Whether you have a full blown website or just a blog, there’s not much point in creating it if nobody sees it. Creating it is one thing. Keeping it up and getting traffic to it is another.
Let’s face it. A vast majority of us with websites and blogs are working from home – either as our only job or after we leave our regular job for the day. Either way, you’ve got a very busy lifestyle and chances are you don’t have a lot of time to put into your blog – and it probably shows by the number and quality of your posts.
Yet, your blog is extremely important to your business. It’s a major source of communication with your market. Not only does your blog allow you to market your ideas to your audience, it also allows them to give your their feedback. Your blog is a BIG part of your brand.
There’s no way to sugar coat this. If you want more traffic, more comments, and ultimately more sales, you’re going to need to put in some serious time and effort – probably at least double what you’re doing now and maybe even triple.
But don’t worry. Your blog doesn’t need to consume your entire life in order for you to succeed. In fact, you can probably kick it up a few notches in just two to three hours a week – if you’re a fast researcher and writer. Otherwise it can take you much longer.
I often spend a full day on a single post because although I’m a good writer, I’m very meticulous and detail oriented. If I finish a post in half a day – about five hours – that’s a very good day for me!
So, if you’re ready to buckle down and get serious about your blog – let’s begin!
Post Length Matters
The first thing you should do is take a look at other blogs on the internet – and especially in your industry.
Most likely, you’ll notice that all the posts are fairly short – under 1,000 words. In fact, many posts are nothing more than simple lists. And some of these lists don’t even offer explanations.
The problem with this is that Google likes good content to sink it’s teeth into, the way you might enjoy sinking your teeth into a good hamburger. What happens when the beef is missing? Suddenly that hamburger is a lot less enjoyable.
The longer your blog posts are, the more yummy they are to Google. This doesn’t mean you have to make every post the size of a novel, however. A good rule of thumb is about 2,000 words. This is what I aim for too, but it’s not always easy.
Sometimes you’ll find yourself writing about a topic that just doesn’t seem to require much explanation or there isn’t much to say about it. Yet, you really want to get this information out to your audience.
When that happens, you need to look for information you can add to what you’ve already got. Maybe it’s a history of the subject, or maybe some case studies, or even your own personal experience with the subject.
The key is good content. You don’t want to puff up your articles or add information that isn’t relevant. You want to have really good, solid content because although you want Google to like it, you want your readers to like it too. If all they find is fluff they won’t return.
Of course, there will be times when you just can’t come up with more information and you’ve said all you need to – and your post isn’t 2,000 words. That’s ok. It’s just a goal to aim for. It’s not the life and death of your blog. As long as you hit it most of the time, having a few posts under the goal is ok.
Likewise, if you go over 2,000 words, don’t worry about it. It’s far better to have too much content than too little. Buzzsumo analyzed the top 10% most shared articles and found that 3,000 – 10,000 words is actually optimal for getting readers to share!
One last thing about length. Make your posts engaging. By that I mean make them extremely interesting to your readers. Write compelling content – the kind your readers just have to read. Provide as much value as you can. Nobody wants to read a lengthy, boring post!
Inbound and Outbound Links Are Important
One of the things Google looks for in a blog post is links – both internal and external. When you provide links in your posts it tells Google that your posts are important because not only are they lengthy with good content, but they provide even more content by linking to other, related posts.
Internal links are those links that take readers to your other posts on your blog. According to Kissmetrics, You should try to aim for two to four internal links in every post you write, but again, if you miss the mark in a single post don’t worry about it.
It’s not always easy to link to your other posts. Sometime there just isn’t another post that will add something useful to the one you’re writing. This is particularly true if yours is a new blog with just a tiny handful of posts. Just keep writing and soon you’ll have enough posts that you can start linking.
External links are those that take your readers to other people’s posts. These are also very important because not only does Google like to see you link to other people’s posts, it gives you the opportunity to ask the other blogger to link back to you.
Not all bloggers will do this, but some will and those links going back to you tell Google, once again, that your blog is worthwhile. The more links you have coming in to your blog from other blogs, the more important Google thinks your blog is, especially when those other blogs are relevant to yours and get heavy traffic.
And the more important your blog is to Google the more traffic you will get!
Post To Your Blog Often
Time was you could post once a month and it was fine. Those days are gone.
