Many people will start a blog and then they will stop. Sometimes the reason for stopping may be that the subject matter of that blog doesn’t interest them any more, they have moved on and they start up another blog. Sometimes the reason may be lack of time or a change of family circumstances. More often than not though, people stop blogging because they find it is much more difficult than they thought or they aren’t getting the business return on investment they thought they would.
Like all social media and indeed, attempts to get press coverage, blogging doesn’t offer the magic silver bullet. Just because you set up a blog, it doesn’t mean that traffic to your website will quadruple overnight or that sales will mushroom, it does take time but the rewards are worth it – from increased sales, better brand awareness, more traffic to your website, free press coverage because a journalist found your blog, improved relationships and communication with customers – however, it takes significant time, effort and persistance to create a successful blog.
Here’s 25 Ways To Make Blogging Easier
Do you struggle for inspiration for your blog posts? Do you sit and stare at a blank screen willing inspiration to come? Do you put off blogging because you can’t think of a good topic? Here’s five ways to make it easier.
1. Brainstorm ideas for blog topics and write them all down. You then have the option of allocating a topic for specific dates or else look at the list and decide what suits your time schedule and mood.
2. Have a regular topic for a particular day of the week – then you are usually prepared and can even write and schedule it in advance. It doesn’t even have to be a long post for this topic. You could provide a ‘Friday Foto’ or a ’Wordless Wednesday’ with some photographs from your business, it could be a ‘Thursday Tip’ where you provide readers with the benefit of your expertise and a single tip, it could be centred on your business e.g. an interior design business could write a ‘Wallpaper Wednesday’ post each week, focusing on decorating with wallpapers.
3. Perennial Days – Check out the ‘Days of the Year‘ – what topics are there coming up that would suit your business and you could use them as inspiration for that particular day? For example, Wednesday 26th March is ‘Legal Assistance Day’ – a legal business could write a blog post explaining some legal loopholes orproviding answers to the most common queries they receive in an average month.Wednesday 9th April is ‘Cherish an Antique Day’ – an antiques shop could write about their ten favourite antiques on sale in their shop. Mother’s Day is coming up – posts could be devoted to tips on making cards to helping mums feel special.
4. Read other blog posts in your topic area – you’ll be surprised how they will spark ideas in your own brain.
5. Keep a list of questions that customers ask – either by email, in person or on social media. Your blog posts can be answers to those questions and if they are commonly asked questions, your blog should rank well in google searches.
#Not Enough Time
Are you finding it is taking you considerable time to write a blog post? Are you finding you are rushing it or feeling it should take less time?
1. Be realistic – some posts, e.g. a quick tutorial post or a short post with four images may only take half an hour to write but a longer post that requires research, links and lots of subheadings or bullet points may take up to two or three hours so be realistic with your expectations.
2. Remember that a blog post isn’t finished when you click ‘publish’. You need to spend ten minutes tweeting links, posting an update to facebook, perhaps sharing to linked in and pinning it (scheduling some so they don’t all go out at the same time). This may be the most important part of your blog post so don’t neglect it. View it as part of the time allocation for writing a post and then you won’t get frustrated when it takes longer than you think it should.
3. Some bloggers use tools to speed up their writing e.g. Dragon Naturally Speaking which types up what you say. Apparently it can take a little time to get used to but once you get there, it saves a lot of time.
4. Create podcasts or video blogs if you prefer that to writing.
5. Invite guest bloggers occasionally or interview people in your area. Other opportunities crop up at times too. I have just been invited to take part in a ‘tagging writers’ post whereby I answer specific questions within a blog post and tag three other authors. Not only has the inspiration been provided for this blog post but I am building links with others in this area.
#Lack of Response
Are you not getting the traffic or sales you expected? Are people looking at just one blog post and not going to other website or product pages? Is your bounce rate too high?
1. Add a single call to action to each blog post. Vary them between asking for comments, showing them where to sign up to your email newsletter, linking to a relevant product, asking them to contact you or asking a question to see if they will respond.
2. Add a Related Posts plug in to your blog so 4 or 5 blog posts (with thumbnails and titles) and shown at the bottom of the blog post, enabling readers to read another post and stay on your website for longer.
3. Use your social media platforms to compel followers to click the links and visit your blog for more information.
4. Ensure that there are social sharing buttons on your blog to prompt readers to share your content too. You can then connect with them by starting up a conversation on twitter or following them on Pinterest. This makes it more likely for them to follow you back and revisit your blog.
5. Are you addressing the reader as ‘You’? Or are you talking about ‘me me me’ or ‘we we we’. Addressing the reader as ‘you’ makes the post more personal and readers will be more inclined to read more and revisit. Pin a picture of your ‘ideal’ customer at your desk and write your post as if chatting to them, answering their questions and providing information they need.
# Finding Images
You know you need to be using images in your blog post – to break up the text, to provide visual relief, so people can pin your post and to support your written text but you’re worried about copyright and you feel your own photography isn’t good enough.
1. Purchase images from a source such as Shutterstock.
2. You can use photographs for free (in return for crediting the source) from Photopin.
3. Getty Images are now available to use for free. This post explains how to embed them.
4. Do not use photographs that are obviously stock images all the time – do take some of your own photos or even use text on a plain background for informational blog posts – here’s how to add text to images in Picmonkey.
5. Take a photography course if you would like to use your own photographs and don’t have the confidence about your ability.
#Not Getting Comments
Getting comments can be tricky, we all love getting them, it gives us a warm fuzzy feeling and we like to think it gives our blogs more credibility. Many people will comment on your facebook update or reply to your tweet as they see it as quicker than commenting on your blog, plus you are likely to respond more quickly. However, sometimes waiting for comments can feel a little like waiting for a telephone to ring or a text to come through – neverending! There are things you can do to optimise the chances of getting comments though.
1. Make it easy for people to comment. Do not have capthas in place as part of the sign in process and this can be really off-putting. Nothing is more frustrating that writing a comment and then finding it won’t publish – that person will never go to the effort of commenting on your blog again.
2. Comment on other blogs – the owners of those blogs are much more likely to comment on your blog. Ensure you comment with something meaningful that shows you have engaged with the content of the post.
3. Respond to comments – if people know you will respond with a worthy comment, they are more inclined to comment on a regular basis. Many of the commenting platforms have a system in place to alert readers to the reply too.
4. Ask questions throughout the blog post so that people are already forming an answer in their minds as they read to the end.
5. Ask yourself – is this post an easy one to comment on. Have I raised issues or is it more of an instructional tutorial? Be realistic too – posts that have an emotional appeal are much more likely to get comments than a post explaining how to make a kitchen sink sparkle, unless of course the kitchen sink post is very funny or has a story that resonates.
Read this post by Spiderworking - Blog Comments: A Quick Guide to Giving and Receiving
If you would like help starting or improving your blog, do get in contact if you would like to avail of a mentoring appointment or sign up to one of our online blogging courses at We Teach Social.
Don’t forget to download our free Ebook ‘The Banter, The Craic, The Business: Ten Ways Being Irish Can Boost Your Business