We’re all professional bloggers right?
Well, did you know that certain things that you do with your blog post before you publish it can seriously affect the success of that post?
Think about it.
What if a post that you wrote and published this week doesn’t do as well as you anticipated. And even if you felt as though it was one of the best posts you’ve ever written, the results don’t necessarily indicate that.
For one, your stats show that even though you received a fair amount of traffic to that post, it still had very little shares.
And as for comments, well, well, well.
That’s a pretty big matzoh ball there, my friend.
Sure, even though you managed to get some, it was still significantly less than what you normally receive. And the worst part is that you probably don’t even know why it happened.
I mean, if it happened on another post, maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much, right? But it didn’t.
It happened on this last post you did.
On a post that you were so confident about you were practically giddy. On a post that you were soproud of and extremely anxious to push that publish button. On a post that you felt was one of your best posts that you’ve ever written.
Of all the rotten luck …
Like I said before, you probably don’t even know why it happened.
Well, let me break it down for you and hopefully you’ll get a better understanding.
Why The Blame Game Won’t Magically Make These Mistakes Disappear
Okay, I see you working there.
You’re blaming it on the topic. If not that, then your promotion efforts. And if not that, then you’refoolishly blaming it on your readers.
Not a smart move, by the way.
Regardless, all of those answers are wrong. Here’s why …
Your post had no chance of succeeding because the mistakes you made happened beforeyou actually published the post.
You read that correctly. It happened before you published it.
Whether you’re a popular blogger or a newbie blogger, if you make mistakes with any blog postbefore you publish it, then you’re up a creek without a paddle.
Sure. Maybe your readers might click on it … but then they’ll quickly leave – primarily for these mistakes.
So … what are these mistakes that you can’t afford to make before actually publishing your post? And why are they so important?
Let’s take a look and see …
Mistake #1 – You Didn’t Include Any Engaging Images
In blogging, there are two types of images you use that can be that crutch your blog post really needs. One of them is necessary and the other … well … is optional.
Do you know what they are?
Well, the first one is the feature image or the main image of your blog post.
This image is supposed to reflect what the post is going to be about without the reader even having to read it … most of the time. However, the main purpose of this image is to be eye-catching and appealing enough to draw readers in to click and eventually read the post.
Let’s do a little exercise and take a serious look at some feature images from a few blog posts here. And I want you to be honest with yourself if you would be intrigued enough to click it and read it – based on the image they used.
First, there’s this featured image used in a post that Kathy Kruse wrote. Read the title of the post and look at the image that she chose to associate that post with.
Does it go together?
Does it, sort of, tell the story of what the post will be about? Does this combination of headline and image pique your interest enough to want to read it?
Here’s another featured image to check out …
That image was from a podcast recorded by Pat Flynn. Read the title of the podcast and look at the image chosen to accompany it.
Does it all flow together?
Visually, does it tell the story for you even before reading the post?
Or how about this featured image for a post written by my friend Ashley Faulkes?
The font. The colors. The image.
Do they all work for this post?
Do you get a sense of what the post will be about before reading it? Does it entice you to want to read it?
See, these are the types of effect you want your featured images to have.
- Visually tells the story
- Flows with the headline
Now, the second type of image that you may want in your blog posts are complimentary images. These are images that you use to break down the post and not only make them more visually appealing, but more readable as well.
Now don’t think for one second that these complimentary images are necessary. Many professional bloggers only use the featured image and it works fine for them. Do what works best for you and what appeals more to your community.
Listen, it should come as no surprise that images are truly vital to blog posts – especially these days. Many of us, myself especially, are visual learners. Having some type of image, or even a few images, makes a blog post much easier to read.
And truth be told, I didn’t really understand how important images were to a blog until a few months ago. Now, I make sure to include engaging images in each post that I write … or I at least try to.
And guess what? You should too.
Mistake #2 – You Didn’t Spend Enough Time On The Headline
Let’s put your professional blogger title on the line here and do another little exercise, shall we?
I’m going to give you three headlines revolving around the same topic. Of those three, there’s only one headline that really works best and the other two, meh. Not so much.
See if you can identify the one that works and the ones that don’t work quite as well.
- How To Make Your Blog Posts Burn Out Instead Of Sizzle.
- How To Solve The Biggest Problems With Your Blog Posts That Don’t Sizzle.
- Why Your Blog Posts Don’t Sizzle And How To Fix It In 15 Minutes.
Before I give my answer, which ones don’t work as well and which one does? I’ll give you a minute.
Here’s my thoughts on those three headlines:
Headline #1 – How To Make Your Blog Posts Burn Out Instead Of Sizzle.
Alot of talk has been made of utilizing negative headlines and them actually converting better than positive headlines but I’ve yet to test that. This headline, however, is projecting a negative image of the post and of the result.
By saying “How To Make Your Blog Posts Burn Out Instead Of Sizzle“, in a sense, you’re promoting the negative result.
There are ways to turn that negative aspect of it on its head to ultimately get a positive result, but judging solely from the headline, it’s not good enough.
What do you think?
Headline #2 – How To Solve The Biggest Problems With Your Blog Posts That Don’t Sizzle.
This headline is moderately better however if you think about it, it doesn’t say much or offer anything. Compared to the first one, this headline is more appealing but you know what it’s lacking?
It’s lacking that je ne sais quoi that’s needed for a headline.
Headline #3 – Why Your Blog Posts Don’t Sizzle And How To Fix It In 15 Minutes.
