The new year is still young, and a lot of you (and us) are looking for more blogging success. If you are like us, you are always looking for things to optimize. We have been active in blogging and social media marketing for a couple of years now. And one thing has become very clear: for success, you need to keep your eyes open for new opportunities and best practices, for ideas and better solutions.
1. Don’t Wait For Things To Happen – Make them Happen
I still see the dangerous advice: Good Content will automatically rise to the top. That is so far from the truth as it can get. Good content is certainly key to success, but waiting for an audience to magically appear is putting you straight on your path to frustration.
You want success? Then learn how to make it happen. Actively build an audience for your blog or social media channel. If you have a budget, paying for ads can help, but there are a ton of ways to actively spread the word about your blog that you can use without paying for it. If you need some tips to get you started, this article gives you some ideas.
2. Don’t Get Stuck With Bad Hosting
We have been there: We were afraid to change our hosting providers for fear of losing data or something not working as it should and the blog being offline for a while.
In the end, we had no choice: Our website became so slow our customers complained – or left. And Bluehost customer service was not willing or able to find a solution. We moved to Cloudways – and we should have done so much earlier.
If your hosting provider is not providing the website speed and service that your blog needs, don’t stick with them. Move to a better hosting provider, it will save you a lot of frustration and even prevent you from losing customers.
If you are looking for a great hosting provider, you can read here why we chose Cloudways and how easy the switch was.
3. Build a List – Start A Newsletter
I am repeating myself here, but I cannot say it often enough – or rather I did not say it at all, but I keep quoting Neal Patel: Your highest converting traffic channel will be your email list.
And do not think you can buy your way out and use someone else’s list. A bought list will not give you the results that you are seeking.
As a blogger your earned email list can provide you with traffic – and sales. And done right you can use your newsletter to build a relationship with your audience, build trust and sell not once but multiple times to your leads.
4. Utilize Video
Video is one of the most evolving content types right now. Most social networks keep developing the video features, and you get more reach for video content than for a lot of other content forms.
Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat – an even Twitter: They all provide you with a ton of possibilities for different forms of video content. And it does not look as if the video trend is going to be over in the near future.
Image Source Hubspot
5. Optimize Your Website
So you have a blog or website, you produce content, and you get an audience to your content. But somehow your audience does not engage with your content as you would like, they don’t share it, or they do not sign up for your newsletter?
Take a deep breath and a step back and try to view your website as if you are a visitor. Be honest, would you take the action you want your audience to take? Is it well formatted? Do you offer share buttons? Do you use a call-to-action to make people comment or share your content? Can you easily find your signup form? Could you offer something for free in exchange for the email address?
There are endless ways to optimize a blog or website. A blog is never „finished“ you need to evolve with your audience. You need to constantly update and optimize your website according to standards and best practices!
6. Learn About Better Headlines
Have you ever thought about the power of a headline? If your content does not get the results you would expect from the quality of your content, then you should consider putting more effort into your headlines.
Often we use the next best headline that comes to our mind after creating a piece of content. But they deserve more attention. Keep in mind that the headline is what people see in social media or on your blog before they decide whether they click or read on.
Image Source: Quicksprout
David Ogilvy, the famous marketer, recommends spending 80 cents out of every dollar on the headline. And even if you do not want to spend 805 of your content creation on the headline, there are some things you should know about headlines and use when you think up your next headlines: Here is what you need to know!
7. Be Aware of Google’s Preferences and Penalties
Especially when your main traffic source is Google you need to be on the lookout for Google updates. Make sure you know what Google likes or dislikes and optimize your content and website accordingly.
Here is an example: For 2017 Google has announced that they will penalize intrusive interstitials – that are ads, popups, and light boxes. If you are working with these types of elements on your website, make sure you know how and why they may affect your rankings. If you need more information on this Google update, read this article on Search Engine Land!
Image Source: SearchEngineLand
8. Select Your Social Channels
Do not try to be everywhere. Choose a couple of social channels where your target group is and engage with your audience there.
Each and every social network takes time and effort to build an audience and keep growing. Trying to be everywhere at once will most of the time result in frustration and a lot less success than a handful of select social networks could give you if you get it right. Just because some social network is hyped right now, dos not necessarily mean that you need to be active on it.
Need some advice on how to choose your social channels? Read this!
9. Use The Best Plugins
Are you on WordPress? Are you aware of the diverse power of plugins? There are Plugins for almost every problem on WordPress, and they can easily help you improve your user experience, site speed, and traffic.
Image Source: CodeinWP
Plugins are a prominent reason why so many bloggers use WordPress. Make use of the best WordPress Plugins! Here are some suggestions for you!
There are several reasons why website speed is crucial for blogging success. For one, you can easily frustrate your website visitors and make them leave before they took your desired actions. Also, your search engine ranks are influenced by page speed.
Make sure your website loads as fast as your audience expects. Here are some tools that can help you to speed up your website.
Image Source: Kissmetrics
11. Have a Backup
You are a blogger – or a content marketer. Your content is your (main) asset. Losing your (old) blogposts and other content can easily be the reason why your business is going to fail.
The biggest fear of any blogger often is to lose their content. Make sure you have a backup – or two. Being on the safe side regarding your content and data will let you sleep better and make the right decisions like changing your hosting provider a lot easier!
