How to Ignite Your Blog Results in the New Year

How to Ignite Your Blog Results in the New Year

“Cheers to the New Year and another chance for us to get it right.” Oprah

The new year is a perfect time for a fresh start. How about your blog? 

Whatever your results were last year, the new year brings new ideas, energy, inspiration and, with a bit of focus, even better results. Your blog could be one of your most powerful marketing tools if you put it to work.

In this article, we are sharing our 7 favourite new year blog improvements. You can do each one independently. And most of them can be done in less than one hour. 

Ready? Let’s get started…

Clear the clutter

Your readers don’t need more distractions. Now is the time to remove low-value parts from your blog pages that pull your readers away from your content. Here are some examples: 

Blogrolls. Your blog is not a library where people park themselves for hours and your readers don’t need a list of past blogs (we all know how to scroll down the page and click the “previous” button).

Tag clouds/lists. Unless you are getting thousands of readers a day you will want to direct readers to your latest blog post. Lists of tags (or blog categories) are for high-traffic sites that need to direct readers who are returning multiple times.

Social media widgets. An invitation to go to social media is an invitation to lose readers. If you want to invite readers to connect with you on social, add social share buttons to your blog with tools like sumome or social warfare, plus add the widgets at the bottom of your site.

Watch the numbers

You can’t make good decisions about your money until you know your current financial status, and you can’t get better results from your blog until you know what the current performance is. And the only way to see what’s happening with your web site is with Google Analytics.

In this article, we show you how to know if Google Analytics is installed. While in this article we explain what numbers to watch and what they mean.

To go one step further, log in to Google Analytics, Go to Audience>Overview then click the “Share” button in the top-right corner of your screen and set up an automatic monthly report to be emailed to you. This is a great way to get a nudge in your inbox every month to pay attention to your numbers!

How to Ignite Your Blog Results in the New Year
With one click get a snapshot of your site’s analytics sent to your Inbox

Create a calendar

A great way to kick off the new year and to get your creative juices flowing is with a content calendar for the year. Think of this as a map of all the topics you want to share with your readers.

You can organize future posts around seasons, holidays, annual events, or product launches. This is also a great time to look at past blog posts and think about updating old posts that have done well (#4 idea) but are outdated. 

You can build your calendar using the Calendar WordPress plugin (see my video on this), in Microsoft Excel, planning tools like Trello, or in social media scheduling tools like coschedule.

The Calendar plug-in makes it easy to organize future blog posts

The old is new again

One of our favourite traffic-building strategies is to update old blog posts that have done well in the past but are in need of a quick update. Not only can this be a big-time saver (compared to writing a completely new post), but you are building on the traffic the post is already getting. 

How to Ignite Your Blog Results in the New Year

The strategy is to give each article a quick make-over to update the content, refresh the look and then to republish with a new date. The goal is more traffic, plus you save a lot of time and effort, compared to starting from scratch with a new article.

This post explains in detail how to use this strategy.

Linking is the new Liking

Imagine you park your car, walk into a store, ready to buy an accessory for your computer, but there’s nobody there to help you. You’d probably leave. Right?

With most blog posts we look at, that’s what happens – over 90% of readers leave the site. 

How to Ignite Your Blog Results in the New Year
Unless you have a good reason to stay, most readers will exit without ever visiting a second page.

One of the quickest ways to get better performance from your blog is to add a call-to-action. The call-to-action (CTA) might be a simple link to your book or programs, or an invitation to learn more about your products, like “learn more about our custom leadership workshops.”

Keywords are the key

Confused about SEO, keywords, meta tags, and jargon concerning attracting more organic traffic? Well, it can be confusing – especially if you try to follow the advice of guru’s who spend their whole day thinking about this stuff. Or it can be really easy.

The basic concept of SEO for your blog post to include what the readers you want are already looking for. If your target market is searching for “leadership training’”, “roll-up garage doors”, or “Denver real estate lawyer” you need to include that phrase a number of times in your article (ideally in your headline as well).

A super-quick way to discover what people are searching for is to start typing a query into your search bar and then see what Google suggests people are searching for. You can also see a list of suggestions in blue at the bottom of your screen.

You can also use Google Trends to discover keyword phrases used in the past 7 days, month or longer.

