So, you have chosen to start a blog to build your business online?
Blogging is one of the best ways to establish yourself as an authority in your niche, get more traffic and leads and quickly build rapport with those leads.
But, unfortunately a lot of bloggers aren’t getting the results they want from their blogging efforts.
Which is why I’m sharing with you these 10 blogging tips that will help you get more traffic, create better content, generate more leads from your blog and stay more motivated and positive throughout your blogging journey.
1. Have short term, mid term AND long term goals
This tip will be very helpful, especially if you are just starting out.
Truth is, for most people blogging doesn’t have huge resorts right from the start. It’s really a long term strategy and it may be a bit discouraging when you’re not seeing results at the beginning.
That’s why your goals are so important.
While it’s easy to look at other top bloggers like Neil Patel, Jon Morrow or Brian Dean and set the goal to create a hugely successful blog yourself, but doing so is going to take a lot of hard work and time to do so.
So, set some smaller goals to keep yourself on track and motivated.
Some goals you may want to set for yourself is getting X% more visitors this month than you did the month before or to get Y number of new followers on one of your social media channels.
Or you can set more action based goals:
* Publish X new quality blog posts this month
* Promote your latest post(s) and get at least Y shares.
* Reach out and get links from Z number of authority blogs
Hitting even a smaller goal like these will give you a sense of accomplishment and boost both your motivation as well.
But even more importantly:
When you make some of these smaller goals action oriented, the fact that you accomplish them means you have taken certain steps towards reaching your bigger goals!
You go tiger!
2. Write Longer Articles
Once upon a time all the SEO expert would recommend you write a lot of short 300-500 word articles focused on one long tail keyword each, blast it with tons of backlinks and rank for them pretty well in Google and other search engines.
But those days are gone…
Search engines have gotten way smarter over the years, and those same practices will get your site penalized sooner or later.
Today the only way to build and more importantly sustain rankings for your blog or website is to write content that your readers really want. This means, not just scratching the surface of the topic you write about, but instead create in dept content that really covers the topic thoroughly.
And there’s good reasons why longer content performs better:
1. Longer Content gets more social shares
In a recent study Hubspot analysed 6192 articles published on their marketing blog to see what kind of content performs best.
Their study shows that on average blog posts that are over 2500 words get the most shares. Just to clarify, by “social shares” we’re talking about the total shares across the biggest social media networks: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
It’s not strange that this is happening, given the psychology of why we share things on social media. Among surveys done it shows that 49% of people share content that’s valuable and entertaining, and even more people (a whopping 69%) of the respondents claim they share information out of self-fulfillment.
Longer content fits this perfectly!
When you produce long content that really helps people and gives them actionable advice, you have in fact created a really valuable resource for other people.
Sharing such content on social media gives extreme value to those reading it and it makes the people that share your content feel fulfilled, because they know they just shared something that will benefit their audience.
This is especially important if you’re trying to connect with influencers in your niche or you’re trying to get them to share your latest blog article. In addition to the psychology, bloggers and influential people have their reputation to keep up.
Sharing content that is of low quality and offers little value to their audience can actually harm their reputation. Therefore if you’re trying to get someone to promote some of your content, you better make sure it’s damn good!
Neil Patel, has an awesome guide all about writing long, data driven and extremely valuable content that I recommend you check out!
2. Longer articles get more links and attract more organic traffic
The second important reason is that longer articles on your blog will help you drive more search visitors and attract links from other websites.
Links still help a lot in getting your website ranked, there’s no doubt about that. What has changed since a few years ago is the focus on quality over quantity.
Getting thousands of spammy backlinks from low quality and untrustworthy sites, will likely do more harm then good.
Instead focus on editorial links from trusted, quality sites and blogs in your industry. We’ll talk a bit more about this in some of the later blogging tips.
Again the same study by Hubspot shows the correlation between longer content and both links and traffic:
One thing that I want you to pay attention to in the screenshot above is how little websites link to content that is <1000 words in length, compared to articles that are over 2000 words. This again goes hand in hand with the reasons we tend to share content on social media.
You’ll see a similar trend in the chart above.
The Google Panda update, the first of which was released on the 23rd of Februari 2011, and has been updated multiple times since then.
The goal of this algorithm is to help high quality content rank better while trying to weed out the low quality content. All of which of course in order to improve the overal quality of the search results.
On the official Google Webmaster Central blog, there’s an article with a checklist of the things that account to a high quality website. Some of these include:
- Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who know the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
- Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
- Does the article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
As you can see in these guidelines Google (as well as other search engines) gives preference to articles that really cover the topic well. Content that’s shallow or lacking in quality won’t do so well in the search results. Which is just another reason to write longer articles for your blog.
