All the statistics show a good blog can really make a difference to your business. So how come so many businesses blog and get nowhere? It could be because of these sadly common business blogging mistakes.
1. You write for your competition, not your customers
It’s natural to blog about things you know about, things you’re passionate about. But it doesn’t always help. You care about how you do something, your customers don’t. They care about the results you get for them.
- If you’re a photography business, your clients aren’t interested in which lens you choose, the filters, the photoshopping. What they care about is that you make them look fantastic.
- If you’re a family lawyer writing about the new Federal Circuit and Family Law Court which came into being on 1 September 2021, your clients don’t really care that this is the biggest change in decades. They want to know what it means for them. Will matters be resolved faster? What about the balance between going to court and dispute resolution? Have certain things become more important?
2. Your blog is boring
As mentioned already, if you’re not talking about something which matters to your clients and potential clients, by definition that’s boring!
Even if you do write about something they’re interested in, you need to write in an interesting way.
- Get to the point.
- Tell human interest stories.
- Joke a bit.
- Put an image or video in to break up the text.
Avoid long, complicated sentences which make you look smart. Instead, choose simple vocabulary and practical scenarios. Make your reader feel smart.
3. You have no overarching strategy to your blog
A blog, by definition, has articles on different topics. But are those different topics related?
Which of these examples matches your blog?
|Blog 1||Blog 2||Blog 3|
|Week 1||How to identify termites||How to identify termites||How to identify termites|
|Week 2||Tips to minimise pests
in your home
|This season’s home
|Should parents teach their
children to drive?
|Week 3||Should you worry about
the NSW mouse plague?
|Choosing your home
|Geopolitics of the South
- The first blog is all about pest control. It’s a tight content strategy, suited to a pest control business. If you’ve got termites, you can be pretty sure these people can help.
- The second blog has a looser strategy, covering all aspects of looking after your home, not just pests. These people probably know about termites, but are they really experts?
This is a perfectly acceptable content strategy. It’s just more common in a magazine-style, advertising-supported blog rather than a typical small business blog.
- And the last one? It’s a hopeless hodge-podge of unrelated ideas. Nothing gives the idea that these people know about pests! There’s no obvious strategy or theme at all.
In business blogging it usually makes sense to have a few ‘themes’. (In WordPress, these may be your top ‘categories’.) You then end up with lots of posts on related topics. Not only do new visitors find something else relevant to read, it’s also better for SEO.
4. How about blogs which have no personality?
Imagine no images. No jokes. Or analogies. Or stories. The worst case stereotype of a lawyer or accountant. Of an actuary. (To be fair, I know some fun actuaries, but you know what I mean by the stereotype.
Why would anyone hang around a blog like that?
Wouldn’t you rather read something with personal stories, jokes, some funny images or interesting diagrams? I would!
This is actually an area where small businesses have a chance to stand out. Bigger companies have more rules and less personality. They’re more afraid of offending someone. If you’re small enough and brave enough to do it, buck the trend. Focus on your core audience and don’t worry about upsetting anyone else. That’s how you get loyal followers who support you. (Don’t believe me? It works for Pauline Hanson.)
5. Bad formatting and not writing for the Web
Ever seen a long page of text with no images?
That’s fine in a book, but not fine on the web. On the web, it makes you stand out for all the wrong reasons. No one has the attention span to read pages of text on-screen. (Except maybe your competitors, if you’re a threat. But if your website looks like the one above, you’re probably not a threat!)
What should you do instead? We’ve got a whole blog post about this, but in short – give visitors something interesting and skimmable.
- Short paragraphs. And sentences.
- A good readability score
- Bullet points and lists.
- Images, diagrams, memes.
- Headings. (Have you noticed this post has headers with numbers? Makes it really easy to break down into segments, then focus on what you’re interested in.
Does your blog look like it’s easy to digest?
6. No promotion
So you’ve read tips 1 to 5. You’ve cleaned up your blog. It’s full of fantastic, visually interesting, entertaining posts about things which really matter to your audience. Yet you still get no traffic. Why not?
