Why do you have a blog? As a business owner, you have many goals: to build a brand, reach a target audience, raise awareness, gain patrons, make sales, earn a profit, expand, and ultimately, see long-term success in your chosen field. Your blog can be a key component in reaching these and other goals, provided you utilize its full potential. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of business blogging mistakes that could derail your efforts.
Understanding the most common blogging mistakes can help you avoid them and get the highest level of ROI from your business blogging efforts. Here is our list of 10 common small business blogging mistakes. How does your blog compare?
Blogging Mistake #1 – Short, Uninformative Posts:
Most small business owners are stretched thin, with the many hats they’re forced to wear. You know how important blogging is to the growth and survival of your business, but that doesn’t mean you have the time and energy to devote to small business blogging. The result can be posts that are too short to satisfy your readers – or the search engines.
For starters, you should shoot for posts of 600 words or more. This is really the minimum if you want to gain the attention of web crawlers. Studies have shown that blog posts with at least 2,000 words actually rank the highest in Google for competitive search terms.
In addition, you need to make posts long enough that you’re able to impart some valuable information that readers will worth spending the time to read. Filling space with fluff will not satisfy your audience, nor will it encourage them to share your posts or return to read other posts in the future.
In his blog post, “The Ultimate Guide to Writing Blog Posts That Rank in Google’s Top 10” Neil Patel states, “The truth is that writing a compelling blog post that drives traffic and leads is no easy task. Sure, you can easily churn out 300 – 500 word generic blog posts that won’t impact anyone, let alone grow your business – but I’m sure that’s not what you’re looking to create.”
Blogging Mistake #2 – Irregular Posting:
Another hurdle busy small business owners face is posting with regularity and frequency. The most successful blogs (run by large businesses) post multiple articles daily. This is not feasible for small business owners, but you cannot neglect your readers. You need to set a regular schedule for posting – daily, weekly, monthly or somewhere in between – so that readers can anticipate new content and check in frequently.
Blogging Mistake #3 – Unclear Message
Let’s return to our original question. Why do you have a blog? There are many ways to reach your professional goals, but a blog provides a platform to speak to customers, sales prospects, business partners and vendors in a direct and informal manner.
Your small business blog allows you to prove your expertise and illuminate readers as to the value your business can provide. Commonly referred to as developing “authority.” In order to do this, you must impart a clear message with every post. Have a clear focus and goal each time you write. Include some form of conclusion or wrap up paragraph at then end of your post to reminds people what they just read. If you don’t know the point of your posts, how do you expect your readers to?
Blogging Mistake #4 – Overly Broad Content
One of the most difficult business blogging mistakes to overcome is making your content too broad. Naturally, you want to cast a wide net, but realistically, you have a target audience in mind. It is not uncommon to read posts that strive to be everything to everyone and just end up having little appeal to anyone.
One way to overcome this is by having a clear idea to who you are writing for. Phrased another way, who is your target market – male, female, age group, family-oriented, middle-income, wealthy, tech-savvy, etc.? And what are their interests?
By writing for a clear target market or type of reader you will be able create more focused, and more interesting, blog content. Taking an approach of “well, I just want to write and we’ll who likes it,” may be fine for a personal blog, but not for a small business blog.
Be sure to also check out our post: “Writing Quality Blog Posts – 12 Excellent Resources”
Blogging Mistake #5 – Overt Promotion
No one likes a hard sell, especially not in the informal setting of a blog. Readers expect a trusted resource for information, not a car salesman. That said, small business blogs provide an ideal setting for promoting your brand within the boundaries of offering an expert opinion.
By establishing yourself as an authority and adding value to your brand through blogging, you have the opportunity to engage readers, build relationships, establish trust, and create loyal patrons. If you scare readers away with a continual string of sales pitches, and “aren’t we great” self-promotions you’ve lost an important advantage inherent to business blogging.
Blogging Mistake #6 – Lack of visual interest
You probably have a lot to say to your audience. If not, you wouldn’t have a blog. So why would you ignore the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words?
You’re not giving a lecture – the Internet is a visual medium. It’s important to keep this in mind when planning the layout of your blog. The information you impart through text is important, but enhancing it with graphics, business-related photos, and embedded videos to add visual appeal will draw attention and increase reader engagement and enjoyment.
Blogging Mistake #7 – Massive text blocks
As common blogging mistakes go, there are few more glaring than pages jam-packed with bulky blocks of text. Most readers find this intimidating, or at least off-putting. To many readers see large blogs of unformatted text many their eyes glaze over and reach for the Back button.
You’re not writing the next great American novel – you’re providing bite-size packets of information to a busy, modern audience. An audience that has a continually shrinking attention span. If you want readers to dive in, much less get to the end of your posts, think about sticking to the following rules:
- Create easily scannable content so readers can quickly find what they’re looking for.
- Use short sentences.
- Use short paragraphs.
- Avoid large blocks of text.
- Avoid block quotes.
- Use lists or bullet points to break up text.
If you’re not sure how these rules may be applied, look at other blogs for reference and compare and contrast the ones you find appealing with those that simply don’t interest you. By noting the features you appreciate as a reader yourself, as well as the content that you find difficult or unapproachable, you can better understand how readers see your content.
Blogging Mistake #8 – Content not optimized for mobile Devices
All you have to do is look around in a crowd to see how many people use smartphones and tablets to access online content. One of the more recent additions to the growing list of business blogging mistakes is failing to optimize blog content for mobile usage.
If you want your followers to have access to your content anywhere and at any time, mobile optimization is a must. For text on the blog this includes the size of the text being used and the size of the headlines and section headers. The size of images is also important as it effects download speed and usability. Make sure all images are optimized for the mobile web.
Blogging Mistake #9 – Spelling and Grammar Errors
In this day and age, spelling and grammatical errors are, quite frankly, unacceptable. There are a range of effective spelling and grammar checking tools that make this process relatively quick and painless. It is not unheard of for corrective software to fail when it comes to understanding the nuances of context. As a blogger, the onus is on you to check and double check content before posting to ensure it is error-free.
Blog errors reflect on your authority as a writer and your reader’s trust. When readers discover that you are incapable of completing a task as simple as checking and editing for spelling and grammar, it’s not much of a leap to start questioning the veracity of the blog and business information you provide, as well.
Blogging Mistake #10 – Boring Content
OK, so you’ve avoided the other nine mistakes listed above. There is one more potential mistake that could still trip you up and minimize your blog readership – Boring Content. Delivering 800 words on a topic that your readers aren’t interested in, written in a manner that shows little enthusiasm, all while providing little value isn’t going to engage your visitors.
Research your topic ahead of time. You don’t need to write about the same thing everyone else is, but by doing a small amount of topical research you can get a sense of which areas are generating interest. A tool like Buzzsumo can be useful for this purpose. It doesn’t hurt to do a few quick searches in Google for your main keyword phrase and potential blog post titles to see what the level of recent interest is. Then adjust your blog post focus as necessary.
Your small business blog can be a powerful marketing tool that helps your business position itself as an authority in your given field. The blogging mistakes discussed here can also have a direct impact on how your customers and sales prospects view your business.
If you are going to utilize a blog for your business (and you should) it is well worth taking the time to avoid these common blogging mistakes and get maximum ROI for your blogging efforts. Keep these common mistakes in mind for your future blog posts. And you may want to check a few of your previous posts to see if you find any of the mistakes on this list.
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