Don't have time to read? Listen to the article instead

Bumping up the readership of your blog is hard, whether you’re just starting out or have years of blogging experience under your belt. Sometimes things don’t seem to work out as well as you expected, even with a sound marketing strategy.

This is probably the time when you’d start tweaking budgets, write more or expand your marketing to other channels but a bulging readerships isn’t all about marketing. In fact, there are a number of other, very often overlooked culprits that could be behind your dim number of visitors.

Audience mismatch

Since marketing is the first place we look for the reasons why our readership isn’t growing, let’s start with our audience. When we talk about a mismatch between the content and the audience, a lot of people look at it from an advertising perspective only. This means that we’re thinking about tweaking our audience in our PPC campaigns, but what if who we’re writing for isn’t actually who we’re targeting at all.

Matching what you’re writing with who you’re writing for starts from the second you draft your copy and it should always include answering an essential question:

How does what I’m about to write add value to my readers’ life?

A lot of failing blogs suffer from this inability to find and define the value they can deliver to their audience and without this reason for being associated not just with the overall blog but with every single post, the content published means nothing, adds up to nothing and will yield nothing.

When you’re very clear what value you bring to the table through your content, you can begin to understand a lot more about who benefits the most and adjust your marketing strategy to effectively target them.

So if you’re suffering from adult acne and you’re sharing your experience of dealing with it, your audience will comprise largely of people with the same issue, likely more women than men, up to 35 years old who aren’t just looking for effective skincare but to connect emotionally with others dealing with the same problem.

Dull topics and tone

Any exciting blog theme has to be backed up by equally exciting and sustainable topics. A lot of bloggers start out by picking a really neat theme they’re into and 5 posts in realise they’re running out of material. On the other side of the spectrum, we’ve got people starting out with really broad and generic topics. This tends to be the case with unexperienced lifestyle bloggers.

Your thoughts into a particular lifestyle, career, adventure and whatever else you might want to write about are only interesting if said lifestyle, career, adventure or whatever is interesting to the people you’re writing for. This is why generic will never work.

Defining a wow factor, on the other hand will set you apart from the hoards of bloggers out there and help people connect with you on an emotional level, laying the groundwork for a trust-based relationship. Defining a wow factor is also where you start to individualise your blog’s topics and the way you’re going to talk about those topics (your tone of voice).

Walls of text

Blogs involve reading, there’s no way around it. If you don’t like to read, you’re not going to go near one. Likewise, if you don’t like to write, please do us a favour and don’t touch them either. But just because blogs involve written text, it doesn’t mean the more you dump, the more successful you’ll be.

People are very visual creatures and introducing pictures or branded visuals into your blog posts will help break up what otherwise seems like a Great Wall of Text. Great Walls of Text are not sexy.

Make no mistake, when people land on your page and all they see is a teeny tiny scroll bar with  badly formatted text only, they’re much more likely to hit the close button than keep on reading. There’s no recipe as to what the ideal copy to visual ratio is but including one every 150 to 200 words or so should help your page look more engaging and reinforce your messages.

Better yet, if you’ve got the time, energy and love making videos, try to incorporate them into your blog post. It will help you drive more traffic, break up long text, emphasize your messages and you can reuse them on social media.

Busted blog and functionalities

How do you feel about walking into a nice, upscale theater with clean, comfy chairs and a welcoming ambiance? Would you like a repeat performance? Now, how about a dark, damp one with moldy walls, smelly, broken seats? No matter how good the performance, you’re going to be uncomfortable and you’re likely going to be anxiously waiting for it to end, if not down-right walk out.

You’re blog’s design and features work the same way. These things need to work together to showcase your content’s performance not overwhelm it or create a different experience.

Unless a feature helps your readers, it’s got no business being on your blog. Not to mention that feature hoarding will affect your blog’s performance, making it less mobile-friendly and if you care about your traffic, that’s something you really need to be mindful of.

The Botton Line

Every marketing action worth the effort starts at home. Your content’s home, to be more specific. That means you need to optimise your goalstone of voice, content, blog features, visual identity before you try to optimise your marketing.

Otherwise, you’re only trying to draw the wrong people, to the wrong content, for the wrong reason and the only thing that will turn all those wrongs into a right is strategy.

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