More than 2 million blogs are published each day.
How many are read in their entirety?
Whatever number comes in mind, I am willing to bet the actual number is far far less. Readers are not apathetic. In fact, the most active demographic of readers are millennials who actively search for blogs on several topics.
It’s the quality of the content that puts them off.
Content quality is an umbrella term. It encompasses a number of elements – all critical to the readability aspect of a blog post. One element that I’ll discuss today in this article, and that I have had in my “to-do” list to increase blog traffic is identifying the shortcomings preventing your blog from growing.
There are three shortcomings that I have so far identified. These shortcomings are:
Long-form without action statements
Drafting long-form content is the rule of thumb. It’s a trend that almost every blogger follows. This trend was reflected in Orbit Media’s study that revealed the recommended content length has been increasing with time.
Take a look at the infographic below:
Between 2014 and 2015, content length increased 109%. Between 2015 and 2016 the increase was 118%. The increase in percentage over the years was 108%. The rate of percentage increase being the same, content length needed to increase 127% in 2017. Since 2016’s optimal content length was 1054, that of 2017 was projected to be 1338.
This was in line with Medium’s research in this area. The research led to the observation that readers prefer reading 1400+ words long blog posts.
Now, most bloggers religiously follow the “long-form content” rule. How is that working out for them? Well, not in the way they expect. Most are struggling to build a stable visitor-base. The reason they are failing to make a dent in the blogosphere despite writing long-form content everyday is their content – albeit long in size – has only a handful of action statements.
Content that’s reasonably long but with action statements few and far between, is destined to fail to engage readers. In the absence of action statements, long-form content appears plain boring to readers. More than 40% admit they skim blog posts because the posts are overly long and devoid of actionable tips.
In the past, bloggers were advised to write posts around the 3 “Ws”. The 3 “Ws” were “what”, “why” and “what now.” But now, this technique is deemed archaic. Bloggers who are still following this outdated technique are finding it hard to get their posts read multiple times, by multiple readers.
So, what’s the new trend then?
The new trend is writing around action statements.
This new trend is intrinsic to the millennial lifestyle. Millennials want to quickly get down to business. Action statements, at the end of each paragraph, inform them how the insights shared in that paragraph can benefit them and what tasks they must undertake to avail those benefits.
If you are a blogger reading this, make sure the posts going live on your website have plenty of action statements, which are easy for your readers to grasp, and even easier for them to implement in real life.
Each paragraph must have narratives leading to action statements. The very first line must give the impression that the blogger is attempting to get to the heart of the discourse i.e. deriving actionable takeaways. That will hook readers to the blog.
The reason I prefer niche blogging is it gives you access to a pool of loyal visitors. Blogs covering miscellaneous areas attract sporadic traffic, which is why, growing them is a gruelling task. This was one of my early realizations when I first entered into the blogging foray. Over the time, I realized several subcultures exist within a niche area.
It’s wrong to think niche audiences are homogeneous. I first figured it out when I was into auto blogging. I was rating energy efficient cars and gave favorable reviews to 2014 Toyota Prius because of its unbeatable fuel economy owing to an electric motor alongside the combustion engine. The car made way to my “2014’s Top Picks” list.
Shortly after I reviewed the car on my blog, one fellow from India wrote that soaring gasoline price in his country compelled him to repeatedly switch to electric mode. Nickel-metal hydride batteries were super costly in that country. Also, quality-wise, those batteries don’t stand anywhere near to products from international brands.
Another example. One guy from Milwaukee wrote he likes to own a hybrid car. But he also wanted to purchase a bundled insurance package in which home and auto insurances are clubbed together. The problem for him was discounted insurance existed for hybrid cars, but very few insurance companies allowed home and auto bundle.
Both were niche readers. And both received the same information about hybrid cars. But they had different reasons for visiting my blog. And that’s because of demographic differences between them. Demographic factors like region, gender, age and financial status are key components of niche subtypes. Discovering the subtypes and writing around them allow you to dig deeper into audience’s needs and mine solid insights. Posts drafted this way get good response from readers. The comment section of the blog bears the proof of that.
So, if your blog belongs to a niche area, collect micro-level insights that give you a fair idea of the demographic characteristics of your readers. If you are doing it already, then by now you must have seen its benefits.
In case you are new to this, and wondering how to get hold of your audience’s demographic details, this brings us to our next point.
Harness big data
Big data analytics tools don’t have much of use outside enterprise environment. The tools are used to mine customer data and track history of transactions. Bloggers, on the other hand, round up news and offer tips and “how-to” advice. The two don’t seem to add up.
