How to Fix a Blog (That Even Your Mother Won’t Read)

By Ed Emerson

It’s extremely frustrating how, after spending so much time and effort on something like a personal or business blog in order to make money online, you continue to have a minimal (and sometimes non-existent) readership.

And that’s despite the potential importance or value of what you’ve got to share. 

In the process of trying to make money online, increase your reader audience and fix the type of blog that even your mother won’t read (oh, sure, she’ll tell you she read it, but…), you’ve probably tried gimmicks, comedy, product offers, guest writers and even different styles of communicating (pictures, video, stories and case studies) with little or no long-term impact.

And all the advice and “10 step” solutions that you’ve scrolled through have essentially ended up leaving you pretty much back where you started: With no traffic.

Well, today you’re going to learn the real reasons your customers aren’t reading your blog – or at least not at the volume you’d like. That’s because: 

  1. You haven’t curated the information they want,
  2. You haven’t set it up to be found in the way they’re actually looking for it, and
  3. You haven’t captured their contact information so that you can communicate with them again.

So, I’m going to start the process of showing you how to do all that today.

How to Make Money Online

Now, I’m a big believer that the internet has become a dishevelled and unkempt goldmine of useful information just waiting to be curated for commercial gain.

In other words, anyone who wants to make money online must learn to capitalise on how to fix the problem of organising information. And that means putting together good content from a variety of sources, and in doing so, answer specific questions that large groups of individuals need answered.

And you have to focus on doing this in your own space; where you either are or can become an expert through research and experience. 

Here’s An Example

Consider how there are millions of self-employed people in the UK (a large audience) who have no idea how to get a mortgage (a common and specific need) since the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) in 2014 changed the rules on lending (the problem).

And the information on how to go about getting a self-employed mortgage is, in large part, already out there in a lot of different places on the Internet, like:

  • which lenders actually operate in that space,
  • what specifically will each of those lenders accept as proof of income, and 
  • how many years of financial accounts do you need to apply, etc.
Content Curation = Make Money Online

But people are naturally lazy – even more so since the internet put the equivalent of a million Encyclopedias, and the insights of some very clever people, right in the palms of our hands.

And folks won’t necessarily be willing to dig in and find this stuff out for themselves regardless of how badly they might need it.

As such, the objective in making money online is to assemble or curate that specific information required by a large audience, provide them the answers therein, and put it in one place where they can find it.

And the absolute key to this is not to give it to them until they sign up (provide you their email address or other contact information) to receive it.

In theory, it really is as simple as that. But like any endeavour that’s both worthwhile and profitable, it will also require some effort on your part and a significant change of mind-set.

The Internet – Stage #1

So now let’s try and break down the Internet a bit so that this all makes more sense as it relates to the traffic problem you’re having with your blog.

We’ve been told for many years now that the secret to getting traffic to come to our websites was by producing good regular content about specific things, and the higher the volumes we produced, the more eyeballs we would eventually attract.

It was as if some clever sod out there was sat behind the Internet curtain pulling strings – like Tim Berners-Lee as a digital Wizard of Oz – with the goal of populating the online world with all the information on the planet…and without having to hire a single employee to do it.

That was essentially the Internet’s Stage #1 of development. And we all happily contributed, with our own motivations in mind, until that project was a phenomenal success.

Making Money Online in Stage #2

But “Internet, Stage 2” has now arrived – where the mess of billions of contributions now requires a wholesale digital curation, and the man behind the curtain knows full well that once we cotton on to how the Internet can be valuable again , we’ll all happily do it for free.

Think about it: What did we think was going to happen when over a billion sites appeared online that essentially were all following the same line of thought that “Content is king?”

Simply put: We were going to end up with a whole lot of content. And when that content grew out of control, the magician behind the curtain would give us an incentive to clean it all up, called “Google page rankings.”

Now those multi-billions of pieces of copy about hundreds of millions of topics remain. And only the savvy “keyword research / long-tail / SEO-minded” folks amongst us now have a shot at getting seen on pages 1 through 5 of anyone’s Google search.

So, while the information that needs to be joined up is already out there, we need to put it together.

And we need to do so in a way that those large groups of customers – current and potential – will find through their use of search words and phrases. 

