Be honest. Are you where you want to be as a blogger? Are your articles getting shared and discussed and linked to? Are you being mentioned by others in your niche?
If your posts aren’t getting the traction you want, you might trick yourself into thinking you’re not a good enough blogger. But the truth is, anyone can follow a few simple steps to improve their posts, and anyone can deploy the right strategy to become a successful blogger.
Here’s a five-step plan to dramatically improve your blogging game.
You’d be surprised at the millions and millions of blogs that never get even to a hundred readers.
Because the owners of said blogs never develop a proper strategy when it comes to blogging.
The write because they want to write something, as if addicted by the sound of them punching those damn keys. They write when they feel inspired, even though this means that they are never, ever, ever, consistent.
If you start with a blank page and put down whatever comes into your head, you’re not doing yourself or your readers any favors.
That’s why you need to develop a proper strategy.
Think in terms of:
- Your blog’s main topic, and any of its derivative topics. What are the main ideas? What would you write about if you were to set out to compile a list of the most important aspects of your niche?
- Any derivative topics that are related to your main topic.
After a quick brainstorming session, you should be able to develop a proper content strategy, complete with a content calendar. This gives your blog intention and direction.
All these topics are somehow related to your main niche.
To give you an example, a book blog can cover book reviews, but also write an article about book covers, or write a comparison between books and their adaptations.
This also means that you can develop a proper content calendar, and a proper strategy, so you can stay consistent.
Knowing this means that you know when to write, when you edit, and when to publish content.
That’s what a strategy does. It enables you to figure out the best way to produce content in a consistent manner.
2. The Competition
I’ve wasted a couple of years blogging in a void of sorts. I’d almost never read other people’s articles.
This, of course, had a negative effect on the quality of my writing, while also becoming oblivious to the changes of the blogging industry.
I was still writing 300 word motivational essays in a world dominated by lifehackers and personal development gurus.
In more ways than one, it felt like I was in the wrong niche, at the wrong time, sharing the wrong type of content.
Don’t do that.
Blogging is a conversation.
Be part of the conversation. Read other people’s articles and look for the, “Yeah, but…” you will encounter as you try to leave a comment.
If you can add to the conversation, that’s a fantastic idea to write about topics that others rarely write about.
Be part of the conversation that goes on within the confines of your niche, and you will become a far better blogger.
3. Quality > Quantity
A lot of bloggers mistakenly believe today’s blogging world is ultra-competitive, when, in fact, it’s over-saturated.
Because of this information overload we’re facing, people are no longer interested in “good-enough” content.
They want to read blockbuster articles, blog posts that aim to be the best articles on the web.
How do you know if you’re written a blockbuster article?
- How much time did you spend working on your article? Most bloggers compete for a place at the bottom of the food chain by spending 2-3 hours writing and editing an article.
- Do you share insights and/or information that is not available anywhere else? If you’re not sure, the answer is probably no.
Also, one thing to keep in mind is that high-level content is almost always considered blockbuster content. Opinions are nice. Everyone has them though. But experience? Doing the thing and then writing about it? That’s a recipe for a killer article.
A few aspects to consider:
- Your headline — this alone will make or break your post. A fantastic post with a mediocre title isn’t going to get seen.
- Your introduction — if it’s too vague, confusing, or too long, the rest of your post won’t get read.
- Your conclusion — if someone reads all the way to the end of your post, there’s a good chance they enjoyed your writing and liked what you had to say. Don’t lose them with an abrupt ending, or a weak call to action.
Formatting also matters a lot, because most readers are scanners. A huge chunk of text is most intimidating to the vast majority of people
Use subheads, bold text, bullet points, and other formatting features to enhance your writing.
- Subheads act as signposts to the reader. Make them clear, not clever.
- Bold text is a great way to highlight certain elements, making your post easy to scan.
- Bullet points add white space and make information easy to take in.
Do it: Next time you come across a blog post that seems effortless to read, take a close look at how it’s formatted — and see what features you could use too.
In today’s over saturated blogging environment, the best way to stand out is by focusing obsessively on quality content.
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4. Aim for Improvement
The successful bloggers knows just how important improvement is.
Perfection cannot be attained, but progress is worth the trouble.
Look, I’ll be honest with you. Without a sense of improvement, without facing the daily frustration of failing, over and over again, without trying new things, blogging is not that fulfilling.
How could it be?
It gets old pretty fast.
And that’s what happens to most bloggers.
They think they know everything there is to know about blogging, they believe they’ve developed a certain style.
Well, the moment you think you know it all, that’s when everyone else starts to surpass you.
If you want to reach the top of the food chain, aim for improvement. If you want to stay there, aim for improvement.
Don’t let a weakness turn into a blind spot.
5. Run a SWOT Analysis of Your Blog
The best way to improve as a blogger is to run a SWOT analysis of your blog every six months or so.
A SWOT analysis is a strategic technique used by many businesses and organizations to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and develop a proper course of action.
Though primarily used during the initial stages of a business, a SWOT analysis is such a simple and straightforward tool that we can use it to assess our current situation and adjust our strategy in the short to medium term.
A couple of things to keep in mind:
- Strengths and weaknesses are internal. They are characteristics of your blog that either give you an advantage to other bloggers in your niche or put you at a disadvantage.
- Opportunities and threats are external. They are elements in the online environment, such as the growing popularity of a certain niche or the launch of a new platform or monetization opportunity.
Writing down these four elements can provide you with crucial insight and can help you develop a strategy that will take advantage of certain opportunities.
For instance, one example of an opportunity might be one of your articles gaining traction (going viral). This allows you to capitalize on that and “sprint,” working toward a more aggressive strategy overall:
- you increase your posting frequency
- engage your readers more often in the comments section
- develop a framework that allows you to create similar content to the article that is getting all the attention
I’ve been running a SWOT analysis of all my blogs once every six months (in April and December) for the past two years, and it has allowed me to take advantage of a number of opportunities while working toward mitigating the negative effects of my weaknesses.
Of course, such an analysis is only worth it if you’re willing to develop a proper strategy to take advantage of the opportunities and strengths you write down.
You also need to be honest enough in your self-assessment. If you can’t, ask a fellow blogger to assist you, or simply ask your readers to let you know what are your weaknesses when it comes to the content you share.
I’d like to end this post by telling you that, for best results, you should apply all five steps.
Think of your weaknesses and then develop a strategy, so you can improve enough to share quality content.
It sounds like a lot of work, but I assure you that once you see results, trying to figure out a way to share the best content possible becomes addictive.
Progress inspires more progress.