Whether you’re just getting started with blogging or your blog simply needs an overhaul, most bloggers will agree that the ultimate goal is to create a vibrant hub on the Internet that engages readers and makes them want to not only come back and read again but to tell others about your blog.
The single most important reason for people to visit your blog again and again is your content. People do not come in to view your advertisements; they come in to read your posts. Your writing therefore, are the most important thing on your blog. The time spent on writing quality and engaging posts should be your top priority.
Creating a blog that sticks with readers includes writing high quality content, integrating with social media, promoting the blog in easy and effective ways and offering out of the box events and features that readers won’t find elsewhere.
Why High Quality Content Matters?
During my time as a Google rater, one of the things I learned was that quality truly does make a difference to how you rank in the search engines. The truth is that you can’t control how Google changes their algorithms, which might seem to be on an almost daily basis at times. They will forever tweak and change what they consider to be the best features for websites. However, one thing that you can count on is that high quality content will remain desirable.
Not only will Google appreciate high quality, unique content, but your readers will come to trust you as a source that they can count on. You’ll also increase your Google+ authorship with high quality published content.
What Makes Quality Content?
Producing high quality content isn’t rocket science. It simply requires:
Writing unique content. Has the topic been covered 1,000 times before? Then, how can you put a unique spin on the topic that is unlike anything else out there?
Are you covering the same information as others, but better? Are you offering that little bit more than readers can find on other sites?
Are you linking to high quality resources? Sites that offer excellent content or government and educational institution sites?
Do the images go with your content? Do they enhance what you’ve already written in some way?
Is the content relevant to your site’s niche? If you run a site for dog lovers and write an article about how to weave a basket, your readers are going to be left scratching their heads over why that article is on a dog lovers’ site.
“Assertions should be supported with evidence (both metric and anecdotal are best), or must be clearly marked if they are simply a personal opinion.”
Essentially, back up what you say with expert opinions, hard facts and statistics. This will show your readers that you’ve done your research and lend an air of authority to your writing. It also helps build trust between you and the readers, because they realize they can count on you as a writer to provide them with solid, truthful information.
You’ll also want to remember that while readers want more than they’ll find at any other site, they want it in a format that is easy to read and quick to digest.
Social Media Integration
Another way to magnetize your blog is to integrate with social media. For example, if you use WordPress, you can add a widget called Twitter Widget that will produce a feed of your latest tweets. By the same token, you can use services like HootSuite or IFTTT to notify readers on Facebook and Twitter when a new blog post goes up.
Social Media Examiner suggests releasing apps is another way that bloggers can get involved in social media and capture the attention of new readers.
Examples of how businesses use apps to increase brand awareness and customer loyalty include companies like Old Navy, who offer coupons pushed through the app as well as the opportunity to find out what is on sale or shop online from your phone. While your blog may deal in virtual goods, an app can still notify your readers of specials, events or new posts to the blog.
When utilizing social media for promotion, remember:
Add value to discussions
Don’t be disgusting with the self-promo
Offer something to readers instead of expecting them to buy something from you
Give Easy Promotions!
Promotions don’t have to take up all of your time, but can have a big impact on bringing readers to your blog and keeping them there. One tip is to offer the same promotion every quarter or every month, so readers know they can count on that promotional offering and will continue to visit your site.
LaShaunda Hoffman, over at Shades of Romance Magazine, has started something interesting for her website promotions on Facebook. She has created a series of motivational memes with sayings about being productive, believing in yourself and other tips and tricks for writers and she posts them from time to time on Facebook. Each meme has the link to her website in text on the image. It is a fresh way to integrate with social media and promote your site at the same time.
Focus on Your Targeted Audiences
When it comes to promotion, you want to keep it simple and reach your target demographic.
This can mean trading advertising with another blogger, guest blogging on related sites, and allowing guest bloggers on your site if their content matches your overall theme and they are not competition for you.
It is my personal experience that placing ads on Facebook has not been particularly effective for my own blogs. However, using those funds to place ads on specific websites or in newsletters has been effective.
You’ll want to set up landing pages so you can track which ads are bringing in traffic and which have the best conversion rates. Those are ads that you’ll want to repeat again and again. You’ll also want to take a look at Jerry Low’s article Case Studies: 20 Ways to Boost Website Conversion Rates. Not only will you get excellent tips for increasing conversion on ads, but you’ll see what other site owners are doing that’s already been proven successful.
Vandelay Design offers 99 different ways to promote your blog for free. They reiterate the advice about not just being out for yourself, but to try to help others in the cybersphere.
“When it comes to networking the last things you want to do is forget that it is a two way street. If you only look for ways to benefit yourself, your networking efforts will not be very successful. Look for ways to help others and you’ll find that your network efforts pay off much more. You’ll develop better relationships, more of them, and people will be more interested in helping you when the opportunity arises.”
Think Outside the Box – Be Unique
Keep your readers guessing about what you’ll offer next and they will keep coming back to see what unique and fun idea you’ve come up with. Consider everything from collaborative marketing ventures to ideas like micro-blogging, blogging tours and new websites as they emerge and grow in popularity. For example, Instagram is a site that the younger generation has embraced and this site has seen a huge growth surge in the number of users in the last year or two alone.
To think outside the box, you have to watch what others are doing and then come up with new and fresh ways to reach your readers. You don’t want to repeat what others have done or even what you have done.
The goal should be to always improve, always offer a bit more and always keep your readers engaged.
If you can do this, your site will be like a magnet, pulling them back time and time and again. They won’t go far before they are compelled to return and see what new feature or event you’re offering.
About Lori Soard
Lori Soard has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 1996. She has a bachelor's in English Education and a PhD in Journalism. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, online and she's had several books published. Since 1997, she has worked as a web designer and promoter for authors and small businesses. She even worked for a short time ranking websites for a popular search engine and studying in-depth SEO tactics for a number of clients. She enjoys hearing from her readers.