Feb 16, 2011

Small Business Blogging To Increase Web 'Footprint'

We published our first blog two years ago in November. Those in the know insisted I had to have a blog in order to boost the search engine rankings of my website. As a home builder, I elected housing and real estate as the subjects of that first blog. I started the Dallas Urban Blog on Google's Blogger Platform and was blogging. I soon decided I liked the presentation of WordPress Blogs more than I did Blogger, so I started the Lexington Blog on WordPress.

I knew very little about what I was doing, but I realized I was enjoying it. Within a short time, I was authoring and publishing several blogs. I ultimately figured out that blogs really do increase the search engine ranking of your website, but only if said blog is located within the website. Thus, all of my efforts to this point had produced no results. With little alternative, I accepted the challenge of self hosting the blogs within my website. I refer to it as accepting the challenge because self hosting requires a great deal more technical knowledge as more web coding is required. It was a daunting prospect. I generally learned that which I needed to learn and, to my great surprise, began enjoying it even more.

Then came the epiphany; I realized that a good number of people actually cared about what I had to say. I was honored, flattered, even validated; and emboldened to continue. What had started simply as an effort to boost search engine results had become, essentially, successful on its face.

As readership and site statistics grew, we were amazed that there were some days we had as many as 3,000 page views. Noting these spikes in our statistics, we dug deeper into our web analytics and were truly amazed. When my wife and I began this endeavor, we researched our web presence and Google could only find me or my company on 87 web pages. This is a truly insignificant web presence for a business owner.

Here we now were, a year later, doing the very same research. This time, the results were remarkably different; Google found me or the company on more than 80,000 web pages. Our websites and blogs were ranked very highly in search engines, our Google Page Rank was growing across the board, and our traffic was increasing steadily. Our search engine ranking was so high amongst home builders in our market areas that Google search results consistently place us in the top 10, some times even achieving the number one position. We routinely rank higher than the largest home building companies in the country; big companies with several billion dollars in revenue who spend millions of dollars a year in advertising.

These were resources I couldn't begin to fathom. It had taken us a great deal of time, but we achieved phenomenal results having spent only $4,000; that's all we had. But, we were beating the results of companies that spend several times that amount every day. Clearly, we were on to something. That is a story for my next article.

We also found that many independent ranking services were beginning to rate us very highly. For example, Website Grader ranked our website in the top 20,000 sites in the world. This may not seem all that impressive at first blush, but when compared to the several million websites they rank, the fact is we ranked in the top 97 percent in the world. Further, Technorati recently ranked two of our blogs in the top 500 in the world in the categories of Politics and US Politics. Accolades, such as these, are very gratifying.

We also noticed there were days when visitor traffic to our websites skyrockets. It took us some time to figure out why that was happening. The answer astonished me. Institutional websites, like the Washington Post, occasionally link back to our articles as source material. We came to find that even Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment website cited one of our articles as a source for an article on Obamacare published in October. This was particularly gratifying because I admire Andrew, as was the news that Technorati had moved the ranking of one of our blogs up to number 300 in the world on the subject of US Politics.

I ultimately decided that the entire endeavor into blogging was very much like becoming a millionaire, as Steve Martin once quipped: It's easy to be a millionaire...first, you get a million dollars. In other words, the more successful you are at increasing your web presence, the easier it becomes to increase your web presence. In the final analysis, as a small business, blogging will certainly improve the success of your website, enhance your brand, improve your web presence and boost credibilitity of your business. Conversely, if you're not utilizing a blog for your small business, you're forgoing one of the strongest and least expensive marketing tools your business will ever have. Contact Lexington Development to get started.