Answer Me These Questions, Three…

OK, it’s time to ask yourself three questions.

The first is this: Do you know what a current or potential customer would type into a Google search box in order to find what you are promoting or have for sale?

Let’s try figuring that one out from the perspective of the self-employed mortgage example above.

If I were self-employed and looking for a mortgage, I might type in something like: “How do I get a mortgage if I’m self-employed and have only one year of accounts?”

Now, if I’m writing a blog about this because I’m a mortgage broker in this space, or trying to promote a credit checking service, or maybe have an accountancy practice that helps business start-ups / contractors or freelancers do their returns, then I’m going to think about including that exact phrase in the next blog that I write, and to do so more than once.

But first I’m going to check if I’m right by seeing how many people out there have searched for that exact phrase and how competitive it is.

Not many folks know that you can check how competitive a specific search phrase is (how many of your competitors use it in blog or article copy) for free by going to a website called Moz.

If you find that your phrase is well searched for, but highly competitive, then expect that you’ll probably have to spend some money on things called back-links or Google adwords or Facebook promotions in order to get any audience traction with it.

We’ll go into those things in a future article.

Finding the Best  “Search Phrases”

But for now you’re looking for phrases that lots of people search for that don’t have a huge number of competitors writing blogs with those phrases in them.

Next, I’m going to write a blog post – I usually write about 1500 words or more, because more copy is still considered better and ranks higher – and include that specific phrase we’ve identified at least a dozen times within that copy. 

I’ll also include that same phrase (if possible) in the title, as well as the first and last paragraphs, and in the “alternative copy” box within any images that I include in my blog.

And I’m doing this because the search engines will reward us by sending us far more traffic than we would otherwise ever get.

Question #2 – Does Your Headline Turn Heads?

The second question is: “Do you write attention grabbing titles?”

Now think about it: The first and probably only thing that 99% of the world’s Internet traffic will likely ever see (and scroll past) of that copy you worked so hard on to post to your blog is your  headline.

It has to grab people immediately and, once again, be relevant to a large group of people with a collective need and who are looking for answers.

By example, two of the most successful headlines I’ve written of late have been: “How to Retire as a Millionaire (on an average wage)” and “The First Rule of Leadership? Everything is Your Fault!

These headlines led to tens of thousands of readers, as well as notification from LinkedIn that they were promoting these articles through their channel.

Try and create a headline that tugs at the pain points of your audience and suggests a solution in the title. Also, try and keep them to between six and ten words in length.

Question #3 – Focus on the Pain

The third and final question for today is: Does your opening paragraph start by addressing the pain-point being suffered by your target audience?

You should include the keyword phrase – which is the focus of your blog article – in your opening paragraph, and then end it by suggesting that the answer tyour audience is looking for is waiting for them in the copy you’re written.

Then you’d better do exactly that, or the readers you’ve attracted will never trust you again.

And if you change your approach to writing your blog by following these three suggestions your audience traffic is going to skyrocket.

To Recap:

Rule #1 – Know what words or phrases your audience will search for in order to find what you have to offer. If you don’t then get to know your audience’s needs more clearly, and check each phrase you believe they might use to understand its popularity and competitiveness. Then you need to use the best ones in your copy on average 4 times per every 500 words of text.

Rule #2 – Your headline is your golden ticket to reader traffic and traction. Poorly thought-out headlines make your blog invisible. Where possible, include your keyword phrase in the title of your blog.

Rule #3 – Your blog should start and end by addressing the problem that your reader audience is facing, and suggest how you’re going to help them fix it. If it doesn’t then people will look elsewhere.

Rule #4 – Capture data. You’ve worked hard to put together answers for large groups of people with a collective need. Now ensure that they “pay” you for it by putting up a gate that insists they provide you an email address in order to get access to the answers they want. You can get a website plugin for what’s called an “autoresponder” (for free) to help you do this through a service like MailChimp.

What’s Next?

In the coming weeks we’ll be providing more information about things like adwords, autoresponders, new blog ideas based on book titles and searches for content, and keyword searches for things like short and long-tail phrases.

In the meantime, start instituting this regime into your personal or company blog writing.

And don’t give up. Some day your mother actually will read your blog!

Ed Emerson, Editor, HNW Magazine

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