Most bloggers think along these lines and intentionally keep themselves from exploring big data. That’s a grave mistake. Readers want authentic information from credible sources. Big data insights come from industry-approved sources. When you acknowledge those sources on your blog, your blog’s credibility index goes up. And as human mind tends to associate things that are loosely connected, readers may subconsciously connect your blog to the source of the data, even though no direct connection exists.
Business blogs can reference big data to turn a moot point into a strong argument. They can tinker with big data in several other ways. We know big data aids in pattern detection. How about making pattern detection interactive as though you are doing it live? Even better if it’s a vlog, because then it would be accompanied by audio scripts and visuals. Scouting for a definitive pattern based on small clusters of raw data can be fun. If your writing style is persuasive, you can hold readers for long, they will bear with you and won’t get bored.
All the above are off-key benefits of leveraging big data. The most obvious benefit is understanding your audiences. Big data tools can arm you with relevant insights. From how long your readers stay active on social media to how often they activate ad blockers – big data can disentomb a list of audience details, allowing you to see through microscopic filters and scan your readers in a way you’ve never done before.
I have seen bloggers refusing to venture beyond Google Analytics, WordPress stat plugins and similar other cursory tools. That’s not big data. Big data tools are paid subscription-based. Begin searching for one today. And when you settle for one, register for premium membership.
After overcoming the three shortcomings, my blog received three times more incoming traffic. The same thing may happen to you. Be patient and improve your blog’s look and feel. The tips are hand-picked, and they will bring you better traffic. Only it may take some time. So, don’t lose patience.
Advanced Blogging Tip: Have a Poor Link Memory
I create oodles of content daily. One tip to being prolific is to have a poor link memory. I forget what I published content-wise and link-wise to keep publishing content frequently. Do you know how most bloggers publish one blog post, include a link to a product and/or service, and keep checking the post again and again, to see how the link performs as far as clicks and conversions and sales and profits and money? I never do that. I have no time and energy to check how my links perform because I have a terrible link memory. I am always on to the next piece of content to create and the next link to place and the next person to help because I have a poor link memory. I forget links. This works perfectly for me; makes me super duper prolific.
Most bloggers attach to and cling to particular business links. What happens if you attach to a link? You give attention and energy to checking the link again and again instead of creating more content from a generous, prolific energy. How can you appear to be all over your niche if you check links regularly throughout the day and if you are not creating helpful, new pieces of content? You cannot be super successful if you are not prolific and you cannot be super prolific unless you have a poor link memory. Be generous, abundant and detached by forgetting links you place in posts; especially links pointing to business opportunities.
I link to my blogging course quite a bit but never get attached to any one link or blog post or guest post through which I link to it. Why? I have more fish to fry. I have more content to create and more bloggers to bond with and more folks to help and more bloggers to connect with and heck, after converting 50 more of my eBooks to paperback, I will have over 200 products about on Amazon, under the Blogging From Paradise umbrella. That is a lot of products to promote! We need to have a poor link memory to forget the prior link we promoted so we can move forward and promote more links, more content and greater blogging success. Envision yourself having an abundant mindset. What happens if you do not feel like anything seems short, scarce or running out? Being prolific is what happens. Being generous is easier if you are not burdened by any link to promote, to review and to assess regularly. I am not opposed to scanning metrics if doing so feels good and relaxing but most bloggers never take the time to assess their genuine feelings when it comes to how they feel promoting links.
I do. I am ruthless in assessing, observing, embracing and moving along my energies because watching your energy is the key to blogging success. Blogging from abundance, relaxation and trust leads to success while blogging from fear, scarcity, tension and anxiety leads to failure.
Which road do you prefer to take?
How to Get Over the Fear Nobody Will Buy Your Product
Promote the heck out of the product. Unearth fears. Feel fears. See fears come true. Release fears. Sell your product. More and more folks buy your product only if you face, feel and release fears aligned with the product. If you hold the fears ya ain’t selling the product. Even if you publish a blogging product – like my blogging course – and sell it for a little bit you will not generate big sales until you fail enough to finally feel fears triggered by failure. Feeling fears clears fears which clears resistance which helps you inspire more people to buy the product.
