I can’t tell you how often I uncover a lazy and incompetent blogging execution in my website audits.

Scores of businesses are trying to execute on content marketing through blogging, only to fail miserably.

Their blog is a ghost town. Or it’s page after page of boring corporate updates that nobody cares about. Or it’s really well-intentioned, but with no underlying SEO strategy (which means nobody will ever read it).

Then, of course, there are the sites that blog really well. The only problem is that their business is suffering because their blog is taking all their time.

I’ve certainly made the second mistake before.

In my estimation, I’d say that only about 15-20% of businesses are using blogging effectively. And I would say that 80-90% of businesses are only blogging because they think they’re supposed to.

This needs to be hashed out because there’s a lot of confusion and misunderstanding.

Is a blog necessary to drive traffic and sales? Does every business website need a blog?

Let’s get this straight – having a bad blog is worse than not having a blog at all.

Remember all those bad blogs I talked about?

Well, they don’t get an A for effort.

When visitors come to your site, they need to be informed, inspired, motivated, and captured.

Maybe some of the pages on your site start to do this. And then…the visitor sees “blog” in the navigation.

They click through. They start reading. And oh my, it’s awful. It’s the most boring stuff they’ve ever read. It’s not helpful. It’s…click.

You just lost them. They closed the browser and their final parting thought about your company is, “not what I’m looking for.”

Or maybe your blog is their first impression. Maybe one of your bad articles actually got indexed in Google and is getting some organic traffic.

Or maybe you published that bad blog on social media and people who had never heard about you and had never been to your site clicked through.

Their first impression about your company is this mess you’ve created on your blog.

The result? Your bad blog is killing sales!

If that bad blog wasn’t there, it wouldn’t be harming a thing. Your site visitors would pay attention to the parts of the site that help move them toward a sale rather than getting distracted and turned off by your blogging mess.

Even if your bad blog is attracting some traffic, you’re better off without it.

Don’t get it twisted – effective blogging is time-consuming.

Most people still have a 2005 view of what blogging is. They think blogging is random people on the internet writing down their daily thoughts like a diary.

“How hard could that be?” they think.

But that version of blogging has been dead for a very long time. At least, it’s dead when it comes to blogging for business.

If you want to use blogging to generate tons of organic traffic, social shares, and leads, it’s going to take time. A lot of time.

Here are just some of the tasks that go into effective blogging…

  1. Topic research.
  2. Keyword research.
  3. Headline creation (and iteration).
  4. Outlining.
  5. The writing itself (long-form works best, so we’re talking 1000+ words).
  6. Editing.
  7. Optimizing the content for search.
  8. Internal linking.
  9. Finding or creating supporting images or other media content.
  10. Creating supporting lead magnets.
  11. Creating supporting media for social (of various sizes).
  12. Promotion (of various types).
  13. Creating ads.
  14. Setting up retargeting opportunities.
  15. And more…

You don’t have to do that entire list with every article, of course. But that list has to be done consistently if you want to be successful.

That’s how I grew RebootedBody.com from 0 visitors in January of 2013 to over 100,000 visitors per month by January of 2014.

I started out publishing daily content. If I was an employee I would have been nearly full time on just the blogging side of things.

So, here’s the deal…

Before you add a blog to your site, understand the time and effort commitment it’s going to require. Understand that it’s a part-time job at minimum.

Blogging isn’t necessary. You can get traffic, leads, and sales without a blog.

I’ve been debating whether or not I should blog at my new digital marketing agency, SixFig Media.

One of the reasons I haven’t started blogging there yet is because of the last point I covered. Time.

I simply don’t have time to blog there. And following point #1, I’d rather not blog at all than half-ass it.

I also feel like SixFig Media can be a great case study for building a successful digital company without relying on blogging. After all, we’re off to a great start in that regard. I closed over $15,000 in sales in the first 30 days and there’s at least another $45,000 in the leads pipeline.

The worst thing you can do is start a blog because you think you’re supposed to. Or because you think you need to in order to be successful.

Not every website needs a blog. It’s a matter of deciding whether or not that piece of the marketing puzzle is a good fit for you.

If you have the resources and knowledge to do it right, there’s really no downside to it. Take advantage of its potential.

But, if you don’t have the resources or the knowledge to blog effectively, consider other strategies first.

How can I get traffic, leads, and sales without blogging?

Blogging is really powerful for driving organic traffic to your site. Fresh, long-form, valuable content is prized by Google.

If you follow effective blogging strategies, you’ll get indexed and the Google Gods will send you traffic.

If you do a great job of conversion strategy on top of that you can turn a percentage of that traffic into leads and sales (typically less than 2% of site traffic, just so you know).

That’s not the only way to get traffic, though.

There are a ton of alternative ways to drive organic traffic: forums, social media, guest appearances, podcasting, and micro-influencer recruiting are just a few examples.

You can also pay for traffic through digital advertising and retargeting. And for companies with room in the budget, this might be the most efficient way to go. Instead of spending tons of time and effort, you just spend dollars.

The beauty of this approach is that you can get very granular about the kind of traffic you drive to your site. With the proper analytics tracking, you can easily verify and scale your ROI.

You can get sales with zero traffic.

Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make is thinking that you need a ton of traffic to sell your thing. You actually don’t need any.

I closed over $15,000 in deals in the first 30 days that SixFig Media was online. Here was the traffic from that period…

Yep, zero traffic.

How is that possible?

Pretty much every dollar of that total came through strategic partnerships. I’ll do a full write-up on it soon, but the point is that it’s a mistake to think that you need to blog or even that you need traffic in order to make sales.

What’s the bottom line?

Blogging is a useful tool. It’s not necessary and it’s certainly not a panacea. There is a laundry list of ways you can drive traffic, leads, and sales without blogging.

You also have to keep in mind the countless people who have been bogged down and even drowned by blogging and its time-consuming nature.

Weigh the pros and cons, take a look at all your options, and then decide whether blogging is the right strategy for you.

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