Many new bloggers still believe that blogging is all about writing blog posts. And whoever created the „best“ blog posts will get the most traffic.
But the truth is that the blog post creation process is only a fraction of the whole blogging adventure.
I recently read a post where someone stated that about 20% of the time you spend working on your blog is about creating blog posts and 80% should be spent on promoting your blog.
There was no source given for the numbers, but from my own experience, I would say that rings a bell. If you leave out all other tasks like research, networking, technical stuff – the numbers add up.
But the problem with the promotion part of your blogging adventure is that the less you know about marketing and blog promotion, the more work you will have to put into reading the word about your blog. And often newbie bloggers still don’t see the traffic they are aiming for and have to face a lot of frustration, simply because they don’t know all about getting the basics right.
There are some things you need to consider for your blog promotion even before you publish a post – or your blog promotion efforts will not result in traffic leads and customers as you were hoping for.
1. Page Load times
Page load times are important for SEO – but that is rather a result of the main reason why this is important:
This is all about user experience – and you cannot start too early to think about this. If someone visits your blog and page loads, and loads, and loads – they will be gone faster than your page loads.
And that is why Google also considers your page load times in their search ranking.
You have to consider this early on in your blog setup. It starts with your hosting – because you don’t want your blog to become slower and slower as you manage to get more and more traffic – that would hurt your business.
Believe me: It is not a nice experience when you are in the middle of launching a product that you worked hard to create and then your hosting cannot handle the additional traffic and support is unwilling to help you fix it.
But there is more than hosting that should consider to analyze and optimize your page speed.
2. Share Buttons
I am still surprised how many blogs and websites create content for promoting their blog, business or products – and they fail to provide the basic set up for social sharing on their website.
Do they expect their audience to copy and paste the headline, link, and image to Twitter to tweet it when other websites make sharing as easy as the click of a button?
Do you know how many opportunities you are missing out on when you do not set up the tweets with all the information that YOU want in them? By providing social media share buttons, you can make sure that the right information goes into any tweet that is send from your blog! You can add the best hashtags; plus, you can add your own Twitter handle for better branding and even collect some new followers with each tweet.
The same goes for other networks. Have you ever tried to pin something when no Pinterest share button is available? Such a hassle…
3. Blog structure
You may have read that using keywords in subheadlines can help your SEO efforts. But are you aware how important your blog structure, subheadlines, bullet lists and paragraphs are for your blog post promotion – apart from SEO?
There are two factors that strongly influence the success of your blog post:
- Reading online content is much slower than reading a book.
- Over 55% of visitors will spend less than 15 seconds on your content.
That means you have to make reading your content as easy as possible and structure can tremendously help with that.
Make it easy for people to skim your post – that is what many website visitors do. Elelemtns like subheadlines, bullets, and paragraphs will help you keep the attention of your audience on your post!
4. Use the right keywords
It is worth to spend a significant amount of time on researching the best keywords for your blog posts: Keywords that your target audience is familiar with and uses in their searches. And keywords which are not over competitive on Google and will give you a chance to have your content show up in Google searches fairly high up.
Even though you are not writing for Google but for people from your target audience, the right keywords can help you push your blog traffic to a totally new level.
In case you are at a loss, there are awesome tools for keyword research. I recommend Serpstat for keyword research: from the tools I tested, I found it the easiest to use and it provided the best results:
Serpstat is especially interesting since along with simple keyword research it offers search suggestions and search questions features. It finds popular search queries that pop up under the search bar as a user starts typing a keyword into Google, and queries people ask at Google in form of questions. In addition, Serpstat provides an indicator, which of the keywords are highly competitive and which keywords are not competitive. These LSI keywords can help you to optimize your blog posts properly and speak in more natural language as well.
Did you know that on average 5 times as many people will see the headline of your content than will see the actual post?
That means that if you put some effort into optimizing your headlines you can tremendously help your blog promotion.
The same post can get no clicks at all in social media while another headline may have the power to make a post go viral.
Creating the best possible headlines takes some practice. But you can learn about headline types that usually perform well on social media and how to create awesome headlines for your posts.
6. Provide images – use alt tags and names
I have talked to young bloggers before who complained that they were not seeing any traffic from Pinterest. And ONE look at their blog not only showed me why they would never see much traffic from Pinterest – it also made me wonder how they could ever expect any traffic from Pinterest at all.
If you want traffic from a social network to your blog, you have to learn what you need to provide for a perfect post on exactly that social network.
To stick with the Pinterest example: If you don’t provide vertical images that can be pinned it is simply not going to happen.
Your audience will not take the time and create images for your post for you!
If you want traffic from social media, you have to provide images.
And if you provide images, make sure, you optimize your images as best as you can. That includes:
- use keywords in the name of the image
- use keywords in the alt tag description of the image (this alt tag will also be used by Pinterest as a description of the pin)
- create images with the optimal dimensions for your most important social networks
7. Create, Check and Optimize Meta Descriptions
I recently worked on a marketing strategy with a client that included the evaluation of their online sales process. Surprisingly enough their website did rank for some of their keywords and got a fair number of views. But these views did not result in clicks on their website – not even for searches for the name of one of their products.
(In case you are wondering, you can find this information in Google analytics if you connect the Google search console).
Can you guess why people did not click through to the website even though they were searching for their product?
One reason was, that they had failed to set the meta description for each page of their website. This resulted in their product showing up in Google search with their legal statement showing up as a text in Google.
You may have heard that you should use the most important keyword in the meta description to improve your SEO rankings.
But the meta description does far more than influence the Google rankings. When you manage to get your blog post to show up in Google’s search results, the meta description will be displayed as the short text below the headline of your post.
Filling out the meta description with valuable information and sometimes even an offer or a call to action can vastly increase your click-through rates.
Even if you did set your meta descriptions, it will be worth your time, to check back later once in a while and check for which keywords your blog posts get views on Google search and make sure that the meta description inspires people searching for this keyword to click through to your article.
If your CTR sucks for some relevant keywords, it may even be worth to change the meta description and consider these keywords.
8. Create Content with promotion in mind
There are some types of blog posts that will help you with promoting your blog. They can inspire backlinks, you can get influencers to share the content, and they can add credibility to your blog by featuring experts that already have a lot of respect within your niche.
Examples of these types of posts are
- Expert roundups, which are posts that feature the expert opinion of some influencers and experts. These experts will often help you share your post.
- Interviews – many people are willing to participate in interviews as they add to their fame and help them spread the word about their own expertise. With interviews, you can get expert opinions on your blog and they will usually participate in promoting the interview.
- Influencer lists, blog lists, group lists – again these lists help to build the fame of the people on the lists. And thus they are often more than willing to help you spread the list through social media
9. Internal and external links
You have probably thought about linking from a new post to some of your related older posts. But there is more to linking.
You should also consider linking to some external content that can provide additional information. These links will help you to display your expertise and prove that you know your niche.
You should also consider linking from older blog posts to your new post. Especially when you have some older posts that still run well and get a lot of traffic, you may be able to transfer some of that audience to your new post.
Final words on blog promotion
This post is not so much about promoting your blog posts. Rather, this post is about doing your homework and getting your blog and your posts ready for promotion.
Getting your basics right, is very important. Otherwise, you can spend ages on trying to promote your content and never see the traffic and audience you would love to have – and which you could have, if you had covered your basics!
Don’t rush into promoting your content everywhere before you make sure to get everything right on your end. Or you will have to deal with a lot of frustration and wasted blog promotion efforts.