How To Compete In The Blog World

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By: Kristina B’s

So, you have your own blog now…you’ve been updating it regularly, but you’re still not generating the traffic or the responses you want. Why not?

Well, there can be a number of reasons why you are not getting the desired results from your blog. Let me assure you that we all have that problem, unless, of course, you are Mashable or Guy Kawasaki. Then people will read it just by virtue of the name. This article, however, isn’t for guys like them; it’s for the rest of the blogosphere trying to build a name.

Knowing what it takes to make your blog succeed is not that easy. Yet, have no fear; it’s not that difficult either. You have to find interesting ways of connecting with a target audience; helping it grow into a following that adds you as a brand name in the industry takes time – and a few smart SEO tricks.

Some of these we will discuss in this article – and hopefully, by the end of it, you’ll have enough ammunition to run the competition into the ground and turn pro! Okay maybe not, but these tips will help anyone who is struggling to find the holy grail of blogging stardom.

Depending on whether you maintain a business blog or a personal blog, you may want to design the website in a manner that keeps your target audience’s tastes in mind. You can do this by limiting the visual appeal to a few select shades and pictures. After all, the whole idea of the blog is to compel your visitors to actually read through what you write and not just get carried away by (or worse still, be confused with) the visuals. That is not to say you can’t have bells and whistles, au contraire; they just have to be placed as eye candy and not eyesores.

So, simplify your blog’s presentation utilizing the many free themes available. For example, WordPress has a lot of great free templates. Or, you can pay a blog designer to custom-design your blog to reflect your business. This makes your entries immediately identifiable; try highlighting certain text with good quality images and use these in a discretionary capacity to enrich text appeal. Visual candy can sometime bring readers in… I will tell you how to get free pictures in another article.

Visit professional bloggers’ pages to know the value of relevant information for a select audience and apply their strategies to your blog. There is nothing wrong with doing by example. If you are in the health care industry, make sure your topics are relevant to your niche market. Make sure the pictures or ads used on your blog are all applicable.

Try using different feeds to update your blogs if you cannot write daily or weekly. Or better yet, hire a copywriter that can blog when you have something useful for your visitors but don’t have the time to write it. Look, there is no way getting around this… you have to participate in order to create long-term traffic.

Another suggestion is to invite other bloggers to guest post. There is nothing wrong with sharing your blog with like-minded writers; I say the more the merrier. Sometimes you have something to say but someone else has already written about it. Ask them if they would mind writing a post for your blog. Add a post to their blog, share, engage; you’ll see it will all come to fruition with the right stuff.

Additionally, mention useful resources in your topics. Some people will advocate the use of Link Bait… I am still on the fence about that strategy. I don’t want my time wasted because the writer had a clever idea for the headline. Readers feel they are getting more value if your title is true to the content, therefore adding to their online experience and increasing its value. It can be something as simple as giving a step-by-step demo or loading a short, fun video message. People love bookmarking things that are useful to them; it can be a list of updated medical clinics in your area, or maybe it can be the latest news on a vaccine. Make it relevant and worthy of your market.

In order to get a jump ahead of your competition in the blogging world, remember to include keywords (no stuffing, just the relevant ones a few times throughout the post). Why not use your knowledge of a certain topic with the buzz keyword used in that particular industry? You have to get your readers to come back. What a better way than to get new readers to participate in the conversation?

Keep your blog post titles catchy and try to include a major keyword to enrich the SEO appeal for bots. With new readers comes new opinions, and new opinions keep conversations going.

Additionally, if you are blogging in English and you want to reach a wider audience, it is advisable to post your presence to newsgroups and simultaneously, try and integrate one of the many free translation tools that enable those not very fluent in the language to also follow your posts. This is another way to increase your blog readership and generate a wider audience.

I am not a big advocate of using translation tools, since they do miss quite a bit of nuances and sometimes do more harm than good. If you can, it’s always best to get them translated in different languages and offer them to your international readers to post on their blogs. It’s amazing at how far your reach can go by just translating one article in a different language

Finally, keep a log of the site traffic. Take some time to read your comments by responding to your readers. Reciprocate a comment on their blogs to encourage their return visit. Nothing wrong with responding to your readers and offering them more links to read… actually I encourage it. At the same time, become a member of related forums where you can post your views, advice and tips. This will ultimately generate back-links to your blog, driving more traffic and pushing you above your competitors – with friendly conversation doubling up as an effective traffic generator tool!

About Gabriella Sannino

International SEO consultant is my title...but who cares about those? What I love is, writing about marketing, social, SEO, relevance, ruffling feathers and starting revolutions. What you read on this blog, will hopefully inspire you to continue the conversation. When I'm not multitasking around Level343 I sneak away and go sailing. I'm crazy about pistachios, and of course Nutella.

Comments

  1. Absolutely great advice!

  2. Hallelujah…Therein lies the problem. Getting seduced by other topics and forgetting what your “brand” or niche market is all about. That’s not to say you cannot engage your readers with the latest buzz or news outside of your scope, but stay true to what your readers want and that my friend starts with your initial keyword analysis that can expand with time and of course testing. Thanks for keeping the conversation going Ben, and a Happy new year!

  3. I think the big thing people struggle with is consistently updating content that remains focused and on topic… I think this is particularly difficult, and bloggers get seduced by other topics, and subsequently reduce the relevant keyword density on their sites…

  4. Well that’s a great goal… Sometimes gathering information before diving in is the smart way to go! Good luck and please come back and include the link to your blog. Happy Holidays to you & yours!

  5. Bob Snitchler says:

    Thanks for the info. I don’t have a blog yet – target after first of the year.
    @MrMomInVA

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