Pitfalls And Solutions
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Pitfalls And Solutions Pitfalls And Solutions Document Transcript

  • Blogging Pitfalls And Solutions by: Jason Gazaway http://www.BloggersPayback.com 1
  • Identifying and Overcoming the 5 Major Pitfalls in Blogging Just like everything else, blogging has its fair share of trials and tribulations. Not everything is going to be smooth sailing – you can practically be guaranteed of that! In fact, it could be said that the key to a successful blogger is the ability to overcome the hurdles that stand in his or her way. All things said and done, one thing is sure: You need to be ready for what’s ahead of you. And thankfully – that’s exactly what this guide is for! What we’re going to look at involves nothing more, and nothing less, than a complete and thorough reveal of the 5 major pitfalls of blogging. As you’ll soon see, these pitfalls are commonplace and you’re probably going to encounter all 5 at some point or other. Each pitfall that we discuss, if not handled properly, could derail your efforts considerably. In some cases, they might even cause you to outright fail. And if not, they’ll definitely dent your morale some, and discourage you – which could be detrimental in its own right. Don’t worry too much though, because we’re going to show you exactly what you need to be doing to overcome each one of them! By the time we’re through, you should be completely prepared to take the challenge of blogging on headfirst. Better yet, you’ll be able to do so with the assurance that should anything ever go awry, you’ll have the tools that you need to cope with it, overcome it, and maybe even turn it to your advantage. Before we kick things off, here’s what you need to be clear on right now: 1. Don’t skip over anything – everything that follows is going to be crucial to your success or failure when it comes to blogging! 2. Be sure to read and reread what you may not grasp at the first go! Think you can do that? If you can, then you’re already that much closer to your goals. Are you ready to take a giant step forward? 2
  • Pitfall #1: Not Having the Right Preparation Preparation is everything. It really is. When it comes to blogging, this rings true as without the right preparation you’ll find that a ton of things could end up going wrong. Nowadays, blogging is really so easy to get started that most people tend to leap before they look. After all, why go through all the tedious preamble when you could probably have your own blog up and running in mere minutes! What difference does it make whether or not you’ve sat down and thought things through beforehand? Unfortunately, it makes a lot of difference. To be completely honest, the preparation involved in blogging covers a number of areas, all of which are going to suffer if you just go out there and start blogging right off the bat. As you probably would expect though, some areas tend to stand out more than others – so let’s deal with them first… Getting into a Niche that You Don’t Know a Thing About Let’s just say you’ve rushed into things and started your own blog. That’s great! But now you’re going to have to fill that blog with information, and so the question is: What on earth are you going to blog about? Two things can happen here, and both are equally bad in the scheme of things: 1. You end up blogging generally about the first thing that crosses your mind at any given point in time, or 2. You choose a niche that you’ve ‘heard’ is profitable, such as ‘making money online’ and start to write about it. In both these cases, chances are you won’t know a thing about the niche that you’ve just thrust yourself into. Granted, in the first case you might actually know a little bit – but enough to really blog about? Basically what you’re setting yourself to end up with is a very general blog that has dubious information, at very best. One common argument that people put forth is that you could always learn about the niche as you go along. Yes, this is true – that much is a given. However, how long is it going to take you to learn about a completely new niche? More importantly, are you even sure that you’re going to stick to that one niche? 3
  • Even if you do manage to learn a little about your niche, it will be a long time before you can produce the kind of compelling content that’s really going to drag readers to you. Chances are, you’ll give up long before that seeing as, after months roll by with no results, few people are likely to cling on. In short, you’ve doomed yourself right from the beginning, and that’s certainly not a bright idea. Setting Up a ‘Poor’ Blog Another common affliction of ‘spur-of-the-moment’ blogs is that they end up appearing to be very poor indeed. Seeing as your blog has just been hastily thrown together, all that is probably has are the ‘stock’ themes and so it’ll look like every other new blog out there. With time, this can be corrected – that’s true. Until that happens however, you’re going to be losing more and more readers if people are generally put off with the appearance of your blog itself. What’s more, it will probably take you some time to populate the blog with content in itself, which means that your blog is going to have a considerable ‘Under Construction’ period. While you may be able to explain this to readers – search engine bots that crawl your site during that time are going to be less understanding, and