Small businesses need quality websites, and blogging is an important piece of that. That’s a loaded sentence, so we’ll walk through it. The term “blogging” has grown a lot since LiveJournal and Xanga. Today, blogging is a great way for small businesses to connect with potential customers and to share relevant information.

But, we were curious. So we created a survey to see how many small business owners have websites, recent website updates, and are regularly blogging.

Your Website Could Be Losing Leads

Our survey showed that 37% of small and medium-sized businesses don’t have a website. That could have worked when Yellow Pages was the go to for consumers, but no longer. When companies can’t find your business online, they’re likely to head to your competitor. You need a quality website in order to grow.

smb-websitesThe good news, though, is that 73% of you aren’t burning leads because you have a website.

Great! Your website is the front page of your business, so it needs to be good.

But it can be a challenge to know what “good” means. For web design, strong websites are mobile-friendly, regularly updated, and make it easy for the user to find what they are looking for.

Why Your Small Business Need a Website

Why your small business needs a website is very simple. Your customers are online and searching. And unlike social media (which is important), your website is owned space. You “rent” space from Facebook and Yelp and they are certainly helpful when used correctly, but your website is the place you have total control over.

So what will you do with your space?

What a Business Website Needs

There are a few key pieces a business website needs to have

  • What you do
  • Where you are
  • How to contact you
  • Examples of your work, if applicable
  • Product images and cost, if applicable

These may seem simple, but you would be surprised what some businesses forget. Make sure you have an “About” page as well as a “Services” page. If you have a physical place of business, consider embedding a map of your location via Google Maps. This gives visitors an easy way to check how far away they are, parking, and other necessities.

Websites are a Living Resource

According to our survey, a majority of respondents have a website that’s one to two years old. The next segment was the 24% that created their websites three to five years ago. Because of developing technology, these business owners are missing out on leads. Leads that will head to your competitors with fresh, new websites.

website-updates

Businesses Need to Watch Technology Changes

Technology changes are coming as quickly as ever, which means you need to keep abreast of changes that affect you. In the last two years, mobile web browsing habits have grown, user experience has changed how websites are built, and the “long scroll” moved from mobile to desktop versions.

There have also been a significant number of changes in how SEO works. Search engine optimization is how your website gets noticed by search engines, i.e. Google. Poor SEO tactics are being noticed, and Google is continually changing their algorithm.

This means that the SEO practices used when your website was developed one to five years ago are very likely not doing your business any good.

And for the 15% of businesses that created a new website in the last six months? We’re so proud. (But does it use SEO best practices?)

Small Business Website Development

A third of the small businesses represented in this survey say that they’re planning on launching a new website sometime in the future. This is good, because they know they need a new one and that they’re missing leads. But how soon is “soon”?

small-business-website-development

Websites certainly take resources, time, and money: all which can be scarce at a small business. Without using the resources for a new website, though, means that you’re losing the chance at growing business. The adage “spend money to make money” is often misused, but in this case it’s true.

If you start planning financially now for a new website for late next year, you’ll have the resources available to create something amazing.

Invest in a new website now, and you’ll see the long-term results for your sales.

What Your Small Business’ New Website Needs

When considering the platform or agency to develop your new website, there is an important piece to consider. Are they equipped to help you manage smaller updates to keep your website current?

Even if you choose a system like WordPress, there will be updates you need to install and over time your theme may need updating.

Consider now what your future needs may be.

Business Owners’ Website Resources

Just about the same amount of small business owners hired an agency or tasked an employee to create their website (27% and 28%, respectively). 44%, though, did it themselves. And with resources like WordPress and Squarespace, it’s becoming easier to do.

You want to save money and get it done yourself. We definitely understand that. But, imagine what you could be doing if you didn’t need to worry about maintaining your website. Or, what your employees could be doing. (If that isn’t their role, of course.)

web-resources-small-business

The benefit of using an agency is that, when you choose the right one, it will be done right the first time. You also don’t need to worry about the additional costs that come with hiring an employee.

You’ve probably heard the Red Adair quote, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” It’s true. The expense of hiring an agency to fix mistakes will add up, not to mention the time you or your team lost.

Why Your Small Business Needs a Blog

A small business that blogs is one that realizes the power of knowledge. So, now we’ve come to the big question: does your business have a blog on your website?

From our survey, 63% of small or medium-sized business don’t have a blog. This means that two-thirds are losing leads! Blogging allows you to share your knowledge and relevant information with your ideal customer.

why-blogWhat’s interesting with this age spread is that the younger demographic (18-24 and 25-34) have a higher likelihood of having a blog for their small business. This is the generation that grew up with the internet, and are more likely to embrace a tactic like blogging because they likely read others’ blogs every day.

Ages 35-44 have a majority of business owners that don’t blog, while ages 45-54 are fairly evenly split between having one and not having one.

A majority of the business owners we surveyed that had a blog had posted over a month ago. If you visit a website, would you want to see a thriving, “living” space, or one that looked abandoned?

While the most common response was over a month ago, the next highest response was that they had posted this week. Great job! One to two weeks ago was just under 10%, and three to four weeks was at 6%.

If you and/or your team can manage two blog posts a month, that is perfectly fine. Create a schedule, and stick to it. These posts don’t need to be long, because many people will skim it and won’t stick around for a long post belaboring a single point.

