From musings to critical content
College students have impacted many creations on the Internet (think Facebook, Twitter, etc.). So it shouldn’t be a surprise that it was a college student who made the inaugural efforts of writing posts on a website in what would later be recognized as the first blog. Of course, it wasn’t until three years later that someone called that kind of writing “weblog,” only to be shortened two years later by computer programmer Peter Merholz to “blog.” The term was finally recognized in 2004 as “word of the year” by Merriam-Webster dictionary. In this short amount of time, blogging has gone from being a virtual diary to vital tool for businesses.
People today are so bathed in blogs that it’s become second nature to see and read them. Blogging wasn’t always so mainstream. Justin Hall’s initial blog was personal in nature. A Swarthmore College student in 1994, he used his freelance writing skills to tell his life’s story in long format.
By 1997, the evolution really came when Jonathan Dube of The Charlotte Observer posted a blog to cover Hurricane Bonnie. This use inspired others to use blogging for practical purposes. The process was very clunky and had to be put together manually. By 1999, Blogger.com was born and ushered in a platform for easily assembling and publishing. In 2000, a total of 23 — yes, twenty-three! — blogs were listed on the Internet. This very quickly grew to 50 million by 2006.
Blogging sites like Huffington Post, Boing Boing, Gizmodo and Gawker became popular and WordPress launched. By the mid-2000s, there were so many bloggers out there and 54 percent never published their writing or media creations anywhere else. What mattered next: readers. Statistics show that 32 million Americans were regular blog readers in 2005.
Fast-forward more than 10 years and blogs have evolved from mere musings and quick forms of communication into crafted pieces of content. With the rise of social media, blogs have become a popular source of information. Now more than 409 million Americans read blogs (more than 23.7 billion pages every month) and businesses have had to take note. Marketers especially have come to find how easily this information can be woven into strategies and shared. In 2017, 66 percent of marketers reported using blogs in their social media content.
While businesses may not be sharing the very personal stories and family photos as early blog writers did, blogging is still a very intimate way to engage readers. Pulling in potential clients or customers via blog content is a great way to build trust and develop interest in your business. When the information is useful, 94 percent of readers who share posts say they do so because they think it might be helpful to others.
Blogging for business
Over the years, having a blog for business has become increasingly important because it delivers ROI. Company websites have a 434 percent higher chance of being ranked highly on search engines if a blog is part of the website. Additionally, businesses that use blogs as part of their content marketing get 67 percent more leads than businesses that do not. As search engine optimization (SEO) has become more competitive, fresh content from consistent blogging helps the effort.
Blogs help customers find websites and keeps them engaged and interested. More cost effective than advertising, blogging has become the most critical content marketing tactic, ranking even higher than newsletters or in-person events.
At T.E. Digital, we keep abreast of all the statistics that indicate how important blogging is to a content marketing strategy. If your business doesn’t yet have a blog or you have one and are seeking ways to make it work for you to drive more website traffic, get more leads and convert more customers for your business, just give us a call so we can assist.