Should you stop blogging?

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If you find yourself wondering whether maintaining a blog for your small business is a waste of time, it probably is. Some small businesses benefit from their blogs, but many could put the time and resources to better use elsewhere.

Check out the following statements; if any apply to you, stop posting to your blog, re-purpose what you would have posted, and put your efforts into more productive marketing and customer outreach efforts:

You cringe at the thought of writing another post. If the thought of sitting down to write another post isn't at least a little exciting, that means you 1) have nothing to say and will once again borrow ideas from another blog, or 2) already realize blogging is a waste of time but aren't willing to admit it. In either case what you post won't represent your business well, so why do waste the time? Whenever you know you can't put your best foot forward, don't take the step.

Your page views are flat. When new posts average the same number of page views, and on a monthly basis so does your entire blog, your blog has stalled. Possibly loyal readers keep returning, or maybe you gain some and lose a similar number, but either way a blog with a small stagnant readership is a blog that is a waste of time, at least for business purposes. Unless, of course, you can accurately identify tangible benefits from that readership...

You can't quantify a return. Many business owners say, "I don't have the data to back it up, but I know my blog is paying dividends." If you don't have data, how do you know? If your blog 1) isn't sending significant traffic to your website via search engines, 2) isn't directly generating sales, 3) doesn't create a community, or 4) is creating a community, but one that doesn't actually benefit your business, your blog isn't paying off. Blogging is like any other investment in time and resources: If you don't see a return, don't do it.

You don't even feel like trying to quantify a return. Never blog because you think it helps; you have to know. You wouldn't continue an advertising campaign if you couldn't tell whether it generated sales, would you? Knowing requires effort. If you are not willing to put time into tracking and analyzing data, you're wasting your time blogging.

Your readers are not customers. This happens more often than you think. For example, one of my friends is a very successful financial planner. He maintains a blog that receives thousands of unique visits a month. The problem is, he writes about topics that are only interesting to other financial planners, which would be fine if his blog generates media opportunities, or supports a book, or helps him network and bring in more business. But it doesn't. Building an audience is useful only if that audience is made up of current or potential customers. Make sure you know who is reading your blog; if you can't be bothered to find out, that's yet another indication it's time to stop.

Your goal is to provide valuable resources to customers. Great -- by all means do it. But consider putting how-to information, or useful tips, or non-news information on your main website, not your blog, because some people simply won't go to blogs. Try running a few posts on your main website and check the results. If you get more views on your website, start shifting content -- especially evergreen content -- onto resource pages instead. The SEO benefits will be similar and your overall traffic will increase.

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    Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business from managing a 250-employee book manufacturing plant. Everything else he picked up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest CEOs and leaders in business. He has written more than 30 non-fiction books, including four Business and Investing titles that reached #1 on Amazon's bestseller list. Follow him on Twitter at @Jeff_Haden.