Blogging offers a huge potential for business growth and building influence online. As you’re exploring new trends in digital marketing and helpful tools to use, you should also determine ways to enhance the performance of your blog in 2018.
Be accessible to everyone
Today, the majority of your blog visitors will be from mobile devices. You might not even be aware the number of readers you’re losing simply due to the fact that your blog content is not accessible or not adequately formatted to provide a seamless reading experience to the mobile users. This issue can also negatively affect your SEO and blog visibility, so it’s something you should deal with. Making your site mobile friendly up to current standards is especially important if your blog was created a while back or if you’re using a custom CMS which might need updates.
The first thing you should do is to test your blog. Use an online tool to test your mobile site. Start fixing technicalities, such as coding issues, images, blog layout, etc. Then move on to address the content. You need to create and optimize the pages so that your blog content looks good on mobile devices. Shorter paragraphs are necessary to avoid overwhelming the reader and making your content seem like a pile of unreadable text. CTAs (Call To Actions) should be in the beginning or in the middle of the page (instead of at the bottom) to increase their visibility. You might also want to remove the relevant content from the sidebar to a better location. Mobile users won’t see the sidebar until they scroll all the way down the page.
Explore (and perfect) image optimization
Not only do you risk losing a significant amount of traffic due to slow loading times caused by large image files, but this also has a negative effect on your SEO as well. Even if the page is loaded, funky-looking images might be the trigger that makes the users quit the page all too soon.
Try using photo editors to edit and optimize images. Also, install a plugin that can help you optimize the images directly on your blogging platform. If you’re not sure which format to use, which image file size is recommended and how to name the images based on SEO guidelines, check out these tips: 10 Must Know Image Optimization Tips.
Make sure you understand your readers
Focusing on the user is a necessary strategy in your blogging for 2018. Rather than creating a bunch of keyword-rich posts hoping to get your blog indexed, start focusing on your readers. They are the ones you want to reach. To be able to do so, follow these steps:
- Identify your target group and define the type of readers you want to reach
- Explore and predict their habits, wants, needs, queries etc.
- Create content that is relevant and provides an answer to questions your readers might be having and also engage them based on their preferences
- Use social networks and email campaigns to listen to their feedback
- Create content that is personalized and addresses them directly
- Encourage interaction with your readers through comments, social media, forum, email, etc.
Getting to know your readers helps you create content that performs better. Since this is the way to improve your blog, consider creating a connection with the readers as a necessary step in achieving this goal.
Share more about yourself
Another thing you need to do when going for a more personalized approach on your blog is sharing more about yourself. Having an avatar image and your name as the author is what most bloggers do. Many of them also share a short, catchy bio and links their social media profiles. This is an initial step, but if you want to improve your blog performance, try to go a step further.
Share your own experiences, doubts, fears, dilemmas. Share your solution or advice that you think would be helpful to your readers. Be careful not to make it all about yourself, because that is not the point. The goal is to create content that is relatable. When you share more about yourself, the readers will start to get to know you. As they get to know you, they will either like you or not. Either way, this will help you create a loyal readership, of those who are interested in your opinion and will come back to your blog again and again. Over time, this is how you’ll build your influence. Ultimately, this will help your blog gain exposure and credibility.
Security and backups are essential
A data breach can be a serious issue, which might end up jeopardizing your entire blogging career. Apart from your blog, the data about your subscribers is very important to your blogging success. Stealing subscribers data and personal information like name and email address is the most common motive for a data breach.
Here’s a quick checklist of things to do to increase security on your blog:
- Update your CMS platform
- Regularly update the existing plugins
- Install security plugins
- Backup your blog data
- Consider HTTPS protocol instead of HTTP (to get this, your website should have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate)
Integrate social media
Integration of social media should be a core part of your blogging platform. Even though social media marketing trends indicate that organic traffic is dropping, the exposure you can get from social networks still exists. In fact, interaction on social networks can also help with discovering new opportunities, finding collaborators, etc.
Social networks are a great way to promote your blog posts, which is why social media marketing should be a part of your blogging efforts. Integrate social media by installing social sharing buttons or counters that show the number of times the posts have been shared. You could also consider enabling comments. Some plugins allow posting to social networks directly. Other social network plugins can include features such as click to tweet, click to pin, share on Facebook, etc.
Also, try to use social networks to bring readers to your blog. Encourage social interaction, use social media exposure to build influence, and create trust in you and your brand. This kind of approach will significantly increase the exposure and credibility of your blog.