 

Practice writing faster, better

When it comes to blogging, it’s more important to stay connected with your followers with regularly posted articles than it is to keep reworking an article until perfect. Learning how to turn a blog idea into a finished post faster and better will make it easier to keep up with your publishing schedule. 

This article is an example: I wrote this over 3 mornings and for about 30 minutes each time. 

Here are some tips on how to write faster and better.

  1. Start with your content calendar (#3, above). Having topics ready to go allows you to start thinking about the post – even taking notes – long before the article is due.
  2. Use a writing template. Every blog should flow from: attention, personal, promise, content, to call-to-action. Get your free copy of the template here. At Blogworks, our team all use The Ultimate Writing Template for most of our client’s articles. 
  3. Only edit at the end. Each time you go to work on your draft post, avoid the temptation to edit what you’ve already written. The goal should be to first write what author Anne Lamott calls your “shitty first draft” and only then to go back and clean up your post.
  4. Write like you speak. A blog is a conversation where you solve problems or share topics of interest with your audience. The best blogs use a conversational style of writing (without a lot of jargon or “$10 words”)  that makes the reading experience easy and enjoyable. Try recording your thoughts as you speak and then using a service like rev.com to transcribe your voice into a draft article.
  5. Ship it. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how clever your ideas are or how amazing your solutions if you don’t, as serial blogger Seth Godin would say “Ship it.” Even if it means cranking out a 300-word muse about an article you just read, it’s better to stick to a regular publishing schedule and keep your followers coming back for more.

Liked this post? Got another 5 minutes? Here are 3 more of our most popular posts all about writing blogs:

How to start a blog post – 5 examples that really work!
5 brilliant ways to start your blog post with a bang
9 blog topic ideas your audience will love

Attract more readers to your blog today!

7 tips on how to get people to read your blog

So you’ve started a business along with a blog, You’ve worked on building an audience, but maybe you’ve reached a bit of a plateau, and you want to know how to get more people to read your blog.

Or you’re not getting the type of readership you’d expect given how much you’ve expanded your network. 

It seems that not so many people are reading your blogs these days, which may leave you wondering… 

Am I doing something wrong? 

Chances are you are doing everything well enough. But staying on top of Google’s ever-changing SEO trends is a challenge. 

Not to worry, though! Read on for a few tried and true tips to help you understand how to get people to read your blog! 

Track the Right Metrics 

If you’re posting blog posts just for the sake of “getting something out there,” you might want to stop and reconsider how you can craft content to support your key business goals.  

Given that Google’s algorithms are almost always moving towards supporting higher quality content, consider re-evaluating your content strategy based on questions like:   

  • What is the value you’re offering to your readers?
  • How well are the blogs working to engage and convert customers?
  • Where in the sales funnel am I placing my content?

Step away from the actual numbers (for instance, how many “likes” a blog gets), and try to hone in on why they are how they are.  

Here are some tips on how to track blog performance

Use Relevant Social and Blogging Platforms 

Do you want “more” readers, or do you want to attract the right readers? 

If you want to know how to get people to read your blog, you have to look at the entire process of creating and sharing it. That means that there could be a flaw in your marketing process.  

For instance, if your business is B2B, you’ll likely want to be taking advantage of LinkedIn where you can easily share posts. 

Medium is a great platform for sharing posts in a personal or business account. You can also follow and submit to niche-specific publications — or even start your own. 

The main thing here is to not spread yourself too thin. Focus on channels where your target audience is most likely spending time. 

Create Great Headlines 

Headlines are key to attracting attention, and sometimes even changing a single word can make or break a person’s decision to click on an article. 

Check out our article 11 Insanely Powerful Words for Your Blog for headline inspiration. 

Focus on Value, not Going “Viral”

Of course, you want to know how to get people to read your blog and boost traffic to your website or landing page. 

But what’s happening after people find your blog? 

Checking your metrics is not just a numbers game. These numbers tell a story and they can help you figure out exactly what the content is doing for you — and them — in the long run. 

Are readers sticking around long enough to engage more with your brand? Are they clicking over from your call-to-action? 

Is your blog actually bringing the right target audience to your website or getting people on that mailing list?  

This is the kind of quality that google will “notice,” too. 

Oh yes, and this is very important: Don’t be boring! 

Count on Keywords

If you want to know more about how to get people to read your blog, you should definitely be on top of your keywords. You need to use the right ones strategically to ensure that Google “likes” your blogs. 