you could find that your page is dismissed as having very little value as a result. End of the day, you’ll find that you’re left with a very meager looking blog that has little to offer anyone (bots or people) for quite some time. Even as that blog improves, it will do so slowly, and until it is fully fledged it will be at a distinct disadvantage. Once it does come into its own, that disadvantage won’t just magically vanish. Instead, you’re quite likely to find that because of the generally haphazard approach that was taken, your blog will take longer to get off the ground than otherwise. Absent or Incomplete Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Finally, the real nail in the coffin of blogs without the right preparation is the fact that they (more often than not) have completely absent, or woefully incomplete, SEO. Considering the fact that most keyword research is done in the planning stage, it’s unlikely that any keywords will be ready for all that hurriedly written content that is going to initially populate the blog. 4
  • Furthermore, it’s also unlikely that you’ve even looked at other aspects of SEO either. Chances are – you may not even know what SEO is or what you need to do! Either way, the end result is fairly similar, no matter the case. What will undoubtedly happen is that you’ll launch a blog that attracts little or no traffic for quite some time, and then even when it is more ‘fleshed out’, its lack of basic SEO will mean that it is still handicapped for quite some time. This will remain to be the case until you get around to fixing the problem! Anyway, by now you should have grasped that not having the right kind of preparation is a surefire way to end up falling flat on your face. So the only question left is how to solve it… Solution: Backtrack, Prepare, and then Move Forward Whether you jumped the gun or were about to jump the gun, the important thing right now is overcoming this particular pitfall, and there’s really only one approach to use. First of all, take a step back and think about what you’ve done so far with your blog. What didn’t you prepare? If you didn’t take any preparatory steps at all, then you need to go all the way back to the beginning and start to do so immediately. However, if you’ve at least spared a thought or two about what you’ve been doing, you may not have to. Here and now, let’s go over the areas of preparation that you need to be sure to have covered: Niche Selection Surely you expected this! Choosing a niche is one of the single most important decisions that you’ll make when you start blogging, and so you can’t afford to ignore it! Many people are unsure of what a niche is and why it is so important that they select the right one. Suffice to say, the niche that you’re in is going to affect how you earn money from your blog – and how successful you are in general. For starters, there are ‘broad’ niches and ‘narrow’ niches. Broad niches are very general, and something like ‘make money’ is a broad niche. A narrower version would be ‘make money online’ and an even narrower version would be ‘make money blogging’. 5
  • Basically, there’s no point choosing a general niche just because it will allow you more flexibility. Even if you chose a ‘make money online’ niche, the products you market will have to be specific to really sell – and only the crowd interested in that specific area will buy them. Be sure to get as specific, i.e. ‘narrow’ as you can comfortably go with your niche. At the same time, you should also make sure that you are able to talk and write about your niche. Either this means that you should have enough knowledge, or be able to get it – and quick! Finally, the last key ingredient of niche selection is passion. If you can blog passionately about something… anything; you’ll find that your readers respond a lot better. 6
  • Keyword Research On the SEO front, once you’ve come up with a niche, you’ll have to research the keywords within that niche if you want to stand a chance at getting traffic from search engines. Doing this will give you the means to get traffic (i.e. visitors) to your blog, and thus make sales. Be sure to know exactly what keywords you’re targeting before you actually write content, because your content should be laced with these keywords for best results. In fact, other aspects of your blog should incorporate keywords too, such as headings, titles, tags, and so on! Without keywords, you won’t get very far at all. Design and Structure Every blog needs a design, and structure, else it would just look like the other billion or so ‘stock’ blogs out there. Planning this is critical because you never want your visitors to see your blog and view it as ‘amateur’. What you want is for your readers to look on you as an authority, and that means that a slipshod effort when it comes to design and structure is definitely out of the question. Ideally, you’d have picked out a design way before you put up your blog. Also, you should have a rough idea of the structure that you’re going to follow, and be able to get it in place as quickly as possible. Timing is everything! Right here and now, to overcome this pretty large initial hurdle, you’re going to have to ensure that you’ve covered all these bases. Whatever hasn’t been covered, should be fixed as quickly as possible. If you’re fairly early on in your blogging effort, you may even want to entertain the thought of starting over. Naturally, there are more preparations that could be made, but these are the key, important points that need to be sorted out first. Now that we’ve covered our very first pitfall, it’s time to look at the second… 7
