You are excited about finally starting your small business blog.
Week 1 and 2: Friends, family, and a few customers are the first ones to follow your blog. It’s exciting to see the number of blog followers ramp up.
Week 3 and 4: The number of new blog followers is lesser than in the first two weeks.
Week 5 and 6: The last blog post has not resulted in social media shares, and the number of new followers is down to a trickle.
You begin to think –
“Why is my blog not attracting new readers/ followers?”
“This isn’t working and I don’t have time to waste on a blog; let me focus on other aspects of my business today.”
Does this sound familiar?
Done correctly, a small business blog is a great way to engage existing clients, and connect with new ones. But doing it wrong can result in wasted time and effort, or worst still, the loss of customers and your reputation.
There is so much more to blogging than meets the eye. Whether you are struggling with your business blog, or if you intend to start one soon, here’s a list of eight blogging mistakes to avoid.
8 Business Blogging Mistakes to Avoid
When it comes to blogging mistakes, there are eight common mistakes we see small business blogs making over and over again. Let’s dive into what those mistakes are.
Not Committing Wholeheartedly
One of the biggest blogging mistakes that small business owners make is underestimating the effort it takes to create a successful blog. To experience measurable business results from your blogging effort, you must plan on publishing two to four posts a month minimum for three to six months.
To plan out your blog strategy and keep your publishing on track, we suggest using a Blog Content Planner. We designed ours to not only keep you on track but to use as a strategy tool for optimizing your blog and turning it into a powerful marketing tool.
When you use a planner, you’ll be able to write and schedule blogs far in advance to avoid missing your blogging schedule. Instead of waiting for inspiration to strike on any given day, you’ll have a list of blog topics for the next couple of months.
As you get busy with your growing business, don’t let your blog be the one thing that you let go of. Make writing blog posts an essential part of your weekly business routine.
Creating a Blog That Is Not Reader-Friendly
Small changes in the way you write and present your content can increase the appeal of your business blog.
Writing long sentences and paragraphs makes it cumbersome to read the content. Whether you are writing a 500-word blog or a longer 1000-word post, break it down into smaller blocks of content. Use sub-headings and bullet points to help the reader scan through the most relevant information.
Use online apps like Grammarly to check the readability score of your business blog (the readability score tells you the education level required to comprehend the content). A company in the B2B space will, in general, have blog content with a higher readability score, than a B2C company.
With the growing focus on equality of sexes in the workplace, a gender bias in your business communication may be seen as unacceptable by some of your customers. Use ‘gender-free words such as ‘they’, ‘their’, and ‘them’, instead of gender-biased words such as ‘his’, ‘her’, ‘she’ and ‘he’. Similarly, avoid the use of words considered ‘sexist’. As an example, substitute the words actress and policewoman, with gender-free words such as actor and police officer.
Another reader accessibility tip – adding a textual description for an image, or a video on your business blog, will people with sight disabilities read the blog through a screen reader.
Writing Blog Content That Is Valuable and Conversational
For your business blog to be successful, you’ll need to write blogs that are informative, creative, and persuasive. Don’t use the blog to just promote your business, products, or your people. Instead, focus on who you are writing for; answer their questions, and help them make buying decisions. Before finalizing each blog topic, ask the question, ‘What’s in it for the reader?’
A well-written blog is one that strikes a conversation with the reader. To initiate that online dialogue, write your blog as though you were talking to someone.
Don’t try to be all things to all people. Pick a niche or at the most a few focus areas for your blog topics. Present your point of view on a single topic, and then encourage readers to respond.
Bad Writing, Spelling, and Grammar
Good writing is more than just crafting grammatically correct sentences; good writing is writing concisely, and in a manner that engages your audience. We mentioned the tool Grammarly above for checking your content readability. It’s also a great tool for checking grammar, spelling and if you invest in the paid version, it can also check for plagiarism and offer writing suggestions.
If writing isn’t your forte, then consider hiring a freelance writer to help. There are several reasons why hiring a blog writer may be a better idea than writing the blog yourself; here are three of them:
- You don’t have the writing skills to create content that will appeal to your customers.
- You don’t have the time to write quality content.
- You don’t know how to write a blog that is search engine friendly.
Writing a Business Blog Without Understanding Blogging Terms
For most business owners, the aim of starting a blog is to increase website traffic, create shareable content, generate leads, or, establish expertise on a subject. However, you are not going to be able to achieve any of these, if you don’t understand the components of effective blogging.
Even if you hire a blogger to write content, you must understand the basic blogging terms (e.g. meta tags, long-tail keyword phrases, meta descriptions, anchor texts, and permalinks), and how you can use these aspects of effective blogging to improve your blog’s search engine performance.
Not Utilizing the Power of Images and Videos for Blogging
Whether it’s an image, diagram, caricature, video, or infographic, adding visuals makes blogs more attractive and inviting. Adding the right visual content will increase clickthroughs to your post, and make it easier to understand, as well as remember the information you’ve shared.
Visuals can also be used to add a dash of humor and to establish credibility (for instance, interviews with industry experts and customer testimonials).
Failing to Track Progress
“What gets measured, gets improved”
– Peter Drucker
Is your blog achieving the goals you had hoped to achieve? If the aim of your blog is to increase leads, define what is a lead (e.g. is it email newsletter enrollments, eBook downloads, customer queries?) and then measure the number of leads generated. If the objective is to improve website traffic, measure growth in organic visitors to your website.
Adding a call-to-action, or CTA, to your content allows you to guide potential customers towards actions to take next. You can ask readers to view related posts, subscribe to a newsletter, sign up for a webinar, or contact you for more information. This gives you additional metrics that you can measure.
Not Sharing Your Blog Where Your Audience Hangs Out
Do you remember the famous line from the movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come”?
Well, the same is NOT true for your business blog. Just because you wrote an amazing blog that has a ton of value for your audience does not mean that they are going to flock over to your website to read it.
What you need to do is share your blog content in the places that your audience hangs out. Perhaps that is on Facebook or LinkedIn or maybe it’s Pinterest or Twitter. Regardless, you need to know where the people you are targeting spend their time and then share your new content there so they can easily find it.
Biz Tip – If you have a list of people who have signed up to receive information from you, email them each time you publish a new blog post to let them know!
A business blog can be one of the most powerful marketing tools in your content marketing arsenal. You just need to take the necessary time to make sure that you are optimizing your efforts and avoiding these mistakes. To help you further, grab a copy of our blogging checklist. It will remind you of things you need to do (and not do!) before you publish your next blog!