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 The Benefits of Blogging

Blogging, blogging, blogging. You hear us say how important it is for you to blog. But you think, what is a blog and who has time for it? And why should I blog, anyway? Many of you don’t blog because you don’t have a blog, or because you don’t see how the investment of time is going to help your business. Having a frequently-updated blog can be one of your most powerful weapons in your web marketing arsenal because it can be indexed and ranked by search engines. Here we give you a simplified run-down of how some of it works so you can get the most out of your blog.

What is a blog?
Blogger puts it very simple when they say " a blog is a web site, where you write stuff on an ongoing basis. New stuff shows up at the top, so your visitors can read what's new. Then they comment on it or link to it or email you. Or not."
Content on your blog can be beefed up with search engine keywords.
Say you have a website with 10 pages that have been optimized with keywords. Suppose you consistently blog once a month for one year. Now you have an additional 12 pages in the search engines that will point to your website. Having a lot of posts with quality content involving keywords helps you to be found in search engines.

Search engines reward sites that are dynamic.
Meaning they actively and frequently add new, high-quality content. Since adding a new blog post is much easier and quicker than adding a new page to your website, this is a more ideal, easier, and faster way of gaining this added advantage.

Search engines crawl and index blogs remarkably faster than websites.
Search engine “crawler bots” have a schedule for how often they crawl pages to index your site.  Using webmaster tools for some of the bigger search engines, you can alert the crawlers how often to scour your page. Many blogging sites quickly and automatically “ping” search engines to let them know “Hey, you should crawl my blog constantly because it is updated frequently.” Blog posts can be indexed as quickly as 30 seconds from when you hit the publish button. Most stagnant websites don’t get crawled very often (it can be months between crawls). While you can tell search engines to crawl your website more frequently, if you’re not walking the talk by updating your website often like you should, search engines may deem your site unworthy of more frequent crawls.

Having rich content gets around.
Good information tends to be passed on and on and on. When someone sees your blog and posts it on their website, blog, or social media page, this creates an inbound link to your blog. If your blog links to your website, this can drive traffic to your site (it is wise to create an outbound link from your blog to your website). This process can repeat over and over again. This helps in two ways: 1) Exposure leads to more exposure and 2) Having more page views on your blog as well as inbound links tells search engines you might be an authority in your particular industry. When you’re considered an authority, more people will link to you, generating you even more exposure.

Inbound links have more power than reciprocal links.
It’s worth noting that inbound links will only help your SEO if they are relevant. If you are a bed and breakfast blog and you have the local car dealership linking to you, search engines won’t buy it as a relevant link. They reward blogs (and websites) who have links that realistically support one another. Reciprocal linking (where I link to you if you link to me) may help your SEO a little, but again, it’s got to be relevant.

Publishing quality content is only slice of the pie.
Like anything else, you can’t rely solely on search engines to generate all of your traffic, especially at the beginning. Actively promoting your blog will help maximize your exposure. Social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter help you reach a large audience quickly. Putting a link to your blog on your website helps. Good old-fashioned word-of-mouth will also help.

So, what do I blog about?
The possibilities are limitless. The idea is to blog about things that will incorporate keywords relevant to your business and that are high quality. Adding a nonsense paragraph once a week with a bunch of keywords (called keyword-stuffing) is not going to help your SEO. Nor will humans want to link and share those posts.

  • Blog about what you’ve learned in your experience does and doesn’t work in the operation of a bed and breakfast. Network with various associations to see if they will find your blog content useful to others and for them to link to your blog. If other reputable sites in the lodging industry are linking to you, it will help build your reputation in the community and improve your visibility in search engines.
  • Write about various events going on in the town or area. Attend some of these events and post photos. Someone might stumble upon your business by searching about an event in your area rather than the traditional “bed and breakfast in Portland.”
  • Provide reviews and recommendations for local attractions, such as restaurants, spas, and golf courses. See if they will link to your blog or website.
  • Blog about a wedding or other party you recently hosted at your property. Showcase pictures. Write about what you did to contribute to the event. You might become a local authority on wedding planning with all the experience you’ve accumulated. Then, promote your blog post on Facebook. Say you have a Facebook friend who “shares” that Facebook post, and another friend sees it, they might like it and want to host their wedding at your property.
 While many of these principles can be applied to your website, the key to remember is that spending 15 minutes to write a blog post is going to be a lot easier than updating your website if you don’t have an easy-to-use content management system.
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