3. Produce more valuable content for your readers
This is more likely the single most important reason to produce long form content!
User metrics are among the most important ranking factors, period! Google knows how long your visitors stay on a page, how many pages they visit and to some degree how they interact with your website.
How do they know?
Firstly, if you have Google Analytics and the Google Webmaster Tools linked to your site, you are supplying a lot of this to them yourself.
Whether they actually use that information for their ranking, I don’t know (and have not been able to find a definitive answer to).
Also, they get their information from people that use their search engine and it’s very likely they’re using this data. Like this experiment by Rand Fishkin showed.
Here’s what you should know as a blogger:
When a lot of people visit one of your blog posts, don’t find what they’re looking for and hit the back button right away, it might negatively affect the rankings of that blog post.
Moz recently did another (for which unfortunately I can’t find the source anymore) study on the effect of this, which proves this is true.
Basically what they did was have a lot of their users search for a specific search term in Google and click on the first result that came up. After that they were told to hit the back button right away, go to the third result, read that page and stay around for at least a few minutes.
After just a few hours, the number 3 result had improved in the rankings and was now ranking at the very top of the organic search results, and had actually surpassed the former top page for that key phrase. Which is pretty incredible if you ask me.
In addition to the SEO benefits, you should be creating this kind of long form content to help your visitors. That should be your number one focus point.
Just remember one important thing:
Don’t write more content just for the sake of putting more words on somebody’s screen. Always make sure your content offer great value and solve your readers’ problems.
3. Make your blog unique in some way, shape or form
Let’s face it, no matter what industry you’re in, there are going to be a lot of other blogs that you’re going to be competing with.
What sets you apart?
If you’re going to make a popular blog you’re going to have to stand out in some way shape or form. After all, your competitors could write about the same topics you write about.
The first step is creating high quality content.
Luckily you’ll find that in most industries a lot of bloggers still aren’t creating those 3000+ word blog posts, so that alone will help you stand out.
Here’s some other things you could do:
- Find your own voice and writing style
- Use lots of graphics in your blog posts
- Add a more personal touch with video
- Create a unique case study instead of just the tips
Especially case studies can be incredibly powerful.
For example, Brian Dean from Backlinko.com mainly publishes 2 kinds of content: In-Dept Link Building Strategies and Case Studies from his students and people following his advice.
His articles and case studies have get a lot of social shares and links from lots of different sites.
4. Link out to other blogs and resources
This is something that I’ve never really done before.
The reason being is that I used to think it could and would harm my business, because people would start reading a blog post that I’ve written, click on a link and leave my website.
But, there are some pretty good reasons why you should link out to other websites.
Firstly, when you use links to other resources, it adds more credibility to your blog post. After all, people can see that you have done your research and you have sources that support your statements.
Secondly, having outbound links to related sites gives your site more SEO benefits.
One of the reasons for this is the fact that outbound links give the search engines a better idea of what your blog post is about. It also sends trust signals, as long as you’re linking to credible sites that is.
There are a few things to keep in mind though:
- Keep it closely related. If you’re writing about how to get more search visitors to your site, it makes sense to link to a blog about search engine optimization. A link to a dog training article would be pretty strange in this scenario.
- Focus on your readers! Don’t link out just for the sake of linking out. These links should provide extra information for those that read your content.
- Link out to authoritative sites and quality content. Linking out to poor quality sites can hurt your site’s authority by association. Therefore try to link out only to good sites, preferably those that are well established already.
In addition to being a content marketing and SEO best practice, linking out can actually boost your reach from social media and get you more links coming to your domain.
Let’s talk about another tactic that goes hand in hand with linking out:
5. Email the people that you link to
Why stop at linking out?
There is another step that will make this tactic way more effective, which is emailing the people that you link out to.
Linking out alone can help you build quality links, like Tad from SEOptimise mentioned:
It may work for you as well.
But, why leave things to chance? You can hope those people find out about your content, or you can simply let them know yourself.
Here’s something I’ll be doing after this article goes live:
I simply send a short and friendly email to everyone that I’ve mentioned and linked to in this piece of content.
When sending these emails I recommend you keep it short and to the point. Most influencers and bloggers are pretty busy people, so don’t try to waste time yapping about unrelated stuff.
The goal of your email is to simply let them know you mentioned them in your piece of content. Generally speaking, I wouldn’t recommend asking for a link or for them to share it. If your article is good, you’ve got a pretty good chance they’ll do so on their own.
In addition it can turn people off and get them to delete it without reading.
What if you don’t know the person’s email??
Here’s two ways you can figure it out:
- Subscribe to their email list
- Use a tool like Sellhack to find it
The first method is pretty straightforward:
Simply find and join the person’s email list. Oftentimes they’ll use the same email as the one they check frequently.
