You have a blog on your website and some readers seem to have taken notice, but you need to take it to the next level. You not only want to be a resource for your readers, but you want to leverage your blog to generate leads, right?
Know Your Audience
I’m sure I sound like a broken record, but all of our marketing efforts must begin with the end in mind. Knowing your buyer persona is the best way to capture a larger, more engaged audience.
Title your Posts with Style
Your attention is a hot commodity. There is a constant battle every hour of the day for your attention. A few fleeting moments are exceptionally valuable (as you read this, I humbly thank you for it). The title of your blog post is a lot like bait to a fish. If you want to reel in your readers, you need to start with something IRRESISTABLE to them.
Here are some sample titles to consider:
- How to Optimize a blog post
- Mistakes your SEO provider is making on your website RIGHT NOW
- Trade Secrets of a PPC expert
- Is your website generating leads for your business?
- 7 steps to SEO Success
Clearly these are industry specific, as they should be. Your topic and title must be written with your buyer persona in mind, as though you were answering a question of theirs directly.
Set Your Website up for SEO Success
Nerd Alert: I’m going to get a little froggy with my SEO tips. These tips can make a major difference in how the search engines index and categorize your website.
- Take a few minutes to do keyword research. Use Google Keyword Planner + Google Trends to find the best way to phrase your blog title and which keywords get the most traffic.
- If you really want to generate qualified leads from your blog, don’t dismiss the long tail keywords that may have less traffic. A long tail keyword can be indicative of a highly qualified lead.
- Install Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. Webmaster Tools can analyze the technical aspects of your blog, like broken links and pages. Not only do these annoy readers, search engines also pick up on them and will penalize your ranking.
- Use an SEO plug-in, like “Yoast”, to make sure you cover the basics. It even has a handy color-coded system to show how SEO friendly you are.
- Fill out the title tag with up to 70 characters. This is usually your blog title, so make it appealing and share-worthy!
- Your description will still sell the click. Giving your readers a sneak peek is always encouraged and will help increase traffic. Google shows around 160 characters.
- Add alt text to your blog post images. Whenever possible, include keywords in your blog post images for optimal effect when shared on social media.
- Use keywords in your URL and H1 tags. These reinforce what your post is about to search engines.
- Make sure to use tags and categories with your keywords as well. Anything you can include to plead your case to the search engines. But don’t overdo it. 2-3 categories and 1-12 tags is plenty.
- See which posts are performing the best. You can also install a plug-in, such as Jetpack in WordPress, to see your stats right on your dashboard. For a more in-depth look at who is engaging with your site and content, you can also use software like Hubspot (our fave!).
- Monitor your referral traffic. Which social mediums are doing the best? Are your posts being shared? Are other bloggers linking to you? If yes, go thank them!
ADVANCED MOVE: Demote Irrelevant Google sitelinks – While Google sitelinks are automatically generated, you can demote URLs you don’t want to show; this may increase the chances that the URLs you do want listed show up. You can do this inside Google Webmaster Tools.
Double Benefit Tip!
This tip gets extra points for both helping you gain readers and keep them. Break up your text with sub-headings and use H1 tags. These help readers scan your post, so be sure to make them interesting. If the post scans well, you’ll decrease your bounce rate and increase your sharing. In addition, all heading tags signal to search engines what your blog post is about. It’s another opportunity to pepper in some keywords and strengthen your SEO.
Repurpose your Content Effectively
So now you’re thinking, “I wish this post came out months ago. I’ve been writing blog posts for a year now and these tips could have been so helpful.”
- Good for you! Consistency is crucial.
- You can optimize and re-share your existing posts. Go through your old posts and make sure they have unique and relevant title tags, URLs and meta descriptions.
Neil Patel of QuickSprout found that by posting high-quality posts 6x per week as opposed to 5, blog traffic increased by 18.6%. 5 or 6 posts may not be necessary for your business. Remember that in many cases, the traffic increases you see from blogging are scalable. The more optimized and relevant content you have, the more doors for readers to open.
Become a Social Ninja!
You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to post ‘em!
Now that you’ve optimized your posts, you need to get the word out. This is not a passive activity and it does take some know-how and finesse. Maximize traffic through sharing at optimal times on your social mediums. You can use Hootsuite or a similar automation tool to schedule most of these. Best sharing times:
- Facebook: 1pm-4pm
- Twitter: 1pm-3pm
- Pinterest: 2pm-4pm and 8pm-1am
- Google+: 9am-11am
- LinkedIn: 7am-9am and 5pm-6pm
LinkedIn and Facebook are also great places to niche down your audience. There are industry specific groups on both LI and FB. Sharing posts within these groups can also increase traffic and engagement.
LinkedIn users generally spend 2 minutes and 13 seconds on each link they click, viewing 2.23 pages with each visit and bouncing 51.28% of the time. Though traffic numbers are generally low, they are qualified. Here’s a great infographic from social caffeine.
Video Killed the Radio Star
Of all social media sites, YouTube drives the most engaged traffic. YouTube has the lowest average bounce rate (43.19%), the highest pages per visit (2.99) and the longest visit duration (227.82 seconds).
Video watchers are especially receptive to links within video descriptions that complement the audio+visual content they just consumed. Another reason YouTube has such an engaged audience is because visitors are used to spending time educating and entertaining themselves with awesome video. They literally expect to spend time there.
In short, if you have videos that can be embedded into your posts, USE THEM!
Google+ Profile to Establish Authorship (a little jolt for your SEO, too)
This is one of the areas where I get the most pushback from clients. Why do I need a G+ profile?
Although Google+ and LinkedIn drive the least amount of traffic, the traffic they do bring is highly qualified. Google+ users, on average, find themselves spending more than 3 minutes reviewing things shared by connections in their circles. They also visit 2.45 pages during each visit, and bounce only 50.63% of the time. As noted before, LinkedIn users generally spend 2 minutes and 13 seconds on each link they click, view 2.23 pages per visit, and bounce 51.28% of the time.
If these numbers don’t convince you, here are some bottom line stats.
- Google tends to ‘over-reward’ blogs with a G+ authorship tag. Birds of a feather, you see.
- Higher click-through rates from search results.
- Extra crossover traffic from one post to another.
- Better long term search rankings for your content.
You’ve steadily increased your traffic through strong SEO tactics and an awesome Social Media campaign. Now that you’ve got their attention, how do you KEEP their attention?
Create an Awesome User Experience
The design, look, and ease of navigation on your blog are very important! If you have great content, but it’s hiding behind a bunch of ads, an ugly or hard to read font and awful pictures, the likelihood of people staying on your site is slim to none.
Your blog should also have a search bar so visitors can easily search for things. Having tabs, having a most popular content section, or having a pop-up that tells your visitor where to go on your site can help you have a lower bounce rate, increase your Click-Through Rate (CTR), and capture the visitor’s attention.
Another bonus item to note is load time. Minimize your load time to keep readers engaged.Excessive ads, buttons and photos can slow it down. Experimenting with placement and WordPress plugins can help speed things up.
Kissmetrics.com says,“40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.”
So what does this all mean to your blog and your business? There are many components to generating leads from your blog or website. If you follow the tips in this post, carefully consider who you want to reach, implement a comprehensive strategy to reach them, and give them a great user experience, I guarantee you’ll watch your traffic increase, your leads will become more qualified, and your sales will soar.