What are your dreams as an author?
Do you want to write the next great novel?
Perhaps you dream of writing the next non-fiction sensation.
There’s one thing you’re certain about: writing is your calling.
You’re committed, and that means you’re ready to do whatever it takes, including hosting your own website or blog.
You know you need an author platform; everyone tells you it’s important.
But you’ve struggled to make it work for you, right?
You’ve set up a blog, but your traffic remains unimpressive. You’ve poured your heart out on the page, yet no one seems to care.
Each time you publish a new post, you wait anxiously for readers, for feedback, for a reason to continue.
And while you’ll never abandon your writing, this blogging thing makes you doubt yourself.
You wonder how someone with a talent for words could struggle so hard to develop an audience?
Some days you wonder whether you’ve lost your edge, whether you’re crazy to continue.
I have good news for you, writer.
You’re not alone, and you’re certainly not crazy.
Every blogger struggles to gain traction. And most beginning bloggers make the same mistakes.
So don’t worry about acquiring the perfect blogger mindset.
All you need is the willingness to develop a few new skills.
Your solutions already exist.
In fact, you’ll find multiple solutions for each common blogging problem.
I thought so.
Let’s discuss 25 ways to fix the 5 most common blogging mistakes.
Your Blog Content Needs an Overhaul
If your content isn’t attracting clicks and shares, you may need to change your focus.
Maybe you’re writing for yourself, hoping your audience will jump on board. Maybe you’re guessing what they’ll like, and you’re missing the mark.
In either case, it’s time to figure out what your audience really wants. And remember, wants and needs are two different things.
We often understand exactly what our audience needs. What we forget is that they’ll spend more time, money, and energy on their desires: what they crave right now.
This could mean anything from quick, actionable tips to entertainment.
Imagine the power of combining both!
Try Using a Title Generator
If readers aren’t clicking on your title, they’ll never get the chance to read your posts. Headline writing is an art. If you’re new to the idea of copywriting, title generators can help.
Check out the following free tools:
- Title Generator
- Portent’s Title Maker
- SEO Pressor’s Title Generator
- Tweak Your Biz Title Generator
- BlogAbout’s Blog Title Generator
Turn boring article titles into clickable headlines.
Choose a few winning titles, and test them for effectiveness on your favorite social media channels.
Conduct Keyword Research
Keyword research is the fastest route to understanding your audience. Don’t waste precious time writing quality articles on subjects they don’t care about.Keyword research is the fastest route to understanding your audience. Don't waste precious time writing quality articles on subjects they don’t care about. Click To Tweet
Try these wonderful tools:
- Wordstream’s Free Keyword Tool
- Keyword Research Database from SERPS
- Keyword Tool
- Wordtracker’s Keyword Tool
- SEO Book’s Keyword Research Tool
Check out Q & A Sites and Forums for Content Ideas
Discover the most frequently asked questions and trending topics by visiting Q & A sites and forums:
Hire an Editor or a Blog Coach
When you’re starting out, a second set of eyes is crucial.
An editor can help you tweak your content. A blog coach can provide resources and advice. The learning curve can be steep, and an expert can help save you months (or years) of trial and error.
If you’re low on funds, you can find low-cost gigs on Fiverr.
Find out What’s Being Shared, What’s Going Viral
One of the fastest and easiest ways to uncover quality content ideas is to find out what people are already sharing.
For example, a recent Buzzsumo query for the keywords “blogging tips” returned an article written by Citizen Affiliate: “Planning Your Blog Content.”
In the last 12 months, the post was shared more than 12,000 times on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.
The article offers advice for creating a content calendar.
Your Writing Isn’t Cutting It
When was the last time you read a blog post full of awkward prose and punctuation mistakes?
How did you feel about the blogger?
Did you find yourself doubting the message?
Your readers deserve professionalism. The golden days of blogging are in the past. There’s too much competition to publish mediocre content. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are essential if you want readers to value your work.Your readers deserve professionalism. The golden days of blogging are in the past. There’s too much competition to publish mediocre content. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are essential if you want readers to value your work. Click To Tweet
Try Apps for Grammar, Punctuation, and Sentence-Level Structure
Today, we have apps for everything.
Use spell check. Learn how to use the advanced grammar and punctuation tools in Microsoft Word. They can find sentence fragments, instances of passive voice, and subject and verb agreement issues.
