I’ve been blogging for longer than ten years.
Ten years! And I haven’t quit.
That’s a long time.
I’m not trying to toot my own horn here. I simply want to make a point.
Why haven’t I stopped blogging? After all, I get tons of traffic from old blog posts that I wrote two, four, and even eight years ago.
Why do I keep at it? Writing is punishing work. It’s tough, and it takes a long time. Don’t I have better stuff to do like binge-watching Netflix or just relaxing?
Why am I so devoted to blogging?
I’ll let you in on a secret. I actually love what I do. That’s one reason. I blog because I like to do it.
But there’s another reason. It’s a business reason. And it’s built on data.
If you know anything about SEO, you know that Google values fresh content. Fresh content is a significant factor in positively influencing ratings. The logic here is that the more frequently you update your site, the more frequently Googlebot (Google’s crawling bot) visits your site.
In turn, this gives you the opportunity to achieve better rankings.
Although you can update your site in several different ways (not to mention all the different types of content you can create), writing new blog posts tends to be the simplest way to generate fresh content.
So let’s go back to my question: why do I keep blogging? Why are you blogging? Should you quit? Should I quit? Are there better ways to do marketing, gain traffic, and grow conversions?
Is blogging truly all it’s cracked up to be? More specifically, just how big of an impact does it have on SEO?
In this article, I’m going to do away with niceties, guesses, and “best practice” advice. Instead, I’m going to dish up the data so you can get the cold, hard facts on what happens if you decide to stop blogging.
Some key stats
First, here are just a few statistics from Kapost to put blogging in perspective:
- Brands that create 15 blog posts per month average 1,200 new leads per month.
- Blogs give websites 434 percent more indexed pages and 97 percent more indexed links.
- Blogs on company sites result in 55 percent more visitors.
- B2B companies that blog generate 67 percent more leads per month than those that do not blog.
These are some legit numbers. They show just how monumental of an impact blogging can have.
But what would happen if you stopped blogging?
You pull the plug. You quit. You’re done. No more publishing.
What would happen?
Would it have any catastrophic consequences, or would it merely be a mild impediment?
Let’s take a look at a study that put this to the test.
251 days of no blogging
WordPress developer/social media manager/SEO expert Robert Ryan conducted a simple yet enlightening experiment.
In 2015, he refrained from posting any new content on his blog for 251 days. That’s eight months and seven days.
Here are some of his key findings:
- Overall traffic to the site saw a major decline as it fell by 32 percent.
- Organic traffic dropped by a massive 42 percent.
- Traffic to the contact page was down by 15 percent.
- Overall site conversions fell by 28 percent.
What can we take away from these stats?
Blogging affects overall traffic
When Ryan quit blogging, his traffic rapidly fell by 32%.
The image quality is low, but here’s the chart that he posted:
The fact that Ryan’s overall traffic dropped by nearly a third during this time is tangible evidence that there’s a correlation between your blog output and your overall traffic volume.
Quite frankly, I find it a bit alarming to see such a dramatic drop just because of not blogging.
Of course, we should keep in mind that his experiment lasted for over eight months.
If you stopped blogging for only a month or two, the consequences probably wouldn’t be this extreme.
However, it still wouldn’t do you any favors.
This brings up a good point. What if your business runs into trouble, you get sick, or something else happens that prevents you from blogging for a time?
I suggest having a backlog of articles to publish at all times. I like to have several posts scheduled ahead of time. If something unexpected comes up, at least I know my posts will go live according to the schedule.
Organic traffic can take a massive hit
A 42 percent drop in organic traffic is colossal.
For some businesses, that kind of drop could make the difference between making money and losing money.
An organic traffic loss of that magnitude is similar to receiving an algorithmic penalty.
Most websites earn most of their traffic organically.
If you’re in the “business services” industry, you earn a disproportionate amount of organic traffic.
Where does all this organic traffic come from?
It comes from content. More specifically, it comes from blogging.
Organic traffic is nothing to wink at. This is the lifeline of your business. This is your audience.
It’s hard to dispute that Google does indeed show preference to sites with consistently fresh content.
As Moz explains,
“Websites that add new pages at a higher rate may earn a higher freshness score than sites that add content less frequently.”
It’s all theoretical, of course. No one knows exactly how Google’s algorithm works.
But we can’t dispute the fact that quitting a blog leads to an organic traffic nosedive.
By having a dynamic site (publishing content) as opposed to a static one (not publishing new content), you provide Google with new content to crawl and index. In turn, this keeps you on Google’s radar in a positive way.
