Do Blogs Still Work?
The question “Do blogs still work?” is one which gets asked a lot and the answer is quite simple.
Of course, they do!!
Put it this way; providing good high-quality information is exactly how to earn the favor of the search engines, which have the potential to make or break your business.
And since it dominates 75% of the global market share it’s best to focus all your efforts to rank on Google above all else.
So, how do blogs play into this?
Well did you know that 47% of buyers view 3 to 5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales representative, and companies with blogs tend to get 67% more leads than those who don’t have an updated and optimized blog.
And being found easily in the search engines is obviously going to play a key part in people finding your blog posts.
You could have the most amazing content on the internet but if people can’t find it you are wasting your time.
SEO, or Search Engine optimization, is a very important strategy when building your blog, especially off page SEO strategies, and these are continually evolving along with any updates to the Google algorithm.
Sometimes businesses just aren’t clear on how content production can lead to lead generation.
The simple answer is, as stated earlier, people will need several exposures to you and your content before they feel comfortable parting with their contact details or their cash.
Building up trust and authority status is crucial to your success, and a blog is an extremely powerful tool at your disposal, to build credibility and showcase your expertise.
So, are you still wondering “Do blogs still work?” Hopefully not, and here are some simple tips that you can use to optimize the way your blog will work for you.
These are easy to do, and you can get started right away; many are common sense, but you will be surprised that many blog owners are not doing them correctly, and that means you can get a competitive edge over them by following them.
OK, on with the tips…
Focus on quality rather than quantity
Going back a few years ago, short sub-500 word articles were the best type of article to write to gain a high ranking on Google, but those days are long gone.
Longer posts are much more favoured today and when I mean long, these articles can be over 3000 words, which is like a small ebook!
The focus is on high-quality information going deep into a topic that can really help your readers with their problems.
Don’t think you can just waffle and stuff keywords into your articles as you will be penalized.
Write with your reader in mind and you can’t really go wrong.
Having a content calendar/schedule is a great tactic to use to try to instill the habit of creating content regularly.
Some will say to write daily, some weekly, some monthly!!
The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer, but you must be consistent.
If you can only manage to write one article a month, that’s fine. Never sacrifice quality for quantity.
Once you have started writing your post you can move onto the next tip…
Encourage Engagement With Your Readers
When you are writing anything on your blog, try to write conversationally; use you and I in your writing i.e. talk to your reader one-to-one.
This really helps to create a connection with your readers. Don’t try to be aloof as the subject “expert” but rather try to position yourself as a fellow traveler.
This is much more engaging for both you and your readers.
Also, try to use stories if at all possible as these are incredibly engaging and powerful.
Another engaging post is a case study, and this also shows the readers proof that what you are writing about works.
If you allow comments on your posts, respond to all your comments as soon as is practicable for you. Having a dialogue is incredibly engaging for the reader involved but is also another indirect form of social proof.
So, now you have readers looking at your content. Let’s move on to the next tip…
Add A Call-To-Action
You should always write a blog post with the end goal in mind, whether it is for the reader to opt-in to your email list or to get them to click through to your offer.
Also use widgets to add opt-in forms or calls-to-action on your sidebar or use pop-ups and/or exit pops.
I can’t stress this enough; don’t just write a post for the sake of writing as it is a waste of time; after all, you are in business to make money and if you have people consuming your content, it is an ideal opportunity to get them to sign up or monetise them.
You may be uncomfortable using more intrusive forms such as the pop-up, but they do work, as long as any offer you are showing them is highly congruent to the post they are reading.
Working in tandem with the call-to-action is our next tip…
Use Content Upgrades
What is a content upgrade?
Well, basically it is another chance to further encourage your readers to sign up.
And, because the focus is on longer posts, a very quick and simple content upgrade to offer is a copy of the blog post in downloadable pdf format so they can read offline or at their convenience.
Other types of content upgrades that work well include checklists, video, audio etc.
Video/audio doesn’t necessarily mean just having a video or audio version of the blog post; it could also be some complementary training that enhances the information in the blog post.
Get creative and you can have many opportunities to capture your readers email address.
If you are going to offer a pdf of the post, then a really quick way to do this is to use either Post Gopher (a WordPress plugin) or, my personal favourite, Designrr. Both of these tools can produce a pdf version of the blog post, but Designrr allows you much more flexibility to customize the end result.
Using calls-to-action or content upgrades aren’t the only way to engage and entice your reader to sign up. Now you can have your very own personal assistant on your blog, leading on to our next tip…
Start Using Chatbots On Your Blog
Messenger chatbots are hot right now and have super high engagement and you can quickly use a service like ManyChat or MobileMonkey (you can use the free versions to begin with although the Pro versions aren’t that expensive).
