A terrible blog is worse than having no blog at all.
Sure, you’ve checked the box: [✓] Blog, but if you’re like most companies,
you’ve also checked another box for everyone involved: [✓] Waste of Time.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to increase engagement with your readers, more importantly: provide value for your readers.
#1) Valuable Content
First and foremost, you must have great content that adds value.
You can cover all of the items below to a T, and still miss the boat if your content isn’t valuable.
Be honest with yourself:
Would you read your blog?
Would you find the advice valuable and actually bookmark it?
#2) Bulletproof Hosting
Another essential item (often disregarded) is hosting.
When is the last time you got excited to sit around and wait for a website to load?
Does it take 5-10 seconds to load your blog each and every time you click a link?
Again, be honest, because if you’re not, you’re only fooling yourself.
Meanwhile, the rest of us will be hitting the back button.
What I recommend:
Avoid cheap hosting (aka: shared hosting) and instead go with Dedicated Virtual Hosting (DV)—you won’t believe the speed difference.
#3) Easy to Digest Content
Most people skim, look at pictures/captions, browse headings and selectively consume (read: use bullet points, images, and headings often).
If it takes 73 mouse-wheel-scrolls to get through your content, you had better have a good reason.
Otherwise, break down your content into smaller chunks. If that doesn’t work, have you thought about writing a book?
#4) Top Posts
Listing your Top Posts (typically in a sidebar) can be advantageous to your readers and also your company.
Who doesn’t want to read what everyone else is reading? (aka: social proof)
#5) Recent Posts
Even if you’re not writing about something tech related, most people want
* Pro Tip: Yup, this means your blog needs to be regularly updated
#6) Topics (Categories/Tags)
Most readers will only be interested in certain topics, not everything you write about (I know, hard to believe).
Grouping posts into topics will only add value to your readers experience.
Don’t forget to make these topics easy to find for the reader
(category lists, tag clouds, etc.)
#7) Social Sharing
Who doesn’t like to share memorable content? Especially if you think you’re the first of your friends to find it.
Giving the reader a quick and easy way to share your content can be very beneficial to everyone.*
*I should mention: there is another camp that believes having these social sharing links only lead to less-than-authentic shares, but we’ll leave that for another post.
#8) Social Friendly Links (Open Graph)
When people share your post, it needs to be displayed properly in the social network they share it in.
Depending on the social network being used, it can really make your content shine and stop people in “the scroll.”
#9) Related Posts
After they’ve read your post (assuming they enjoyed it), odds are they will like other content you’ve created.
Add a few Related Posts (with excerpts) immediately following the post.
#10) Subscribe by Email
Allowing your readers to subscribe via email is an absolute must.
Often a visitor might arrive on your website, find great content, become distracted and then forget how to find you again.
Giving your readers the ability to subscribe will guarantee they receive your next post right when you publish it.
#11) About / Author Page
An About section or Author page should be included with your post / blog.
Are you an expert in your field? Why should we trust what you’re saying?
The almighty double-edged sword of blogging.
Comments can be great, until the spammers show up. They can turn a great community into an absolute disaster if not moderated properly.
If you decide to allow comments, I’d recommend that you use a service like Disqus. Disqus is a comment management system that allows users to register with Disqus and comment on any blogs using Disqus. This lowers the barrier to entry for readers to leave their comment.
Disqus also does an amazing job at filtering spam, which is a good enough reason in itself to use it (not to mention: it’s free).
Last but not least, your Blog must be well thought out and designed accordingly.
It need to function in a way that benefits your users at every level.
Which for starters, means: it must be intuitive and easy to read.
I hope you’ve found this information valuable (following my own advice) and you’re able to put these ideas into action.
If you have any questions about any one of these items, don’t hesitate to give me a call at (360) 450-3711.