A blog can be a wonderful thing. You may feel proud of yourself for remembering to update it everyday and posting things you think your readers want to know. On closer inspection, your blog may not be living up to its potential. Here are some signs that your blog is not living up to its potential. Think of your blog as a work in progress. There is always room for improvement.
Comments from the Same Followers
The Problem: Every blog has the faithful few. These are the users who religiously post to your blog and offer comments. If you notice that you have comments from the same users, this means you are not attracting much new traffic to your blog. It’s great to have faithful followers, but a blog is only successful if it attracts new followers too.
How to Fix It: You can’t attract more followers if you don’t get the word out. In today’s online world that means using keywords and phrases (SEO or Search Engine Optimization) to rank higher on search engines.
Number of Views Remains Steady
The Problem: Including a ticker on your site is a great way to keep track of views. This can be a double-edged sword though. If you see a steady climb, you’re in good shape. However, if the number of page views are holding steady, it’s a sign that people are starting to lose interest in your blog or just not finding it out there in the blogosphere.
How to Fix It: The fix is pretty much the same as before. You have to get the word out that your blog exists. If you already have strategic keywords included in your blog, it might be time to consider changing the content and adding some links and images.
Followers Start Other Conversations
The Problem: Even on the most popular blogs, followers are going to start side conversations not really related to the blog topic. However, if most your followers are engaging in their own conversations not even remotely related to your content, it might be time to consider making some changes.
How to Fix It: The only real way to fix straying followers is to update the content of your blog as much as possible. The more content you have, the more people who read you blog have to comment on.
No Links to Other Social Sites
The Problem: A blog by itself is like an island isolated in the sea of social communications. Lots of well-written content is wonderful, but if you do not link to social networks you just a lone island out there hoping the occasional follower straggles along and discovers you.
How to Fix It: There is lots of free software out there that lets you link your blog to your social networks. Add a toolbar to make it easier for your blog faithful to click and link to your web page or social network page. The more interactive your blog is, the more followers you are likely to attract.
No Images, Just Text
The Problem: Let’s say you have the best content. You update your blog on a regular basis. Your content is fresh and engaging. You talk about popular topics. You have a steady stream of followers, but there’s still something missing. If you have no images at all, that’s what’s missing. We live in a visual world where a picture can be worth a thousand hits.
How to Fix It: Add pictures and images. You can upload your own or engage your followers and ask them to post pictures. Make it clear that you have final approval. Stock images can be found online. Make sure your images do not have a copyright.
Updates are Sporadic
The Problem: We all get busy. However, if you want to get more out of your blog, you need to put in a little effort. Take a little time each day or at least a few times a week to update your blog. This includes adding fresh content and images. If you don’t update your content, your followers will find another blog that does.
How to Fix It: Updating your blog doesn’t have to consume your life. Even a few updates a week can keep your blog interesting. To make it easier, set aside a specific time or day of the week when you know you will have the time to update your blog.
The Problem: Blog readers love to make comments. That is part of the fun of reading a blog in the first place. Yes, as we established before, you can get busy and not have time to respond to comments. Either that or simply ignore comments and post your content. Regardless of the reason, ignoring comments does not engage your followers.
How to Fix It: Take some time to respond to comments. You don’t have to respond to every single comment, but acknowledging what people are saying is important. Readers like to feel like they’re comments mean something.
No Headlines or Sub-heads
The Problem: Well-written content is great, but it cannot do all the work by itself. However, if a reader has to skim through a few sentences or paragraphs before they understand what you are talking about, they will quickly lose interest.
How to Fix It: Use headlines and sub-heads that reflect the content. Mix it up and use teaser headlines where you ask a question and the answer is in the content. You only have about 10-15 seconds to get somebody’s attention online.
The Problem: OK, so you got that one really great topic and you ran with it. That’s fine. Unfortunately, limiting a blog to one specific topic also limits the interest of your followers.
How to Fix It: As much as you love a certain topic, consider expanding the range of that topic. This way you get the attention of a larger number of readers. Don’t be afraid to create sub-topics. The more branches a tree has, the more birds it will attract. Substitute tree with blog and birds with readers and you get the point.
The Problem: This goes back to the updating problem. Let’s say you just have time to post a few comments here and there. This may satisfy the faithful, but blog readers tend to look for substantial content. It’s like reading a great book that’s only ten pages long.
How to Fix It: Take some time to add content. If you don’t have time for this task, let your readers help. Invite readers to submit content. Again, make it clear that you have final approval. This is a great way to beef up content without adding to your workload.
Kurt Halsell is an avid blogger and frequent contributor to a variety of sites on subjects such as blogging, general business news and advice, and more.