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by Mike Essex on 2nd April 2014
Every blog is broken in some way.
Once you accept that, it’s easier to make amends and to reshape your blog into something that drives conversions, attracts the right audience and ranks well in search engines.
Recently I spoke at the Search London event on how you can identify the critical issues with your blog along with processes on how to fix them. Below you’ll find my slides from the event as well as the key points that I discussed.
One of the biggest problems that blogs face are the lack consistency in their schedules, posting either rarely or at very sporadic intervals. At Koozai we try and overcome this by committing a yearly budget to our own blog, and using almost every member of our team to create content in some way.
On the flip side it’s also possible to create too much content and at one point we were producing 600 posts a year just for Koozai.com. Each article was good enough quality to meet Google News guidelines, but we felt we could go into the topics in more depth, so we spent the same amount of time as we’d have spent on three posts in creating one larger more in-depth guide.
This gave us better quality posts and we were also impressed with how easily everyone in the team took to writing content. The key lesson we learnt from this is that investing more time into less content can create better results. It’s also key that you can spread this work across multiple team members making you more nimble to create content when needed.
The process we recommend for this is:
For us this led to more traffic, rankings, social shares, comments and most importantly leads and sales from the blog increased. A regular blogging schedule can work wonders in driving almost any KPI you have.
Following on from cutting back on the number of posts, we felt that our old content no longer represented us as well as the new posts.
This is a common problem for blogs which evolve over many years with some of the problems including:
In an effort to push people to more relevant content at Koozai we made the decision to delete 900 posts.
You can see an in-depth look at how this was done but if you want to replicate this you should:
When we did this we were worried Google may issue us with a penalty as so much content changed overnight. However, although we saw some 404 errors in Webmaster Tools (that were quickly fixed), traffic from all channels rose by around 10%. Conversions also increased as we now drove people to better quality content with more commercial focus.
The more devices for which your website is tailored, the wider your potential audience. That’s why it makes sense to create a responsive website that repackages your content in the best possible way. At Koozai our website can exist in seven different forms depending on whether you access it via a desktop, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, RSS feed, Email or our app. That’s not to mention whether you have your device in landscape or portrait view.
It’s important to consider that responsive design doesn’t just affect the template of your website. You also need to ensure the following render correctly:
To make sure everything works as intended we recommend the following process:
When we launched our responsive website we found that traffic from mobiles went up by 74.6%, tablets by 3,019% and, best of all, conversions from mobiles and tablets went up by 213%.
Could your blog survive a £10,000 fine? That’s what’s at stake (and possibly worse) if you get caught with stolen images on your website. If you have multiple images from many different websites the fine could be enough to wipe out most blogs and even some businesses. Image fines are a serious problem and it’s worryingly easy to have a stolen image.
I’ve taken a longer look at this topic here, but some of the things to avoid are:
The standard solution for this is Creative Commons images, but even those could have been stolen originally. To be safe, always put these images into a reverse image search tool and check that the CC location is the original one.
Whilst we’re on the subject of reverse image search tools, given how easy they are to use you need to remember that legal teams are using them all day every day to catch those who infringe. You could very easily be next unless you check your images. That’s why we checked 4,000 of our images to ensure every single one was purchased and credited.
To do the same you’ll need to:
By following this process you’ll get peace of mind over your old content and have a clear strategy for the future. We even found that our team put more images on blog posts after this change, not less, so their creativity doesn’t have to suffer.
There are lots of reasons for having a blog, but having one to just tick a box is not a valid reason. It’s important you understand exactly why you have a blog and what action you want to be completed, because only then can you check its performance. Some of these reasons could be:
Based on those goals you need to consider how you can convert that audience, especially if you want to drive people from the blog to the main site. If you want people to complete an action then you need to tell them. In our case this meant adding a call-to-action in ten key places on the blog, based on the user’s presumed intent.
The process for this is:
If better Google rankings is your goal, the process is very similar. For example, the call to action includes links to the service pages which get indexed. Other than this, everything else works the same.
By following this process we were able to turn our blog from something we did because we had to, into a profit driving force for the company. Just some of the things it helped us achieve were:
Most importantly the annual ROI from blog channels increased by 201%.
All of these strategies work together to give your blog the largest possible reach, the most commercially driven customer and the strongest conversion rate. If you avoid the pitfalls above you can make any blog work and work well.
If you’ve got any questions or further thoughts on creating a great blog please leave them below.