If you are an author, you already know that your blog is vital to your chances of success. But writing blog posts every day and trying to be topical is a lot of hard work, as well as very time-consuming.
Writing blog posts about what is news today will be of little or no value tomorrow.
And let’s face it; a writer’s life is not always full of exciting day-to-day developments that can be used to entice blog readers on a daily basis.
The best way an author can blog is by adopting an evergreen content approach.
What is evergreen content?
Think about evergreen trees that stay green and fresh all year round.
When you create content, some topics such as fashion trends can fade in a very short period of time.
A post on social media such as Twitter or Facebook has a visible life of only a few minutes
On top of that, it is not readily searchable. So once you post it, it’s lost in less than 15 minutes.
If you write a 600-word blog post about a current news topic, it will have currency for a few days. But then it will be of little interest.
Sure, it might be indexed for Bing and Google searches, but who looks for old news?
Evergreen articles, however, are based on specific topics or subjects that will always be relevant and will be fresh for new blog readers.
A good example of long term evergreen topics is a recipe.
It is highly evergreen, compared to the news of the death of a famous chef, which is news, but it is not evergreen by any means.
A recipe gives you an even better clue as to what evergreen ideas need to be about. It is the type of content that people will always want to reference or learn how to do.
Another classic evergreen approach is to write quality content that answers a question that people will always ask.
For an author, evergreen content ideas could be questions such as when and how to use semi-colons.
Or, are single quotation marks better for ebooks than paperbacks. You could also explain how to design a book cover.
These topics will be evergreen because there will always be people looking for answers to these types of questions.
Should you date evergreen articles?
Once you understand how to write different types of evergreen content for your blog, you will need to make some small changes to your blog design and especially what metadata you display.
A lot of bloggers hide all date stamps on blog posts and comments to help in staying relevant.
Harsh Agrawal at Shoutmeloud wrote a case study about dates on blogs and the effect of removing or including them.
Blog readers prefer up-to-date, fresh content.
A date on your post showing that it is four years old could be a turn-off for readers.
Even though your content is still absolutely relevant to the reader, old dates in Google search can have a negative consequence.
Think about moving some of your best evergreen content from a post to a page.
Search engines might give web pages a little more weighting than blog posts. In SEO terms, these are called your pillar posts.
One other change that you can make, although it’s only a suggestion, is to modify your homepage or landing page and sidebars.
Evergreen posts gain traffic from search engines and social media posts. These all send readers directly to your blog post or page, so very few people will see your homepage.
However, your homepage probably includes a lot of your book promotion links.
You might need to move your promotion and advertising from your front page and sidebars, and include them in your blog posts.
For mobile users, sidebars disappear to the far bottom, well after your post. If you consider that Internet traffic is now over 60% mobile, sidebars are becoming less important.
Perhaps a top banner or an ad box, like the one on the left, for one of your books aligned left into your text block, will get many more clicks than book links on your homepage or sidebars.
But before you make any radical changes to your site design, you should check Google Analytics. Go to the Audience tab, then click Mobile and Overview.
You will see the percentage of traffic you get for desktop, mobile, and tablet.
If you have over 50% of mobile traffic, you might want to think about removing your sidebar.
But if the biggest percentage of your traffic is desktop, you can keep using it.
Promoting evergreen pieces
With evergreen content, such as the recipe and punctuation examples, you can post them on social media over and over again to keep driving traffic to your site.
No more scratching your head and hunting for social sharing ideas each day.
You can post it again in a week, in a month or a year.
Yesterday, I had over 2,500 page views from Facebook alone for a 3-year-old piece of content. That is what evergreen content in a specific niche can do for you.
If you can write 100 evergreen blog posts, you will have plenty of ammunition to keep firing at social media.
Keep visitors reading
Once you attract a reader to your content, don’t let them escape too quickly.
When you are creating evergreen content, think about keeping a reader’s interest and attention.
You can add an internal link or two in your text to take the reader to a similar article on your blog to increase your page views per visit.
You should place one early in your content, and one midway or towards the end.
Internal links within an article tend to work better than a group of related posts that follow an article.
Writing great evergreen blog posts takes a little longer than a typical “day in my life” post. Most forms of evergreen content often involve doing a bit of research.
But the time and effort is well worthwhile. These posts will continue to be fresh and relevant to every new reader who visits your blog. And isn’t that the aim?
You want to build your author platform and attract new readers to your books.
If you are not an author, the tips in this article are still relevant to your business.
Update Note: Since writing this article, I have posted an alternative view about adding dates to evergreen posts.