Blogging is one of the most important parts of establishing a solid online presence for your business. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most challenging. There’s no magical formula for making a blog successful, and there are plenty of ways you can, well, mess it up. The good news is even if you happen to have committed a blogging blunder or two, chances are it’s still salvageable. Here are nineteen common blogging mistakes and, more importantly, ways that you can correct them.
Mistake #1 – Not Defining Your Niche – To be truly effective, a blog should be focused and defined so that it caters to a specific niche. Many bloggers start out trying to reach too many different groups, which results in scattered, confusing and fragmented content. Ask yourself what about your industry you are passionate about. This will help you define your mission. Then, focus on making the bulk of your content about topics that relate specifically to this niche. When people visit your blog, they’ll clearly understand what it’s all about and be more likely to follow and share the content with others.
Mistake #2 – Not Understanding or Connecting with Your Audience – One of the most common mistakes made by new bloggers is writing content that speaks at the reader, rather than to them. If you want people to keep coming back to your blog, and share it with others, you have to find a way to connect with them and deliver content that they are interested in. If you’re not sure how to figure out what this is, check out our recent article, Discovering Great Content Ideas, for some helpful tips.
Mistake #3 – Tackling Too Many Topics – One of your goals as a blogger should be to position yourself as an expert in your field. You can’t accomplish this if you’re throwing out dozens of different, unrelated topics. Define a few key areas that will help you hone in on and more closely define the scope of your blog, and keep the content related to these select topics.
Establishing Good Blogging Habits
Mistake #4 – Not Being Committed – As with anything, if you want your blogging efforts to succeed, you have to be fully committed to making it work. Your blog isn’t going to produce instant results for your business. It takes time, effort and patience to build your audience and begin seeing results.
Mistake #5 – Not Being Consistent – Many bloggers make the mistake of thinking they should only blog when they’ve got something important to say. The truth is, to make your blog successful you absolutely must be consistent, both in the frequency of your posts and in the quality of your content. Create a publication schedule and adhere to it religiously. It may help to develop a list of topics ahead of time. Aim for two to three posts per week – more if you’re in a particularly competitive industry.
Mistake #6 – Quantity of Quality – It’s important to note that while commitment and consistency are critical, you want to focus on the quality of your content rather than the number of posts you’re producing. If you’re blogging seven days a week, but the content is not compelling and engaging, it’s not going to get you the results you want. Cut the number down to something more manageable and give your readers what they want.
Mistake #7 – Not Writing for Your Audience – It may seem easier to write about topics and opinions that matter to you personally, but if your audience doesn’t find the content worthwhile or interesting, they won’t bother reading it. Focus on providing content that is useful to your readers and they’ll keep coming back for more.
Mistake #8 – Poor Writing – Ok, so you don’t have to be William Shakespeare to craft a good blog, but you do have to have good grammar, proper spelling and decent sentence structure skills if you want people to actually read and share your content. Good writing is succinct, to the point and should be easy to follow and enjoyable to read. Always use spellcheck and take the time to read over your work before you publish it.
Mistake #9 – Not Using a Good Headline – Think of your title as the wrapping on a package. The more attention-grabbing it is, the more you’ll want to rip it open and see what’s inside. Your titles and opening statements should be compelling and engaging to pique the interest of your audience and entice them to read more.
Mistake #10 – Producing Content that Lacks Substance – With so much fluff floating around the internet, if you’re not producing quality content, you’re probably just adding to the noise. Take one topic and break it down into more digestible pieces and always write with the idea of encouraging responses and interaction from your readers.
Building Your Audience
Mistake #11 – Not Engaging with Your Readers – Creating compelling content is one thing, but if you’re not interacting with the people who are reading it, you’re missing out. Encouraging comments and responding to them helps to establish relationships, which will in turn help you build a community of loyal followers.
Mistake #12 – Writing Company-Centric Content – Sure, the ultimate goal of your blog is to drive more traffic to and get more visibility for your business, but if you’re constantly touting your own products or services, your readers will quickly lose interest. It’s ok to talk about yourself once in a while, but pepper it with mostly customer-centric content for better results.
Mistake #13 – Not Truly Listening to Your Audience – If your readers are to believe that you’re really interested in what they have to say, you have to take the time to listen (or read, so to speak). Go through their comments and questions, and respond thoughtfully. Whenever possible, use their feedback for future content to show your readers that you really care about their opinions.
Getting the Most out of Your Blog
Mistake #14 – Not Promoting Your Content – Publishing your blog posts is only half the battle. You also have to make sure you’re doing your part to get the word out about it. Utilize your social media channels – post it on Facebook, tweet about it, include it on LinkedIn. The more exposure you get for your content, the more attention you’ll get for your business.
Mistake #15 – Not Joining a Blogging Community – In real life, you probably participate in a number of networking opportunities. Doing so online can be just as beneficial. Becoming involved with an established blogging community can help you develop relationships with other professionals and give you access to talented writers that can work with you to make your blog more successful.
Mistake #16 – Not Working with Other Bloggers in Your Industry – It may seem counterproductive to promote the work of a competitor, but collaborating with others in your industry can actually benefit everyone involved. You’ll both receive increased visibility and traffic and you’ll forge valuable relationships with your peers.
Mistake #17 – Not Sharing Information – Many business professionals are afraid to share too much information about their trade for fear that the competition might capitalize on it. But sharing your expertise with your readers will actually benefit you because it will help you build credibility, boost your reputation and establish trust with your audience. Identify the problems and concerns that your readers are facing and use your experience and expertise to provide solutions through your content. Sharing useful information is one of the fastest ways to build a solid online community.
Mistake #18 – Using Clever Titles That aren’t Keyword Rich – You want to engage and entertain your readers, but one of the most important pieces of the SEO puzzle, i.e. what is most likely to get you found on the search engines, is the strategic use of keywords in your titles. You can still be clever; just don’t leave out the critical words or phrases that will get you the most traffic.
Mistake #19 – Forgetting SEO – Your website is most likely optimized for the search indexes, but what about your blog? Search engines love blogs because the content is always fresh, so make sure you’re capitalizing on this by including keywords and links throughout your content. Just be sure keywords are well placed and don’t affect the readability of the content.
Put it To Use
The goal of all your blogging activity should be to generate a steady flow of quality traffic to your website, and ultimately increase your business. To accomplish this goal, avoid these common mistakes (or fix the ones you’re guilty of) and put the advice listed here into practice. This will make your blog more effective and help you achieve the results you want.