The importance of having a blog for your small business cannot be stressed enough. However, building and maintaining that blog is not always easy, it takes time, creativity and a basic knowledge of search engine optimization. As more businesses begin to understand their value, the popularity of blogs are increasing. While blogs that are well written and executed can create a great deal of success, it is very easy to slip into poor habits and make common mistakes when blogging.
To prevent you from making some of these blogging mistakes here are the 7 deadly sins of business blogging, and how to avoid them:
- Not Blogging Regularly
The Sin: One of the most challenging aspects of blogging is posting on a regular basis. Running out of time, ideas or creative content can cause you to push blog writing onto the back burner. Consistently posting is crucial to improve the viewership of your blog. Regular posting can also greatly impact your search engine optimization efforts.
The Fix: Set a posting schedule for your blog and stick to it. Brainstorm topics and write posts ahead of time to avoid a time crunch. If one person can no longer manage the blog alone, consider using a team of employees to write posts or invite guest bloggers to develop articles.
- Bad Writing
The Sin: Unclear writing, poor grammar, bad spelling; all of these factors make posts difficult to read and understand. Avoid overly complicated and technical jargon if the topic can be explained in a more simple way. If the post cannot be easily scanned and understood, it will be ignored.
The Fix: Before posting be sure you have spell checked, fact checked and re-read your writing. It never hurts to have a second pair of eyes look over your work to catch errors you may have missed or identify unclear ideas.
- Publishing Too Much “Sales” Content
The Sin: The content published is focused only around sales pitches and promotional content. Your customers are interested in your products, but they want to know how these products will improve their daily lives. Limiting content to only products and company news will not establish your place as an expert within your industry.
The Fix: When writing blog posts avoid only thinking about what your company needs to promote. Instead, focus on information a customer may want to know. Offer informational, customer-centric thought articles. Content that offers value to your customers is much more likely to be read than a repurposed sales pitch.
- Covering too Many Topics
The Sin: Readers visit your blog to learn about your products and services, not to get a recap of last night’s game, your weekend activities or your opinion on the new french fries at the restaurant down the street. So unless you are a sports broadcaster or a food critic, leave these topics out.
The Fix: Stick to what you are good at. Write about topics related to your business or industry. It’s ok to be creative with topic selection, but be sure there is some value to your customers and relationship to your business.
- Failing to Optimize
The Sin: One of the primary reasons for a business to manage a blog on their site is for search engine optimization efforts. Failing to utilize keywords in the title and content negates one of the main purposes of the blog – to be found by search engines and improve rankings.
The Fix: Optimize all content with researched keywords. Provide links to any products you may have discussed so readers don’t have to search for it.
*Note: Keyword stuffng in a blog is just as much of a sin in blogging as not optimizing. Overusing keywords in an attempt to be ranked higher can backfire and search engines will penalize the site.
- Being Hard to Find
The Sin: It’s impossible for your readers to find the information on your blog useful if they cannot find it.
The Fix: Display the blog link prominently on the company website. Utilize social media to send out notifications of updated content. Share the link to your blog in newsletters, email signatures and other marketing material.
- Expecting to be an Overnight Success
The Sin: Establishing readers and moving up in search engine rankings takes time. When you start off you may feel like you are writing for no one. You cannot expect immediate returns, however if you write quality content on a consistent basis your efforts will pay off and you will increase both readership and search engine rankings.
The Fix: Don’t get discouraged after three weeks and give up. Set monthly, attainable goals to help you track your progress. Invest at least one year to your blogging efforts, and make sure your blog is interesting to read and easy to find.
Avoiding these sins is an important first step in making your blog a success. Remember, blogging isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, long term dedication and effort is required to meet your goals.