When it comes to online marketing and content marketing, a company’s blog is a crucial to being successful. However, very few businesses make the most of this medium. The good news is that the differences between average blogs and high performing blogs really aren’t that dramatic. With a few simple changes, you can enjoy the benefits of a powerful blog with highly engaged readers.
There are good blogs and there are bad blogs. Contrary to popular belief, the differences between the former and the latter aren’t massive. This is frightening news for successful blogs and a welcome note of encouragement to those struggling to gain readers.
The reality is that any blogger can transform his strategy with just a few simple tweaks or shifts. The tricky part is convincing a blogger that something needs to change from a strategic perspective.
If you aren’t totally satisfied with the current state of your blog — or your readership — then something needs to be done. You need to find a cure for your blogging woes and the prescription may be simpler than you anticipated.
Let’s check out a few easy, tangible tips that can fundamentally transform your entire approach to blogging.
1. Instill Credibility
Everything starts with instilling credibility, so that your audience trusts the content you produce. Without this trust, it’s impossible to gain traction in a marketplace that’s controlled by social media shares and likes.
Here’s what instilling credibility in terms of blogging looks like:
- Welcoming design. Savvy internet users don’t play around. They understand how to navigate the web and will quickly hit the back button if they don’t like what they see. Unfortunately, you only have a few seconds to make a visitor feel comfortable. Make sure you’re investing in a welcoming design that’s attractive and seamless. In 2016, this probably means designing a minimalist blog.
- Add a bio box. People want to know who’s behind the articles and blog posts they’re reading. In order to satisfy the curiosity of your readers and instill credibility, it’s important that you create an author bio box that can be easily integrated into any page. If you’re using WordPress, there are a number of different plugins at your disposal. Find one that fits your style and use it.
- Link to other blogs. Just like you’re associated with your friends in real life, your blog will forever be connected to other blogs that you reference and cite. Not only do your readers make mental notes of who you’re linking to, but the bloggers you quote will also notice when you give them credit.
There are dozens of ways to enhance credibility, but these are three quick places you can start for immediate results. Use these principles as a solid foundation and then continue to make steady improvements over time.
2. Write Better Headlines
Bloggers are often their own worst enemies. This is certainly true when it comes to writing headlines. It’s not uncommon for a blogger to spend four or five hours writing a blog post, only to rush through the headline crafting process in 90 seconds or less. It’s as if headlines are viewed as some sort of worthless afterthought.
This is a damaging perspective to hold, since the headline is typically one of the primary factors involved in generating traffic from search engines and social media. Aside from spending more time on brainstorming headlines, here are a few actionable tips to help you get more creative:
- Short and sweet. Sometimes it’s best to keep titles concise. According to HubSpot analysis, headlines between 8–12 words get the most Twitter shares on average. On Facebook, those with 12–14 words receive the most likes.
- Spark curiosity. Titles that ask questions, make challenging statements, or leave readers hanging are very effective. These headlines work by enticing users to click the link to learn more.
- Use numbers. People love numbers. They establish parameters and instill a sense of purpose in an article. Consider putting blog posts in a listicle format in order to attract more clicks and generate a longer average time on site.
If you’ve typically viewed headlines as an afterthought, now is the time to shift your way of thinking. By writing better headlines, you can increase shares, clicks and conversions almost instantaneously.
3. Use gorgeous visuals
The value of visuals in modern blogging cannot be understated. There’s simply no way to thrive without a strong visual strategy.
“Today’s blog reader is not yesterday’s newsletter reader,” says Zontee Hou, content marketing expert. “Often times, your reader expects an entire storyline — or at least the salient points — from images. If a reader (who is actually browsing, not reading) has to read the text and scroll down a page to see your images, you run the risk of losing them.”
With that being said, here are some helpful tips and best practices for implementing gorgeous visuals into your blog:
- Ditch the stock. There’s nothing worse than seeing a bunch of cold stock photos on a blog. They’re impersonal, irrelevant and cheap. If you want to make an impact, then you need to replace these overused images with unique visuals that actually add value to your blog.
- Use high-resolution. The current trend is to use large images that stretch the width of the page and immediately engage users. The key to making this work is using high-resolution images that don’t lose their quality as they scale.
- Aim for relevancy. As Hou explains, images are a critically important component of your storytelling. This means images need to be extremely relevant to your topic. Be meticulous in the selection process and avoid choosing an image to simply fill up space.
Over time, your commitment to gorgeous visuals will pay off. Your blog will become known as a dependable source for quality and originality, which will have a positive impact on your blog’s overall conversion goals.
4. Perform Relevant Keyword Research
One of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is assuming they know what’s best for their readers and imposing those ideas on them. In reality, it should be the other way around. If bloggers want to engage their audiences, then they need to understand what readers want and should craft ideas around those desires.
Aside from listening to your followers on social media and studying your blog’s analytics, you should be performing regular keyword research to identify the topics and search terms your readers are interested in. Using this as your foundation, you can not only launch a better SEO strategy, but also write stronger topics and headlines. It may seem like a small thing, but keyword research is something the best bloggers in the world are constantly doing.
Stagnant blogs are sorry blogs
There’s something to be said for consistency, but don’t confuse dependability with being stagnant. Blogs that refuse to change are blogs that will lose readers over time and slowly dissipate into obsolescence.
Don’t let your blog fall into the latter category.
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