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When you’re blogging, there are literally a ton of different strategies, ideas, and tips to keep in mind: optimize for SEO, use a personable writing tone, do your best to engage with your reader, et cetera. The list goes on and on.
Most of these blogging tips require a good deal of time to implement. For instance: an engaging, personal writing tone takes a fair amount of time to develop, particularly if you are used to writing in a stiff, corporate style. Optimizing for SEO requires in-depth keyword planning, strategic placement of researched keywords, thought-out meta descriptions, and more, all while keeping the primary goal of reader friendliness in mind.
Yes, these deep, detailed strategies definitely have their place in blogging, but also remember that there are smaller, less time-consuming techniques and hacks that you should be applying to your blog.
You might be tempted to think that these smaller blogging tips produce smaller results, simply because they don’t take a long time to implement. At first glance, it seems to be a reasonable assumption. After all, it is counter-intuitive to think that a small change to your blog will produce as big a result as a large change.
However, the reality is quite often the opposite: small, seemingly insignificant changes to your blogging method can produce staggeringly significant results.
If you’re not yet convinced, then take a look at the following 7 blogging tips that take only a little work but can produce big results (each strategy takes 30 minutes max to put into operation).
1. Split Test Multiple Titles
I’m sure you’ve heard this before in the past, but I’ll say it again: your blog post title is one of the most important parts of your content (click to tweet).
The value of a curiosity inducing, search engine friendly, click-through generating title simply cannot be underestimated.
It’s too bad, then, that most bloggers spend only the minimum amount of time on their title, while focusing the vast majority of their effort on the actual content.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t focus on writing top-notch post content (far from it), but you should definitely treat your post title as of significantly more importance than even your introductory sentence.
One quick way to boost the quality of your blog post headline is to split test multiple titles to see which ones performs the best.
At Foundr, we use the KingSumo Headlines plugin to do exactly that.
All you need to do is think up several different titles, rather than just one, for your blog post and key them in. After the post is published, the plugin will then automatically test each headline to see which headline produces the highest click-through rate. Here’s an example result from a post that Foundr ran back in October 2014 on 50 billionaire quotes about business and lifestyle.
As you can see in the screenshot above, one particular headline outperformed the original one with 124% increase in click-through rate! That’s a huge boost in traffic from less than ten minutes of extra work.
Although a bit pricey (the plugin starts at a one-time fee of $99 for support of up to 50K visitors per month), it’s definitely a worthwhile investment in the long run.
2. Add Opt-in Forms to the Your Most Popular Blog Content
Here’s another ultra-simple strategy that will boost your content ROI: add opt-in forms to your best-performing blog content. It takes no more than a few minutes and will significantly increase conversions to your email list.
I really can’t take credit for this idea, though, as it comes from Pat Flynn’s post on his Smart Passive Income blog.
Basically, Pat noticed that his about page was one of the highest-trafficked pages on his site. Realizing that he was missing out on a massive opportunity to convert large volumes of targeted traffic into valued subscribers, he distributed opt-in forms throughout the about page and saw an instantaneous 446% increase in opt-in conversions from that page the very next month.
It’s a no-brainer, really. Simply look up your best-performing blog content (consider metrics like number of views, bounce rate, search engine rankings, conversion rate, avg. time on page, etc.) and capitalize on this information by spreading out opt-in forms throughout the post/page where relevant.
3. Start Social Media Conversations around Your Topic Before Writing the Post
The next time you’re about to start writing a blog post, do this first: hop onto social media and start a discussion around your topic.
For a practical example, let’s say that you’re going to write a post for a B2B audience on using white papers for content marketing purposes.
Get on LinkedIn and post a new discussion in a relevant group around that topic. Engage with the community by asking questions like:
- What practices do you keep in mind when writing white papers to maximize marketing potential?
- How do you spread the word when you release a new white paper?
- How does the ROI of other content formats, like case studies and infographics, compare to the typical ROI you see from a white paper?
If your discussion takes off, you will kill two birds with one stone.
Firstly, you’ll have a great source of ideas to develop your post from the contributing commentators.
Secondly, you’ll have a place to post your link when the article goes live, giving you some instant traction.
I’ve recently started using this tactic for my writing, and its benefits are already proving to be enormous. Not only am I boosting blog post traffic and getting some immediate social media traction, but I’m also able to develop my personal brand and position myself as an authority in my field.
