Does your blog suck? If you’re not publishing informative, engaging content or you’re constantly pimping your company more than offering value to your readers, it probably does.
Don’t worry. Even if your blog does indeed suck, you can still salvage it and transform it into a leader in your niche.
Let’s look at some of the reasons your blog might suck, and what you can do about it.
1. You Post Sporadically.
How often do you publish on your blog? Once a month, every few months, or basically whenever the urge strikes you? If that sounds like your blogging routine, your blog just might suck.
It’s difficult to build readership and a core audience if you post infrequently or go long spells without publishing anything. Sure, you might get a stray visitor here and there, but when they see that you rarely post (say, the date on your most recent post was from two or three months ago) they have no incentive to keep coming back. They may even think the blog is extinct, so they vanish.
What to do about it: Create an editorial schedule and stick to it. Commit to publishing new content on a regular basis, even if it’s only one post a week or a few times a month. Don’t worry so much about quantity here. It’s more about quality and some level of consistency.
2. You’re an Incessant Self-Promoter.
Newsflash: audiences have no interest in reading a blog where all you do is promote your company, your products or your services.
It’s fine to make big company announcements or talk about new product releases on occasion. It’s even okay to weave in relevant features of your software application, for instance, in posts where it makes sense. But don’t use every post as a pulpit to pimp and promote your products. That’s what sales-driven landing pages are for.
What to do about it: Offer your readers value-driven content. Be selfless with your writing. People love process-driven content that helps them solve a problem. Offer your audience expert insights and commentary on the latest trends in your industry. Give back and build relationships through spotlights and group interviews.
If you do need to promote yourself, leverage research and persuasive data to make a compelling case as to why customers should buy your products or your services.
3. Your Writing Stinks.
Face it: everyone has different strengths and skills. Ultimately, writing may not be yours. All too often, small business or startup owners try to wear every hat; they’re the founder, CEO, webmaster, head of accounts receivable, and the company blogger. If their writing chops aren’t up to par, you might get blog posts that are unfocused, rambling or poorly structured, or the posts have no clear thesis or a really bold opinion with no supporting points.
How to fix it: Look, just because you can type, doesn’t mean you can write. Know your limitations and step away from the keyboard when required. Hire someone who can write. Here are some tips on finding and hiring writers.
4. Your Blog Consists Entirely of Guest Posts.
We get it – you’re busy. But if you can’t find the time to write and all you do is publish guest posts on your blog, it may come off as spammy. Regular readers may get the impression that your only goal is to churn out content for a traffic grab. Or they may think you don’t care enough about your own blog to post any longer, which is a clear turn off.
What to do about it: There’s nothing wrong with publishing the occasional guest post, but you still need to make your presence known. It’s your blog, after all; your content lends authenticity and a consistent voice – it reaffirms ownership. If you have regular readers, they’re there for a reason, and that reason is probably your writing. Again, get an editorial calendar and carve out time to write.
5. You Never Respond to Comments.
Readers who take the time comment on an article and never receive a response may never return. By not responding to audience feedback – even if you’re being criticized – you’re missing an opportunity to engage your readers and build a community.
How to fix it: The more you interact with your readers, answer questions, give feedback and share your thoughts, the more it feels like you’re committed to your readership, which drives more readers. Make sure you’ve got your blog set up so you get automatic notifications each time a comment is posted. Even if you don’t reply right away, set aside some time to read and respond to comments.
6. All Your Posts are Keyword Driven.
There’s nothing wrong with letting keyword research drive some of your content strategy. However, when every post is a play for search traffic and an exercise in checking off keyword-driven topics on a list, it’s obvious and it gets tedious.
How to fix it: Sure, work in a ratio of informational, keyword-driven topics for your blog, but don’t go overboard. Make sure to mix in topics driven by trends, current events, industry news, etc., so there’s a healthy balance.
7. You Bombard Visitors with Aggressive Pop-ups.
If someone visits your blog and it prompts a pop-up once, fine. But if pop-ups appear on a schedule of every few minutes, that really sucks. It kills the user experience and their trust in your site.
How to fix it: Dial back on the pop-up frequency. Please! Most audiences can deal with one per visit, but any more than that and it’s spamming, and frankly will drive them away. On mobile, the experience is even worse, where it can be near impossible to close out some pop-ups (be sure to test on a mobile platform). Also, try to align the pop-up offer with the article topic, instead of using a one-size-fits all approach. In cases where you don’t have a relevant offer, lose the pop-ups!
Do you have any tips for bloggers who might be feeling their blog sucks? Share yours in the comments.