I recently posted a business blogging survey to find out more about why people blog for business, how often they blog and how effective they’ve found blogging. I used this to help compose my recent talk and post about blogging.
Here I present the results up to 4 August 2015.
I should point out that the results included my own responses. 🙂
There were 21 responses. I shared the post by email, through social media and in Facebook groups on blogging and content marketing. Many of the replies came from people in these groups.
How long have you been blogging for?
The shortest time anyone had blogged for was 2 months.
The longest was 9 years (well done that blogger!)
The majority had blogged for over a year.
Why do you blog?
There were various reasons given for writing a small business blog, along the lines of:
- Demonstrating expertise
- Business promotion
- Helping others
- Educating readers
- Enjoying writing
Here are a couple of responses to the ‘why blog’ question:
To raise my profile; develop my expert authority; show potential clients what it would be like to work for me; to help women feel powerful and inspired.
As my blog says: I love to inspire, inform, excite, explore, create and communicate!
How often do you post, on average?
There was a nice split here.
One third of bloggers 2-3 times a week or more.
One third of bloggers posted weekly.
One third posted less often or sporadically.
Do you allow comments on your blog, and if so, how often do you receive them?
Nearly everyone allowed comments – 19 out of 21 people.
Of the two who didn’t allow comments, one said:
The reason why I don’t invite comments on my actual blog at the moment is that I was drowning under the amount of spam. This technical aspect is being rectified in my new website, currently under development.
Most of those with comments enabled got them on some posts. About a quarter got them on most posts.
No-one got comments on every single post.
How many social shares did your last post get?
I asked how many social shares the participants’ last blog post received, using LinkTally, a free tool to measure your social shares across the major social networks.
I didn’t get a full data set for this question.
More than half received twenty or fewer social shares for their most recent post. (Perhaps there’s a bit of work to be done there – to let people know that posts are there so they can be shared, and to ask for shares.)
A fifth had between 21 and 50.
3 lucky people had 50 or more. Well done if you were in that group!
How do you publicise your blog posts?
I suggested a number of ways that business bloggers might publicise their posts. People were able to select multiple answers for this question.
The two most popular methods were social media and social media groups.
Roughly equal numbers used an email newsletter, personal email or telling people.
No-one used forums. I guess social media has largely supplanted these.
3 people cited other methods. As I didn’t ask what these were, they shall remain a mystery. Carrier pigeon? Smoke signals? We’ll never know. 😉
How many visitors does your blog get daily, on average?
I asked about the average number of visitors to participants’ blogs. I didn’t attempt to distinguish between visits to blog posts and other website visitors – I suspect this would have been very difficult to achieve. I also don’t know by which method visitor numbers was measured by.
The largest group (just over two-fifths) had fewer than 50 visitors a day.
A quarter had between 50 and 100 daily visits.
A seventh received between 100 and 500.
No-one had more than 500 visitors a day.
Nearly a fifth said they had no idea how many visitors they got. A case for installing Google Analytics, I think.
What call(s) to action do you have on your posts?
This was an open question. The call to action is a suggestion of what readers should do after reading a post.
- Social share
- Get in touch
- Sign up for newsletter
- Apply for a strategy session
- Point to my guest posting services
- Highlight giveaways
- Ask a question
Most people asked for comments or social shares.
I like the idea of asking questions and stimulating a debate.
What’s been your most popular post, and why do you think it did well?
I was interested to see the answers here. Were posts popular because of the subject matter, the way they were written or other factors?
An example was:
– I think it hit a nerve with people and they maybe got to learn something.
I’d surmise this was popular because:
- Social media is relevant to every business
- The headline contains numbers – we all love lists.
- People may identify with the “doesn’t work” in the headline.
- There is the intrigue of the “1 way to make sure it does” as a reason to click through.
- The reader is given actionable steps to take as a result of reading the article.
Other popular posts included:
How To Stop Your Business From Running You
– I think it targets a challenge that my audience is particularly concerned about.
Italian street food: Liguria
– I think because it really had a personal touch.
The Power of Introverts AND Extroverts – success tips to help YOU Thrive
– Introverts is a hot topic and its a list that’s been around for a long time.
– I guess it’s because of the title.
To summarize, reasons for popularity included:
- Writing about relevant issues to the blog audience
- Intriguing or provocative post titles
- SEO optimizing posts so they’re easily found
- Writing about other people
- Providing a personal take on a subject
If you’re curious, my most popular post (at the time this post was published) was this one: The 30 Day Blogging Challenge – What Have I Learned?
I think its popularity is down to the fact that Sarah Arrow shares it quite a bit!
What kind of business opportunities have you had a result of your blog?
A few people hadn’t had any new opportunities, perhaps because they hadn’t been blogging that long.
Most people reported some kind of activity, such as new enquiries or LinkedIn connection requests.
More seasoned bloggers reported the following:
New clients, guest blogging, speaking opportunities.
I’ve won awards, and have been recognised as an authority in beginner bloggers.
Training and commissioned work worldwide.
So clearly business blogging can pay off if you put the hours in and publish useful and relevant content for your audience.
Most business bloggers have been blogging for over a year. From what I can tell, you need to put the hard work in for that kind of time to see any return.
Most publicity is done through social media and its groups. From looking at my analytics, I find that readers who visit a blog in this way tend to stay longer and visit more pages.
Many posts are not widely shared – we need to be explicit and ASK for shares and retweets etc.
We nearly all like getting comments. Giving other people comments encourages them to repeat the favour, I find. Blogging groups are very helpful for this, as well as encouragement generally.
Everyone could use more traffic (especially those people who don’t know how much they get!)
We have some insight into what makes a post popular. Topical, targeted content and clever headlines help, as does writing in our own style.
The rewards from blogging like more enquiries, work and awards make it all worthwhile.
Still not convinced?
Here are some stats about business blogging from HubSpot.
You can also read over 200 blogging stats with tips on improving your own blog.
If you want to know blogging trends over time, Orbit Media run a yearly survey on business blogs.
What do you think? Has writing a small business blog helped you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.