Blogging may seem like a straightforward marketing tool. But some common blogging mistakes could be costing you time and money. That's why it's so much sweeter to learn from the mistakes others have made so you don’t have to!
Our team has compiled a list of 7 blogging mistakes we’ve collectively learnt from over the years to help you avoid the pitfalls and steer your blog to success.
You’ve toiled away at your article or blog post and set it free (all wide-eyed and hopeful) into the cyber world… only to watch it flop. It can feel so disheartening!
Of course, you want your blog to do well and for your audience to be captivated and engage with it. We want that for you too! There could be many reasons why it doesn’t take off. So, let’s take a look at some of those now, find out why your audience might not be clicking on your posts, and fix it.
First and foremost, you need the right approach.
Blogging for a business is very different to writing for your own blog. On a personal site, you aren’t typically trying to sell anything, so you might not even need to think about your audience, the value of your content or brand consistency.
However, when blogging for your business, the stakes are higher. You need to set your business apart and have the right professional image otherwise you’re not going to entice readers to return.
One of the most common business blogging mistakes is falling into your usual writing voice. What you need to do is focus on using your business voice instead.
So this: I couldn’t BELIEVE the industry news about such and such today! Appalling!
Becomes something like this: Today’s industry news about such and such has shocked and appalled many of us.
Of course, everyone’s brand voice will differ. It doesn’t have to sound like a Victorian novelist wrote it. Just take some time to consider the adjectives that best describe your brand’s voice (fun, helpful, authoritative, serious etc.) and aim for those as you write.
Simply sharing your thoughts as you would for a personal blog will not present your business in a positive light. Plus, if readers (aka potential customers) don’t find anything they want or need to know, they’ll presume your blog is not for them and move on. Which brings us nicely onto blogging mistake number 2...
Remember: you’re not the only target reader for your blog – unfortunately, that’s just not a sustainable business model!
We get it though. Sometimes a random idea will spark to life in your brain and it’s easy to get carried away. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but just because an idea interests you, doesn’t necessarily mean it will interest your target audience.
To combat this, research your target audience and investigate their pain points. Check out reviews of similar products or services. Trawl through forums. Actually speak to your customers (or send them a survey) to find out their wants and needs.
You can then write helpful content for your customers, inspiring trust and encouraging them to come back to you when they have a problem in the future. Voilà: brand loyalty!
Next, decide how blogging will help your business as this will dictate what and how you write so you avoid making the same mistakes in future.
Does it need to create a positive, helpful brand image? Share good news and advice for your industry. Do you need to increase website traffic? Then plug gaps in topics that other business blogs aren’t discussing. What about driving sales? Address customer pain points and highlight how your products or services can help.
There should always be a business reason to create the content for your blog – whether promoting your business offerings or simply sharing your marketing message.
We all know what it’s like to get into a writing groove and how much work you can produce when you’re in the right zone. Equally, writer’s block IS A THING.
However, blogging and publishing content haphazardly, as and when the mood strikes, will create an unprofessional impression. Not only that, but blogging inconsistently also negatively impacts your search engine rankings. Both of these are costly mistakes.
You need to post regularly to grow your business and keep audiences coming back to your site. Don’t let people forget about your brand!
To achieve this, create a content calendar.
Decide how regularly you want to post: once, twice, three or four times a week?
(As a general rule, the more often you post the better, BUT you need to commit to a schedule that’s actually sustainable. Giving readers the expectation of a post every other day, only to drop out… you’ll gain a reputation as a let-down. If you know you’ll only manage one blog idea a week, that’s fine. Consistently meeting expectations is the priority.)
Next, identify gaps in your content plan and work towards the blogging goals you’ve set yourself. If you already have four posts in the bag, then pace them out rather than publishing four posts in one week and only posting one the week after.
All good blogging platforms allow you to schedule content to be posted at a future date, so make the most of a productive session by filling your calendar. That way, it decreases the pressure when you go through a drier writing spell.
Once you’re in a regular blogging habit, you’ll look more professional and be more likely to build a loyal following.
That’s not all. It also improves your website’s search engine optimisation (SEO), increasing your chances of climbing up the search engine rankings and being found by new people!
Speaking of SEO – how well-versed are you in SERPs and H-tags?
Ignoring SEO and simply hoping the fairy blogmother will raise your blogging content to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) is another one of those common mistakes. To get your blog in front of the people searching for your content, you have to play the game.
Once you have them, include key search terms and phrases in your title and subheadings because that’s where search engines will look for them.
You may notice that when you’re writing your blog, there are different heading options available (from 1 to 6) for your title and subheadings. Do not make the mistake of thinking these simply affect the font size!
Crucially, these heading tags (or H-tags) let the search engine know what your main title is (H1) and main subheadings (2). A well-structured post that uses H-tags makes it far easier for a search engine to find your keywords and suggest your blog to users.