  • Pitfall #2: Getting Monetization All Wrong Another very common cause of blogs failing is the fact that many bloggers get their monetization all wrong. It should be easy for you to see why this would be a problem – you’re counting on your monetization to earn money, and if that isn’t working right then you’re going to find yourself with a blog that is giving you absolutely zero profits. Needless to say, you don’t want that. Unfortunately, even a lot of very popular blogs get their monetization all wrong. Every so often, you may come across a blog that has tons and tons of visitors. But somehow, that blog is unable to earn more than a meager sum at best. Why is this the case? What is it that can go so horribly wrong with monetization to cause it to completely fail? Shouldn’t a blog with great traffic be able to turn a pretty good profit even if it has awful conversion rates? Honestly – there are numerous factors that could be at play, but let’s walk you through some of the most common situations… Selling Products that Don’t Sell Numero uno on the list of things that go wrong with monetization is the fact that many bloggers try to sell products that simply don’t sell. Think of it this way: How about we assume that you have a blog which is all about learning to cook from home? In many ways, there are a whole range of products you could market that cater to this particular niche, but one of the most common is definitely: Cookbooks. Seeing as you don’t have any cookbooks of your own to sell, you may decide to try affiliate marketing, and so you head over to Clickbank or something like it and browse through the products available. There, you find that of all the products, one in particular really stands out because it pays a much larger commission. Instead of the $20 or so offered by the others, it pays out $50 per sale! Thus, you immediately jump on it, and start promoting that product through your blog. 8
  • In the above example, there is one big problem that should be readily apparent: Although the payout is more, you didn’t stop to look at how well the product in question is selling (i.e. in the case of Clickbank, checking the ‘gravity’). Nine times out of ten, this means that you’ll end up with a product that isn’t selling. It may not be selling for a number of reasons. Perhaps there are other, better, products that are a whole lot cheaper. Perhaps there’s something blatantly wrong with the product. Perhaps it doesn’t deliver on its promises or is known to be pretty much a scam. Whatever the case, picking products that don’t sell are recipes for disaster as if others can’t sell them, what makes your blog so different that it can? Choosing the right product to sell is more than just opting for the one that has the highest payout, or the one that ‘feels’ best. However, it should be noted that while choosing the wrong product is bad… choosing too many products is worse. Piling Up Monetization Options Yet another common mistake with monetization is choosing to promote a whole slew of products instead of just one. All too often blogs end up having advertisements here and there, while at the same time promoting numerous different affiliate products in the same breath. Having too many affiliate options normally just cheeses off visitors, and makes a blog look like its just one gigantic advertisement. Even if it doesn’t do that, your monetization options are going to be ‘stealing’ traffic from each other, as clicking on an advertisement would mean that a visitor probably won’t come back to buy from your affiliate link! Putting too many monetization options on one blog (or in many cases, one page!) is going to surely cause you to not enjoy the profits that you could be making. What will probably happen instead is that you actually lost tons of potential customers as a result. Either way, you should see that you would want to avoid this, and other pitfalls caused by getting monetization all wrong. To do so… just read on! Solution: Plan Monetization Well! 9
  • To get the best results out of your monetization (and also make certain that things don’t go wrong in the way that we’ve highlighted!), you’re going to have to plan your monetization well. Doing so requires two things in particular: 1. Selecting the right products to sell, and 2. Marketing your products in the right way. If you can do both – you’ll be all set, but let’s go over them individually to be certain that you understand what they entail. First off, you need to know how to select the right products to sell, i.e. how to choose a monetization option that is going to work when you market it on your blog. Of course, with things like advertisements this isn’t so much in your control, but for actual products it certainly is! Selecting the right product merely means that you want a product that is going to sell. That in turn means that it should be a product that is already selling well, if it’s been on the market for a while. So what you’re going to be most interested in when you’re looking at affiliate products, or CPA offers for that matter, is finding out how well they’re selling. On top of that, a ‘good’ product is basically one that helps people in your niche solve a particular problem