12. Build and Engage Your Community
You will see the effect in your number of signups and followers. You will also see better conversion rates.
Image Source: AdAge
People like to connect (and to buy) from people. They also much rather trust a person they have already talked to than a website or blog where they do not know who is writing there.
There are many reasons why engagement will help you move your blog to the next level.
13. Utilize the Power Of Images
Are you using images on your blog? Enough? You should!
Images can help you keep your reader’s attention and make reading your content easier. Images can also give you a ton more social shares – if you provide images in the right dimensions.
14. Make It All About Your Audience
What are you blogging about? If you are blogging for marketing reasons, then you need to consider what your audience wants. Many content marketers make the mistake of creating content about their products and totally forget about asking their audience what they would love to read.
Sure, you want to blog about the stuff you know best – but you still need to keep in mind what your audience is interested in. People will not come to your blog because you want them to. They will come to your blog because you provide information that they want or need.
Make sure you know your audience!
15. Consider Guest Blogging
You want to build your audience fast? Write for other blogs. Why? Because they already have an audience and guest blogging allows you to utilize the other blog’s audience and even convert some of them to your own blog audience or to social media followers.
Guest blogging is also a great way to build a network of bloggers that may eventually be willing to help you spread the word when you need it.
Image Source: BloggerJet
You need more reasons to invest into guest blogging? Check this out!
16. Be Patient
Many bloggers dream big – and you should, too! But then they expect the big results after a short time. They compare their website traffic, audience and number of social shares to other blogs that have been on the market for ages. And then they get frustrated because they do not see the same numbers that those established blogs have.
Always keep in mind, that these blogs also took their fair time to grow an audience and traffic. Only they struggled a long time ago, and now it looks as if they just came to life being famous.
Image Source: Ghost Blog
Each and every blog took a lot of time to grow. Some grow faster and some slower. How fast a blog can grow depends on many things: How much time can you invest? What topic or niche are you active in? How much marketing knowledge do you have? Can you utilize an existing audience?
17. Proofread Every Post
Often our thoughts are much faster than our fingers putting them into letters. Also what seemed a logic argument may not be so logic when reading it again.
Make sure you re-read all your posts before you hit the publish button. Also, those little typos are easily overlooked, some form of proofreading and spell-checking can greatly improve your content.
We use a tool called Grammarly that helps us find the biggest spelling and grammar mistakes.
18. Monitor the Hell Out Of Everything and act according to Your Data
If you are blogging for success, you need to watch your numbers. The answers to many marketing and blogging questions lie in the data and analytics. Make sure you monitor everything you do and adjust your activity according to your numbers.
Check out the lean marketing process, and you will understand why numbers are key to your blogging and marketing success.
19. Show Personality – It Sets You Apart
Never be afraid of showing who you are. Your personality is what sets you apart from all the other bloggers in your niche. As said before, people like to connect to people. You do not always have to be perfect, you have to be YOU!
20. Find and Focus on your Niche
Are you sure that your blog visitors know what they can expect from you? Or do you write about one niche today and a totally different one tomorrow? That will not help you gather a loyal audience.
It will be easier to grow an audience in social media and for your blog if you focus on your niche and create targeted content accordingly.
21. Have a Schedule
While you do not necessarily need to create content every day or several days a week, it will help grow an audience if you have a clear schedule. If you have a new post every Monday: Let your audience know, and they will come back for more content next week. If you only blog once a month, then you should decide on a fixed date: every first Monday in a month or every 15th.
A fixed schedule makes it a lot easier for your audience to know when a new blog post can be expected – and if done right your audience will come back when you publish.
Do you keep forgetting to do the vital things that would help you grow your blog? Make it a habit – it will make it much easier to remember to do all the important things.
You could write a list of things you need to do after you have written and published a new blog post: share it through your social media channels, send a newsletter to your subscribers about it,
Building a social audience should also become a habit: set a time of day and a couple of minutes for each of your social networks. Use the time to answer comments, schedule posts and engage in groups or conversations.
Doing these things on a regular basis will make them a habit and help you build your audience for your blog.
23. Build your Network – Get in touch with other Bloggers
Blogging should not be a lonely venture. You can easily get more out of your efforts if you are part of a growing community. More fun, more traffic, and eventually more sales. Bloggers tend to be open to connect. Open the conversation, do something for others – for instance share other people’s blog posts and let them know about it. Connecting with other bloggers will help you grow an audience, make it easier to get guest blogging opportunities.
Also, being on the radar of other bloggers gives you the chance of getting mentioned or your articles referenced in their own blog posts.
Do not only ask these bloggers to do something for you – start by doing something for them or come up with an idea of working together.
I am sure some of these tips will help you get more out of your blogging efforts in the awesome year to come. But the blogosphere and social media landscape are not static – new chances arise all the time. Use your chances and keep your eyes open for opportunities for more exposure, new distribution channels, trends and new features that you can use to up your blogging game!
Do you want to start a blog? Let us take you through all the exciting first steps and make sure that you get everything done that you should consider right from the start.
Check out our “Beginner’s Guide: Start A Blog!”
If you need some advice on how to get traffic to your blog from social media, check out our ebook “The Social Traffic Code!”