Have you ever wondered if your blog actually has a chance out there in the blogosphere?
I mean, with so much blogs out there competing for the readers attention, it can be tough for some bloggers to handle.
Let’s face it, if certain things with your blog isn’t good, then writing great content and increasing your blogger outreach only goes so far.
Think about it for a minute. You have some blogs out there that just keeps on getting better and better, while some just flounder around in mediocrity.
And by better, I mean they’re getting:
- More trust
- More respect
- More shares
- More traffic
- More comments
- More engagement
- More exposure
- More authority
- and much more
And the reason they’re getting these things is because they understand how important it is to improve their blogs. They knew that they couldn’t just throw up their blogs one day, write content, promote it and that would magically catapult them to success in the blogosphere.
Those days are long gone.
Now, there’s certain things you have to do and really should be done if you want to grow and improve your blog. And believe it or not, most of these things are both well known and taken for granted.
In this post, I’m going to share exactly what those are and if any of the following sounds familiar, yet you aren’t doing it, I’d say it’s time to change that.
Tip #1: Take Some Time Out To REALLY Visit Your Blog
Do you really know what your blog looks like?
I mean, really know?
Most of the time, bloggers tend to log into the back-end of their site and either reply to comments, update plugins or create/update posts. And only when they click the “preview” button, is when they actually see how their blog looks.
That sounds like you, doesn’t it? Come on … admit it.
Now if it does, you’re probably oblivious to not only what your new visitors see (in various browsers) but what their first impressions are when they visit your site.
Pay attention because this is important.
What you ideally want to do is visit your site through the eyes of a brand new visitor.
As an example, I’ll use my website:
At the release of this post, this is what my visitors see when they first visit my home page.
After going through my site through the eyes of a visitor, here are some questions that are important to ask:
- What’s the first thing that captures my attention when I look at this blog?
- What’s missing from it or what could be added?
- How easy is this blog to navigate?
- Are there any unnecessary distractions that will cause me to leave?
- Without having to search for it, can I tell what the site is about?
You may follow this and find that absolutely nothing is wrong with your site, or … you’ll channel your inner Simon Cowell and (1) criticize the heck out of your blog and (2) make the necessary changes.
Whatever the case, at least you’ll have a peace of mind knowing what your visitors know and see – and hopefully improve on what needs fixing.
NOTE: If it won’t take you long to make changes, then do them right away. If you feel it’ll take you a long time to make these specific changes, make a note of it so you can do it later.
Tip #2: Ask Your Readers For Their Opinion
I’m not even kidding about this.
And, just so you know, this seriously works well when you have an active audience that loves and trusts you. I don’t like guaranteeing things much but I can guarantee that if you ask, they will tell you.
Because if you really think about it, everything that you do online (the posts, the social media, etc.) is for your readers. You do website redesigns and format blog posts certain ways to make their experience on your blog better.
So, why shouldn’t you ask your readers for their opinion on how to improve your blog?
It could be a simple Facebook message, email your list or just mention it in your blog post.
This works two-fold.
- It allows you to get some key information that you probably wouldn’t have gotten trying to figure it out by yourself.
- It shows your readers that you really care about what they think and want to make their experience on your blog the best you could possible make it.
Feedback from your most valuable asset, your readers, is worth gold.
What’s the worst that could happen? They don’t respond?
Note: It’s important to note that just because they offer you criticism or suggestions doesn’t mean that you have to jump to change things right away. Analyze their criticism and weigh out the positives and negatives of making that change. You obviously CAN’T please everybody so just remember that.
Tip #3: If It’s Broken … Fix It Immediately
Broken links are a huge problem.
And if your blog has been around for a while, you’re bound to get some broken links here and there. And to those that don’t know, here’s the definition of what broken links are:
A broken link is a link that doesn’t work, often resulting in an error page. A broken link happens when the link points to a web page that has been deleted or moved. Why is it important to fix a broken link?Links that are broken will effectively stop search engines from completely indexing your website.
It’s your duty, as a blogger, to constantly stay on top of broken links because the last thing you want is that 404 error message. That’s why you use a plugin like Broken Link Checker or others to stay on top of that.
However, there are times where you can’t control what people type in. For example, someone may type in “www.shadeofinfo.com/sviuh” and they’ll be redirected to a 404 page like this:
Even though this is fine, the fact of the matter is that behind your “About” page and a few of your popular posts, you probably get alot of traffic being directed to 404 pages.
But that’s through no fault of your own. Many people type in things various things incorrectly that could lead to that 404 page. Am I right?
That’s why you should take full advantage of that knowledge and use that 404 page as a potential lead generator like Adam Connell over at BloggingWizard is doing.
Here’s his 404 page:
He’s not wasting any opportunities or taking any chances on someone possibly searching for something not on the site, getting the generic 404 page and then possibly leaving for good.
He’s making sure to make them aware they typed in something wrong, but also offering them a “bribe” in exchange of their email address for that mistake.
Let me just say, this is a perfect way to grow your email list as well.
And this is something we all should be doing … myself included.
Tip #4: Get Rid Of Unnecessary Distractions
I’ll go out on a limb here and say that the vast majority of us use the WordPress platform on our blogs. And when you start out with WordPress, you’re instantly surrounded by countless plugins and widgets at your disposal.
A true bloggers paradise for those that don’t know any better.
See, what most people do is add plugins and then widgets that they think are cool and ultimately add it to their sidebar. Unfortunately, they fail to realize how distracting and unnecessary some of those things really are.
For instance, you’ve probably seen blogs that has any of the following:
- Google Ads
- Latest Posts
- Popular Posts
- Twitter feed
- Facebook Status Updates
- Google+ Followers
I’m being serious when I ask this question. What’s the point?
