Do you have a traffic problem on your blog?
There’s no need to call in the blog doctor just yet because you will be earning an honorary M.D. with a focus in ailing blogs. Just keep reading through the symptoms of an unhealthy blog, and in no time you’ll be curing any blog post that comes your way.
Writing a blog post out of the blue for no reason and no care to who is reading your content is the first red flag to a diseased blog post. Putting little thought into a post before writing it and not knowing what you need to write can be detrimental to the success of your blog and eventually your company. But there’s good news — it’s something easy to cure. Here’s how:
- Analyze your target readers and create a plan in a format similar to a copy platform before you begin writing.
- Figure out the readers’ demographics and think like they do to determine what appeals to them.
- Once you defined your audience and what they want from you, you need to cross verify with competitors. Look at competitors’ content and styles and see how often they update previous content to put a new spin to it.
- Only until you get the complete picture of what your customers want and what your competitors do can you begin to create a content calendar that is geared toward your readers.
Anyone who is reading your content is always going to consciously or subconsciously think “What’s in it for me?” Readers are always trying to extract information from blog posts for their own benefit or for others, so if you don’t fulfill their needs, they’ll turn their backs on you and never come back.
Of course, you need to be practical. You’re going to be focusing only on a niche group and not on everyone’s needs. So focusing in on readers’ needs will be a bit easier. And after fixing symptom one, you’ll effectively be in your readers’ shoes, knowing them inside and out. But you need to remember to always stay grounded. Don’t let any of your needs fall into your readers’ shoes unless your interests fall in the same category.
The “me, me, me” virus is a problem when it attacks your blog posts. Readers usually don’t care what happened to someone on a Tuesday afternoon nor do they care what was said in an email yesterday. Maybe if your blog is overwhelmingly popular, things like that will matter, but posting personal stories on a professional blog is not a good idea. If you wouldn’t care about that same information that someone you don’t know posted, why should your readers care if you write it?
So make a quick recovery by stepping away from writing about yourself. That does not, however, mean to not write reviews and stories about an experience that would shed light on a topic that is relevant to your audience. Letting your readers know about a great or horrible product or service helps inform your readers before they make the same decision you did. Just remember that anything beneficial, timely, and relevant should be written for your audience.
So you have a great topic to write about and know exactly who it will be for. You know not to focus too much on yourself, but you realize you have a lot of other work to do that day or you have to write three more articles before the week ends. You might think to yourself that you don’t have much time to set aside for your blog post. Before long, your whole blog is going to be filled with incomplete and inadequate stories. If you didn’t have much time to write it, sure enough you didn’t have enough time to research beforehand.
But you need to stop this endless cycle. Stories lacking information and sources are only going to hurt in the end. So prescribe this remedy: Dedicate time each day to focus on research and writing. Sticking to a schedule and practicing your writing will produce quality content that impresses readers, and you’ll complete what you needed on time. Plus, once readers start seeing all the effort you put into your blog posts, they’ll enjoy reading and sharing your work even more.
Headlines and the introduction of your story are the first two things that make or break a reader’s first impression of your blog post. While readers are browsing your site, another site, or a search result list, they scan headlines for keywords that appeal to their interests and needs. That means you have seconds to capture readers’ attention. Unless you have copywriting skills under your belt, a few seconds may not be enough. But don’t worry. If you seem to have trouble devising eye-catching headlines, put these two resources in your first aid kit: Copyblogger’s great ways to craft headlines and Socially Stocked’s infographic that uses science to analyze words that contribute best to sharing.
Once you hooked your readers with a headline, intro writing is next in line for importance. In your first paragraph, you want to answer as many questions about the headline and the topic as soon as possible. Basically, give your audience a preview of the most important information, especially if your readers are in a hurry. But if you appeal to their needs and emotions at the beginning, they could read even more. No matter if it’s in the headline, introduction, or body of the story, writing a compelling blog post is key to drawing in your readers.
There is no one out there who wants to read the same content over and over again. So why do you have the same content as a competing blogger? Regurgitating content for the sake of doing it is pointless. So find something new about it.
Reflect upon the information that you find important to your readers and see if there’s a story or an experience that closely relates to the content. Are there portions of the story that present a new perspective on the same topic or provide your readers resources that no one else pointed to? You need to put a new twist to an old or common story so that it entertains and provides readers a solution to an issue they are trying to solve.
Writing stories filled with jargon are as easy to read as a doctor’s handwriting. You can read a few words, but the rest is incomprehensible. Unless you are writing blog posts for an organization focused on professionals and findings in your field, avoid using complicated words. Stick to writing at an eighth grade level so that not only your target readers but also any new reader can comprehend what you say.
Writing like a doctor might also entail that you write similar to someone who has not studied or practiced writing very often. You might lack essential storytelling abilities, but that doesn’t mean someone like a doctor can’t write. Practice every day and read other styles to transform your writing abilities. It will take time, but the more you practice, the more your readers will want to read your content.
Symptom 8: The blog reads like an advertiser talks
Don’t fall into the trap of using your blog as ad space. Yes, there are times to talk about your products and services because you or a product is new and readers want to know more about it. But constantly talking about you and your business will only deter readers from your blog.
Take a step away from advertising mode and step into the minds of readers. Look into what they want to know related to your field, and if that topic happens to closely correlate to what you can offer them, provide them an opportunity to take action through a call to action in a blog post.
Any time you blog for yourself, write like an advertiser or doctor, or fail to put much time or effort to drawing your readers in, your post is most likely boring. And if you ask others to read your posts and see that they are yawning after a few lines, you might need to rethink how you approach your readers.
Think about who your readers are and if they would read your post during any of their free time. If the answer is no, your topic isn’t relevant and shouldn’t be written. But don’t think that a topic boring to you might come across the same way if presented to your audience. Remember that anything that is boring in nature can be transformed into something interesting, but boring, non-relevant topics to your audience cannot be salvaged.
Posting your content without editing and re-reading it is a death sentence to your blog post. Error-filled posts lack credibility and show your indifference toward details. Yet details end up being the most important parts of a blog post. Failing to incorporate an auditing process for your content leads your readers to question your content and ideas. So alleviate your readers’ concerns by making an editing process an essential task before posting error-filled content across the web.
Symptom 11: The blog posts are deficient
What do you think about your blog post after you wrote it? Do you feel confident that it will influence and amaze your audience, or do you think it’s just good enough? Posting content that doesn’t meet your highest standards should not be posted at all. Think about areas you believe should be added, changed, or deleted. Ask others for a second opinion. Only until you feel confident enough that your post will be the best it can ever be should it appear on your blog.
Even though you might have planned out your posts accordingly, did you make unrealistic goals to reach for views, conversion, and more? Keep in mind that the Content Marketing Institute recently posted that “over 80 percent of content published on a given website drives little to no organic traffic.” Even if you fixed all the previous 11 symptoms, you need to reevaluate what’s plausible. Not everyone inside and outside your target audience will find and read your content at once. Readers will trickle to your site searching for your content when they need it.
So when looking at analytics, look to see what’s really a feasible goal for you to meet through your content creation. Take baby steps before trying to accomplish your ambitious goal.
Now that you’ve seen the 12 symptoms wreaking havoc on your blog, you also have 12 cures to the most common problems. Let us know if these cures helped your blog or if you have a different solution to the same problem.