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Struggling to get results from your blog?
Frustrated that your blogging efforts are going unnoticed?
If so, in this episode Chris shares with you the solutions for the most common blogging mistakes that businesses and marketers are making today.
Hi there welcome back to the CMA Podcast Show with me, your host, Chris Marr. It’s great to be back.
In this episode I want to talk to you about the biggest mistakes that people are making with their blogs and how to solve them.
Welcome back folks, like [00:00:30] I said let’s talk about blogs, let’s talk about the mistakes that people are making and let’s see if we can get you to a position where you’re doing better with your blogs, getting more traction, getting more some more sales, which would be ideal.
This is for you if you have been blogging for a while and it’s not been working. This happens a lot, people will come to me that have done lots of blogs for a long, long time and they can’t figure out why it’s not working, they’re not getting the growth, they’re not growing their audience, they’re not getting enquires, they’re not getting sales.
Perhaps you’re in a position where you are thinking [00:01:00] about just getting started with blogging and you want some tips and some pointers so you can start off on a good foot. Perhaps you don’t know how to start or where to start or you don’t have any ideas on how to take that forward, so I’ll help you with that. Perhaps you’re just in a position where you want to level up. You want to continue to get better. This is definitely for you as well.
I think maybe like ten or twelve different areas I want to cover on this show today, so let’s try and do that in the ten minutes that we have, or [00:01:30] the ten or twelve minutes that we have, and see how we get on.
Top Ten Problems with Blogging
Top ten problems, the mistakes that people are making that are stopping them from growing and if they were to change them it would change the results they were getting from their blogs.
Just giving that context here actually, I look at dozens of blogs every single week from the CMA membership. We run something called a 90 Day Challenge [00:01:54] . Right now, every single week, I do a screen share coaching call once [00:02:00] a week for half an hour and I bring up their blog articles and their videos and things like that so we can have a look at them in public and start to critique them and give them feedback on where the opportunities are for growth.
This is a daily activity for me and something I would do in-depth every single week as well so I look at tonnes of blogs and these are the common mistakes, that’s where this podcast episode came from was just recognising that there’s common threads, there’s things that we talk about every single week that are problems.
So, number one is titles, blog titles. Blog titles are [00:02:30] typically not search-focused and they’re too short sometimes as well. One of the key things I look at with blog titles is I should, just by looking at the title, know exactly what keyword phrase you’re trying to rank for, trying to be found for, and that’s not always clear.
It’s usually a gap, the blog titles … I’ll talk about this as part of this but the blog titles aren’t good enough, they aren’t strong enough, and they aren’t search-focused. It’s not clear [00:03:00] to me what search term you’re actually looking for, which has a knock-on effect usually to the next thing.
Number two is the URLs. The URLs are not customised, so what people do is they just leave the title and then WordPress or whatever CMS you’re using just guesses what you want that URL to look like and it’ll just pop it in there for you.
The best thing to do is to customise that, so try and shorten it down so you’ve only got the keywords in there, take out any stop words. Usually [00:03:30] the way that I recognise this is when a URL is ridiculously long, you can see that it’s got the web address, the URL, the domain, and then it’ll have category, date and then the title of the blog article then it’s this really long URL.
What we want to do is get that shortened down so in most … I’m using WordPress as my example because it’s what we use, but you can take out the category and the date and just be left with the domain, URL, and the blog title, and you can customise [00:04:00] that blog URL in the backend of your CMS. Get it as short as you can with the keywords in there, so remove stop words like a, of, an, to, the, that sort of thing and just try and leave only the keyword phrases in there.
That’s usually a knock-on effect from the title. The title is poor, the URL usually ends up being poor as well and those are two big deals with regards to SEO. [00:04:30]
Call To Actions
Number one is titles, number two URLs, number three call to action. Blogs just come to an end, I’m reading through them and it just stops at the end.
We’re not even looking for a call to action in terms of a sale, we’re looking for a call to action in terms of what to do next. What’s the next action that someone should take?
Usually with a blog article you’re trying to get people sort of engage in conversation, or even think. It might be that you want them to answer a question at the end, but don’t just stop the article, lead it into either them having a conversation with themselves [00:05:00] or perhaps some of the best examples we’ve seen recently actually are great content upgrades.
Martin Huntbach had an article recently for a blog checklist, I think he had eleven tips inside the article and how to improve SEO and at the end of that article he had a checklist, a point-by-point checklist for making sure you’ve got all your SEO in place for your blog, that’s a good example of that.
