Troubleshooting tips for an underperforming blog

Posted by Chris Woods on 16 Aug, 2017
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Brand and business blogs have become an essential part of any digital marketing mix, often as part of a wider content marketing strategy. If it isn't performing, these troubleshooting suggestions will help you find out why.

Research by Havas Group suggests that 84% of consumers expect brands to produce content – so your blog is a key part of the user experience.

There are numerous benefits to keeping a regularly updated blog on your business website:

  • It can be used to affirm your brand position as an authority or trend setter in your industry
  • It’s a superb way to add new, topically relevant content to your site without revisiting other static pages
  • Blogs can also be used to generate customer loyalty and user interaction if managed the right way
  • If your content is interesting enough, your business blog may also build up a genuine user following or subscription list, helping you to collect email addresses and consumer information

There are two other popular, more immediately traffic generating benefits of a business blog. One of those is you can use your blog to drive traffic if you share your posts via your social media channels and email newsletter communications. The other is a commonly associated marketing benefit - it can help to power your SEO. Modern day SEO relies heavily on your ability to show search engines that you are constantly creating new, topically relevant and useful content. Adding new pages with SEO friendly content via a blog is a powerful way to demonstrate that your site is investing in the kind of content the search engine’s own audience is looking for.

But what do you do if your blog is underperforming or you don’t feel like it’s working for you as hard as it should be, given the potential you keep hearing about? Here are some troubleshooting tips to transform an underperforming blog into the marketing and SEO asset it should be.

Are your titles engaging?

Blog titles are like newspaper headlines, they need to be enticing and create intrigue. They also need to clearly show what the user can expect from the content that follows. If you’re giving away advice, then frame the title around the issue you are solving.

If your titles aren’t hitting the mark, it’s likely they just aren’t compelling enough. Try asking your audience a question with your title so that the reader can see upfront what gap in their knowledge your content looks to fill.

Numbered lists also work well and set a tone for the length of the content the user can expect. For example, “The 5 Best Dressed Men of The Week” or “4 Ways To Use LinkedIn to Generate Sales Leads”.

Crafting the perfect title is an art form – our step-by-step guide to writing catchy headlines will help you address this issue.

How varied are your blog posts in terms of length and format?

There is no perfect length for a blog entry. Your best bet is to vary the length of your content directly in relation to the subject matter. Typically, shorter blogs are more likely to be read all the way through. This same rule applies to most online content, including video. Longer posts will have a greater bearing on your website’s SEO. They’re also invaluable when you have more detailed, complex or useful information to share.

Try varying your content from shorter 300-400 word entries to longer 800-1000 word posts. Also, be sure to vary the content type. Use engaging title imagery and break up longer text entries with images or videos.

Providing different lengths of content means that you are catering to those readers who want a short, easily digestible piece, as well as those looking for more in-depth expertise on a particular subject. You can track which type of post performs better using Google Analytics – making it easier to create more of the posts your audience does want to see.

Is your blog content categorized?

Categorizing your blog posts into common topics makes for better SEO and a better user experience.  Not only will this make user navigation and finding genuinely interesting content easier, it can actually help internally when planning content for the blog as well.

If you break your business down into a handful of major subject areas, considering your industry at large then add in your services and your products, you should be able to break your content down into 3-5 categories easily.

Are you providing social media sharing links?

It can be very disheartening to invest time and effort creating blog content only to discover that very few people are seeing your posts. Not only do low page views mean your blog isn’t making the contribution it should to your overall marketing, it also means your investment is being wasted.

So, how do you get more eyeballs on your best content? Blogs make excellent social media content. We all like to share interesting, useful, entertaining and controversial discoveries we make on the web. Make it easy for your readers to share your blog content to social media and via email to their peers. Functionality like social share buttons is easily added to most CMS systems using apps and plug-ins.  This one change will empower your users to promote your blog for you, helping to turn around underperforming posts with greater organic exposure.

Are you referencing your SEO keyword list?

If you want to use your blog to benefit your SEO efforts then you need to treat it as part of your SEO strategy right from the start. That means planning your content around your SEO targeted keywords. Choose titles and themes that are directly associated with your keyword list so that you don’t find yourself unnaturally trying to drop in keywords where they don’t belong. When you do use your keywords, ensure they are built in to the title of the blog as well as the body text. Tags, meta descriptions, page titles, H1 headings and image alt tags should all be optimised before uploading.

How are you promoting your blogs existence?

If you find you aren’t getting enough traffic to your blog, stop and think about how users discover it (or not as the case may be). Is it just an area of your website that you maintain or are you actively promoting it? If you’re putting the sufficient effort into creating killer content for your blog, the next step is to make sure it’s being seen. Use your blog pages and titles to power social media postings and grow your stake in the market. Show your audience on your other owned media channels that you’re investing in up to date content that matters to them while driving traffic.

Consider adding your top blogs of the week to your weekly email newsletters and perhaps add a link to your blog directly in to your employee email signatures. This will help to attract any curious contacts to come and have a look. Blogs may serve as superb SEO content fuel but they can also be part of the consumer journey and growth of your brand authority. The trick of course is ensuring that users are exposed to it first.

Do you allow comments and feedback?

Do you allow your readers and subscribers to interact with your content? Allowing feedback or comments on blog posts means more content per page if your users are inspired to interact. It also shows search engines that users find your blog engaging enough to interact with it. If you’re hoping to build a genuine following or connect with your audience, you need to allow them a method to be conversational with you.

Just ensure that if you do allow comments and feedback on blog pages, it is managed and modified regularly. You’ll also want to make sure you respond to comments and keep the conversation going, showing your audience that as well as producing content for them, you are listening to them too. 

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