that they might be facing. It could be anything, for example instructions on how to get rid of weeds completely in a garden, right on to a tool that helps uproot weeds faster! As long as it solves a problem, it should be a candidate for the ‘right’ product. Even after you’ve selected the right product though, you’ll need to market it properly. This ties in to the ‘overdose’ of products we discussed earlier, and you’ll definitely want to avoid that. Simply put, the right way to market products using your blog is to do so individually. Space them out so that you’re not just throwing product after product at your readers, but are also giving them other ‘valuable’ things for free in between. Getting this balance right is the key to marketing your products in the right way. Once you’ve accomplished this, you should have no problems with your monetization going all wrong – ever! 10
  • Pitfall #3: Being Lazy and Lax For Updating Although we say being ‘lazy’ or ‘lax’ when it comes to updates, what we really mean is that from time to time, most bloggers end up finding the prospect of constantly updating their blogs to be tedious. When that happens, chances are you’ll start to update less regularly and less regularly. Missing one day every now and then isn’t going to hurt too much. But if you miss too many days, too often, you’re going to find that it can really hurt where it counts most: Traffic. How about we explain: 11
  • Losing Readers Gradually One of the main advantages of blogs is the fact that they’re updated regularly. That one fact makes them a staunch favorite of search engines, but it also has another advantage in that it makes it easy for you to build up a ‘following’ of readers. All that this really means is that a first-time visitor to your blog is sufficiently impressed that he or she decides to check back the next day to see what you have up then. As time rolls by, and you continue to impress your readers, you’re inevitably going to be building up quite a following. Based on this, imagine what would happen if suddenly your readers noticed that your updates stopped coming regularly. Where previously they’d check your blog once (or maybe even twice!) a day for updates, after a few days of checking and not seeing anything new, they’d obviously stop checking as often… and that means less traffic! While you might be able to recover from a one-time occurrence of that, if it happens too often all that you’ll be doing is building up a following only to have it waste away when you become lax on updates. Then you’d recover and build up your following again… only to once more have it waste away when you slacken. Seeing as your traffic is the lifeblood of your blog, you won’t want this situation to repeat itself too often. In fact, having it happen once is bad enough. Twice could mean that your blog is going to find itself slowly but surely losing readers. But of course… that’s only one of the disadvantages… Combined with a Drop in SEO Value Leads Towards… Remember how we mentioned that search engines love blogs for their constantly updated nature? Well… when they’re no longer constantly updated, blogs are bound to lose ground. Fortunately, this isn’t going to happen as quickly as the blog loses readers, but it will happen eventually. Blogs that run stagnant are going to have a much lesser pull will search engines, and thus they’ll dip in the rankings as time goes by. Needless to say, combined with the loss of readers that you’re going to be facing first, having this source of traffic be affected to is certainly the last thing you can afford. 12
  • Together, the combined loss of readers and drop in SEO value is going to lead your blog towards a quick end. As you lose traffic considerably, your profits will undoubtedly be affected. And as your profits begin to dip too, you’re going to quickly find that you’re approaching the point where simply starting to update regularly again is not going to be enough to revive your blog completely! Sadly, this is how so many good blogs end up eventually closing shop – and all because of being lazy when it comes to updates. What’s the solution? Well… to be honest, in this case you at least have numerous options: Solutions: Finding Ways to Keep Regular Updates Essentially, the idea is to keep your updates regular, whether or not you are actually present and updating your blog. Frankly speaking, there are many different ways in which this can be achieved, and so let’s go over the most popular. By the time we’re done, you should be able to find at least one option that suits your preferences! Preparing Posts in Advance Needless to say, this is the most basic way to ensure that you keep to regular updates: Prepare them in advance. If you’re able to keep a ‘stock’ of updates ready, then you could take a week off here and there while working your way through this stock. That way you’ll come back from your break refreshed, and be able to replenish your stock in time for the next break that you wish to take. While this is a good way of dealing with the issue, many people find that the idea of having to prepare posts in advance is unappealing. Furthermore, having an actual ‘stock’ can lead you to use it up here and there, instead of waiting until you really have to. All in all, it isn’t the most ‘ideal’ solution – but it is one that can work! Hiring a Writer In comparison to keeping a ‘stock’ of updates, this is definitely a solution that would appeal more. 13
