What’s the number one mistake bloggers make? They cast their nets too wide. They blog about anything and everything that comes to mind. And, as a result, their content is typically broad, unfocused or too basic to be helpful.
Casting a big net doesn’t mean you’ll reap bigger rewards. You’ll spend a lot of time trying to draw in readers who will only stick around to read one article. Or worse, they might not find much meat, quality or merit in what you’re saying because it’s too broad. The number of readers visiting a page isn’t necessarily the most important measure of success when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization.
More traffic doesn’t mean better search ranking
If 10,000 people view your post, but leave your blog after only a few seconds–that indicates to search engines like Google that your content isn’t very great or informative. Google is all about helping users find the most relevant content when they need it most. When Google sees users quickly leaving your blog, they tag your post with a lower quality score. As a result, your search ranking will typically be lower as well.
If you only have a few hundred readers but a majority of them spend several minutes on your page, and possibly even click through to read other articles, Google marks your content with a higher quality score, that will help improve your rankings in organic search results.
That’s who we’re after here–those highly-engaged and dedicated readers who are deeply interested in the specific subject matter.
This is why your first step of creating a blog should be to define your niche audience. Get as specific as possible. For example, my niche audience isn’t just authors (that’s too broad). Instead, it is children’s and young adult authors (narrowing in), who are beginning to build or rethink their digital presence (narrowed–ding, ding, ding).
Write deeply in order to build audience engagement
Once you’ve defined your niche audience, move on to define your value proposition. What unique insight or needs are you going to fulfill for this audience? What questions are you prepared to help answer for them?
The Internet has turned humans into instant-gratification seekers. We have very specific questions and we want to find the best answer right now. We live our life in what Google likes to call “micro moments.”
Blogging is all about answering those specific micro-moment questions.
You might be afraid that narrowing your focus limits the blog topics available to you. But I think you’ll be surprised at the number of micro moments and questions that emerge the deeper into the issue or topic you go. As you plan your blog content, you’ll be able to explore one facet/angle, deeply and thoroughly over the course of your blog’s lifetime.
Writers, please note, your blog does not necessarily need to be craft and publishing related. Your blog doesn’t even need to target the same audience as your novels (i.e. your readers).
As you begin to launch your blog, here are a few questions to consider to help you think through your value proposition and determine your blog’s purpose and theme:
- What are the re-emerging themes in your novels?
- What are your hobbies?
- What issues are you passionate about?
- What subjects or topics are you passionate about?
- What skills do you possess that others might like to learn?
- What issues or pieces of the writing process/industry interest you the most?
If you’re having trouble coming up with topics within a narrowed category, re-evaluate whether or not you have the knowledge or skills to write on that subject matter. You should select the topic that you’re most qualified to and interested to write about.
And don’t give me that “I’m not qualified” excuse. I believe we’re all skilled at something. We all have unique talents to share.