Welcome to Suburbia Press. Let's face it. With millions of blogs on the Internet, most of us are an unknown blogger.
We write. We toil. We hope. We pray. Nothing seems to garner attention. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to see why some blogs never reach their intended audience. They're making some of the most common mistakes.
Top Five Reasons You're an Unknown Blogger
Let's discuss some reasons why you just aren't getting attention and what you can do to fix the problem. These five issues are the fundamentals of blogging, no matter your niche or subject. If you aren't heeding these concepts, you'll remain an unknown blogger.
1: Use Good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques
In the land of the Internet, Google is your God. It doesn't matter if you like Google or not, it's the 800 pound gorilla of search engines, which means it is a gateway to your front door if you just follow some very simple guidelines.
Search engines need your help to identify the important things in your article. They also like repetition, but not too much of it. Let's use this post as an example. I'm using “Unknown Blogger” as a keyword phrase. Here's how Google knows that is something important to me.
- Unknown Blogger is in the Title
- Unknown Blogger is in a Headline (H2) tag
- Unknown Blogger appears in Bold text
- Unknown Blogger is in the ALT tag of the image on this page
- I've used Unknown Blogger multiple times in the article
These things allow Google to concentrate on a keyword phrase. Combine that with more than 300 words in an article and there's a good chance that Google will think this page is useful for someone searching for the keyword phrase “unknown blogger.”
Think of these as minimum requirements for the Google crawler.
You Can Do Better
Write for real people, not search engines. You want to solve a problem in such a way that people want to share it with their friends. The way that helps you is when someone gives you a backlink to your article.
Get enough backlinks from relevant sites about your topic and your page will rank well in search engines.
Because backlinks are indicators of trust. People don't want to link to a site they don't trust. It puts their own reputation on the line. They're sending visitors from their site to your site. If a site sends a visitor to someplace irrelevant or even dangerous, it reduces the likelihood that the visitor will return to either site.
Is 300 words enough? What about 3,000 words? There honestly isn't a magic number. Seth Godin routinely writes short blog posts that make people think and he ranks well. Others tell you that long form content, articles over 3,000 words, get shared the most.
Either can work if you write something interesting enough that people want to share. Backlinks are critical to your search engine optimization.
2: Write Something Useful
Of course, you can't just stuff your article with keyword phrases. Google is smarter than that. Even if it fools the Google Search Algorithm, it won't fool a reader who clicks onto your site.
People search for things to help them learn or solve a problem. If you aren't providing useful content, they'll leave just as quickly as they arrived. Your content must relate to human readers, not search engines.
So what makes useful content? You have to solve a problem, provide direction, entertain or enlighten your visitor. If I wrote something like this:
The Unknown Blogger had lunch at Cheesecake Factory today.
Chances are nobody would care. It's not useful to know where I had lunch. If this were a food blog, then it would be useful if I reviewed the food or service at Cheesecake Factory and reported what I found. That would make my statement relevant to the site's purpose.
Since this is a site about building a web site, that statement wouldn't be useful content. It offers no useful information for a person who wants to learn about blogging and it isn't relevant to the site.
3: Focus On A Niche
Don't confuse your readers by trying to be all things to all people.
Yes, perhaps you have many interests. That's nice, but your readers typically have one thing on their mind when they visit a web site. That's why they go to news sites for news, photography sites when they want photos, and entertainment sites when they want gossip.
Part of making your content useful is keeping it organized and constrained. If you write about travel one day and technology the next, you run the risk of alienating some of your readers. They don't know what they're going to get when they come to your site, so they stop visiting.
Imagine how you feel when you find a site that is a treasure-trove of useful information on a specific topic. Everything you ever wanted to know about taking a cruise and it's all in one place! Readers can go from one article to the next and they're thrilled as you solve one problem after another, or enlighten them about the secrets of a successful cruise.
That's why you need to find a niche for your blog. You have to become the treasure-trove for your readers. If you want to share your knowledge about another niche, start another blog. Those readers will love you, too.
4: Earn Your Readers Trust
Readers need a reason to believe you.
Anyone can create a blog and proclaim themselves an expert. That's OK, we discover new experts all the time. In fact, everyone has experience in something, so we aren't surprised to find new experts all the time.
You just have to give something to earn your reader's trust to keep them coming back.
Useful information is a good start. Share something useful and do it a hundred more times to establish your credibility.
Point to examples of your experience. In my case, I gained my blogging experience at William Beem Photography and share my local knowledge at Orlando Local.
Give more than you take. It's OK to have some advertising or a product to sell. It's even expected. Just don't make every article a high-pressure sales pitch. People love to buy, but they don't want to be sold.
They want to get help. Show that you can help them and they'll buy your product.
Stay relevant. Expressing your views on sensitive topics can turn off your readers. One offensive comment about race, religion, politics or even the best beer could destroy your credibility and turn off your audience. Don't do something to lose the trust you've earned.
Use images and citations to other web sites. Research shows that people trust your words more when accompanied by an image.
5: You Aren't Making It Easy
Remember when I said that you have to write for people, not search engines? People don't want to fight their way through your post. Make it easy for them to reader your content.
- Use headlines to divide sections of your post
- People like bullets and numbered lists
- Use a readable font size. Nobody wants to strain their eyes reading fine print. Give them a comfortable 16 point font to read.
- Use common words. You could say that remora are concomitant with sharks, or you could just say that remora naturally accompany sharks. Most readers will prefer the latter.
- Presentation matters.
Choose a theme that's attractive and pertinent for your niche subject. I'm using the Magazine Pro theme from StudioPress for this site and others that I manage.
If I were running a food review site, I may have chosen something like the Foodie Pro theme. Find something that resonates with your topic.
Some of those links are affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you buy a theme, but there is no extra cost to you.
It's Never Going To Be Perfect
Blogging is more of a journey than a destination. You're never going to be “done” with your blog, unless you just let it die.
With that in mind, don't try to do everything at once. Make small moves and little tweaks. Then observe the results. If you change a lot of things about your site, it's harder to know which one caused the impact. Try making one change and see what happens. Then add another one.
It's OK to have a plan of different changes you want to make to your site. Just take a bit of time with each one so you can measure the results.