Time is something none of us have a lot of these days. And it’s something you should remember when you’re blogging. When you consider the vast amount of information that is online today, the simple fact is that no one on earth is ever going to get through all of it.
It’s this fact that makes time a big enemy for your blogging prospects, whether you are doing it to build a readership or using it to grow your business. All it takes is for a reader to get the slightest suspicion that your blog has no value or is wasting their time, and they will leave – and it’s unlikely they will be back.
There are a vast array of ways you can waste your audience’s time. In this guide, we’re going to go through some of the worst offenders, and discuss a few ways of dealing with them so that your blog starts to perform a lot better than it was before. Let’s take a look at some of the problem areas right away – ready to start making a difference?
First and foremost, it’s critical to make sure your site and blog platform load as quickly as possible when your audience clicks through from the search engines or social media links. Research on the ideal loading time for a web page varies, but one thing is sure: you have no more than a few seconds to get your visitor’s attention. If that few seconds is spent waiting for your site to load, people will just go elsewhere – it’s that simple.
So, make sure you do all you can to improve your site speed. Optimize your images, start caching, and get rid of unnecessary plugins, for a start. You might even need to check out WordPress hosting reviews and choose a better service for your site than you have right now. Many cheap, low-quality hosts strangle the life out of your bandwidth, which can cause huge issues for your site speed. You are far better off finding a good service with 24/7 support, that guarantees fast loading times.
Now, let’s move onto the content of your blog. Many new bloggers love to show off their writing skill with complicated language and turns of phrase. But never forget that simplicity is always better for the reader. You don’t have to dumb down your big ideas – far from it, in fact, as the vast majority of the web is full of copycat content. But you do need to be able to explain those ideas so that anyone can understand it. Ultimately, the more people you antagonize because they can’t understand your point, the fewer people will be in your audience.
Another big issue is your ego. Many bloggers feel like they are important, and have something to say. But the brutal truth is that the people who read your blog have no interest in you or your stories in the vast majority of cases. People read blogs to learn something or discover something new, and if you aren’t giving them any of that, they will only stop reading. Don’t be self-indulgent – always look to your audience for the subject matter and think about how you can help them.
You’re too technical
Are you writing to appease the search engines? If so, you might rank well for particular keywords, but it doesn’t mean that when people click through to your site, they are going to stick around. Ultimately, blogging is read by humans, and if you don’t write for people and only try to create stuff for Google’s army of bots, your blog will fail. Good blogs are creative, interesting, and are written with the audience in mind. So, always write for humans first, Google second – you should start to see results improve relatively quickly after making this change.
Another technical issue to consider is word count. Again, you might hear from some SEO expert that Google loves posts that are at least 800 words long. But if all you have to say is 600 words, making up the difference is unnecessary, and people will spot it a mile off, get bored, and never return. Say what you have to say, and nothing more – it’s that simple.
Headlines and snippets
Don’t assume that the 5,000-word essay you have just written on whatever subject will be seen as the definitive guide by your audience. The vast majority of people won’t even make it to the first line if you don’t have a strong headline. That headline needs to make people notice, break them from their routine, and get them reading. It also has to be succinct about the topic in question – there is no room for ambiguity, here.
But even with a strong headline, people could look at those 5,000 words and see it as a huge challenge. You need something else to entice them to invest their time, and a good way to do this is to include useful subheadings, and possibly even a ‘contents’ section at the beginning of your post. The vast majority of people won’t have the time to read all 5,000 words, but many might be interested in what you have to say about a single subject – so give these people an ‘in’ so they can skip everything else that isn’t of interest.
Writing for your audience
OK, so you’ve picked up some readers and know what the group is interested in. Naturally, you start trying to appeal to all of them. Unfortunately, addressing a crowd is an incredibly tough thing to do, and you will find that has a severe impact on the flow and quality of your blogging. You will cover general subjects in an attempt to appeal to everyone, and ultimately, it will fall flat.
Instead, try to avoid writing for everyone, and build up a picture of your ideal reader. It’s a little like an imaginary friend, although you will find it is enhanced a little by the fact you have a lot of analytics available to you about your blog. Look at your analytics and see which subjects people are reading, and what they are responding to. Then, try and picture them in your head – how old are they? What problems are keeping them awake at night? And what ideas can you bring to the table that will help them? The vast majority of successful bloggers all have an ideal, imaginary individual in mind. And this simple change will do wonders for the quality of your work, and ensure that when visitors read your posts, they will feel it is time well spent.
No matter what subject you are covering, you can guarantee it has been covered before. And there’s a good chance that it will have been written about hundreds – perhaps even thousands – of times in the past. Everyone, other than those on the absolute cutting edge of research, has this issue. So how, exactly, do some become successful and others don’t? It’s simple – and it’s all about personality.
You have to avoid becoming a ‘me-too’ blogger, and the only thing you have at your disposal to do so is your character. There are a few easy ways of doing this. First of all, don’t approach topics in the same way everyone else has – vile things from a different perspective. You can share your personal experiences with your audience, too – it’s an entirely unique way of going over well-used material. And finally, whatever subject you are writing about, don’t be afraid to include some humor – making people laugh can create a loyal and dedicated following.
With a little work, anyone can enjoy a more successful blogging business. These simple tips will help you on your way – good luck!