This post was written by Compose.ly writer Karis Howard.
You started a blog because you knew your business needed one. You were convinced that it would bring your brand a growing stream of traffic and customers. Ultimately, you anticipated that continuously producing content would guarantee measurable and significant returns. Unfortunately, somehow, the result has not quite been what you anticipated.
If you created a blog to drive conversions and create authority for your business, you are in excellent company. A 2017 study of Fortune 500 companies found that the number that were actively blogging had increased from 23% to 36%. New business blogs are started each day. Many successfully build a loyal readership and increase their customer base, but there are even more businesses that never achieve that success with their blogs.
It turns out that simply creating content and posting it online is not enough to make your blog successful. You also need to understand how to blog effectively, using content and SEO best practices.
Discovering Why Your Blog Isn’t Getting Traffic
Below, we provide seven reasons why your blog isn’t getting the number of visitors you want, and the right ways to fix the issue. Remember, while receiving more traffic is always nice, the real test is whether the changes you make lead to a higher conversion rate. These suggestions will be focused on blog practices that not only will gain you a larger readership, but will increase lead conversions as well.
1. You don’t have a content and distribution strategy in place.
Many blogs start with little more than the understanding that relevant content is necessary for search engine optimization and building an audience. The writer or blog owner creates posts as ideas come to them, or as particular topics come up in their industry news. Although this approach may draw some traffic to your site, and taking cues from your industry’s climate is important, a blog without direction is not sustainable and will not bring the long-term gains that you want.
To be able to scale your content marketing system so that it can help your business grow, you need a plan for creating, publishing, and promoting the content on your blog. A detailed strategy and posting schedule, built on an understanding of both your audience and your business, will not only provide the consistency that draws a loyal following but will also make it easier to create new content on a regular basis.
You can also ensure that your content reaches the widest possible audience of potential customers by designing a thorough promotion plan. Derek Halpern from Social Triggers goes as far as recommending an 80/20 rule for your content marketing strategy: spend 20% of your time crafting new content and 80% of your time promoting it.
While this may seem extreme, it does put the focus on drawing a larger audience on the content you’re already creating, rather than on devoting resources to creating more content and hoping your customers find it.
The 80/20 rule: spend 20% of your time crafting new content and 80% of your time promoting it.
From major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to niche networks and video sites, there are many different ways to promote your content. The key is finding the promotion networks and style that resonate with your target audience members.
2. You are focusing on the wrong keywords.
If your blog isn’t getting the traffic that you want, you might be focusing your content on the wrong keywords – and neglecting the keywords that will drive new leads and create loyal customers. If your blog content has a high bounce rate, little organic visibility, or a high impressions rate with a low click-through rate, these are all signs that you’re targeting the wrong keywords for your blog and for your business.
Content that is centered around the wrong keywords can bring traffic to your blog and website, but not the kind of visitors that are ideal leads. While you’re investing in content that brings guests who will never convert, your future customers are slipping away – drawn to your competitor’s content.
The solution to this problem is proper keyword research. While there are many ways to discover the right keywords for your blog, Google’s free Keyword Planner is a great place to start. This tool helps identify trends as well as keywords to use for your business, even if you aren’t running an active Google Ads campaign. The Keyword Planner is a research tool backed by Google’s tremendous base of data, giving insights that ensure that your keyword focus matches the current searches of your potential customers.
3. Your blog posts are not designed for human readers.
When it comes to optimizing your blog post for search engines and your target keywords, you actually can reach a point where you have too much of a good thing. It happens when your blog posts are so focused on capturing the attention of bots that you lose sight of the real target – your very human customers.
You don’t want to fill your blog with posts that are awkwardly worded because you tried to fit in too many keywords. Content that makes bots happy but that real people find impossible to read doesn’t tend to rank very well.
You want to craft content that is conversational in style, easy to read, and that uses eye-catching visuals to emphasize key points. Pay attention to the structure of your posts. Start by breaking longer paragraphs and sentences down into shorter ones. Ian Cleary of RazorSocial recommends that your paragraphs contain only one idea and four sentences at the most. You’ll also want to make generous use of subheadings, numbered lists, and bullets whenever possible, as readers will appreciate those signposts for the content they need.
Making content readable requires a little bit of thought paired with a few changes to the way you structure your posts, but has great returns in traffic and conversions. With posts that are human-friendly, you can turn casual skimmers into engaged readers. More importantly, your business blog will be a compelling source of content that keeps the best leads on your site, giving you the opportunity to convert them to customers.
4. Your blog posts lack effective calls-to-action.
Imagine this: your ideal customer finds your blog through a well-written post that targeted the keyword or phrase they searched on Google. They find that it had exactly the content they needed to answer their current question. What does your customer do next?
If the answer is that they take what they need from your blog post and move on, it means that your blog pages aren’t as effective as they could be. Even strategic, high-quality content posted consistently to your blog is not enough to convert your potential leads to customers. If you’re not providing them with a way to continue engaging with your website, you’re losing business. This is where calls-to-action can help.