That’s not all.
Another way to improve your blog’s SEO is using internal and external links.
‘What are those?!’ we hear you cry.
External links (you guessed it) are links to other websites. By linking to other web pages that are already well-established and high-ranking SERPs, it improves your SEO by association! Cheeky, but worth it.
We’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to SEO, but once you start paying attention to it, you should see your blog gain more new visitors.
Now that you’re posting consistently, it’s crucial not to forget your old content.
Sure, the stuff you were blogging on about three years ago it might feel like old news and not relevant, but make no mistakes - it absolutely is!
Imagine this: you’ve written a how-to guide on a piece of software or a web app. Months after you’ve published, an update is made that changes how part of it works or adds a new element. Then, a web user stumbles across your guide on a search results page only to find that you don’t even cover what they need to know. Or worse – some of your advice is now wrong!
Imagine the damage this could do to your brand image.
But luckily the solution is simple.
Periodically revisit your old blog posts – let’s say every two months – to see if there is any content that needs updating. Understandably, the larger your blog history, the longer this would take, so don’t expect to do a thorough scour through. A quick scan or skim read will help to refresh your memory and flag up anything that needs a closer look.
The other tactic to try is setting up search engine alerts related to the topics you’ve covered, such as Google Alerts. That way, you’ll be notified of any relevant news or updates so that you can keep on top of the latest information, add that to your old posts and maintain their relevance.
Keeping abreast of changes related to your content will ensure your audience can always trust your blog and keep them coming back for more.
So, set up those alerts and get ‘content review’ in your diary!
Simply hitting ‘publish’ on your blog posts is not enough these days to get it noticed by anyone other than your loyal follower base.
But you’re ambitious to reach the masses!
If you’re working on your web presence, social media platforms must be on your list. You may already be sharing blog content on your social media - if not, start!
But are you doing it right?
Following best practice for social media posts can be the difference between steering new streams of readers to your blog and everyone scrolling past your hard work.
Here’s how you solve this.
Firstly, word your posts right and make them appealing. Many people use social media as a search tool to find answers to their problems or see if others have had the same or similar issues. Make your blog post’s keywords prevalent in your social post. This helps users find your content more easily.
Once they find your posts, they need to be attracted to them... (in a non-weird way!) We’re talking enticing title, appealing imagery, maybe a snippet of your opening lines. We also recommend that you shorten the web link to your blog as this hugely increases the likelihood of people clicking it. (Search for a ‘URL Shortener’ such as bitly or Ow.ly.)
Secondly, get to know the right platforms and timings for your audience. Each social media platform has its nuances and different user demographics. Find out where your target customers are and focus your efforts there.
And remember: timing is everything. Confusing your best times for blogging and the best times for posting is one of those mistakes that's easy to rectify once you see it.
Each platform and type of audience will have a peak time to share content. For example, Facebook and Twitter are popular with users between 1-4pm; Pinterest peaks at night between 8-11pm; for LinkedIn it’s between 7-9am and 5-7pm.
Of course, once you start posting regularly, you’ll soon discover prime posting times for yourself. Many platforms allow you to track your blog history to find which times had the best engagement. Once you’ve found your prime time, you can start scheduling your social posts accordingly.
Finally, if you have a budget for it, consider boosting your social posts. How important is your blog to your business goals? If you’re keen to drive traffic over, then paying for a post to be advertised to users outside of just your followers will make sure it reaches more eyes.
As over 3.6 billion people are using social media, you might as well put your business in front of them!
So much thought and effort has gone into sending your blog baby out into the world.
When those first views start coming through, it can easily absorb all your attention.
Try to resist!
Early stats won’t tell you whether your content has significant value yet. You need to let it sit a while and rest like a fine wine. Give your readers a chance to see you’ve posted or for a new audience to find it (some people are always late to the party).
Give it three days or so to establish itself then check your stats.
Following this tactic will avoid any initial discouragement if it doesn’t instantaneously pop off. Plus, you’ll get a far more accurate insight into how well it’s performing.
Crucially, you need to keep tracking your traffic over time for all posts.
Did you pay attention in statistics classes?
Well, having a larger pool of data (i.e. a complete history of traffic stats for your posts), provides a more accurate impression.
Once you’ve established your blog’s history, review the spikes in site traffic (you can use various tracking tools, such as Google Analytics or MonsterInsight) and any patterns that might help you plan future content. For example, you might notice that ‘avoiding mistakes’ articles always perform well…
Once you understand what works for your blog and what tickles your audience’s fancy, you can create content that has them coming back time and time again.
So, you’re armed and ready to march back out into the blogging minefield with a heads-up on which mistakes to avoid!
Remember the key takeaways:
It’s time for your blog and business to bloom!
As always, should you need any further assistance with content creation, the Formation Media team are here to help.