You’ve decided to take the plunge because you know blogging is:
- Great for your search engine optimisation activities
- A way of positioning yourself as an expert in your field
- A method of continually adding fresh content to strengthen your web presence
That’s great, but before you launch into writing, you must establish a blogging strategy that’s going to work for you.
First of all, you must think about how often you’re going to blog. The frequency you choose must be sustainable.
As your readership grows, people will get to know how often you post and they’ll expect to see posts at that frequency. If you suddenly stop for some reason or reduce the number of articles you make (or publish at random intervals), your readers won’t know where they are and go and find another blog to read.
Secondly, you have to find your niche and stick to it. Writing about copywriting one moment and landscape gardening the next is going to leave your audience very confused.
Thirdly, consider the types of posts you’ll write. Mix them up a bit and use:
- ‘How to’ posts
- Top 10 lists
- Hints and tips
- Comment on industry news
- Comment on relevant news items
Now all you need is some ideas.
The inspiration for ideas can strike at any time, so it’s well worth keeping a pen and paper close to hand. Great ideas can hit at the most unlikely times:
- Walking your dog
- Watching TV
- Reading a newspaper or magazine
- Conversations with friends and colleagues (and even customers)
- While you’re browsing your social media channels
Just remember, if you are using other blogs, newspapers or magazines as the source of your inspiration, always link back or reference the original article/post.
Writing great blog posts
The first thing to remember is you are writing for the web. People browsing blogs don’t have loads of time to sit down and read ‘War and Peace’. Keep it punchy, keep it concise, keep it relevant and make sure it’s interesting.
Before you start to write, make sure you inject your personality (don’t try and copy someone else’s style) and write from the heart.
Then, make it easy to read:
- Create a great headline – this is your hook, but also think about SEO and make sure your keywords are in there too
- Make your headline relevant to your content – don’t promise something and then fail to deliver
- Use subheadings and short paragraphs to create a lot of white space to make it easy to read and make it scannable
- Use bulleted lists to add interest and highlight important points
- Always use simple language – absolutely no jargon
- Write for your audience – regarding content and using the second person (i.e. lots of you and no we)
- Check and re-check before publishing to make sure there are no typos
- Add a call to action at the end – such as leave a comment and have your say
- Link out to other relevant articles or your website, but only if the link adds value to the reader, otherwise you’ll be seen as blatantly self-promoting
Sounds easy. So why isn’t your traffic increasing?
Common blogging mistakes
No one is perfect (no, not even you) and we all make mistakes. So, if you’re merrily blogging away but you do not see your traffic grow and you’re not getting any comments, here are some of the mistakes you might be making:
- Not knowing your audience – you’re not giving them what they want
- Blanket writing – you’re ignoring your niche
- Being inconsistent – don’t let your standards slip, always focus on quality, not quantity
- No commitment – if you’re not sticking to your blogging schedule, you’ll lose readers
- Writing for yourself – you have to write what your reader wants, not what interests you
- Poor headlines – if they aren’t strong, no one will read your posts
- No engagement – don’t talk at people, involve them and write as though you were having a conversation with them
- Unresponsive to comments – if someone takes the time to comment, reply to them and show them you care
- No promotion – you have to let people know your blog’s there by putting links to your posts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
Blogging is hard work, but it can be rewarding if you stick with it. If you generate great content on a regular basis, you could be picked up by one of the many websites and pro-bloggers out there who love to produce their ‘top blog’ lists. One link from a site like that can do wonders for your rankings.
Why not give it a go? When you get into it, blogging is also great fun.
Over to you
Are you a seasoned blogger? If so, leave a comment below and let us know why you do it and what you get out of it.
If you’ve not taken the plunge yet and have any questions, post them below as a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them.