True Power of the Blog is the Voice of It’s Author

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The true power of the blog is the voice of its author. Are they saying something interesting?”  Is it insightful?”  If so, the blog will succeed no matter its location, style or brand.

Some of the most successful blogs on the internet are pretty ugly and not branded at all. Conversely, we can point to blogs that have failed which are professionally branded, on their own domain / subdomain / unique domain. The common denominator for success or failure is a passionate voice.

Blogs and web sites are an integrated tool. All media is morphing together. To date, television and web sites are morphing into the same medium (check out www.hulu.com, www.youtube.com and other video sites). Newspapers and online bloggers (or ex-journalists with all the budget cutbacks) are morphing into the same journalistic-style sites. Traditional web sites and blogs are also morphing into the same too.

The trick is who can make their image professional and provide a unique voice.

Get off the Soap Box, What Should I do with My Blog?

The original post, which started this discussion, was in the Wisconsin Bar Journal and titled “Your Blog and Firm Website:”  Keep them Separate”. We actually received two specific inquiries from clients who asked “Why should our blog be on a separate domain (and a separate brand)?”

Blogs should be used a tactful, professional, authority resource. They should be part of the social community. However, they can be part of your main brand and on your main site.

  • If your blog is on a unique domain now, has top rankings, and is an authority resource. Congrats. Keep it there. Keep on posting!
  • If you are starting your own blog, then consider putting the blog under your main domain for search optimization, maintenance, credibility or branding reasons.
  • If your blog is underperforming in search results, has no authority, then you may want to move it under your main domain to increase its search presence. It all depends on the value of your current domain and your goal. If your main domain and web site stink, then definitely don’t. If your main domain is solid in rankings, then your blog can see an increase in traffic and rankings by a transfer (and your main site will benefit too).

We simply do not outright recommend a separate domain and brand for the reasons outlined in our original post:”  Search Optimization, Maintenance, Credibility and Branding. Read our previous article as a recap, but here are some additional notes based on our ongoing discussions.

SEO
Optimization should definitely be considered. Journalists and lawyers find blogs because they rank high in Google. So your blog has to be top ranked to get attention. From a SEO standpoint, it is critical to have as many inbound links into the site as possible. A single link from your blog to your web site, or vice-versa, will NOT provide enough link power to get either site ranked high.

Maintenance

Not every firm has an unlimited marketing budget. Maintenance costs, hosting costs, and design costs always should factor into a business decision. Some firms balk at even low-numbers such as $100 or $200 per month. Yes, those firms missing the big picture in terms of total traffic, authority that can be brought through their web site, blog, and overall brand. However, the fact remains that in a recession, firms are going to be cutting costs even more, so maintenance should be factored into any decision.

Credibility & Branding
I would like to tie these two together as they really are one in the same. The overall brand of your web site and blog should be similar. This creates a true brand, a unified message about your firm. If your blog is professional, you will be credible. Journalists, lawyers, and bloggers have no problem linking to corporate sites or even blogs on corporate sites. We even link to competitors and other web designers, so long as they have something interesting to say. The critical aspect, like anything, is professionalism. If your blog is professional and has a voice, it will attract attention.

But What About Getting Two Links for a Search?

Yes, it is definitely possible to get more than one link in Google if you have multiple web sites/blogs. That rocks when it happens, but it’s not for certain that both the web site and blog will rank high. ” ” That takes effort and sometimes increased overall budgets.

Yellow Page Marketing vs. Word of Mouth

Yes, great cases come from word-of-mouth. Great cases also come from search too.

Does becoming the authority (offline or online) in your area work?”  Definitely. Online, this can be done through a variety of social media services, from Facebook, LinkedIn, and of course the new popular service Twitter. Previously it could be done via just a web site, then in the past few years, just a web site and a blog. With all the new services, it’s possible to become an authority in a niche social service too. I do believe that most of these are in their early stages of being used for marketing. As with anything, the people who can figure out the right mix for these social services will become the trendsetters and generate business. Those that copycat once they are proven will not succeed as much.

Great cases also come from search marketing. We have many clients who have made their practice on simply being ranked high in search. Does SEO work?”  Definitely. If you are the top ranked site in Google, you can expect multiple inquiries per day from your practice areas. We have numerous clients who can attest to that. If your site ranks nowhere, you can also experience well…nothing.

Just because the blog is under the main site, does not make it a yellow-page advertisement. Again it all depends on professionalism and voice of the blog.

PaperStreet’s Blog . . . Stinks (but not for long).
Our blog is not cited because we don’t write anything interesting. What?”  Yup, we really don’t write anything interesting. Our blog from the outset was more of a news system, showcasing web site launches and new client signings. I would venture to guess that of our 600 posts in the past five years, 590 are of that category and no one would want to cite them.

When I have posted an interesting thought or two on a topic, we do end up getting links from other sites. But the goal was simply to market our own clients and help them get indexed fast in the search engines, which it does.

That is all changing though. Our new site and blog that we have been working on for months (due in March) will now be a true information resource for our clients. We will be posting topics ranging from web sites, to marketing, to blogs, to logos, to print, to anything about web design. A bit broad, but it corresponds to our tagline “Web. Print. Marketing”

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