Try Grammarly or the Hemingway app to evaluate sentence-level structure.
Use Blog Post Writing Templates
If you’re struggling at the paragraph level, consider using a blog/article template.
Ezine articles offers templates for ten different article types. Sometimes, we need to improve our organization to connect with our readers.
Outsource Your Blog Posts
Have you thought about outsourcing some of your blog posts?
Perhaps you’re a prolific fiction writer, but blogging leaves you uninspired. Coming up with new material each week is draining your energy. Worse, your lack of enthusiasm comes through in your delivery.
For longer, in-depth articles, expect to pay more.
Solicit Guest Writers
Maybe your blog-writing chops are fine, but you need a break. Perhaps you want to offer a different perspective.
Solicit guest posters. You can provide them with a short bio and a link back to their website in exchange for a blog post.
Reach out to your existing readership as well as social media followers.
Create a separate navigational tab on your blog titled “Write for Us” or “Guest Posting Opportunities.”
List the subject themes and content types you’re looking for. Make sure you’re clear and thorough when outlining your needs and expectations for length and quality.
Locate a blogger in your genre, and offer to trade posts. You can reprint each other’s articles without spending time or money developing new content. Work out the terms before publishing.
You Aren’t Posting Regularly
Your posting schedule can make or break your blog.
If you’re posting less than once a month, your blog will struggle to gain traction. Weekly posting is preferable.
If you’re lucky enough to receive repeat visitors, your value decreases when you stop posting. After a month or two lapses, your readers will lose interest, removing you from their bookmarks.
So how do you keep the content flowing?
Create an Editorial Calendar
I’m guessing I just lost a bunch of readers 😉
From prior experience, I know the content calendar subject turns bloggers off.
When I share quality content calendar articles on social media, they receive the lowest number of clicks.
They’re practical and essential, but they’re just not sexy.
Tip: If you want to move ahead of 99% of your competition with a single move, create a content calendar.
Create it. Use it. Update it.
Revisit an Old Topic or Post
You don’t always have to create new content.
Update an old post, and you have something new to discuss with your readers. Discuss how things have changed. Add a few new resources. Send the updated article through a new cycle of social media shares.
Turn it into an infographic.
Create a survey to run in tandem with the updated post.
Plan these updates at regular intervals to make sure you’re verifying old links and adding current relevant materials.
Work a Month Ahead
This advice may sound daunting, but it’s achievable once you commit. Think of it as four extra posts.
Producing content on demand creates stress. Why add to the pressure when you could liberate yourself?
When you can look ahead, knowing what’s coming around the corner, you can plan for better content. You can organize updates around a theme.
By planning and producing in advance, you’ll keep you readers hooked, maximizing engagement.
They’ll be anticipating your next update.
Save time by curating other people’s content.
Come up with a best-of list of articles or resources around a subject. Share a roundup post of five to ten websites, articles, or influencers.
Let the list drive the content. Supply a few tips from each article. Write a brief bio or description from the site’s about us page.
Taking the focus off your own blog demonstrates your willingness to celebrate others in your field.
You’ll gain valuable content, and your peers will get a boost from the mention. Everyone wins.
Find a List Article, and Focus on a Single Point
If you’ve been blogging for any time, you understand the power and appeal of the list post.
Take a look at your list posts. Where can you add value by adding depth to a single item?
Is there an item you can expand upon, providing in-depth instruction? Where is your expertise in the list?
You Aren’t Marketing Yourself
Writers often recoil at the thought of marketing.
Ironically, they have no issues with their favorite author’s promotional items, but when it comes to promoting their own work, they feel uncomfortable.
Deep down, we all know that marketing is essential to making a living. Every product and service we encounter owes its success to marketing.
So how do we become savvy marketers, without selling out or hating ourselves in the process?
We can begin by focusing our efforts on social media; begin testing strategies today.
But I’ve tried Facebook, and it’s no longer producing results. What should I do?
Give Facebook a Break, and Start Branching Out
Facebook is fine for communicating with friends, but it’s value for marketing has been decreasing steadily over time. Naturally, the people at Facebook want to make money on their efforts, so they reduce organic reach in order to force users to buy advertising for impressions.
In other words, those years of racking up Facebook friends and likes gave you a taste of what was possible. Now, you have to pay for those same people to see your updates.
