It is 2016, and every business is trying to make it online. After all, we live in a digital era.
So, what strategies are they using?
Making videos, social media presence and well….you guessed right, blogging!
As a matter of fact, according to a report released by the social media examiner, 45% of marketers selected blogs as their most important content followed by visual assets at 34% and videos at 19%.
But the big question is, are you doing it right? Are you getting a good enough Return on Investment? It has been reported that marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13 times more likely to enjoy positive ROI.
Are you anywhere close to this? If not, there is a problem.
In this post, we will discuss key reasons why blogs fail and teach you how to rectify these problems. Here is why we are concerned. Content creation can be expensive, both on time and money. Feel free to use the table of contents and navigate around the post.
Reason for Blog failure: You Create Too Much Content
Did I just say that? Yes I did! Before you start questioning my line of thinking, let me ask you a question. Imagine posting 3-4 articles a day and your readership base consists of only 50 people. What is the probability that the 50 people will read all these posts and share them?
Let me shock you:
Less than 50% of your blog readers actually read past 100 words. This was discovered after Slate hired a data scientist to analyze its traffic, who found out that online readers have a dismal ability to focus.
It was also noted that there was a poor connection between shares and blog readership.
The graph below shows you the magnitude of visitors who don’t scroll through the page and those who read.
Well, for you to produce 3-4 high quality articles per day, you need to spend a lot of time researching and writing the best content for your audience. Now, simple mathematics:
Would you rather produce an article every two days and spend the rest of the time promoting it or fill your blog with too much content and hope that you will have 100% readership and all your readers will faithfully and vigorously share your posts with their friends?
Do you now see my point?
Running a successful blog is not about moving from 50 readers to 51 readers. It is about moving from 50 to 100, to 200 and so forth.
How do you do it?
Promote, promote and promote.
Let me let you in on something.
It has been predicted that in 2016, we will no longer have bloggers. This does not mean that blogging as a practice or career will die. It means that the profession will evolve.
We will now have influencers.
For you to influence, you need to be famous. And there is only one way out. Promote yourself.
Let me show you what promoting your content as opposed to producing too much content can do for you.
The Neil Patel Nutrition blog case study:
In 2015, Neil Patel and his team had a $100,000 challenge to that aimed to see the amount of traffic the new blog, NutritionSecrets.com would have after promoting it on several platforms. In just one month, the blog had received a total of 33,216 visitors.
From the image below, you can see that the blog had 33,216 visitors and 53,786 page views. Out of those 33,216 visitors, 22,819 were unique
Here is the breakdown of the sources of traffic after both indirect and direct promotion.
If you are keen enough, the blog also got traffic from random websites like the craiglist. Well, this is what happens when you do a good job at promoting your blog and provide quality content.
In the craiglist illustration for example, other businesses were seeking to employ people who could replicate the quality work observed in the nutrition secrets blog.
Promote, promote and promote. While you are at it, ensure that you have quality content within your site that would cause others to indirectly promote you.
What is the difference between a hobby and a job? In my opinion, hobby is just to pass time and relax while you expect results from a job. Right?
Truth is, when you view your blog as just a way of relaxing, then you begin your journey to failure. The first reason for this is that you will only focus on whether your post was read or not.
Well, that is actually shared by people who blog as a job too.
But here is the difference.
A person who takes blogging seriously will go a step further and analyze the metrics -know and understand the trends and be able to predict future trends and interpret what the trends mean for the business.
Such a business minded person is better off at driving their blog to the right direction and eventually running a successful blog.
Let me show you how people who take their blog seriously behave:
Backlinko needed to increase its conversions from 0.54%. For the bloggers to realize that they needed to increase conversion, they must have looked at their metrics. Otherwise, it wouldn’t matter how much they were converting.
So, the business decided to see what other bloggers were doing to increase their conversion rates.
Here is how the post began:
Source: Buzz blogger
In addition to a great headline, the blogger include a free resource for the blog as illustrated below.
Source: Buzz blogger
Her readers would actually download a unique resource created for that particular blog post.
Here is the catch:
When they clicked to download the resource, they got a pop up message that asked for their email to subscribe to her email list as seen below:
Source: Buzz blogger
Another blogger did this:
Back to the backlinko case study:
The business employed this strategy and was able to increase conversions by 785%.
So, how do you transform into this kind of person?
Very easy: You need to observe and analyze your blog using metrics from your publishing platform.
