As you may already know, starting a blog is one thing, but getting it off the ground is quite another.
Building momentum requires a certain set of techniques that apply to your core website along with your published content. Unfortunately, a staggering amount of bloggers often fail with the latter, which often leaves their articles largely unnoticed by the masses.
As an editor, today I’d like to focus on the main reasons people are not reading your content as much as they should. And while there are dozens of potential factors, I’d like to focus on the five main issues causing the most damage to your long-term success as a blogger.
Your content is half-baked
I tend to accept the occasional guest post on one of my blogs, and most of them are actually pretty decent. Sadly, sometimes I’m forced to reject a piece even after the blogger in question took the time to write and submit it.
This is due to the fact that the article isn’t exactly helpful to my audience.
As a result of properly monitoring what gets through, my readers are always appreciative and receptive of all published articles.
On the other hand, do you think visitors would stay in the long-run if these pieces merely scratched the surface?
Here are some characteristics of half-baked content:
- A blogger makes a bold claim but doesn’t reference an authoritative source
- Tutorials leave readers with more questions than answers
- The article’s formatting is excessively poor
- A 2,000-word topic is condensed into a 600-word blog piece due to laziness
- Bloggers don’t link to the product or service in question, forcing readers to manually search for it instead
If you truly want people to stick around, refrain from publishing shallow content and give these pieces all of your mental ability.
Don’t hit “Publish” until you have exhausted every possible option and solution and blow people’s minds every single time.
Your content doesn’t cover anything new
Just for the record: an article doesn’t necessarily need to bring something brand new to the table. If your blog post is dedicated to describing technical terminology, such as in SEO marketing or web development, for example, you want to ensure you focus on accuracy rather than uniqueness.
That being said, a traditional piece (which focuses on tips and advice) should always find a new angle to stand out from the rest.
For example, there are many published articles listing “websites to find writing jobs” out there. It’s common to see the usual suspects on these lists, but sadly that’s where the post author usually calls it a day.
Instead of just building another list, perhaps you could also teach some ways to pitch your skills and explain what you can bring to the table. How about publishing the Dos and Don’ts of applying to such jobs? Or perhaps offering a list of RSS feed readers so that users can stay better informed about the latest entries?
You get the idea. Always strive to rise above the noise; otherwise you’re merely another blogger repeating everything the last one said. Nothing more and nothing less.
You spend more time crafting than promoting
This is perhaps the most common mistake bloggers make. In fact, I occasionally fall victim to this trap myself, but it’s important to snap out of it and do things properly…
You see, it’s often much easier to write article after article because we feel safer this way. It’s certainly less intimidating than putting it out there, asking others to share it and potentially receiving negative feedback as a result.
I get it, I truly do…
However, remember that your blog is effectively your online business. As a business owner, you have to accept the fact that not everyone will be happy with your offerings – no matter how great they may be.
And, assuming that “fear of promotion” isn’t the issue, you still have to dedicate more time promoting regardless of circumstances.
Here’s something I highly suggest you start doing after publishing a new piece:
- Spend at least one hour on social media instead of merely dumping your link and moving on.
- Comment on your followers’ social updates, resharing their content and being a good sport in general.
In addition, get to know them on a personal level. Did you get a new follower? Don’t just accept him and move on; send him a personalised email and shoot the breeze. You don’t necessarily have to talk about business, but rather get acquainted and put yourself on their radar.
Repeat this behaviour as you gain new followers and ask for reshares when warranted, kindly reminding them that you recently did the same for them. Since you two should be more acquainted at this point, many will happily comply.
Your blog is frustrating
Sometimes I visit a blog and have no choice but to leave and never come back, despite how much I enjoy its content. This is normally due to at least one of the following reasons:
- The overall format makes articles hard to read. Paragraphs are too lengthy and/or there are no images or bullet points to break the monotony.
- The font is too small. I occasionally resort to making my browser screen bigger (by using its built-in zooming option), but why would I need to do this in the first place?
- The blog is unbelievably slow. A rule of thumb is to ensure all content loads in 1-3 seconds, at most. Sources like Pingdom can help you identify slow pages as well as their main causes.
- The blog asks me to do something by force, such as sharing or “Liking” the content in order to read an article in its entirety.
- A pop up keeps showing up every single time I visit a page or post, instead of simply detecting my IP address or installing a cookie to prevent further nagging.
Suggestion: visit some of your favourite blogs – as well as popular ones in your niche – and draw inspiration from them. Don’t do anything they aren’t doing.
You’re not establishing enough relationships
You have surely heard about the importance of networking. As cliche as it sounds, it is by far one of the best ways to drive quality visitors to your content.
It’s simple logic if you think about it. Let me give you this quick example:
You’re acquainted with big names such as Brian Dean, Neil Patel, and Darren Rowse…
Thanks to the effort you’ve put into your posts (by following the aforementioned tips), one day they decide to casually mention you on their own blog. They write some great things about you and that post goes out to their mailing list and/or social media.
What do you think will happen as a result of all this? Whether you receive 50 new visitors or 10,000, you’re still coming out a winner here.
Now, do you think this would have happened if you weren’t acquainted with anyone whatsoever? Of course not.
That’s why it’s so important that you become more social – not just on social media, but everywhere in general.
Suggestion: make a big list of authoritative blogs in your niche, save them to your browser’s bookmarks and develop genuine interest in them. Interact, comment, send them a quick “Hello” email; let them know you exist.
Rinse and repeat. Never stop.
The main takeaway here is that gaining loyal readers takes work and effort. Whether you’re merely looking for tips on starting a blog or have been publishing for a while, it’s important to step out of your comfort zone and treat your blog like a business — because it is.
I would love to hear additional tips from you. What other techniques have you implemented to gain more readers and increase loyalty over time?
Noemi Tasarra-Twigg is the editor of Splashpress Media.
Main image credit: Anemone123
Image credits: Pixabay, Pexels, Pixabay, Tim Gouw, Savvas Stavrinos