Let me be the first to say this – being a blogger ain’t easy.
Okay, yeah, I admit, blogging isn’t rocket science and there are plenty of aspects that hardly feel like work (like attending VIP events or going on press trips), but the actual day-to-day of being a blogger can be hella stressful. It’s just you and your brand and the constant churning out of creative content, hoping that something will resonate, something will grab the attention of your readers, something will go viral. Bloggers are copywriters, photographers, marketers, sales people, community managers and business agents all wrapped into one. If we don’t create for our brands and consistently push out fresh content, no one else will do it for us.
So it’s only natural that along the way, we make mistakes – focus gets pulled in a million different directions and stuff falls through the cracks. Then one day, you realize your blog traffic isn’t growing and you’re not sure why – you’re creating the content and posting on social, so why aren’t people reading it? And because we wear so many hats, sometimes it’s hard to see where we’ve gone wrong, where there’s a leak in the boat.
If you’re a blogger that’s stuck in a rut and don’t know why dafuq your hard work hours aren’t getting you results, check out these 5 common blogging mistakes that could be holding you back (and how to fix them!).
1 You’re not converting from social media.
Let’s face it – social media is one of the most effective ways to grow a following and promote blog content, and the best part is, it costs nada. That being said, converting traffic from social media to your blog is also one of the most challenging tasks bloggers face (especially from Instagram, where users are scrolling mindlessly). If you want to make your followers stop dat scroll, pause on your social posts and actually click out of apps like Instagram and Facebook, you need to entice them with a strong call-to-action (CTA). Posting a photo of your OOTD and telling your followers to click the link in your bio to see more is not a great CTA – why would they do that when they can already see the outfit right there on Instagram? Instead, tease with a caption like, “One part of this outfit only cost me $5 (and a near brawl with a fellow shopper). Click through the link in my bio for the full story.”
It’s also helpful to ensure your blog posts have a valuable take-away for your readers – something they’ll learn or gain from clicking through to your blog. For food bloggers it could be a recipe on the blog, for graphic designers it could be a free downloadable template, for photographers it could be a step-by-step on your photo editing process. Whatever it is that your brand represents, make sure you’re offering something of value on the blog that will make your social followers happy they clicked through (it also makes them more likely to do so in the future).
2 Your blog posts aren’t shareable.
If you’re starting out, an easy way to grow your brand and blog traffic is to create shareable content. Whether it’s something that’s timely and newsworthy, funny or emotional, or best of all, informative – creating specific and niche content that someone wants to share with their own audiences (and then their audiences with THEIR audiences and so on) is your golden ticket. A generic blog post on what you ate today probably isn’t going to get shared a lot, but one on what you ate today as your first day as a vegan (and how it made you feel), is more likely to get shared by people with the same interests. Same goes for a post on your five favourite foundations – it’s not going to get shared as much as a blog post on your ranking of “All-natural foundations, from ‘gotta-have’ to ‘no thanks’ “.
It also helps to feature other people in your posts whenever you can, whether it’s a round-up of your favourite Toronto photographers or citing another blogger who wrote a great piece on a similar topic – those people are then likely to share with their own audiences, who will all be interested in reading simply because it has to do with someone they know.
3 Your blog lacks an identity.
Okay, so let’s say someone clicks through from Facebook or Instagram (yay!) and they realllllly love your recipe on making almond milk. That person might click through to your homepage to look for similar content like veggie burgers or summer salads…. instead, they find a post on the best curling wands for straight hair and another on ‘Top 10 Reasons I Love Game of Thrones’. Uhhhh…. what? Confusion ensues, my friend. One of the most common blogging mistakes out there (and why a lot of people struggle to grow an audience), is that they lack a brand identity, the distinct niche and voice that define what your blog is all about (and what sets you apart from the rest).
If you’re a lifestyle blogger that covers a number of topics, think of a thread that ties everything together, whether it’s living on a budget, local finds in your city, or life as a full-time blogger. Whatever it is, make it apparent on your homepage and within each post you write, so that new readers can easily see and understand what your blog’s all about. An ‘about’ paragraph in the sidebar is a good way to do this, but I also sneak it into the intros of each blog post – I’ll mention something about being a freelancer or blogging full-time or leaving my job to follow my passion (all of which tie in to the TRL brand).
4 Your website is confusing.
You might have shit hot content, but if someone lands on your blog and has no idea where to actually find that content… you’re doing something wrong, boo. The best blogs are the ones that are easily mapped out and allow users to click from post to post based on relevancy of what they’re currently reading. Make sure you have a clean homepage with several pieces of featured content, plus clearly defined channels and links to related content within or at the end of each post. An easy-to-navigate blog will ensure that your bounce rate stays low and older content remains evergreen.
5 You’re ignoring SEO.
Social media might be the best way to drive traffic to new content, but good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what’s going to make all of your content relevant and popular for months (and possibly years) to come. If you’re not familiar with SEO, it’s a cumulation of characteristics that search engines like Google use to rank your site’s popularity, authority and relevancy on specific search terms. There are a number of variables that go into SEO, like the keywords you choose and how many times they’re featured within the post (as well as in your image tags, headline, bolded copy, etc.). It might seem a bit overwhelming, but free plug-ins like Yoast are great for gauging how SEO-friendly your blog is – as you write each post, Yoast will give you a red, yellow or green light, plus an analysis of what’s good and bad from an SEO standpoint.