  • By hiring a writer to keep you supplied with blog posts, you’ll be able to free up more and more time for yourself! Naturally, you’ll be able to even get your writer to prepare a ‘stock’ of posts for you, which would allow you even greater flexibility. Unfortunately, the downside is that writers do cost money. However, if your blog is earning a $500 a week, would it be so bad to pay a little bit of that to a writer to have them write for you considering that it would mean you have that much more free time? In reality, the fact that you have to pay a writer isn’t that big of a downside at all. Truthfully, the big downside is that finding a good writer that you can depend on to deliver the quality you desire is often a trying process. And at the end of the day, you may find that if your writer doesn’t deliver the quality that is expected, it is your blog profits that will suffer! Due to this, many people often shy away from this option, but if you can find a good writer, then you could free yourself up and actually end up profiting more by using your free time to pursue efforts that boost your income! Automating Blog Posts Last, but certainly not least, the one method that is most popular nowadays is actually automating your blog posts. To be clear from the start, this doesn’t mean that there’s some magical software that is able to write your blog posts for you. Instead, what it does mean is that there are methods of ‘acquiring’ blog posts to update your blog with. Mostly, the way in which ‘automatic’ blog post software works now is to source blog posts from RSS feeds of other blogs in the same niche. Of course, full credit is given, so it isn’t ‘stealing’ or anything of the sort. What this means is that you could find a blog that is particularly renowned for providing great and regular content, and then use its RSS feed to publish some of the blog posts from it on your blog when you feel that you’d like to slacken off for a while. Be aware though: This is not a long term solution. If you keep on posting content from RSS feeds, eventually your readers are going to wonder why they’re reading your blog when they could be getting it right from the source. 14
  • Having RSS content once in a while as ‘items of interest’ is fine – but if it happens too often, it’s going to be just as detrimental as not having updates at all. Right now you may be wondering what the best solution is, and the truth is: There is no ‘best’ solution. One way to go about things would be to keep a small ‘stock’ of your own original blog posts, and supplement them with automated posts from RSS feeds. That way your stock would last a lot longer, and at the same time you wouldn’t be solely feeding your readers blog posts from some other site. Of course, if you want to hire a writer then you needn’t worry about this anyway. End of the day, the choice is yours, and it is all a matter of choosing what you’re most comfortable with. So long as you pursue at least one option, you should have no more issues with losing traffic because you were ‘lax’ or ‘lazy’ when it comes to updates! Pitfall #4: Not Getting Enough Traffc Honestly, what is the point in having the greatest most amazing blog in the world, with the greatest and most amazing content… if no one sees it? Many blogs out there face this one problem. They have great content. They have a great design. They even may have great products on offer. But they get little or no traffic to speak of and thus never end up going far. Needless to say, the issue of traffic is a complicated one. Seeing as there are so many sources of traffic on the internet, discussing why exactly a blog isn’t getting enough traffic would be a pretty big topic to cover. However, we could start by focusing on the common culprits. And that means that first up is… Not Getting Traffic From Search Engines Seeing as search engines are the biggest source of traffic out there, not getting enough traffic from them is a big problem indeed. Normally, this implies that something is wrong with your basic Search Engine Optimization. 15
  • When your blog isn’t optimized for search engines, what is likely to happen is that despite the fact that you’re putting in a lot of effort, churning out really great content, and have a blog that can truly appeal to readers in your niche – search engines may pay little or no attention to it. As advanced as search engine ‘bots’ (the little pieces of code that scour the internet looking at websites) are, they are still just pieces of code and don’t look at websites in the way that people do. So they can’t be expected to see what your website is in the way that you and I would. Instead, what they see is the code, and if your blog is not conducive to that – it is going to suffer as a result. Furthermore, although search engine ranking algorithms themselves have improved by leaps and bounds, they too aren’t infallible and if you want to rank as high as you can, you’re going to need to cater to them. Naturally, this involves various different efforts, chief amongst which would be keyword targeting. When you don’t get enough traffic from search engines, you won’t be getting anywhere near as much traffic as you should – period. Over-Reliance on a Single Traffic Source Mind you, search engines aren’t the only source of traffic. These days there are scores of options that can be used to get more traffic from a variety of