If no one knows about your blog, who’ll visit? No one.
If a lot of people know about your blog, who’ll visit? You got it – a lot of people!
When it comes to promotion, email marketing to your database and social media sharing are just the beginning. How about connecting with others in the same niche? Cooperating on a post? (That way they share with their contacts.) An online press release. Comments on other relevant blogs with a link back to your additional, highly relevant article.
Content promotion is essential. For some more ideas how to do it, download our content promotion checklist. You could also use our voice-to-blog service – that way you’d get 4 promotional social media posts with every single blog post. Of course you can always do more, but it covers the basics.
7. No SEO
Some promotion you can do yourself, but you can’t make Google put you at the top of the search results. (Well, maybe by paying a fortune for ads.)
You can write in a way which makes Google more likely to promote your article. That’s the essence of on-page SEO. You need to know what search terms people are using for the topic you’re writing about, Then you need to know where to add them to the page. (Titles, headers, text, image file names, meta tags, alt tags…) And you need to know how to avoid ‘keyword stuffing’ – that’s the equivalent of very loud spruiking, and Google doesn’t like it.
It’s tedious, but important. The hardest part is knowing which words your target market are actually using to search. Once again, it’s something we do with every blog in our voice-to-blog services. (Just saying!)
On the other hand, you can go too far…
8. SEO before ideas and message
Sometimes a post is beautifully optimised for SEO but boring as batshit. That’s because the SEO cart has got in front of the ‘value-to-the-reader’ horse.
This blogging mistake happens a lot – not always, but a lot – when an SEO agency writes your blogs for you. Their process goes something like this:
- What keyword do we want to rank for?
- How do we write a blog for that specific keyword?
- Let’s search using the keyword, look at all the articles, take all their content and reword it into one huge megapost!
Bingo! The post might get lots of visitors, but does it get lots of conversions?
- Nothing in the post is new or original. It’s all pulled from other pages already available on the web.
- All that ‘personality’ we talked about in point 4 is lost.
Visitors may arrive excited to learn more about your subject matter, but they don’t leave excited. They just leave.
9. Irregular publishing
So often, people start off with big ideas about a blog. But 2 or 3 months in, it’s too much hard work. Or they get busy. So they stop. And then they have a fit of inspiration and post one post, then stop again.
Doesn’t look good online, does it? (Tip – if this is your blog, hide the publish dates! That way the only thing you have to worry about is boring or sub-par content.)
There are plenty of resources out there telling you to publish weekly, or twice a week, or daily. But for the average small to medium business, that’s not possible. Here’s what we say – based on our own experience:
- Publish to a schedule you can keep. Twice a month is a good start, especially if you’re selling to businesses rather than consumers. Once a month can work too. It just takes longer to kick in.
- Less content and more promotion. That’s why we include 4 social media posts promoting each blog in our packages. It’s worked for us!
- Keep doing it.
Results can take 6-12 months, but every client we’ve worked with long term has seen more traffic from this methodology.
10. No call to action
OK, now you’ve read and actioned 9 tips. You’ve got this great blog, full of interesting articles, published regularly. You do some SEO on each article and you promote it. You’re getting traffic. Yay!
But you’re still not getting any enquiries or sales.
Quite possibly, visitors are reading your articles and going, ‘Wow, that’s interesting’. Then they’re clicking the back button. Why?
Because you don’t tell them what to do next! And they’re not mind readers. This is one of the most common (and most easily fixed) business blogging mistakes out there.
For every blog post – in fact for every page on your website – ask yourself, ‘What do I want the person reading this to do next?’ Then tell them.
It’s called a call to action.
A practical example:
You’ve just read this post. Congratulations, you made it to the end! So what do I want you to do next?
I want you to think about your blog. I want you to consider how many of these top 10 business blogging mistakes happen on your blog. If it’s more than three, I want you to get in touch so we can sort your blog out and help you get business from all your hard work.
What are you waiting for?!?