Could a lack of blog content affect sales? This real life experiment even surprised me to an extent.
For years I have advised SMEs from any sectors to add targeted quality blog content regularly to their websites. Why? Because I have personally seen time-and-time again how powerful (and cost effective) this can be, providing the website works well technically and offers a good user experience.
The reason is that quality content helps build trust and interest with customers. The content I have developed for clients has led to numerous successes such as increasing sales three-fold for one client in the financial services sector and generating enquiries from 0 to around 30 a month for another client – a UK commercial cleaning company.
The search engines also tend to favour websites which have fresh, original and relevant content. In fact, content like this can help generate natural search traffic over time because there are more ways to be found online. It can also help keep target keywords ranking highly in the natural search listings.
Quality content can reduce costs in advertising spend because of better conversion rates too.
Even if sites are intended to be used like a brochure, quality content published regularly is still key. A shop, for instance, that changes its window displays regularly is going to spark more interest than one that doesn’t and looks dull.
So what would happen to a website that stopped publishing weekly quality content? I was involved in an experiment in February 2017 and March 2017.
The website generally has over 2000 visitors a month. It operates in a very competitive field and sells high ticket items.
Before the experiment, the strategy had been focused mainly on content marketing, creating weekly blog posts and re-packaging the content in social media, email campaigns and so on. It worked very well with large increases in sales over time.
But digital marketing strategies always need monitoring, measuring and tweaking (if necessary). Despite the success, weekly content was stopped over those two months and efforts focussed on social media and link building (by another agency). It would test how effective the content marketing was.
Monitoring the analytics over time for this high ticket item website, I have always seen that only a tiny percentage of traffic arrives from Twitter and Facebook – it’s not where their customers come from. The majority of their visitors arrive from the search engines which was where my main focus has been.
I compared the February 2017 analytics against January’s 2017 (the last time the weekly blog was updated with quality content). January is a quiet month for this business anyway but I thought it would give a broad indication anyway.
1 Jan – 28 2017 vs 1 Feb – 28 Feb 2017
You can see already there was a drop of 7.78% in user numbers.
More worrying, if we compare February’s figure against two average months for this website – October 2016 and November 2016, a downward trend is becoming obvious.
1 Oct – 28 Oct 2016 vs 1 Feb – 28 Feb 2017
Take a look at the number of users – down 15.76% and then compare the figures to November 2016 (below).
1 Nov – 28 Nov 2016 vs 1 Feb – 28 Feb 2017
The number of users was down by 16.80% when compared to November 2016 figures. You can see also that sessions (-24.66%) and page views have also dropped (-27.99%). Nothing changed in their market during this time and if anything social media posting activity increased during the trial period. So this is entirely down to blog content not being updated.
Where Traffic Was Coming From
And looking in closer detail where traffic was coming from, the strategy of not adding content to the site also had an impact on the number of visitors arriving from social media (looked after by another agency for this period). That’s because the content used in the postings did not offer any value.
1 Jan – 28 Jan 2017 vs 1 Feb – 28 Feb 2017
Traffic from social media fell by nearly 11%. This was just the first month of the experiment when weekly quality blog writing had stopped.
Sales Down 50%
Unfortunately, March figures were worse.
1 Nov – 30 Nov 2016 vs 1 Mar – 30 Mar 2017
The number of users was down by – 24.24% when compared to November’s figures.
What’s alarming is that this two-month strategy of not publishing blog content regularly has had a direct impact on sales (down by 50%) for both February and March. Even in January – a traditionally quiet month – there were more orders.
The experiment has now finished and they are now updating their blog regularly.
Whether you are relying on the search engines or just using your site as an online brochure, adding good quality content is one of the best things you can do to attract customers to your site cost-effectively, as this real life experiment shows. Find out why content marketing is so powerful in my quick video here.
If I can help you – even to advise – with your website content, then please do get in touch:
firstname.lastname@example.org | 01372 300106 | 07799 701526
Doing content marketing regularly could be a very sound business decision indeed. You can see my examples here.
Read my 4 vital reasons to blog here.
SEO Copywriter and Digital Marketing Specialist