Focus your efforts on other networks. Today, marketers are gaining traction on Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. Keep in mind, however, that you will need to convert these social media contacts into subscribers, so you can keep the connections you make over the long term.
Try Guest Posting
Earlier, we discussed finding bloggers to guest post on our websites. It’s time to look at the opposite role.
Guest posting on other sites allows you to tap into existing traffic, enabling unknown bloggers, like yourself, to leverage other people’s traffic.
The high-traffic blogger receives fresh content, and you receive targeted readers and traffic.
Create an Opt-In Form, and Bribe Subscribers with Premium Content
One of the fastest and most effective long-term marketing strategies is building a subscriber list.
With this list, you can alert your audience every time you publish a new blog post, release a new product, or offer anything of value.
An active, engaged list can provide you with recurring traffic and income. Over time, as you provide more and more value, you turn readers into clients.
Form Marketing Groups or Genre-Specific Rings
Remember the good old days of web ring marketing, when like-minded bloggers joined together to market each other as a group?
Consider creating public or private communities.
You can join forces with other bloggers in your genre to market each other’s blogs, products, and services. Commit to boosting each other’s social media posts, each other’s blog posts, and new releases.
Create content together. Collaborate on roundup posts that everyone can share on their blogs and social networks. You’ll always find increased power in numbers.
Focus on Helping Others, Rather Than Self-Promotion
Marketing means more than self-promotion.
In fact, as a beginner, you can often find greater success in promoting others.
Instead of filling your Twitter stream with advertisements for your latest book, offer free resources targeted specifically to your audience.
Get to know your audience. Find out what they need, and provide a solution.
Feature their books, their blog posts, their best advice in your social media updates.
Ask questions. Ask for their input. Collaborate and share.
Over time, your audience will appreciate your service, becoming trusted allies and future clients.
You’re Relying Too Much on a Single Traffic Source
Just like the Facebook trap, you can rely too much on one traffic source. This traffic source might be Google, a particular forum you’re invested in, or a paid advertising campaign. Like all things on the Internet, what works today may become obsolete tomorrow.
Open a New Social Media Account
Seek out a new social media network, one you’re unfamiliar with. Do some research, and find out whether bloggers in your genre are having success with it.
Commit to a Research Study.
Commit yourself to 30 days of daily posting, following, and sharing.
During your research study, commit to reading everything you can find pertaining to the best marketing practices this medium.
Record your daily practices, and track your progress. After 30 days, look at the data, and decide whether this platform holds promise for you and your brand.
Before moving forward or onto another network altogether, evaluate whether the channel deserves another month of inquiry.
How well are you leveraging the power of the content you’ve already created?
Set aside some time for a Google search, and come up with 5 to 10 outlets where you can syndicate your work.
Look for high-traffic sites that allow you to publish pre-published content. Make sure they allow for a brief bio and link to your blog or website.
Getting this post in front of 10 new high-traffic sites can explode the incoming traffic to your blog.
Create Slideshows of Your Content
There’s no reason to keep your blog posts in a single form. After publishing them on your blog and making sure Google has indexed them , take the same text, and create slideshows.
This will offer you access to an entirely new audience.
As a bonus, you’ll gain additional backlinks to your website. Upload the slideshows to multiple websites to multiply your reach.
Develop an Inexpensive Info Product, and Go After Affiliates
As a new or inexperienced blogger, you probably lack the reach to successfully sell an info product on your own; however, you still have options.
Host the info product on an affiliate site, and go after affiliates in your niche.
Imagine the power of 100 others offering your products for sale on their site. You can split the income and still come out ahead.
Get them on your list, and you’ll have a lifetime of customers.
Write a Kindle Book to Leverage Amazon’s Marketing Power
Like Google, Amazon has become a powerful search engine. When people search its massive database, your book can come up, offering buyers the perfect solution to their questions and needs.
Authoring a Kindle book can bring you substantial traffic.
They don’t even have to buy the book. Offer it for a low price, and include a link to your website in the “look inside” preview feature.
Make your preview chapter includes a link to your website or blog. Better yet, offer them a free opt-in offer, so you can add them to your email list to communicate with them personally.
As you can see, there’s no reason to abandon your blog, to give up on your author platform. Through these examples, you can build a powerful marketing machine for your writing business.
We’d like to hear from you.
What strategies are working for you?
Share your thoughts in the comments section.