4 Great Blogging Tips to Pull in Better Traffic

If you’re here, you’re into content. And online, your content strategy – your persona-on-the-web – is most likely going to include a blog.

Now, that’s not just because a blog has become part of the standard architecture of a business website. Rather, it’s because a professional blog is where you tell the world what’s important to you. More than that, however, a blog is where you put your thoughts to work, creating posts to drive traffic, boost conversions, and improve your SEO. A well-designed blog can do all of that for you, and more. Let’s talk about how you can make your blog work for you.

Get Your Introduction Right

We’ll start with how to introduce a blog. Start with a title. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but a title will give you a reference point for everything that comes after. You can tweak it later, as you write, so that it more accurately reflects what you are telling your audience. This post, for example, started out as “Storytelling as a Content Marketing Technique,” morphed into “Building a Better Business Blog,” but now it’s “4 Great Blogging Tips to Pull in Better Traffic.”

The most important aspect of the title is that it’s the first element of the blog that the reader will see, and it will often make the difference between a reader clicking and reading your blog, or ignoring it altogether. The title has two vital jobs, and only a few words to accomplish them: It must reel in a reader, and it must summarize the blog post. In this post’s current title, I’ve applied a set of good headline tips.

Don’t be afraid to change course as you write; not every initial idea pans out. Outline your post, develop a headline, and in the process you’ll get a good feel for what will work and where you should go.

Tell a Story

According to psychologists, humans are storytelling animals – it is how we think, and how we organize our thoughts. Narrative comes naturally to us. You can use that to boost your blog. A blog with a good narrative is more likely to stick in the reader’s head.

The technique is simple: take a close look at your brand, find the element that makes it truly unique, and apply that to everything you do. It could be your brand’s “creation story;” it could be the problem you saw that you built your company to solve; it could be your company’s involvement in the local community; the key is, make it part of your voice, so that it informs everything you write. When done correctly, as a totality your content will build a narrative around your brand.

Remember the Visuals

While we are storytellers, we’re also primates, and primates are, above all, visual creatures. Unlike most mammals, we are awake and active during the day, and have evolved sharp daytime vision to take advantage of that.

The cliché is, a picture is worth 1000 words, and like most clichés, this one is built on an element of truth. In this case, the truth is that a picture or video can quickly and memorably illustrate the point in your text; it is one thing to say that the local animal shelter needs everyone’s support, but quite another to show a basket of kittens, captioned, “We need a home!”

Like the human propensity for storytelling, you can use our visual bent to pin your blog in the reader’s consciousness. Formatting – creating the basic structure of the blog – is your starting point. A strong, clear headline; short, easy-to-read paragraphs, and memorable graphics are the hooks. They build a nice, clean layout that is easy to read.

Graphics can be placed to further break up the text, without breaking up the flow of information. On the backend, you can title the images and apply SEO tags to make sure that your graphic content, as well as your text, attracted the search engines. All together, well-planned graphics and strong text add up to a post that the reader can’t help but peruse carefully.

Close on a Strong Note

Too often, in what we write, we focus so much on the beginning and the middle – getting the opening right, and offering great content – that we can forget about the importance of the ending. The end of your blog post is your last chance, your last opportunity to hit your audience with a memorable line or image that will stick with them.

The memorable closing line is an invaluable skill to learn, that will turn any ordinary blog post into a keeper. There are a number of writing devices you can use to close out a blog post in a way that will stay with the reader.

The most basic is probably the summary; just restate your main point, in condensed form. This is especially effective if you finish your summary by restating your initial point. The full-circle construction is a narrative trick that works well.

Another good technique is the call to action. It’s a marketing default, because it works. Closing a blog post with a direct call for your reader to participate – whether by making a purchase, downloading a freebie, or even just leaving a comment – will always help cement your ideas in the reader’s head.

Finally, and one of my favorites, you can end your blog with a question. Maybe you have a rhetorical point to make, and asking it will rope in the reader. Maybe you want to combine it with your call to action. Maybe you want to presage your next blog post. In any case, a good question will get attention and stay with the reader. What techniques have worked for your blog?

With more than 10 years’ experience in marketing communications and online content writing, and an academic background in political science and creative writing, Michael brings a sharp eye, an analytical mind, a creative turn of phrase, and great grammar to BlueJay’s content marketing.
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