And the right ones should also be of interest to your readers! 

There are plenty of free tools out there, such as Google Adwords Keyword Planner, which can help you with this. 

Make sure to not over-optimize though! Search engines will see right through you if you put too many keywords in your blog. And make sure your language flows naturally. This will ensure that both crawlers and real readers will follow it clearly.

If you want help with SEO and keywords, contact us for a consultation

Write Longer Posts Less Often 

Niel Patel is constantly pushing the long-form blogs and recommends blogs of 2000-3000 words. We don’t always work at this level, but we definitely encourage you to build blogs that are around 1000 words rather than 500. 

And just to clarify: publishing consistently is key, but you want to have a balance between quality and consistency. This will vary from business to business. 

Longer form blogs have the potential to perform better SEO-wise and will be more useful to your readers.   

Strategic Planning for the Win   

If you plan and organize ahead of time, you can learn to create content that not only performs better traffic-wise but is actually more useful for readers. 

Consider creating a handful of blogs ahead of time and scheduling them out with an automated tool like HubSpot

But if you have too much on your plate, you can always hand the planning, strategizing and writing over to a professional. 

We can help you more people to read your blog with all these things, and more!

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you:

21 clever ways to attract more readers and boost blog traffic this year
How to Leverage Video Content on Your Blog for SEO
How to start a blog post – 5 examples that really work!

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Blogging Tools For Beginners (Or anyone!) to Save Time

“Time grabs you by the wrist. Directs you where to go.” -Green Day

We’re all busy.

And new projects and opportunities are always waiting to fill any spare moments.

And then, there’s your blog. You know sharing your best content will build followers that know, like and trust you – followers that will build your business. The trick is to find ways to keep the blog publishing efficiently. There are blogging tools for beginners (and seasoned blog writers) that can help.

We’ve written posts about creating a Standard Operating Procedure (highly recommended if you are thinking of outsourcing any part of the blog publishing process), how to compose, write and publish faster and how to dress up your post to get better results.

In this article I want to share 4 simple blogging tools that will cut of few minutes off your work.

HubSpot Blog Topic Generator

You’ve decided to finally update your blog. The kids are asleep. Your partner is happy watching Game of Thrones. It’s time to start working.

What are you supposed to write about? Coming up with blogging ideas is tough – especially for beginners.

A really useful tool to start your blog topic search is the HubSpot topic generator. Simply type in a topic and then, 5 blog title ideas will be generated for you. Enter your email and it will unlock another 250 topics.

In this post we describe the process we use to generate ideas for this blog.

Evernote as a Blogging Tool

If you’re like me, you might just have a drawer full of random bits of paper. Or two drawers. Or maybe a room whose door is best left closed. That’s fine for collection—terrible for recall.

Instead, use a free system like Evernote. This is among the best blogging tools for beginners! You can keep all your ideas, articles, To-Do lists and reminder notes in one place. Evernote syncs quickly with your smartphone, laptop and desktop and with the paid version you can access your information off line.

There’s no need to rummage through the junk drawer, trying to find that great idea you had last week. Instead, simply open the app and everything will be there.

To learn more about the power of Evernote check out this article.

Trello

If you like visuals and seeing projects move from start to finish, you might like Trello. This free project organizer is popular with solopreneurs and small teams. In Trello, each project is a Board and each Board has a list of tasks for that project. Team members can log in and slide work from left to right as they progress through their responsibilities.

For those that write for multiple blogs, it can start to become quite confusing just what content needs to be posted. Luckily, there’s a handy tool for all this.

Trello allows you to create different boards for each blog. You can fill in important information, such as your WordPress password.

For each blog board, you can create a title card of a blog. Then, you can attach the document for it and even images.

Finally, all your creative output can be stored in one, easy to find place.

BlogWorks Blogging Tools

We’d like to add ourselves to our list of blogging tools for beginners!

You’ve found a topic to write about. You’ve started making notes. You even managed to write and publish a few blogs – now what?

It’s time to promote them. And one of the best ways to get leverage in your promotion is to put your blog in front of your followers. Think of it this way…

If you add up your social media followers and, let’s say that number comes to 6,000 on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, combined. And if you announce your new blog post to those followers and only a fraction see the post and an even smaller fraction share you post with their followers, your reach could be in the tens of thousands.

how blogworks works

Of course, you still want to share you blog with your email followers, but don’t ignore the viral potential of social media.

