However great your content is, it won’t count for much if users don’t click to read it. You may have spent hours writing the greatest article ever and teamed it up with amazing visuals and the perfect user interface, but your first step is still getting your users to click on your article. If you are posting on social media, forums or elsewhere, potential readers will be drawn in (or not) by your blog’s headline. So it is incredibly important to pick a headline that is powerful and catchy so that people want to hear more. How can you do this? Here are a few simple tips.
Work on it
The perfect title might not hit you right away. Sometimes it’s better to write the content first (around a particular theme or issue) and then start putting your headline together. It might also be a good idea to brainstorm potential headlines. Don’t worry if your first title isn’t a showstopper, keep thinking and you will get there. In general, aim to keep your headline an accurate reflection of your content, make it sound interesting and try and keep it short (under 70 characters is a good rule of thumb in terms of length).
Blogs are great but they go so much further than just creating and consuming content. The words on the digital page are definitely important, but even more important is being able to leverage those words and readers into something bigger: a community. Building a community means higher reader retention, more engaged readers and ultimately more leads. So what exactly does a blog based community look like and more importantly, what’s the magic formula for creating a community around your blog without breaking the bank?
Community means interaction
Maybe you are getting good web traffic and a few shares – that’s great, but not necessarily the mark of a successful blog that can form a cohesive community of users. So what’s a good metric for measuring community? Well, interactions are key here. So, actions are great, but ongoing interactions are even better. This is the difference between web traffic that comes to your site once before disappearing forever and readers who frequently comment on your blog and talk to each other about your site content. At the end of the day, community goes far beyond what you create or produce and becomes something larger and much more powerful.
If comments and interactions are the gold standards for creating and measuring an online community what can be done to encourage and foster them? If you have any type of blog you probably realize there is an inbuilt comments section. This might not be your best bet. Yes, it’s free and yes, it’s right there but we encourage you to leave the comfort of your blog platform and look at a world of amazing available plugins. Why should you do that? Well, for starters, most automatic comment sections are fairly standard text-based affairs while downloading other plugins (and many are completely free!) can help you to go far beyond this and let your community communicate through rich media – that means video, audio, emojis and photos. Allowing users different ways to communicate is a great way to grow the conversation on your blog.
Are you all set when it comes to social media campaigns, adverts and driving traffic to your site? Well, what happens once they get there? Are your readers sticking around and engaging or clicking away in a few seconds? Whatever you do, your main aim is probably to get conversions. This can mean purchases from your online store, newsletter sign ups or lead submissions. The longer visitors stay on your site, the more likely they are to convert. So, getting loads of traffic, which disappears after a few seconds, isn’t so great. And in fact, statistics show that 70% of people who abandon your site will never return. So, here are some tips to make your readers stay longer.
Make sure your content is easy to read
It may sound obvious, but if you’ve written the best article in the world, and it looks terrible visually, most people won’t stay to read it. In fact, the majority of readers won’t read your content at all – they will scan it. Make sure your website looks good visually and that content is broken up in ways that are easier on the eyes. For example, instead of one huge run on an article, try breaking articles up into short paragraphs with headings. That way, even if people don’t deep dive into your content, they’ll be able to get an overview of what you’ve written. You can also help vary the flow of an article by inserting visuals within the text. Playing a short clip is a great way to ensure people stick around a little longer.
If you have a blog then writing is at the center of what you do. However good your web platform, graphic design, and advertising, if your content doesn’t stand out from the crowd, people won’t stop to read it. With an increasingly crowded digital world of blogs and bloggers, it’s tough to differentiate. Every potential topic already has multiple blogs and articles. But don’t despair; here are some tried and tested methods to dramatically improve your writing and help take your content to the next level.
Break things down into bite-sized chunks
It might seem overwhelming to suddenly get better at everything writing related, but you can break things down into easy to achieve tasks with clear goals. For example, if your writing is very formal, practice a more conversational style. If you want to spice up an article full of facts and figures then try adding a personal anecdote to it. These are small steps that can significantly improve the quality of your blogs. And keep practicing – there is no better way to improve your writing than to keep on doing it and experimenting with new directions and ideas.
