The content you create this year is more important than ever. The big brands like American Express and Coca-Cola have caught on now. Instead of spending a lot of their dollars on interruption marketing (commercials, etc.), they are paying consultants like myself big bucks to create compelling content campaigns for them that build brand trust and brand loyalty. Does your content do this? What is the first impression that your content makes?
In my work with clients, I do a LOT of website content evaluations a.k.a. makeovers, with which I use a 17-point criteria system. Over the years, I have consistently found five factors that site owners drop the ball on and so I thought I’d share them with you today…
Reason #1 – I Can’t Find Your Blog!
One of the biggest areas that site owners drop the ball on is basic search engine optimization. First, you have to start thinking like your ideal client. How would your ideal client search for your what you do in the search engines? What type of language would they use? Now you have to optimize your blog post titles to reflect that language so that when people do a search that your article shows up in the search results.
So for example, if you are a wedding planner and you are writing an article on wedding planning tips, I can’t tell you how many biz owners I have seen that title those articles something cute like “I Do” or generic like “Your Beautiful Wedding” — when the reality is that you need to be very specific and use terms that REAL people search for if you want to get search engine traffic like “How To Plan A Wedding On A Budget”. The key to getting this right is doing keyword research in your niche to make sure you are targeting phrases that people are typing into Google. I use the keyword research tool Market Samurai for this type of research for myself and when I create editorial calendars for clients.
Reason #2 – Your Blog Screams To Me That You Are An Amateur
As a solo entrepreneur, our resources may be limited as to how much we will invest in the aesthetics of our website, but we can make up for it in other areas. That’s why it’s really important that we do. So if your blog screams “amateur” then I’m afraid you are two seconds away from losing yet another possible client.
You are hosting your blog on a 3rd party blogging platform such as Blogger, Wordpres.org, LiveJournal etc. — While these are great resources and very user friendly for newbies, a blog hosted here does not say that you are serious about your business. Serious enough to invest a few dollars on your own domain name and a self-hosted WordPress blog. When I see a blog like this, I don’t think serious, I think “newbie” — and I’m not going to invest my money with a newbie or with someone who appears to be a newbie.
Your blog looks straight out of the package. While you do not have to spend a lot of time or money on this, I think that it’s really important for your website to look like you’ve spent at least a little energy in making it “different” than the many other blogs that use the same template you use. It shows that you are serious about your business and that you want to provide a good user experience.
Reason #3 – Your Blog Gives Me A Headache
If your blog is too cluttered, it will turn off and turn away potential clients. A good way to give your blog “room to breathe” is to make sure that your articles have a lot of white space between paragraphs, photos, etc. You also need to take a good long look at your sidebars. Do you have too many slow loading social media widgets? (Dear Facebook, can you fix that?) Do you have too many advertisements? Is there just too much junk in your sidebars that leave your readers about where to go first? Consider what you can eliminate from your sidebars that will improve your visitors user experience? A simple and clean blog is best.
Reason #4 – There Is No YOU In Your Blog
This isn’t typically a newbie mistake, but one that many intermediate marketers make. A trend that has started which I fully support is the use of guest blog posts. Many bloggers are featuring other writers and experts so that there is more “fresh” content on their site without having to create it all themselves. Totally fine strategy, except that many bloggers are overdoing it to the point that I don’t know what the point or message of the blog is. There are so many different points and strategies being made on the blog by different writers, I’m not really sure what I’m suppose to be learning and more importantly what to do next. If this is you, remember that this is YOUR business and at the end of the day people have to be able to trust YOU in order to make a decision on whether or not to invest with you. Using too many guest bloggers will dilute your message, so be picky and selective about who you feature. Make sure the message of the guest articles are in alignment with your overall marketing message.
Reason #5 – You Haven’t Invited Me To Come Back
While I may do a search, and find your blog articles, AND actually read one, I probably won’t ever come back and visit your blog again because you haven’t asked me to. The #1 call to action that entrepreneurs should make in their blog is to ask for an email address so that the reader can continue to read more content. The reality is that trust doesn’t come easy in today’s world! Visitors need to have additional exposure to your message in order to make a decision to trust you and invest in you. So ask invite them to experience more of you. Make sure to add optin boxes on your blog. The best 2 places for these optin invitations are top right-hand corner of your site and at the end of your individual articles.
I’m sure you’ve visited many blogs on your travels around the web, what are some things that make you “click away”? Share them below in the comments area, because I’m sure that we all can learn from each other.