Just be careful that this isn’t necessarily the case with everyone.
By the way, you can join my list here (wink wink). This way you’ll never miss another blog post (and I’ll also give you another in-depth guide to blogging).
For the second method we’ll be using a tool called Sellhack to find the person’s email address.
Here’s how it works:
Let’s say I’d want to look up the email of Ray Higdon. I’d go into the discover function, enter his name and website and start the search.
And like magic this tool will spit out Ray’s email address. It also tells you how reliable the email address is.
I’ve blurred out the actual email address here using my awesome *cough, cough* editing skills, for privacy reasons.
Although, you could look it up yourself of course…
Anyway, that’s how easy it is to find the email address of someone you want to reach out to.
6. Sell stuff while giving people valuable information
Do you like getting pitched a product or service?
Most people don’t really like to be pushed or persuaded into buying something. Yet, that doesn’t mean we don’t like to buy stuff.
However, as a business owner you’re going to have to sell stuff in order to make any money, there’s no way around that.
Want a way to promote (affiliate) products on your blog without being pushy or salesy?
There’s a great way you can do this, and I’m going to give you the exact steps to do it.
Step 1: Buy the product you want to promote
Before you’re going to promote a new product, I’d highly recommend you actually buy it yourself. For various reasons.
Firstly, I’m all for growing your (online) business with honesty and integrity.
Personally, I don’t think it’s fair asking your readers to buy something that you’re not even willing to buy yourself. It simply doesn’t seem right to me.
The second reason is this:
If you haven’t bought and used the product yourself, how can you be completely sure that your audience will actually get a great amount of value from it?
It’s your reputation that’s at stake here.
Pushing crappy products on your audience won’t help you create loyal readers and long-life fans.
Not quite the kind of name you want to make for yourself, I would assume.
Step 2: Completely experience the product for yourself
If it’s an info product, actually go through the information first and implement the information into your business or whatever category of your life the product’s about.
If it’s a physical product, make sure you use it. Consumable? Eat it, or drink it!
This step is really about becoming a product of the product. Preferably by the time you’ve thoroughly used the product you’re beginning to see the results from it.
One additional tip that I’d like to give you is to take notes of the things you’re learning. Write down what you like about it, and your thoughts in general.
Once you’ve gone through this step, you’re ready to continue to the final step of this process.
Step 3: Write a blog post about what you’ve learned or a detailed review
Now that you have thoroughly evaluated the product you’re ready to produce an awesome piece of content around the product!
By the way, you can use this very same model called the ILT-Formula for your regular blog posts as well in order to generate more blog topic ideas.
Just remember that your blog post isn’t supposed to be a blatant sales pitch!
If it’s an informational product you want to promote there are two easy ways to turn it into an awesome piece of content that delivers value to your readers and sells the product at the same time:
- Share some of the tips that you have learned from the product
- Create a case study about the results you have gotten from it
Take another look at the blog post you’re reading right now. The tips I’m sharing could have from an information product I bought (although this isn’t the case).
In that case a possible title could be something like: “10 ways to grow your blog’s audience that I learned from XYZ product” (or person).
In a post like this, make sure you give your readers very specific calls to action to buy the product to get way more in-depth information or opt in to get more information about the product.
Speaking about extra information:
I’m currently offering a free video training course that will give you a roadmap to becoming a successful blogger. Click here to get instant access to the training.
Even if people don’t end up buying the product, your blog post is still providing them with great tips and actionable information.
Even though you’re promoting a product, your content itself is pretty valuable as well. Don’t be surprised when you get people sharing your article on social media or even linking to it.
Think your average promotion could do that…?
Anyway, if the product you’re promoting isn’t informational, then the information above isn’t relevant to you.
Luckily, there’s another type of content. :)
Which is writing a detailed review or a case study about your experience with the product.
88% of people trust reviews as much as personal recommendations!
If you’re creating a review, be as detailed as possible, just make sure you don’t put your reader to sleep like your old high-school teachers likely did.
Give them enough information with both the pros and the cons to enable them to make an informed decision.
This is where honesty kicks in again.
A fake review that simply praises the product for the sake of selling it can usually be spotted from a mile away (even without binoculars).
And when people find out…
You can kiss a lot of potential sales goodbye, because you just lost that person’s trust in your review.
Now, about case studies:
Wikipedia defines a case study as:
“A published report about a person, group or situation that has been studied over time.”
In this case what you’re gonna do is write an article that documents exactly what you did with the (information in) the product and your results.
Yes, this kind of content takes quite a lot of work to create.
Which makes it really stand out among other content! (Take Brian, whom I’ve talked about earlier as an example)
Here’s a few tips for creating your case study:
- Create a thorough outline to make sure you got all the action steps you went through
- Make it actionable for your readers, they should have a clear understanding of how to do it for themselves.
