Are you just about had it with blogging?
Are you this close to giving up?
Wait – take a deep breath. Before you do anything drastic like deleting everything for good, answer this question for me.
Do you enjoy blogging?
No, seriously. Don’t think about things like who cares if I blog, nobody reads it anyway. My content must be terrible, nobody wants to share it. Or, I love talking about my passion but maybe I need to write about something else?
Again, take a deep breath. Get rid of anything that makes you question why you should continue to blog. And answer one simple question – do you enjoy blogging?
If you truly do, and not getting the results you are working hard for, it is time to take a critical look at your blog.
Because you need specific, actionable steps that you can take to achieve everything that you have been dreaming of.
It is time to look at your blog through your readers eyes. It’s time to visit the basics.
Pretend for a second that the blog belongs to someone else. And let the fun begin!
1. What does your blog title tell you?
Ok, time to scrutinize your blog title. What does it tell you? Is it clever or descriptive?
Most blogs have names that tell you straightaway what the blog is about. However, some don’t, just like the one you are reading now (Kikolani – and Kristi explains why she chose this in her About Me page in case you are curious.) If you fall into this category, your tagline and other elements become that much more important to get right.
2. Is your tagline clear or clever?
What does your tagline say? Does it tell the reader what your blog is about, what to expect and the right audience?
If you go to a food blog with the tagline that says ‘make vegan meals in 30 minutes flat’, that tells you instantly what to expect, and that maybe if you are not one, you can skip it.
Notice that Kikolani doesn’t have a tagline, that’s an option you can consider however when you are a beginner, it can be quite useful to have one.
3. Does the blog look professional?
You don’t have to hire the services of a graphic designer to get the look right. There are plenty of amazing themes like Woo, Thesis, Catalyst and Headway available at a once off cost. Headway is great because it lets you drag and drop leafs on your site. You don’t have to know any html or coding to make it look pretty.
4. Can you see, at a glance, who writes this blog?
The best way to do this is to add a brief author bio on the sidebar. People will eventually get to your About Me page but it is nice to locate this information quickly and easily.
Kristi has done this very effectively with her mini ‘About Kikolani’ on the sidebar. This tells you exactly who she is and what you can expect from this blog. You can spot WIFM straightaway – What’s in it for me!
5. Does the blog appear to be written by a professional? (Credentials)
Not only you want your blog to appear professional, you also want to come across like one. You need to add credibility building statements.
Add your qualifications and past experiences. If you have any clients, customers or testimonials, place them in strategic positions – places where they are highly visible but not distract the visitor. Maybe consider adding a tab to reflect all that authority.
Kristi has contributed to Engagment from Scratch, a highly acclaimed book written by Danny Iny. Again, she has that info on the sidebar. She also makes statements in her About Kikolani post that strengthens her position. She also contributes on Kissmetrics and Social Media Examiner and has this info in her footer.
Taking a Deeper Look
6. Who is the ‘About Me’ Page for?
The biggest mistake you can make on your about me page is to make it all about you. Yes, you read it right – about you. What you really need to be doing it is make it about the readers.
As a reader, read it objectively. Find out if it spells out exactly what you as a blogger are doing to help solve your readers’ problems. Highlight your experiences and past accomplishments that are related to what you do. Don’t make it your resume but still show what makes you qualified.
7. Can you tell if the blogger writes about topics that interests you?
That one is really easy. Pick the best posts you have written and show them in your sidebar. Make your categories self explanatory and finally think about adding a ‘Start here’ tab for new comers.
Here on Kikolani, notice all the tabs on the main navigation? They do the same job and do it within seconds.
8. Can you subscribe easily?
Do you spot the email subscribe button easily? The best place to put it on the sidebar, above the fold so your visitors can locate it easily without having to scroll down. You could also add a subscription form at the top of your homepage.
9. Do you have an opt-in offer? Does it make sense?
You might have heard that the money is in the list. And it is true. When you have a decent sized list, you can write to them directly and send them offers. For this to happen, think about offering a freebie – we all love them. Make it interesting and relevant to your blog topic.
10. Are your headlines passing the Bly Test?
The legendary copywriter Bob Bly says your headline must do the following. It should make people curious, spell out a clear benefit and specify the audience the post is meant to be for. Are yours doing this?
11. Is your lead well written?
Make your intro interesting and engaging. Something that pulls in the reader and entices him into reader further – to keep going.
12. Is the material interesting? (Voice and style)
A lot of people don’t really get the mechanics of writing for the web. They either make their posts too dry, or make it for ‘high register’ audiences. Meaning most of us don’t understand what they are saying. If you are blogging, aim to write at a sixth grade reading level and keep it snappy.
13. Is your post screen friendly?
Nobody spends a lot of time reading a single post. Mostly people scroll. You can help make that easy by breaking up your text, adding subheads, bullets, numbered lists etc. Avoid big chunky paragraphs.
Here is an excellent post to dive into: 10 Simple Things You Can Do to Improve Your Blog Posts.
14. Can you share this post easily?
Have you got buttons to share your posts on popular social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest? Initially, it is better to keep your choices limited rather than overwhelm them by offering too many options. They might not pick any.
15. Do others seem to be sharing as well? (social proof)
What happens if are in the shopping centre and see a long line of people? You want to go there and check it out right? Well, that’s the power of social people. We want to go where others are. The sooner you are able to show some on your blog, the easier it will become for you to attract new audiences.
Check the stats for Kikolani:
What does it say about her? That you’d better follow her too.
16. How often does the blog seem to be updated?
And finally, be consistent with your posting schedule. Be it daily, bi-weekly or weekly. Don’t go longer than that you people will forget who you are.
17. Can you easily contact the blogger if needed?
There people who actually make you jump hoops if you want to contact them. What they are saying is this – don’t bother me. This is not a good image to project, make sure you are not doing it.
See if you spot how to contact Kristi. She makes it super easy for you. See the tab on the main navigation bar?
Finally, list 5 things that you like about this blog. List 5 that you don’t. Then work on fixing them.
Read this post by Ramsay of The Blog Tyrant: 13 Things to Try When You Thinking About Giving Up Blogging.
And that’s about it. You have your work cut out for you. Go through all the information you have accumulated and take action.
And don’t give up!