Did you start blogging recently or perhaps you’ve been blogging for a while and your readership has dried up or perhaps it never got going in the first place? Getting traffic to a business blog isn’t a case of just starting to write, it does take time, skill, good content and much more to become a successful blog.
Here’s some suggestions for what you might be doing wrong with some tips to ensure your blog traffic improves.
1. Ignore Photographs At Your Peril
Are you ignoring the inclusion of photographs in your blog post? Are you writing lots of text? Perhaps your business isn’t conducive to images – after all, not all industries can be pretty. However, photographs are essential in blog posts.
People don’t read blog posts as they do a novel or a newspaper, we tend to scan or skim, perhaps deciding after the first couple of paragraphs to either leave the post or to slow down and read it with more attention. However, a page full of text can be hard to read on a screen and needs to be broken up with subheadings, bullet points and above all, a photograph. The presence of a visual will serve to demonstrate what the post is about as well as giving the eyes a rest and breaking up the text.
If your business is visual, for example, interior design, tourism or cookery, you’ll be using lots of photographs in any case. However, for business blogs such as this one, it can be more difficult to find relevant and attractive photographs. Stock images have a place and can be useful but can be recognised as a stock image from a mile away, hence, they might connote that the written material isn’t particularly original either! I like using photopin and it makes it very easy to credit the source of the photograph.
For SEO purposes, don’t forget to rename the photograph so rather than being called ‘IMG3784.jpg’ or ‘blog.jpg’, it is named with the title of your blog post – this is also recommended for Pinterest purposes, so that when a pinner pins your blog post, the title travels with it as the descriptor and is unlikely to be changed by the pinner. Pin this blog post and you’ll see what I mean
2. Splling & Grmmar
Good spelling and grammar are essential for business blogging. While an occasional typo will be forgiven, poor spelling and grammar reflects poorly on a business’s professionalism. Always use a spellchecker if you are aware your spelling is a weakness. Preview your blog post before you click the publish button.
Be particularly conscious of the different meanings of words such as taught/thought, their/there/they’re, aloud/allowed and remember that these will not show up in a spell check if they are used incorrectly.
The misuse of the apostrophe is another bugbear – remember it is used to abbreviate as in ‘It’s a sunny day today’ or to show possession as in ‘That is Peter’s jumper’.
3. Are You Writing For Yourself or Your Reader?
You have to work out what your target market and/or your ideal reader wants to know and fulfil their needs. It doesn’t work to just write about the features of one of your products or services, you need to write about the benefits for your target market. According to various sales experts, your marketing literature should be 20% about the features and 80% about the benefits. It’s not necessarily enough to showcase a new wallpaper design – you could also include suggestions for design ideas, different ways to use the wallpaper or what rooms the wallpaper would work best in which should mean that the response to your blog post delivers more conversions and sales.
Alternatively, you need to provide information that your reader wants. People visit this blog to find out more about the various social media platforms and how to improve their usage of them – this post fulfils that need by suggesting how you can improve your business blog.
4. Do You Comment On Other Blogs?
Writing your blog in a vacuum and expecting others to find it, keep coming back, leave comments and stay loyal is a big ask. Writing your blog post, hitting publish and leaving it like that isn’t necessarily enough anymore. Your blog traffic (and the number of commentators) will increase if you publicise your blog on other social media platforms and if you visit and comment on other blogs with engaging comments. Being part of a community means that others will retweet your tweets, share your updates on facebook and pin your posts as well as commenting on your blog. Commenting on other blogs, engaging in conversation with others on twitter, repinning pins and leaving comments on facebook updates as well as joining in on offline networking social media groups will have a significant effect on your blog’s popularity.
5. Frequency / Infrequency
Is there such a thing as too much or too little when it comes to blogging? I think the key is consistency. Posting quality every day of the week is fine as long as it is relevant and of interest to your subscribers. Posting once a week is fine too as long as it is regular. However, posting every day for two weeks and then taking a break for two or three weeks doesn’t reflect well on your business in terms of time management, reliability and professionalism.
6. Irritating Pop -Up Ads
More and more websites and blogs seem to have those pop up ads now that flash up in the middle of the screen. If someone really wants to read your material, they may stick around but all too often, people will close down the tab. There is so much material out there now that every blog writer only has only seconds to hook in readers with a good title and first paragraph and you don’t want to put people off with a pop up ad.
7. Attractiveness / Ease of Navigation
Make your blog easy to read. Breaking up the text with photographs or subheadings is one thing but think about your font, text size, text colour and overall presentation too. Personally, I don’t like reading white text on a black background and I’m not overly keen on the brown background of some blogspot themes which means that the content has to be extraordinary for me to stick around and read to the end. Everyone has different likes and dislikes, however, your blog’s appearance shouldn’t be offputting.
Ensure your blog is easy to navigate too, it should be evident that your links are links and clickable, and that they open in a new window – you don’t want to frustrate readers!
8. Optimise Your Blog
Are you using relevant keywords that people are using? Check by using the google keyword research tool (here’s our post on how to use the tool). Do not scatter lots of keywords throughout your whole post but concentrate on two or three keywords and keyword phrases. Don’t use them for the sake of it either but do use them where relevant.
The most important placements for your main keywords are the title, your first paragraph, your headings/subheadings and your last paragraph. If you are using a plug in such as the All In One plug in or the Yoast plugin – ensure that your keyword is included in your summary and titles there too.
9. No Jargon – Be Friendly/Colloquial
Too much jargon can be off-putting to readers. A blog post isn’t an academic journal, people read on screen differently to how they read off screen. Words that are difficult to understand, long sentences, long paragraphs, too much jargon can turn readers away.
Unless your target audience are academics, write like you might talk. Imagine sitting down over a cup of tea and how you might explain the benefits of your product to a client. Although I recommend writing in a colloquial style, don’t overdo it and include slang. Do look over your blog post and while checking it for errors, see if any paragraphs are too long, did you become carried away with any sentences, is it needlessly complicated in any way?
10. Too Mean To Share?
Do you click publish and then abandon your blog until you next write a post or do you share your post on various social media platforms? When I started blogging over five years ago, I only had to do the former and traffic arrived but there is much more competition now. More people will visit your blog if you write a compelling description with the link.
Which social media platforms should you share it to? I’d definitely recommend sharing it to Google+ even if just for SEO reasons and so that Google indexes your post. Share it once to Facebook, bearing in mind what is the most effective time of day (judging by your insights). I also share relevant posts to a couple of groups on Linked In and will sometimes update my profile with a link to a particular post.
How often should you tweet it? That is the million dollar question – I tend to schedule 4 or 5 tweets to a single blog post but have noticed that sites I’ve guest posted for have tweeted that post up to ten times over a two week period.
Share it to Pinterest too and if you can share it to a relevant group board, all the better. Ensure that the image shows what your blog post is about, perhaps by adding text to your image using a photo editor like picmonkey. Rename your photo too so that if someone else pins it, the descriptor will stay with the pin (unless it is removed) as it is repinned.
Ensure you spend ten minutes after hitting ‘publish’ in sharing your masterpiece with the world.
Have you any other suggestions regarding the errors people may make when writing/promoting their blog posts and how they might overcome them?
Marie and I do blog mentoring clinics if you feel you’d like help improving your blog so do get in touch if you’d like to avail of an appointment.