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Blogging Pains

What’s the point in spending hours producing content or writing a blog post when hardly anybody is going to read it? Do you know that feeling? Painful? I know I do. 

Or I did until I discovered a way to get a lot more people to read what I’ve written and lots of other benefits too. This is my story of how I am changing my path of pain into my path of  gain.

image credit: bodinestreetgarden.org

Growing Pains

So you want to grow your business and particularly your internet presence; me too. You have heard that blogging is all the rage; me too. Blogging is certainly a great way to create some great content, expand your site and start getting found on google for a wider range of search phrases. But to start with it can be a bit of a slog and quite demoralising when you have very little traffic.

Add to this that there always seems to be about 10 other things to do that are more important than writing a blog. It’s not surprising then that a blog can get neglected with the “I’ll do a few next month when I have more time” excuse. Before you know it 6 months go by and the website seems eerily quiet. I’m just about in that place now myself. Except I do get traffic to my site and the reason is this.

Blogging gains 

Have you thought the best place for your content might be someone else’s website?

If you are suffering from growing pains and you attract little traffic then you should consider changing your focus away from your own site and look to write for other relevant sites that have more traffic. This is the practice known as Guest blogging or guest posting that entails writing guest posts or guest articles. My traffic jumped when I had a guest article published about how I added a WordPress blog to my website on WebmasterFormat.com .

Growing Gains

The main reason that you get a traffic boost from this practice is that if you write something that is of good quality and interesting that strikes a chord with the readers then some will click through to your site to see what else you offer. If the site has significant traffic and you write something really interesting then you can get a significant traffic increase.

Where it is relevant you may be able to include a link within your article to your website. Or at least include a bio at the bottom of the article with a link to your site. These quality links can also help in terms of Google for your own site. Getting a link was my main motivation at first, but I realise now that there are many other benefits so I no longer think of the link as the priority.

I got and still get traffic referred from my post on WebmasterFormat, but it’s not particularly the right sort of traffic. It’s a US site, I am based near Bradford in West Yorkshire. The site readership is mainly techy web people, not my target market. The benefit to me is mainly the link and perhaps it helps my credibility a little (although that’s probably best left for others to decide).

I get less traffic from another guest article but it has had a greater benefit.

Benefit Explained

I came across the Society of Virtual Assistants website & blog when I was doing some work for a prospective client. It’s a resource for virtual PA’s. The majority of the readership have their own websites, plenty would like to improve their website. And it is UK based. I’m starting to get a bit closer to my target market. 

I noticed that there were a few posts by guest writers so armed with an outline of my idea for a post I contacted Caroline the site owner. If you are like me thoughts go through your mind like “probably think I’m trying to trick them into something” and you doubt yourself. Sites need to feed their readership with fresh quality content, so it is actually quite likely that they will say yes to a quality content idea. When I got an enthusiastic acceptance from Caroline the hard work began. I had to actually write it. 

Now I noticed my attitude and motivation for writing changed.

I was now writing for an audience, readers who most likely would have an interest in my chosen subject and potential customers. I wrote with renewed vigor and enthusiasm, so much so I ended up needing to split my post on Turning website visitors into customers – conversion rate optimisation into two parts!

When it was published, sure I had the benefit of a link and some traffic, but I discovered greater benefits. The traffic was made up of people who were much closer to my target market. The positive reaction I got helped me to believe in myself. I seemed to gain recognition for some sort of expertise and authority that came from being published on a quality reputable site that was not my own. Even though I wrote all the words myself it seemed to have an effect that was similar to an endorsement or recommendation.

I also grew my network. I had made a connection with some of the readers and those I had featured in the post, relationships that I could nurture and grow. I hadn’t cold called, got them to sign up to my emails or swapped business cards at some networking event. This was a natural warm connection out of providing something of value to them (I guess that was the case otherwise the response would not have been so positive). Finally, but perhaps most importantly, being out there on the web is building and developing my brand, the more I do it, the more I will get recognised and my brand established.

Benefits recap (Blogging Enthusiasm Regained)

  1. exposure amongst a target market
  2. credibility, authority & expertise
  3. perceived endorsement/recommendation
  4. new warm connections & relationships
  5. referral traffic
  6. link
  7. *brand building*
All of these should contribute to the overall benefit of your reinvigorated enthusiasm for blogging!

Getting started – Blogging Brains

Have you got a creative brain? Let me answer that for you. Yes you have! I believe that everyone has some sort of creative ability. It’s this ability that you will use to come up with the guest post ideas that will enable you to switch from the path of pain to the path of gain. Start thinking about your business, your products, things you have done, people you have met, stories that you have recounted in the office. Let your creative mind mull them all over, but don’t settle on anything yet.

First you need to find the right home for your idea. The bigger more established sites will be good for credibility & traffic. The smaller sites good for connection & relationship building.

If you don’t know where to start, try this: Go to Google and search for “Guest Post By” topic  You should include the quotes as that tells google to search for that exact phrase. Topic is the general area that you wish to write about – you can add UK to the search which will help to keep the results relatively UK focussed.

e.g. “Guest Post By” UK Marketing 

This will return UK sites that feature guest posts that have something to do with marketing. This is because most guest posts start with a phrase something like “This is a guest post by Jo Bloggers who is marketing specialist at Widgets Inc.” So if Jo Bloggers can have a guest post published there then maybe you can too.

Try to identify sites where you think your target market is part of the audience then read the site.

Try to get a feel for where they are coming from and the types of posts that they publish. You are looking for your angle. Chances are your topic has been written about 100 times before so you need a fresh perspective, something unique that will make your contribution stand out as being different, the angle that will appeal to the readership of the site and hence the site owner. Don’t worry if you can’t see it straight away. Here is a great way to find it.

Refrain

Go to bed! Seriously, refrain from trying to formulate your idea and plan before you have slept. I find that if I try to come up with an idea I can’t do it. The brain is pretty wonderful in that it can absorb all of this information into our sub-conscious, now we just need to let our sub-conscious do it’s stuff. The best way I have found for this is to go to bed, but be prepared for a sleepless night, as all this stuff will churn round and round in your mind. Out of it. more often than not, I find I have the angle, the fresh perpective, the creative idea wether it be for myself or a client.

In the morning I’m buzzing and ready to go. Try it.

Attain

Now you have your angle you can approach the target site with an outline of your idea (don’t write the full article yet – you may be wasting your time if they ask you to include a different topic). I explain that posting on their site would be great exposure for me so that there is nothing hidden. Everyone should feel good about the arrangement. You are getting exposure and they are getting great content written from a fresh angle that they can see will appeal to their readers. So it’s win-win.

Using the comments box below please tell me “How did you feel about blogging before you read this?”.  “How do you feel now?”.

As your traffic builds so you can turn your focus back to your own site. Blogging is all part of a content marketing strategy that produces quality content across the web, content Google will love and so will your prospective customers. Try It. Give me a call if you need some help. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. 

If you think this post could do with a little more exposure please use the social media sharing buttons over there on the left. Appreciated. Thanks. 

About the author: Pete Stevens: I work with businesses to get the best out of their website; maximise visitors and maximise sales. I live with my wife and 2 teenage children near Bradford & Leeds in Yorkshire UK. I enjoy golf, football and curry mmm!

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