Easy: Deciding to start a blog.

Not easy: Keeping up a blog.

The genesis of most blogs comes amid great optimism and fanfare. Businesses believe they need a blog because everyone else seems to have one (not true) and because everyone says they need one (they’re wrong). They usually peter out after a month or two.

For car wash businesses, the necessity of a blog is highly debatable. Frankly, we’re not convinced every car wash should start a blog. Most likely, it depends on the number of employees you have (or whether you’re willing to outsource the job) and how web savvy your customer base is. Here’s a sober analysis that should help you decide whether to start a car wash blog.

The purpose of a blog is to create interest in your business. In the best cases — especially for online retailers — it leads directly to sales. For car wash businesses that’s impossible. In their case, the best outcome is that somebody reads a post, gets inspired about the idea of having a clean car, and drives directly to your car wash. This, too, is unlikely.

So what, then, is the point of a car wash blog? Here are two main reasons we can think of. There may be more:

1. It creates awareness about your car wash above others in the area. You are likely competing with anywhere between three and 20 other car washes within driving range of any particular customer. If your car wash has name recognition, they’re more likely to go to yours — just as a politician with name recognition is more likely to win votes. Having a slick-looking website with a well-made blog and associated social media accounts raises the chances of potential customers seeing your name.

2. It can serve as a kind of repository for company news, announcements, press releases, observations and even personal rants. These can be useful for journalists who may be featuring your company, building your credibility for those on the outside looking in. And a blog can serve as one more platform for sharing information internally (think employee of the month, public sales figures, etc.).

These are good reasons. If they mesh with your overall marketing plan, you should consider a blog as a useful strategy. Even, say, McDonald’s has a blog. It’s tempting to assume there’s not much you can blog about regarding hamburgers, but it’s actually a seriously good website.

But caution is advised. We’ve said it before: A bad blog is worse than no blog. A blog is bad if it: is not updated frequently, is boring, is irrelevant to your target audience, or is poorly written. If you don’t have a marketing staff that can manage the blog, consider hiring an expert from the outside to write it or edit it. Unless you’re a writer, it’s probably not a good idea to do it yourself; and even if you are a writer, you should be running your car wash. This ensures that it will updated consistently and frequently.

One last note. If you’re thinking about it, spend some time imagining what it would look like. Seriously visualize its design and put yourself in the mind of your customer. What would that person be interested in reading? What are they likely to share on their own Facebook page? The choice is yours. We’re here to help if you need it.