Did you know that the majority of blogs become inactive within 100 days after creation?
I believe this is because the owners don’t realize what makes a blog successful. In fact, I had a client who believed it would be easy to make money on the Internet, and all she needed to do, was to quickly whip up a website. After four years of throwing money to freelancers to help her, she finally admitted defeat.
I’m not sure what happened to her, but I know of many people like her. I’ve also analyzed the content of a stack of small business websites, and the following fatal blogging tips are rampant.
Blogging is not easy, contrary to a common misconception.
Here you can see what most bloggers struggle with.
Image Credit: SocialMediaB2B
Don’t be amongst those blogs who close shop 100 days after starting because they didn’t know what blogging entailed. And please never listen to the "experts" who advise you to do these four things to get more blog traffic:
#1: Just add lots of content, often
When I first started dabbling in online marketing several years ago, I was told that in order to get traffic to my website, I would need to add content. Often.
Which is what I did.
But to my shame, the content was of no real value. I don’t know what I was thinking! Somehow, whoever it was who dispensed the "just add content" recipe to me, neglected to mention that it needed to add some kind of value for my readers.
It’s no wonder it never got shared or commented on, and my website’s bounce rate was high.
I see the same trend today, specifically with small businesses who go online. They add content – any content – to try get more traffic, not realizing that not only is their brand at stake, but so are their search rankings, because search engines look for quality, value-add content to match to user’s searches.
And trust me, search engines have algorithms in place to determine whether content is crap or not.
Brian Dean from Backlinko, expert blogger, says that, "Blogging today is 110% about quality…not quantity."
Just adding content – any content – will not get your blog more traffic, or result in more business.
#2: Stuff in keywords wherever you can
In days gone by, when search engines were still collecting themselves, website owners cottoned on to stuffing keywords in wherever they could. And then search engines got clever and wiped those websites far into the abyss of no return.
Yes, your blog needs keywords to rank higher in search engines and therefore get more traffic, but keywords need to be included in content in a natural way, making it easy for people to read.
My suggestion would be to use SEOChat’s free related keywords tool and then go on over to Google Keyword Planner to find the best keywords that have low competition, but high search volume.
Add a keyword naturally into:
- The title of your post
- The URL of the post
- H1 header tags
- In the first 100 words of your content
- Sprinkled throughout your content, every 150 or so words
- In the category of the post
- In links to other authority sites
- In image descriptions
When you stuff keywords in content, search engines will not promote your blog. And visitors will click away pronto.
#3: Hire cheap writers to churn out more content, fast
There is great demand on freelance writing websites like Upwork, but you get what you pay for, and since getting more blog traffic is not about churning out content just for the sake of content, when you hire cheap writers for your blog, you’re going to get not only badly written content, but it won’t be SEO optimized, or provide value to your readers.
All the top websites understand this, and pay about $266 or more for one blog post. When you consider that writers on sites like Upwork, charge from about $10 for a blog post, you can start to understand why the quality would be so poor.
So. Perhaps you pay $10 for someone to write you a blog post. But that post can actually damage your search engine ranking because of bounce rate (people come to your site, see crap content, and immediately leave). It will also damage your reputation, and most users will not convert. And so I ask you: why are you wasting money on bad writing? What is it benefiting you?
If you’re not a good writer, for goodness sake, hire a decent one who understands your target audience and optimizes the content, or just stop blogging.
And read Neil Patel’s step by step guide to creating a money-making blog. His advice is sound, and since he is the master of online marketing, he knows a thing or two on this subject.
By the way, while we’re on the subject of Neil Patel, when you check out his post, have a look at the quality of it, and how it’s all laid out. It’s popular because he only writes content that is helpful to his audience. Do your best to emulate the style he uses, but adapt it for your niche.
#4: Add stock photos to attract attention
Somewhere, you heard that images in blog posts attract attention. That would be right.
But. And it’s a very big "but": stock photos just don’t cut it anymore. They’re boring, fake and your readers can’t relate to them. It’s a psychological thing.
A cheesy, fake and ineffective stock image…what business people do you know who do this?!
Image Credit: WebMeUp
To do justice to your blog by attracting attention and leading to higher conversions, images need to:
- Be of high quality.
- If your blog centers around an online store, make sure your product images are clear and show enough detail and offer as many views as possible.
- Images must be relevant to the content. They should support the text and not simply be added for the sake of adding an image.
- Add image descriptions that titillate, because people’s eyes draw to images first. If the description creates curiosity, they are more likely to keep reading, and this is good for SEO, and conversions.
- Be sure to compress images so that they don’t slow down your site.
Fatal advice summed up
If you’re going to blog, you may as well do it right. Unfortunately, doing it right means it’s going to take time.
