Blogging: Little Changes Yield Huge Results
The New Year brings resolutions. The problem is that many bloggers set unattainable objectives so their chances for success are slim. Instead, make small changes to your existing behavior to enhance your ability to succeed.
To maximize effectiveness, integrate these changes with your overall planning to make 2013 your best year ever.
Here’s checklist of thirteen small changes every blogger can make that will have a big impact on blog success.
- Determine your blog’s goals. Many blogs lack a reason for existing. Without a clearly defined purpose, it can be difficult to keep your posts focused. As a result, your blog is just a cost of doing business or an exercise in writing. Actionable Marketing Tip: Craft your blog’s major objective. In other words, answer what do I/we want to accomplish as a result of writing this blog? This applies regardless of the type of blog you’re writing.
- Tune up your blog technology on a regular basis. Don’t wait until your blog has a severe issue or is hacked to get tech support. Keeping your blog’s technical framework up-to-date enhances performance. Actionable Marketing Tip: Have your tech support or friendly geek check that you’re running the latest versions of your software and plug-ins and your blog’s speed is as fast as possible (Here’s a full description of the need for blog speed).
- Focus your blog content. Does your blog try to be all things to all readers? Blogs in this category cover a broad range of content. As a result, it’s difficult to build a readership because prospective readers don’t know what to expect. Actionable Marketing Tip: Tightly concentrate your content on one to three categories at most. Having a well defined blog’s niche makes it easier to attract readers. Ideally, blog content should be a topic where you’re an expert and you provide information your target audience needs.
- Plan blog posts in advance. Stop waiting until the last minute to write your posts. Despite whatever you tell yourself about writing genius coming under pressure, the reality is drafting your blog content before it’s needed and allowing adequate time to review it, yields better quality content. Actionable Marketing Tip: Use an editorial calendar to plan your content creation in advance. Alternatively, you can choose to use the Cliff Notes Version of an editorial calendar.
- Post blog content on a regular basis. Posting only when the spirit moves you hurts your ability to develop a following. It’s better to only post content once a week than pushing yourself to post every day and getting so overwhelmed that you stop posting for weeks at a time. Actionable Marketing Tip: Publish new content on the same days at the same time every week to build an audience. By doing this, prospects know when to return for fresh content.
- Optimize blog content for findability and sharing. Just publishing blog posts isn’t enough to ensure that the maximum number of potential readers will find or share it. In today’s social media world, you must think beyond just search. Actionable Marketing Tip: Make your blog posts friendly for both search and social media. This means using one keyword phrase per post, adding text to non-text content, and providing social sharing buttons. (Here’s what 15 experts say to do to optimize your blog.)
- Capture blog post ideas and titles when you have them. Once you get into the blogging grove, you’ll see stories everywhere. The challenge many bloggers have is creating a process to capture and organize these thoughts to facilitate later post development. Actionable Marketing Tip: Collect blog content and article ideas that you can incorporate into your editorial calendar. You can use something as informal as a Word document where you put ideas, titles and links; an unpublished document on your blog or more structured software solution such as Evernote (BTW—Gini Dietrich uses Evernote). What’s most important is that it works for you.
- Pump up your blog’s sex appeal. Does your blog charm its readers and lure them in? Do you just publish your posts without making your content more attractive to a wider audience? Think like the National Enquirer to draw readers in. Actionable Marketing Tip: At a minimum, use alluring blog post titles and eye-catching photographs and other images to attract reader attention.
- Format blog content to facilitate consumption. Many bloggers overlook the need to make their content easier-to-read. With the increase in content available across a variety of devices, you must ensure that your content gets read. Actionable Marketing Tip: Make your posts easy-to-scan by breaking your content into small paragraphs and using bolding. (Here’s a full checklist of how to dress your blog content for success.)
- Proofread your blog content. The problem is that it’s difficult to see your own writing mistakes since you’re too close to the content. While it’s easy to lull yourself into thinking that blog posts are quickly dashed off and correct grammar and spelling matter less, the reality is that your blog’s readability counts. Poorly written blog posts hurt your blog’s brand and cause potential readers to leave. Actionable Marketing Tip: Ideally, get a professional copyeditor. This is particularly critical if your blog content is composed by a variety of employees whose writing capabilities may not be their forte. Alternatively, get a friend or family member to read your posts before you post them.
- Maximize blog content delivery. While publishing new posts on a regular schedule is important for developing an audience, you must ensure that you make the most of each entry’s reach. Actionable Marketing Tip: Distribute your blog content via feeds, social media and email. Further incorporate it into your internal media to extend its distribution. Also, include social sharing to facilitate reader pass-along. (Of course, don’t forget to tell your family and friends!)
- Get extra help with your blog. Understand that you may not be able to manage producing the quality content you’d like on a regular basis all by yourself. For many bloggers, accepting this reality is difficult. But the bottom line is that blogging requires a lot of work and it may detract from your ability to do other things that are important to you and/or your business. Actionable Marketing Tip: Either acquire the support you need (Here’s a list of 33 ways to get help for your blog without breaking the bank.) or get blogging cred without a blog of your own (Here’s 5 options to consider.)
- Track what’s important to achieve your blog goals. Don’t just count blog comments or pageviews as a measure of your blog’s success.(BTW—Mack Collier is a strong advocate of this approach and I agree with him.) Actionable Marketing Tip: Determine which blog metrics are important to track relative to your goals. (Here are 65 blog metrics from which to choose.) Also, don’t forget to include a call-to-action and a way to measure results.
The most effective way to accomplish your desired blog goals is to make small changes that yield results over time. Every blogger should be able to do this by thinking small.
What other small changes would you recommend to help bloggers improve their results?
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Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/3072645479/