Having a blog is highly beneficial—I would even say essential—to running an online business. It’s the best way to establish yourself as an expert in your industry. A blog is a place to share your knowledge and prove that you know what you’re talking about.
But, before you establish yourself as an expert in your field, it’s important to know about blogging. Or, at least to know what NOT to do.
Here are 15 Big Blogging Mistakes. Are you making any of them?
1. Treating your blog as a hobby or “when I have time for it” project instead of an integral growth strategy for your business.
If you’re going to start a blog for your business, get serious and be consistent. Consistency equals legitimacy in the online space. Never forget that. You need to commit fully to a schedule, whether it’s once a week or once a month. Just decide and stick to your decision. Create an expectation for when new content appears—and deliver.
2. Not having a reader avatar or target audience.
Before you write your first post, sit down and figure out who you are writing to. This person should be in the same target market for your business. Make sure you have done the work and know enough about him or her. What are his or her interests? What questions does he have about what you do? What does she do for a living? What topics would benefit him or her most?
3. No categories.
Create an organized website with categories and navigation that makes sense. It should be intuitive for the reader. Remember that not everyone is tech savvy. Make it easy for anyone to find, engage, and follow your content. Choose categories that are relevant, informative, value-based, and interesting.
4. Assuming the reader knows more than he or she does.
Remember that you are the expert and most of your readers are novices in your field. You need to break your topics down. And then narrow your topic for each post down some more until there is just one singular main point for each post. No idea or topic is too small, too “obvious,” or too simple to write about. Chances are that your readers have never thought about the topic in the same way you have. Someone out there needs to read what you have to say. Teach what you know. Give the gift of your knowledge. It will be received with gratitude!
5. Not utilizing an editorial calendar AKA not planning ahead.
Blogging is hard to do off the cuff. It is SO much easier to plan the schedule in advance. This is called creating an editorial calendar. Always have the next few weeks of content mapped out by topic so that when you go to write you don’t have to come up with an idea. That piece is done.
6. Not having a blog ideas list.
Keep a running document of all your ideas! You can do this on Google Drive, AirTable, Microsoft Word—wherever you want! Just make sure to schedule at least 20 minutes of brainstorming every week and add to the list. Then, when you are ready to schedule your next round of posts, choose topics from your list. It’s so much easier to do things this way than to try to think of a handful of topics on the spot.
7. Not having an email list for people to sign up for.
If people are coming to your site, especially if they are only there to read your blog, you NEED to have an opt-in or freebie or lead magnet—whatever you want to call it—at the bottom of that blog post! The only way to remain in contact with a visitor once they leave your site is to get his or her email address.
Don’t let that visitor get away!
8. Overthinking it. Just write!
When it comes down to it, you are a person writing a valuable piece of information for another person. Don’t make it more complicated than that. This is not your SAT exam. Just go for it, and get your idea on paper. Remember, you can (and should) revise it later!
9. Writing in your “professional business person” voice.
It’s totally okay to sound like a real person in a blog post. Use contractions. Write like you talk. It’s more interesting to read. People appreciate it, and accept the information easily. More importantly, they will understand you! Don’t adapt a false voice when you sit down to write a blog post. Just be you.
10. No stories or examples to keep things interesting.
No one wants to read a blog post if it’s purely made up of facts. Put in something of your own experience as well. How did you learn what you are teaching? How has such and such strategy worked in your business? I’ve found these posts get the most engagement. People like to hear from people, and this reminds readers that you are a real person with real life experience in the topic at hand.
11. Not using keywords or SEO.
Never underestimate the power and importance of Google keywords and search engine optimization. It’s an important factor in getting organic traffic to your website, and the more you research and apply SEO strategies the better you will get at them. This will lead to more and more success. Do your research, and don’t neglect this area of blogging. It’s crucial.
Note: Blogs need to be at least 300 words to be considered “blog posts” by Google and have the opportunity to rank. Keep that in mind!
12. Bad titles.
A title is one of the most important parts of a blog post for several reasons. One, it’s the thing that will get people to read your post or not. Is it intriguing enough? Think about factors like curiosity, shock, numbers, and negatives (as used in this post). Two, titles are a key SEO factor. You can research potential titles, and choose the best based on how keywords and phrases are performing. Check out Google Trends!
13. No images or font distinction to break up your text.
Copy is all well and good, but God help you if you never use images or even just simple things like bold and italic text to break up your ideas on the page. Big, bulky paragraphs are boring and very few people will actually read them on a screen. Rather, break your text into smaller paragraphs and use font features to modify key phrases.
14. No call to action.
This is a big no-no! You absolutely must tell the reader what to do next. Should they sign up for your email list, read this associated post, or check out your program? Always include a link for them to keep reading and a way to sign up for your email at the end of your post.
15. Not monitoring your traffic.
If you don’t watch your traffic, how will you know what’s working and what’s not? What topics seem to be resonating with your audience? What categories just don’t seem to be drawing in traffic? Where do you need to revise your strategy? Be smart, and use your website analytics to your advantage!
Well, are you currently making a big blogging mistake? Which one? Tell me in the comments! And good luck with your blog!