Does Your Blog Need a Reboot?
by Joanne Troppello
Blogging can become a chore if you run out of viable content for your blog. Content is key. If you don’t have interesting content that adds value to the reader, you won’t gain new visitors and keep returning ones coming back. So, what do you do when you run out of ideas for keeping your blog alive and healthy?
Take a Step back
The first action step is to back up and give your blog a neutral review. Ask a trusted blogger, writer, or author friend for their opinion on what they think is working for your blog and what isn’t. Be open to constructive criticism. You can ask someone who will give you the answers you want to hear, but that will only make you feel better—and not do anything to help you recharge your blog.
During this introspective look, check your traffic statistics. See how many visitors are coming, when they go to the blog, and review the other demographics such as age. If you don’t have a statistics tracker, you should get one. Many are free like the tracking system through Google Analytics. I used that one and it’s been very helpful.
You can have the stats show up on your blog sidebar or only be visible to yourself. I used to have the stats widget visible on my blog sidebar. I don’t do that anymore. I have grown as a blogger and writer and think my site looks more professional without the counter there. You need to make that decision for yourself. Whatever works best for you.
Ask questions to yourself and your blog observer such as which topics seem to be drawing in more readers. You need to be able to describe your target market for the content that you are posting on the blog. Checking the stats can help you see if you’ve been reaching that audience or maybe you’ve been reaching another demographic. This knowledge is invaluable and can help you ascertain the direction for future posts. Does your blog have a theme? Have you been keeping to this theme or deviating from it?
Many of the successful blogs that I have seen, have a theme that cohesively unites all the content and they know their audience. Theme and audience are two major factors in making your blog more successful.
Create an Action Plan
Once you figure out what’s working and what isn’t, then you can get to work on planning the fix. If you need more traffic, evaluate what type of content you are posting. Are you blogging every day or at least a few days each week? Do you have guest authors on your blog? If all you write about are your daily activities as a writer that may not be a good draw to your blog—unless of course, you’re a NY Times Best-Selling author.
Before you get there to that level of success—where people mostly love everything you say (ok, maybe not really, but hey…)—you need to pay your dues and do your time. Work hard to make your blog a venue where readers want to visit. You can draw more readers in to your blog by providing them with invaluable information that they cannot get anywhere else. Of course, you may not be that unique and there are other writers blogging about writing. However, you need to find that WOW factor about yourself. What makes you unique.
Create content that reflects your unique personality that truly can resonate with readers by adding value to their life. Give them advice. Show them how to do something. Content that educates readers is one of the factors that Google looks for when ranking websites.
Track Your Ranking
As mentioned, you should keep track of the visitors to your website, but you should also track the ranking of your site. You can use an online tool like WebRankStats to track your website ranking. This toolbar is downloaded to your computer and you can track the ranking of any website. It’s helpful to see your website gain traction as you increase in search engine ranking. You can also use this tool to check the rank of other sites that you may be using for references and statistics for future blog articles. The higher the site ranks usually means it’s a more trustworthy site—because it’s getting a lot of repeat traffic.
There is no app for WebRankStats that you can download to your phone or tablet. However, I downloaded the Alexa Rank app for Android by AliveSoft. A friend of mine uses Apple devices and she found a similar Alexa Rank app designed for iOS users. With this app, you can always check your website ranking, even when you’re on the go.
Responding to Readers
Do you actually pay attention to comments you get from readers? You need to comment as quickly as you can so that your readers know that you care about what they’re thinking and saying. I know many bloggers, writers, and authors work full-time and only blog part-time. You cannot respond immediately. That’s fine. Provided you respond within a day or two. Check to see that the notifications for comments is activated through your blog platform provider so that you will get notified via email or text when a reader comments on a blog post.
Host a Giveaway
One other draw that I utilize at my blog is to offer giveaways. Now, this is not an expense to me because the majority of the giveaways are from other guest authors. It’s not a requirement to do a giveaway in order to get a guest spot at Pandora’s Box Gazette. However, many authors see this as a big traffic draw to their guest blog or book feature at PBG and do offer giveaways.
Guest at Other Blogs
Make sure that you also guest on other blogs as much as possible. When you guest on other blogs, you have a chance to—not only feature your books—but also to showcase your writing talent by what you write in your post or how you answer interview questions. Another benefit is that you can list your links in the bio at the end of the post. Hopefully the readership at that blog will take notice of your guest post, feature, or interview and check out your blog or website link or start following you on social media. Any time you get more traffic to your site or get another follower on social media, that is a win for you. Once those new readers get to your blog, you need to keep them coming back.
If you can’t think of any new educational content to write, and if you can’t find too many guest authors, you can consider reading and reviewing books. This is an invaluable benefit for readers who are always looking for a new book to read and your review can steer them in the right direction. If you provide accurate reviews, you can get known as a great resource for readers and increase your readership base.
Authors are always looking for places to send their books for review. You can post those reviews each month. Depending on your available time, you can post a few reviews each month.
I used to post two book reviews a month on my old blog. However, my current copywriting work does not allow me any extra time to read and review books. I do have two columnists, Eve Culley and Miguelina Perez, who read and review books for posting here at PBG.
If you decide to write reviews, make sure you actually read the entire book and give an honest review. In the past, I gave a score of one through five, but only posted reviews with a score of three or higher. I want to post reviews, but it’s not my goal to give authors bad reviews to hurt their careers. You need to decide if you’d post a review with a low score.
Generating Blog Topics
Here’s a listing of some topics to blog about if you need ideas:
Share your experience in getting your book published and give tips on how newbie writers can achieve publication
If something is working on your blog, share it as a resource for other bloggers, writers, and authors.
What struggles have you encountered along the way towards publication and afterwards. Other writers love to know that they’re not alone in struggling.
If you have had success with marketing your book, share that with your readers. Other authors who are just starting out would love such tips.
Share how to write a good book review and what’s involved
Share an excerpt of your current book release
Ask readers to comment on what they’d like to know from authors and be available to respond to questions during the day
When I need to generate some ideas for a blog post or other article I’m writing and I cannot think of anything substantive, I use the blog topic generator from HubSpot. You enter a noun and it generates some topic ideas. If you don’t like anything it suggested, try again. This is a great free online resource for bloggers and writers.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on blogging. What have you done on your blog? What’s worked and what hasn’t?
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is a published author of 3 inspirational fiction novels and the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Pandora's Box Gazette.
She has experience as a freelance writer in topics such as marketing, retail marketing, health and wellness, internet and media, travel and lifestyle, website content, app recommendations, and content for blogs.