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Today every business is looking to add a blog to improve the value of their online page rank and drive traffic. Here, I take a realistic view at how a blog can improve your website, and also examine the drawbacks of adding a blog, some of which are specific to the insurance industry.

The benefits of blogging

Blogging can increase your exposure and help you drive engagement with your audience. More specifically, it can:

  • Increase your site’s page rank and, in turn, a its page rank in Google Search
  • Create a loyal community where agents and clients can get to know each other
  • Create a branding platform where prospective clients can grow familiar with agents and products
  • Create a place to inform and comment on insurance legislation
  • Increase the perceived authority of a website and an agent’s knowledge

A well-written blog can improve the value of a website by improving its page rank in the eyes of search engines like Google. This can only happen if a blog is placed within the structure of a website; it does not work if the blog exists as a lonely soul on one of the larger free blogging platforms. Most websites can easily set up a blog using WordPress or another blogging extension. For agents that have already gone through the time and expense of setting up a website, the technical expenses of adding a blog are almost non-existent.

 Your blog can best enhance the value of your website when it is updated on a regular basis. Adding new content in the eyes of the search engines is a good thing. Here are some additional points to consider that will increase the value of your blog even further:          

  • Make sure your site loads quickly
  • Have an XML site map
  • Use headings and lists including keywords that help guide both readers and search bots
  • Write catchy, keyword-rich titles
  • Interlink the pages on your site using tags, categories and article plug-in
  • Have a key-rich domain name
  • Allow social sharing of articles with 2-3 buttons (not more!)
  • Promote your website and blog
  • Pay attention to back linking and try to accumulate back links from high-profile places within the industry.  Sites that end in .edu and .gov are the best, followed by .org, followed by the rest. Keep foreign-based link farms off your site.
  • Always listen to your customers

The hidden evils of insurance blogging

If it’s not properly managed, a blog can also turn into a monster in its own right. Why not to blog is rarely discussed and there are valid reasons why blogging may not be valuable for an insurance business. These negatives include the following:

  • Writing thoughtful content year-in and year-out is tough, time consuming work.
  • Paying and/or managing professional writers or an agency is expensive.
  • ROI results are difficult to quantify. Content results always fall into the category of “Is it working???”
  • Guest-posting can link your site into bad neighborhoods and bad sites, which can actually hurt your page rank.
  • Google is constantly changing what they want in content. Longer is currently in fashion, as are keyword-rich headings. With a swift press release this can all change, negating the positive aspects of the blog for SEO.
  • Allowing comments requires constant moderation; prohibiting comments defeats the community aspect of a blog.
  • Insurance regulation is constantly changing, so some posted blog posts will need to be removed.
  • Old information and outdated information can reflect badly on an agent’s credibility.
  • A blog can distract customers from their original purpose of visiting the website (hopefully to buy
  • insurance). Always include tracking tools to monitor the positive or negative impacts a blog has on conversions.
  • Starting a blog is easy; stopping it can make customers angry.
  • Guest posting and posting guest posts from others is time-consuming.
  • Promoting the blog is an added expense.

Despite all these negatives, blogging can still be a rich addition for an insurance website. Like most things, a good plan, a healthy budget and reasonable expectations provide the right equation for success.

For more from Lisa Pluth, see:

Google AdWords: How (and why) to boost your Quality Score

LinkedIn groups: Free marketing tool or time-suck?

3 ways to target the high-net worth market online