Posted by Murray Sye
on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 @ 09:17 AM
Have you ever thought you'd like to just ax your blog?
Take the whole goldarn thing down, chop into pieces and chuck it into the vapor sphere?
I'll bet you have and so has Andrew.
Andrew, our client, called me the other day spitting bullets. "I'm doing exactly what you told me to do. I'm writing, writing, writing, and posting, posting, posting. I'm sick and tired of writing and I'm sick of seeing a trickle of traffic and even less leads."
"I feel like giving up!"
I think we've all felt Andrew's frustration at one time or another. We work our asses off to experience little gain for all the hard work we've put in. You're at the gym 3 to 4 times a week and you've only lost a few pounds. You're at the driving range every night of the week and you're still slicing every second shot!
So you want to give up.
Believe it or not, most of us simply give up when we're merely inches away from victory. When usually all it takes is a few simple adjustments to make it all worth while.
Here's what I reviewed with Andrew and I'll share with you today.
Writing a blog is difficult enough for most of us. It's demanding work and requires a lot of self-discipline. If you're posting on a frequent basis, I commend you, as I did with Andrew for his persistence. But, to run a successful blog, to get the traction that leads to increase traffic and leads, you'll need to look beyond the words and make these simple tweaks and adjustments.
Never give up, instead adjust
Adjust by optimizing your posts implementing these 11 recommendations.
- Optimize your URL for the Googles of the world
Your blog post URL (that houses the title of your article) is one of the first things that search engines track. So it would be a good idea to include your keywords in it and make it reader-friendly before posting. Take a look at the URL for this blog post, that's at the top of your browser in the address bar. Guess what words are on our keyword hit list?
- Use headlines that appeal to both humans and search engines
Your headline is crucial to attracting both humans and search engines, so make sure it's enticing and naturally contains words and phrases that people are searching for. Then, be sure the rest of your article delivers on the headline.
- Some relevant keywords
You definitely shouldn't keyword-stuff your posts, but it's wise to create blog posts on topics that people are searching for, and then naturally include commonly used words and phrases on that topic within your posts. Remember to always keep your target personas in mind when placing keywords throughout your posts. Don't bother trying to rank for things that don't matter to your potential customers. The reason you want to rank at all is so more perfect customers can find you.
- Relatively informal language
No one wants to dig through industry jargon to understand what you're writing about. Use simple language to explain things. Heck, I joke that I don't use big words 'cause I don't know any. I try to write the way I talk and just keep it simple. If someone's reading your blog to learn more about your industry, they might not have any idea what the hell those terms are anyway.
- Properly cited images
I love images. I'll use images whenever and wherever I can. Your visitors will scan, so use supporting images throughout your post to increase comprehension and scanability.
- Section headers
People love to scan articles on the web. If you want your blog to be skimmable, you should break up sections with large, bolded subheads, just like what I've done here. Subheads make even the longest pieces seem easy to read. And bullets. Use bullets in your posts when you can. People love bullets and numbers, oh yea numbers, again just like what I've included in this post.
- Shorter paragraphs
As you can see, I sometimes use only one or two lines before I break to a new paragraph. People don't like lengthy copy. Believe it or not, it'll scare them away. It's much easier for people to scan when there are small chunks of content to look over – so make sure you're keeping your paragraphs short and sweet.
- Relevant internal links
Blog posts are often the first interaction people will have with your company, but you don't want it to be the last. So make sure you're including a reasonable number of relevant internal links to other pieces of your content throughout your post. These links could be helpful to your reader. Like this one.
- Share buttons
You know share buttons. Those little icons that link your article to your social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ etc. They should be prominently displayed next to your post as a little reminder to your readers that they should share your post. But, make sure that when you click on a share button your title of the post automatically populates with the author and/or company's Twitter handle.
- Comments enabled
You can see ours at the bottom of this post. You want to encourage dialogue with your readers so make sure that you have that little device enabled. Feedback can be incredibly helpful for future content.
- Smart CTA
Smart CTAs help you show tailored content to people in different lifecycle stages or lists in your database, and because the content is more relevant to them, they're more likely to convert. If you show the right people the right message at the right time, those readers are much more likely to come back due to a pleasant and helpful experience.
Now it's your turn. The next time you’ve written a solid first draft, take a moment and think about optimization.
Have you included any or all of these elements in your post?
You don't have to overwhelm yourself. Try a few to start, but just start!
The sooner you do, the sooner you'll find that growing a readership and customer base isn't as difficult as it once seemed. Traffic and leads are within your reach, just don't give up.
Written by Murray SyeMurray is the CEO and Creative Director with the award-winning
Toronto HubSpot agency partner, WhiteSpace. You can
connect with Murray on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.