December 20th, 2016. Posted by Solvid.
“Successful blogging is not about one-time hits. It’s about building a loyal following over time.” – David Aston
Without mincing words, 2017 will be the most rewarding as well as most challenging year, yet known to the blogging enterprise. The template for that impossible mix was not just created today – it started off several years ago.
Several experts have shared that view on the internet. In Larry Kim’s, the CEO of Wordstream words, in 2017, he said, “there’ll be fewer winners with much bigger jackpots.” So, get that straight.
How it all started?
Blogging started off with Justin Hall creating the first blog called links.net, while he was still a student at Swarthmore College.
Since then, there were a couple of adjustments and innovations till sometime in the 2000s when the social media stepped in. Ever since then, blogging has never remained the same again. The transformation has been epic.
Today, there are over 150 million active blogs with hundreds of millions contents shared on a monthly basis. The low side, however, is that there are so many blogs and content resulting in drastic reduction of ROI on the content.
The question, therefore, is, what should a blogger focus on to drive the impact of his/her work and, consequently, generate value for every dime invested into his/her blogging business? This work focuses on what experts need to do to create the special appeals that will drive their blogs successfully in the coming year.
Before we go into this, let’s consider a couple of statistics that show the current influence of blogging.
The Amazing Impacts of Quality Blog Content
According to BlogHer, the towering 81 percent of American online consumers trust advice from blogs for their shopping decisions. If you ever intend to sway their purchase decisions in your favour, better consider blogging.
It also said that 61 percent of American online consumers had made purchase decisions based on recommendations from blogs.
Furthermore, in a tweet showing the results of a research carried out by Hubspot, it was said that companies that blog has 97% more inbound links than those who don’t. If you have any doubt on the huge investments being planted into blogging and content creation by multinational companies, consider this: Content Plus discovered that 60 percent of consumers develop more confidence and trust organisations more after reading custom content on their sites.
This reality is underscored by the dudes in charge of companies’ marketing across the USA when ContentPlus discovered that about 40 percent of them consider blogs as the most valuable type of online marketing tool.
Lastly, TMG Custom Media discovered that 90 percent of customers consider custom content useful and 78 percent of them believe companies producing the contents are interested in building a good relationship beyond just selling products and services.
In a summary, these are strong proofs that businesses trust and appreciate the central role of quality content in their marketing efforts.
How To Thrive As A Blogger in 2017
Set a Clear Target
A study undertaken by Harvard Business School in 2015 discovered that 84% of graduates had no clearly set goals. Out of the remaining 16 percent, only 3 percent had their goals written down with strategies aimed at achieving them.
Your guess is correct! The 3 percent with concrete written goals end up earning average of 10 times more than the rest of the 97 percent, without a written goal!
I am assuming that you’ve got the goals for 2017 in place for your blog. What’s your plan for the number of traffic you intend to drive at the end of the first quarter? How and where do you want to be ranked? What do you want your brand to be known for? And, how do you want to achieve these plans? Goals you set must be S.M.A.R.T – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Based. Yes, it’s always good to have a healthy passion, but all of your aims have to be realistic. It’s extremely unlikely that your blog will be generating millions of visits as soon as you launch it.
If you get this right, this will become your propelling force through the year.
Re-evaluate the quality of your content
If you haven’t heard the expression, on the Internet, content is the king. You need to take time and pause to give your blogging job a new look. You need to consider how relevant your content materials are to your audience and evaluate the quality of such content.
Think through how much of their questions are getting answered and how problems are getting solved by your work. Let your content be the light that brightens the darkness of doubts.
Recent studies suggest that content that tends to rank on the first page of Google has an average of 1,900 words. Hence, publishing blog posts that are in a region of 500 words would not carry much value for your search rankings and would not provide value to your users.
Furthermore, think about how incisive your content is. Will they resonate better as videos? Or, are they more incisive in podcasts, e-books or infographics? Work on making them more engaging and optimised for easy use on the web.
Your strategies will need to go a step higher and use more creative formats and presentations. Ultimately, find how to beat your competitors with classic content that puts you in a class ahead of the rest and reach the target with clinical accuracy.
In 2017, if you want to make the right impact and reach the number of audiences that will place you among elite bloggers, you need to start thinking beyond your current reach.
What plans are you having for other media through which people can access your work?
It may not surprise you that over 50 percent of internet users are now accessing the web through mobile devices. Hence, it’s imperative to have a mobile & tablet friendly website that adjusts according to the screen size, especially, when considering the fact that Google has recently announced that they are implementing mobile-first indexing.
Internet users, including your visitors, have had enough digital headaches for being online. There are so many tasks, so many attractions and distractions on the internet that you don’t have to add to it.
The rule to keeping your audience attracted and glued to your work is to keep it simple! Ensure professionalism, quality and simplicity run through your video materials, sentences and structures used in your content, reduce sentence length and the use of jargons as much as possible.
There is this certain and incontestable trace of mastering that sparks through the pages of work delivered with simplicity.
Albert Einstein puts it this way:
“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
Make social sharing a seamless experience
If you want your blog content to go wide within a very short time, help your readers to promote the work. Ensure to provide your viewers with the ability to share your content with ease.
