We’ve all been there.
We realize the value of blogging and how it can boost our business’s visibility, position us as industry experts, and convert readers into prospects, but we’re not so sure how to execute.
If you’re ready to get your blog off the ground, here are a few blogging mistakes beginners (and even some vets) make. Get to know them in order to avoid making them yourself!
1. Your write off the top of your head.
When starting a blog, many people simply write about whatever topic comes to mind. There’s really no thought into who the target audience is, what their problems are, or what they actually want to read.
I get it. Starting a blog can be exciting, and you might come at it with a million ideas you think would make great blog posts. However, it’s important to remember that all of those ideas—even if they are phenomenal—might not be best suited for your blog.
My advice is to first write down all of those ideas; do a brain dump of all the post topics that come into your head. Next, with your target audience in mind, be a bit more critical and separate your posts into starters and bench players. Your starters are ideas you know your audience will find valuable, whereas your bench players are ideas that might need additional massaging. This is when an app like Trello can really come in handy.
2. Your tone is too formal.
Remember: You’re not writing a term paper, you’re writing a piece of online content that people will be reading while at work or in the morning while sipping coffee. You don’t want your writing to be formal and long-winded. Instead, keep it light and don’t take yourself too seriously!
In short: Have some fun with it.
3. Your paragraphs are too long.
This goes hand-in-hand with point #2. We’ve had it hammered into our heads over and over again that we need to follow APA or Chicago style formatting. Let it go!
You don’t have to go by the standard “four sentences per every paragraph” rule when blogging. In fact, people reading content on a screen prefer smaller “chunks” of text and tend to skim. As I explained in “4 SEO Tips for Writing Outstanding Web Copy”, this is because, unlike a newspaper or a book, you can’t gauge how long a piece of content is going to be at first glance.
4. You forget about keywords.
Keywords are an important component of any blog post because they tell search engines what your post is about.
While humans can easily gauge a topic by using deductive reasoning, search engine spiders don’t have this capability. That’s why it’s important you help them out. Research keywords and naturally include them in your posts in order to help the spiders better understand your topic (and rank you higher on results pages).
5. You only write with SEO in mind.
Yes, SEO is important, but it’s not the only thing you need to consider when writing blog posts!
Make sure you write for the reader first. After all, if no one reads the post, the search engine spiders will ding you anyways! Keep your readers in mind and make them the number one priority as you write. You can always go back and ensure you’ve included keywords and links later on.
6. You don’t edit.
Speaking of going back, make sure you go back and edit your posts! There’s no easier way to lose credibility with your audience than having a sloppy post. Yes, one spelling slip up here or there is completely normal and acceptable, but if your post is rife with spelling and grammatical errors, people might start to think you’re not the most professional.
Take five to ten minutes to come back to your post and read through it one last time. You might be surprised with the silly mistakes you find!
7. You don’t include conversion opportunities.
We want to blog in order to boost our business’s visibility and be seen as thought leaders in the space, but another major reason we blog is to get conversions!
8. You’re not publishing consistently.
Once you start blogging, keep it up! The worst thing you can do is to build up that momentum and then let it fall flat. An editorial calendar can help you avoid this trap.
Designate a post frequency you’d like to start out with (e.g. once a month) and then work to increase that frequency (twice a month, once a week, etc.).
There you have it! By avoiding these eight blogging mistakes, your posts will be more helpful, readable, search engine friendly, and will convert more readers into prospects.