Getting over this fear is messy. Do you enjoy feeling like a complete loser? Nope. Do you enjoy feeling like a complete fraud, or huckster, or embarrassed or ashamed? Nope. You hate trying so hard and then, no freaking people buy the course you promoted 10,000 times but doing so and feeling fears triggered simply makes it easy to promote the product, because feeling and getting over the fear makes you promote the product like you breathe. Being in that space, plenty of people see the product and more folks buy the product.
I promoted my blogging course to the tune of 8,000 page views before someone bought it. 8000 page views was nothing. I had to clear fear-resistance during the 8,000 page views to show the world how fun, freeing and inspired this course was. Fear cleared, more people bought it at 10 times the initial price versus the initial cheapy price. Raising the price ten fold? Yep; another fear for me to conquer. But I did it, and far more people bought it at $350 than at $36. See how funny fear works? You fear something, refuse to feel the fear, and struggle. But feeling the fear and doing it anyway leads to increasing success. Buy the course for a fun, entertaining, inspired blogging guide. Tis the season for celebration and joy and love and fun, helpful blogging courses.
I have no tips for nudging into fear save meditating and doing yoga frequently. Following each habit expands your awareness which helps you become intimately aware of your fears, so you can feel fears and release fears. Feels rough but this is part of the blogging journey if you want to get over the fear of selling your stuff. Hey; do you want to hurt people, mislead people or lie to people with your blogging product? No? Then just sell the thing already. Ship it. Publish it. Fear is so insidious. Fear makes you do what you do not want to do, if you trust fear. Fear causes you to tune into an alternate, illusory universe, where nothing is true and everything is lies, smoke and mirrors. Do you really want to take that road? I did not think so.
All I can do is be a cheerleader. You need to be the athlete on the court, not the fan on the sidelines. Get on the court. Publish your product. Promote your product. You will eventually face, feel and release all the fears you need to release to become a successful blogger and to sell your product successfully, too. Get in the game. People will buy your product when you get clear on it.
Pro Blogging Tip: Release Expectations
Am I asking you to be a Blogging Buddha? Nope. Not really. No one save enlightened beings completely releases expectations but us mere mortals clinging some to a worldly life can largely release expectations, to become successful and to enjoy the blogging journey. 10 minutes ago, I checked my email. I received a few. I clearly make it difficult to get in touch with me through email because I want to give most attention and energy to building a passive income empire. Every second I spend in email, I could be spending creating content and building connections. Knowing this, it feels good to receive few emails because it helps me scale and move forward from an abundant energy.
Unfortunately, most bloggers have heavy expectations when it comes to receiving email. Bloggers expect a chock filled inbox, with all types of clients, Paypal payments and sponsored post deals. What happens if you get 3 emails daily, all responses to comments? Your expectations not being met levels you, depressing you, making you sad, sapping your energy. If you expect some sweet outcome and reality is not delivering you the outcome to fulfill the expectation, you eventually lose your blogging motivation and quit. Or you make the massive mistake of quitting after seeing your expectations fall short, then, you begin blogging again, quit again after expectations are unfulfilled, and you suffer through this vicious cycle until you fail and quit for good.
Release expectations. Begin blogging with an intent to live your dreams but let go the anchor of expectation because either you feel hopeless after not getting what you expected or you feel average when expectations line up or you feel super high and excited after exceeding expectations, leading to an imminent crash after your emotions settle down. Expectations are anchors, pulling you down, holding you back, preventing meteoric blogging growth. I expect little to nothing blogging-wise because my day is about having fun helping people to blog successfully. I cannot go wrong whether I sell a copy of my blogging course or not because I have no expectations; I just promote the course in a seeming billion places (coming soon) and leave things at that.
If anything, allow a little part of yourself to desire some expectation but make it tiny. Why? If the expectation does not come true quickly, you will keep blogging from an energetic, relaxed, abundant vibe, positioning yourself to succeed. Harboring wee expectations means you remain unstirred if the expectations do not manifest; no crushed, hopeless feeling. Meanwhile, most bloggers with grand, wild expectations often slam into tons of resistance because no spectacular dream comes through and manifest overnight. Living your dream life through blogging requires years and thousands upon thousands of hours of generous service.
Blog for an absolute love of blogging. Be passionate about the blogging process. Release largely on outcomes because weighing yourself down with expectations slows you down. Imagine desiring big blogging bucks only to see an empty inbox for the next 3 months? 90 plus days, zero dollars. After the 90th day, most bloggers quit blogging for good, because they came up so short on their expectations, being frustrated, disgusted, and tired of wasting their time.
Fall in love with the process – not outcomes – to fuel yourself for your blogging journey.
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