In the world where time plays an integral part, people value every single minute spent online. Who would bother copying your article link, writing a description and publishing it across their social profiles? You are right, very very few.
Hence, it’s vital to integrate social sharing buttons within your content. If using WordPress, plugins like Monarch or SumoMe will do the job very well.
Update the security of your blog
The coming year is going to pose a huge security threat and scams on both, bloggers and internet users. As more and more novice bloggers appear on the web, they become a vulnerable target for hackers. Attacks can be anything from spam emails to your clients to theft of sensitive information (e.g. bank details).
If you want to thrive and peacefully navigate through the terrain, put strong security measures in place that will ensure a safe experience for your visitors and give you fewer headaches.
If your blog runs on WordPress, there are plugins like Wordfence and iThemes Security that will protect your site from being brutally attacked.
If you wish to take your security measures to the next level, consider implementing an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protection, a technology that establishes a secure connection between your server and the browser. Let’s Encrypt is a free provider of these certificates.
Consider AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
Google and a couple of its partners introduced the concept of AMP (also known as Accelerated Mobile Pages) just over a year ago. The primary aim of AMP is to provide mobile users with a lightning-fast web experience, where articles and posts load almost instantly.
In few words, AMP page is just a stripped HTML version of a normal page that takes down all the fancy animations and plugins.
Therefore, if you have a blog or a website that generates high volumes of traffic, it might be worthwhile for you to take a deeper look at what AMP actually is and how it can help your blog.
Work on performance and speed of your blog
Did you know that about 40% of all visitors will abandon the site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds? 40%, that’s a big chunk of traffic. In mathematical terms, if your blog earns $5,000/month and loads more than 3 seconds, you are missing out an extra $2,000/month. That’s a big deal.
Therefore, it’s important that you take your website speed seriously, and ensure that it stays within those 3-second limit.
So, how to increase your website speed?
- Enable Caching (If using WordPress, we recommend using WP Rocket (Premium) or W3TC (Free)
- Optimise and Rescale Images
- Clean Your Database & Revisions
- Enable CDN (Content Delivery Network)
- Avoid heavy plugins and delete the ones you don’t use
- Select an effective & clean WordPress theme
- Choose a good hosting provider
- Enable GZIP compression
- Reduce DNS lookups
- Avoid too many re-directs
- Don’t host videos on WordPress (use YouTube)
Be original and consistent
Don’t try to play anyone else; you will only end up a carbon copy of the person. Create a niche that you are excited about and run with it until you build a popular brand around it.
You should also be consistent with your schedules. If you want to be taken seriously, create schedules and stick to it. You will be surprised to learn about the number of people waiting to receive your updates all the time.
Don’t forget about Social Media
In the era where social media can turn the world on its head, it’s critical to utilise social channels for the benefit of your blog. But, jumping onto dozens of platforms at the same time would not move the needle.
Hence, it’s vital to ensure that you choose the most suitable platforms, and utilise them wisely. If you are on the visual side of blogging, consider using Instagram and Pinterest to reach your audience, if you are more into breaking news, Twitter would be the platform to go with.
Get Creative with E-Mails
A lot of battles, conversions and deals will be won through creative and personalised e-mails.
Of course, the internet will be a lot more crowded in the coming year. Internet audience will be bombarded with so much information, content and advertising that more of them will get confused after getting online. But, the way you undertake your e-mail marketing could make a lot of difference.
Hence, if you’re not building your email list right now – you should start immediately! Whether it’s an e-book or a guide you offer in return for an email address, you will be surprised to see how having a healthy email list can impact your future traffic and sales.
Brush up your skills and learn to reach your audience with more personalised messages that speak appealingly on an individual basis.
Ensure your posts and campaign strategies are properly planned
Taking guesses with trials and errors won’t get you through many blocks in 2017. You will need to clearly specify the purpose of every campaign and put definite schedules around them.
There are a number of tools that can aid your social media schedules and ensure your works are timely, precise and take a lot of stress off your neck. You can give Hootsuite or Buffer a try.
Don’t forget SEO & UX
As you may know, SEO can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. It all depends on how you treat and approach SEO (just like in real life).
As methods and strategies continue to evolve, it’s important to stay ahead of the trends and keep up with the latest algorithms changes.
With all being said, there are a number of SEO strategies you should never deploy under any circumstances.
So, what are the most common outdated SEO strategies?
- Keyword Stuffing
- Content Spinning
- Buying Links
- Hidden Text
- Blog Spamming
- Low-Quality Directory Links
Not to forget User Experience (UX), which has been an integral part of any website success. If you can provide your readers with a seamless and pleasant website experience, they will come back for more. Avoid these UX mistakes, and you will discover the “gold-mine” of blogging.
Besides being a great thinker and writer, a blogger is also a wise reader. Read, study and learn consistently to increase your skills and expertise of your chosen niche.
You can identify what you need to learn at every quarter and get training and materials that will give you a lift. Whatever happens, as a blogger, you start to lose it immediately after your audience realises you aren’t on top of the trends in your niche.
That’s a terrible low for a blogger.
Are you ready to take on 2017? Here is your best chance.