As the internet evolves with the needs of people and new technology it will adapt and change. Some internet gurus call this Web 3.0. Towards the end of 2000 and going into 2005 we saw the end of forums and the rise of social media. We can also include the dramatic increase in mobile devices in this generation of the internet.
As we hit the end of 2015, there is a clear change in customer and visitor behavior for B2C businesses. Informational websites that many small businesses depend on are vastly underused by customers. It is clear that websites that don’t have a specific tool or resource are not being used. Blog posts are not a useful resource! Customers would rather engage with businesses on Facebook or LinkedIn.
The time customers spend on these basic informational websites that small businesses use is on the decline. An even smaller percentage of visitors actually read the content on your informational website. The need to actually read block text rare with the exception of hard-core fans and potential employees. This is compounded by the fact that many informational websites have little to no marketing strategy behind them.
E-commerce websites and those that have a specific function like YouTube or banking websites are not those that I am discussing.
The need for blog posts is commonly for SEO and PR purposes. The blog post as it is now will only consist of a very small percentage of your online marketing compared to several years ago.
The attention of customers is simply not in blog posts or informational websites.
I am not debating that websites with blogs don’t get as much traffic compared to websites that do. You can also find statistics to support either side. I am comparing today’s traffic and behaviors to that of several years ago. Where is the attention of customers?
Additionally, the time required to make a quality post is more than most small businesses can afford. That same time could be used to engage customers directly on social media. The key is how much time you can afford and what type of marketing works best for your business.
You may consider that your blog post are made for the few and not the many. This perspective is good observation, but has to be taken into consideration in whether the time invested is worth it.
Some well written posts on popular websites can take days to plan, write, edit, develop, and publish. Then add-on time to distribute and syndicate those posts to get them in front of your first set of readers. This isn’t effective for many small businesses with limited resources and a basic informational website.
More people are looking for content on LinkedIn and Medium than blog platforms. This is due to wide variety and choice of topics and authors. Only a small percentage of blogs are successful due to other reasons. This may include the fame of the business or person that has the website. It would also include websites that have extremely valuable content and resources. Lastly, the business could have the time and resources to properly create and market a quality blog post.
The primary reason that people visit my website is for the One Page Business Plan or Personal Brand Outline. These two resources bring more than 80% of my visitors. The informational blog posts like this bring is less than 5% of my website traffic. An insignificant amount of traffic in comparison.
Why do I blog? I explain in detail the reasons I blog in an earlier post. Basically, the reason I blog is for personal reasons more than anything else. It is a way that I can focus my thoughts and better understand what I have learned. This blog helps build a personal brand over the long-run.
Informational website aren’t completely died, but they should not be a key part of your marketing. Customers still use these types of websites to find links to social media pages, check hours, and find contact information. This is why I don’t suggest small businesses to invest thousands of dollars into an informational website that customers use to find your social media pages and hours.
What can be done?
I recommend that a business who wants to better utilize their website should create a useful resource or tool that customers actually want! Posts on generic content has been done thousands of times. The posts that are created by the majority of writers are on topics done before and have little to no interest to customers. Little analysis, creativity, or opinion go into blog posts.
Ask your customers what they want and get creative!
Small businesses can also incorporate marketing funnels into their website by having landing pages. This is a complex system to create and I recommend hiring a professional.
I also recommend investing more into social media instead of an informational website. Facebook is a far better lead generation system then funneling potential customers to a generic website. Some websites create a mix of these two plate forms by posting on Medium and having their website as a link. Overall, you can engage with your customers on social media and brand yourself more effectively.