But if you don’t do it right, you’ll lose business and opportunities.
To sum up, let’s reverse the four most common and destructive blogging tips:
- Add blogging content that rocks. Help people want to share it because it resonates with them.
- Use keywords naturally, and strategically.
- Hire writers who may charge more, but will get your blog better results.
- Add images that are relevant and support the point you’re trying to get across in your content.
Advertising online has been a tricky business for awhile. Unlike traditional advertising, which can be slow to adapt, the Internet is always changing and attempting to find more ways to attract its core audience. Sometimes the shifts in tone will be so extreme that you will be shocked that they actually worked.
It definitely isn’t your grandpa’s marketing.
Color has a unique plan in advertising. In fact, it may be one of the most important elements to it.
Color and The Human Brain
All species have a reaction to color. Red may signify danger, green food, others help enhance movement or let prey ward off predators. As human beings, we come from the same evolutionary perspective. We also react to color, but on a much deeper scale.
Humans will connect on an emotional level with color schemes. Which is why it is so important to find the right one when branding. Advertisements, logos, promotional content, and designs are all impacted by the colors we choose.
When you select the right colors to match the tone of your ad, you will be able to improve results.
Display Advertising Color Tools
Bannersnack is a comprehensive platform allowing you to design and monitor your display marketing creatives.
Not only will it let you create amazing banners but it will also allow you to manage your display advertising (Facebook, Adwords, etc) from one place.
You can create static, animated HTML5 and interactive banner ads using Bannersnack advanced visual editor.
This tool lets you generate color palette based on any picture you upload. This is a very useful tool when you want to match your banner to your logo or a social media branding:
3. Color Contrast Analyzer (Google Chrome)
This extension allows you to analyze color contrast on web pages. Unlike other color contrast analyzers, this one assesses text within images and reports how well your text overlay can be seen (especially to people with poor eyesight)
Using Color To Improve Your Brand Recognition
There are some colors that are immediately associated with a certain brand. Red and orange to match the clown mascot with McDonalds. Blue, orange and white for Walmart. Black, silver and gold for Chrysler. These are iconic.
In the case of your own brand, you may or may not reach those levels of recognition (every major corporation had to start somewhere). But you can at least lodge yourself into the brain of consumers by selecting the right colors for your brand.
Triggering Emotional Responses In Customers
Goal is important when choosing colors for ads. Of course you want conversions, so put that out of your head and assume it is a given. A better focus is triggering an emotional response that will make the customer want your product.
Your logo is going to be separate from this task. It will already feature on any banner ads, promotional materials, designs, commercials, etc., that you post on the web. And it doesn’t matter if it “clashes” with ad colors, because that will only make it stand out more.
That doesn’t mean you can’t match your ad and your logo. Just that it should be a secondary concern.
When choosing an ad, start by deciding what feeling to put off. Do you want your customers to think of your product as something that will put them at ease? That will pump them up? That will help them live a healthier lifestyle? That will make them more trendy? That will put them on the cutting edge? That will make them happy?
Try to think of two or three adjectives relevant to the focus of your ad. Then begin incorporating it into your advertising.
- Red – As the boldest of the colors, red is a great attention grabber. But it is also aggressive. While customers will take notice, they may not respond in the way you want them to. Different tones of red, making it brighter or darker, may blunt that in-your-face feeling, and make it a bit more moldable to your brand. Unless the idea of your ad is to be extreme, in which case a bright red can really get the job done.
- Green – Earthy and natural, green is a big promoter of health, wellness, wealth, and growth. It is perfect for any product or brand that centers itself around those concepts. Which is why it is the most commonly used color in natural supplements like vitamins and weight loss products. Anything that aims to promote forward motion and progress is perfect for green.
- Blue – The most calm and tranquil of all of the colors, medical centers are especially apt at using blue for their services. It elicits emotions of trust, peace and serenity, like floating on a gentle ocean, or looking up at a clear sky. When put with other mild shades, such as white, it is further softened. But paired with darker shades, like black, it can take on a harder edge. Tech companies that need to show their machines as dependable are often seen using blue in their ads.
- Yellow – Bright and bubbly, yellow is the happiest and most optimistic of all colors. That extends to its more passionate, playful cousin, orange. Both can give your advertisement a sense of importance and cheer that catches the customer’s attention, and makes them feel positive about the product.
- Purple – Regal and rich, purple is the color that best promotes luxury and suave-cool. It is also a color used to represent intelligence and wisdom, appealing to customers as a symbol of the power of the mind. It is a highly sophisticated tone.
