PROS: The Benefits of Blogging
Expanding your reach
The number one reason most service providers and professionals consider blogging is to help grow their business. A blog, done correctly, can aid in that endeavor by providing exposure for a business to new consumer prospects.
Highlighting your niche or expertise
A blog can help a service provider focus on a profitable niche by highlighting their expertise in a narrow topic. For instance, there are likely very few experts on foreclosures in Santa Barbara. In fact, a search for “Santa Barbara foreclosures” on Google yields a first page of nothing but generic foreclosure listing websites. A professional that consistently wrote a blog focusing on Santa Barbara foreclosures would likely be able to rank highly for that term over time. This could lead to a greater business focus on foreclosures and a reputation as the expert in the topic.
A Website for dummies
The best part about blogs is that you do not have to be a computer programmer to use one. Blogs focus on the content and have a built-in system for managing it. This allows users to focus on their expertise rather than programming. Websites like Blogger and Wordpress offer hosted blogs for free. A little customization, and you can be off to the races.
Building an asset
Blogs, like any website, are long-term assets. That means that the return on your investment in the short-term will usually be low. However, once you’ve created the content and built your reputation, it can usually be maintained with minimal effort. The content that you create today could and probably will receive traffic for years to come. Look at it as an investment. Devote a small, regular amount of time to it. When it starts to show some results, you’ll be motivated to devote even more time to it.
CONS: The Challenges of Blogging
Even professional writers require a certain level of discipline to write on a consistent basis. It can be a frustrating process, where hours of effort yield no results. However, there are also times when a half an hour can yield a wealth of content. The key is discipline. If you do not force yourself to write on a regular basis, and set time aside for that express purpose, then you may never hit those sweet spots of productivity. If you feel like you are having difficulty writing, I recommend the book Write: 10 Days to Overcoming Writer’s Block. Period.
The time commitment
Blogging is a long-term investment, and thus often conflicts with those with a short-term focus. Not only does it take time to write posts, but it also takes time to build relationships with other bloggers and website owners in order to build the links that will turn your unique content into traffic. If you are not willing to give blogging at least three to six months before evaluating its effects, then it may not be worth starting one.
Consistency is a must
Blogging works best when you post on a regular basis. This makes a blog friendlier to search engines and to RSS feed subscribers of a blog. There are, however, ways to minimize this challenge. If you are the kind of person that likes to focus on one project for a longer period of time, you can create your blog posts all at once and post them at regular intervals during the week or month.