Blogging. The writing of random articles online. That’s easy!…Says anyone that doesn’t blog. It’s not always a basket of roses. There are many things that can stop you from posting any given week, or even posting regularly. A missed post isn’t the end of the world, but if you’re not careful, you’ll end up in the middle of the Twilight Zone wondering how long you’ve been gone. One week, two weeks. Three weeks, four months?!
Maybe your week was stressful, maybe a family matter came up. Perhaps your work schedule went into hyperdrive and you didn’t have the time. Sometimes you can find it hard to stay on topic or keep your focus. After a break, you will find it tough to get back into the swing of things. You will have to completely re-plan your process. It can be daunting. But it can be done.
1. Evaluate your content.
When you’ve taken a break from your blog, it can be easy to forget what it looks like to your visitors. The same can be said for those who go into the back end of their website and fill in the pages without logging into the website itself. Look at it with your newly rested eyes. Check out other websites and blogs in your niche too. Active competitors will be a good reference for aesthetics and content.
Some things you might not even think of could affect the traffic your website gets. Are you writing about the current topics in your niche? Are you putting out quality information? Has there been an event in your niche lately? Keep an eye on your topic in the news and social media. If there’s something going on, you should be referencing it.
For more information on evaluating your content, check out How To Complete A Content Audit.
2. Timing is Key.
Be sure that when an idea happens, you write it out. Don’t just shorthand your thoughts either. If you don’t have time to write the article in its entirety then you need to make bullet points at the very least. How many times have you found a slip of paper with a phone number and no name and completely forgot what it was for? I have the tendency to write random thoughts for stories or for work blogs.
When you finally have an idea – even if it is just a small one, don’t wait up until you can turn it into big ideas. If you keep things aside for a while, you might forget about it and before you know it, you are back into a long break. Jump right into it! It doesn’t have to be perfect at first. The important thing is that make the ball rolling once again. Just start writing and more ideas will come soon after.
You shouldn’t feel bad that you took some time off from blogging, but you should encourage yourself to get back into it. Take small steps in writing new blog posts so as to restore your excitement in creating content in the future. Don’t stay too much on the thinking part, and start implementing what you have planned right away.
3. Personalize Your Content.
Whatever you write about, be sure it reflects you. Your message and your voice should be coming through. That is what gives your words a hook that interests your audience. If your blog is dying, think about your voice. If you’re writing in a “writer’s” voice, or the voice of your profession, maybe you should switch it up. At my last agency, I wrote with MY voice. You know the one. I use it here all the time. Conversational and witty, yet knowledgable. I tend to know what I’m saying, (or I’ve researched it like crazy), so I feel free to write it the way I would like to read it. Personalizing your content this way is a huge step to overhaul your blog after any amount of time. If you posted yesterday, you could realize your voice is all wrong and pull a switcheroo in the next post. It doesn’t have to wait for a long break.
Some people like to post separate pages on their site. Perhaps like, “Work With Me” or “Blog With Me” to distinguish different styles or topics. This shows your voice as well as your personality and interests. Yes, you know a lot about your career in personal fitness, but did your readers know you’re an expert fly fisher? I use a page for my professional knowledge (you’re on it now!) and a separate page for my personal writing. That way, when you come to my blog for SEO tips, you can go to just that page if you wish, or you can take a peek at what it’s like in my head. This lets your readers connect with you and feel more comfortable opening up in say comments, likes, or subscriptions.
4. Organize To Strategize.
After a break, your goal will be to stay consistent. You’ll want to be sure you have lots of topics to write about when you return, you know what is trending in your field while you’ve been awol, and that you’re not just dumping information. Keep to your brand, and think about how readable your articles are. Yes, I said readable. If you have giant blocks of dry text that make no sense because you were rushing to get anything on your page, people won’t read it.
Take a breath, organize your thoughts, then organize your blogs. Write a bunch of them in a day or two when you don’t usually post to practice getting back into things. You get back into your work, and you get ahead in your posting schedule. Double whammy! That being said, do you have a posting schedule? Now would be a great time to make one.
5. Be A Goal Getter.
A huge demotivator for anyone is unatainable goals. Mayhaps this is because we set end goals with high self-expectation without breaking down the little steps to get there. You have to approach your blogging like you approach any other goal. Have you ever tried to lose weight? Did it work better when you said “I’m going to lose 20 pounds” or did it work better when you said, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds, at 2 pounds a week, that would be 10 weeks”? If you chose the second option you would be correct! The first goal had no idea of timeframe which automatically puts your brain into thinking now. Sadly, this is how the world works these days. With the internet, and fast food, and streaming on the tv, everything is instantaneous; so your brain will look at that general statement and think instant results.
To avoid another hiatus, you have to set clear goals that are well thought out and realistic. Whatever goals you have in your life, be it blogging, or losing weight, or writing a book, or winning that fly fishing tournament, make sure you have ways to measure your success. Hold yourself accountable with schedules, and analytics on your journey. It will become a second nature again in no time.
If you’re looking at this blog and asking what it means, you should start with my What Is Website Traffic blog. But you should definitely come back here when you finish reading. The short story is that website traffic is your customer base, if you had a brick and mortar, your traffic is anyone that comes through your door. Since you have a website, your traffic is anyone that lands on your website.
I’m guessing you’re on mine because you’re looking to boost the number of people that end up on your page right? Well I’m going to tell you five free ways to do just that. There is always the option to pay for your advertising, but often times, that’s not enough. There are hundreds of things that will determine your traffic, especially the returning customers that want to make a purchase.
Did you know there are ways you can “spy” on your competitors? You can keep tabs on their blog content, their services, products; even their social media shares. Sites like BuzzSumo allow you to track what they’re up to and how their social media is performing. This will let you know what topics are hot right now, and what people are looking for.
