I need help to fix my blog -Working out what I did wrong.
Have you been blogging for a while and know that you need to fix your blog but just don’t know where to start? It sounds overwhelming but please don’t give up.
Knowing where you went wrong can help you get back on track.
Take a step back and review your blog
I highly recommend that you have a good look at your blog before you have too many posts and the task becomes overwhelming. Unfortunately, I did not do this and have a big task ahead of me. However, acknowledging to yourself that you can do this if you set your mind to it can make a big difference to your state of mind.
The age of a domain does matter so I feel it is better to rework and improve your current blog if at all possible rather than start a completely new one. (Unless you decide that you really hate the topic).
Twelve months ago, I felt I needed start afresh with a whole new blog only to get a dozen posts under my belt and finally, I got an affiliate commission from this blog which I had considered abandoning.
Trying to keep two going on a very similar niche was just too hard and after struggling along for 6 months, I decided to close the second blog and evaluate and rewrite this blog in order to move forward. As the niches are similar, I can rewrite the posts of the blog I am closing – so all is not lost.
A Good First Impression does matter.
In my previous post, Why do blogs fail, I wrote about how I compared my blog with others and worked out what I needed to do to make a good first impression. This really is the first step and you should do this so that you can brand yourself properly and know what you need to change about your overall presentation before tackling the next steps.
Know your audience and why you are writing each post.
I made the mistake of thinking that if I wrote articles there would be people who were interested in the topic and if I posted enough on social media they would come to my blog and read.
I forgot that people search on Google and the other search engines to find answers to the problems they need to solve, or to find out information in general. I was not writing for others, I was writing a journal.
My blog did not help anyone but rather told them what they could do because I was doing it.
I decided when looking at the competition that if I was writing about ME (and how I was living a great lifestyle, traveled and worked online and tried to share everything that I discovered). I was not helping anyone,
A website needs to be all about identifying an audience and helping them.
I was not really helping a lot of people for three main reasons.
Firstly, there were a lot of big authoritative websites who knew a lot more about blogging than I did and had courses, YouTube channels, books and software to prove it.
Secondly, not everyone wants to travel full time like I do.
Some people may wish to do so part-time or in the future but have plenty of money so they will do so in a completely different manner to me.
Thirdly, I forgot that what I was doing was traveling and living on a low income. It was this thought that led me to realize that I could relate to people wanting to live well on a low income or find ways to supplement their income including through blogging.
Often I would read about the ‘freebie seekers’ and those ‘not wanting to spend money’ and many times this was me.
Ye,s I have bought a lot of ‘stuff’ and been disappointed but there comes a time when you just can’t afford to keep buying each new shiny object and people on very low incomes do need to be careful that the items that they do purchase are good value-for-money.
This was my audience and one so many bloggers, especially in the make money online niche, do not target because there is not a lot of money in it.
The golden rule of any website is to help people rather than to try to only make money.
Research the right way.
I literally spent thousands of hours reading and learning the same thing over and over again, yet I did not take action and put my education into the creation of my blog.
I thought that if I researched more I would know everything and would somehow find the right words that resonated with people.
I kept researching what I needed to do but did not apply myself. I was researching what I thought I needed to know – not what my audience needed to know.
I was, in fact, researching incorrectly.
I should have spent time researching a particular topic and working out how the knowledge would help my audience. I needed to discover how the information would be beneficial in solving their problems, rather than trying to be more knowledgeable about the topic itself.
Now that I know my audience and who I am trying to help, I need to evaluate all my content and rewrite it with my audience in mind and in particular, how I can help them.
Evaluate all blog content.
This is a big step and really takes a fair amount of time, especially if you have a lot of posts. There are a few SEO basics that I realized I missed as well as the overall branding, offers and variation of content as well as just plain bad practice.
What did I get wrong? A lot.
Make a Good First Impression
As previously covered I did not make a good first impression. I have changed my logo, banner, images and more as discussed in my previous post.
General Website Issues.
I realized that I had a lot of general issues with my website that really did need fixing. These issues did hurt my SEO in general as well as contributed to my high bounce rate and made me look like the amateur I am.
- I did not post regularly.
- My social media profiles did not match my blog properly.
- Misuse of Social Media and not marketing properly.
- I did not have a clear niche, or audience in mind and wrote journal style.
- I was not helping anyone – but trying to make money from them.
- Poor spelling and broken links.
- Poor quality titles and headings.
- The site layout was not professional.
- Incorrect linking.
- No free offers.
- Too many affiliate posts.
- Bad SEO.
I will go through each of these so you understand where I went wrong and what steps I am taking to fix it. When you evaluate your website this will give you ideas on what you too can improve on.
I did not post regularly.
