Do you wonder why your favorite blogs have thousands of followers while you have only a paltry few — and most of those are family and friends? Did you expect to be drawing more readers by now?
Maybe those bloggers are doing some things you’re not. Here are some possibilities why no one is reading your blog:
1. You’re Not Optimized for Web Search
To get read, you first have to get noticed. That’s where a solid search engine optimization strategy comes in. You can start with hyperlinks attached to anchor text that is relevant to your company, appearing early in your post. A campus offering nursing degrees could use anchor text such as “nursing career” or “Master of Science in Nursing degree” for hyperlinking a blog post that discusses course offerings. If you’re not SEO-savvy, do research or get guidance from a professional.
2. Your Headlines Aren’t Compelling
Readers scan the Internet quickly, and they may pass over a boring headline. But catch their attention, and you might have them. Don’t go for lame, clickbait headlines; “amazing,” “awesome” and “will change your life” tend to deliver none of those things. Instead, grab attention with something compelling.
Let’s say you’re writing about your dad for a Father’s Day post that you hope will make readers feel a connection. Let’s assume the piece is funny yet poignant and wonderfully written. What can you write as a headline that would make a reader want to click on it?
Use a hook. Pull something unusual from the story for an eye-catching headline. “Lousy Magician, Better Dad” or “The Hamster Eulogies: Grieving Kids and the Dad Who Adored Them” say something compelling that may grab a web surfer’s attention.
Go for the numbers. List headlines are always popular and entertaining, such as “21 Reasons Your Dad Deserves a Hug Today” or “10 Weird Things Dads Tell Their Kids.”
Perhaps you’re writing about ways to make the morning commute not just tolerable, but enjoyable, by listening to audiobooks:
Imply something useful. “Your Morning Commute Could Be the Best Part of Your Day.”
Be Irreverently Entertaining: “10 Ways Audiobooks Can Take the Crappy out of Your Crappy Commute.”
3. You Post Infrequently or Inconsistently
To get consistent attention, you need consistent posting. Post frequently, perhaps two or three times a week, ideally on the same days of the week. Plan content ahead of time so you’re not stuck scratching your head for ideas.
4. You Don’t Promote Yourself Enough
It’s up to you to market your blog. Promote your posts via social media and your email subscriber list, and include a well-placed link to your blog on your website. You don’t need to spend half the day on social media — just enough to have an approachable presence beyond simply pasting a link.
5. Your Blog isn’t Set Up for Sharing on Social media
Make sure others have the tools to promote your blog, too. Every blog post you write should have strategically placed buttons that readers can use to quickly share the post on social media. Facebook and Twitter are the obvious platforms, but Google Plus, Tumblr, Pinterest and Reddit are a few others. Social media can greatly accelerate interest in a blog post if people keep sharing it.
6. You’re Not Making It Easy to Subscribe
One of the most important pieces to the blog puzzle is the number of subscribers — email subscribers as well as subscribers to your RSS feed. Both are extremely valuable, but email subscriptions create a direct connection, while RSS subscribers will see your content only if they choose to look at their RSS reader. You should have an easy-to-spot link for email subscriptions near the top of your page, above the link for RSS feeds. You can also include a call to action in your posts to invite readers to subscribe to be reminded of new content.
7. Your Content Just Isn’t That Great
When you re-read your posts, do you feel something is off? Maybe your content needs some work. You may have brilliant ideas but have difficulty writing them in ways that work. Perhaps you’re an excellent writer, but your topics aren’t very interesting. Either way, that doesn’t mean your content can’t grow into something that does work. Study popular blogs and try to understand what they do that you don’t. Research or seek professional guidance on how best to polish your work. And communicate with peers who will give you their honest opinions.
8. You Rarely Use Photos
Every post you write should come with an image, even if it isn’t yours (but some of them should be, in order to create more of a connection with readers). Art makes your posts more sharable. It doesn’t have to be a photo; in fact, a clever chart or infographic can be just as good.
9. You’re Too Self-Promotional
When your blog becomes too self-promotional, you run the risk of driving readers away. They’re not there to read about you; they want you to entertain and enlighten them. When you can work in promotional information within that context, by all means do so, but do it in a way that doesn’t feel like advertising.
10. You’re Not Connecting With Your Audience
It’s not enough for a reader to really like a post. If you’re not consistently putting out engaging posts tailored to your audience, you’ll lose those people. The Internet is a fickle place. Face it, you are a drop in a giant bucket of blogs that douse the Internet. If people don’t feel connected to you, they’ll find another drop, and another, and another, and before long you could be dried up.
Share Stories — and Listen. One great way to connect with people is to put yourself in the role of storyteller. Share genuine, compelling, poignant, funny, even (perhaps especially!) cringe-worthy stories in your posts, and invite readers to tell their stories, too. The more you can tap into the human desire to commune with others, the more you can drive heartfelt human interaction that can bring you respect — and readership.
Blogs aren’t about anchor text or social media; these are just vehicles. Blogs are about stories. They always have been. You just need to get your stories out in ways that make the right connections with the right people.