No matter where you look, page views, subscriptions, and other metrics that indicate readership and engagement on small business blogs are down. Simply put, customers aren’t finding new blog posts as often, and aren’t paying as much attention to the ones they do come across.

There are exceptions, of course. Customers aren’t actually reading less on the Internet, they are just being more discerning with their time and attention. In other words, a lot of businesses are missing out because their blogs don’t have what it takes to attract and retain readers or subscribers.

So, is your blog missing something? Here are a few things you should be sure you’re incorporating into your posts on a regular basis…

Great Blog Post Titles

Despite all the advice to the contrary, we all judge books by their covers and blog post by their titles. If yours isn’t inviting and easy-to-understand at a glance, readers aren’t going to bother checking your ideas out. Write several, if that’s what it takes, to find one that really jumps out at readers.

Strong Opening Paragraphs

A lot of marketers understand blog post titles are important, but overlook the value of a strong opening paragraph. The first few words of your blog really need to draw our readers in and “sell” them on giving you their undivided attention. Otherwise, they might click away before getting to the point.

Search Keywords

It almost goes without saying that your blog post should feature the search terms you’re trying to rank for. But, don’t forget that these should not only be specific, both to your company and your target audience. And those keywords should be used in titles, subheadings, and internal links for the biggest effect.

Useful Meta Descriptions

Because lots of potential readers will come across your blog post on Google and the other search engines, it’s important that they have meta descriptions that seem inviting. Otherwise, there’s no reason for searchers to click through instead of taking their attention elsewhere.

Custom Images

Even if you purchase stock images for use with your blog posts, you can customize them with your own branding to make them unique. That minimizes the odds that your competitors will use them on their own blogs, and it also gives every article a more polished look and feel.

Video Posts and Links

Lots of your customers probably prefer video to plain text or still images. So, make sure you have links to videos on your website, and that you occasionally include new posts in video format. You might be surprised to find your videos get more views than other types of content.

Internal Links

The body of your blog should include internal links to other posts or pages on your website. That helps with search engine optimization, and it gives interested readers a way to learn more about your topics or ideas if they need more information.

Targeted Calls to Action

Never leave a visitor to your blog wondering what they should do next at the end of one of your posts. Always give them a call to action that invites them to contact you, download a report, or take some other next step that helps them while moving you closer to a finished sale.

If your blog is missing any of these elements, then it’s a good bet it’s missing out on viewers, comments, and shares, too. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that posting a few keyword-heavy articles to your website is going to be enough to get you to the top of the search engine rankings or bring in new buyers. Make every post unique, targeted, and insightful, because that’s the only way to stand out in today’s crowded Internet.