Every blogger is looking for a way to reduce the time it takes to complete each task on their to-do list in order to be more productive. It’s only natural, but some shortcuts do more harm than good.
These shortcuts may save you time, but you’ll be losing an even bigger resource: a chance to genuinely connect with your audience, nurture your leads, and close a future sale.
Let’s make sure the shortcuts you’re taking aren’t the ones that will cost you.
No Blog Visuals
Your blog needs visuals. End of story. In order to be an effective blogger, you need to entice your readers with your words and images. Whether you shoot your own photos, use free stock photography, or create branded visuals in Photoshop, you must be on your visual A-game.
Blog photos also have a big social media factor. Your readers are more likely to share your content via pins on Pinterest or regrams on Instagram if your visuals are aesthetically appealing. Visuals hook your readers before they dive into the text of your post. Don’t miss this opportunity.
Not Reading Other Blogs
I know creating and maintaining your own blog is a big time investment in itself, but in order to establish a community, you must go the extra mile and read other blogs too. There’s no magic number for how many blogs you need to read in a week or how many hours you need to spend, but try to find your sweet spot. Reading other blogs will often give you clarity on your own blog, help you learn something new from others in your niche, and make lasting connections.
To help you save time searching for good blog content, I recommend Bloglovin for curating a list of your favorite blogs. It features a customized home feed that automatically updates each time a post has been published on a blog you’ve chosen to follow. One of my favorite features is that it notifies you when a person likes your blog post, making it easier to see what content is connecting with your audience. The tool also allows you to create categories so you can segment each niche you are interested in.
Social Media Automation
By this I don’t mean you can’t schedule any social media posts. I use tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck on occasion to schedule posts if I find several articles I want to share with my audience in one sitting but don’t want to share them all at the same time (hello, spam!). I do mean you should hand pick the content you share and accounts you follow rather than letting an automation tool do the choosing for you.
Key takeaway: you can’t automate relationships. If you only schedule posts and never answer replies, your readers will see you more as a robot than a person. That’s not something you want. Match their effort, and you will see more traffic and engagement.
Creating a Bad User Experience
Just because you are head over heels in love with a specific design element doesn’t mean your readers are too. Look at your analytics and see what web pages your audience is interacting well with. The best way to know how your readers like your website design is to ASK. This can be done through social media polls, personalized emails, and reader surveys. Show that you care about their experience.
Make your blog design a priority, whether that means you code the website yourself, use a pre-made template, or invest in a professional custom development. If you are looking for a custom blog design, I recommend Kory Woodard, Whitney Blake, Rekita Nicole, and Anna Moore to name a few. Don’t be afraid to make tweaks to your blog if it betters the user experience.
Not Commenting Back
If you are trying to authentically grow your blog, replying to comments on your blog is a no-brainer. Why have the comment section open otherwise? Erika Madden recently wrote a great blog post on how to treat your blog’s comment section.
Your comment section is a big opportunity to start a conversation with your readers. Bloggers like Gina Alyse, Olivia Adams, and Geraldine Estevez do a fantastic job of commenting back while also returning the favor by commenting on their readers’ blogs. This is what the blogging community is all about. Keep the cycle going.
There is no shortcut to building a strong online presence with your blog. It takes hard work, consistency, persistence, and a lot of your time. I promise it will be worth it.
Any shortcuts you would add to the list? Let me know in the comment section below.