Today there’s just too much clutter in the inbox. If you don’t post regularly and often, you’re forgotten along with yesterday’s news.
Posting once a week is good. Once a day is even better – though not everyone can get away with this. But, you should never post just for the sake of posting. Always make sure you’ve got a good reason for creating your posts.
Admittedly, I don’t post everyday on my blog. I try to post once a week, but there are weeks I miss. It happens to all of us. But, the one thing you don’t want to do is go months without posting. Two or three weeks probably won’t hurt you. Two or three months might.
Google loves fresh content. Remember that hamburger I mentioned earlier? Imagine it had been sitting for a month before it got to you. Would you want to eat it? Neither does Google!
Of course, your audience loves fresh content too, and it keeps them coming back to your blog. This is what you want. It’s why you’re putting in the hours of research and writing. The more people read your posts, the more they get to know you and what you’re all about – and the more likely they are to buy from you!
Make Your Blog Readable On All Platforms
We live in a digital world that’s been progressively growing smaller. It used to be that we had a computer and a cell phone. Now, for many of us our phone, or our tablet, has replaced our desktop computer.
I used to do everything on my desk top computer, but increasingly I find I’m doing much more on my phone these days. I read blog posts and watch videos from my phone far more than from my desk top computer. It’s just more convenient. My phone is with me most of the time.
How about you? Do you find that you are also doing more online from your phone than you do from your desk top?
Sure, there are times when you need to be at your desk. I’m typing this blog post from my desk. I can’t imagine trying to do it from my phone.
But, people are using their phones more and more for things online – looking things up, or clicking on a link from a text someone sent them.
So, if people can’t access your blog from their phone, you need to upgrade your blog. That alone will increase your traffic – especially if your blog is for the younger set – say under 40!
But, even if it isn’t, the older set are using the internet with their phones too! According to a Mobile Fact Sheet by Pew Research Center, 88% of people between the ages of 30 and 49, 74% of people between the ages of 50 and 64, and 42% of people 65 and older own a smart phone.
And speaking of the older set, make sure your blog’s font is readable too. Fonts that are too small or are difficult to read will repel readers rather than draw them into your content.
Make Your Content Relevant
All of your posts should be relevant to the theme of your blog, just as all of the content on your website should be relevant to the theme of your site. If you’re blog is about monarch butterflies and you suddenly post a recipe for cupcakes, you’ll lost the interest of both your readers and Google.
This doesn’t mean that every post you write has to be about the same thing, but it does mean that every post you write should have some tie-in with your theme.
For example, this blog’s theme is marketing for small businesses. Within that theme there are many things I can write about – such as online marketing, offline marketing, social media marketing, direct mail, sales, social media marketing, copywriting and so on.
If this blog’s theme were on any one of the above, my theme would be much narrower but I’d still be able to offer fresh content to my audience on a regular basis because each of those themes are fairly broad in and of themselves.
But, if this blog’s theme was on how to write a sales letter it wouldn’t be long before I’d be struggling to come up with fresh, new content.
If your theme is so narrow that you can’t come up with fresh content on a regular basis, you need to broaden your theme.
Use Good Keywords
Good keywords can help bring the right traffic to your blog. But, how do you find good keywords?
One way you can come up with some good key words for your blog is by using Ubersuggest. Simply type a word into the search box and Ubersuggest will give you a long list of potential keywords for you to consider.
Of course, you want to know that people are actually searching for the keywords you’re considering. The best way to do this is with Alexa. Unfortunately, Alexa is on the spendy side (you need their most expensive plan at $149 a month to access their keyword tool), but they do offer a seven day free trial. You’ll need to sign up with a credit card if you decide to use it, but it’s worth it and as long as you cancel before the end of the trial you won’t be charged.
What you want to look for are keywords that draw traffic but that aren’t heavily used. If you’re using the same keywords that larger companies with more history online are using, you’re going to rank at the bottom of the barrel.
But, by using keywords that fewer people are searching for – keywords that are ignored by most – you’ll have the opportunity to capture that traffic and it can be very profitable!
Your blog is a large part of your online marketing strategy. Write every post as if your business depended on it, because it does. At least, a large part of it does.
Write longer, relevant, engaging posts with keywords sprinkled throughout. Keep it up and before long the traffic will find you!
To your success,
PS: Don’t forget to post links to your blog posts on your social media too!