That’s what BlogWorks was designed to do. You publish the blog, we turn your blog into daily updates on social media.

And if you don’t have time to write your blog, we can also help you with that.

Get Started Blogging!

Now that you know a few great blogging tools that save time, there’s nothing stopping you from writing. Pick up your pen. Start typing. I expect to see your next blog post soon!

Need more tools and ideas to get you started writing a blog post? Check these out:

5 fast steps to writing an awesome blog post in less than 60 minutes.
How to write your blog posts better and faster
7 WordPress plugins you need to create amazing content 

 

51 ways to get more business from your blog in the New Year

get more business from your blog

It’s a New Year. The holidays are over, your relatives have returned home.

And it’s time to get serious about your business and your blog.

You want more traffic—the right traffic.

And you probably want to spend less time doing it. Oh, and one more thing…

You also probably want to be more consistent publishing your blog.

Right?

Well, we are here to help.

First, if you are struggling to get your blog published, let us know. We are more than a social media company and can also help get your blog published.

Next, we got all of our elves to compile this ultimate list for you:

Here you’ll find everything you need to spark new ideas, improve your results, save time and, YES, also get more business.

Okay, let’s dig in with: 51 ways to get more business from your blog in the New Year.

Planning 

  1. Plan your next 3 months of topics with a Content Calendar.
  2. Block writing time on your calendar.
  3. Visit 10 blogs in your niche and get ideas for future topics.
  4. Create an avatar for your ideal audience(s) – all of your writing should attract your avatars.
  5. Research your competitors: what hot topics are they writing about? 
  6. Mix up your Content Calendar with video, infographic, illustrations, lists, book reviews, or interviews.
  7. Plan for seasonal campaigns, like New Year, summer, spring cleaning, Black Friday, etc.
  8. Install the free plugin Editorial Calendar to organize your future blog posts in a single dashboard.
  9. Plan for at least one extra-long (1,500-2,000 words), epic post that readers will love to share.

Writing

  1. Once a week read blogs about your topic using Feedly.
  2. Read Stephen King’s “On Writing: a memoir of the craft
  3. Experiment with short posts (see Seth Godin and Derek Sivers).
  4. Include “cliffhangers” (like: “Before I get to those solutions, let me ask you a question:”) to tease readers to continue reading your post.
  5. Choose one time of day to do your writing and build a habit around it.
  6. Use a writing template to get your posts started faster and end better.
  7. Use Evernote to collect articles and ideas for future blog posts.
  8. Let people in: share a personal experience and lessons learned.
  9. Answer common questions. One or two great solutions to one problem are better than 10 so-so solutions.
  10. Start every post with a personal story, questions, interesting fact or bold claim—get your readers’ attention!
  11. Spell check every post(!)
  12. Position yourself as an expert in your industry by sharing your original ideas, models, and solutions. 
  13. Make readers feel smart by sharing clever, unique solutions to important questions (and they’ll be more likely to share your posts!).
  14. Take a speed typing course and have a goal to complete each post faster.

Publishing

  1. Create an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) of all the steps to publishing your blog.
  2. Revise old posts with updated information, new images and better CTA’s and republish.
  3. Save time by writing all of the social media updates for your blog at one time.
  4. Save time with every new blog post by outsourcing some or all of your publishing SOP.
  5. Post date your new blog post to come out on the same day of the week and at the same time.

Getting results

  1. Use your top 3 blog posts to find clues for what readers are attracted to.
  2. Make it a goal to grow your email list this year and review all the CTA’s that point to your email opt-in.
  3. Declutter your website sidebar and make it easier for readers to make one choice.
  4. Link your posts to “anchor” posts – these are posts you most want visitors to read.
  5. Include a CTA (Call To Action) in every blog post (ask for comments, ask for shares, link to survey, etc).
  6. Install the plugin Insert Post Ads to quickly insert banner ads in your blog posts.
  7. Keep readers on your site longer: end every blog post by recommending 3 related blog posts.
  8. When you email your list, only include the first 200-300 words of your new blog post with a link to “read more…” 
  9. Limit the links leaving your site and link to more related articles on your site.
  10. Ask for action: comment, share, read a related post or get a free opt-in offer.