A call-to-action, or CTA, usually comes at the end of your content and answers the question, “What’s next?” CTAs can take many formats, but each one should ask the reader to take a specific action to move them forward in their purchase process – such as downloading an eBook, signing up for an email newsletter, or setting up a free consultation.
While the most effective calls-to-action will vary based on your brand and audience, there are a few CTA best practices to keep in mind. Your CTAs need to clearly show the benefit of taking action, be thematically consistent but visually distinct from the rest of the page, and, whenever possible, persuade visitors to take immediate action.
Beyond these main principles, the key to optimizing your calls-to-action is to run A/B tests on each element, from the location to the wording you use and the visual elements to discover what drives the highest conversion rates.
5. You’re not paying enough attention to your competitor’s content.
Naturally, you’ll want to do audience research to understand the struggles, questions, and concerns that your target customers have concerning your industry and products and services. Customer surveys and buyer profiles can help inform a content strategy that generates the right kind of traffic. Yet there’s another source of insight you might not have considered: your competitors.
There are several different ways to approach competitive analysis, which can help you develop a more effective content strategy and build a business blog that drives traffic. One method is to perform a content audit on your competitors’ websites, collecting information on the frequency of their posts, the topics on which they focus, and the topics that they miss. This information can provide insights that help you fill in gaps and improve your own content strategy, while also supplying content that your competitors have neglected.
Another method takes competitive analysis to the place where search engine-optimized content matters most: the search engines themselves. Perform a search for the phrases or long-tail keywords that you want your blog or blog post to target, and analyze the top results. What types of content rank highest and how are those post structured? In what ways can you improve on the highest ranking content – by improving the writing quality, adding missing information, or improving the post’s structure?
This review of top content in your industry can help you craft blog posts that expand on the most popular content pieces that already exist. Better content means better ranking over time, resulting in a higher number of interested readers visiting your blog and engaging with your business.
6. You aren’t updating and recycling your most valuable older content.
Not every blog post or article is going to be a winner. In fact, only one out of every ten posts will turn out to be a compounding blog post, one that continues to drive traffic and generate new leads long after it is published. Yet these compounding posts are responsible for almost 40% of all blog traffic, making them a priority for your blog. By neglecting your older but valuable content, you are missing an opportunity to use them to generate a greater number of qualified leads from your blog.
To make the most effective use of your compounding posts, you need to do two things on a continuous basis:
- Analyze your blog content to identify the posts with the largest traffic and highest conversion rates.
- Review and refresh these compounding blog posts to ensure that they remain accurate and up-to-date.
Even if your industry isn’t a fast-moving one, it’s still likely that some of your posts contain outdated information. Make sure to refresh them to include the latest trends and research. Updating these content pieces will maximize their benefit, drawing more traffic to your site and ensuring that they will stay “compounding posts” for a long time.
In addition, since you know these posts perform well on their own, they are ideal content pieces to promote once they’ve been updated, across social media and other channels, as well as with internal links in newer blog posts. You may also find that these compounding posts are also effective in new formats – for example, pulling out key quotes for Instagram images or filming a video summary for YouTube and linking to the full blog post.
7. Your blog pages (and website) aren’t optimized for mobile devices.
If your website and your blog pages are not designed with mobile device users in mind, that will negatively impact the traffic your site receives and the number of visitors your content converts. One reason is that most searches now begin on mobile – nearly 70% of consumers between 18-39 research products on their mobile devices before making a purchase. A poor or slow mobile experience means these potential customers may never return to your site.
More critically, Google adopted a mobile-first indexing system this year, making the mobile version of your site the primary one. Your content’s ranking is now far more dependent on how well those pages perform on mobile devices. Not ensuring that your blog is optimized for mobile viewers will mean your blog posts have an even slimmer chance reaching that coveted top position.
The following are the steps you should take to make your site and blog content mobile-friendly:
- Make sure your posts can be easily read without pinching and zooming (see how your site looks on different devices with a tool like Screenfly)
- Replace any text links (harder to tap on mobile) with small screen-friendly buttons
- Make each opt-in form short and easy to complete on a smartphone screen
- Break up the text content with bullet points, subheads, and images
SEO-Friendly Content with Compose.ly
The seven issues described above are just a few of the ways that your blog might be missing out on traffic and conversions. Addressing each of these areas of your blog will go a long way toward improving your blog’s effectiveness. For some more relatively quick ways to increase your blog’s rate of turner readers to customers, you can check out our recent blog post.
Even with all of the above, content pieces are the foundation for your blog, and SEO strategies mean very little without a regular schedule of fresh content to post. At Compose.ly, we provide SEO-friendly, audience-focused content – content that will turn your blog into a conversion-generating tool for your business. Contact us today to find out how we can help your blog posts reach their full potential.