What You Must Do for a Successful Blog

Blog Post by Lauren Leal, Director of Engagement at The News Funnel

Connect with Lauren on LinkedIn, Twitter or Email

The magic formula to creating a top-performing blog is...there is no magic formula. Just a lot of hand cramps, sweat, and writer’s block, mixed a healthy dose of best practices that optimize performance. Certain characteristics perform better than others. Applying those qualities into blogging practices enhances the chances the posts will rank highly and drive organic traffic to your website.

Calls to action

Building an email list or continuing to offer more valuable content optimizes blog performance.  The best way to capture a subscriber's email address is by asking more than once. The question becomes, “how often do you ask for a visitor’s email?” There is a fine line between not asking enough and overwhelming a reader with subscribe requests. Not to point any fingers, but one particular website we frequent displays a subscribe-to-email pop-up CTA every time we visit. The thing is, we are a subscriber. Being asked every time we visit, especially if we clicked-through from said email, is downright annoying. Savvy web designers can improve their user experience and optimize their pages to not have these types of CTAs display for current subscribers. Some can vary the CTA based on where the visitor stands in the buyer’s process. In summary: there is no easy method to determine the number of call to actions and opt-ins to display on a page, but good blogs do have CTAs.

Distribute, Distribute, Distribute

Email reigns as the most valuable blog tool. Email list subscribers have shown interest in your content and are the source of your initial traffic bump. Of course, distributing content using additional owned networks, like Facebook and Twitter, or syndicated platforms like on theBrokerList or The News Funnel, are good practices to expose your content.

Content First

Really think about the blog’s web design. Sometimes people fill the space above the fold--a term referring to what content users see before scrolling down the page--with other information like subscribe boxes and upcoming events. Remember the point of blogging is to provide value to your readers. They clicked through the link to read content. Start to present the blog above the fold and entice them to scroll down the page with your top-notch content. After the reader continues engagement, then consider interrupting with a CTA pop up or add the email subscribe request at the blog’s conclusion.

Share here, there, and everywhere

Make social content sharing easy for the audience. Add social sharing buttons more than once. Offer multiple networks to appeal to the users’ preferred platform. Another strategy is to offer the reader a ready-made social share option. For example, the automatic click-to-tweet boxes that offers a key quote that is shared with a simple click of a button. These widgets make content distribution simple for the visitor and boost the brand’s potential audience by referring to you as the author.

The proof is social

Have a strong blog following? Toot that horn! Share how many people value your expert advice. Declaring the email list subscriber count encourages visitors to join the growing numbers of people that trust your advice. Of course, if the blog lacks this kind of social proof, use other methods to validate the quality of your content, like other reputable sites that refer to you or your content, or publications that have featured your brand’s advice.

Applying best practices helps boost a blog’s potential, as does avoiding blogging mistakes. Other essential tips covered elsewhere include conducting content audits and using an editorial calendar to program topics.

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