Many bloggers begin blogging with an “If you build it, they will come” mentality. Is it any wonder, then, that 95 percent of blogs are abandoned?
That doesn’t mean you’re left with no competition, however. WordPress alone hosts 74.6 million sites, so if you factor in the 5 percent that haven’t been abandoned, you’re still looking at 3.7 million active WordPress blogs. Granted, not all of these blogs are in your industry, but you’re still likely to find thousands of blogs competing for the same audience’s attention.
How, then, can your blog survive in a world filled with content? How will your blog make an impact? It’s simple. Take a look at your competitors, and make sure your blog strategy is several steps above theirs. Start by considering these five things most of your competitors aren’t doing and how you can do it differently.
1. They’re Not Actively Promoting It
If you start your blog thinking “If I build it, then will come,” you have another think coming, and that’s where many of your competitors will fall short. Sure, they might Tweet a new post right away or share it on Facebook, but these posts can quickly get lost in the sea of social updates.
That’s not to say it’s tough to convert traffic through social media. In fact, social media can be a great way to promote your blog, but it takes more effort than hitting the share button.
Other ideas for promoting your blog on social media include:
- Using tools like Google Hangouts to promote interaction with followers
- Joining Google+ and LinkedIn groups and sharing your posts when they contribute to the conversation
- Networking with others in your industry and sharing your blog articles with them
- Tweeting and sharing your articles multiple times per day—including old content
- Hosting a Twitter chat
- Including your blog link on your profiles
But actively promoting your blog goes much further than social media. Some other ideas not related to social networks include:
- Joining forums and building relationships with like-minded individuals and influencers
- Commenting on similar blogs
- Adding your blog URL to your business card
- Leveraging influencer marketing
- Guest blogging
- Syndicating your content on reputable platforms
The biggest thing to keep in mind that will make these marketing tactics work is to contribute to the discussion rather than spamming your network and begging for traffic.
2. They’re Not Factoring in SEO
Many bloggers don’t factor search engine optimization into their strategy because it seems complicated. The truth is that people tend to overcomplicate it. Whether forgetting about SEO completely or focusing on it too much, either one can hurt your search engine rankings. Of course, you want to show up on search engines because it drives over half of traffic online.
Here are just a few SEO tips your competitors might be forgetting about:
- Don’t think about it too hard. The more you try to stuff keywords into your copy, the worse you might make it. At the same time, you can’t ignore SEO completely.
- Revise your permalink structure. Make sure your URLs include keywords. A structure like https://www.domainname.com/post-name usually works well.
- Include Alt text on images while incorporating key words.
- Focus on high-quality, well-earned links. The amount of links to your site doesn’t matter as much as the quality of those links. You can earn high-quality links by creating great content people want to link to, building relationships with influencers, and guest blogging. Just remember that link building isn’t everything, and you should consider other SEO factors as well.
- Ensure your blog is mobile-friendly.
- Consider an SSL certificate.
Where many bloggers ignore SEO completely, some take things too far by trying to manipulate search engines. The best thing you can do is create a user-friendly experience since that’s what search engines like Google are looking for.
3. They’re Not Publishing Consistently
If you don’t have an editorial calendar set up for your blog, how do your followers know when to come back for fresh content? Whether you update your blog once a week or daily, you should have a schedule in place. This encourages people to subscribe and to continue coming back for more content daily or weekly.
As Hubspot put it:
Frequency is key to a successful business blog and a tribe of dedicated readers.
Planning your schedule isn’t all about setting up your audience’s expectations, though. It also helps in mapping out your topics and content types to ensure an interesting variety and an optimized social and search strategy. If you’ve built a team of contributors, this step is also essential to communication.
Not sure where to start? Hubspot offers a free editorial calendar download to put you on the right track.
4. They’re Not Building a Community
Even after you’ve build your blog and started gaining traffic, you may have a tough time getting unique visitors to come back. That’s where encouraging a community of readers is important. A few ideas on how to build your community include:
- Encouraging visitors to subscribe to your newsletter (and sending it out on a consistent basis)
- Establishing a forums area on your site where people can engage in the conversation
- Enabling the comment function on your posts
- Building social media groups, such as a Facebook group, so the conversation can continue off the blog
- Setting up social fan pages for your blog
- Visiting your readers’ blogs and commenting on their posts
- Hosting Google Hangouts with groups of followers
- Planning live meetups
Keep in mind that you don’t have to follow all these tips. For instance, you may not have a forum and a Facebook group, but it’s worth looking into ways to keep in touch with your community outside of your blog posts.
5. They’re Not Writing for Their Audience
One mistake beginner bloggers tend to make is talking all about themselves or their business. That’s usually not how blogs reach their ultimate goal. Readers generally want to hear about themselves, so when you’re talking only about your business, products, and accomplishments, people are going to wonder what the content can do for them. By all means share information about your business, but only when it matters to your audience.
Instead, consider your target audience. What do they already know, and what do they want to know about your industry? Deliver information based on their needs, and focus on how you can help them before you begin asking favors.
While there are tons of blogs doing things right, you’re likely to run into more that still have improvements to make. The truth is that if you put in the effort to maintain your blog and your community, you’re already ahead of your competition and are on your way to making it a success.
What else have you noticed blogs doing that their competitors aren’t? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
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