April 8, 2015
As a small business owner who is determined to enhance the online visibility of his company, you may be determined to give blogging a try. But you may know very little (or nothing at all) about the main characteristics of a successful blog. Is this a major impediment that you should worry about? Good news below—keep reading.
The Art of Blogging Can Be Mastered
These days, we are all bombarded with loads of cheap information delivered via purposeless blogs that don’t actually make us richer or wiser. The information overload that we are constantly exposed to makes it increasingly difficult for us to identify and assimilate the details that interest us the most. How can you swim against this dangerous current, when it comes to starting and maintaining a blog that could actually make a difference in your readers’ life? To stay on the right path toward blogging success, you should start by identifying the deadliest mistakes that could threaten your progress.
Seven Blogging Sins That You Should Stop Committing Today
One of the biggest mistakes that you could make is to take your readers’ time for granted. The visitors who land on your site hope to get accurate answers to their most pressing questions. A blogging strategy geared solely toward your needs, expectations and goals won’t get you very far in the long run. Instead, try walking a mile in your readers’ shoes. Find out what’s making them laugh, smile or frown and what’s boring them to death. Let’s face it: blogging is no easy task. If you feel that you are having a hard time trying to get positive results from your content flow, keep reading to discover the most common blogging mistakes that you could be making as we speak.
- Stagnation. When it comes to creating and running a blog, most blog owners feel like little kids on Christmas Eve: they get overly excited and promise to write every blog post “themselves!” Well, they usually end up writing one, or maybe NONE…and then oops, they realize that they haven’t updated their blog in three whole months.
So blogging gets started: but it is never successfully run. As soon as you reach the conclusion that you don’t have enough time to craft your own content pieces, focus on finding someone who could successfully convey the message you are trying to send to your audience. Avoid the impact that stagnation may have on your content flow (and your reputation as a content creator and/or industry expert) by choosing the best writing solution. In this case, decide to collaborate with an agency offering you the widest choices in expert writers to match your niche. Don’t let your readers forget about you. Keep in mind that you could always overcome even the worst case of writer’s block by counting on professional copywriting services or by establishing partnerships with key players in your industry. In what your blogging frequency is concerned, you may be wondering: how often is too often? There is no simple answer to this question. Neil Patel from Quicksprout advises you to write around eight posts per week; on the other hand, Derek Halpern lets us know that it is perfectly acceptable to update your blog a few times a month. In the meantime, you could always work harder to gain extra exposure through related blogs, by inviting people to interview you, writing guest posts and lading prominent press mentions. The key is to complete all these assignments without actually neglecting your blog. Inconsistency is a major capital sin that will force you to spend a lot of time in the bad blogger purgatory.
- Not Understanding (or Ignoring) the Real Needs of Your Audience. As a small business owner who is determined to sell, sell and then sell some more, you should work hard to cultivate your empathy. Regardless of your goals and current activities, you should try to establish a deeper connection with your audience through your writing. This means that you should conduct in-depth research to get acquainted with the particularities of your audience. According to Social Media Examiner, posts that are too elementary or too complex usually trigger the disappointment of your readers. Try to expand on subjects that inform, educate and entertain your visitors. A post that is filled with cheap information that your visitors can’t actually use is a mere waste of time and money.
- Putting Quantity over Quality. By now, you are probably fully aware of the fact that you need to rely on a constant content flow to stay relevant in your field of activity. Sporadic blogging strategies won’t get you very far. Avoid this type of inconsistency without going from one extreme to the other. Don’t write for writing’s sake. Opt for an ideal publication frequency that is fully compatible with your schedule and your short- and long-term objectives. Before putting pen to paper, remember that you should craft quality content that should be both reader and search-engine friendly. You can’t materialize brilliant ideas into a matter of a few seconds. The ugly truth is that in-depth, high-value blog posts actually take time to research, elaborate on and publish. Whoever tells you differently is wrong. Blogs featuring underperforming materials are not difficult to find; still, if you wish to maintain your competitive advantage, you have to invest a great deal of time and energy in your blogging strategy.
- Writing for Yourself. Make no mistake: all readers are particularly selfish. They don’t care about you, your purpose in business, your family traditions and the features of the products and services that you’re advertising. They are only focused on the ways in which the stuff that you sell could actually help them improve their quality of life. Your visitors are craving fresh, accurate info that they could actually use on a daily basis, so skip the fluff and make your content pieces less about you, and more about your prospects and clients.
- Bad Writing. All (good) bloggers are driven by the same objective: they want to connect with readers and find the most effective way to sweep them off their feet. In this context, it goes without saying that bad writing can be listed as a major turn off. Just think about it: how do you actually feel when you find typos in a newspaper or in a book that you’ve been dying to buy and read? Typos make you feel disappointed. They represent the indicator of a certain level of carelessness and sloppiness that you simply can’t tolerate, especially when it comes to filtering the work of a reputable writer. To prevent major mistakes that could impact your credibility, use spell-check. Also, take all the time you need to research different new concepts and get your facts straight. Last but not least, don’t forget to proofread all your work before posting it: this simple action can make all the difference in the world, allowing you to keep your standards high and your name spotless. Bad writing doesn’t necessarily refer only to the presence of grammar mistakes or documentation errors; its also gravitates around boring perspectives and irrelevant facts. According to Copyblogger, stale conclusions can rob your content pieces of their charm and usefulness, stopping you from putting the cherry on top of an otherwise relevant and informative article or blog post; so do pour all your emotions and enthusiasm in a pertinent conclusion meant to energize, inspire and convince your readers.
- Neglecting SEO. Whether you like it or not, Google-friendly optimization practices influence your position in SERPs. This is precisely why you should employ white hat optimization tactics to bring your blog on the first pages in search engine results. Here are a few essential elements that should be a part of your strategy:
- Descriptive section headers
- Keyword-relevant anchor text
- Keyword-rich URL
- Keyword-rich, descriptive titles
- A relevant, engaging body copy reflecting an ideal keyword density
- Putting SEO on Top of Everything Else. Don’t let Google, Yahoo and Bing turn you into a compulsive keyword-processing gadget. You are so much more than this. Do your keyword research and optimize your text in a user-friendly manner, without impacting the readability and the end value of your content pieces. In other words, don’t let your current search engine optimization tactics kill and bury your creative spirit. You are not a robot, so you shouldn’t try to write like one.
All in All: Avoid What Makes Blogging Bad
So there you have it: a self-centered attitude, lack of research, a weak connection with your audience, incorrect/outdated SEO tactics and inconsistency are the main faults that could stop you from achieving success as a blogger.
Fortunately, you can avoid all these pitfalls by conducting in-depth research, listening to what your readers have to say about your (previous) work, crafting content based on the real necessities and demands of your audience, establishing solid connections with industry leaders and sticking to an ideal blogging schedule.
Find out who you should be writing for and what your public is comfortable with, in terms of writing. The rest is easy: just keep an eye on the marketing tactics employed by your competitors and let the uniqueness of your own products, services and brand become your most powerful source of inspiration.
Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.