Let’s take a look at the social metrics tracker in WordPress and what it does:
Generally, the social metrics tracker is a WordPress plug-in that collects social data from social media platforms such as Facebook, Reddit, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Google+, XING, and Flattr, showing you which posts are most popular based on post shares.
The advantage is that you can understand what posts your readers love most and produce more of them. Additionally, you can also do much more with the data which is easily exported to spreadsheets for further analysis allowing you to formulate better strategies for your blog.
To help you better understand how this works, please look at the following screenshots.
This first image shows you how the social metrics tracker report review looks like:
This second image shows you the report review alongside Google Analytics and multiple URL configurations.
Can you see how you can change your configuration settings below?
Lastly, here is the export to spreadsheets for further analysis
By now, as a content developer or marketer, you ought to know that content and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) go hand in hand.
Before we begin, let us delve into a small subtopic
Sure enough, you have a website and it is doing your business well. But did you know your blog would help you rank better?
In your blog, you can write about anything and everything that you find important in your niche, something that you cannot do in your website.
This means that a blog gives you the ability to include more keywords that would help you rank high in search engines.
A blog serves as your link bait.
Take this post that you are reading for example. We have linked to several resources from high quality blogs. This means that our post can appear in search engine results if the blog is mentioned and our blog’s topic is something close to the keywords a searcher will have used.
Truth is, when you blog, every post is indexed in search engines as a single page. Even though more indexed pages do not necessarily correlate with better ranking, they still give you a shot at getting better ranks.
Now that you understand the three main advantages of SEO, let’s look at a few mistakes you are making.
Search engines love to index to domains as opposed to subdomains such as .blogspot and .wordpress. These free domains are treated as low value by search engines therefore serious bloggers are advised to get their own custom domains.
Duplicating content is the fastest way to create content everyday and at a fast rate. While this practice is enticing, it is also your gateway to poor ranking and blog failure.
As a matter of fact, plagiarism sabotages SEO.
The problem with backlinks is that a blog with poor content than yours could outrank you based on the quality of backlinks.
To curb this, some bloggers have gone ahead and opted to buy these backlinks.
Great! But do you know the consequences?
I’ll mention 6.
- Google will penalize you
- The penalty will be valid for 6 months
- All this time, your rankings will drop
- All the posts that were ranked for keywords will be lost
- Google adsense programs will be blocked and your earnings withdrawn
- Worse still, there is no recovery from a penalty
You don’t want the above happening to your blog.
Yes, optimizing your blog for SEO needs some work and understanding the dynamics for SEO. But is it worthwhile?
We all want rosy Google analytics and metrics and successful blogs and businesses. The problem is that sometimes we don’t want to put in the work.
Do you remember Cookie Lyon on Empire? She said, ‘Y’all want to be Beyoncé but don’t want to put in the work’.
You don’t want this statement ringing in your head. So, let me show you why you need to put in the work.
Michael Karp was able to rank number one and generate 20,314 organic page views with a single post.
The business, UAV coach, had created a guide on “How to Fly a Quadcopter — The Ultimate Guide”. To make this post go viral and rank highly, the business had to do the homework and ensure that the article was optimized for SEO.
The choice of keywords in the post has helped the article rank highly in both the long-tailed keyword and other keyword variations as illustrated in the series of images below.
Look at the results when the long-tail keyword how to fly a quadcopter is searched.
Now look when a keyword variant, how to fly a quadcopter in a circle, performs.
Lastly, look at the results when the keyword how to fly a drone is searched:
Now, let’s see the monthly traffic based on each of these keywords and their performance to the general article performance:
Look at the daily site visitors due to great SEO.
The business reported 21.4% increase in site traffic and incredible time spent on page at an average of five minutes as illustrated below.
The biggest mistake you could make is think that you can blog and blindly get into it. The first thing you should do is conduct a market study like in any business.
Do you have the right knowledge? Do you know how blogs are run? Do you even know how to use simple strategies such as influencer outreach?
Well, maybe your first post would succeed but what would happen after a few posts when your readers realize that you actually have nothing of value to offer?
But don’t worry. You are not alone. Producing the kind of content that engages prospects and customers has been rated as the biggest content marketing challenge.
Here is a pie chart that summarizes these problems for you:
Source: Neil Patel
So, how do you actually create valuable content for your blog?
First of all, you need to brain storm your ideas and topics. You can do this in a team of 8 to 13 persons or trust your individual judgment. This practice is important because you get to figure out the most valuable content and how best to execute it.