You also have to consider the fact that each new blog post presents an opportunity to generate more backlinks and rank for additional keywords.
I imagine that you want to see an uptick in traffic like this:
The fact is, you can’t get traffic like that unless you blog like you mean it.
When you stop blogging for an extended period of time, your stream of organic traffic can dry up, which can obviously have some undesirable consequences.
More blogging equals more leads
The stat from Kapost, stating that brands with 15 blog posts per month average 1,200 new leads per month, and Ryan’s stat—stating that traffic to his contact page fell by 15 percent—show us just how intertwined blogging and lead generation really are.
This makes sense when you think about it.
No blogging means much less organic and overall traffic. In turn, fewer visitors are landing on your website, which means fewer leads.
Blogging, quite obviously, leads to more leads.
Notice this data from MarketingCharts.com. Their data shows that a higher blogging frequency is positively correlated with higher customer acquisition rates.
Quitting blogging is a conversion killer
The final and perhaps most alarming of Ryan’s findings was the drop in overall site conversions (28 percent).
I can connect the dots to see how this could happen.
Few people blog just for the heck of it. We blog because it makes a significant difference.
We blog because it builds conversions.
But how does this work? How is blogging so inextricably linked to conversions?
From my experience, I’ve found blogging to be an incredibly effective way to build rapport with my audience and get them comfortable with the idea of buying.
For example, before a prospect would want to go ahead and purchase Crazy Egg, there’s a good chance that they would first want to explore “The Daily Egg,” which is the accompanying blog.
I don’t sell anything on that blog. I just provide value, value, value.
In fact, two stats from Aabaco found that “60 percent of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content on its site.”
It’s about fostering positive feelings, as vague as that sounds.
Furthermore, “78 percent of consumers believe that companies behind content are interested in building good relationships.”
Good relationships are built one blog post at a time.
If you blog the right way, you can demonstrate transparency.
Transparency, in turn, creates trust.
There’s no secret here. If you want to truly influence purchases (conversions), you should be blogging.
Customers look to content to grow and sustain positivity and goodwill towards the brand.
This positivity and goodwill influences conversions. You’ll earn more conversions because you are blogging. It’s that simple.
I would also make the point that stopping blogging out of the blue can make you look a little flaky in the eyes of customers. Some may even wonder if you’re still in business.
No one wants to do business with a place that seems quiet and untended. You might still be in business, but if your blog isn’t buzzing with new content and activity, users might get the idea that you’re not around to serve them.
This will kill your conversions.
For these reasons, you can see how a lack of blogging can slowly trickle down to hurt conversions and eventually result in a considerable decline in customers.
Jeff Bullas provides an excellent explanation of how blogging builds credibility in this infographic:
These aren’t just random stats. These are concrete data-driven signals that your blog builds your credibility.
And your credibility as a business influences whether or not people will buy from you.
While I can’t say for sure that you would experience the same level of backlash that Ryan did, it’s fair to say that quitting blogging for an extended period of time isn’t going to help you.
Even going a single month without an update could throw a wrench in your SEO.
For this reason, I can’t stress enough just how important it is to be consistent with publishing blogs.
Everyone has their own opinion on what the bare minimum is, but most bloggers would agree that you should strive for at least one per week.
But to determine the ideal frequency, I would suggest checking out this post I wrote about determining how often you need to blog.
A blog such as the Huffington Post (yes, it’s a blog) publishes an article a minute. They can do that because they have a ton of semi-free and syndicated content being pushed out.
If you’re Forbes, you might publish more than 1,000 articles a month.
Obviously, you won’t be able to keep pace with Forbes or Huffpo, especially if you’re blogging for your personal brand.
Instead, you should focus on consistency. As this article shows, when you quit blogging, your traffic and conversions tank.
If you stay consistent, you’ll win.
Blogging accomplishes much more than simply demonstrating your expertise and building trust.
It plays a major role in SEO, and the frequency of your blogging can determine how much traffic you bring in, how many leads you generate, and ultimately how many conversions you make.
If you want to win at the game of online marketing, you’ve got to be publishing content.
And you can’t stop.
Internet marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. As a ten-year veteran of this sprint, I can attest to the fact that it gets ugly and tiring, and there are times when you want to quit.
But I can also attest to the fact that your hard work pays off.
Sure, at times you might feel like you’re banging your head against a wall, but all that work is doing something. It’s growing your audience. It’s building trust. It’s pushing up conversions bit by bit, day by day, month by month.
Have you ever tried a similar experiment, and if so, what were the results?