Wouldn’t it be nice one day to wake up in the morning, check your web stats, and see your blog traffic booming? Believe it or not, this can happen, even to newbie bloggers that don’t think they know what they’re doing. All it takes is a few simple steps — making your blog posts appeal more to readers, keeping them hanging around and reading more.
I’m not going to tell you that your blog is rubbish. Not at all. I think your blog is wonderful. Even if I haven’t even seen it yet, I bet your blog is beautiful. Because it was made by YOU. It’s YOUR space. YOUR words. And that’s lovely, don’t you think? To be able to have your say on the internet — to have some space to fit in YOUR words.
Writing down your words is often one of the easiest parts of the blogging journey; getting people to read those words is something else entirely. With so many blogs out there, all talking about the same thing as you, it makes sense to know what readers like and don’t like. You can get rid of the things that are driving them away, and then add more of the things that you know keeps ’em coming.
Here’s what I’ve learned to avoid in close to a decade of blogging …
Get More Blog Readers by Avoiding These 8 Monumental Mess-Ups
1 – You’re making it hard for readers to find you.
Are you actually throwing your blog out there? That’s one of my biggest problems — I’m so introverted that I can’t self-promote easily. If I’m working on someone else’s blog, I can throw it out there all day long, and the numbers reflect as such. But my own stuff? Noooo. What if people ACTUALLY read it?
(I know that’s the whole point, don’t worry.)
You need to actually throw your blog out there to get people to find it and then read it, and there are a bunch of different ways that you can do that.
If you want to attract more readers from Google and other search engines, you’ll need to work on your SEO — search engine optimisation. I’ve got loads of mini guides on simple steps you can take to optimise your blog for search engines. You’ll find them here.
If you want to attract more readers from social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, you’ll actually need to post on them. You’ve gotta be fairly regular about it, too, so if you can’t consistently post to a number of social media platforms at once, each time you publish a new blog post, don’t try to market across the board. Pick one or two social platforms to focus on first, and once you’ve nailed that one/those you can go ahead and figure out the rest.
If you try and learn them all — and how to use them — all in one go, there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll become entirely overwhelmed … and then you’ll give up.
Don’t do that.
2 – There’s too much text and not enough white space.
If you have a blog post that is just endless words after words after words, there’s a chance that a few people are going to click on and then right back off again. You might think that shorter, more compact blog posts are the way forward, but longer blog posts have been shown to do better. It is thought by the reader that you really know your stuff when there’s that much text about it.
You need to learn how to balance out all of that text with some white space, as well as images and other stuff. There are lots of ways in which you can add more white space to your blog posts, including creating shorter paragraphs, having more than one line break between paragraphs, and even splitting things up with dividers, etc.
I’ve got a blog post coming on just that subject. Keep your eyes peeled, folks!
3 – You aren’t adding images.
“But I do have images!” I hear you cry.
You might have images, but are they good images? Are they old images? Could you replace those old images with newer, brighter, lighter, better images? Maybe you should? Images can make or break a blog post.
Going back and adding new images to old blog posts is just one way that you can inject a bit of life into them, and by doing this, you might just find a few blog posts that you can “club together” to a roundup-style post. That’s something I talk about in: New Things You Can Do With Old Blog Posts: A Roundup.
You’ll get an extra blog post about it — one more piece of content — using content that already exists, requiring minimal extra work. Awesome, right?
If you’re not yet happy with your own images, there are plenty of places that you can find stock images, and free stock images at that, too. Here’s a list of 75 different places that you can find stock photos that you can use in your blog posts: 75+ Places to Find Free Feminine Stock Photos For Your Blog.
4 – Your blog posts are boring.
Shut up, she didn’t just say that, did she?
Yep. I did say it. Sorry, but sometimes it’s true!
Take a read through your own blog posts. Do you find them funny? Interesting? Witty? If you don’t, maybe that’s why people aren’t sticking around to read more. And that’s the point — you should write the kind of blog posts that YOU want to read.
You know how ‘experts’ always tell struggling writers and novelists to “write the book you want to read”? That’s EXACTLY the process you should take with blogging. You should create content that you would enjoy reading.
Inject some of your personality in there. Use stories of your life. Replace other people’s names with fake names if you don’t want to give too much away, but use the experiences you have had to better tell your stories. Be a story-teller. It helps you to come across as more of a person and less of a PR machine. Ya know?
5 – You aren’t making the most of Pinterest.
If you only pick ONE social media platform to work with, to promote your blog, I’d suggest making it Pinterest. Every single blog I’ve ever worked on has benefited greatly from a Pinterest marketing strategy, including my own. There are some days when it’s the number one source of traffic. And it’s a simple and quick social media strategy to implement, too.
