If I were asked to guess what percentage of bloggers put real, hard work into their writing and websites, I would likely hazard a guess at 10%.
10%. One out of every ten bloggers are fighting to put themselves above the rest, learning new techniques, sharpening their writing skills, and constantly updating their websites.
The other 90% are writing lazy, 200-word posts, publishing once a month, refusing to do any marketing or optimizing, and failing to improve their writing skills, all while complaining that their traffic stays at rock bottom.
Which group is yours? Which one sounds more appealing?
When I first started blogging in 2016, I had no clue what I was doing. Blogging was, to me, a way of showing my (few) writing skills to my parents and grandparents. Aside from them, not a single person found my website, and I was quite happy with that. For nine months, I “blogged” in this manner.
Eventually I grew bored of blogging for family and decided to branch out. I began sharing my posts with friends and acquaintances, and after two years of writing in exactly the way I described above (the “lazy blogger” category), I realized something: I was receiving 20 monthly views from a grand total of six subscribers.
Thankfully, a friend of mine had the guts to metaphorically slap me in the face and tell me the cold, hard truth. “Your content is garbage, you’re publishing irregularly, and nobody is reading your stuff. You need to learn what it means to blog.”
After a day or two of sulking, I recognized the wisdom in what she said. From then on out, I vowed to never take shortcuts in blogging again. So, at some point in March of 2019, I was introduced to WordPress and began my journey to 1,000 subscribers. This journey lasted one year and three months, taking 220 posts, 28,000 hits, and 200,000 words published.
Through that time, I remained constantly vigilant, reading whatever blogging tips I could get my hands on. Cristian Mihai, Neil Patel, ProBlogger, and Blogging Wizard are a few blogs that helped me along my path. I devoured books on WordPress, writing, and blogging, borrowed EBooks on my Kindle, and even managed to speak with a few well-known bloggers.
Keep in mind that, while there is a ton of information to be learned, a new (or budding) blogger needs only to commit to these five points. Regardless of niche, age, or experience, any blogger with these commitments in mind will experience success to some degree.
1: Be Teachable
A humble blogger, willing to learn from anywhere, will always succeed. They will consistently have the newest information and know exactly how and when to post. They can expect results.
A humble blogger, willing to learn from anywhere, will always succeed.Tweet
Take criticism from the most unlikely of places. Instead of flaunting your supposed expertise in your area, be willing to be led and taught by anybody, regardless of age or experience.
2: Put what you’ve learned into action
This is in especial regard to post-optimization. It is quite sad how few bloggers fully optimize their posts for the ultimate viewer experience. Some are too lazy, others inexperienced. Regardless, there are a few pieces to post optimization that every single blogger should be using.
A) A relevant image. Use a graphic creating website like Canva to create professional, royalty-free images. Inserting them at the top of your blog post, as I have done, will increase your views by 94% (Fernandez). A few clicks are all it takes to receive that boost.
B) An attractive title. Nobody wants to read a boring post like “The Sky Is Pretty”. Instead, format your posts to be more intriguing, like “Three Ways the Sky Continues to Astound Viewers”. Man, I would want to read that post. “The sky astounds people? How? And there are three ways?” Suddenly, you have interested people reading your posts, and your traffic will skyrocket.
C) Ensure that your URL matches or paraphrases your title. If your title is long, shorten the link to something identical, but easier to read. For example, if your title were “Six Outstanding Superhumans We Haven’t Discovered Yet”, your URL might be “coolperson.com/six-outstanding-superhumans”.
Furthermore, don’t be afraid to experiment with your writing style and techniques. Every writer has to find his/her voice, and this discovery is not immediate. Aim to be consistent in style and publishing (try to publish at least once per week), and be gracious to everyone who comments on your site, even those who disrespect you and your writing (I am not the best example of this, but Cristian Mihai is phenomenal at being gracious to the occasional idiot).
3: Be professional
This cannot be emphasized enough. Professionality is the biggest attraction to a new reader. If you write blog posts in the same way you might text your friends (with lots of lols and emojis), you cannot expect to see any results. Very few people want to read posts like that. Most readers, myself included, want to read high-quality, professional posts with good grammar. Download a good spelling/grammar checker like Grammarly and consistently check your work.
“Professionality is the biggest attraction to a new reader.”Tweet
Being professional also means avoiding the first person at all costs. Apart from this post, which requires personal examples and stories, very few of my posts have personal pronouns (I, me, etc.). This speaks volumes to readers, especially those with a background in professional writing.
In addition, being professional also entails proper citation of your sources. If you quote someone in your post, make sure to cite them properly in MLA format. In fact, studies have shown that Google favors posts with proper citations over posts that did not cite their sources. Go the extra mile, and Google will notice. Click here to learn how to cite professionally.
Finally, being professional requires proper use of italics and bold fonts, as well as checklists and bullet points. Used properly, these will help break up your page into bite-sized pieces, making it easier to read. And, with 95% of the population diagnosed with ADHD, it is a well-known fact that spaced paragraphs will keep your viewers reading longer.
4: Post regularly
This, too, cannot be overemphasized. Posting too regularly (spamming) or too infrequently can lead to a drop in readers.
Infrequent posting is the lesser of these two evils, as it will only reduce your traffic and will not drop your subscriber number (although it may lower the speed at which you attract new people). Spamming, on the other hand, will make you lose followers. Nobody likes to have their inboxes spammed with eight emails in five minutes, and if I see this, I will click that “Unfollow” button faster than you can say “Donald Trump”. Your readers are no exception.
Aim to post between 1 and 5 times a week. Go below this, and your traffic will drop. Any more, and you will be considered a spammer. Build this around your schedule; if you are extremely busy, post once a week. If you have too much time, post 2-5 times a week, and use the rest of your time guest posting.
5: Don’t give up
If you are committed to being a constantly-learning, engaging, professional, consistent blogger, you cannot afford to give up. Results may not be immediate. It took me three months to reach 100 followers.
Stick it out, push through, and keep working. Don’t give in to the lie that tells you, “You only have 30 readers. Why don’t you just give up and try knitting as a hobby”. If you’re committed, you’re committed. You’re not giving up. You are a hardworking, dedicated blogger. You don’t give up at the slightest sign of insecurity.
Don’t be daunted by this challenge. Work is work, but this isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Blogging is about consistency- commit, then remain consistent in your commitment. Keep working, and you will succeed.
Fernandez, Mary. “25 Proven Strategies to Increase Your Blog’s Traffic by 1064%”. OptinMonster, 8 February 2020, https://optinmonster.com/strategies-to-increase-blog-traffic-case-studies/
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