Secondly, think like your customers or audience and understand their pain points. Do your research and address these pain points using the best knowledge you can get. If you can’t do this on your own, it does not hurt to invite a guest blogger to do it for you.
You also need to do ample keyword research that will help you rank high in search engines. Additionally, you will get to know how your client’s describe their pain points using long-tail keywords and tweak this information to suit your blog.
Last but not least, use well researched and optimized headlines that will attract traffic. While you are at it, remember that you should make sure that the quality of content offered is commensurate with the quality headline.
Why do you read your favorite book for example? Why do you have favorite authors? I am sure it is because you like their personality and the genre they write in. This well cut-out niche for themselves has caused you to develop a particular interest and expectation from them.
What happens when they don’t deliver? Would they be your best if they lacked personality? I guess not.
This is exactly what happens in the world of blogging.
You don’t believe me? Read this:
Neil Patel learnt the aspect of personality the hard way when he noticed that as much as KISSmetrics blog and Crazy Egg blog get hundreds of thousands of visitors, these visitors hardly convert into customers nearly as well as Quick Sprout’s visitors do.
According to Patel, these blogs are not as successful because they lack personality. In this realization, he urges other bloggers not to be afraid to add their personality to their blogs because this is how we speak to our audience.
So, the next time you sit down to write, don’t be shy to include your personality in your blog.
So, how do you do it?
You can start with a personal anecdote which will help you better connect with your readers.
Alternatively, reference movies, book or music you like to make the reader feel like he knows you.
To nail this better, use a conversational tone. Sometimes writing is not as serious as you think. And while you are at it, refrain from using professional jargon. You don’t want your readers to keep checking the Oxford dictionary after every sentence.
Writing a blog post sure takes a lot of time and research. You have gone through stages of writing where you pen something down, then strike through because you found a better way of doing it. So, great! After days of going back and forth and editing, you get to have the perfect piece.
Then you publish it, crossing your fingers that you will get responses and reactions from your audience.
Sure enough, they come through.
The responses and reactions are not up to your expected levels. So, you ask yourself what the problem could be.
Is it a bad strategy at social media sharing? Bad grammar? Poor post length?
You sure are a good writer but here is a reason why your posts just fail. You ignore the power of a story.
Let me enlighten you:
You are definitely giving your audience what it needs. While this is great, you need to ask yourself whether this is what it wants.
For example, kids don’t like eating vegetables but they need it for growth. To make them eat them, you mix the veggies with what they love and want. Maybe steam them and add milk and margarine?
In short, make it more presentable and palatable!
Now, back to our blog
This is the same technique you need to use.
The information in your blog is synonymous to the vegetables. This is what your audience NEEDS. To give them what they WANT, you package your information in an easy and fun way in form of a story.
Why this technique is great:
The Groove blog was able to a/b test the power of a story and its effect on a blog’s success.
A blog post on how to get more subscribers was written in two forms. One that had a no-nonsense intro that jumped straight to the point and one with a simple story that led to the heart of the content.
Here is an illustration of the two posts:
Source: Buffer blog
The second post with the narrative had 300% more people scrolling to the bottom of the post and the average time they spent on the page was five times higher.
Here is a graph that shows you the exact metrics on readability and time spent on each post:
Source: Buffer blog
Don’t get confused though:
In terms of pure value to the reader, both posts had nailed it. It is the execution and presentation that mattered.
I’m sure by now you are wondering. Aren’t stories a waste of time and words? What makes them work?
Glad you asked. Here’s why:
There is a simple science as to why stories work. In actual sense, our brains work differently when they get information and when they hear stories.
When you hear information, for example, Truconversion heat maps tool, the part of your brain responsible for processing the information is activated. Basically, you take in the words and try to figure out what they mean.
On the flipside:
If we told you a story on how the Truconversion heat maps works for example, your brain would act as though you are feeling the story and you are inside the tool, seeing every element work to give you results.
This is why this happens:
Researchers at the University of Washington in St. Louis researched on people’s brain activities when they read a story on a boy named Raymond.
The researchers were astonished to find out that when Raymond looked at his surroundings, the neurons related to vision were activated. The same happened to the neurons responsible for hand movements when Raymond picked up an object.
Here is a visual representation to explain this aspect of psychology as explained above:
Source: University of Washington
So, how do you do this?
Sometimes, what we write is usually set on the backdrop of an earlier conversation we had with an expert of colleague. Or even a question that a reader asked in your blog’s comment section. Such talks leave us with questions whose answers translate into a blog. So, why not start your blog on that note?