Don’t do it alone
The vast quantity of blogs that are already out there can actually be an advantage. You aren’t writing in a vacuum and it can really help to read a lot. Looking for styles you like (and don’t like) is a great way to hone your own writing skills. And as the saying goes, “the best form of flattery is imitation” so don’t be scared to mimic other people’s styles until you find your own unique voice. Another great way to improve your writing is to connect with the people around you. Ask a writer you respect to review your blog and give you honest advice. A great way to do this is to join a group or workshop and exchange and read work. When it comes to feedback, don’t just focus on how great a blog is – yes, this can help boost egos – but ultimately it won’t be very helpful. On the opposite side of the spectrum, negative criticism can totally shut down a conversation. So, the best form of advice is constructive criticism with positive reinforcement – drawing attention to what is great, and explaining what could be better and what steps could be put in place to take things to the next level.
It’s hard enough building up a blog from scratch, maintaining it and constantly creating content. But, however effective your blogging formula is, it’s sometimes a good idea to shake things up and try something new. Finding ways to be a more creative blogger can help generate new traffic and make your current readers stay on your site for longer. So where can you start with something like this? Well, we’ve thought long and hard about it and have collected a few easy to implement tips that you can try out today.
Work on it
Contrary to popular belief, creativity isn’t just something innate which you are either have or don’t have. It’s actually more like a muscle and that means you need to use it and exercise it to strengthen it. So, how does that work? Well, you can try a few simple exercises and do them in a daily and disciplined way to help boost your creativity. One great place to start is to have daily relaxation/distraction time. If you are struggling to think about how to write your next awesome blog, take some time away from it. Rather than thinking about non-stop and stressing out, try doing something else and let your mind get distracted – go to the gym, take a short walk, read something unrelated. Sometimes these periods of disengagement are our most creative ones – they let new ideas rise up in our mind.
Want to get more users to your blog? Are you looking for a few easy-to-implement tips? With more blogs online than ever before, it is even more important to differentiate yours and find the right ways to build a dynamic online community around your content. According to statistics from 2016, a total of 6.7 million people blogged on blogging sites while 12 million people posted blogs on social media networks. When they are part of a website, blogs help increase conversions, improve overall user engagement and help your website perform better in search engine rankings. But the simple fact of having a blog is not enough to gain all these benefits. So, how can you start blogging better?
Create a strong call to action
One way to radically improve a blog is to get your readers more involved. However good your content is, ultimately you want people to do more than just read and leave. Give your readers a clear idea of what’s next and use language that encourages action. For example, add a pop-up to your blog with the text “Like what you read? Sign up to get more articles like this one”. Another great call to action is to ask readers for their opinion at the end of a blog. You can also create action items through interactive web elements like quizzes or surveys. There are lots of tools out there that can help you do this.
How is tech going to change and grow in near future and what will the future of tech look like in ten or twenty years? According to Jeff Pulver, VOIP expert, the future will look a lot more like Star Trek then we might expect. In a recent talk he described typing and interacting with apps the way we do in 2017 as something that will soon become obsolete. So what will our digital interactions look like? Well, as VR and AR gain technological prowess and voice analytics improve; the future looks set to look like a lot like science fiction. If you’ve watched Star Trek then you are familiar with the concept of a ship that works primarily through voice commands and a “holodeck” where crewmembers have immersive VR experiences. We might not be ready for intergalactic space flight quite yet, but the digital interactions are already moving in this direction.
Interactive and intuitive tech landscapes
Many of the gadgets seen on episodes of Star Trek already exist. We already have tablet computers, universal translator apps and more. But the future looks set to combine many of today’s emerging technologies for a more intuitive and interactive digital experience. Gesture technology and voice technology point the way towards control decks and control hubs that can be commanded much as the Captains of the Enterprise commanded theirs. And if it sounds like nothing but science fiction to you, just check out RoomE’s hi-tech voice and motion controls. Today this kind of control panel is a one off, lab-based experiment, but soon enough we can expect to see these kinds of digital interfaces in our homes and workplaces.
If you are looking to monetize your website or blog, then there are so many different types of advertisements to choose from. You can run paid banner ads, popups, retargeting email campaigns through your website or blog. You can run ads, boosted content or sponsored stories across social media. You can create sponsored content in the form of articles or guest blogs, and the list goes on. But one mode of advertising really stands out – native advertising.
What is native advertising?
Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed. This goes for both the content itself and the visuals. The idea is that users will have an “organic” or “natural” experience rather than experiencing jarring ad content where they don’t want it. The ad will visually look like it is part of the blog post or web page they are looking at, and, the content will be related. Today, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr all use native advertising as do major publications like Forbes and the New York Times. Clearly, native advertising gets results.
It’s 2017 and we are being constantly bombarded by ads. We see a pop up on every page we visit, there are banner ads on the sides of the blogs we read. When we log onto social media a large proportion of what we see is sponsored, and when we search Google the first few results are always advertisements. At a certain point we start to block out the advertising “noise”. There’s too much of it and a lot of it just isn’t relevant to our lives.
In recent years, ad campaigns have focused on targeting the “right” segment of users. Using this logic, the total group of potential customers of any business is split up into different segments often based on demographic or psychographic qualities. Take Instagram for example. If you want to create a campaign you can pick out your target segment by choosing their age, gender, location and up to 10 interests. On Facebook you can go into even greater depth in terms of interests but the overall logic is the same. Once a segment is chosen, material is targeted specifically towards them. For example if you are a sports brand with a segment of 18-40 year olds based in Manhattan with an interest in sport you can send them ads about a new activewear line for young people that is about to launch in New York. And though this is much more effective than just blanket targeting everyone with ads, but it doesn’t give us the full picture about our customers.
If you have your own blog then you know there are a thousand and one things to worry about. Are you marketing it correctly? Are you using the right channels to advertise? Are your posts interesting and relevant? Is your design the best it can be? After a while a blog can seem like a pretty long checklist of items that are difficult to keep track of. And things can get pretty expensive, pretty quickly. Blog and web design does not come cheap, nor do new logos, paid marketing campaigns or the like. But the good news is, there are lots of simple things you can do that won’t cost you a penny and will help you radically improve your blog.
Publish more and better content
According to the New York Times, 95% of blogs fail. To avoid becoming part of this statistic, focus on what really matters – growing your readership. There is sadly no tried and tested formula to magically grow from 0 to 1 million but there are some straightforward (and free) things you can do. Publishing more content is one proven way to grow your readership. Keeping your writing unique and high quality is essential (so you can’t simply increase the frequency but reduce the quality). Starting to sound expensive? Not necessarily. One tip for generating more content is to keep track of what inspires you. Get a notebook or an app you like and write down every inspiring article, quote or thought you have. Keeping these ideas organized and within reach at all times is a great way to convert a higher proportion of your good ideas to awesome content. Another way to increase the frequency of content (for free) is to feature guest bloggers. And this is something that works both ways – you can feature other bloggers on your site, and send your own articles to other blogging sites for even greater exposure.
Have a clear call to action
Blogs aren’t all about the content. One of the best ways to grow a readership is to actively engage with your readers and work to build an online community. One great way to do this is to create clear calls to action so people don’t just read and leave. Decide how you want to engage with your users; for example through a comments section, through an online poll or by inviting guest submission, and make it crystal clear to readers that this is how they can take an active part in your blog. If your call to action is simply requesting social media shares, make sure it is easy and obvious for readers to do so.
Make your comments amazing
We all know comments are important. They generate a constant stream of user content. Every comment is unique and free. Best of all, it is much easier to gain user generated content then actively manage a new advertising campaign or double your blog output. Simply put, high-quality user-generated content is low hanging fruit and you should focus on how to leverage it. So, how can you significantly improve your comments? For starters, if you are currently using the native comments platform on your blog – there is a better way. Today there are a whole host of unique commenting platforms that can radically transform the way you interact with users. One of the best ways to do this is to go beyond text. For a long time comments have been almost exclusively text-based (apart from the occasional emoji or meme) but there is a better way. Voice, image and video commenting can help increase user engagement and make your blog stand out. Voice in particular is a great way to create a much more personal interaction, and best of all you can do it without spending a single dollar.
Heyoya is a game-changing comments and reviews platform that brings voice to e-publishers and e-stores, improving sales and user engagement by allowing readers to express themselves beyond the medium of text. Heyoya’s new Receiver plan allows for quick and easy below-the-fold monetization through native advertising. Heyoya is a game changer for websites and is proven to increase brand affinity and the quality of user-generated content.
For more information about Heyoya, click here.