There are 31 million bloggers in the United States, and over 150 million blogs worldwide. Finding some success blogging for business is generally quite easy. Businesses with blogs generate 67% more leads each month, so the is a good ROI for most sites. Blogging for a living is much harder to make a return on. A massive 81% of blogs never make more than $100, 9% make enough to supplement their income. Only the top 10% of blogs are able to generate enough income to support a family, with the very top 2% being the really high achievers with incomes in excess of $150,000. So what does make a successful blog?
To understand what makes the top 10% different from the rest we’ve broken it down into 5 categories
- Website Design & SEO
- Calls to Action
It goes without saying that if you want your blog to be successful you’ll need some great content. However, we’re not just talking about the written word, the most successful bloggers understand the importance of visual media. The internet has changed the way people consume content, and people will tend to skim a page rather than read it in-depth. People process visual images much faster than text, and are able to remember a lot more information when it’s presented visually. Creating great visual content isn’t hard, there are plenty of sources of free stock photography and graphics, and online tools to edit them and add text.
Improving your writing is always worth doing, and developing the most effect writing style for the task is important. When you write blog posts you need snappy headlines, shorter sentences, it needs to be engaging and speak directly to the reader.
Website Design & SEO
Most bloggers choose WordPress as their platform, around 43%, the rest use Blogger (35%), Tumblr, Posterous, or Typepad (16%), and the remaining 6% are split between the many other blogging platforms available. Whichever platform you choose you need to optimise the website for search and user experience. If you’re building the website yourself there are a few things you’ll want take into consideration.
- Start with some keyword research. This is not just important for SEO, it’s key to your marketing and content generation success.
- Use a mobile friendly website design. If you want to appear in Google’s mobile search results this is a must.
- Add social media buttons in the header or footer of every page, and add sharing buttons on blog posts or other interesting content.
- Add widgets to the blog sidebar to show your recent and most popular posts.
- Optimise your websites page speed performance, this is taken into consideration by google search algorithm.
- Don’t forget to add a site map, and register it with Google’s search console.
When you’re writing content you’ll also want to think about:
- Metatags, make sure your page has a unique title no longer than 70 characters.
- Add a good page meta description, this often appears in the search results so you want it to wow people.
- Don’t try to force you keyword in everywhere, you need your writing to sound natural and unforced. However, try to use it in the first paragraph, and in the pages headline tags where appropriate. Use variations of the keyword, Google can recognise these now.
Once you think your website SEO is looking good go to OnPage.org and sign-up for a free account. The websites tools will help you to find broken links, missing meta tags, and a host of other SEO problems.
Depending on the site you’ll also want to do some off site SEO. However, I’d recommend avoiding link building unless you’re confident you know what you’re doing. It is against Google policy and if you develop an unnatural link profile you may end up with a search penalty.
Instead of link building focus on your content marketing, that will bring a stream of new readers to your blog, and will start to generate inbound links to your website. It will also have a positive effect on your organic search results.
Call to Action
Once you start to get a reasonable amount of traffic to your blog you should start thinking about call to action (CTA). You’ll want to collect email address, offer downloadable content, or encourage them to do other things on your website. Make your CTA’s bold and use action language on the button text. A well optimised CTA can increase conversions by 20-95%. To get started quickly try SumoMe, by adding a couple of lines of text to your page header you’ll get an optimised mailing list signup form that will pop up at just the right time.
Start your marketing campaign by identifying your target consumers. Spend a bit of time to develop one or more buyer personas. Once you know who you’re selling to it’ll be much easier to find them and you can target your resources at the people who matter most.
Find your target consumers on social media and start building a rapport with them. Identify the key influencers and strike up a conversation, share their content, and follow their accounts. You can also reach your target consumers through online advertising, writing guest posts on well-chosen blogs, and commenting on other blogs. Finally, think about the best times to post, all the social media networks have different optimal times for posting content. Get organised and set a post scheduled, use tools such as Bufferto help automate the process.
Using analytics can increase the ROI of a blog by 15-20%, and it will help you to spot potential problems quickly and avoid some of the pitfalls of blogging.
You should be measuring
- How many page views your blog is getting
- Where the traffic is coming from
- Which pages are getting the most traffic
- Your bounce rate
- And if there are additional actions you want your readers to take, your conversion rate.
You’ll also want to monitor your social media accounts.
- Number of new followers
- Number of interactions
- Number of clicks to your website
- Monitor which posts are most successful and analyse what worked for them
While nothing can guarantee your blog will be successful following the above advice will give it the best possible chance. If you’re well organised and are following the analytics you should spot any potential problems quickly and avoid most pitfalls. Be persistent and consistent and you’ll have every chance of success.
This infographic was created by Bluehost.