Make the reader feel as though he were part of that conversation. Better yet, let the readers know that you can write something on a topic they suggest. This will keep them coming back for more.
Let’s see how this blogger does it:
Source: Blog Tyrant
Do you see how he starts the post picking up from a question he was asked on Facebook? The first paragraph sure engages me. I also want to know what answer Kelci received, so I read on.
Reading books and watching movies are probably in the list of hobbies for many people. Why not use this to your advantage to pull more people to your blog and make them read it?
To better illustrate your point, you can use movie scenes for example, to help your audience better understand your point.
Let’s look at her first 100 words or so. Wouldn’t you want to read on?
Be careful though on how you use some sources. For example, it is common knowledge that political and religious views sometimes cause friction. Before you make references, ensure that you will not instead go viral due to defaming reasons.
Let’s face it, not everyone loves watching movies or reading books. And if yes, not everyone has watched the movie you plan to reference in your blog.
So, what do you do?
Come up with something d
Well, it is not good to lie to your readers but it is also not bad to get creative and give an enticing and engaging fictional story.
Here is his captivating fictional story:
There are 4 reasons why you should include images in your blog posts.
First of all, they are visually appealing. It has been said that pictures have the ability to engage your audience and also increase your click-thought rate. As a matter of fact, it has been showed that images can increase click-though rate by 42%.
In an earlier example on the actual percentage of people who read your blog, we got to see from the graph the effect images and videos have on a post. At least they will get people to scroll through the post to the bottom.
Secondly, they help you grab image search engine traffic especially when your images are optimized for SEO.
Thirdly, you will get more social media share. Do you know why? Posts with images get 37% more engagement on social media.
Fourthly, images give your post the illusion of length. As much as they don’t increase the word count, they make your article look more detailed.
In my opinion, it is rather better to include data-driven images with proof in order to speak better to your audience that just filling your posts with stock images. (Don’t get me wrong. They are also good you just need to find a balance)
Research has showed that readers connect best to stories that relate to senses. This means that you can use emotion to create a connection between you and your audience.
Let’s look at this post where the author uses emotion and in-depth description of a trip he took with a client:
The above screenshot is from a blog post whose author, Jeff Haden, used emotion to draw in his audience’s attention.
I am sure you feel like you were part of that lunch hour.
You can now translate this to your blog.
The purpose of content marketing should be to increase readability and conversions, not traffic.
In my opinion, currently, having a great social media presence is the target of almost every business. While we all strive to make it big on social media, we forget one thing- how to get people to actually read your content.
Do you know how people read online?
They skip what they deem unimportant and skim through the content until they see something interesting.
In fact, 55% of online readers spend less than 15 seconds on a page.
So, why is the readability so low?
That’s right. People are very busy, so they only want to read what is important. Instead of getting too invested, they’d rather know how it ends and while they do this, they don’t want to be marketed to.
First, it is all in the introduction. Introductions matter in the sense that the moment they bore your audience, they opt out.
Let me equate this to first impressions. How much longer would you talk to a stranger if they bored you within the first few seconds? I bet you would leave.
This reminds me of the usual fake hospital calls people stage-manage when they are on bad dates. You don’t want your audience pulling this stunt on your blog.
You also need to write proper headlines that tell your readers what your content is about.
Fact is, people are skimming. So, to keep them on your page longer, you need to write clear headlines and sub headlines that will attract them to other parts in your post.
A bit of a twist here:
You can never impress everyone. So it is in your best interest to let some readers go. Sometimes, your content hits a miss and sometimes, it is the best ever.
Lastly, understand your readers. You may want to write a 200-piece yet your audience prefers details and vice versa.
Listen and understand the needs of your audience and offer them exactly that. However, do not compromise on SEO just because you need to please your audience and improve readability.
Blogging is not easy. Even experienced bloggers sometimes experience a few hiccups that cause them to question their prowess. Like any other profession, it is always important to keep tabs with what is happening and changing in your field in order to use the latest strategies that will give you the much needed success.
As we have discussed in the article, there are many reasons why your blog fails. It could be as simple as ignoring SEO even when uploading images and videos or even lack of personality. For that reason, no one should assume that they are the very best there is. After all, writing is a learning process.
Combine that with technology, and you have a lot of work on your side. Just keep reading and striving to be the best.
So, as always, hit us up in the comments section and gives us your views. Questions are also welcome- you never know they could be the basis for our next post.
Additionally, ensure that you try out the all-in-one Truconversion analytics tools to track your blog.