Why Your Blog Post Didn’t Get Read
By Janice Hostager
You have a great idea for a blog post, spend hours writing your masterpiece, only to publish it…and hear crickets. Does this sound familiar?
I suspect every blogger has had that experience at some point in time. I know I have. And it’s pretty discouraging. Actually, I would say it’s downright painful.
So why didn’t people read it? Here’s a list of possible problems that you can avoid in future posts to make them more inclined to be read:
1. It Wasn’t Found
SEO (search engine optimization) should be one of the first things you think about. Use a keyword tool, such as Google Keyword Planner, and look for keywords that are high in search volume and low in competition. It’s important to put your keywords within your post, including:
- Determine searching intent- why is your target looking? What is the problem they’re looking to solve?
- Select a primary keyword, based on the information your client is looking for. Select the one most relevant, most often searched for and low in competition.
- Put that primary keyword in your headline (page title), as many subheads as possible, your first sentence and throughout your blog article.
- Use that focus keyword in your meta description and title (the description the search engines read).
- Put keywords throughout the text on your page–not just your primary keyword, but other related words too. Select long-tail keywords as well. Here is a free tool for doing that.
- TIP: If you have a WordPress blog, use Yoast SEO for WordPress. It’s a free plugin that gives you a score based on your SEO on the page and gives you suggestions for improvement.
2. It’s Not Relevant to Me
Creating good content for your blog depends on you knowing your target audience–the ones looking for your information and the ones who will buy your product. This all seems simple, but often we are guessing as to what our customers really want to know. My best advice? Ask them.
- Poll your readers to see what they want. It’s easy to make a quick poll on Facebook or send out a survey with Google Forms to your email list to find out what they want to learn more about.
- Think about what questions you’re asked most frequently. These are great starting points for your content.
- Think about information related to a product you’re selling. What will people need to be aware of or believe in order to want or need your product?
3. It’s Not Scannable
Let’s face it–most of us are crazy busy. And a sad truth of the internet is that people tend not to read. Instead, they scan. So keep this in mind when putting together your blog posts and do the following:
- Start with an outline. A well thought out outline is half the battle when putting together a blog post. Starting with this can make the writing seem almost effortless since you’ve laid out all the key points and just need to fill in the blanks with information.
- Use subheads for scanning. Since people tend to scan, make sure to use plenty of subheads that are clear. Try not to be clever or obscure with your subheads–your goal is to communicate information quickly.
4. Not optimized for social media
As you likely know, people don’t often visit websites without a reason. Most of the time, you need to drive traffic to them. Using social media is a great way to do this, but so much on social media vying for attention, it’s difficult to get noticed there too. So it’s important to optimize your blog post for the social media platform you’re on.
A good way to do this is with Yoast SEO WordPress plugin. It will allow you to indicate a separate photo, summary and headline for Facebook, so you’re in control of what will show up in the Facebook newsfeed. Just click the little button shown below:
5. Your Headline Didn’t Draw Me In
Arguably, headlines are the most important part of your blog post. You can have the most amazing, informative blog post, but if the reader doesn’t get past the headline, it won’t matter. It needs to stand out and speak directly to your target customer and a problem they’re having.
- Fortunately, there’s headline help. Copyblogger and Sumome both have some headline formulas you can use, and (Googling the term “headline formulas” will bring up several more.) They’re a great resource for putting together headlines that attract readers to the great information on your blog.
- Also remember to use your “focus keyword” in your headline (so Google will like it too), and keep it short enough for the whole headline to show up on the search results page (around 6 words in length).
- After your headline, the next thing to think about it the first paragraph. Does it pull the reader further into your article? A compelling story or an intriguing statement will encourage them to keep reading.
6. You Didn’t Get it in Front of the Right Audience
In case you didn’t get this from any of my previous posts, knowing your audience is job #1. But in reality, it’s not always easy. How do you know if the audience you think is reading your blog is the one that actually is?
- Use Google’s Universal Analytics code. Google has developed code for your website that will tell you lots of good information about who visits your site. Ask your web developer to make sure you have it on your site, or go to Analytics.Google.com to see if it’s being used (if your site’s a few years old, you may have an older version). Once you know who is reading your blog, you can figure out where else your customer is hanging out online and find similar audiences too.
- Spend more time sharing than writing. For most of us, we do the opposite. We spend time researching, outlining, writing, proofing and optimizing…only to have it never get read. Next time, try the reverse. After you’ve written your masterpiece, share it on social media, in social media groups, forums, RSS feed sites and send it to your email list. You can pay to promote it on social media sites, although I only do this on posts that will benefit my ROI (such as when there’s an email list builder included in the post). The more eyes that see your relevant work, the more your readership will grow. Using a social media scheduling tool such as Postplanner will let you schedule your blog post to show multiple times each day on the Twitter feed, allowing it to reach even more people each day.
7. It’s Not Mobile Friendly
These days, Google will penalize a website that isn’t mobile responsive. And with 80% of mobile users searching the internet with their phones, there’s a good reason they’re doing that.
- If you’re blogging on the WordPress platform, check to make sure your theme is mobile responsive. If not, switch themes or talk to your website designer.
- Popups are an effective way to get email sign ups on your website, but they can get in the way on mobile devices. (Google recently announced that sites with intrusive pop-ups will be down-ranked too). It’s pretty frustrating trying to get past a pop-up on your phone to read a page. Most pop-ups will allow you to turn them off on mobile devices. Deleting the automatic popup on your mobile devices is the safest bet.
8. It Wasn’t Sharable
It’s a pretty easy thing to add a share button to your blog post. Sharing plugins are numerous. Ask people to share your content. It not only benefits you, but people like to share content that lets them look knowledgeable and benefits their friends. So post your best stuff.
9. The Design was Bad
Two things will make me click away from a website right off the bat…a heavy, solid block of text (see #3 above) or really bad design. Creating a page that’s well branded and easy to read make the reader want to keep going. And with so many blog themes available on the market, good design is within everyone’s reach.
You know the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words? That’s true for blogs too. But the quality of your images matters. Make them entertaining enough to connect on an emotional level with your audience–more than just the standard stock photos.
10. Poor Writing, Misspellings, Bad Grammar & Profanity
If grammar is an issue for you, you’re in luck! There’s lots of help these days. Google Chrome has a free browser app called Grammarly that will help you correct spelling and grammar on any application you’re working in. Determining where a comma goes, and whether to use “affect” or “effect” has never been simpler. (It’s a great time to be bad at grammar!)
In recent years, profanity has become commonplace. But there’s a large segment of the population who are still turned off by it. So before using it, ask yourself “is using the “f-word” really necessary?” It really comes down to knowing your target customer. Would it repel the customer you’re trying to attract? Then leave it out.
11. Put out OUTSTANDING information
Your posts won’t get read if your information is the same as everyone else’s out there. It’s very important to share more and better information than the status quo. It doesn’t pay to blog every day if you’re putting out mediocre information. It’s better to give out more than you’re comfortable with than to hold information back. Readers will return when you do.
Truly, there’s a lot to keep in mind when writing a winning blog post. So I’ve put together a free download for that purpose: The Create a Winning Blog Post Checklist. Click below to download it instantly!
Now it’s your turn. What makes you cringe when you see a blog post? What makes you click away? Share in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!