“I have a very assertive way. It’s wake up, move your ass, or piss off home.”
Have you ever seen “Kitchen Nightmares” with Chef Gordon Ramsay?
If not, here’s a brief summary: Gordon finds struggling restaurants, and then he helps them improve their business.
The funny thing is that the more I watched this show, the more I realized that Gordon Ramsay’s advice was not just about restaurants.
When you break his advice and process down, you can discover new insights that can improve any kind of business—especially an online business that’s struggling to generate traffic to their site.
So let’s go ahead and do just that… Let’s see how Gordon Ramsay can help you get more traffic to your blog.
1. Observe and analyze
When Ramsay shows up to a new restaurant that needs work, his first matter of business is observation.
He shows up unannounced, orders a few things off of the menu, checks out the restaurant (this includes the dining area and the kitchen), and without any hesitation, he tells the owners what he REALLY thought of his experience.
With your blog, you can do the same.
Visit your site, and pretend like you’ve never seen it before (if there’s no way you can do that ask a friend or colleague to do it).
Then analyze your experience. What does your blog do well? Where does it fall short?
You’ll want to be honest with yourself…of course. So pay special attention to:
- Look and feel – Is your blog inviting, uncluttered, and eye-catching? If not, here’s how you can design your blog yourself.
- Can people figure out what your blog is all about? Make sure you have a great tagline to keep people, and make them scroll down. Also make sure your site passes the header removal test.
- Are you highlighting positive social proof? Like high comment counts, Twitter and Facebook shares, and high subscriber numbers? If not, find other bloggers and see if you can start sharing and interacting with each others’ content.
- Is your content good enough? Does it teach your readers new skills, solve their problems? Is it about THEM or about YOU? This is hard to be objective about, but it’s worth it.
- Can people navigate your blog easily?, i.e. are your pages linked to each other in a way that is logical and makes sense for the reader to stay and click on more links?
2. Identify the bottlenecks
The next thing Ramsay does is identify the problems.
Why is the restaurant failing? Why aren’t customers lining up at the front door?
Why is it that this restaurant is failing? Why aren’t the customers coming? Is it the food? Is it the atmosphere? Is it the staff?
Again, as a blogger, you can ask yourself similar questions.
If you followed step one, and you were honest with yourself, you’ll already know the questions and answers.
But if you’re looking for some help, here’s a short list of reasons why your site might not be getting traffic:
- Does your design look amateur-looking?
- Is your content useful and easy-to-read?
- Do you overwhelm people with advertisements?
- Are you being yourself…authentic, if you will?
- Do you treat your readers and customers with respect?
Once you run through that list, you’ll also need to know what’s the primary action you want people to take on your site, besides the the obvious one “reading your blog.”
If your traffic isn’t performing that specific action, find out why. You can ask friends, other bloggers, or maybe you can run a survey.
For example, over at my site, I wanted more subscribers on my email list. I was doing OK using all the regular methods like placing my opt-in forms in the right places, and giving calls to action subscribe.
But it wasn’t until it occurred to me to start promoting my free SEO report in my blog posts—artfully working it into the content—that I started seeing MUCH better results.
3. Don’t work on too many projects
The first thing Gordon Ramsay does with a struggling restaurant is reduce the number of items on their menu.
Instead of 20 mediocre dishes, he’ll come up with 10 incredible ones.
In the same vein, make sure your blog output is worth your readers’ time.
If you’re posting daily, but rushing to get the posts out, reduce your output so you can focus on creating 3 or 4 articles that are amazing.
If you have several blogs, and you don’t have the time for all of them, maybe you should cut down to your core 2 or 3 blogs and make them outstanding.
If you’re focused on several traffic generation methods, and you’re not seeing solid results, you may be overextending yourself. Take one technique, MASTER it, and put it on autopilot. Then, you can move on to the next one.
If you’re selling products, maybe you can focus on your most profitable, best-selling products. When Steve Jobs took the helm at Apple for the second time, the first thing he started doing was cutting product lines… and you know how Apple turned out.
4. Revamp your niche and design
Next step Chef Ramsay takes is market research.
He takes a survey of the surrounding restaurants to see what kind of food they are serving, what they are doing well, where they are falling short, and where the gaps in market are, much like Derek Halpern did with his Social Triggers.
Then he puts together the menu and redesigns the restaurant itself around the theme he came up with during his market research.
Don’t tell me you have another “internet marketing” blog.
“Internet marketing” is a broad niche, and it’s no wonder your blog is getting lost in the sea of others.
The solution is to make your blog about a specific niche within internet marketing, say list building, or SEO, or personal development, or reviews.
You might be worried about narrowing down your niche too much, but you can always broaden it later. In the beginning, you want to stand for something, or else you risk standing for nothing.
5. Market the heck out of it
Now comes the fun part: reaching out to the potential food lovers.
Gordon Ramsay spares nothing for this step: anything from as simple as giving out flyers for the opening night to organizing farmers markets and doing food tastings.
Online, you need to do the same exact thing. Your blog marketing stage is only limited by your imagination and the ability to outthink and outdo your competition.
No one can teach you to think outside the box, yet let me tell you—it’s a skill, not a gift. It can be developed just like any other skill.
How can you get people to view your site? If you’re just using Twitter and Facebook to share your content, is there anything else you can do that might yield better results? Is your competition getting press? If so, why? Where are they getting it? Can you get press from the same places?
6. Deliver on your promises
“I maintain standards and I strive for perfection. That level of pressure is conveyed in a very bullish way and that’s what cooking (blogging) is all about.”
Once Gordon Ramsay markets the heck out of the restaurant reopening, he knows it’s time to deliver.
It’s time to show off the newly redesigned restaurant, and be ready to run like a well-oiled machine, pumping out those scrumptious, profitable dishes off the simple menu.
It’s time to turn those first-time foodies into raving, word-spreading, soon-returning restaurant fans.
And again, in the blog world, nothing else matters if you can’t deliver some incredible content.
The kind of content your readers won’t find anywhere else.
The kind of content that focuses on them and leaves them hungry for more.
And it goes beyond just your blog content, of course.
If you market affiliate products, make sure you stand behind them 100%, which usually means you tried them and benefited from them.
If you are building an email list, make sure you deliver quality and value and not a bunch of affiliate offers.
Remember, your reputation is the key to opening a lot of doors for your business…and also closing them for good. It’s entirely up to you.
7. Rinse and repeat
Despite the initial success, many restaurants, even with Ramsay’s help, still fail within a few months.
Acquiring new business and traffic and sustaining traffic are two different things and anyone with a successful business knows that.
That’s why you need to keep working on your business / blog.
You need to keep marketing it, communicating with your readers, and networking with other bloggers all the time!
Does it get easier?
It becomes second nature, and you learn to do it more efficiently.
But it never ends.
Final Marketing Takeaway
“We’re fragile, fragmented souls who are very sensitive to criticism.”
Indeed we are, Gordon.
Yet there’s no growth without identifying the areas that need to be worked on.
As painful as it is to realize that even with all the blood, sweat, and tears that we put into our blogs, they are still and probably never will be perfect.
But that’s OK. That’s what running your own business is all about.
Now, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.