The goal of a blog is to earn attention from an audience.
The more attention you earn the more people that know about your brand. The more people that know about your brand the more attention your company gets for what you’re selling.
So for this post we’re going to look at ways to improve your blog so that your audience wants to spend time on it.
I’m not a fan of doing things to trick or trap people into spending their attention on your blog. That may work in the short-term, but in my experience it is detrimental in the long-term.
So here are my thoughts on improving your blog.
1. Fast Loading
Google has been putting emphasis on speed for at least a decade. They recognize from their research and experience that page loading speed is very important for Internet browsers (people that use the internet).
Get your blog and its posts loading as fast as possible. If you notice a lag, reach out to your host immediately. Upgrade to a better server situation. Upgrade to a new host. Do whatever it takes to get speed.
Think about the last time you tried loading a traditional newspaper website. Chances are high that it took 5+ seconds. It probably drove you crazy.
Heck, think about the last time it took a split second longer for an app to load on your phone.
There is something engrained in humans to make us value time. Even microseconds.
2. Easy-To-Read Font
We often overlook the importance of type and font. It can be a subtle change to look for a new font for your blog, but if you think it reads better and if others think it reads better than it’s probably worth the change. Increasing the size can help also. Whatever it takes to make it as easy as possible for people to read.
Think about the most enjoyable magazines you’ve read. Sure, you need great content, but the experience is just as important. The best magazines often take extra care with paper quality and fonts.
3. Little To No Distraction (ex. CTAs)
Many blogs have way too many CTAs. Calls-to-action. Sidebars are full of ads or offers. The bottom of the post has an email subscription box along with more offers and ads. The top navigation is in your face with the main pages of the website.
All kinds of stuff.
The more distractions you have on your site, the more likely it is that you’ll annoy readers and send them on their way before they even read your post.
The main goal of a blog post is to earn the attention of a reader, give them good content and give them a good experience. Do that over the long-term and your reputation will grow and that will lead to sales.
Rarely will someone read a blog post, go to your product page and purchase. They’re just not in buying mode when they’re reading blog posts.
But that’s ok. Think bigger. Think about growing your reputation so that when people are in buying mode, you’re the first one to appear in the search results due to your big reputation.
4. Internal and External Links
This post won’t have any internal or external links. But it’s worth having both in most posts when it makes sense.
Some people go overboard on the internal links. More than 3-5 is probably too many. It gets to the point of distraction.
Some people shy away from external links. “Why would I send people away from my post?” is what they ask. Fair question. But the reality is that people may check the link. If what they find is valuable they will remember.
External links are great when they add value. Say you mention a stat and link to a study. That’s valuable to the reader that wants to dive more into the study. And anytime you provide value to someone your reputation grows.
5. Fewer Images
For awhile in the blogging world it was popular to add images to blog posts. But I think it reached a point where it got distracting. Especially when smartphones really took over.
You’ve probably read a blog post where the images were as big as the screen and it made it difficult to read what you landed on the page to read in the first place.
The best practice today is to limit images.
6. Logical Next Step Suggestion
Speaking of CTAs, they are good to have. I’m in favor of about 1-3 CTAs that offer the logical next step for a blog reader. Subscribe to see more content. Search for more content. Learn about the person or brand behind the content they just read.
Those really are the most likely things that a blog reader is interested in. They’re often not interested in buying what you’re selling. Not at that time. Look to offer them more value in the form of more of your content.
The fewer CTAs you have, the more your CTA will stand out.
7. Possible Audio Version
Audio is starting to really take over in the blogging world. You’re going to see more podcasts in the future. People generally prefer text, audio or visual. If someone comes to your blog post they likely want to read the text. But more people today want to listen. I’m seeing more and more blogs offering an audio version of their blog posts. Just like audio versions of books.
I think it’s a good move for the future.
These might not have been the things you expected for this topic. But in my 10+ years experience in blogging these are the things that make the most long-term impact. The focus is on the reader and their experience and also the value they get out of the content. That’s what builds your reputation over the long-term.