different sources. Unfortunately, few people know them all. And even fewer use them all. Normally, your average blog owner would probably rely on one or two sources of traffic. When things are going well, this isn’t a big deal. If one of the sources of traffic that you rely on is search engines, then that alone could potentially pull in a ton of visitors in its own right. But what happens if something affects that one source of traffic that you rely on? In the case of search engines, this really is telling. From time to time, you’ll find that your ranks may drop a few notches for certain key search terms that you depended on for traffic. When that happens, you’re going to definitely get less traffic than before. If you were relying completely on those terms for almost all your traffic, having them affected in this way could mean that your blog is, for all intents and purposes, crippled. 16
  • Although we’ve been talking about search engines as an example, you should realize that this applies equally to any source of traffic. If you’re relying on just one source, you stand the risk of your traffic being badly affected at random. Not to mention – over-reliance on a single source of traffic also means that you’re never going to be getting the true full amount of traffic that you could be getting! Anyway, now for the good news: This pitfall can be dealt with! And here’s how: 17
  • Solution: Fixing and Diversifying Traffic Sources In order to ensure that your blog is never left wanting for traffic, you’re going to need to take two steps in particular: 1. Ensure that your current traffic sources are fixed so that they’re pulling their weight, and 2. Diversify and pursue more traffic sources to supplement your current traffic. Together, both these steps will help you to get more traffic than ever before, and so ‘not having enough traffic’ should never be a problem. First and foremost, you need to identify your current and potential sources of traffic. Here’s a quick list of the main sources of traffic that you could be pursuing, and it should help you to figure out which ones you are, and which ones you aren’t: • Search Engines • Article Marketing • Video Marketing • Forums • Blog Commenting • PPC Advertising • Social Bookmarking • Squidoo Lenses and Hubpages • Press Releases • Syndicated RSS Feeds • Guest Blog Posting See – 11 whole options for getting traffic! Surely you aren’t using them all yet, right? Well, now that you know your options, and have hopefully identified the ones that you’re tapping into, here’s what you do: Fix Any Issues with your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Seeing as search engines are easily the biggest source of traffic out there, it makes sense that you give special consideration to fixing it first. To troubleshoot your SEO efforts, you should first concentrate on your on-page SEO and then move on to your off-page SEO. What this means is that you should first look at everything about your SEO which is located on your blog itself, and this would be: • Keywords and keyword targeting • Meta tags 18
  • • Sitemap submissions • Blog pinging If you can make certain that all these four areas are covered, you should be fine. After that you can comfortably move on to off-page SEO, and that means backlinks. All you need to do here is make certain that you’re getting as many backlinks as possible, and that you’re using a keyword as your ‘anchor text’ (i.e. the text that is linked back to your blog). Simple enough, isn’t it? Fixing Other Sources of Traffic Aside from search engines, go over the other current sources of traffic that you’re using (if any) and fix them one by one. Look for any reason why they might not be performing as well as expected, and fix what you can. Pursuing Alternative Sources of Traffic Finally, when you’re done with all the fixing, you should try to pursue as many other alternative sources of traffic as you can. Granted, some of these sources are rather time demanding and so you probably won’t be able to pursue them all – but still, pursuing even a couple should be enough diversification to ensure that you don’t run dry of traffic. Pick the ones that you’re interested in from the list that we provided earlier! So long as you’re able to source traffic from various different places, and fix problems as you come across them, you’ll find that overcoming the pitfall of ‘insufficient traffic’ really isn’t all that hard to do! But we still have one final pitfall left to discuss… and we’ve left the trickiest to last! Pitfall #5: Depressing Awful Conversion Rates Getting a ton of traffic is nice. After all, looking at your statistics that show you had 500 visitors in a day does look good! But it can just be depressing if you got 500 visitors in one day, and sold a grand total of 0 products. 19
