I’ve been blogging here for just over 4 years now. I love blogging, but one of the things that has always frustrated me about blogging is that I have never been able to draw a direct line between my blog and a quantifiable business benefit. IOW, I couldn’t give you an exact ROI on my blogging. I know that blogging is indirectly leading me to business because it’s directly leading to a lot of the things that ultimately lead to business, but it’s muddy. A couple of years ago I decided to get serious about creating that straight line from blogging to business benefit.
I started really obsessing over the stats here. One of the things that I noticed was that search traffic was rising. So I started changing the way I was blogging and writing, and I began to write more for search engines. If I was getting more search traffic, in theory I would be getting more traffic from people looking for help with marketing and social media. In other words, potential clients. So in my mind, rising search traffic meant more potential clients visiting my blog.
So I really began to focus on improving the SEO of my posts. Search traffic over the next couple of years went from 50 visitors a day, to 500. Search as a percentage of overall traffic here went from 25% to as high as 66% on some days.
I mention this because last night I went through the archives of my posts here, and started examining them from the first post. I was actually looking for something completely different, but I was immediately struck by something: Almost every post had about 20-30 comments. I realized that the posts here over the past couple of years had gotten far fewer comments the posts did for the first couple of years.
And then it hit me: When I had started writing for search engines, I had (unwittingly) stopped writing for my readers. The people that came here and commented on almost every post. I was then writing for people that had never visited the blog before and who were about to find it for the first time thanks to a Google search.
And yet….one of the common discussions I’ve had with other consultants is exactly who we are writing for. Along these lines, there seems to be two camps: The people that believe you write for potential clients only. This group could care less if they ever get a comment on their blog, as long as they get an email or phone call asking about their services from someone that read their blog, they are happy.
The other camp wants comments. The other camp views comments and the discussions on their blogs as almost a form of networking, and feel they get business as a result of those discussions.
I think both camps make good points. But I do think there is real business value in creating vibrant discussions and engaging with your readers, even if those readers aren’t potential clients. Perhaps the real goal for those of us that are blogging for our business should be to write for search engines AND our readers at the same time? Or is that even possible on a consistent basis?
Who are you writing for?