Many non-technical bloggers have a common struggle: A perception of being at a disadvantage in their blog property and the subsequent opportunities missed due to their technical shortcomings. History has proven, time and time again, that technical expertise or having a technical/software background doesn’t give anyone any greater chance of success than a non-tech.
Remember, having an honest content strategy and being consistent with your writing is all that you really need. I’ve come to realize that, while most people simply quit, what’s essential is the endurance and perseverance to make success happen.
Naturally, there are tons of opportunities for non-technical people to up their game when it comes to blogging. I’d love to introduce a few tips that could help your blog not only become more engaging but keep your readers coming back. They all center around one very powerful plugin.
The Jetpack Plugin (and Ecosystem)
Installing the Jetpack plugin (and getting familiar with all of the options) will make a dramatic impact on your site. This plugin packs a punch, and it is continually getting better and better with more resources and development being created daily. There are too many options to walk through right now, but here are some of the most significant features that you can turn on and start using today. Hopefully, it will make you feel as if you were able to put on a “technical” hat for a day!
The first is WordPress.com Stats. This allows you to see, quite clearly, what types of posts are “working” (being viewed the most) and how your blog is growing day after day, week after week, and month over month.
Reading and evaluating the statistics of your blog can help you, at a very high level, understand how your visitors are responding to your content. At the very least, it can show what they find useful and exciting. The stats can also give you insight about where they are coming from as well.
Here’s the bottom line: The more you know about your users (and your blog) the more you can do to proactively make it better. Thankfully, once you turn it on then all you have to do is just continue doing what you’re already doing: Writing.
The second feature that should be setup? “Related Posts,” which gives your readers more content to read when they reach the end of the current article.
This feature scans all of your posts, analyzes the content, and then shows contextually-related posts that your visitors may find interesting. Naturally, this will bring more of your readers to fresh content and keep them longer on your blog.
There are a few options that you can choose from. Yet, for most of you, you’ll be ready to rock upon installation with zero customization required.
Next up is “Subscriptions,” which has a number of optimizations that can really upgrade your blog significantly. Once you install Jetpack, the Subscriptions plugin will activate immediately.
Now, a few customizations are all it takes to maximize its potential.
First, you’ll now see options for your users to subscribe to the comments! Now they can be notified when more people join the conversation and return to the blog to engage in the dialogue.
Second, there’s a new Subscriptions Widget now available for you to use in any widget areas around your blog:
This form allows your users to subscribe via email to the blog so that they can be notified when new posts arrive, right in their email inbox. This is an effective way to grow your community of readers (and subscribers, to boot!) and a must-have for any WordPress-powered blog.
Finally, the “Sharing” feature is another add-on that is a no-brainer. It allows users and readers to share your posts on a variety of social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, and more.
This feature requires a little bit of setup. All you have to do is drag and drop the social networks that you’d like to use and order them as you see fit:
Once you have that, you’re good to go!
There are tons of other features that I could argue strongly about installing and setting up, but these few will get you going and provide you with a ton of value. And, of course, you don’t have to know any code or be “technical” in any sense of the word. All you have to do is be committed to fiddling with settings and, most importantly, not giving up on writing fresh and engaging content for your blog.