  • All too often, this is the case with blogs. Partially, we covered this slightly when we talked about monetization, but the truth is that selling products through blogs extends further than simply picking the right product and marketing it well. Sometimes despite the fact that you follow all the rules of monetization, you’ll find that your conversion rates remain depressingly low! Why does this happen? What is the problem? How can you solve it? Well – these are the questions that we’re going to help you work through in this final pitfall. The Truth About Conversion Rates Before we get into how you can boost your conversion rates, there’s something you need to understand: In a nutshell, conversion rates are simply the amount of people per 100 visitors that you’re convincing to buy a product. That means that if your conversion rate is 1%, you’re only convincing 1 of each 100 visitors to make a purchase. Is that bad? Maybe. If for the same amount of effort you could get 10,000 visitors a day and have a 1% conversion rate, or get 1,000 visitors per day and have a 10% conversion rate, which would you prefer? Both offer the same amount of total sales, and so there’s no clear winner. Generally speaking though, most would prefer the higher conversion rate, as you’re ‘wasting’ less visitors to your blog. At the end of the day, conversion rates are just a reflection of how well your blog is selling products. Assuming you have selected a product that you know is going to sell, and you haven’t stuffed your blog full of products like that, you should be on the right track… But if your conversion rates are still low, there are some common culprits… Factors Behind Low Conversion Rates Many things can affect conversion rates, and if yours are devastatingly low, you should definitely be aware of them. Some of the more common culprits include: 20
  • 1. Traffic that isn’t targeted enough More traffic is good, but if it isn’t targeted then it isn’t going to convert very well at all. Imagine a crowd of people interested in UFOs going to a blog that is all about pet dogs. Without a doubt any product that the blog sold (and in fact, the blog itself!) is not going to appeal very much to the crowd. On the other hand, a crowd that consists of people who are all dog owners would probably be a lot more receptive to anything and everything that the same blog was marketing. 2. Bad designs Some designs work better than others when it comes to marketing, and it may just be that your blog happens to have an extremely bad design indeed. Often, blogs make the mistake of being too ‘cluttered’ and this can definitely cause their conversion rates to be rather abysmal. On the other hand, cleaner designs are definitely going to help a lot! 3. Awful sales copy Last but not least, your sales copy itself is the final chain that really determines your conversion rate. Without good sales copy, you’ll find that you’re not going to be selling much at all. Simply saying, “Buy this!” is rarely going to be enough. Now that you know the factors that contribute to lousy conversion rates, all that remains is for us to discuss how you can overcome them, boost your conversion rates, and live happily ever after in general! Let’s get to it, shall we? Solution: Fixing the Causes of Bad Conversion Rates To solve the problem of depressing conversion rates, you’re going to need to figure out the cause, and then fix it. Yes, it sounds simple – but it isn’t nearly as easy as that. For example, if your cause turns out to be bad sales copy, you’ll have to learn how to write better sales copy – and this could be slightly difficult if you aren’t experienced in the ins and outs of copywriting. 21
  • Similarly when it comes to design, and even getting targeted traffic, you’ll need the necessary know-how to ‘fix’ what needs to be fixed. Here are a few simple ways in which you can fix the causes of bad conversion rates though, to get you started: 1. Use highly targeted keywords in your content By using these types of keywords, you’ll find that you’re at very least able to get highly targeted traffic from search engines – and since that’s such a huge source of traffic, you should see your conversion rates improve considerably. If you can, try to do the same for other sources of traffic. Figure out how you can get them to be more targeted, and then do so! 2. Opt for clean and uncluttered designs As we mentioned earlier, clean designs win hands down against cluttered ones, and if you can use a design that doesn’t appear ‘stuffed’ with widgets, content, or anything at all, you’ll find that you get a lot further. 3. Benefit-oriented copy Starting out with writing sales copy can be tough, but here’s one rule to follow: Talk about benefits rather than features. People like to know how a product can help them, as opposed to simply knowing its features. Be sure to use this! If you can implement these 3 fixes, you should see your conversion rates improve markedly. Course there are other things that you can do, and the main way to really boost conversion rates is to conduct split testing and determine what the absolute best copy and design would be to help catapult your conversions sky high. Pursue this – and you’ll find that you’re in pole position to really make convincing sales! Final Words on Overcoming Pitfalls Now you know the 5 main pitfalls that you could (and probably will!) face when you start blogging, as well as the solutions. Do any of them sound familiar? Have you come across them in the past? 22
  • Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t – the fact of the matter is that now, if you ever to come face to face with them again, you’ll know what you should be doing to overcome them. And by overcoming them, you should have no problem attaining the success that you desire when it comes to blogging. Although this may seem difficult now, in time you’ll realize that it isn’t, and more importantly you’ll realize too that the rewards are worth the effort that you need to put in! 23
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