Having some sort of call to action, what to do next, engage in a conversation, get them to do something. Usually there’s nothing [00:05:30] and it just comes to an end which is not good enough. Blogs … Think to yourself that someone might read this in six months or a year. Is it still going to be relevant? Is it got that evergreen element to it? Call to action is number three.
Number four is text size. This is a very common one, the text is too small and it’s very difficult to read. Obviously think mobile, but also think desktop as well, and text size can have an impact on a couple of other things I’m going to share with you in a second as well, but text size is too small.
So you want [00:06:00] to get up to a sixteen point size if you can’t do this yourself, a web developer will do it for you. Get the text size put up, and that also applies to subtitles as well, sometimes when you’re looking through an article you can’t really see where the subtitles are so it looks like there’s no structure, just block text all the way down. Get the text size increased but also make sure subtitles are standing out as well, which leads me onto the next one which is text colour.
Number five is text colour. Sometimes people have got this really nice sort of grey [00:06:30] colour and it fades right into the background, it’s not easy for reading, we’re thinking about accessibility. We want to make sure that text is a dark colour on a white background so it’s really easy to read. Number five text colour.
Structure and Subtitles
Number six is structure and subtitles. Back to point four, which was text size around subtitles, if we’re looking at structure, what we want to do is build a reader article, we want to appeal to two different types of reader. [00:07:00] The reader that skims fast, which is me, I will skim fast and then I’ll dig in if I feel there’s huge value there for me and that it’s worth my time to spend there.
Structure is so important, so having subtitles out … Subtitles, paragraphs, short paragraphs, bullets, lists, that sort of thing that really structures out your article and makes it really easy to read. Images and that sort of stuff as well. Usually what we find is the mistake that people are making is block text, no subtitles at all, no lists, and it doesn’t really look [00:07:30] like … You look at the article and you think this is going to be painful to read, or it looks like it’s going to take me a lot of effort.
Right away you can’t really see what value you’re going to get from it. What you want is an article that looks great and it’s easy to skim as well.
That’s who you’re kind of appealing to with the subtitles, the bullets, the lists, someone that just wants to skim through that, and if anything getting them to skim through something is better than them actually looking at it and saying I’m not going to read any of this. Try and appeal to both readers there. Structure and subtitles is number [00:08:00] six, big mistake there is usually block text.
Number seven: images. Not having any images in your blog is a bad idea. Think about magazines, magazines have tonnes of images in them, it’s very appealing to look through.
Having images breaking up your content is brilliant, it adds context to your writing as well, it can also add humour to your writing, things like that. If you want to make something have some social proof, having images or GIFs [00:08:30] or video in your blogs is a great idea as well. It brings it to life a little bit, gives it a bit of personality and it makes it unique as well, it stands out from everything else.
I guess a sort of word of caution on this one is either make sure you’re using your own images or you’re using an image that has the correct licencing for you to use. You can’t just use any image you want on your blog article, make sure that it’s got Creative Commons or you’ve had permission to use that image.
Number eight: opening paragraphs. The mistakes are usually that there isn’t one, you just [00:09:00] go straight into the article, or it’s just a single sentence. You’ve got to spend time on the opening paragraph, draw the reader in, empathise with them, maybe state the problem you’re solving, or the reason that someone might want to read this article, what are they going to get from it.
Put some credibility in there as well, what gives you the right to write this article about this topic. Make sure the reader is hooked in on that first paragraph, it might be maybe two paragraphs, just get it in there so it draws them [00:09:30] in and by the end of the first paragraph they know why they’re reading it, they know what problem is going to be solved or what question is going to be answered and it’s worth their time, they understand what they’re going to get from it and that they’re going to learn something from you. They’re going to get something from you.
Usually they’re very poor, they’re weak, sometimes there isn’t any opening paragraph and to be honest if you think about it in a level of hierarchy with SEO, with google, google’s looking at things like the URL, the blog titles, the subtitles, the opening paragraph, you know, that top layer [00:10:00] of text.
You really want to leverage that opportunity and have a really kick-ass opening paragraph as well, that’s number eight.
Not Thinking About Search
Number nine, it comes back to the first point I was making about titles, is not thinking about search. This is a common frustration for me and it’s a common error that people make is they’re not thinking about their blog articles being found by someone typing something into google, and they’re thinking about their blog article simply as being fresh content on their website [00:10:30] that they can send out by email to their list or something like that or that magically google will find them eventually for something, but we absolutely have to think about search.
