As a blogger, there is nothing more disappointing than pouring your heart and soul into a blog post that performs poorly in terms of engagement. Not only can this be a frustrating experience, but it has the potential to dishearten or dissuade you from blogging in the future. As we all know, failure is a liar that tells us to doubt ourselves and our abilities, when in reality most blogging “failure” is (1) arbitrary and (2) not content related. If you’re frustrated with your low blog post engagement, please keep reading.
Five Reasons Why Your Posts Aren’t Engaging
1. Your headline is lacking a hook | Believe it or not, a headline is extremely important to drawing in a reader because it is the first point of contact someone has with your work. Ideally, the perfect headline should be applicable to your audience (this is where having a niche can be helpful) and should communicate the value that you plan to provide. There is a multitude of headline types that you can use to draw in your audience, but here are 5 common types:
- Listicle Headline (ex. 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Blogging)
- Best of Headline (ex. Newbie Awards: Best of Beauty 2018)
- How to Headline (ex. How to Set Goals You’ll Keep)
- Question Headline (ex. Pan That Palette 2018 Finale/Will I Do It Again?)
- News/Announcement Headline (ex. Starbucks to Eliminate Plastic Straws)
2. You don’t have a featured photo | Just like your headline, your featured photo contributes to a reader’s first impression of your post. As such, at a minimum, every single new post should have a featured header photo.
Not a skilled photographer? Don’t worry – there are loads of ways to find or create the graphics that you need. Canva, WordPress, and Styled Stock Society all prove stock imagery that can be used in blog posts. Canva can also be used to design graphics or edit photos.
3. You don’t use tags (properly) | Not using tags appropriately is a major no-no for a few reasons. First, post tags help Google to understand what your post is about (which affects your SEO). Second, post tags enable other bloggers to find your content when they’re looking for or reading about specific topics.
More specifically, tags are used to sort and rank your content within the WordPress Reader. For example, I write posts relating to Project Panning. If I type the phrase “Pan That Palette” into the reader search bar, not only is my post the top featured post, but I am the top featured blogger. As a result, any WordPress bloggers interested in the Pan That Palette Yearlong Challenge are going to be directed to my content.
However, I learned in a recent post from Pooja G (lifesfinewhine) that there is such a thing as using too many tags. Bloggers should use 10 or fewer tags per post. Otherwise, WordPress may consider your content to be spam… and as such, it won’t show up in the WordPress Reader. Anecdotally, I can contest that this is true. After fixing/removing tags for a few of my posts, I immediately saw a trickle of engagement even though the posts were older.
4. You don’t promote your posts | I’ve heard it said that blogging is 20% Content, 80% Promotion… which is annoying, but true. No one can like or comment on your content if they aren’t seeing it! My early blog posts did not do very well in terms of engagement because I was afraid to promote them on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter are all wonderful platforms for promoting your content and connecting with other bloggers.
I typically suggest that shy or new bloggers start with Twitter because people are the most engaging, supportive, and relaxed on Twitter (compared to platforms like Instagram). Check out my post featuring Twitter 101 Tips & 40+ Blogger Retweet Accounts for help getting started or help to improve your Twitter game.
5. You don’t engage with others | I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to engage with and support other content creators. Engagement is a two-way street in two ways – successful bloggers engage with other bloggers and their readers.
What does it mean to engage with another blogger’s content? This means sharing, retweeting, liking, or commenting on posts. This may be time-consuming, but it is so vital to sustaining actual relationships with others. When I see that a friend has posted new content, their posts are always the first ones I comment on or “like” in my feed because (1) I know that I like their content and (2) I adore them!
What does it mean to engage with your readers? Respond to their comments. Not only have I made some new friends this way, but it makes me more likely to engage with that blogger’s content in the future. Sad to say, that I’ve actually unfollowed or stopped commenting on bloggers’ content when I realized they hadn’t replied to any comments. As your blog grows, this can become challenging so it may not be possible to do this all the time for everyone, but successful bloggers go out of their way to respond to their readers… even if the response is only to “like” the comment.
Originally, I was planning on including tips on proper comment etiquette, but I have some strong feelings and don’t want this to turn into a 5,000-word post. Please be on the lookout for a future post on Comment Etiquette 101 in next month’s installment in the Blogger Love series.
Above all, don’t let “low” engagement make you feel like an inadequate blogger, because that’s simply not true. Most blogging “mistakes” have to do with blog promotion rather than blog content. People have to find your content to read it and engage with you.
Looking for more tips on how to step up your blogging game? Check out Blogger Recognition Award: Why I Write & Tips for New Bloggers, Helpful Tools for Blog Planning & Scheduling, and 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Blogging.
What is the best advice you received for increasing your blog engagement? How to do you encourage engagement on your blog posts? Please let me know in the comments below.