- White and Black – Balance is an important part of advertising, and when using black and white you have to take care to strike that balance. In some instances both can be used to great effect, but too much of either can really damage your message. Think of both as enhancers, not straight themes. If you do need to do with a contrast, try grayscale instead. And make sure you are using it properly… these shades on their own, even in moderate gray, can come off as depressing to many customers.
Examples of Color In Advertising
Target uses bright red to advertise based around a theme. Being a bullseye in their logo, the harsh combo of red and white work to give it a bold look that works for the brand.
Home Depot goes with an orange advertising theme, and it works well. It speaks of work and progression and optimism. Something that many people feel when undertaking home projects.
Purple is the color used by chocolate company Milka. It signifies the rich of their food product, and shows them off as a luxury brand.
Do you have an example of how color was used successfully in advertising or branding? Let us know in the comments!
We develop blindness towards all sorts of advertising. When first introduced online, banner ads achieved a 50-90% CTR. Now the majority of people can’t stand them. Marketing effectiveness demands a change.
It’s not so much that various methods of marketing are inherently ineffective. It’s just that people get used to them, so marketers need to innovate. Data-driven marketing is one result of this ever-present need for change.
Why You Need to Have Data-Driven Marketing
The proliferation of information in our time might lead you to believe that companies are using data all the time in their marketing. However, they are not.
The Harvard Business Review reports that while infographics are now fairly standard, very few of them portray data that tells an original story. Marketers tend to use data for their own decision-making, but not for creating content that adds value to their customers.
That’s really too bad because the insight data offers can be quite interesting and even enriching. Solid, data-driven content gives your company credibility. If you have reliable facts backing up your opinions, people will see you as trustworthy. Another advantage is that your own knowledge will increase as you share information with other influencers.
Data can also have a lot of power simply from the fact that much content on the internet is mediocre. If your content has integrity—if it is original and accurate—it will stand out.
The companies that are best at marketing with data use it to appeal to people’s emotions. They present their data in format that is interesting to look at (hence the popularity of infographics), and ideally they put the information in the context of a story.Quote source
For the Google Trends “Year in Search 2015,” Google did an amazing job at turning data into a compelling story. The company presented the top searches of the year through a brief video. The opening text says, “In 2015 the questions we asked revealed who we are.”
The video goes on to show the questions people searched, such as “how can i help the refugees” and “how can we overcome prejudice,” interspersing the questions with pertinent footage from the year. The video used data not only to tell the individual stories behind the searches but also to tie them together into a larger narrative of unity within diversity.
Businesses run into trouble implementing data effectively for a number of reasons. First, there is simply an overwhelming amount of it. It can be difficult to know how to sort through and productively utilize all of a company’s accessible information.
Another potential pitfall is that sometimes those in charge incorrectly estimate the costs of gathering data. Sometimes information isn’t gathered correctly or analyzed thoroughly, and often there is poor or no communication across departments.
Silos are in fact a significant challenge to success, especially in larger companies. The larger a company grows, the greater the challenge to be unified and to communicate well about any goal. It’s also easy for businesses to lose sight of their goals if they are not relying on data for what their priorities should be and whether or not they are sidetracked from them.
It is critical to remember that data is not a solution in and of itself; it needs to be reliable. Kimberly Whitler of Forbes states, “If the data is bad—disorganized, incomplete, inconsistent, out of date—then the resulting decisions will be bad, too.” That’s why it’s important to have people at your company who understand how to find, analyze, and organize trustworthy data.
How to Leverage Data Effectively
As you seek to leverage data-driven content for your business, there are some specific principles you should keep in mind.
First, be strategic. Choose your data team carefully; it’s extremely valuable to have people from different departments and perspectives. Have a clear idea of your goals and KPIs so that you are mining your data with purpose.
Know the best channels to tap for the data you’re trying to attain. Is your audience primarily on Twitter? Then don’t waste time gathering information from Facebook or Instagram. Have good analytics models in place, as well as metrics with which to measure your results.
It should go without saying that your data should be as accurate as possible. Once you’ve collected enough information, use it to build customer personas that will lead to customer-focused content. Avoid silos by having cross-company goals, and evaluate and re-evaluate the data as you collect it.
Remember, data is most interesting and valuable to your customers when it is presented with visually appealing, quality content. Fortunately, quality content is exactly what Google is looking for and is one of the main ways you can get Google to index your site.
Neil Patel notes that having a blog is one important way to increase site traffic: “websites with blogs get an average of 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links.”
Good content is interesting enough on its own, but having evidence to back up the content makes your position even more powerful. It’s also worth observing that Patel uses multiple infographics throughout his article, making use of their widespread appeal.
People Crave Insight into the World
People love to learn new information, especially if that information tells them something about who they are and is presented in a fresh way. Effective data-driven content will boost the power of your marketing because of its ability to make the truth interesting.