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How to instantly improve your blog

How to instantly improve your blog

Posted 01st July, 2019 by Sarah

Earlier in the year the tsoHost blog ran an article on 8 Tools for Better Blogging. The reason? Because statistics have shown that businesses with blogs can receive up to 55 per cent more traffic than those that don’t have them.

Of course, you can’t just hash out any old copy and expect it to rocket you up the search engine results. Your blog should be full of helpful, interesting, well-written content that’s relevant to your customer base.

To make your blog really stand out from the crowd, there are a few more things you should consider doing to, and with, your content that should be beneficial to your business in the long term.

Here’s a little round-up…

Update old content

How long does it take you to write a blog? If you take into account topic generation, research, keyword research, writing, and editing, a 1,000 to 2,000 word blog can take up to a day of your time to perfect. Maybe more if you’re in a particularly specialist industry.

Once most small businesses post their blogs, they cross them off their to-do lists and forget about them. SEO expert Neil Patel calls this ‘leaving them to die’. If you really want to improve the quality of your blog, you should dedicate a little time, regularly, to updating your old posts.

There are lots of technical things you can do here, revisiting keywords and using in-depth analytics. However, for quicker wins you can do a number of things:

• Look for any content that’s out of date and refresh it with the latest information and advice.

• Find older blogs that are still performing reasonably well on the analytics front and add to them – write a few hundred more words with additional, rich, information. Maybe add a video.

• Look at the comments on those blogs that are still earning traffic. See if people have commented on anything they didn’t like or suggested additions and alter your blog accordingly.

Adopt a brand journalism approach

In this era of Fake News, consumer trust is at an all-time low. Over in the USA, the Edelman Trust Barometer suggests that just over half of the population – 56 per cent – trust businesses. This figure has been on a downward spiral for the past decade.

Despite this, blogs have been shown, in the past, to build trust between companies and their customers. Research from Jeff Bullas showed that more than 68 per cent of people believed blogs added credibility to a website.

Another way to increase trust amongst readers is to take a few tips from journalism best practice. We’re talking the original journalistic code of conduct and ethics. First and foremost, journalists are always meant to name the sources of facts and quotes – unless the person quoted needs to remain anonymous for safety or legal purposes.

In a similar way, bloggers should always link to the sources of the stats, quotes or facts they include in their blogs. Link to the original source material, too, rather than a random listicle penned by someone else.

Secondly, journalists are always on the lookout for an original story. They live for the scoop or the exclusive.

Blog writers can take a cue from this attitude. Look at a blog article topic once you’ve conceived it and ask yourself how can you make it more original. If you run a bathroom company, for example, there’s a good chance all your competitors are writing articles like ‘10 great bathroom storage ideas’ or ‘Black and white bathroom inspiration’.

What can you write about that’s different but still informative or entertaining for your audience? How about a ‘Is it weird to eat in the bath?’ post or a ‘Bath-based world records’ blog?

Keep an eye on your comments

Looking at your comments can be a little bit like opening a can of worms. Just remember that you can’t please everyone all the time. No matter how much research and effort you put into your blog articles there will always be one or two people that simply don’t like what you’ve produced. It may be a matter of taste, it may simply be that they’re having a bad day.

If you can rise above any trolling, your comment section can be a great place to source new ideas and feedback for future blog posts.

It’s also a great place to engage with your customers. Try to respond to all comments, whip up a conversation, ask more questions and inspiration will follow.

Avoid weasel words

The dictionary definition of a weasel word is ‘something that someone says either to avoid answering a question clearly or to make someone believe something that is not true.’

The term was popularised by Theodore Roosevelt in a speech of 1916 in which he said: “Why, weasel words are words that suck all the life out of the words next to them, just as a weasel sucks an egg and leaves the shell. If you heft the egg afterwards it's as light as a feather, and not very filling when you're hungry, but a basketful of them would make quite a show, and would bamboozle the unwary.”

It’s very easy to add weasel words into a blog post, simply because, these days, they’re used regularly as part of everyday conversation. However, editing them out at the end of the writing process can make your blog copy more compelling to read. A common weasel sentence in blog posts is ‘research suggests’. We use it over and over in our tsoHost articles, but we have a way of converting it from a weasel word into something worthwhile.

To prevent this sentence from being a weasel you need to follow it up with hard evidence that links out to the source.

Other weasel words to look for include: • As much as • In a sense • Probably • Virtually • Somewhat • XX works (when no quantitative back up is provided)

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