If you are reading this you are most likely one of the 6.7 Million people with a blog. I myself have blogged for 13 years. Honestly, most of it sucked. I have learned a lot over the past several months about how to make your blog suck less. Evaluate your blog harshly in these 8 areas and make the needed changes quickly.
1. Post Length – As a General Rule Your Post Should Be between 350-1500 Words. I prefer to read and write posts in the 500-750 word range (2-3 minute read).
The reason that you need to write at least 350 words is because (in all fairness to twitter) you cannot really provide a valuable fully formed thought on any subject in less words. We as a culture tend to like quotes which are obviously shorter but if that is all that the person being quoted has to say on the subject it reduces the wisdom associated with the quote. So make sure that you say something, write at least 350 words per post.
Why I place an upper limit of 1500 words is for two reasons.
First, people have short attention spans, no matter how disciplined you may be your average reader has an attention span of 8-12 minutes and while using the internet it is typically on the shorter end. The average blog has a bounce rate of 50% or higher. That means that means half of the people, or more that visit your page leave in under a minute and a half. The average adult reads 250-300 words per minute. So the reality is that really long post you wrote most people will never see the whole thing. Don’t waste your time break it up into shorter posts.
Second reason not to write more than 1500 words is clarity. The longer your post gets the less focused your point becomes. When someone reads your post you want them to come away having retained at least a piece of your message.
2. Readability and Visuals –Pictures, Fonts, and Formatting Oh My!
Simply put if you are not using pictures in your posts then you are being negligent with the message you are sharing. Words are just hooks that our mind hangs pictures on, so why not
provide a picture as well?
*It is also a great idea if your blog editor allows it to set the pictures to the right or to the left of your text which will squeeze the paragraph down the page driving the reader deeper into what you are saying faster.
As far as formatting goes this is all about making your post readable. I know you think you found the coolest looking font that was ever invented but can other people read it? You want to use a simple font not a fancy one (I use Georgia) and you want it to be about 14pt.
Other formatting elements that you need to use is
- Short paragraphs
- Sub Headings
- Underline links
As a rule of thumb, if your blog post looks like a grad school essay then no one will want to read it.
3. Frequency– Frequency = Consistency
The Reality is that it does not matter how often you post or how rarely, so long as it is consistent. You are always teaching your readers what to expect. If you post 3 times in one week but then not again for 3 weeks then you lose the audience you had developed that was expecting you to post more often. Your posts could be quarterly but you won’t get much traffic. You could post monthly, bi-monthly, weekly, or multiple times a week so long as you are consistent.
Some people say only write when you have something worthwhile to say. However, it is possible to continue learning either from books, articles, and websites, or from the world around you. So have something worthwhile to say at least weekly if you would like to build a good audience. Hubspot published a report that shows Blogs that post 20 or more times in a month generate 5 times more traffic than blogs with 4 or less posts a month. 
I have personally found 3 posts a week to be my sweet spot.
4. Multiple Pages – You need at least two pages!
- Blog Feed – This page is where your actual blog posts show up. (Duh)
- About Page – This page should tell about you the author. It should also communicate the subject of the blog, and the benefit the readers should expect. It is also a good idea to have a link to your more popular posts as well as an opportunity for readers to join your email list.
5. Blog Categories – Help Your Reader Find Content
The intentional use of blog tags and labels it is possible to create category tabs. When readers are on your page they want to know how to find things. This is just a way to help that happen. It also helps you organize your site to provide a more focused and consistent product while still giving you the freedom to write about multiple subjects.
6. Jump Breaks – Lower you bounce rate & Improve your traffic
A Jump break is something that breaks up what shows up in your post feed. This helps your site look more organized and inviting for readers. I use them to provide a captivating introduction to the post.
How does it lower your bounce rate? Bounce Rate means the % of people who stay on your site for less than a 1 min 30 sec or only view one page. When reader has to click “Read More” to see the full post it improves the likelihood that he/she will read the entire post. The reader not only stays on your page longer but just by clicking read more they are counted as a whole additional page view.
How do they improve traffic? Google Analytics has no way of tracking who sees your post via RSS Feed. If a reader can view your whole post in the RSS Feed you may have many readers that never ever show up as a visitor to your site to register a page view.
7. Email List – Do You Have One?
Most blogs do not have an intentional email list. You may have people subscribe via RSS or Feedburner but that does not give you as the author a list of emails. If you change your layout your subscribers might like to know but RSS and Feedburner do not tell them and you then have no way to send them an email that is anything but just your posts.
Many blogs have an email list but it isn’t convenient to subscribe to. If I have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to see your Email opt-in box I may never find it. You want an opt-in box at the top of your page on either the right or the left of your posts that communicates clearly that you want me to sign up.
I Recommend MailChimp or AWebber to manage your list.
8. Ads – Make Money or Give Money
You can make money from your blog with ads. Understand that it isn’t a lot of money; in fact 63% of blogs attempting to make money earn less than $3.50 a day. You can sell ad space yourself and make the banners on your own. You could use Affiliate Marketing or just Google Adsense.
You do not have to have annoyingly flashy ads that do not fit your message. Even with Google Adsense you can customize the ads that show up by category to make sure that ads will be relevant to your reader and true to your message.
You can very easily create banner ads for charitable organizations that you support that serves as free advertising for those organizations. This is often a great choice for people who want to optimize the value of their site but whose message is opposed to making money from your website.
Thanks for reading, let me know if you found this article helpful or if I left something off that you find important by leaving a comment below.
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