Why No One Is Reading Your First Blog Post [And How to Fix That]
Jon Morrow is right when he says anyone can start a blog but that the real test is getting readers. Your first blog post may hardly have any readers. Getting readers is complicated and for the first few months at least, getting readers is certainly not fun. Most people quit and some look for answers. For those people looking for answers, I will address this issue here.
I have read two long, recent articles by Morrow and Michael Pozdnev, which I will share with you and to which I will add sources to blogs I have written about specific topics that they mention. This way, you will gain more insight into how you can reach a big audience right from the start with your first blog post (even though its preparation takes time!). If you have already published your first blog post but you are not attracting many readers, you can learn from this blog to see where things went wrong. I can tell you, some things were new to me too!
7 common misconceptions
First, you will find seven common misconceptions listed by Morrow, so you can check whether you do these things or not.
1. Betting the bank on SEO
If no one can find your blog, you need to focus on increasing your search engine rankings. After all, that is where people go to look for information. However, do not just work on keywords. That is not how SEO works. Nobody knows for sure how the Google algorithm decides your rankings, but keywords are only a tiny part of it. The biggest, most important factor is the number of links from trusted sources.
You can optimize your site perfectly, but if you are not getting any links from the authorities in your niche, nothing you can do will raise your ranking.
My recommendation is to start properly with keywords right from the beginning, so you do not have to fix things later, and to email influencers in your industry whether they could help you out by sharing a link on their social media or on their website.
This has really given me a good start for my other blog, which is called Meemoeder.com. As it is about lesbian parenting in The Netherlands, I emailed some Dutch family/gay rights organizations and legal practices focusing on family life to help me out. Many of them were very friendly and immediately added a link to their website or posted one of my blogs on their social media.
2. Thinking valuable content is enough
You might focus merely on delivering value, writing articles with valuable information and genuinely trying to help people. Sooner or later, everyone will discover how awesome you are, right? No, this does not work. Yes, you should write great content and try to help people but if that is all you do, you will have the greatest site no one has ever heard of. Delivering value sounds nice, but it is overly simplistic. Do not get caught in the trap.
3. Telling stories about your life
You can start a blog and start talking about what has happened to you and what you have learned. Still, that does not mean anyone will read it. The harsh truth is that most of us overestimate how interesting our lives are. Only if it involves near-death experiences, explosions, naked people, or making millions of dollars, it has got a shot at being a good story. Also, storytelling is a skill, which takes years to master. Yes, you should work at getting better at storytelling, but do not count on it lifting your blog out of obscurity. At least, not at first.
4. Wasting time redesigning your blog
For the most part, readers are oblivious to your design. If your content is impossible to read, that is indeed bad but as long as readers can find the navigation and your content is legible, they will stick around and give you a chance.
5. Writing every day
You might think that if you write more often, you should get more traffic. The problem is that popular bloggers and beginning bloggers are in fundamentally different situations.
A popular blogger might have fifty thousand subscribers. Ten thousand subscribers might read any given post. With one blog a week, you get ten thousand visitors per week and with two blogs, you get twenty thousand visitors per week. That is a big increase, so it makes sense. Beginning bloggers have such small numbers, though, that it is not worth the effort.
6. Splitting your focus between your blog and Twitter or Facebook
Yes, Twitter and Facebook are huge sources of traffic for popular blogs. Still, it is the same as with the last point. You do not have a huge audience on them yet. The biggest problem beginning bloggers suffer from is a lack of time. If you try to add Facebook and Twitter into the mix, you are just setting yourself up for failure. Just do not try to do everything at once.
The best strategy is to choose one platform and focus exclusively on that platform until you have at least a few thousand people following you. That means that, if you want to be a blogger, you should just focus on your blog and let everything else build organically over time.
7. Waiting for your traffic to snowball
The snowball effect’s idea is that it is perfectly normal to get only a little bit of traffic when your blog is new and you publish your first blog. With every new post you write, your audience will grow a little bit larger, similar to the way a snowball grows when rolling down a hill. You just have to keep going, and eventually, it will all pay off.
Unfortunately, it is nonsense. According to Morrow, the blogs that become popular grow fast. Usually, they are at a few hundred visitors per day within a month or two and they are receiving a few thousand visitors per day before the end of the first year. If you are not getting that kind of traffic, it is not because you need to be patient. It is because you are doing something wrong. If you ever want your blog to be popular, you desperately need to change your strategy.