When you have signed up you can use the service to install a small snippet of code on your website that will allow a custom chatbot to show on your blog; cool. eh?
Both Manychat and MobileMonkey work specifically with Facebook Messenger and have incredibly high engagement, and there aren’t that many blogs doing this at the moment, so it is definitely something worth looking into.
So, there are 5 ways to ensure that your blog is still relevant today and in the future.
Implement them and you will be able to answer anybody asking you “Do blogs still work?” with a resounding “Yes!”
As a bonus, here are 4 reasons why blogs don’t work.
When you look at blogs that are failing, there are normally some common reasons that keep popping up and these are summarized below.
Again, there is a lot of common sense here, but these things can be easily overlooked, so refer to this list often so you don’t fall into any of the traps that could be hampering your success.
A lack of basic SEO resulting in poor ranking
This blog post is NOT about SEO, but you really need to be doing the basics to give your blog an SEO boost.
On-page SEO, such as having a keyword rich post, having your main keyword in your post title, using internal links (if appropriate), optimising tags in any images used, using Yoast SEO plugin (if using WordPress) etc.
Off-page SEO is more important for ranking, and involves building backlinks to your blog, using broken link strategies, reaching out to influencers and guest blogging etc.
If these things aren’t in place, the chances are that your blog won’t rank, which means that few, if any, people will see it and no additional lead opportunity will be created, which, of course, will result in zero new sales.
Blog topics not researched or strategically created.
How can you know what topics are getting searched the most and are most relevant to your company if you’re not doing keyword research?
Writing blog posts with no target in mind is completely pointless.
You must do your research and find out what people are typing into Google to find the information that you are trying to give them.
Targeting these keywords will result in less competition, thus making it easier to rank for, BUT it must be a keyword that people are actually using!
Lack of understanding of the customer avatar and journey.
Some entrepreneurs don’t realise that people are reading their blog posts long before they ever converted. As stated earlier, it takes at least 3-5 exposures to your content before a reader will trust you; in all honesty it’s probably more like 7 exposures.
Along with keyword research, you should’ve already done your niche research and know who your ideal reader (and thus customer) is, and ALL your content should be written with this person in mind.
You also need to be able to analyse and track visitors to your website so you can see which post are working and which aren’t.
Without this kind proper analysis, it’s unlikely to know which blog posts actually led people to fill out a form or were part of leading people to fill out a form, so all the blogs were marked as a waste of time.
Lack of a coherent content promotion strategy
Even if you have done all of the above and you do have a wonderful blog that is based on keyword research and properly optimized you still need to promote the blog to your audience.
In all honesty, writing and publishing a blog post is only half the battle.
Without thinking about the different avenues to connect users to your content, your blog is only going to reach a fraction of your audience.
You should also share every blog post on your social media channels; share to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at a bare minimum.
OK, there you have it. You now have 5 ways to ensure that your blog is staying relevant, and 4 things to keep an eye on to ensure that you aren’t sabotaging your success and not ranking as well as you could.
All there is to do now is to start cranking out that content…
How Can I Start Blogging?
So, you have decided to use a blog to help you with building your business, expert status and brand awareness. Good for you; this is a wise decision.
Here’s the truth about 6-figure blogging:
While blogging can be automated (eventually), you shouldn’t expect income to be passive from the beginning; this is simply unrealistic and a mistake that many aspiring entrepreneurs/bloggers make. You’ll have to work at it, especially when you are just starting out and trying to launch your blog and build a platform that you want to be recognized for in your market.
While I eventually outsourced a lot of my content to skilled writers, I still spend time evaluating advertising options, reviewing products that I can promote, building my mailing list and creating ad campaigns to boost traffic and keep my blogs in the forefront of my audiences’ mind.
The point I am trying to make is, while you can delegate many tasks to a team, such as content creation and even marketing, you will want to be directly involved in the initial building phase.
This is your brand, after all.
You need to make sure every piece of content has your voice, carries your message and represents your business in the best possible way.
No one will ever be as careful and professional with building your blog as you will be, right? So, dig your heels in and commit to spending the first few months building your blog from the ground floor up.
Then, and only then, should you begin to think about creating a team that will help you manage your blog and eventually, expand into other avenues with other niche-based blogs (if you choose to do that).
Again, you really need to understand that blogging is not a hands-free method of making money during the INITIAL stages. You must be prepared to put in some time and effort if you truly want to succeed.
But the good news? Your hard work will pay off.
So, how can you start blogging? Well, it is very simple to start and there are 5 distinct phases to getting your new blog up and running.