Not a bad result for the few minutes required to start and maintain a simple discussion.
When using this strategy, remember to only start discussions on the social networks most appropriate to your niche and post topic. Also, whenever possible, try to post in groups dedicated to your topic. The example discussion above, for instance, could have gone into a LinkedIn content marketing or B2B marketing group.
4. Schedule Blog Posts at Peak Times for Traffic & Engagement
All days of the week were not created equal.
This truth is evidenced in research collected by Buffer. The research shows that the day you publish your post and even the time at which you publish it can significantly alter traffic and engagement results.
The study revealed that blog posts tend to attract the most traffic when published on a Monday and typically get the most comments when published on Thursday (click to tweet). In both scenarios, publishing in the morning generally has the best results.
Exploit this research by scheduling your blog posts in advance for either Monday or Thursday mornings, depending on the goals you want to achieve with your blog. It takes no more than 30 seconds to do and can get you as much as 300% more traffic and engagement, as referenced in the study.
5. Get the Word Out Immediately
You might have thought that your work was done when you spent time crafting a quality blog post and scheduled it for publishing, but far from it. Your very first step after publishing a new blog post should be to start promoting it.
One extremely efficient and results-oriented promotion strategy is blogger outreach. The concept is essentially this:
Email bloggers you have mentioned, linked to, or otherwise attributed in your post and let them know about your latest content release. Tell them about how you’ve credited them in your post, and ask if they would be willing to share the content to your social networks and/or link to it in the future.
I do this on nearly every blog post I write, and I typically see a >50% conversion rate on my email requests, even for some highly popular blogs with already have huge audiences. This goes to prove that once you’ve done a favor for someone (by linking to or promoting them), the person is usually quite willing to return the favor.
When doing this strategy, it’s important that you to use a standard e-mail template to conserve time. Writing each outreach email from scratch would simply be too time-consuming. Remember, however, to personalize each email for the person/company you’re contacting (NEVER try to automate the process).
Here’s a sample e-mail template I often use:
Hi [name of blogger],
My name is [your name] and I’m a blogger over at [your blog name].
I recently came across [the post/page/content you linked to]. It was a great read, and I especially loved the part where you discussed [topic in post that you found interesting].
Actually, I’ve just published a new post at my blog on [post topic]. In it I talk in-depth about [more info about your post topic]. I’ve also linked to your content within the post as it’s a really solid and relevant resource for my readers that develops the info on [your post topic] further. Here’s the link to my post if you’d like to take a look: [your post link]
If you have the time, I’d love to hear what you think of the post (maybe you’d like to share some feedback/advice in the comment section?) and whether you’d like to share it to your social networks and/or link to it in the future.
All the best, and keep up the awesome work!
The email is reasonably short, to the point, and has up till now produced some pretty good conversions for me personally.
The best part is that this strategy only takes 10-20 minutes per post once you get into a flow. For that relatively small amount of work, you give yourself a real chance to be featured on some of the most relevant and popular blogs and social networks in your niche.
6. Improve Shareability with Click to Tweet Links
Throughout this post, you’ve probably noticed a couple of the click to tweet links that pop up every so often (maybe you’ve even clicked on one of them and shared this post to your Twitter — if so, good for you!).
By strategically placing click to tweet links throughout your post, you improve the post’s shareability. In essence, you’re gently reminding readers to share your article on social media, and also giving them a ready-made tweet all ready to publish.
7. Interlink, Interlink, Interlink
Interlinking between your blog content’s has 2 major benefits: better SEO, and more pageviews.
When you link from one of your blog posts to other ones, it helps to spread SEO juice around and develops your site’s architecture and structure.
It also increases the likelihood that a reader of your post will visit another page in your site, giving you a boost in the pageviews metric.
Interlinking is an incredibly simple thing to do. After you finish writing your post, go back over it and scout areas where you can reference a previous post to make your content an even better resource for readers. Then, choose the appropriate anchor text and link away.
It’s downright wrong to assume that the only blogging techniques that will produce significant results are ones that are time-consuming to implement. Any one of the 7 quick blogging tips above will help you to take your blog to the next level, without draining a huge amount of time.
How do you plan to implement these efficient, results-producing tips in your blog? Do you have any blogging tips, tricks, or hacks that you’d like to share?
Voice your thoughts in the comments below!
*Featured image credit: Roy Blumenthal via Flickr.