In our eight years of existence we’ve read and analysed hundreds of business blogs on behalf of prospective clients. Their subject matter has ranged from flooring, to accountancy, to bath toys, but we’ve noticed the same handful of blogging mistakes crop up time and again. Here are 10 of the most common blogging mistakes we tend to come across:
Blogging mistake no. 1: Spelling mistakes
Running you new piece through your spellchecker will not pick up every error. You need a second pair of eyes to identify and eliminate the typos in your blog pieces.
Blogging mistake no.2: Long periods of silence
What’s worse than no business blog at all? That’s right, an abandoned blog! Few things make a business look like it’s given up as much as a blog that’s been languishing for months or years with no fresh content. Create an editorial schedule for your blog and stick to it.
Blogging mistake no.3: No social sharing
A ‘blog and they will come’ mentality is, sadly, misguided. We live in an age of information overload, so no matter how good your content may be, you can’t rely on people stumbling across it with no effort from you. Promote every new piece through your social media channels and make sure you’ve installed social sharing buttons on your blog to enable readers to do the same.
Blogging mistake no.4: Poor formatting
Remember that people will be reading your blog articles on a screen. Furthermore, a sizeable proportion of them will be reading it on a small screen (e.g. a smartphone or tablet). Keep sentences and paragraphs short, make ample use of sub-headings and sections, and use bold and/or break-out quotes to highlight key points within longer pieces.
Blogging mistake no.5: Lack of images
Blog posts with images gain an estimated 94% more page views than plain text blogs. They also perform better on social media sites – especially Facebook, which is very much geared towards visual content. For the sake of a pound or two for a stock image, there’s really no reason to continue publishing plain text blog articles.
Blogging mistake no.6: No point of view
Many small businesses think of blogs as a form of news reporting. There’s nothing wrong with adding topical content, but the approach needs to be more along the lines of editorial commentary than straightforward reporting of facts. There will be thousands of pieces reporting what happened: a blogger’s job is to analyse and interpret the events for his/her readers.
Blogging mistake no.7: Getting hung up on keywords
Few things suck more than business blogs that exist purely to tell Google which keywords they’d like to rank for. ‘Keyword stuffing’ at the expense of the reader’s experience will not only alienate the reader; there’s a good chance it will alienate Google too. All of their major algorithm updates in the last couple of years have been aimed at stripping low quality content out of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), therefore stuffing your copy full of keywords really is one of the biggest blogging mistakes you can make.
Blogging mistake no.8: Not optimising for SEO
Keyword stuffing is a no-no, but it’s still the case that Google does need certain indicators to help it understand what your content is about. Those using WordPress as their blogging platform should consider installing Yoast for WordPress, a brilliant plugin which allows you to select a focus keyword for each article, and then scores your piece on how well this keyword has been optimised. If you ever feel worried about striking the right balance between writing for humans and writing for Google, just remember to write for your audience first and optimise for the search engines afterwards.
Blogging mistake no.9: Making the text hard to read
One of the most frequent blogging mistakes we come across is the use of overly complex jargon. Our rule of thumb is that a 12 year old should be able to read everything we write, even if they don’t understand the subject matter. Think plain English, not complex prose. One of the features of the Yoast plugin mentioned above is a Flesch readability score, which will tell you if your copy is considered difficult to read.
Blogging mistake no.10: Not writing for anyone in particular
Who’s going to read your blog? And if you don’t know, why are you writing it? There are over 100 million blogs in existence – however niche your subject area, you can guarantee there’s plenty of coverage out there. If your blog is going to stand out, it must be carefully targeted towards a specific audience, and every piece of content must offer genuine insight into your area of expertise.