- Show, don’t tell. Use images where possible to make it clearer.
- Don’t forget to target the right keyword(s) in your blog post.
One of the advantages of a case study like this is the fact that it’s INCREDIBLE value! Meaning you can get a lot of traffic, links and rankings if you promote it the right way.
You already have “Skyscraper Content”.
The next step would be to do some proper outreach, like David Vallance did with his case study of the Skyscraper Technique.
While the value is on providing valuable content, don’t forget to mention the product and give people calls to action to get it.
7. Don’t rely on Google for your traffic
Don’t get me wrong:
Google is an awesome source to get traffic to your blog, but…
You should never rely on just one source of anything, and that includes traffic.
If you think you’re going to hit publish on a blog post and magically tons of people will come to your site because you created “epic content”, I’ve got bad news for you.
You can’t depend on organic traffic alone.
If you’re going to make your blog a success, you’ve got to focus on getting people to your blog through various sources.
Build up your following on social media platforms, leverage the right communities where your target audience hangs out and build relationships with those who can help you grow.
Find where your audience hangs out and engage them.
But always keep in mind that you should never put all of your eggs in one basket!
Cliche, but absolutely true!
8. Don’t try to do all the technical crap yourself!
This is a trap I fell into when I got started.
Actually this has prevented me from even getting started for quite some time.
Technology can be a tough part of blogging for some people.
You don’t necessarily have to do all of this stuff yourself.
I remember when I got started, I went straight to YouTube to check a guide and then do it myself.
There are lots and lots of tutorials available for just about anything, just this WordPress setup by Chris Ducker.
Secondly, you can hire someone to do it for you.
Recognize the header above? ;)
Truth is I didn’t design this blog, or even set ANYTHING up myself. Heck I couldn’t design my way out of a paper bag to be honest.
This design was done by a company called Social Media Stardom.
I can highly recommend them!
Take a look at the image above.
All I did was do a quick search for “setup a WordPress blog” on Upwork. And these were some of the results that came up.
And that’s how to easily get your blog created.
All I’d like to say at this point is: Don’t let technology keep you back!
9. Build your email list from day 1
Here’s one nasty truth about your blog’s visitors:
Most of the people that visit your blog once, whether they came through social media, search engines or any other medium, they won’t come back to your blog again.
It bites… I know.
Even when your content is good, some people will forget about you and your blog.
You collect people’s information so that you can email them to get them back to your blog.
The image above is an example of a lead capture form.
The goal is to simply get people to give you their name and email address in exchange for something of value.
Now admittedly, the copy of the form is pretty bad, but it still gets leads.
Anyway, when you’re building your email list, you’re creating a consistent source of traffic.
Whenever you create a new blog post, you simply send out an email to your list letting them know about your post.
Take a look at the image above. This is an email I got just 12 hours ago from Neil Patel.
It’s a simple template you can model.
One of the tools that I like to use to collect people’s email addresses is Leadpages.
With this tool you can easily create landing pages to collect emails.
The single goal of pages like that is to get people onto your email list.
In addition you can make use of pop up forms like this.
Whether you’re using Leadpages or some other tool, you should always be building your email list.
Like I briefly said above, you’ll need to give people something of value in exchange for their email address.
This is called a lead magnet.
Check out this guide by Nick Haubner that shows you exactly how to create one.
10. Everything you do is to help your target audience!
This may seem pretty obvious.
It’s just about as important (if not more important) as it is obvious to do this!
These blogging tips that I’ve shared with you, as well as all other advice to build your blog will be useless if you’re unable to give your readers what they came to your blog for.
Your blog is not about YOU!
Your blog, your blog post, and pretty much anything you do are about solving problems for your target audience!
I cannot emphasize that enough!
The first step is to get crystal clear on who your target audience actually is.
You may like this guide by CoSchedule.
Try to get as deep into their heads as you possibly can, by asking questions like:
- What are my target’s demographics? Male/Female, Age, Occupation, etc.
- What are their biggest fears?
- What about their dreams?
- What problems do they experience regularly?
- What gets them motivated?
Of course, there’s way more questions you could ask, and the more you know about your audience the better.
With that said:
Make sure you focus every piece of content on your readers, or else these blogging tips aren’t going to help you at all.
Blogging, when done correctly is be an awesome way to get more leads for your business.
And to build relationships with those leads.
These blogging tips we dove into in this post will give you a big picture view as well as actionable tips to grow your blog.
I’m curious to know:
How do YOU plan to use these tips in order to make your blog successful? Let me know in the comments below!
Also, please go ahead and share this article on your favorite social media platforms. :)
To your success,
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