What strategy does work for launching a blog?
Morrow says the right strategy for launching your blog properly is to listen. The primary reason blogs fail is because they are publishing what they want to say and not thinking for a moment about what anyone wants to read.
Yes, traffic tactics are important but they do not compare to understanding what is going on in the minds of readers. The greater your understanding, the greater your traffic will be. So, listen to them. Email readers who comment on your blog and ask them what they would like to hear more about. Call them on the phone. Schedule a Q&A call, and stay on the line with them for an hour, answering questions.
If you do not have any readers yet, go outside your blog. Read the comments on popular blogs in your niche. Listen to what people are saying on social media. Attend the Q&A calls and webinars other authorities are holding, and write down the questions people ask.
Almost always, you will find one or two questions everyone is asking over and over again, and it never seems to stop. That is what you need to be writing about.
Seventeen steps to writing your first blog
You have heard all the things you could be doing wrong and the one thing that you should do. Good, this will give you a good overall clue. Now, it is time for a step-by-step guide on how to write that first blog. Pozdnev has written an extensive guide on writing your first blog and he has included advice from many experts; I will give a summary of this information below. Use this guide with seventeen steps to get started.
1. What to write in your first blog post
You first need ideas for your first blog post as well as the next posts. Start by creating a file for your notes and ideas.
2. Here are your 57 first blog post ideas
Struggling to find interesting blog post ideas? This list could inspire you:
- Create your ultimate guide on the topic you know better than anything else. Be sure to link to other websites in your niche and notify them when you publish your post.
- Do some research in the area you feel a passion to.
- Share some statistics and figures: people love posts with data.
- Dispel some myths in a particular area and match them against facts.
- Create a list of inspiring quotes relevant to your niche.
- Describe in detail your process of creating something.
- Tell about other tactics you used to achieve results.
- Make a list of tactics used by other authoritative bloggers on some specific topic.
- Create some templates that will save your visitors time.
- Tell how to make money in your niche.
- How to do something better and faster.
- Describe the most common problem your target audience faces and suggest a way of solving it.
- Remember what inspires you, and create an inspirational post.
- Are holidays around the corner? Write what you are planning to do. Make a gift to your users.
- Reveal some truth: what is behind the curtain covering your work?
- Create an expert roundup post. Ask at least forty authoritative bloggers in your niche and use their advice in your article. Do not forget to add your opinion on this topic!
- Create a blogger roundup post. Ask your online friends how they solve a problem you also face.
- Advise your target audience whom to read and follow.
- Compare something against something else. (Tools, books, tactics…)
- Tell about free products and courses that would be helpful to your audience. Make a big list of such freebies, link to your friends, and notify them about it.
- Write a detailed FAQ on any topic that interests you.
- Analyze the authoritative bloggers in your niche and define what all of them have in common.
- Tell how you use something every day to achieve results.
- Find the questions your target audience asks on forums, Quora, and Reddit.
- Become a member of relevant groups on Facebook and find the questions of other users you know answers to.
- Enter on Pinterest some queries on your topic and take a note of the pins that get most of the repins. Write a post about the most popular topic.
- Write what problems your target visitors face and how to solve them.
- Pick some very interesting and successful people in your niche. Tell about their best posts.
- Create a list of hacks that help solve some problem more quickly.
- Describe your plans, challenge yourself, and offer your users to follow it.
- Tell something you will not do or something your readers should avoid doing to achieve or get something.
- Offer each of your readers your help with something you are good at. Let them send their questions in emails or leave them in comments.
- Make a list of those in your niche whom you read and who inspire you.
- Tell about your experience, how you achieve your results in something.
- What recommendations and books have influenced your life and productivity.
- Make an interview with an influencer. Be sure to make a list of questions that interest you in advance.
- In your blog post, answer your readers’ questions.
- Study the comments on other blogs in your niche. Find repetitive questions and write the answers.
- Tell what skills are necessary for your niche.
- Tell about the most common mistakes in your niche.
- What lessons anyone can learn both from your experience and what you do.
- Make a list of links to the best tutorials and guides.
- Create the best articles roundup of the last year/month/week.
- Tell about the most important things you wish you had known when you started.
- Write a detailed review on a product that you used.
- Reach out to fellow-bloggers and ask them to share with you their ideas for blog posts.
