Blogging is hard! I started the B² Blog a little over a year ago and it’s been a slow and steady process to gain readers, shares, and an overall interest in what we write about.
I’m constantly looking for tips and tricks to tweak what we have. I read lots of blogs in my own quest to be better. And, lemme tell ya, a lot of blogs SUCK!
Why Your Blog Sucks
- The absolute NUMBER ONE reason your blog sucks is because there’s no discernible value. If you’re not solving problems, giving jaw-dropping tips, and figuring out ways to HELP your would-be customers, you might as well spend your time picking the seeds out of a strawberry.
- You don’t know what white space is (or how to effectively use it). The design of your blog, just like your website, is extremely important. Mass amounts of readers are murdered with every large, chunky paragraph you have with no spacing, bullets or a header.
- Your grammar and spelling totally negate your degree in English (or any sort of higher education). No need to elaborate here.
- If your blog doesn’t entice a little conversation, it is, by definition, dead. Make it easy for readers to leave a comment AND to share. Trust me, your blog won’t sprout legs and market itself!
- Consistency is key. It’s going to be really hard to create a loyal following of readers when they aren’t sure if they’re going to get valuable content on a regular basis. As with any social or online media, it takes a true commitment to pull off a regular schedule.
- Your blog doesn’t have an SEO strategy. No matter how big or small, you should have some sort of plan to get indexed and profiled by search engines like Google. What industry keywords are you using? How many high-quality, internal links are you creating? The post-and-pray method won’t be enough to draw stampedes of subscribers to your blog.
- If your blog doesn’t run on a Content Management System (CMS) — like WordPress — you won’t have the nifty bells and whistles that help it grow. Can people subscribe to your posts via RSS? By email? Further more, how are you pulling stats on your readers and subscribers? How are you backing up your posts? All things to seriously consider!
- The next step isn’t a part of your blogging strategy. What is the point of your blog? Where’s your call-to-action (CTA)? How are you asking people to stay longer? What’s your plan for getting people to add themselves to your marketing list(s)?
True to #1, I’m not going to tell you how you (might) suck and then leave you hanging! We’ve got some easy-peasy fixes for your suckiness.
How Not To Suck
- I can’t tell you specifically how to add value. I can give you these tips to get there:
– Know your audience
– Figure out what their pain points and problems are (think about your FAQs)
– Write a list of 10 ways to solve each FAQ (this should give you AT LEAST 10 different posts, if not hundreds)
– Remember: Value is not decided by you, it’s perceived by your readers.
– ACTIONABLE tips work best
- When designing your blog, white space matters. Use headlines. Use bullets, numbered lists, and dashes to make your posts easy to read. As long as readers can skim your post and grasp the concept, it doesn’t matter if it’s 300 words or 3,000.
- PLEASE review your posts before hitting publish. If you can, get an editor to look over your work. Have a question about correct spelling or how to properly use grammar? Try Google, Thesaurus.com, Grammarly, or ask a friend! Making mistakes and coming across as uneducated are two totally different things.
- We’re not likely to copy and past the URL of your blog post into our Facebook status box or on Twitter. That’s why you need to have social sharing widgets. Additionally, there are many ways to entice users to comment. We use, and love, CommentLuv. Comments and shares are good indicator of success.
- Make a COMMITMENT to some sort of schedule and STICK TO IT. This isn’t about writing, or topics, or anything else. This is about YOU making the commitment and taking the time to do something. Here’s a FREE blog editorial calendar from HubSpot to help you get started.
- When it comes to SEO I highly recommend Yoast for WordPress to help you with keywords, your meta description and getting found. Make sure you have links in your posts and an overall link strategy.
- A CMS for blogs is just a given. I really can’t understand why you wouldn’t use one. We use WordPress, but you can also try Drupal, Joomla, and the list goes on and on. In my opinion, you can’t effectively manage your blog without a system that allows for management, plugins, themes, etc.
- What’s the next step? What are you trying to accomplish? This can be very easy, such as text that asks users to comment. Or, it can be more complicated. For example, we have:
– A free eBook in our blog sidebar to help with gaining subscribers
– A plugin that suggests similar posts, as well as a slider that recommends a post based on user data to keep readers engaged
– A newsletter opt-in at the end of my bio
It Doesn’t Happen Overnight
I’m sure the above sounds extremely daunting. Remember that our blog took a year to get where it is now and it’s a constant process to improve it, make it more reader and user friendly, and to convert!
Please let us know what blogging tips you have for those that suck in the comments below (and a solution for fixing it)!
See you in the social sphere!