This is like I said a big frustration and if you’re not thinking about search it actually impacts all the other things that I’ve just mentioned, if you’re not thinking about all these other factors then search engine optimization isn’t really high-up on your priority and therefore you’re never really going to get any organic search.
I’ve seen some blogs that have been going for two or three years [00:11:00] and their organic traffic just does not increase. It’s not relative to the amount of content they’re creating, and that’s the biggest missed opportunity in blogging is not getting that organic traffic. It’s about thinking about what someone might be typing into google. We can talk about SEO, there’s lots of resources out there to educate yourself on this, it goes beyond the ten minute podcast. Think about search, type stuff into google, [00:11:30] go to google and try typing stuff out before you publish your article, type your title into google and see what comes up. Maybe you want to change a few things around the words that you’re using.
Not thinking about search is a big mistake.
Tracking and Measuring
A few other things I think that are really important that can go hand-in-hand with all of this is tracking and measuring, you know, finding out what content works and what doesn’t, looking at your google analytics, making sure that you’re tracking your progress, looking at top performing content, what blogs [00:12:00] are driving in more traffic, what pages are finding in google. Again, this is a big mistake that people are making, if you’re not tracking and measuring your content, if you put effort into something and you’re not measuring your progress, then it’s just pointless. It just doesn’t make any sense. If you’re putting a lot of effort into something make sure you’re measuring it.
Bonus Tip – Consistency
And just to finish up, the main things I think that … If you’ve been blogging for a while or you’ve tried it or you’ve started and you’ve stopped, one of the things that will definitely have an [00:12:30] impact, both negatively and positively on your results is consistency.
If you’re not consistently turning up with content frequently, then you’re going to be missing out on a lot of opportunity. That is one of the biggest factors that has the most negative impact is just the lack of consistency, and what comes with a lack of consistency is a slow progress in learning and a slow progress in getting better as well.
So if you’re not consistent in turning up frequently, you’re just going to [00:13:00] learn slower, and you’re going to get better slower as well.
It speeds everything up, consistency. Consistency has a massive impact on everything else that you do. Those are the kind of the main things, the biggest sort of mistakes that we see, that we want people to continually improve on. The sort of common threads.
If you’re thinking about blogging or you want to get started blogging and you need somewhere to start or you’re looking for some tips or some advice these are great things that will [00:13:30] get you started on the right foot and make a big difference to what you’re doing as well. We are seeing a transition within CMA within the members, each week actually we’ll give some advice and some feedback on the blogs that they’ve written. We’ll give them that feedback, and the next week we can see that they’ve improved it and they’re just getting better every single week because they’ve committed to creating content consistently. They’ve also committed to accepting and receiving feedback and asking for feedback, and that improvement is happening very quickly for them, much [00:14:00] quicker than it would be if they weren’t in CMA.
In conclusion, blogging is not just some sort of thing that you do if you have time. It’s a legitimate way to market your business, it’s a legitimate way to go to market. It’s a legitimate way to get leads, to make sales, to get customers, but it’s only going to work if you work as well. It’s not something that you just do if you have time.
For those that actually want to grow their business in 2017 [00:14:30] and beyond, they’re committing to it, they’re committing to publishing content frequently and consistently and improving and developing and trying to understand how writing and creating and publishing content in all forms, nevermind just blogs, can grow their business and get them customers. But the one thing that I hope you realise is that it takes work, it’s just like anything that you do in life. If you want it to change, if you want to get results from it, you have to put a lot of work into it as well.
If you’re looking for help and advice [00:15:00] for your blogs, for your content, send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org and we open up a space for you in the CMA membership community, we can give you advice and feedback on your content too, similar to what we’ve talked about today.
If you’ve got any questions about anything just, again, email me email@example.com or tweet me @ChrisMarr101 I’d be happy for your questions, we’ll have to get some challenges, so challenge me. Let me know what’s on your mind,
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode. I hope you get value from it. And if something’s unclear or [00:15:30] you don’t know what to do or you really need help, get in touch and I’ll be glad to help you out.
Have a great day, and don’t forget to be awesome.
Thanks again for joining me on the Market Academy Podcast. If you would like to find out more about content marketing and change the way that your business communicates forever, please visit contentcrashcourse.co.uk for your free ten day [00:16:00] content marketing email course.