Sick Blog? Here Are 13 Ways to Fix It

StanfordSmith
Stanford Smith Managing Director, Pushing Social

Posted on August 6th 2014

Sick Blog? Here Are 13 Ways to Fix It

Are you frustrated with your blog's performance?

Then you've probably scoured Google looking for simple ways to get your blog back on track.  I've been there.  I started two blogs that failed and have had to revive Pushing Social many times.  The good news is that the common blogging problems can be grouped into 4 areas: 1. No readers, No Subscribers, No Comments / Engagement, and No Sales.  For each of these areas, I'll share a prescription that will put your sick blog on the path to recovery.

No Readers

New and repeat readers are the gas for your blog's engine.  You need a steady influx of new readers to boost subscriptions, engagement, and sales.  Try these tactics:

#1: Get Google Friendly

Google will be your top source of readers for a long time. Unfortunately, new bloggers often pride themselves on ignoring search engines, a big mistake. Your readers are on Google and you must take systematic action to make your blog Google Friendly.

Read: The Definitive Guide to Higher Rankings For WordPress Sites

#2: Remember the Non-Readers

Unfortunately fewer people like to read or even have the time to read. A text-only blog is potentially scaring off a hefty percentage of readers who want your comment but don't want to read it!.

Experiment with new blog content types: podcasts, short video, and list posts.

Read: How to Get More Readers with Repurposed Blog Content

#3: Avoid Generic Topics

The content marketing economy is dominated by large publications who target broad interests.  Launching a broad-topic blog on a shoestring budget is a non-starter.  But, small niches populated with passionate fans are well suited for new blogs with a sharp focus.  Review your blog's editorial schedule and find ways to go deep on a smaller subset of topics.

Read: An Easy Way to Immediately Boost Your Blog's Success

No Subscribers

A growing list of email subscribers is a valuable marketing asset.  These email subscribers are the foundation of your business and will power your blogs growth and profitability over the long term.  Unfortunately, getting email subscribers is getting more difficult by the day.  Here's how to get around the most common pitfalls.

#4: Make Better Offers

People aren't interested in "Getting updates". In fact, your blog update offer is just reminding them that their email inbox is too crowded.  Your readers  want insanely valuable offers that is worth the 2 minutes it will take to sign-up and confirm their email.  Look at your blog subscription offer and add a truly irresistible offer that can't be ignored.

#5: Quit Hiding

Your opt-in offer shouldo be front and center. Place your offer in your header, the top position in your sidebar, after each post, and in a delayed pop-up. Yes, in all four places!

Take a look at Brian Dean's Backlinko:

Screen Shot 2014 08 04 at 10.28.26 AM Sick Blog? Here Are 13 Ways To Fix It : Blog Promotion

The top section of Brian's blog is dominated by a can't miss offer to sign up for a juicy special report.  This isn't excessive.  It's smart.  You would be wise to do the same.

#6: Require Less Information

Ask for the minimal amount of opt-in information.

Just asking for an email address performs the best. Subscription conversions plummet with each additional form field. A good rule is to ask for information you will regularly use or information that will substantially enhance your marketing follow-up. For example, I regularly send personalized emails to my subscribers, so asking for a first name makes sense and I'm willing to take the conversion penalty.

#7: Play the Numbers Game

Testing and countless experiments shows that 2-5% of readers will become subscribers.

A blog that attracts 500 readers a week can expect 10 to 25 subscribers. You can turn more readers into  by optimizing your landing pages with tools like Unbounce, LeadPages, and Optimizely or attract more readers.

No Comments / Engagement

I love comments.  Hearing your thoughts are the highlight of my day. It sucks to admit this but genuine comments are an endangered species that are getting crowded out by an invasive species of spammers and trolls.  Legitimate commenters have noticed this and decided to take their engagement elsewhere, opting to share their perspective on Facebook or Google+.  Here's what you need to do:

#8: Move the Cheese

Comments used to be an accurate measure of a blog's popularity but they aren’t as critical as they used to be. Some niches aren’t well suited for comment driven discussion. Instead of comments, focus on the time the reader spends interacting with your content, the number of social media shares, and subscriptions to your offer. These measures reflect behavior that drives your blog’s long-term success.

#9: Platform Jumping

Social platforms like Facebook and Google+ may be better places to interact with your audience.

Conversations held on Google+ and Facebook will improve your post's visibility and attract new readers. Copyblogger recently moved its on site comments to Google+.  They cited the time it took to delete spam and low-quality comments as reason's for their move.  This may be a worthwhile option for your blog.

#10 Be Brave

Are you asking readers to comment on questions posed in your blog post? Are you selecting topics that are provocative and/or controversial?

If comments are important, turn up the heat, stoke emotion, and ask your readers to share their point of view.

No Sales

Money.  Revenue.  Profit.  These aren't bad words.  It's not immoral or unethical to start a blog to make money.  Your blog shouldn't be exempt from earning its keep.  However, a blog isn't a direct-response, immediate sales, tactic.  Blogs work best when they create demand by sharing valuable information. Here are three blog sales potholes that trip up most bloggers:

#11: Find the Right Product / Reader Fit

Does your product solve a reader need? Often, businesses will attract readers that are the wrong customer.

I recommend setting up quick chat sessions with your readers to ask about their potential needs.  This information will help you select useful blog post topics and refine your product promotion message.

#12: Be Patient

It’s difficult to sell products on new blogs. Any product sell requires trust. New blogs haven’t had the time to attract an audience and earn reader trust. I recommend waiting 6 months to a year before attempting to earn an income from your blog.

#13: Fix Your Process

Online selling requires keeping your product top of mind with your audience. In my experience, only 2-5% of readers are ready to buy immediately. The other 95-98% of readers will need more proof and trust to take the next step. Your marketing process should keep your offer and your product in front of the 98% for when they are ready to buy. Examine each step your reader takes from reading a post, to subscribing, to visiting a product landing page to checking out.  You want to optimize each part of this process and remove any barriers.  Simple tweaks in your process can lead to profitable results.

Persistence is the Key

Any of these problems can be overcome with a good strategy and stubborn persistence.  Select one area to tackle, make it a priority, and keep working the problem until you're successful.  Remember your voice, message, and vision is valuable.  Don't let anything, especially a temporarily sick blog, stand in your way.

sick blog / shutterstock

StanfordSmith

Stanford Smith

Managing Director, Pushing Social

Stanford teaches passionate people how to lead spectacular and influential tribes at www.PushingSocial.com - Follow him on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/pushingsocial

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