How to Improve Your Website with a Blog

...and solve the 5 biggest problems businesses face.

Building a good website is hard. It takes planning. It takes skill and talent, and, most of all, it takes content. Ideally, that content would tell a compelling and useful story of who you are, what you do, and how to work with you. In a perfect world, as soon as you publish that content, all of your potential customers would instantly read it, and the phone would start ringing. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way.

Several problems prevent websites from attracting new customers. The good news is almost all of them can be solved with one simple trick: blogging.

Problem 1: Invisibility - People do not know you exist

Customers cannot find a company they can’t see. That’s why road signs are important. On the web, we build websites to act as signs that point to the goods and services we want people to know about. The more signs you put up, the more chance there is that someone will see one. If you do not have a website at all, obviously, you can not be found. A lot of small businesses (such as restaurants, gyms, retail, or other “brick-and-mortar” businesses) can get by with only a Facebook page or a listing on Google maps or Yelp. If you are in a traditional line of business that does not need much explanation, this can work out fine. But if your offering is new to the market, you’re going to need something more.

Solution: Your website needs two types of content - reference material that you keep up to date about your products and services and then blog content - news, stories, questions and answers that raise your visibility and give people something to find when they search. If you do not write it, no one can read it.

Problem 2: Confusion - People don't know what you do or sell

Some companies need no introduction. For example, there is a business in my home town that has been heavily advertised for years. They were called ABC Pest Control. They had a catchy jingle and ran ads that just played that song and their phone number. When they expanded their business to lawn care, they changed their name - ABC Pest and Lawn. When they expanded to pools, it became: ABC Pest, Pool and Lawn. Now they have added A/C servicing and Christmas lights (?) and changed their name to ABC Home and Commercial - not so self-explanatory any more. Now they need a new way to help people discover them. Very few people are going to search for Home and Commercial when they need help getting bees out of the backyard. To catch people searching for Bee Removal, you need a page called Bee Removal (which they have).

Solution: Blogs give more context and more opportunities to explain what you do and how and when to work with you.

(Maybe we should have called ourselves Base22 Web Strategy, Design, and Development)

Problem 3: Ignorance - People don't know they need you or your service

While customers may know their problem, chances are they do not know solution. For example, I needed wheel for an office chair. I searched and searched and found few good options until I discovered they are called "casters”. Once you know the solution, it's easy to find. Unfortunately, the more specialized or technical a product or service is, the more knowledge is required to even begin to search for it.

This is the problem we face at Base22. It is obvious to us that a successful web site needs a good web content strategy, an information architecture blueprint to keep the site organized, a governance framework, a content management system, a good search strategy and user centered design methodology. These are the things we want to write about - but if the web is not your core business - do you really think about things in those terms or do you think about things like “improve website”.

Problem 4: Trust and Credibility

People need real reasons to believe you are who you say you are and can do what you say you can do. Building trust takes time and one of the best ways to do that is by building an audience that takes value from your blog. Blog posts represent opportunities to expound on victories and give honest, introspective insights into failures. This type of content is invaluable to building trust.

Problem 5: Finding you through the long tail

Most of your content will not go viral and get millions of hits. A lot of it might be repetitive in that you are telling the same stories in slightly different ways and with different context. That is ok. The value of a blog is that it’s out there and searchable. If you only give people a single way to find you, you are doing yourself a great disservice. Each blog post is a different path to your front door. The more roads that lead to you, the more visitors and, ultimately, customers you will get.

In summary - Base22 will start blogging again.

And hopefully never stop. We want to tell you our story, share our lessons learned and, most importantly, start a conversation with you. Tell us in the comments the type of content you want to hear about. Ask us a question, and let us see if we can find a solution - together. We have built a pretty big community of enterprise focused web designers, developers, and portal experts - both at Base22 and our clients and partners. We are eager to start a dialog with that community and tap into its insights.

Building great websites is hard. But it's a lot easier with a good team and a great community. Join us - we can do it together.

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