started really with video blogging, something I still do from time to time. I find I can get out a lot of information quicker doing it by video and personally think it can be more interesting if you keep it below 3 minutes.

    That said I also have been blogging for a few years and have a few blogs; some of which are replicated as they seem to get different visitors between say blogger and wordpress. I have to agree that its a matter of just get out there and blog and don’t worry about the content. Even after a few hundred blog posts I still find some posts more popular than others.

    That said, that is the difficulty. Getting people to view and more difficult to comment. I do get a number of views to blogger site now after quite a number of posts. But driving traffic is the tricky part, not sure if anyone here has any suggestions? But more difficult I find is to get good responses. I get a number of spam links posted daily but only ever a few good responses. Again I am not sure if any secret exists to this. But all in all I do have to agree with what said; but to add to those thinking they can’t blog then why not try video blogging (vlogging)

    • says

      Hey, Sean, thanks for your valuable input! Video blogging is something that, I’m sure, will grow and grow in the next few years. Google may even find a way to “hear” the content on videos and index them accordingly. Either way it makes sense to get into it early.

      I’ve got a lot of videos on my YouTube channel but they’re all tuts – only one where I’ve “vlogged” and spoken to camera but it’s not doing too well in terms of views!

      I agree, you never know which blog posts are going to do well. Of course, you can look at analytics and the keyword research tool but, at the end of the day, some posts just do well!

      In terms of getting comments, I find it helps to form relationships with people online – which I’m sure you’re doing.

      Thanks for your comment, Sean.

  9. says

    Rob, your best point for those who are shy about “going live” is that no one reads your first blog anyway. I was “blog shy” until I read a post about that very topic on Darren Rouse’s Problogger. The world doesn’t even know your blog exists until you actively promote it, and in my case, even afterward. :) Anyone who has half a vocabulary and an inkling to start a site, should just give it a try. It is soooo easy with WordPress. All it takes is a few bucks to buy a domain name, subscribe to a hosting service (HostGator, BlueHost, etc.) and launch your site in five minutes. The hosting service folks will help you. After that, there are thousands (well, hundreds) of helpful people like Rob who can show you how to do more than the basics. But the basics are just fine. And you can watch TV while you do it. Not blogging? Stop putting it off!

    • says

      I like your style, AG. I see you’re getting more than a few visitors now on your site. It’s going really well. You’re right, it’s easy. There is no real reason to procrastinate. Do it now!

  10. says

    I couldn’t agree more with this Rob.

    I was speaking to a guy on Skype a year or so ago, and he told me that, “blogging was pretty much dead”. This simply isn’t true, and, I really enjoyed the analogy you used in your article. Furthermore, even a small amount of targeted traffic to a site like yours (not that you receive a small amount) can bring in thousands of dollars in business over the course of a year.

    If you write things that people find useful, and if you make a point of connecting with them via email or Skype, you can build some excellent relationships. Anyway, I think this is one of the best posts on your site. :-) Take it easy, amigo!

    • says

      Hey, John, thanks for leaving a comment and tweeting out this post. Yes, due to the rise of Twitter as the “micro-blogging” service a few people inaccurately predicted the death of blogging. But it seems to have gone from strength to strength.

      You’re right about making connections. 99% of my business comes from this site!

  11. says

    Agreed. I consult with clients every month that don’t want to put a blog on their site but once you put it in their terms the benefits they’re likely to do it. Like you said there’s a lot of confusion to what a blog is and many shy away… just like clients who don’t think facebook is worth their time. It’s easy to say no to a blog unless you’re blogging now because there’s a good chance it makes up a large percentage of your traffic… if you’re doing it correctly.

    • says

      There’s a bit of a Catch 22 there, Chris, the clients that understand the benefits of blogging are the ones that blog! The trick is to persuade the ones that don’t know about the benefits of blogging to blog. Then you can make a real difference to somebody’s business!

  12. says

    This is a great list of complaints with some equally great counter arguments. I’ve clipped it to Evernote for future reference when I run into a client that can’t keep working on their website.

