It seems that everywhere you turn lately you are hearing buzz words like Social Media, Web 2.0, and the latest buzz word, "New Media." You hear experts debate the best way to use twitter and facebook to increase your business. Tweets from celebrities like Oprah & Shaq are posted all over the news and discussed by millions. All of this buzz and hype have people seeking more information on how to use these two services to generate business.
But, one of the other types of social media and in my opinion the most effective avenue is being pushed to the wayside. The amount of hype that you hear about writing blogs and using one for business seems to becoming a dying breed and lost art form. That being said, I decided that it was time for me to do some research to see if blogs really were losing steam and becoming an ineffective means or if the "gurus" were just omitting an important component to any social media strategy.
The first thing I wanted to see is what is driving traffic to ActiveRain. Are search engines still what brings people to your site, or are they finding your sites through other social media means like Facebook & twitter. Over 75% of the traffic Came from search engines. On the other hand, the two social media giants, Facebook and Twitter are only accountable for 1.65% of web traffic. Seeing this, was a major shock to me. I thought for sure that both would be in the top 10 and probably bring somewhere from 12-15% of our traffic. In retrospect, if you remember my post about the importance of labeling images, we learned at that time that 3.65% of our traffic comes from image searches. That is more than double two social media giants!
Since it seems like social media is not great for directing traffic, I next decided I would see how a blog ranks in comparison to regular websites. Whenever I ask someone if they use a blog on a regular basis, the top objection/reason they say is "they already have a web site that gives them an Internet presence.
I started doing some typical searches that a consumer would do to see which show up higher in the rankings. My first keyword I did a search for was Austin Relocation Package. The #1 result out of over 600,000 for that term was a blog by member Jason Crouch that he wrote in March 2008. What was even more interesting was that Jason's website, only ranked #6.
Next, I decided to do a search for a community that Virginia Hepp, another member markets on both her blog and also on her website called Copper Bluffs in Mesquite Nevada. The Results were astounding! Virginia's ActiveRain, Localism, and Outside Blog captured places 1-6 while her personal website showed up in the results at #8. If you don't believe me, take a look at this search for Copper Bluffs Mesquite Nevada Real Estate.
As I continued to do searches, this seemed to be the recurring theme. Blogs consistently outranked personal websites on just about any and every search term I used. This leads me to the conclusion that if someone is just using a website and has no active blog that they are updating on a regular basis that they are missing out a major chunk of potential business.
The third test that I used was to check activity from and whether it has decreased over the past few months as Twitter and Facebook have grown.
A few months ago I wrote a post titled: 40,000 Visitors To Your Rainmaker Account in Just 25 Days! This post shows how over a one month period of time I wrote 25 posts that garnered well over 40,000 visitors to my blog. I also went on to share in that post how the best performance I ever had on my regular website was just over 3,000 hits. My blog had more than 13 times the amount of traffic! Since this was written several months ago, I decided that I would run the numbers again to see if my blog is decreasing in traffic since other social media sources are gaining such popularity.
For the last 25 posts, the total number of visits is 47,881 in comparison to the 40,699. This averages out to a 6% increase or almost 300 more clicks per post. This would lead me to believe that instead of my blog losing traction to other social media realms, it is actually gaining popularity over the past 5 months and becoming a stronger tool in social media arsenal.
So in closing I ask this question to you, Are blogs a technology of the past and something you should not focus on any more? From the research I have done, I do not believe that statement to be true. In fact, I believe the opposite. Your blog is something that needs to be the main component to your social media strategy that you should focus on. What do you think?
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I am also the Co-Founder of 210 Consulting- Social Media Advisors. I have traveled the country as a social media speaker. If you would like more information on any of the topics discussed in this blog, please contact me directly. We specialize in social media training, online consulting, and the creation of your own custom WordPress site.
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