For a few quid a month you could invest in Tailwind. This is a scheduling tool for Pinterest and other SM platforms, that helps you to keep your Pinterest feed constantly evolving and moving. It is recommended that you pin 30, 50, 100 times a day and more for a successful, traffic-boosting strategy, and Tailwind helps you to do just that.
It tells you the right times and days of the week that you should publish pins, and gives you the option to drag and drop your pins and other people’s pins to then publish them at the desired times.
Middle of the night.
First thing in the morning.
When you’re glued to your desk at work.
Your Pinterest account works for you, behind your back, using Tailwind.
I spend around half an hour working on my Pinterest scheduling strategy, once a week. That’s it. (I create Pinterest pins for my blog posts right after I finish writing it, though.)
Even if you don’t want to spend money on Tailwind or scheduling tools, Pinterest can greatly help your blog and blog traffic. Every blogger I’ve ever met has had nothing but good things to say about it, and I’m one of them. In fact, I shared all the details of my own marketing strategy here.
(I jumped from 6,000 monthly unique views to 150k+ in less than 4 months … and that’s SLOW!)
6 – You’re not consistent enough.
This means being consistent on whatever social media platforms you focus on, as well as blog publishing. I’m a nightmare for staying consistent with my own blogs, mostly because client work comes along and takes over. I get sucked into a little hard-work-zone for a few days, literally disappearing from the face of the planet, before emerging a few days later, hungry and needing to wash my hair.
If you’re only blogging once every few weeks, people aren’t going to get excited about reading new blog posts because they never know when they’re going to come. By blogging regularly, or learning to space out the blog posts you do manage to write rather than bunching them all together, you are more likely to be on readers’ radars.
You don’t need to blog every day, but you do need to try and have some sort of semi-strict schedule. Maybe aim to blog once per week to get started, and then increase the number of posts after that if you find extra time on your hands? Even if you’re only blogging once a week, make it the same day every week. Tell people it’s going to be the same day every week.
7 – The title sucks.
Would you read a book that had a really crappy title? I know different people will have different opinions on what constitutes a crappy title, but the more exciting you make your blog post title, the more people are going to want to read it.
You’ll just need to avoid turning your titles into clickbait.
Clickbait is a title that has been written in such a way to make you think you are going to read something SUPER exciting, only for it not to be that exciting at all or a signup for something you’re never going to be interested in.
A good title is one that GRABS people. It STOPS them in their tracks. It makes your blog post utterly enticing, like that reader can’t help but click on it and read more. Gripping, but informative, but without giving the entire game away …
My original title for this blog post was “8 Reasons People Aren’t Ready Your Blog (& How To Fix Them)”, but I discovered that the title was already in use by a number of people, didn’t give me a keyword that I felt was worth working with, and probably wouldn’t entice me to read more. I needed something much more exciting and interesting than that.
So, I played around for a while, taking a peek at title generators online. I threw some keywords out there to see what suggestions I would get back, and here are a few that I narrowed it down to:
- Top 8 Reasons Your Blog Posts Suck
- Top 8 Ways You’re Stopping Yourself Getting More Blog Readers
- Get More Blog Readers by Avoiding These 8 Monumental Mess-Ups
I have the hardest time with titles. Some of mine are the worst. It’s absolutely to go back and change them, days, weeks, months down the line. If it’s a poorly performing post, don’t be afraid to go in, change it around, share it on social media, and generally treat like it’s a brand new blog post. Tell people you’ve updated it — new information, new photos, new title, whatever.
8 – You’re not making it easy for people to stick around.
What happens if someone clicks on a blog post of yours, finding it from Pinterest or Twitter or whatever, and likes it so much that they decide they’d quite like to follow you? How would they do that?
Is your email subscriber box easily visible? You could consider popups (although, I’m not the biggest fan of them). You could also add your email subscriber box at the bottom of some of your blog posts, using that as your call-to-action.
What about your social media accounts? Are they easy to find? Have you noticed the social media buttons on this blog post? I’ve got them at the top of my website, and again at the bottom. There’s a little floating panel on the left-hand side of the screen if you’re looking at it using a desktop/laptop. Some of my blog posts have a snippet of my Instagram feed, using the “Follow Me” feature as my call-to-action.
You’ll need to make it easy for people to subscribe or follow you. If they’ve gotta spend a few minutes finding those buttons, they’ll get bored and you might lose them forever.
Seriously, don’t go.
The smallest, simplest changes could make the world of difference to a blog post that isn’t doing that well. Whether you’re trying to improve new blog posts coming, or fix ones that have been stashed away in the archives, avoiding these 8 monumental mess-ups (that aren’t really that mess-up’y or monumental, to be honest) is a great place to start.
Which ones will you fix on your blog first?
Thanks for reading, folks. Have a super awesome day!