10 Top Tips To Improve Your Blog
In the information age, blogging has become one of those things that every marketing company will say you need to do. We are no exception. The problem is that blogging is something that in theory is simple to do (just write some stuff and upload it, right?) but in reality, it’s a lot harder to do. Well, you’re in luck. We have assembled our 10 top tips to help you improve the performance of your existing blog and turn it into a hub of interactions and marketing buzz. Sound good? Great! Let’s get started.
When you’re uploading your blog to your website, you will have the option to put your blog into a category, usually through a menu on the right-hand side. Most people either completely ignore this function or put everything under ‘news’. Which is fine, but it won’t really help your blog perform. Categories within your blog act as signposts to Google and to your readers, indicating what the content is all about. Users can filter your posts by category to quickly find what they are looking for, which will improve your bounce rates because your content is easy to find. Categories will also help Google identify and catalogue your content correctly, boosting your search engine rankings. Categories can be anything, so all you need to do is make sure they are relevant to what you’re talking about. For example, if you run a baking company you might want to have categories for different ingredients, decoration tips or recipes. There is no right or wrong category – if it’s relevant to your content it will do the job.
Enable Sharing Options
Sharing is a big part of getting your blog out there, so there are a few simple things you can do to encourage sharing. A lot of blogs will have the ability to install a button that the user can click and share the content to Facebook and Twitter. These 2 are usually considered the ‘safe’ options, so companies enable them and leave them to it. But what if the majority of your customers aren’t on Facebook? What if they are on LinkedIn or Pinterest instead? Do a little research and find out where your customers are, then install the right buttons to share to those networks. It’s really easy, and most users are more likely to share your content if it’s just clicking a button instead of copying and pasting a link.
The Power Of Sub Headings
Once you’ve written your blog post and you’re ready to upload it, you need to give a bit of thought to the layout. Once you’ve hit copy and paste and justified the text so it looks nice and neat (if you don’t it’s a cardinal crime against blogging), you need to separate it out. Big blocks of text are hard to read and put people off, so split up your content with relevant sub headings. Like that big bold bit above this section. But it’s important to remember that these headings aren’t just a bigger text size in bold. When you’re uploading your blog your toolbar will have text options, with the default being ‘paragraph’. For your subheadings, you will need to highlight the text and change this to ‘Heading 1’ or ‘Heading 2’. This will make them bigger and bold to visually separate your points, but it also signals to Google what each section is about. Everything we do with blogging is to please Google, so it’s the little things that make a difference!
Make A Clear Call To Action
A blog is a nice information resource to have, but it should always have a purpose. You should always be asking your readers to do something when they have finished reading your blog. This doesn’t have to be anything huge, it could be as simple as call me, click this link, watch this video. Make sure you have a call to action in there somewhere and it is clear to the reader. You can do this through fonts, colours or underlines, (which is all done automatically if your call to action is a link).
Cross linking your content to other content is a great way to lower your bounce rates and keep readers on your site. When your content is relevant, make sure you are including a link to another blog post in there. For example, if we were talking about creative block, we would link to this post we wrote a few months ago. If you’ve touched on an issue in a previous blog, or one of your web pages it relevant, link to it. This keeps people interested and on your website, not to mention that Google loves it too.
Images Are Power
As humans we are very visual beings, so pictures play a big part in mainstream and content marketing. Use images to break up text, be an informative illustration of a point or to decorate the post and attract the reader’s attention. Include a header image and 1 in the blog somewhere for maximum impact, just make sure they don’t get too overpowering. Pay attention to size and placement so that they don’t dominate the post. It’s also good practice to make sure those images are tagged with an appropriate description and alt text to help Google categorise them. These are found in the image uploader underneath the thumbnail in most systems.
Listen To Your Readers
A lot of people stop blogging because they run out of things to talk about. But take it from someone who wrote blogs about ring binders for a year (yes, I really did!), it is impossible to run out of thing to talk about. Keep an ear to the ground and develop your content from social suggestions. Social content that gets higher than normal engagement is a tip off for a post idea. If people pose questions to you on Facebook, Twitter or even in person, write a blog as a response to the question (after answering directly of course). Look into what people are sharing and talking about on social media or in the real world and present your spin on things. When you start thinking creatively, there is no limit to what you can talk about.
Carefully Craft Magnetic Headlines
This might get a tad confusing, but headlines are different from headings. Your headings go within your text, but your headline is just a fancy word for your title. Writing headlines is hard, but ultimately it’s what convinces people to click on your content, so you’ve got to get them right. You have 68 characters to inform and hook your readers and getting those characters to be informative yet intriguing takes some practice. Writing headlines is like solving a difficult crossword puzzle, sometimes you have to take a stab at it in pencil and step back to see if it’s the right one. Ultimately it’s practice and trial and error. If you want to see the effect of headlines, try the article on 2 different groups (say one on LinkedIn and one on Facebook) with different titles and measure the response. Whichever post gets more attention and interaction is moving in the right direction.
Plan For The Marathon, Not The Sprint
A big mistake people often make with content marketing in general and blogging, in particular, is that they will see instant results. This just isn’t true. If you want your content marketing to be successful, you’ve got to plan, prepare and be in it for the long haul. Spend some time planning out your content and strategy so that you have a strong and cohesive plan to move forward with. Never amble through your blogging not knowing what you’re talking about next. At Eleven Eight, for example, we have a 6-month plan for each of our blogging clients that details the titles, links, subjects and metadata for each of their posts. If you’re not sure about how to plan out your content, get in touch for some advice.
Share, Share Share!
One of the biggest reasons that blogs fail is because people get bored of writing them or run out of things to say. The second reason is that people write and publish them but don’t actually do anything with them. Your blog can do a lot of work for Google just sitting on your site, but it needs your help to generate a buzz about your business. Make sure you’re sharing links on social media, in your networks and in person. Tell people about your blog and people will read it. Leave it alone and your Google ranking might go up and but it won’t do a lot else. Writing the blog is unfortunately only half the battle, so you need to get comfortable with sharing!
Ultimately blogging is a great tool for reinforcing branding, giving advice and establishing yourself as the subject matter expert, but they take time and dedication to get right. If you’re thinking about blogging for your business, take a step back and decide if you have the time to dedicate to it, or whether you need to bring someone else in to help you out. At Eleven Eight we have a range of blogging services and training courses to help you on your way to blogging like a pro, so just give us a call to chat about which options are right for you.