What are you doing or not doing on your blog that screws up your traffic?
At least a few times a week I get an email from a smart professional who struggles with making their web marketing work to get found, get known and get clients. Here’s a typical one…
“Okay, Patsi, I’ve been following you for a while now, and your blog writing tips have helped. I’m posting twice a week, but I’m still not getting comments, and my traffic stats stink. Can you take a look?”
Of course, I have to point people to my consulting services if they want me to spend time doing a good analysis and provide specific solutions.
But often the problems and the solutions are common and universal. I can almost predict where the low traffic problems come from based on looking at a lot of blogs over the last five years.
Here’s a general overview of things I see many people doing on blogs that don’t bring good results:
- Frequency: Not posting enough
- Headline: not compelling or even clear
- Content: No clearly defined problem and solution, no answer to the “so what?” question
- Content: No keyword usage in headline, first paragraph, or in body
- Content: Too broad and general, need to hone it down to specifics, need to personalize it
- Formatting: Too many long blocks of text, need shorter paragraphs, subheadings
- Engagement: Too author-centric, not enough asking readers questions, addressing them as “you”
- Engagement: Not enough client stories, no quotes from other people
- Formatting: Need images, graphs, charts, short videos, mind-maps to draw the readers eye
- Formatting: Need to break up longer post with the “read more…” feature
- Design: Clearly identified tag line to explain who the blog is for, what the benefits are from reading it, and who the author is
- Design: No author photo (or worse, no name!)
- Action: No way to subscribe to get email updates to blog
- Action: No easy way to retweet a post, or share to other social sites
- Action: No invitation or call to action. Readers won’t do anything unless you ask them.
- Formatting: Not enough links to sources, no references to other posts on the topic, not even links to your own website and to your products and services (you are in business, ya remember?)
- Outreach: Blog authors spend far too little time on other blogs in their field and don’t use commenting to spark interest with other audiences.
- Outreach: Often bloggers aren’t using social media connections to feed their blog posts automatically.
Most of these mistakes can easily be corrected. I’ve taught the solutions many times, for example, I’ve packaged them in my Time-Saving Tips for Blogging program. You can learn new blogging habits.
Here’s what one of my clients is doing right. He doesn’t have low traffic and he gets comments.
Every time he posts on his blog (2-3 times a week) he goes over to Ping.fm and makes sure to feed a short question from his blog post, along with the shortened permalink URL, into several of his social sites.
With a few clicks, Ping.fm automatically updates his selected sites. (There’s a way to do this automatically without Ping.fm, but whatever system you use, it should be seamless.)
Then he goes over to LinkedIn, where he is a member of 15 specialty groups in his industry. Since you can’t automatically feed your blog posts into these membership groups, he manually posts something like “What are your best ways of handling office disputes?” along with the bit.ly shortened blog permalink.
About 75% of the comments left on his blog posts come from LinkedIn group members. And they are usually interesting comments, not just “nice post.” Because these are people interested in the topic and field this client is in.
This added step is building his reputation and forging connections.
Is it worth the time it takes to do this manually? You bet. Can it be outsourced? You bet. There are plenty of VAs who specialize in social media management.
What can’t be outsourced is your participation and response to what people have to say. You have to monitor comments on your blog and respond to people in groups in order to connect with them.
You don’t need to hire an expensive consultant to help you figure these things out. This list of 18 items isn’t even complete, there are many other things people don’t do or forget to do.
Can you think of others? Please contribute your tips. The blog you save may be your own!