Congratulations on your decision to start a blog for your accounting firm! Now you’re wondering how often you need to post something new.
The simple answer from all the experts: as often as possible, without sacrificing quality.
Research by Hubspot shows that companies that blog 16 or more times a month get three-and-a-half times as much traffic to their websites as those who blog zero to four times.
That’s equivalent to four posts a week. For time-crunched accountants, it can be a challenge to find the time and energy to keep up that pace.
Such an intense frequency may not be required for accounting firms to benefit from blogging. According to Skoda Minotti’s 2016 study of the top 133 accounting firms, 86 percent of the top firms had a blog and 71 percent added at least two posts a month.
Their research also showed that simply having an active blog had a sizable impact over having no blog at all. Skoda Minotti’s research found blogging four times a month provides the best results for accounting firms.
But they also emphasized the importance of finding a sustainable frequency.
Blogging has a cumulative effect and requires patience and consistency. Hubspot found that 75 percent of a firm’s page views were from their own blog, and 90 percent of the conversions came from old blog posts.
According to Skoda Minotti, it takes about nine months of consistent effort to see an impact on search rankings. This means blogging is a marathon, not a sprint with quick wins.
You’ll get the best results with consistent effort at a sustainable pace.
Here are some questions that will help you find your firm’s sweet spot for blog frequency:
1. What resources do you have for creating consistent, quality content? This is the most important determinant. Do you have one or more staff members who like to write? Rotating responsibility among your staff makes it easier to push content on a consistent schedule.
Blogging can also be outsourced to a freelance writer. Hiring a freelancer costs money, and the cost will be generally proportional to the quality of the work. Depending on length of the post and the skills and experience of the writer, a blog post can cost anywhere from $100 to $800 — or more.
A good freelancer will know how to write headlines that engage readers and invite them to read the post. They will also know how to make their posts SEO-friendly for them to get picked up in Google.
2. How much time are you willing to devote? This needs to be an activity blocked out on your calendar and must be non-negotiable. If you don’t make it a priority, it will always get squeezed out by the constant barrage of other work coming across your desk.
Maybe you’re willing to carve out an afternoon once a week during summer, and once every other week (or month) during your busiest times. Remember, the goal is to post as often as possible without sacrificing quality.
If you work with a freelancer, you’ll probably need to carve out time on a regular basis to discuss the topics so they know what to write in keeping with the the spirit of your firm. You’ll also want to block out time to review those posts and request revisions, or to revise them yourself.
You’ll also need to block out time to upload the content to your website and to promote them in social media.
3. What is your goal with blogging? Do you want to drive more traffic to your website? Posting more often will improve your search rankings.
However, SEO alone won’t grow engagement with your firm. You need to appeal to the kinds of clients you want to work with. Reaching the number one spot may not bring the right prospects to you.
Do you want to be a thought leader? Do you want to share your expertise with the world? Posting high-quality content with useful information targeted to a particular industry can help your site be found by the prospects who need your particular services.
Here’s a list of the best accounting blogs of 2016 according to FitSmallBusiness.com (full disclosure: AccountingWEB shows up in the No. 4 spot). Some sites like AccountingWEB are primarily blogs and information resources for accountants. But some are also small accounting and bookkeeping firms. Studying these blogs can give you insights into what’s working for other firms.
4. What are your competitors doing? Do they have active blogs? How often are they posting? You’ll want to blog at least as often as they do.
5. How often does important news relevant to your firm’s services get released? Tech firms blog daily to stay on top of breaking news. The accounting world doesn’t move as quickly, but changes to tax laws and accounting standards can have far-reaching impact when they do come out.
A big update to tax law, bookkeeping software or accounting standards can mean stepping up your frequency to address all the changes. Remember that readers of accounting blog posts tend to like information in bite-sized pieces. Like you, they are busy business owners and professionals, and they may be more inclined to read several short articles over a week or so, rather than an enormous article that covers everything.
What’s the bottom line? Once a month should be your absolute minimum frequency. Once a week is better. Several times a week seems to get the most traffic to your website. But the real answer is as often as you can without sacrificing quality.
About Liz Farr
Liz Farr, CPA, spent 15 years in tax and accounting at small firms in Albuquerque, NM. Besides tax returns of all flavors, she worked on audits of governmental entities and not-for-profits, business valuations, and litigation support. Now she's a full-time freelance writer specializing in content marketing for accountants and bookkeepers around the world.