Last Updated Jun 8, 2011 7:53 AM EDT
Business blogs are valuable for some companies, but for many blogging takes up time and resources better spent elsewhere.
If any of the following statements apply to you, stop posting to your blog (or re-purpose what you would have posted) and start doing something more productive:
- You dread writing another post. If you aren't excited by the thought of sitting down to write your next post, 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 won't admit it. Either way, whatever you publish will not represent your business well, so why do it? Any time you feel you can't put your best foot forward, don't take the step.
- Your page views are stagnant. When new posts average the same number of page views, and on a monthly basis so does your entire blog, you've stalled. Maybe loyal readers keep returning, or maybe you gain some and lose some, but either way not much is happening. 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 your return... Many business owners say, "I don't have any numbers to back it up, but I know my blog is paying off." Really? How? 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) creates a community 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.
- ... or worse, you don't feel like trying to quantify your return. Never blog because you think it helps; you have to know. (Would you keep running an advertising campaign if you couldn't tell whether it generated sales?) Knowing takes effort. If you're not willing to put the time you need into tracking and analyzing data, you're either 1) lazy or 2) afraid to find out you're wasting your time on your blog. Sometimes quitting is more admirable than staying the course.
- Your goal is to provide valuable resources to customers. Great goal. By all means do it. But don't put how-to information, or useful tips, or non-news information on your blog. Many people are blog-averse because most blogs are terrible, so your blog may automatically get painted with the same brush. If your material is relatively evergreen create resource pages on your website instead. (Potential customers who gladly read resource pages often run screaming from the same information when it appears on a blog.) You'll get a similar SEO boost and you won't feel the need to inject "personality" into what you write.
- Your readers are not your customers. This happens more often than you think. For example, a friend is an incredibly successful financial planner. He writes a blog that gets thousands of unique visitors a month. But he writes about topics of interest only to other financial planners. That would be fine if his blog generated media opportunities, or supported a book he plans to write, or helps him network and bring in more business -- but it doesn't. Building an audience is useful only if the audience contains current and potential customers. 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.