What is the purpose of starting a blog? Most marketing experts agree that a well written blog can have a huge, positive impact when it comes to attracting potential customers, strengthening relationships with existing customers, and broadcasting important events and developments that may interest readers. When it comes to blogging, there are so many things that you can do correctly. Unfortunately, the potential for missteps is also great. In fact, there are seven particularly egregious “sins” that bloggers often commit. Keep reading in order to learn about them.
- Failing to update content. Haven’t we all experienced this from the vantage point of a consumer? A business that we have grown to love and trust establishes a blog. For a few, really awesome months, you check the company’s blog a few times a week. Each time, you find new content. Then, something bad happens. The blog goes stale. Weeks go by with no new posts, and you just stop checking at all. As a business owner, you should never let this happen. Remember that new content matters! If you do not have the time to publish content on a regular basis, then you absolutely find someone who does. If you have an employee who is a good, creative writer, then it may be time to remove some other responsibilities and make him/her responsible for a regular schedule of blog postings. Part of that job description could be ensuring that the company is being adequately represented on social media platforms. Another idea is to have a “contest” of sorts among employees who like to write, with a little financial incentive for those that you publish. If you are a one- or two-man show, obviously this is not possible, so find a professional writer who can “learn” who you are and write posts that are engaging.
- Self-Indulgence As the owner or representative of a business, your goal as a blogger should be to promote that business and engage your customers. It should not be to further your personal agenda. Always remember that your blog does not guarantee you a captive audience. If you have political or personal opinions, it may be a good idea to establish another blog that is not affiliated with your business. Using your blog as a personal forum for your political/social/religious opinions alienates people and provide no content that relates to your business at all. Avoiding potentially “hot button” topics would seem to be obvious, but you would be surprised at the number of business blogs that engage in this activity. If you really want to limit your customer base to those who share your opinions, this is certainly a good way to do it.
- Poor Writing The rules and expectations regarding grammar and punctuation may be much more relaxed when it comes to blog posting. However, it is still important to adhere to a few basic standards when it comes to writing posts. When you write your post, it is very important to avoid net-speak, jargon, confusing abbreviations, and slang terms. Being too formal and too serious can also be a “killer.” You have to find the right balance. Write for a more “common” audience, use humor, and be very conversational.
- Losing Focus While your readers will enjoy the occasional post that goes off message for the purposes of entertainment or information, always remember that they come to your blog for relevant information, education and ideas/suggestions. Make sure that the majority of your blog posts are “mission critical.”
- Pushing Sales If you have established a blog representing your company, it is universally understood that your ultimate goal is to increase customer loyalty and conversion, and, whenever possible, sell products. However, the desire to sell cannot override the purpose of the blog which is to inform, educate, and share.
- Overuse of Keywords Until the last year or so, business owners were encouraged to use keyword phrases in order to guarantee that search engines such as Google would mark their websites as relevant. This is no longer the case. Today, content always overrules keywords. In fact, the practice of keyword stuffing is now so frowned upon that search engines will actually penalize bloggers who over use keywords. Your readers want to learn and be informed. They don’t want to shift through a bunch of keywords that are usually awkwardly placed so as to not make sense. Use some good keyword tools and find just one that is hugely popular for each post you write. You will be rewarded.
- Failing to Utilize a Blogging Platform such as WordPress Wouldn’t it be nice to write a blog and then watch as the blog is automatically posted to your website and social media pages? Wouldn’t it be nice if you were able to review potential SEO impacts before you released your blog post for public consumption? How about setting up methods by which readers could respond to your post, converse with other readers and with you? Here’s some great news. If you use a platform such as WordPress, which is free, you can add most of these plug-ins for free or at minimal cost.
Please remember that the majority of mistakes you might make when blogging are going to be small, and easy to repair. In addition to this, internet audiences are very forgiving. If you are currently committing one of these “seven deadly sins”, don’t give up on your blog! Simply find ways to blog better. Remember that your blog needs daily attention in order to reach its full potential.