Better numbers

  1. Benchmark your main traffic numbers (users, bounce rate, time on site) in Google Analytics.
  2. Create a goal for traffic and list size for this year.
  3. Update the Lead Magnet gift that goes with your email opt-in.
  4. Find all broken links on your website with tools like Broken link checker, or Dead link check.
  5. After publishing on your site, publish your blog post as an article on LinkedIn.
  6. A site that loads fast loses fewer readers. Test the loading speed of your site.
  7. Optimize every post with keywords, especially in your headline and first paragraph.

Attracting more readers

  1. Subscribe to BlogWorks(!) and let us promote you every day on social media.
  2. Write every post for your ideal client. Speak to them and answer the questions they ask you.
  3. Install the plug-in Better Click to Tweet (it’s free) and include at least 1 tweet in every post.
  4. Install the sumo or social warfare floating social share bars to encourage more readers to share your articles.
  5. Share your best stuff. You readers will be attracted (and will share) your best ideas, solutions, strategies, and resources.
  6. Finally, keep the faith—all successful bloggers started small and slow, persistence and consistency are more important than perfection. Keep writing, publishing and promoting!

Whoa! I know this was a long list.

And so we have two more thoughts for you…

First, you don’t need to do all of this. In fact, you don’t need to do half of it! 
Instead, choose one change you will make this month. Believe it or not, in our research we have found the most blogs never change! Year after year there is virtually zero attention given to plug ins, format, easy ways to share the post…nothing.
So, go easy on yourself and choose one thing for this month (my favourite would be to add the cool, free Editorial Calendar).

Lastly, you might have noticed that there are only 51 tips in our list, and not 52. That’s because you deserve a break! For at least one week, slack off. A great way to do that is to schedule your posts in advance (see #14 and #15 to save time.)

There you have it – great tips you can use one at a time. Have fun with it—your blog is a license to be creative and experiment. Do that and your readers will reward you with more readers. 

Looking for more articles on related topics?

Thinking of quitting blogging? Read this first …
Expert Tips: How to build a better blog
How to get 142% more blog traffic this year

How the Pros Run Their Blogs

Pro blogging tips to help your business

You know the worst feeling in the world?

Seeing other blogs take off while yours stays stagnant.

Trust me, I know how crushing this feeling can be. However, there’s a simple way to get more shares and better rankings. In fact, the pros know how to use these strategies well.

And you’re about to learn them with these pro blogging tips!

The Pros Use Google Analytics

Measure your blog's effectiveness with Google Analytics

When you install Google Analytics, you can see which of your blog posts are doing well and which aren’t, based off their traffic. Then, you can base your next blog post off the information you get from these stats.

You don’t want to waste time writing articles that aren’t bringing traffic to your blog. Basing your post topics off what’s already done well will ensure that doesn’t happen.

As content marketing expert Andy Crestodina explains,

“The more you’re aware of how things are connected and the deeper you look down the funnel, the more equipped you’ll be to make better decisions. It’s just like the dashboard of a car.”

The Pros Blog Consistently and Schedule Their Content

In order to get more traffic to your blog, you have to get into the habit of writing content consistently. Without posting on a schedule, you’ll have a hard time building a following.

By creating S.M.A.R.T goals, you’ll find it easier to write noteworthy content. These goals will keep you focused (even when all you want to do is procrastinate).

Try out different S.M.A.R.T goals to see what works best for you. For example, if you say you’re going to stick to writing three blog posts weekly, but can’t come up with the time to do so, shorten the goal to once per week.

Another great way to keep up with these goals is to create a content calendar (also known as an editorial calendar). This will ensure that you’re staying on top of your blog posts daily.

Content Calendar

By creating a content calendar, you’re able to determine your publishing schedule and set up recurring events. The point is to come up with topic ideas ahead of time so you aren’t scrounging for ideas at the last minute.

The Pros Write Great Blog Content

After a while, you may feel like you’ve written all you have to say. When you start to feel like you’ve hit writer’s block, use this time to gather topic ideas from blogs that you follow yourself.

If anything, you could always repurpose some of your old content that has done well in the past. Include new case studies that back up points you’ve made in the past and spruce up your old post.

Conclusion

Even with these pro blogging tips, finding the time to write a great post can be a challenge. A good way to power through your work daily is to use the Pomodoro Technique (which helps you power through distractions using 25 minute intervals).