- Write a checklist of how to do something.
- Create a cheat sheet that will help your users achieve better results.
- Write a thank-you post and mention everyone who helped you on your way.
- Tell the latest news and mention the novelties in your niche.
- Create an infographic on a topic that interests you. Use different data sources.
- Shoot a video tutorial how you use some tool.
- Tell about any popular topic but from a new angle.
- Write about other bloggers’ mistakes (find them!) in your niche. What do they do wrong?
- Turn another person’s popular infographic (podcast or video) into a blog post. Add your opinion. Be sure to link to the original resource!
- Use BuzzSumo or Ahrefs Content Explorer to find popular topics. Even their free versions will help you find ideas!
- Use tools for keyword research. (For example, KWFinder, StoryBase or LSIGraph). Find relevant queries basing on these keywords and create your blog post.
I have written a blog called Need help with evergreen content? Here are 15 ideas. Evergreen content is content that is relevant to readers no matter what is going on in the current news cycle or which season it is. The main theme of the content is something that people do not stop caring about soon. As a result, it continues to drive traffic to your site. Therefore, if you are looking for blog ideas that continue to drive traffic, make sure to check out this blog!
3. Steal ideas for posts from the sidebars of your competitors
The blogs that you see on the sidebars of websites gain the most traffic. Use this information! If you can tell your visitor more about this topic and in greater detail (using your competitors’ articles on the sidebars), start there.
4. Before you start something new on your blog, you need to make a list of your competitors
As soon as you define the topic of your blog, start searching for your competitors. Just conduct a Google search of the questions and keywords that pop up in your mind, and watch who appears in the search results. Save all of your competitors in a separate spreadsheet
5. Know your TOP competitors’ most visited pages
For this, you can use free versions of Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMrush. Enter each of the competitors you have found. Pay attention to the Top Pages section. There, you will find your competitor’s most visited pages.
6. Find your future online friends
How do you think the experts became experts, and why do we read their articles every day? Because they have connections, friends, and support. The best always include links to the best. They also support one another on social media.
It is very important to start your friendship long before you write your first post. However, it is not a huge deal if you still have not solicited the support of your online friends. Start building your relationships right now.
Remember two important things when you go about making new friends: you have to take the first step and do something useful for your future friend and you only address only those who are interested in your topic.
Try to make them notice you by leaving useful comments, informing them of any mistakes they have made, expressing gratitude personally (via email) if you like a blog post or making a gift out of what you do best. Please note that you should not request anything.
When a person sees your sincerity, you will be thanked for what you do and you will solicit the support of experts. Indeed, it will not happen instantaneously but it is well worth it. You are going to need friends, especially while your blog is taking its first steps.
7. Where to search for online friends?
Choose your favorite social media platform. Identify the experts and determine who their followers are. Then subscribe to those whose interests match with yours. Pay attention to those who give you useful advice. Thank them in a personal letter.
8. Analysis and research are the foundation of your success
The one who is informed is armed. Do not think that it is difficult and requires much time. Preparatory analytical work is compulsory, both for the success of your first blog post and for the blog as a whole.
Research will help you determine your target audience, identify the social media platforms and communities where this audience spends the majority of their time, search for keywords that will bring you traffic, understand what content you should create and how to create it, and promote your content
9. Keywords are the basis of your future search engine traffic
This topic has already been discussed above. Focus on keywords but do not overdo it.
10. How to choose the primary keyword
Start by checking every potential keyword on Google. Think of the search queries you would create to answer the topic you are covering. Because you already know your competitors’ most visited pages, use their primary keyword. Use a spreadsheet to save all the keywords. Enter all the results into Google Keyword Planner to learn their average monthly search volume.
Choosing a seed keyword with the smallest rivalry is a great start. You can compete with this keyword in thousands of searches. Try to choose a target keyword with at least a hundred monthly searches. Do keep in mind that these data are not an indicator of the traffic you can really get.
11. How to evaluate the difficulty of your post to get in the top ten Google results
Install the MozBar extension for Chrome, activate it and tick all the necessary checkboxes.
When you enter any words and phrases, you will see how authoritative and competitive they are with this query. There are some basic indexes that you have to pay attention to, such as Domain Authority, Page Authority, and Links.
