What’s New in Blogging for 2018?
What are your New Year’s resolutions for your blog?
For many bloggers, more sales and more readers are at the top of the wish list. If that’s you, 2018 could be your year.
That’s because many of the top blogging trends for the year ahead are not only going to make your blog more appealing to read and more fun to produce, they can also help you get more traffic, win more customers, and earn more sales.
Here are six things to can do in 2018 to turn your blog resolutions into reality.
Yes, blogging is traditionally a written medium, but boy do people love video. Cisco predicts that video will make up more than 80% of worldwide internet traffic by 2021, which means that if you don’t get on board the video train soon, you’re going to be left behind. According to digital marketing expert Neil Patel, adding video to your blog and/or creating a YouTube channel to drive viewers to your blog is the most effective way to boost traffic and sales.
Patel also recommends Facebook video as a supplemental platform to YouTube (Facebook just announced its Creator app to compete head to head with YouTube) and suggests that you include a call to action in every video—especially those hosted on a platform other than your blog—so that your viewers know what next step you want them to take.
2. Make your blog more mobile friendly
Slightly more than half the videos streamed online are viewed on mobile devices, and that figure is expected to rise in the years to come. That means your site needs to support fast-loading video in a mobile-friendly format. If you’re still clinging to the notion that your viewers will turn their phones to watch your videos in landscape mode, think again.
Horizontal video is so 2012. Vertical video is the way to go, not only because most of your blog visitors hold their phones vertically nearly all the time, but because that position makes it easier for viewers to “engage with reactions and comments in a way that’s natural to them.” And engagement is what it’s all about. While you’re at it, make sure you’re using an up-to-date responsive template for your blog so that your menus and posts are easy to read on phones.
3. Produce more posts
This may not be what you want to hear if you’re already strapped for time or having trouble thinking of things to talk about, but the number and frequency of your posts matters a lot. Neil Patel says it takes reading up to 5 pieces of content before a reader starts the buying process.
That means if you’re selling from your blog, you need to give readers enough content for them to find five pieces that appeal to them enough to read. To drive traffic and earn leads to your blog, the benchmark for success with a B2B blog is more than 16 fresh posts each month—and higher frequency of posts raises B2C traffic, too. To manage this much content, you’ll need to pick your topics in advance and set up a schedule for writing, editing, and publishing them – and stick to it.
4. And produce longer posts
As if turning out more posts wasn’t enough, Neil Patel also thinks your blog posts should be longer. And the data backs him up. Longer posts tend to perform better in search results, which means more readers will find your blog when they’re searching for information on your topic or niche. If you’re putting in the work on the post, you might as well make sure you get the payoff of more traffic from search, right?
For this reason, Patel recommends a minimum blog post length of about 2,500 words. (Spoiler alert: I’m not going to hit that target.) Not sure how to create longer posts that readers will find appealing? Kissmetrics has a helpful longform content creation guide.
5. Skip (or supplement) the stock photos
When the internet was young and smartphone cameras were just a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye, online stock photos made a text-heavy medium more visually interesting. These days, though, there’s no technical excuse for relying on stock images to promote your products or illustrate your posts—and in fact, relying on stock photos may even hurt your brand. If you’re selling products, invest in good photography, either your own or someone else’s. There are professionals who specialize in everything from fashion to food who can produce great product photos for your blog.
You might also consider supplementing manufacturer-provided stock images of products you sell with user-generated photos (that you get permission from your customers to use, of course). Tomer Dean wrote at Medium about a series of stock-versus-UGC A/B tests on sports bras, skirts, athletic shoes, and high heels. In 3 of his four tests, the user-generated image delivered better results than the stock photo.
6. Clean out your content closet
It’s always a good idea to regularly review your post archives. Some of your older posts may be classics that are worth re-posting to mark a special event or anniversary. Some may be in need of a few updated facts in order to stay useful to readers in the year ahead. Some may be on similar topics, which gives you a chance to combine them into a longer-form post or two for better search rankings—another Patel tip. You can also add custom images or videos to your older posts to make them more appealing to today’s viewers. And you can cull any posts that are no longer relevant.
Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelancer who enjoys writing about business development and marketing, e-commerce payments and fraud prevention, and travel.