Regular posting helps when you do get followers as you are putting your name in front of them on a regular basis. It also helps the search engines to realize that your blog is always being updated with new content, which they like.
Irregular posting can be mistaken for site abandonment.
As I had two blogs I tried to blend my social media profiles with both identities and websites. This was very confusing and was not consistent with my branding when people arrived at my website from social media.
Misuse of Social Media and not marketing properly.
I would mainly post on social media – “here is my new blog post. Look at me…”
This is not a good way to interact with people, it is really just spamming. People want to make contact within social media, not be marketed to. Whist some posting is OK, it needs to be only one part of your profile.
I spent time building a general social media audience and spammed them with my posts. I was not interacting with and helping others. As a result, most of the platforms did not share my posts with followers simply because we did not interact with each other.
I spoke about creating social media fans within my blog posts but was not taking action to turn possible followers into fans. I was not helping them.
Pinterest and YouTube are slightly different as they are search engines more than social media platforms. This is one area that, with helpful content, it can be advisable to post a lot of content.
You do still need to spend time on the platform and answer comments but not in the same manner as the other platforms.
I did not have a clear niche, or audience in mind and wrote journal style.
I had a general topic, but in order to discover a niche, I needed to consider the audience I was trying to reach and help.
Having a range of topics covered about me and how I was trying to build my online business was really like writing a journal.
Once upon a time, many blogs were like this, but today social media has become the place to share your story in this style. These topics were not about how to help people which leads me to my next point.
I was not helping anyone – I was trying to make money from them.
I wrote a lot of posts on slightly different topics, however, the main point of the topic was to share an affiliate link to a website that was helping me build my blog.
It was not about actually helping other people directly. Indirectly, through the products that I was promoting, but not as an incidental to the information that someone may have been searching for.
I had very few posts which did not lead to a review or affiliate proposal.
I did not check every post thoroughly for spelling and grammar mistakes. I would apply spell check and I know that there are some variations in spelling between different countries, but many mistakes were simply the placement of the incorrect word.
An example would be something like Out instead of Our. Both words were spelled correctly but have different meanings within the context of a sentence.
A slow, thorough examination of every sentence is essential and something I did not do.
I was often so excited about finishing a post that I hit the publish button without checking for errors.
It is also a good idea to grab your mobile and view the post on there as soon as it is published. This will identify if the post looks good on a mobile or if the images need to be made smaller, or placed in a better location.
I used a broken link plugin but did not regularly check to ensure that all links were working.
Sometimes websites change their affiliate links and URL’s and links break. I even found one internal link that I had never entered correctly from the start.
Poor quality titles and headings.
A blog title and the first heading should tell the reader what the post will be about. To help the Search Engines categorize the content properly it should contain a descriptive keyword.
Failing to engage potential readers when they see your post in the SERP results means they don’t even click and have a look. Headlines should contain your keyword and they do need to be interesting and enticing.
I wrote more about discovering and researching keywords in earlier posts.
The site layout was not professional.
I covered this in my last post and as I move to fix my old posts, write better content moving forward and producing my own free offers I will also have menus that give clearer direction of where to go.
A getting started tab on the top menu is one of these options.
Along with broken links, incorrect linking also covers things like the wording used to link to either an internal page or external website. Click here to see my previous post is not how to link and I found some of these within my earlier posts.
I had very few external links to non-affiliate authoritative websites.
No free offers.
This seems such a small thing but in the scheme of things, I do believe it plays a big part in the success of a blog.
I found many professional-looking sites had free offers that they gave their readers including a printable calendar or tip sheet, an e-book or PDF to help them.
I understand that it is hard when we first start off to do this, but I do believe something as simple as a printable to-do list is better than no free offer at all.
I am working on this.
Too many affiliate posts.
As I mentioned earlier, my posts were all about ways to direct people to an affiliate offer and not helping them.
As I move forward I will be making some earlier posts informational only and try to achieve a balance of about 20% affiliate related and 80% straight forward helpful content.
There are a lot of things that need to go into a post to make it loveable by the search engines. I had a lot of these missing in my posts including simple things like not having a meta description.
In my next post help me fix my blog- my SEO is bad, I will discuss this in detail.
I will go into these SEO issues in my next post as this one has become so long that I don’t want to extend it and make it unreadable.
You will see where I have come to the conclusion that the whole process of the blog and the appearance of the website needs to be carefully thought out.
A good first impression does matter.
You need to understand who you are writing for and how you can make your website seem helpful so that people will investigate and read it.
As this happens the search engines will know that you are providing good information and they will promote your website when someone is searching for the information you are providing.
It won’t happen overnight, but I do believe that once corrected my website will gain the approval of the search engines and the public.