Your blog is the backbone of your online content marketing strategy — or at least, it should be.
It’s the sticking point for new visitors, a conduit for attracting more traffic, a chance to build your brand reputation, and a focal zone for securing conversions.
But blogs don’t work like billboards. You can’t just create some good content, publish it, and sit back and wait and expect to see significant results. Instead, you need to promote that content, make regular changes, updates, and additions to it, and add new content periodically.
So how often should you update your blog? I’m going to examine this question from two main angles. First, the small, regular updates, or in other words, the new blog posts you publish to your website. Then, the big, overarching updates, or web redesigns that affect your entire site.
Let’s start by looking at the factors that should drive you to produce new content:
· Regular readers. If your content is high-quality, your readers are going to look forward to newly published content on your blog. Give your regular readers what they want by publishing as often as you can, without sacrificing quality. Posting at least once a week is usually sufficient to establish a regular core of readers, and these readers are typically the ones who will form the core of your brand community. Without consistency, it’s difficult to build brand loyalty.
· SEO. In terms of capturing the most traffic, more posts is generally better. According to research from Hubspot, companies that produced 16 posts or more every month saw more than four times as much traffic as those who posted between 0 and 4 times. This makes logical sense as well; four times the posts means four times the inbound linking and indexing opportunities. To use a fishing metaphor, it’s like casting more hooks into the water; the more you cast, the more fish you’ll catch. Of course, this assumes that all your posts are equal in quality. If the number of posts you make is like the number of hooks in the water, then the quality of your content is like the tastiness of the bait you use on your hook. Keep Google (and your readers) happy by publishing only super-high quality content.
· News and updates. How often you should post new blog content also depends on how quickly new information unfolds in your industry. If you’re a tech startup, you probably watch for new developments daily, and posting daily — even if they’re just short news update articles — is a good idea. Slower industries that are less susceptible to change, like manufacturing, won’t require updates as often.
· Competition. How often are your competitors posting new blogs? If they have a bigger following than you do, this is an especially important question to ask. If you’re trying to one-up your competition, you might consider posting more often than they do.
· Budget and resources. Finally, you’ll need to consider the budget and resources you’re willing to expend in your effort to attract more traffic. Assuming the quality of your content remains consistent, publishing more often is probably going to lead you to more opportunities; more blog posts means more indexed pages in search engines, more chances to hit with something viral, and more content to keep your most loyal readers happy. However, it’s usually better to have one high-quality post than dozens of low-quality posts. In either case, the more you spend on your content strategy, the more it’s likely to pay off, so your investment depends on your financial limitations and your overall campaign goals.
To summarize, if blogging is a core part of your strategy, you should be publishing a new post at least once or twice a week, but more often if your industry, competition, or goals pressure you to do so.
I know that getting the ball rolling is often the hardest part, because it means coming up with a topic or title for your next blog post. To help with that, here are 101 content ideas for your website or blog.
The design angle is a broader topic, and one that’s harder to answer succinctly. Some authorities suggest a redesign — or at least a refresh — every 2 to 3 years. That’s a good rule of thumb, but you need to understand the three big factors that influence your need to change designs:
· Technological trends. Back in 2009, Flash — a technology now seen as outdated, resource-consuming, frequently incompatible, and insecure — was a popular standard for building websites. In 2005, nobody was using mobile devices to access the web. As new technologies emerge and develop, it’s important to update your website to accommodate them — like how mobile optimization redefined web standards over the past several years. Thankfully, these changes roll out gradually, and major CMS platforms like Wordpress help transition their customers. Still, it pays to pay attention to these new tech needs.
· Fashion trends. Design trends also change based on superficial standards. For example, when was the last time you saw a hit counter or a tiled background on a modern site? These changes are more difficult to track, but should be a part of your update strategy. At least once a year, you should examine your site for features that just aren’t “in” anymore.
· Company interests. In the early stages of a business, it’s a good idea to review your business plan at least once a month, and make adjustments to your approach. Even big businesses often change their offers, their branding, or some other element of their corporate identity a few times a year. When you do, you need to update your blog design to reflect those changes; otherwise, your users could get a false impression of your brand.
Overall, you should check the design of your blog at least once a year, and make plans to tinker with a new design every 2 or 3 years.
Updating your blog is important if you want it to thrive. If your attention is split between the blog and your other campaigns, it’s natural for your interest and motivation to wane, or to neglect your regular updates. Make sure you schedule regular new additions, and occasional time to audit (and potentially change) your design.
For more content like this, be sure to check out my podcast, The Entrepreneur Cast!