And wouldn’t the main objective be that you write content and try to keep people on your site? Let alone keep them interested in the content they’re reading?
How can that be achieved when you have all that”crap” distracting the readers?
Now, I’m not saying to not have any widgets but don’t overload your sidebars with distractions that take away from your content.
Tip #5: Start Using Shareable Images
You ever come across a blog post that’s just paragraph after paragraph of text and nothing else?
And the person that wrote the post didn’t even bother to include one image in the whole thing … or if they did, it’s certainly not relevant to what they talk about.
I don’t know about you, but I have a difficult time reading walls upon walls of text.
It’s just not appealing to me.
There’s just something about it that’s … well … boring. And as bloggers, the last thing you want to be is boring.
Now since the majority of us are visual learners, it makes sense to include images in the blog posts that you publish. But what many people fail to realize, even myself earlier on, is that you can’t use any and every image you find when you do a search.
There’s a certain criteria you have to follow when searching for an image:
- Make sure the image makes some sort of sense to the blog post you’re publishing.
- Have the image be something that’s eye-catching and adds to the post.
- Do thorough research to make sure you’re using copyright free images.
Lately, I’ve been using more and more (hopefully) eye-catching images with my blog posts and it was this post by Ana Hoffman that really helped me along. I suggest you check that post out if you’re struggling with your images.
And if you don’t think images make a huge difference to whether or not someone’s tempted to click on your blog post, I urge you to check out some of these posts that Ana came out with.
Read the headline that she wrote and look at the image that she chose to speak for that specific headline.
Do these images make perfect sense and corresponds with the headline – and subsequently, the post?
Yes it does … and that’s the type of effect you want.
Not sure how long Ana spent looking for these images, but when you choose quality images like these, your posts are much more likely to be shared.
Tip #6: Do What You Can To Improve Your Page Load Speed
I just recently started taking this very seriously because the longer it takes for your page to load, the higher the chances are that your readers will leave your site.
Don’t believe me? Answer this question then:
How long would you wait around for a page to load?
I know, for myself, the most amount if time I’ll wait is 10 seconds. … and I’m one of the reasonable ones out there. I know people who said they’ll wait 2 seconds or less for it to load.
Page load times plays a huge role in alot of key things for your blog:
- Average page views per visit
- Search Engine Rankings
- Overall visitor experience
And if you’re still on the fence about this being an important thing, here are some quotes I was able to find from some highly respected bloggers.
Website visitors tend to care more about speed than all the bells and whistles we want to add to our websites. Additionally, page loading time is becoming a more important factor when it comes to search engine rankings.
Sean Work @ KISSmetrics
Page speed or page load time is crucial these days, not only for a possible small boost in rankings, but because users will love you. Providing a fast experience for visitors is essential!
Neil Patel @ Quick Sprout
To have a successful blog, you need to know the ways to increase your blog speed.
Increasing website speed means reducing the site load time, so that your site takes less time to open.
Harleena Singh @Aha-Now
Safe to say it’s pretty important is they seem to think so, right?
NOTE: A blogger I just recently became familiar with, Josh Kotsay, has an amazing post that I followed and I was able to increase the speed of my site drastically. I still implement these steps on occasion and I really believe that you should check these out.
Tip #7: Improve Your About Page
Besides the home page, do you know what one of the most viewed pages on your blog, that you probably don’t know about, is?
The “About” page.
When I found that out, I couldn’t believe it either – but it is. And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.
Still don’t understand why? Let’s try to see things from the visitors perspective for a moment.
Say you’re a visitor that finds a blog for the first time through a referral. You read the post and you’re immediately blown away by the high quality of content that’s there and you even decide to leave a quality comment. Now, after you’ve left the comment, chances are you’ll do one of three things:
- Look for additional posts to read on that blog that’s similar to what you just finished.
- Go check out their about page to see who the person behind that brilliant post is.
If it’s your first time to the site, chances are you’ll be visiting their about page to learn a little bit more about that person. And again if you don’t believe me, check your stats.
I’m sure every day or so you have people visiting your about page. And the thing is, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to get them to sign up. There should be a lead generation form that’s on your about page that’ll allow readers the option to subscribe as they’re reading about you.
And if you look at Tim Bonner’s about page, here’s what you’ll find:
Now, keep in mind. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but at least if you have it there, you give those new readers the option to subscribe.
Why not take advantage of that opportunity?
Are You Ready To Get Serious And Improve Your Blog?
With each blogger doing what they can to grab the attention of readers, it’s important to at least consider some of these tips that were mentioned. Because in reality, the more you delay, the more damage you’re potentially doing to your blog.
So why not take a stand.
Listen, you relatively paid around the same money as I did for your domain and probably even hosting as well. You had the same learning curve that I had when it comes to blogging mistakes and learning from them. You’ve even learned that half of the things that these “expert” bloggers tell you is wrong … and right at the same time.
So … why not take a stand.
Take a stand and do what you can to make your blog live up to its full potential. Take a stand and do what’s needed for your blog to no longer be a mediocre blogger. Take a stand and make these changes to start improving your blog, your authority and your brand.
I can’t make that choice for you. Nor can any of your blogging buddies.
The choice is yours and hopefully, that’s an easy choice for you.
What are your thoughts on this? Please don’t hesitate to share your opinion and leave a comment below. Do you agree or disagree that these tips can help you improve your blog?
Also, please don’t hesitate to share this post with your friends. I’m sure they’d like to join in on the conversation as well. What do you think?
Latest posts by Andrew M. Warner (see all)
- 15 Advanced Content Creation Shortcuts You Can Use Right Now - May 24, 2016
- Content Research: The 3-Step Guide to Escape Content Mediocrity [Infographic] - March 29, 2016
- How to Transform Web Content From Dull to the Cream of the Crop - February 16, 2016