Before giving Blogger and other free sites commonly used by new webmasters a rest, we’ll dissect another common practice that generates poor results, which is being inconsistent in how their blogs are used. This is tied to site layout though it also demonstrates a lack of willingness to step out of the ordinary.
Scrutinizing “webmaster inconsistency”
In past posts, I’ve shown some examples of what other webmasters are doing in their sites that negates their potential to really grow and have a community of their own. Now, I’ll show one of my own.
The first WINTEMO iteration made on Blogger is still online. Seems I forgot to take it down! And from there to what the TRI has become today, plenty of things have changed.
Click the Image to enlarge and see what is wrong on that site.
All pages have the same layout as if every page and post was a single-page site. On top of that, the site did not possess much helpful content.
From there, you can’t access other pages, or jump to the blog, which frustrates users trying to browse the site. And nobody likes wasting time.
Now compare the same with the TRI’s Portal and the difference in the layout will be evident: you can go to the forums, the gaming corner and here since the links are always available; the blog allows you to preview older posts…
In other words, the Portal is uniform whereas WINTEMO was not.
What does that have to do with being inconsistent?
Surely you have checked different Wikipedia articles of a given subject, like cars, Countries or flower types. Almost all of them have the same appearance but the contents differ.
This facilitates reading since users browsing the page will already know where to look for the information, where they can check the latest posts and how to jump to new ones. We can call this process “standardization”; to make the entire site, or parts of it, conform to an easily recognizable pattern.
In turn, that pattern gives out a professional outlook and working on your site’s image is (or should be) an important concern.
Betting on uniformity is a form of consistency.
When the articles are easy to find, readers are always on top of everything new added to the site. And this isn’t available in WINTEMO.
Unlike what people normally expect from a poor-looking site, it had brand new posts every week, almost every day; sometimes even more than once a day. This is important when a website is new.
Websites like The Huffington Post, with a single blog, attract millions after millions of hits. Why? Because they are already established in their niche. And even then the site is updated frequently
Another, less orthodox example, is Wargaming’s World of Tanks wiki pages. 6~7 years ago, if you googled for “KV-2”, a Soviet tank, the first result came from Wikipedia, a site people are familiar with and would normally get the information from.
Feeding fresh new articles, content, media or anything else users can consume on a regular basis facilitates the discovery of your website. Because the content they produce is in such high demand, those are sites that a freshly created page will show up on the top search engine results seconds after being posted.
Keeping up a posting schedule might help in that regard. If like me, you’re a solo writer, it becomes much harder to write new articles every single day, but it’s still doable.
Becoming consistent again
A number of strategies can help you regain that consistency or start having a stronger, more noticeable approach to the Blogosphere. We’re going to cover a few of them right below:
1 – Let other bloggers post for you.
This is known as guest posting. You can invite people you know directly to post on your website or let one of your users do it.
As a general rule, most users seeking to do guest posts are happy to oblige if you provide a link back to one of their social networks or their website.
There are only a few considerations you have to keep in mind if you choose to go this route:
Change the post to your website’s standards
While you can accept the post “as-is” and keep the post just the way the guest poster gave you, there probably some matters you’ll have to take a second look and edit.
What comes to mind when thinking about this are grammar errors but those are not usually a problem with serious or professional writers.
But there are other affairs too, like language, content coherence, links, references (either to real life events or comparisons that would appear/are best suited on Family Guy) and the like.
In case it doesn’t fit your blog’s style, edit it so it does. If you want him/her to reply to answers on your site during any given time frame make sure you let the original writer know of the changes. This is important so they are aware of what your users might ask.
Set your “price”
As said above, the usual practice is to let others post for you, in exchange for a few links back pointing to websites of the writer’s preference. As always, some might be more than happy to do it for no cost whatsoever, but something in return is always appreciated.
You might want to take a look at what happens on their social media or websites. I don’t think most professional webmasters, or those seeking to become one, want to provide a link to someone who posts scandalous material online, be it of whatever nature.
Also, don’t rule out the idea of paying actual money for someone else to write for you. Just be wary with whom you spend it with.
You can see an example of the opposite in GuestBloggingTactics.com.
2 – Prepare your work beforehand
A common practice in here is to completely write all the posts of any given series and post them in a fixed interval. Since we use WordPress, there’s the added bonus of being able to choose a day and time to publish a post.
If they’re ready to go, it becomes “set and forget”. We only need to worry about social media because, with the exception of Facebook that now provides a very similar function, we must publish the new articles manually or use applications such as Buffer or HootSuite.
3 – Have someone on the inside
In movies, journalists go to a specific detective to get intel for their new scoop, so they can later develop it into a story that is then broadcasted to us.
You can adopt a similar practice for your own posts by having specialists of specific fields to feed you information about them. For example, a website about smartphones will benefit a lot from having a couple contacts in Samsung.
Moreover, diversifying your contacts list is one of your goals as a blogger. Sometimes, it’s not a matter of what you know that other people might benefit from, but rather who you know (and since the subtopic are movies, that’s also the last line in Murder in 1600).
4 – Ask questions to your audience
Oftentimes, you’ll receive contacts from other bloggers or people in your immediate website circles. That level of interaction can be leveraged into a blog post. Questions, proposals, news…
Once we were contacted by another webmaster about a very useful tool that creates HTML meta tags automatically. As part of our reform program, we’ve removed the page but you can still check it through the link above.
Don’t have an audience? No problem! Proceed to #5.
5 – Connect with other sites
Like other blogs, forums… You can simply browse their websites and look for questions on the comments sections and even leave your own. In WordPress-based sites, this may also include a link to your site, which is also a plus.
Plenty of ideas for posts wait in other sites. Google Alerts will let you know of new blog posts related to your niche.
6 – Expand your team
If all else doesn’t work for you, it may be the time to hire someone or find a buddy to team up with you as a resident contributor.
Contributors, editors or authors can cover for you while you handle administrative affairs or other concerns like site layout, email newsletters or others.
Hiring means these users will work with you (or for you if… you think like that). Conducting a little P&L management might be beneficial to see if it is worthy for you to maintain your resident writers if you believe this is an iffy alternative.
Getting it all together
These tips will help you get the most important rule of thumb for all new Bloggers: to write at least one new post, EVERY DAY.
To get the most organic traffic to your site, you’ll need to be constantly updating it. New bloggers should do this as much as possible.
Lack of action will only cause your site to be completely ignored. If you don’t have anything new to show for, people will simply look for the action elsewhere. But quantity is only as important as the quality of your posts and then… we’ll just have to say that having none is better than filling numerous pages with trashy, repetitive nonsense.
Starting over is very difficult if you a bad reputation is there to haunt you when compared to beginning from square one.
How does this relate to you? Have you discovered your site lacks consistency or doesn’t conform to a standard you defined in the past? We are open to your opinion and would love to hear it.