I cringe whenever I see a corporate site without a blog. It bothers me no matter the industry, but with a sector as mysterious and misunderstood as solar energy, not having a blog seems unconscionable.
As a solar copywriter, I’m probably more sensitive to such things. After all, a firm without a blog represents a potential client.
But even before my copywriting days, I appreciated the power of blogs. After years in search engine optimization (SEO), I realized that companies with blogs enjoyed more traffic, longer visits, better conversions, and greater visibility than those that didn’t.
But why is that exactly?
1. Solar Blogs Drive Traffic
A regularly updated blog creates more content on your site. And despite numerous innovative SEO strategies, content still remains king.
All things being equal, a site with 10-20 pages will receive less traffic than a site with 100-200 pages – simply because the latter has more content indexed in Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
A solar energy blog provides you with those extra pages. Natural, organic, and useful content.
Equally important, a blog attracts backlinks from relevant sites (more on this in a future post). These one-way links pointing to your site help create more pathways for visitors and search engine spiders to find you.
And the best thing is – the positive benefits of all this content are cumulative.
No single post is truly an island. Rather, each successive blog entry lends greater weight to your entire site, making it easier and easier to outrank your competitors for your target keywords.
2. Solar Blogs Keep Traffic
After reading the core pages of your site (ex: About Us, Prices, Product Specs, Terms & Conditions, etc.), there usually isn’t much reason for the casual shopper to stick around. In most cases, he will either purchase or leave.
The benefit of a solar blog is that it keeps people on your property, and it does this without any obvious sales pitches. Visitors will browse, comment, digest – and if the content is regular and frequent enough, they may even come back occasionally to check in.
You might not get a sale that first day, but over time, regular readers often become regular clients.
3. Solar Blogs Establish Credibility
Whether you service the residential, commercial, or utility market, solar energy is rarely an impulse purchase. Customers want to shop around and explore all of their options before committing. And in most cases, trusted names typically receive more consideration than unknown ones do.
Launching a solar blog gets your name out there. It won’t make you a Coca-Cola or Nike overnight, but with time, your brand becomes more mainstream – more recognizable. This is especially true if you syndicate some of your content on sites that regularly accept posts (and believe me, there are lots of sites out there hungry for fresh and original content).
Like I said, the transition is not immediate, but it’s very real. One day, no one inside or outside the industry has ever heard of you, and the next day, you’re a name that people kinda, sorta recognize.
4. Solar Blogs Educate Your Clients
Contrary to popular belief, your biggest competitor isn’t the solar company up the block or even those in China.
No, your biggest competitors are oil and gas.
If an established technology already works, new entrants must first convince the masses to abandon that technology before convincing them to select their own unique alternatives.
According to a 2011 survey conducted by Kelton Research, 90% of Americans support solar energy. But when you ask them why they don’t have the technology installed on their roofs, you’ll often hear:
- Solar energy is not powerful enough
- Solar energy is just too expensive
- Solar energy is unreliable
You and I know that the above claims are not true, but for many people out there, solar is still a revolutionary, untested technology. Even before they sit down to compare Solar Option 1 with Solar Option 2, they often need additional information about solar energy in general.
Once they feel comfortable with the technology, you can then begin positioning your products and services in relation to rival solar products and services.
Done correctly, your solar blog can anticipate and answer many of the questions a potential user might have – about the technology in general or about your unique offerings in particular.
5. Solar Blogs Add Personality and Character
As a solar copywriter, I’ve come across some pretty sleek sites in my day. Flashy, sexy, well-organized, and intuitive. But when you really get down to nuts and bolts, solar energy is a commodity. It takes a lot to keep readers hooked as you try to differentiate your offerings from the competition.
Specification pages and product features help, but these can be pretty dry. Only the most committed shoppers will stay online long enough to truly digest all the information.
Photos can also help a bit (actually they can help a lot). But there are only so many “sun” images that one can take. And unless you have exclusive rights to your photos, there’s a good chance you’re using the same images as everyone else. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this handsome devil.
In a sea of product pages and privacy policies, blogs add a human element to the equation. They engage the reader. Throwing in a narrative or a little humor offers your audience a nice break from the technical jargon and legalese that might dominate the rest of your site.
6. Solar Blogs Sell without a Sales Pitch
You don’t necessarily want your blog to pitch hard sales tactics. But done correctly, your copywriting can still prompt leaders to learn more. Depending on the blog topic, you can include things like:
- Lead generation forms
- Links to special offers
- Surveys & quizzes
- Read similar posts
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Survey Your Top 5 Solar Competitors
Still have doubts about how effective blogs are?
I can certainly appreciate your skepticism. After all, solar blogs take time, and you undoubtedly have a million other things on your marketing plate at the moment.
I encourage you to look at your top 5 competitors in whatever solar vertical you’re in. I’m fairly confident that at least 3 of them will have blogs. And those 3 will probably rank higher than your own site for a good majority of the keywords you type into Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
It used to be that having a blog was a business advantage. But these days, it’s a business necessity – especially in an industry as competitive as solar energy. Not having a blog is worse than leaving money on the table – it’s like shooting yourself in the foot.
Stay tuned for additional tips on solar blog writing and related copywriting topics.