This is a guest post by Jessica Velasco.
Isn’t it delightful when we can learn from the mistakes of other people?! Here is a list of common blogging blunders. Check to see if you are making any of these mistakes. If so, correct them now before your readers become disenchanted, turning your blog into a ghost town.
Photo Credit: Kristi Hines on Photostry
1. Being Ignorant of Your Real Readers’ Needs
Who are your blog readers? You’re probably not getting a ton of traffic from the upper-level execs, sitting in the corner office 10 stories above you. So, why are you writing to please your bosses? Write for the real readers of your blog. Meet their needs. The majority of your readers are your current and prospective clients – write for them!
2. Recycling Content
Always write content that is specifically designed with your reader in mind. Don’t be lazy; simply copying and pasting other people’s articles isn’t going to impress your blog audience. Don’t repurpose press releases. Don’t repost marketing literature from other sites. Share content that your readers won’t be able to find anywhere else.
3. Using a Boring, Generic Design
The very purpose of a blog is to be personable and conversational. You want your customers to know there is a person behind the logo. How on earth are visitors going to get a glimpse of your personality if it is buried behind a boring, sterile design?
4. Being Unpredictable
Nothing says, “I don’t care,” like a dormant blog. You’ll never gain regular readers if you are only posting sporadically. Each time readers visit, they should be able to find fresh, interesting content. At the very minimum, you should be posting once a week – no matter what. If your blog posts are usually handled by just one person in the office make sure you have a back-up in place for times when that employee is sick or on vacation.
5. Being Overly Attentive
Rarely bothering to post articles translates to disinterest in your readers’ needs. However, overstimulation translates to pushy and obnoxious. Posting several times a week is helpful. Posting several times a day is distracting. Readers will never be able to sort through all that content. Stick to the bare bones and give them only what they can handle. Plus, that many posts will stretch your resources too thin.
6. Passing off Sales Pitches as Content
Your readers are smart and insightful. Don’t insult their intelligence by posting sales pitches disguised as content. Readers will sniff that nonsense out in no time at all. If you are writing quality content your readers will benefit from, sales will be the natural result of the trust you have built.
7. Teasing Your Audience with Short, Little Posts
No, we aren’t saying every post needs to be a novel. We don’t enjoy reading 1,000 word articles any more than you enjoy writing them. However, there is no way you can make your point in less than 200 words. Readers want (and deserve) information that will get them from start to finish. It is extremely difficult (some would say impossible) to be thorough with so few words.
8. Writing About Boring Stuff
Your blog is competing with Facebook, Twitter and other “bored at work” distractions. If you are writing about uninteresting topics, no one is going to read it. There are far better ways that readers can spend their time.
9. Turning Off Comments
Don’t you just hate it when you hang up the phone and realize you uttered only a handful of words during the entire conversation? The caller didn’t give you a chance to offer your thoughts and ideas about anything. It made you feel like your opinions weren’t important, right? If you turn the comments off, you are doing the exact same thing. Don’t make your blog a one-sided conversation.
10. Ignoring People
While it is important to make comments available on every post, it is equally important to reply to those comments. Try to address every comment. At the very least, reply to comments that have questions, different points of view, and thoughtful responses.
11. Not Tracking Performance
Would you drive your car at night without headlights? No. Why would you operate a blog without regard to performance? How do you know which direction you should be headed? Before you even write your first post, form a relationship with Google Analytics. Decide which metrics are the best indicators of performance and check back regularly.
12. Writing Super Technical Stuff
Writing about a topic and intentionally making it sound complicated is ridiculous. It doesn’t make you look smart and it doesn’t help your readers. Clear and concise will always win out over technical and complicated every time.
13. Ignoring Images and Videos
Yes, it does take time to format images and videos. But the ROI is so worth it! Readers like photos; they add a personal and authentic aspect to the writing. Images – like screenshots and infographics – help clarify confusing and technical content. People remember more if they see and hear information; upload a video and really drive your point home.
14. Overlooking SEO
Delving into SEO is like opening Pandora’s Box; we aren’t going there today. However, we will say it is pretty pointless to operate a blog without regard to SEO. Check out a search engine keyword tool. Look at the keywords your audience is using to reach your blog. Then, write quality content around those keywords.
15. Operating a Blog that is Independent from Your Website
Again, we won’t go too far into the specifics right now. However, we will make you aware of the fact that there are numerous SEO benefits of having your blog and website share a domain. For more info, read this article.
16. Waiting for Readers to Come to You
Your readers have busy lives. They probably don’t have the time to check your blog each hour for new posts. And assuming they are sitting around, waiting with bated breath for your latest soliloquy is just silly. Make life easy for everyone; promote your posts via social media and email!
Well, what did you think? Have you been committing any of these blogging blunders? Have you notices an annoying blogging habit that really gets under your skin? Tell us about it!