What’s Keeping Small Businesses from Blogging

If it’s been a while since you’ve published a blog post, what’s holding you back? Consider ways that you could make the process easier then implement them. It could be spreading the writing duties among interested staff, or setting aside a set time each week to write.

Whatever it is, create a routine with blogging and you’ll begin to see the results of creating content. Your website will bring in new leads, which means increased business and company growth.

The Biggest Reason Companies Don’t Blog

The biggest reason the companies represented in our survey didn’t blog is because they didn’t have the time. 35% of respondents want to blog, and they realize it’s a good thing to do, but they can’t set aside the time to write.

Let us share a very important piece of business advice, and one that we also have trouble remembering at times. It’s okay to accept help. You have your expertise and the pieces of your business that you enjoy and that you need to focus on.

Bringing in an agency that can handle all your website needs and craft the ideal blog posts for your company is a way that you can focus on what’s important: running your business.

Finding Topics and Creating Blog Posts for Your Small Business

Another big reason business owners don’t blog is a lack of ideas. This is where the motto “just start” is important. Don’t wait until you have the perfect schedule and the perfect topic ideas to start pushing out content. We certainly need to strive to improve, but we also need to start somewhere.

If you don’t know what to write about, answer the following questions:

  • What industry are you in?
  • What is your niche? What makes you unique from your competitors?
  • What are the top three questions you receive from potential customers? (I.e., budget, time frame, or materials used.)
  • What is something you wish people knew about your industry or company?
  • What is a common misconception about your niche?

And there you have it. Ideas for your first few blog posts. That wasn’t too painful, right?

Building a quality website and maintaining a blog is important for small businesses. And as our survey showed, small business owners may realize that blogging is important, but they don’t know where to start and they don’t have the time.

This is the time to consider bringing in others that specialize, because you have a business to grow. As a small business owner, business development is a critical piece of building a company, and something you can do better than anyone else.

Blogs are Important for Your Point of View

Whether you realize it or not, you have a view of your industry. Whether it’s how technology is changing it or how your niche is important within the larger industry, you have a unique perception of it.

Blogs share this point of view for your potential customers.

An interior designer, for example, can share a recent project and the process behind it. A realtor can share local favorites, so new residents can learn where to get clothes dry cleaned or the best local pizza shop.

Small Businesses Need to Blog

It’s important to be posting regular blog posts, but the most important thing is consistency. We would all love to be post once or twice a week, but if that isn’t sustainable then it’s not going to work.

A majority of the business owners we surveyed that had a blog had posted over a month ago. If you visit a website, would you want to see a thriving, “living” space, or one that looked abandoned?

small-businesses-need-blog

While the most common response was over a month ago, the next highest response was that they had posted this week. Great job! One to two weeks ago was just under 10%, and three to four weeks was at 6%.

If you and/or your team can manage two blog posts a month, that is perfectly fine. Create a schedule, and stick to it. These posts don’t need to be long, because many people will skim it and won’t stick around for a long post belaboring a single point.

What’s Keeping Small Businesses from Blogging

If it’s been a while since you’ve published a blog post, what’s holding you back? Consider ways that you could make the process easier then implement them. It could be spreading the writing duties among interested staff, or setting aside a set time each week to write.

Whatever it is, create a routine with blogging and you’ll begin to see the results of creating content. Your website will bring in new leads, which means increased business and company growth.

website-blogging-survey-infographic

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The Biggest Reason Companies Don’t Blog

The biggest reason the companies represented in our survey didn’t blog is because they didn’t have the time. 35% of respondents want to blog, and they realize it’s a good thing to do, but they can’t set aside the time to write.

Let us share a very important piece of business advice, and one that we also have trouble remembering at times. It’s okay to accept help. You have your expertise and the pieces of your business that you enjoy and that you need to focus on.

why-smb-dont-blogBringing in an agency that can handle all your website needs and craft the ideal blog posts for your company is a way that you can focus on what’s important: running your business.

Finding Topics and Creating Blog Posts for Your Small Business

Another big reason business owners don’t blog is a lack of ideas. This is where the motto “just start” is important. Don’t wait until you have the perfect schedule and the perfect topic ideas to start pushing out content. We certainly need to strive to improve, but we also need to start somewhere.

If you don’t know what to write about, answer the following questions:

  • What industry are you in?
  • What is your niche? What makes you unique from your competitors?
  • What are the top three questions you receive from potential customers? (I.e., budget, time frame, or materials used.)
  • What is something you wish people knew about your industry or company?
  • What is a common misconception about your niche?

And there you have it. Ideas for your first few blog posts. That wasn’t too painful, right?

Building a quality website and maintaining a blog is important for small businesses. And as our survey showed, small business owners may realize that blogging is important, but they don’t know where to start and they don’t have the time.

This is the time to consider bringing in others that specialize, because you have a business to grow. As a small business owner, business development is a critical piece of building a company, and something you can do better than anyone else.

At Forward Push, we are content creation specialists. We have helped numerous business take their digital marketing to the next level. Are you ready to do the same? It’s easy to get started. Fill out the contact form and let’s find out if we can help you.

contact-content-blogging-specialists

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