I have a friend—let’s call him Bob—who does double duty as a home repair/contractor and restaurant owner. He wants to talk to me about his web site. Bob, like a lot of small business owners starting out on the web, is dissatisfied with his web traffic. It seems to have peaked at around 300 unique visitors a month and most of this is due to referrals coming from Google. Bob tells me that some web designer he employed assured him that the “search engine optimization” techniques he implemented would eventually increase those numbers, but it’s been months and the numbers aren’t getting any better. Bob desperately wants his PageRank to increase, because, to him, that’s what’s bringing in the bacon.
Well, after hearing Bob out, I offer a solution. I explain to him about weblogs or blogs—how a lot of other organizations and successful entities like Microsoft, Mark Cuban, presidential candidates and even Donald Trump are using blogs’ unique ability to leverage influence to increase traffic and presence on the web dramatically. “Bob,” I say to him, “you need a blog.” And Bob looks at me and he shakes his head and he says, “Yeah, but that’s not my business.”
Bob didn’t get it. And that’s because Bob wasn’t sold. And he’s not alone in thinking blogging doesn’t work for small businesses. According to a recent survey by Duct Tape Marketing, “The biggest surprise for [the researcher] was the fact that a large number of respondents (60 percent) still aren’t convinced that blogs are worth the work.” The examples I gave weren’t small businesses and Bob didn’t feel he had anything in common with them nor the resources, he felt, to compete with them in the blogosphere. And the thing was, there wasn’t much I could do. I was positive blogging could help Bob out, but I didn’t have the facts nor the compelling arguments to change his mind.
And so we here at Particletree started doing the research. We’ve collected a lot of information. We’ve gathered the statistics. We’ve written down some guidelines. And we’re sharing all of it. This is for all the Bobs out there, who still don’t believe, and for all the blogging evangelists, like us, who do.
Let’s start with the numbers. According to a recent study conducted by Comscore, a research company that specializes in doing research on consumer behavior and attitudes, “50 million Americans, or about 30 percent of the total U.S. Internet population, visited blogs in Q1 2005. This represents an increase of 45 percent compared to Q1 2004.” Not only are there a LOT of people reading blogs, there’s more people reading them every single day.
In addition to the growth, the study also revealed that “the average Blog visitor viewed nearly 16,000 pages over the course of the Q1 2005 ï¿½ 77 percent more than the 9,000 pages viewed by the average Web user. The average Blog visitor spent nearly 18,000 minutes or about 23 hours per week online, while the average Internet user spent just over 10,000 minutes or 13 hours per week online.” What’s even more startling than their enthusiasm, is who these readers are. The following details are from the results of a survey conducted by Blogads:
Blog readers’ median income hover between $60,000 and $90,000
75% of blog readers are over 30 years old
75% of blog readers are men
75% of blog readers are looking for news they can’t find elsewhere.
72% of blog readers never read blogs through an RSS
“Clearly the blogosphere is crawling with certified grade A opinion makers.”
To summarize, there are a lot blog readers out there and not only are they multiplying, they’re intelligent, they have disposable income, and they’re actively looking for new information from unexpected sources longer than your average user. These readers are trendsetters, early adopters, opinion makers, news junkies and the biggest advocates of their own personal interests. If you’re a fan of the ideas behind Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, you can immediately appreciate how valuable and rare it is it to see a single audience of people who represent the prototypical mavens, connectors and salesman that are supposedly responsible for every viral phenomenon and trend.
And for those you who need anecdotal evidence of the results blogs provide to businesses, check out what’s going on with Danali Flavors. The company specializes in creating and licensing ice cream flavors and uses its three blogs, Denali Flavors , Moosetopia and Team Moosetracks, to cover issues the company itself is dealing with, new product ideas, marketing ideas and small business issues. Their posts include practical tips, references and links to other articles. Here’s what the executive vice president had to say about their blogs’ effects:
And the thing is, anyone can do it. Because blogging is still in its infancy, the effects are only going to increase. Although readership grew 45% last year, the majority of blog readers read less than 10 total blogs. We firmly believe this number is low, because people haven’t discovered efficient ways of processing the information overload. There are thousands of blogs created every second and thanks to RSS technology, the number blogs people are going to be able to keep up with is only going to go up. When RSS becomes a mainstream technology, current readers will only read more blogs and a new crop of voracious readers will emerge. While millions of readers looking for content should be reason enough to focus your energies on them, the importance of courting these influential, eager and financially secure readers should not be undervalued.
thanks to: Chris Campbell