Not long ago, this question came through this week in my weekly digest email from The UK Marketing Network.
“Isn’t it obvious?” I said to myself, ready to delete the email. But then I paused and reminded myself that it wasn’t that long ago I wouldn’t have known the answer to this question either, and that it’s not always obvious at all. I looked closer at the next line in the query which read:
We are starting a new blog and we are unsure whether to integrate it with our website or keep it separate? Does anyone have any experience with this?
I started my answer with:
I can think of very few instances where you’ll benefit from keeping your blog separate from your corporate website.
Effectively your blog is where you’ll put a lot of effort into generating excellent thought leadership based content – keeping this inside your domain will boost your SEO measurably and send a lot of traffic to your site (which surely is what any business wants?)
- We’ve come to expect more from websites. We expect them to be dynamic and to be representative of the contantly evolving face of a company. What better way to relay this stream of information than via a blog that features strongly within the site?
- Content marketing – it’s not a new concept, but social media is an ideal way to deliver it. Simply put, if you aren’t telling your company/product story to show how you can help people, then you’re probably missing a trick. Why would you do this anywhere *but* your website? A blog is one of many ideal ways to deliver on your content marketing strategy.
- Thought leadership. Having a blog within your company’s site and aligning it with a content marketing strategy gives you the perfect platform for your thought leadership and sets the expectation that you will deliver a steady stream of it. It enables you to show that your company is aware of and prepared to consider and comment on all the issues.
- SEO (again). I’ve already talked about how a blog can send more traffic to your site, but picture this specifically. You’re reviewing web design companies in order to put a case together for your new company website. You do a search for “dynamic user experience, London” that brings back results that include one company’s website and several of their blog entries. In this instance, the blog is helping this company dominate more of the “top ten” search results on the first page that Google returns. If you want to make it your mission to dominate results in this way, you need to think from a content POV.
- SEO (one more time). Keywords. When you really care about what you’re writing about, you naturally use the keywords that will extoll your business. I didn’t realise I mentioned “user experience” so often until I started showing up in the search results in Google for that term. Getting your products/company placed in search results can be really tricky business, and having your blog live within your site can only help due to the masses of content you’re likely to deliver via that blog over time. Placing that outside of your domain means that those keywords live elsewhere and aren’t routing people back to your site.
- Static vs dynamic. Static homepages are dead. I firmly believe that your homepage needs to use social media in some way to make ever-changing, interesting and to show how you or your company are evolving. I would have a very tough time employing a business (especially any technology-minded business) who didn’t have some sort of social media integrated into their homepage. It is the ultimate reflection of the business. I often wonder why some businesses have hefty websites at all and don’t just use their blogs as their homepages and hang their other links off them.
There are one or two reasons you might want to separate your blog and I’ve come to learn that they are very valid in their own ways. I’ll explain these in Part II: Separation.