The 5-Step Formula
Like I said, setting up a blog isn’t difficult and can be done by pretty much anybody. Yes, there is a bit of “tech” involved but it isn’t too hard to work out yourself (Google can be your friend if you do get stuck).
While there are countless reports and articles that over-complicated the process of making money with blogging, here’s a basic overview of how it’s done:
1: Create a blog and register a memorable domain.
Avoid remotely hosted options. You need to be in full control of your website so you can take advantage of all the different revenue options with no limitations (or other people’s advertisements). You need to buy hosting and you have a number of options (such as A2 or Siteground) so shop around for the best deals. You will also need to pick and buy a domain name and I suggest Namecheap for these. WordPress is the most popular blogging platform by far as it is free and incredibly customizable by the use of plugins and themes. My favourite theme is Socrates (it is a paid theme, but it is so versatile and quick and you will always get much better support with a paid theme as opposed to a free one, but the choice is yours).
2: Write (or outsource) killer content that will generate traffic.
This content needs to be extremely high-quality, targeted and informative. All meat, no veggies.
A good place to find writers is Iwriter and the thing I like about it is that you can see the article first before paying, so if you don’t like it you can reject it.
3: Convert your visitors into email subscribers so you can build your list.
A newsletter is key in building a successful blog online.
Scratch that; a newsletter is essential to be successful in nearly ANY market online. You will never make as much money without one.
4: Communicate with your subscribers regularly.
Build rapport and trust. Nurture relationships with your market. This is where you can build a recognized brand as an authority in your market and set yourself apart from the competition (especially those bloggers who aren’t doing this!). To do this you will need an email autoresponder. Popular ones include Aweber, Get Response, and my personal favorite, Active Campaign.
5: Sell products and services to your audience
This is a key strategy for monetizing your blog and also your newly cultivated newsletter. If you want to start with affiliate marketing, you can look for products and services in your niche and see if they have affiliate programs and sign up for them.
If you are in the Internet Marketing or Make Money Online niche, you can sign up for an account at places such as Clickbank, Warrior Plus and JV Zoo and promote a number of products from a host of vendors.
Just be sure that if you are going to promote something, that you either use it yourself, or you have tried and/or reviewed it and you believe it to be worthy of your audiences hard-earned cash.
NEVER promote something just for the money because if you promote something that is poor quality, you can quickly lose the trust of the people you are serving.
So, those are the 5 steps in a nutshell.
Sounds easy enough, right? It is. But it will take time.
The key is to be patient in the initial stages, and once you are up and running, you need to be consistent.
Just keep on going and eventually you will start to see some traction and this will give you a little bit of motivation to keep going.
When blogging, you are in it for the long term; it is not a quick win strategy. But you will build authority in your niche and could become the go-to person when somebody has a problem, and that is a great place to be.
Good luck… now go buy that domain name…
If you’re just getting started in blogging, it’s easy to get frustrated when you don’t see immediate results. But like anything, it can take a little time to get things rolling. It’s important to be patient in the beginning, because the quickest way to fail is to give up too soon!
When it comes to successful blogging, consistency is key.
Fortunately, there are simple, yet effective ways to dramatically increase the amount of traffic, subscribers, and revenue from the start, while also decreasing the time and energy spent managing your blog.
There is no better way to stay motivated and focused than by seeing results from your hard work, and that is exactly what you’re going to experience when you follow the techniques below.
Blogging is ALL about content and you must be producing content on a regular basis. You should ideally be producing 1-2 blog posts per week, but if that is too much to begin with, then aim for at least one per month.
And make sure that this is good, high-quality content that people would be willing to pay for. This should be some of your best stuff.
It goes without saying then, that regardless of your niche, you’ll want to write content that solves a problem and helps your reader achieve their goals.
When creating content for your blog, you want to focus on 2 things:
Every post on your website should do one or both of these things.
If you are writing how-to style posts that provides readers with a step-by-step process to completing a task, or accomplishing a goal, you are educating. If you write a blog post that offers insight such as a personal story of success, case studies, or motivational-style posts, you’re empowering your audience.
Another thing to consider when writing content for your blog is to focus on evergreen content. That way the content you post today should still be relevant months from now because it doesn’t become outdated quickly. This will cut down on the time you spend rewriting or revising content and prevent you from having to remove content that no longer provides value.
Start by jotting down links to the top 10 authority blogs in your niche market, and then spend a bit of time evaluating the type of content they are offering, especially posts that have a high level of engagement.
Look for things like:
- Commonly asked questions posted by your target audience.
- Posts with a high number of comments or likes.
- Posts with the highest number of social shares.
