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Growing a blog is hard work but not impossible. In this post, I want to show you a few tweaks to hack the growth of your blog. The baseline is always great content!
Fasten your seatbelt because we’re ready to take off!
Five Killer Ways to Hack the Growth of Your Blog Now – The Four-Week MBA https://t.co/YXAiWlWCLY
— Neil Patel (@neilpatel) August 30, 2017
Pick the perfect title
Journalists know that the title can make or break an article. It doesn’t matter how good it is what you wrote if none will open it none will read it! For how trivial that might sound, this is even truer for blog posts. With over a billion websites and over four million blog posts; the title is a great shortcut for our brain to make sense of the clutter.
To make your headline catchy, sticky but also good from the SEO perspective then there are a few factors to take into account. The main ones are,
- Is your title emotional? For instance, invoking good or bad emotions can be a powerful way to have people read your stuff.
- Is the title short? Too long would be bad for SEO. Plus none will know it. The right length would be around 55 characters.
- What are the first and last three words? In fact, apparently, when people skim content they look the first and final part of the title.
- Are there keywords in it? Those keywords are not only meant to make your content read by search engines but to capture the searchers’ intention
In other words, it has to be:
Short but meaningful
Focused on first and last three words
How to meet all those standards without hassling too much on it?
Simple, use CoSchedule Headline Analyser
That is what I did to pick the title for this blog post. Therefore, if you did open it, it may be thanks to it!
For instance, I initially picked up a title,
As you can see my score wasn’t that bad; However, I wanted to make it a bit better because it was too long and not as catchy as I wanted it to be!
I tried several headlines, and my score got worse,
Until I got the title, I was looking for!
Can you do better?
Make your blog the fastest in town
With the staggering growth of content on the web, the demand for it seems to be growing at a slower pace compared to the offer. In other words, there is so much content out there that it becomes impossible to consume it all. Therefore, when you do find what you were looking for you finally click on it, but the site is so slow that you eventually give up! That is even worse for mobile users. For instance, on average if your website takes more than three seconds to load you might lose up to 40% of your users! That can make or break your business. Thus, there’s no surprise that site speed is one of the most important factors for optimizing your blog.
Good news is you can now improve the speed of your site up to 30/40% in a few minutes and with no costs. Go on and check your speed performance, as I did.
I went to check my PageSpeed with Google Developers Tools, and that is what I got,
As you can see my site didn’t pass the test; Although not that bad from the desktop, it was bad on mobile. I can’t imagine how much traffic I lost due to that. How could I solve that? Google gives you some suggestions to make your website lighter, therefore faster. Yet I didn’t want to spend too much time on it. In short, I was looking for a quick and efficient way to improve the speed of my website right on. I figured that the most important factor affecting the speed of the website is your Media folder. That’s right! How many times did you unconsciously upload very large images? Well, now those images are burdening your site speed. It is time to compress them.
No problem though, I got the solution!
So I figured I could solve this issue very quickly through a WordPress plugin. That is called WP Smush. I uploaded directly from my WP website, installed it and activated it,
Then into the Media folder, I clicked on check images and started to compress them
After a few minutes, the compression was completed, and I had just saved almost one-hundred sixty megabytes in pictures. That’s impressive!
I checked my site speed again. I was impressed. My desktop speed went from 83 to 88. Ok not bad. What about mobile speed?
As you can see with this tweak alone, my mobile speed increased by over 30%, from 60 to 80!
That is how my website went from Sloth to Swift in the blink of an eye.
Time to optimize your images
When you write a blog post you often use images, right? We know for a fact that our brain loves pictures. They are a faster and more effective way to communicate a thought, emotion and inspire action! Yet for how cool the image you picked for your blog post if search engines won’t understand it they won’t read it. The consequence is that your content will be only in part read by search engines which are the intermediaries between your blog and your audience. How to solve this impasse? Use the alt attribute.
That attribute is crucial because it describes what the image is about in the context of your blog, or article. Now adding the alt attribute is not hard but time-consuming. For instance, if you add an image to your blog you will have to add the alt attribute manually as I did on this picture,
You can partially automate this process by installing a plugin called Format Media Titles.
If there’s a title for that image, the plugin will automatically save the alt attribute, which will make your image optimization faster and more efficient.
Target Google‘s featured snippet
If you’re familiar with basic SEO, you know what a keyword is. In short, each time a user searches for something on the web it does so through a search engine’s box, like Google‘s
Until not long ago when search engines scanned your page (in SEO lingo called crawling) most of what they saw was based on keywords. Therefore, the more keywords you stuffed into your page, the more you would show up in the search, which in the SEO world is called ranking.
Yet things changed dramatically when a few years ago Google updated its algorithm. The algorithm now looks more at context and the semantic behind the content you write rather than matching simple keywords. Also, common wisdom in the past would tell you to rank for short keywords (for instance “blogging”). Those keywords while can bring you traffic won’t bring you conversions. Therefore, if your objective is to bring more customers, you might want to change focus and look for long-tail keywords. A long-tail keyword is simply a very specific query of a user. An example? A question! Questions are long-tail keywords. Also, addressing a specific question of a user a great way to convert that into a customer. Where do you find those long-tail keywords?
You can find them through a tool called Anwer The Public.
That is what I did. I digited “blog” and selected my target country, US:
I got 158 questions users have about “blog.”
Those questions have organized in clusters. Now I can use them to optimize my content by focusing on the specific pain-points my target has.
With those questions, I can also target Google’s featured snippet,
If you want to know more about how to get your snippet read the post I wrote on Search Engine People:
Use data to build effective CTAs
The adage says “Ask, and you shall receive.” This saying is true in life like in marketing. In fact, CTAs (call to actions) are a powerful tool to prompt your audience to take action. For instance, you can use them to inspire your audience to subscribe, purchase or just click through. How does a call to action look like?
As you can see a call to action makes it easier for the users to go toward a particular objective that you set beforehand. Yet the most effective way to use CTAs is to A/B test them. In short, you will have two versions of a CTA (for instance, one button is blue, the other red) and see what converts more. There are several free tools to A/B test your CTAs. For this blog, I use Hello Bar.
For instance, my goal is to get more subscribers. I’m A/B testing my CTA,
As you can see in the first CTA, there’s “join us!” in the second “subscribe.” Therefore, when landing on my homepage, some users will see the first version, while some others will see the second. It’s still too early to say what’s best. I will wait for at least a thousand view on each to say what’s best. For now, the latter version is performing better.
All it takes is to register there for free, create an account and follow the instructions. In a few minutes, you’ll have your A/B test ready!
Summing up and conclusions
Growing a blog requires a lot of hard work. Yet there are a few tweaks you can implement to grow it fast and effectively. I showed you how:
- pick the best titles
- make your site fast
- optimize your images
- convert users into customers
- and A/B test your call to actions
The rest is about producing great content!