    Google LOVES new content and a “blog” is a great way to continually add more. My favorite thing is to spend a couple of hours and write 2 or 3 articles and schedule them ahead. It just seems so cool that my website can keep working without me!

  13. says

    Rib, this is a truly wonderful article indeed. Have read it several times by now. It is really hard to think about things you want to blog about, it’s almost like you hit a wall. You sit in front of the monitor and think what to write. Sadly I hardly find the time to write nowadays :(

  14. says

    Rob,

    I am in the Blogging since last 2 years but now started feeling board and feeling “writer block” also English is not primary language so its very time consuming for me to write article with correct grammar.

    But this post is inspiring to me. I observed that you are not using any advertisement on your blog but still maintaining very good quality post. I really appreciate your blogging.

    I decided to read your all the posts and hope it give me more inspiration. :)

    • says

      Tushar, I appreciate it must be many times more difficult in a second language. Remember content needn’t be writing. It can also be video, audio or infographics – I don’t know whether that makes it easier or harder! :)

      I make money from this blog through my products and affiliate links. But, most of my business is working for clients these days and I enjoy writing the blog.

      Glad I inspired you. Thanks for commenting!

  15. says

    Great Post, it really works, i have been delaying blogging on my site for quite a few months now.
    After reading this article i finally bit the bullet and sat and planned my first proper blog post. Once i had posted it and shared it using a share plugin my visitor numbers jumped up 10 fold.
    i cant wait to get the next one published!

  16. says

    Ha ha i think i have caught the blogging bug!!! i already have about 10 rough ideas written down, i am aiming to do weekly posts, and then a couple of monthly ones showcasing improvement in my site visitor stats etc

  17. says

    Great post Rob. I just got my blog going again. However last week I fractured my right wrist (I’m right-handed – ouch!) but I still did a blog post….. appropriately titled “when life abruptly humbles you”.

  18. Oksana Frewer says

    Hi everyone. Nice post Rob, especially for me. I’ve already prepared my first post for my future blog, it is waiting its time on my comp. I’m really nervous about blogging, I get butterflies in my stomach everytime I think about it. ” It didn’t matter. No one read it” :) that’s good for me. And English isn’t my mother tongue, so it will be real fun for me anyway , I think!

    • says

      Hello again, Oksana. Well, if you get butterflies in your stomach thinking about it, it must be worth reading! Yes, don’t worry, if you’re passionate about it, you’ll do well. And don’t worry about English being your second language, I can think of scores and scores of examples of top, top bloggers who don’t have English as their mother tongue. It’ll be fun!

  19. says

    Blogging is like accelerating a steam train. Really slow at the start but once it is moving then WOW.

    Although I wish I had just kept with the same blog I started years ago instead of chopping and changing

    • says

      That’s right, Andy. That’s why it’s best to get started asap if you haven’t already. Yes, probably better to not chop and change now but you weren’t to know that at the time. Things change. :)

  20. says

    Blogs can add a huge amount of credibility. We analyse the visitor history of everyone who signs up for our (analytics software) trial and in so many cases we see that people have looked at the blogs during the session when they signed up for the trial, or they’d looked at them on previous visit dates. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean they liked the blogs but we like to think they played a part.

    For the companies who say “I don’t know what to blog about” a really simple starting point is to do a weekly blog that summarises the type of work done in the past week – expertise and the ‘heart’ of a company can really start to show through. Sort of like a weekly diary of who the company served in the previous week, but without becoming droll (“we sold 100 widgets to ABC Ltd who could have lost a major order if we hadn’t turned them round in 2 days” sounds better than “we sold 100 widgets to ABC Ltd”).

    • says

      Andy, I absolutely agree with your idea about doing a weekly blog post about what you did last week. In fact, I would say this is the one best way to think up of blog post ideas.

      I usually write blog posts at weekends and I think:

      what did I do last weekend?
      what problems did I solve?
      what issues did I encounter and how did I overcome them?
      what successes did I have in the last week?

      That will usually give you a good blog post as long as you don’t, as you say, boast about your company’s performance because that would be a really bad idea! :)

      Thanks, Andy.