High quality, informative and unique content is the key to your blog’s success. It’s what forms the foundation for your entire business, but it also is the driving force behind turning that traffic into subscribers.
Focus on building high quality content pages on your blog before you do anything else. You should aim to have 4-5 pillar posts before you start to drive traffic to your site. That will give your visitor’s enough reason to return to your site and to leave a positive impression in the mind of your target audience.
When it comes to the length of your content, search engines prefer longer blog posts that provide informative, original content, so try to write posts that are at least 1000-1500 words in length.
Think this is difficult to do?
It’s really not. Start out by creating an outline for every post and then add in images, bullet points and sub-headers that break up the content into digestible sections and keep readers glued to the page.
Whenever possible, try to write how-to or step-by-step style posts. Not only are they easier to write, but they’ll provide actionable information that your readers will love. Lists are another quick and easy way to produce a high value post that will help your readers.
Don’t be afraid to link to other bloggers! Not only is this a great way to provide additional value by guiding your readers to other resources that may help them, but it’ll make it easier for you get on the radar of authority bloggers in your niche market.
The goal is to impress your readers so much that they return to your site again and again because they know you provide value, and are a reliable source of information.
If you don’t want to solely rely on organic traffic, you can easily use some paid advertising (best via Facebook or Google Ads) to drive people to your best blog posts.
If you are doing this, then you definitely want a call-to-action on the blog post in question. In fact, I would go as far to suggest that ALL your blog posts should have some call-to-action in them. This could be to sign up for updates, go to a squeeze page or sales page, or to click on affiliate links in your post.
Get your content marketing plan right and you can make a serious amount of money by producing high-quality, high-value content that really solves a problem for your audience, and by adding a good call-to action, you can grow your subscriber list and monetize your hard work.
Start your content marketing plan today and see what happens; hopefully you will be very pleasantly surprised.
In the next post, we will look at choosing your primary traffic source, so until then…
No matter what type of business you’re in online, you are going to have to do at least some writing. Whether you’re a blogger, a website builder, an indie book publisher, a freelance writer, or even an online shop owner, chances are you need to write content of some sort.
Note that this isn’t really about the way you write or at least that’s only a small part of the puzzle.
Instead, writing content that people will go out of their way to read is all about choosing exciting topics, giving them great titles and knowing what it is that makes people click.
Know Your Audience
It goes without saying that you must know who your audience is and what they are interested in before you even think about creating any type of content.
If you don’t know what your audience is feeling and the particular struggles that they face, then you really are shooting in the dark.
This doesn’t have to take long but is well worth the time and effort, but unfortunately this is one step that so many marketer and product creators skip. Yet if you do this you will definitely reap the rewards by targeting the right people at the right time which will result in more leads and (hopefully) sales for you.
Using Clickbait For Good!
One way to entice people to come to your blog and read your post is to use ‘clickbait’. Clickbait is basically any content that is designed to encourage clicks, even if it isn’t entirely honest in how it goes about that.
Normally clickbait titles are purposefully provocative or misleading and this gets people to click on them. Unfortunately this also gives them a rather bad reputation so you do need to be careful if/when using them.
For instance, you’ll see things like ’10 Tips to Transform Your Body – Number 4 Changed My Life!’ or ‘You’ll Never Believe What Happens to This Woman in This Shocking Video!’. For most people the curiosity/promise of the title will elicit a click.
There is no denying that clickbait does work and it generates plenty of hits for your website. The problem is that it can also be misleading and as such, it can damage your branding but of course that won’t be an issue for you as you will be using clickbait in a more honest and ethical manner 🙂
Choose Your Title Wisely
So let us ask ourselves: what is it about clickbait that makes it so successful?
The answer is that it looks different, it looks interesting and it promises something unique/that you haven’t seen before. It would be fine, if the actual content weren’t so lacking.
And clickbait is even more successful thanks to the sheer quantity of interesting content on the web. How many fitness sites have you been to where all the articles are on ’10 ways to get abs’ or ‘how to eat clean to lose weight’. This content is so derivative, we’ve all read it a thousand times!
For a fitness site, that could look something like this:
‘How my fitness addiction nearly ruined my relationship’
‘Cardio acceleration: a new type of cardio fitness that burns 300%+ more fat’
‘Why bodybuilders are stronger than powerlifters’
These sorts of titles are engaging and unique but what’s more is that they’re also meaty and give you the opportunity to write some really great stuff and they also have an air of mystery to entice viewers to click through and learn more. That’s how you get clicks and build fans!
OK, there are 3 quick tips to help you to create content that people actually want to read and hopefully this will result in more leads and sales for you and your business. Now where’s my pen…