2. Get Social
You’re watching your competition and what they’re doing on their social pages, how are yours? Do you have all the popular channels? How often do you post things, or interact with people that comment or share? These things will effect how your consumer base sees you. Positive, helpful feedback on a negative comment, or even a positive one, can go viral. There’s no quicker way to drive traffic than positive vibes. If you’re not using your platforms regularly, your fans will not care about your website. Use the tools as they were designed to be used, and often, and your followers won’t get bored.
3. Links Are Your Friend
Yes it’s great when someone else references your website with a link in their post. How often are you linking to your own content? Internal links (like the one at the start of my blog) will get people to click through your site more. One great post is great, but have you seen this other one? Now your consumers are seeing more than one snippet of your work. If it’s good, they’re more likely to check out other posts and pages. Link to your blog on your social media, send your links in your emails, and use internal links!
4. Read All About It!
How catchy are your headlines? Do some research on what draws people into an article. You could be the top search result on Google, but if your titles are boring and bland, nobody will click it. There are tricks to make your titles stand out. There’s also Clickbait-y titles. “Who is ready for a donut!?” Could really be an email for a tire company trying to get you into the shop to rotate your tires. Be creative with it.
5. Invite People!
Yes you can go head to head with your competitors, but why not invite them to guest star? Hosting guest bloggers not only gives you business connections, but it will expose you to one another’s subscribers. If your competitor has an SEO expert and you don’t, ask them to guest blog in exchange for your clean web design tips. Mutual success right there. You can also invite experts in your field to explain a topic to your audience. If you’re a writing website, invite a published novelist or a publisher to speak on your page.
These are just a few ways you can boost your traffic, but there are so many more. You can do some research, or you can follow me for more upcoming tips and tricks.
No matter what your business is, your web content needs to shine a light on your company. Updated visuals like color schemes, the page design, and even your social presence are all still necessary, but without the proper copy, your website won’t get much traction. Writing good content is a crucial business skill, especially these days. In the days of quarantine, your web presence is more important than ever. While you’re unable to put on the charm face to face with your customers, you have to draw them in through your writing.
Any good blog or report or website page has a lot of moving parts, so it is often best to jot down your outline before you start writing. There are three major components you need to consider before crafting your copy – the three c’s; company, customer, and competitor.
Before you can tell the masses that you are trustworthy and your products or services are worth the purchase, you must understand who you are as a company. “Well, I’m a book publisher.” That’s great, but that’s what you do, not who you are. Without a completed sense of who you are as a company and what you stand for, you can’t confidently sell your product.
If you believe yourself to be one of the many businesses in the boat of misunderstanding, start from the very beginning. Why did you start your business venture? List the reasons why you see your company as a leader in your field, and be sure to show that in your web copy. This is a great time to perform a content audit on any existing information to make sure it’s all serving the same purpose.
The main reason you’re writing is to gain an audience. So you need to know who your audience is. Who are they? What do they need? What do they want? Look into the purchasing history of your customers, and remember they are the most important part of your business. If you have no customers, you have no business right?
Once you have the answers to these questions, research trends. That will be the map to where your audience is coming from, and where they are going to consume the most content.
An often overlooked piece to the puzzle is your competitors. This is part of that customer map we were talking about. To know where your consumers come from, you have to know who else they are consulting, aka, your competitors. If you’re selling blankets in the winter, how are you going to stand out? Look at the top results when you search your product. How are they connecting with their audience? What does their branding look like? Now, the most important question. How can you do it better?
Technical writing is the craft of documenting processes. Traditionally this practice was used to detail highly technical processes in the form of user manuals, however as this coveted practice has grown, so to has the duties. These days, technical writing includes all sorts of documentation such as; reports, executive summary statements, and briefs. If at any time technical information is written down, it is by definition, technical writing.
The departments aren’t just technical though. While engineering and IT are absolutely included, finance and legal departments are also wound into this practice. The field is no longer confined to user manuals, and can be anything down to an email. If you work in a technical field, or a field where constant processes must be explained through writing, chances are, you are a technical writer without even knowing it. The trick is to write in a way that allows others who may not necessarily know much about your topic to understand.
Don’t describe your characters like you’re telling the police about a suspect. Describe your characters like you’re guiding an artist through a painting when they can’t see the model.
“Her eyes were green.” Vs. “Her almond-shaped eyes glinted with emerald specs amid olive green eyes.”
See the difference? One you can just say ok, and the other you have to form that picture in your mind. You have a definite image in your mind. If you go too far, it will make the reader slow down and stretch their mind around the abundance of detail, so know when to stop.
“Her almond-shaped eyes that slanted down to the sides of her nose glinted in the sunlight with emerald specs amid the olive green iris in her thin eyes, hidden behind winged eyeliner and mascara.”
Nobody needs to read all of that in one go. If it’s necessary to know about her makeup, then by all means, describe it. But you have an entire story. You don’t have to info dump every bit of detail into one line. It’s off-putting to read such a long line about one feature on one character. Also, remember that once you tell your readers that her nose slopes gently upward at the tip, you don’t have to tell them again. Once later in the story, if it is relevant perhaps, but it isn’t a feature worth repeating. Now if your pirate has a scar that will identify him in a crowd or a tattoo that you never noticed part of before, you can mention it more frequently.
The story of the Boy Who Lived isn’t half as interesting if you didn’t know about the purple-faced uncle that ruffled his bushy mustache as he locked the rusty bolt on the outside of the door on the cupboard under the stairs. This level of detail in one line is fine, as it briefly describes both the character and part of the setting. Your mind can flow from the face to the hand locking the bolt right? Keep this sort of motion in mind when forming your details.