Always remember which stage you are at in your blog development! For your new blog post, avoid the keywords used by your authoritative competitors. It will be good practice for your first blog post to avoid the queries your competitors have: DA higher than 20, PA higher than 30, and the number of links to the page fewer than 10.
Yes, you will need to get as many external links to your blog post as possible, although not necessarily more than your competitors have gotten. It is all about link quality, not quantity!
12. How to add relevant words, phrases, and synonyms to your primary keyword
Now it is time to choose relevant words, phrases, and synonyms. Your goal is to use words and phrases that are relevant to the topic of your keyword in the content of your blog. Choose words and phrases that users will be searching for. The best way is to simply analyze those who hold the first few positions for a specific keyword:
- Load the top five pages
- Use the Chrome extension by SEOquake on these pages and check their Keyword Density.
- Add all the phrases you find to a spreadsheet.
- Check them in terms of the number of searches on Google Keyword Planner.
- Filter out those with no views at all.
- Organically disperse all the words and phrases throughout the content of your blog.
13. Tips for creating the outline of your first blog post
Now it is time to create the outline of your future post. What should you include in your outline?
First of all, you need to address the following:
- Why this topic is important to you
- What the user will know and what s/he will learn
- What particular steps the user needs to take
The basic structure of your post should consist of:
- At least ten title ideas (although my recent blog post called How to Write Killer Blog Headlines – The Ultimate Guide says you should write down at least twenty-five)
- Introduction with reasons to read your post
- Basic content subdivided into sections, subheadings, and bulleted lists
- Conclusion with CTA
- Links to authoritative sources
- Bonus content in return for getting email subscribers
14. How to write your first blog post
You should find a way that is comfortable. Some say you should get rid of all the sources that might divert your attention. You could also divide your screen into two separate halves, one for the draft and one for the outline. In addition, you could keep track of your time in order to increase your productivity.
During the time set aside to write, avoid creating images, editing, formatting or correcting mistakes. Just write.
15. How to edit your blog post
Now you need to start editing and formatting. Basic recommendations:
- Use images.
- Divide the content into subheadings.
- Edit your sentences so that they are as brief as possible.
- Keep paragraphs short.
- Add numbered and bulleted lists.
- Highlight the key phrases with tags.
- Use videos and slideshows as needed.
- Proofread your post and correct all the mistakes and typos.
16. On-page SEO tips on editing your post
- The title of your post should include the primary keyword, preferably at the beginning. Read my blog How to Write Killer Blog Headlines – The Ultimate Guide for more information about how to rock headlines.
- Your headline (H1 tag) might be the same as your title tag. However, you can change it and add more words.
- In the Meta Description, do not forget to write up to 130 characters about your post. Make sure to include a CTA to make users want to click.
- Use keywords in the filenames of images.
- Optimize the images by reducing their size to speed up the loading of your page.
- Make sure you used all the keywords in the text of your post organically.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”d6F7_” via=”yes” ]Why No One Is Reading Your First Blog Post [And How to Fix That] http://bit.ly/No1ReadsUrBlog[/ctt]
17. What you need to do after publishing your blog posts
How to promote your first blog post? There are five main ways to gain traffic: SEO, Social Media, Direct Traffic, Referral Traffic, and Networking (Blogger Outreach).
SEO needs time but the results are well worth waiting for! Your task is to create amazing content and do some link building. After publishing your first blog post, you will be able to get the links to your blog in several different ways: link roundups, link resources, and online friends
Promotion on social media should be centered around Facebook and/or Pinterest. The point of getting visitors is not in the number of followers but in groups and engagement
Referral traffic is one of your main sources of traffic in the first months of your blog’s existence. Your goal is to find the places (communities, forums) that your target audience loves the most and where they spend the most time communicating and helping one another. You can use hints from your competitors to learn their main sources of traffic.
Blogger outreach does not mean that you only need to inform your friends of the publication of your new post and ask them to share it on social media. The magic request is to support you in communities or groups on Facebook and Pinterest, such as an upvote, comment, pin, repin or a like.
Twelve reasons your audience does not share your blogs
Have you written a first blog post that no one shared? Unfortunately, if your content is not remarkable, it is not shareable. If you want to learn why your first blog is not remarkable enough to be shared and what you can do about it, read my blog post called 12 Reasons Your Audience Does Not Share Your Blogs.
If you need your blogs in more than one language, we should talk. I am a translator, so I can help you. Thanks for reading my blog and please do not forget to share it!