Longer content instead of short articles
Numerous studies confirm that longer content performs better. This doesn’t mean that each of your blog posts should be an extensive narrative with elaborate concepts and ideas. The idea is to create content that is capable of responding to a specific search query. The main goal is to provide value. Here’s an example.
The topic for your next fitness article is five exciting treadmill exercises. You have a keyword and an idea, and now it’s time to create content. You could write a sentence or two about each exercise, and that would be it. However, modern digital marketing is all about more elaborate content. It is believed that it provides greater value for the readers. It also shows more of your expertise and knowledge about the topic. Ultimately, it provides greater context for the search engines to understand the article.
Therefore, try to provide more information about the topic. Include benefits of each exercise, challenges the readers might face with each exercise, etc. These will provide more value for the readers. Instead of just describing the exercise for them to do, explain why they need to do those exercises, what is so special about the exercises you’ve chosen, etc.
The same thinking should be applied to other types of blog articles. Of course, it depends a lot on the niche and the actual topic. However, whenever it is possible, try to go for a blog post with more quality content.
Master the titles
The titles (and headings) have a lot of impact on the engagement. Their primary purpose is to grab the attention. In the digital world, there is so much content and information out there, that online users have developed a sort of a “filter mode”. Even though they’re exposed to all this content on a daily basis, there’s a chance that they’ll just skip most of it. To make sure your blog content gets noticed, employ this technique of improving the titles. Spend more time on this task. Think about the users and what they would type as their search query. Use strong adjectives, numbers, highlight the benefits of the content, etc.
This topic is worth exploring, so here’s a helpful guide: The Definitive Guide to Copywriting.
Document your social media strategy
One of the most common mistakes brands have been making throughout 2017 (and years before) is not documenting their social media strategy. Planning is the first step. Still, a thorough analysis of social media performance is essential for improving your blog.
Here’s how to document a social media strategy successfully:
- Set up social media goals – Decide how you want to promote your blog through social media. Also, make sure these goals are in accordance with the overall blogging goals and strategy.
- Determine the actions – Classify different actions and tactics you need to do based on your goals.
- Distribute assignments – Try to assign each task to a specific person or a team. Also, create a schedule for them to complete those assignments.
- Analyze your strategy and make changes if necessary – The adjustments you make to the strategy should be based on the analysis of how successful your social media strategy is.
One of the most common goals bloggers have with social media marketing is to promote their content. This can be done using various different actions, which include both free and paid reach. However, blog exposure does not have to be the only thing you can achieve. Building influence and interacting with the social media users are two excellent strategies that indirectly help you boost the performance of your blog.
Documenting your social media strategy will get easier (and quicker) in time. You’ll soon create templates and plans to monitor everything. To get you started, check out these 7 Social Media Templates to Save You Hours of Work.
Integrate video content into your blog
As a content format, video has been gaining in popularity over the past few years. It’s also one of the sure tactics to help you improve your blog in 2018.
Start by exploring how you can integrate video in your blog. You can create a quick tutorial, turn a presentation into a video, or make a funny animation. You can record an interview, an event, etc. Then, you’ll need a plan. You need to plan how these videos fit into your blogging strategy. Will you create videos for each blog post or only occasionally? Is your team going to create videos? Do you plan on working with influencers and freelance content creators?
Always have in mind that video content requires detailed planning and analysis. You want to make sure you’re leveraging this strategy in the best way. You also want to make sure that indirectly, video content helps you work on promoting your blog and improving its performance.
Repurpose or improve your content
This one is a super useful strategy to focus less on creation and more on promotion of your existing content. It’s also pretty handy when you’re all out of ideas or you want to quickly come up with some content worth promoting.
It’s a good starting point to review the most popular posts on your blog. They are the ones worth repurposing or updating if you believe you have more to say on the topic. You also might want to format the text differently or add more images. This kind of content revamp can help you increase its performance. You might even get to improve blog posts that used to have poor engagement level.
Another content type you should pay attention to is evergreen content. This kind of content can help you bring a steady stream of visits to your blog in the years to come. So if you have such content on your blog, it might be a good idea to improve and refresh it from time to time.
To find out how to get more from your existing content, check out this article: The Ultimate Guide to Repurposing Content: 12 Ways to Extend the Life of Every Article You Write.
What will be the focus of your blogging strategy for 2018? Will you use some of these strategies to improve your blog’s performance? Share your thoughts in the comments.