Unless you have been living in a cave, you have probably noticed that blogs are popular. Really, really popular. In fact, as we completed this post we saw that more than 3,500,000 blog posts were published in the past 24 hours!
We recently wrote about why every business needs a blog and it got us thinking about what common mistakes hold back blogging success. Businesses have all but accepted the fact that they need a blog, but far too many are making costly mistakes. Friends don’t let friends make costly mistakes, so we hope this post helps you avoid these blogging blunders.
1. Covering Too Broad of Topics
If you wanted to get news about sports would you turn on ABC or ESPN? Though you could find sports related information on ABC, your chances are significantly higher if you turn on ESPN. Your blog needs to be similar to ESPN. Covering a niche extremely well. A trusted source of information on a specific topic.
Businesses often make the mistake of trying to write about everything. Anything that can get social media shares or website traffic. Though this could bring temporary, unpredictable success, it is not sustainable long term.
Instead, your business should become an expert on a small niche. Our blog covers almost exclusively social media marketing and content marketing, which allows us to attract and retain readers that are interested in those topics. Even if this means we attract less overall traffic, it is highly targeted traffic that is more likely to return to read more and more posts.
2. Text Only Posts
Would you rather read a magazine or Moby Dick? Unless you are an avid reader and appreciate the classics, you are probably leaning towards a magazine. This isn’t to say that the epic story of The Whale is boring. Actually, it is a rather exciting story when looked at objectively. What is the problem then?
It probably has to do with the 700+ pages of small text looking back at you when you pick up the book. Where are the pictures? Where is the fun? If your blog looks like a page straight out of Moby Dick, you are probably struggling to attract and retain readers.
Include relevant images and videos to help make your posts more engaging and less intimidating. Also, break up your writing into smaller, more consumable paragraphs. Doing so will also make it easier for readers to scan your post and still pull main points from it.
3. Not Having A Consistent Publishing Schedule
Consistency might be the most important aspect of a blog. Consistency helps to build trust. Consistency helps turn one time readers into subscribers. Consistency makes your blog part of someone’s daily routine.
It is very important for you to stick to a consistent publishing schedule. What does this look like? We try to post 2-4 blog posts per week. Ideally we try to share a blog post on Monday or Tuesday and again on Thursday or Friday. If you have been following our blog closely, you have probably begun to expect this type of consistency and now know you can trust consistent quality content from us.
What if we had no set schedule? Instead we just published randomly. Would you routinely visit our blog to check for new posts? We certainly wouldn’t. A consistent publishing schedule will help your blog to become a habit and part of a routine for people.
4. Not Promoting Your Content
If content is king, promotion is queen. Even the best content in the world can and will go unseen without proper promotion. Social media is a perfect place to promote your blog and you can do it for free.
We recommend that you share your content several times on social media over the course of a few weeks.This will help to drive consistent traffic to your post, even long after it was published. Also consider promoting your content on sites like Reddit and StumbleUpon.
5. Writing Mediocre Headlines
It is very hard to promote a blog post that has a poor headline. In a world of information overload, your posts will have some strong competition. The headline is your first impression. If your headline isn’t compelling enough, readers won’t even open it.
We highly recommend that you treat your headline as important as the rest of the post. It is very common for businesses to use the first headline that comes to mind. Unless you want to waste your time writing content that never gets read, start putting as much thought into your headline as you do the rest of the post.
6. Focusing on Quantity Instead of Quality
A common question businesses have about blogging is “how often should we publish a blog?” This is a fair question, but the better question is: “how often can you can produce high quality content?” Quality is far more important than quantity.
Now research definitely shows that publishing blog post more frequently leads to more website traffic:
So you would think more is better. It certainly is when done properly. Do an honest assessment of how much time and resources you can allocate to producing quality blog content and then set a weekly posting schedule. Though the statistics show more is better, make sure you do not sacrifice quality for quantity. Your readers will thank you.
7. Not Knowing Who Your Audience Is
Who are you writing for? If your answer is “anyone”, you are in trouble. As a business you should have a defined target market and ideal customer persona. Your blog should be aimed at this same demographic.
Without a knowledge of who you are writing for, it is hard to decide what to write and how to write it. When you know who your audience is, it will become much easier to decide what topics to cover, how frequently you should publish and where to promote it.
8. Not Speaking Your Audience’s Language
Do you consider yourself a beginner when it comes to the topics you write about? Your answer is most likely no. Typically blogging requires a certain level of expertise. A common mistake many bloggers make is not explaining things in a way that is understandable for readers of all levels of expertise.
Most blog readers are beginners, at least on the topic they are reading. Though technical blogs on most complex strategies, tactics, etc are useful, you must keep in mind that people with this level of expertise are the minority and typically read blogs less frequently. It is important to not assume your audience will know things you consider basic, nor will they understand industry lingo.
A simple way to avoid this mistake is to ask someone who is not an expert on the subject to proofread your posts before you publish them. Ask them to circle anywhere in the post where they did not understand what you were saying and try to find a simpler way to get across the same point.
9. Writing Only About Your Product/Service
This could have easily been the first mistake we discussed because it is the number one way to sink your blog. It might sound counterintuitive, but trying to use your blog to directly sell your product or service will do just the opposite. We get it, you attract targeted traffic to your blog, so why not try to sell to them?
The answer is simple, because they didn’t come to your blog to be sold to. They came to your blog to consume what your wrote. This is a good thing. Over time you can become their go-to place for information related to your industry.
So, how does this lead to sales? After all, you can’t pay the bills with blog readers alone. When your readers are ready to buy they will think of your company. Thanks to your blog posts that have helped them, made them laugh or kept them entertained, your business is now the first thing they think of when they need what you offer.
10. Not Making It Scannable
Humans now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. “Reading” for a lot of people has turned into scanning for key details for the sake of saving time. A good portion of blog readers won’t read everything you wrote. Terrible right?
There is nothing wrong with this type of reader, as long as you make it easy for them to still understand what you are saying. Use short paragraphs, bullet points, images and numbered lists to make it easier for scanners to still get value from your blog posts and you will keep them coming back for more.
11. Having A Non-Responsive Design
Ok, let’s not get technical. Your blog should look good on mobile devices and computers. If it doesn’t, how and/or why would people read it? With mobile web time now greater than desktop, you better make sure your blog looks just as good on the small screen as it does on the big one. If you use WordPress, make sure your theme comes with a full responsive design.
12. Not Having A Comment Section
One of the best part about blogging as a business is that it makes you seem more approachable and encourages interaction. A great way to encourage interaction is to have a comment section. This allows your readers to share their thoughts, ask you questions and much more. If your blog doesn’t have a comment section, think about the message you are sending your readers and potential customers.
Having a comment section is important, but so is responding to these comments. Make sure it is easy for readers to leave comments and even easier for you to respond back to them in a timely manner. Sites like WordPress make this very easy.
Speaking of a comment section, we would love to hear from you! Let us know what you thought about this blog in the comment section below.
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