“Frequently updating your blog with useful content is the first step to building your blog’s audience.”
Well, jeez – what a shocker! Having great content means that people will want to read my stuff? Alright people, calm down. I know your mind is blown but we need to get back to reality…
The truth is this: yes, great content triumphs all. And SEO is the cat’s meow. But if you’re tired of reading about how great content and SEO can help your blog, your savior has come. I’m going off the beaten path. Let’s talk a walk.
Writing For Your Competitors
Okay, the subtitle seems a little backwards for building your own blog, but let me explain… The best way to draw attention to your blog is by becoming a recognized expert in your field (yes, this comes back to producing great content, but you’ve already learned that lesson). Find your competitors, then ask to submit a guest post. Most blogs will allow their authors to write a short biography at the bottom, providing links to personal websites and social profiles. If readers find your article interesting, plenty of them will give your personal website a shot – or, at the very least, give you an extra follower on Twitter. All of this is helping to build your reputation.
This technique will also help you build relationships with experts in the field. Relationships are crucial to helping your own blog gain popularity. “Treat others the way you want to be treated” is something my grandma used to always say. By writing a guest post, many bloggers will return the favor and submit content to your site as well. When content is coming in from a variety of sources, it gains popularity due to differing voices and self-promotion. Authors writing for your blog will usually promote their work to all their followers – giving your blog a greater reach.
Jennifer Ledbetter points out that she writes for some free-to-use sites, such as HubSpot or Squidoo, and links back to her primary blog. This is not a bad practice either. These sites are fairly well-optimized for search engine and help her gain additional exposure.
The ideal length of blog posts has been debated for some time now. In my personal experience, it is wise to have at least 800 words. Longer posts are more likely to be picked up by search engines. This is because data shows that users prefer longer content.
A study by QuickSprout showed that the longer the content, the more people that linked to it. Neil Patel, an author for QuickSprout, put his articles into two categories: posts less than 1,500 words and posts greater than 1,500 words. On average, Patel saw 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more likes on the longer content in comparison to the shorter.
The key, however, is to build that reputation first. Most people will not read long blog posts from someone that is not reputable. Making those professional relationships with experts in the field – along with your social media followers – is important so that people will spend time on your articles.
**If you do not have a social media profile for your blog, do so now. Social media’s abilities to help your site gain traffic are endless. Keep in mind that you should not only promote yourself – promote others as well. Remember: professional relationships will pay off in the long run. Just put in some time.**
Most users never take notice of how they actually view a website. The human eye processes information in a strategic manner; knowing how the eye travels across a page gives you insight as to how your website should be set up.
For instance, think about the successful eCommerce sites – Amazon, eBay, Best Buy, etc. Have you ever noticed how the “Add to Cart” button (the call to action) is almost always placed on the right side of the screen, a bit lower than name of the product? This isn’t just a coincidence or mere copy-catting; it’s backed by scientific analysis.
Also note that approximately 20% of text is actually read; the rest of the article is simply scanned. Notice how I put that statistic in italics? It was a way to make the text stand out – to make it jump off the page. Using bold, underline and italics are ways to make sure that the key points of your article are read.
- Indenting and using bullets are other ways to make your content stand out. (Even if you skimmed the top of this article, you have slowed down and read this bullet point, along with the paragraph above).
- Make sure, however, that you do not overdo it. Place emphasis where it is warranted, nowhere else.
This article gives great insight on your eyes’ tendencies when viewing a webpage. I would recommend reading it no matter what type of website you are looking to launch. It will help you decide the best way to layout your site, ultimately increasing your conversions.
Be the Realest
When I first started writing online, I tried to make everything politically correct. Then I said, “screw that!” Ok, I used a word that is a bit more vulgar than ‘screw’ but I have to maintain some sort of decency here. My point is this: the way to stand out is by STANDING OUT. People want to hear a different voice. Yes, Tony Robbins is a very smart man, but the reason people pay money to see him speak is because he’s also fun. Don’t be afraid to do something different.
Actually, I’m going to do something different right now. I’ve never tried a stuffed olive before. I’m gonna go eat a stuffed olive. Thinking a jalapeño-stuffed olive. Not sure though. ‘Til next time, stay real.