The thing about blogging that many forget is that it’s more about the journey than it is about the destination.
Sure, those extra page views would be nice to bolster your advertising revenue or conversion rates but if you aren’t willing to take risks in your writing, you can’t expect your audience to come along for the ride.
In practice, you might be inclined to take things off the beaten track and down tangential avenues of whimsy but it’s this personal touch during the blogger outreach process that makes blogs and their like so enjoyable to read.
Your Blog’s Life is Like a Highway
To continue this analogy, imagine you’re on a road trip from San Francisco to New York after rounding up a few friends. You set out before dawn, set your stereo to full blast and snake your way through from state to state before arriving at the “Big Apple.”
Of course, you won’t be able to talk about everything you saw and did along the way, and nor should you — that would be boring — but you need to make it easy for your audience to remain engaged.
So how do you make the experience of navigating your website an enjoyable one for the people without a vested interest? Easy. You avoid these common mistakes.
1. Allowing the Driver to Miss the Turn-off
If your blog is anything like that one-star motel with the blinking neon sign outside that one city that shall not be named, it’s no wonder your (subscriptions) registry seems a little low. Ideally, you’ll want your visitors to make it pass the 5 second test and take in everything you have to offer.
Label your landing pages and navigation to accurately describe where it’s pointing.
Think of your navigation as a series of signs along the highway; if they’re hidden between overgrown shrubbery, no one will be able to find you.
Your navigation needs to be easily accessible and those that are improperly labelled and not clearly aligned with what visitors expect need to be renamed.Let’s assume the driver in this scenario is a stereotypical male who has gotten lost — they aren’t going to stop for directions.
Don’t give your audience the chance to circle around your site looking for something they’ll never be able to find. Label your landing pages and navigation to accurately describe where it’s pointing. Then, take away unnecessary pages and set up a navigation that leads visitors to the clear destination – your conversion page.
2. Not Including Signs Along the Way
By signs I mean visuals. People are visual creatures and what they want to get out of any online journey is about the same as they want out of its real-life equivalent. They want to see things along the way.
According to a recent article from HubSpot, page views can be improved by 94 percent with smartly placed visual content.
The best thing for you to do of course is include a good mix of images in amongst your text to make the information more scannable, and thus palatable.
3. Creating Traffic Jams
For images to be truly effective they need to be optimized for the web — and now for mobile — to reduce load times and side-step any assumption of patience. To put it another way, when 100 percent of users have the option to hit the back button, how many do you think will wait around?
Keep your focus scaled to your audience and make sure that you’ve engaged in SEO best practices by adding proper image headlines, alt text and title descriptions, and adjusting file sizes to be as small as they can be without sacrificing quality.
Next, make sure your content is easily read. Too much information and long blocks of text slow readers down. In addition to using visuals to increase readability, write in shorter sentences and paragraphs and eliminate any unnecessary information.
Quick Tip: Learn how to make your content easy to scan. Read 6 Effective Ways To Make Your Content Easier To Read.
4. You’ve Veered Off and Gotten Lost in a Foreign Area
By this we don’t mean that you’re communicating to customers outside your demographic or geological area and therefore to non-English speakers, we mean that you aren’t talking about the things your audience is interested in. Be sure your content makes sense and is applicable to the audience you’re targeting.
Apart from subject matter, this might also have something to do with the way your blog presents itself in terms of tone of voice or point of view. The main thing is to be accessible. You’ll never hook your audience if they can’t understand your content. Remove any barriers to communication by writing in a way your audience can understand, without lots of jargon and a fancy vocabulary, and open up the comments section.
5. Not Giving Your Visitors a Reason to Stay
One of the worst offenders are broken or less-than-relevant hyperlinks that open in the same window, making it difficult for users to stay on the same page. In other words, your internal and external link redirects are like the map to your road trip and should direct traffic to appropriate places.
By taking the time to sort out your settings, you’ll be in a better position to create a space where users can read about what they want to, when they want to and this is a fundamental and invaluable aspect of better business blogging.
6. Your Opt-In Forms Read Like Outdated Maps
Lastly, you want your email subscription forms to function like an up-to-date GPS as opposed to an outdated traditional road map. If it looks too complicated — especially at a glance — a lot of potential subscribers may fail to sign up.
Implement a single or two-step process to simplify things and remember that the less work you make for visitors, the less friction there will be. Understanding that your blog needs to create repeat business as much as it needs quality content is half the battle and the majority of the journey.
Play the Numbers and Have a Safe Trip!
Nothing feels better than keeping to schedule and effective content marketing, like most things in life, is a numbers game. To play it, you might have to implement a few of these quick tips but at the end of the day, you and your blog’s visitors should all arrive safe and sound.
See you on the other side!