This headline, in my opinion, is the best out of the three because it’s a benefits driven headline that also offers a time based solution.
The first part of it, “Why Your Blog Posts Don’t Sizzle“ can really speak volumes to those that have been creating blog posts that haven’t lived up to their expectations so far.
The second part, “And How To Fix It In 15 Minutes“ is what would really drive people in because it lets them know that whatever problem they’re having that’s causing them to publish blog posts that don’t sizzle, can be fixed in a set amount of time.
By pairing those two elements together, a lethal dose of interest is created.
Do you agree?
Based on those three headlines, which one(s) do you think works best?
Which one(s) will draw more readers in to read a post with that headline?
The headline is the most important part of your blog post because it’s what draws people in to read your content in the first place. If you’re not writing clickable headlines, you’ll be lost in the blogging world.
And certainly your blog post will be dead in the water if the headline isn’t appealing.
Don’t publish that post without fixing this problem.
And if you struggle to write headlines, Sue Anne Dunlevie wrote a fantastic post that’s worth checking out that can help you.
Mistake #3 – You Didn’t Link To Any Internal Or External Posts
I bet you thought that once you wrote a blog post, that’s it.
That the second you hit publish, you can go promote it on all of your social media platforms and it’ll be linked to and shared. Sure, when you check your stats you’ll probably see that post received a fair amount of traffic for a day or two, but then what?
Chances are that was the only post that received traffic.
And therein lies the mistake.
Whether you know it or not, you’re throwing away a huge opportunity by not linking to your own posts within posts that you write.
Don’t believe me? Here’s what Derek Halpern said about it in a post he wrote over at DIYThemes:
Listen, linking to your posts is necessary. But something that’s even more necessary is linking to other bloggers.
You don’t want to send readers off your site? You think that’s just stupid because it’s giving away readers?
Well, when you look at things that way, you’re probably not going to amount to much of a success when it comes to blogging. That’s the honest truth.
There are many rules to being a successful blogger and even building a popular blog. However, one of the most important rules is that you need to build relationships to succeed online.
And that’s not just me talking, ask any other professional blogger out there and they’ll share the same views. So if you’re not at all linking to either your own posts or other people’s post, then you better get with the program.
But wait. There’s actually one more thing you need to do regarding links.
You need to make sure all of the links are working properly. This means that you should preview the post, click on all the links and make sure that they’re working and go where they’re supposed to.
Last thing you want is to frustrate your readers with links that don’t work. Am I right?
Mistake #4 – You Didn’t Engage The Reader
When I was in University, I had the worst professors. However, there was one that was the worst of the worst.
He would stand in front of the classroom, spend 3 hours lecturing on a boring topic each and every week – in a monotone voice that’ll put Ben Stein to sleep. And to make matters worse, he never actually taught anything. He just stood at the front of the room and just read off of the slides … WHICH he also posted online.
But what was really frustrating about this professor was that he wasn’t engaging. To be quite honest, he was very boring.
You don’t want that.
Especially when it comes to blogging.
See, when it comes to blogging, you want to be the opposite.
You want to show your voice — your personality. You want to talk to your readers as you would talk to a close and personal friend who’s sitting across from you. You want to have a conversation with them.
You want to do all those things because that’s exactly what engaging is.
Now when you look at your posts, can you honestly say that you’re engaging? Seriously?
- Talk to your readers in a conversational tone?
- Ask your readers questions throughout and at the end of the post?
- Include a call to action of what you want your readers to do?
You know … engage?
Believe it or not, this is very vital to being successful in blogging. So if you don’t do that, or aren’t doing that, you need to start.
Mistake #5 – You Didn’t Bother To Proofread Your Post
I know your type.
The type that aced every single spelling test in school. The type that thinks they can out-spell those kids that participate in those spelling competitions they show on TV. The type that sees no point in checking your blog posts for mistakes because you swear that it’s right.
I mean, what could possibly be wrong with a blog post that you wrote, probably in an hour or less?
Whether you know it or not, you’re a professional blogger.
Fine, you’ve already read your post once to make sure the ideas make sense and the paragraphs are in the right order. However, you have to read it once more, just to proofread it.
This time focus on spotting grammar and spelling mistakes. Then, right before you hit publish, read it over again just to be on the safe side. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are one of the reasons readers decide to leave your blog. Don’t give them that reason.
In fact, here are a couple of tricks you can use:
- Read your post backwards. Work your way from the conclusion, or your final thoughts, up to the introduction.
- Read it out loud. Once you hear yourself saying each word, you’re more likely to hear and notice spelling and grammatical mistakes.
Both of these methods will allow you to focus on the single words, making it easier to spot the mistakes.
Does This Mean That You’re Screwed?
Yes, if you continue to make these mistakes.
You can’t honestly sit there and tell me that if you made each one of these mistakes, continuously, your readers won’t notice — and eventually get fed up. And once they get fed up, you can probably guess what their next step is.
But, if you start making some changes, you’ll be in much better shape than those who decide not to change things at all.
So chin up. At least you know some essential things that you need to focus on before you hit that publish button. It’s up to you if you decide to implement them to get the best results possible.
What do you think?
What are your thoughts on this topic?
Are you making these type of mistakes before you publish your content?
I’m very interested to know so please feel free to share your comments and opinions below. Also, I know that you probably know some bloggers that do make these mistakes. Why not be an even better friend to them and share this post so they get this information too.
Not only will I appreciate it, but they’ll appreciate it too.