23 Blogging Errors That Make You Look Silly
Nobody wants to look like a fool when creating their first blog.
It’s just human nature to want to be the best right from the start.
While that might not be possible it is alright if you learn from the mistakes others have made. I’ve made some mistakes blogging and I’ve seen others make mistakes. They haven’t been the end of the world, but there is a short period when you feel like an idiot.
Hopefully sharing these mistakes with you will help you get off to a great start with your business blog.
1. Copy And Paste, No Attribution
There is an unwritten rule in the blogging world about taking content from others.
Common sense is that if you use something someone else has written you put it in quotes and link to the original source.
Most people that would copy and paste a section might not know they’re not giving credit. That’s where you can stumble. If you take something from another source always provide a link. And don’t use much more than a paragraph or so. You’re trying to give the original source credit and traffic so entice your readers to click the link to read more.
2. No Personality
This one is tough. When people write with a business purpose they tend to take out their personality. This is a huge mistake. Your customers want to see your personality. That includes the personality of your brand and the personality of the people at your company.
3. No Consistency
Consistency is a huge thing in life.
In sports, coaches prefer a player that plays at an 8 out of 10 ability all the time versus a player that flashes a few 9s and 10s, but also flashes a few 3s and 4s.
Consistency is huge in life. People want to see that you’re posting regularly and they want a consistent quality in the posts.
4. No Calls-To-Action
What will your readers do after they read your post?
Too many blogs simply leave it up to the reader to leave the post without doing anything.
Provide some related posts. Provide an email signup. Ask readers to follow you on social media. Do something to keep the relationship moving in the right direction.
5. Vague Titles
Titles are hugely important in blogging. If you are promoting your posts through email and on social media you need titles that capture curiosity and interest. You also have to give people a little insight into what the post is about.
You could title a post 2013.
Or you could title it 5 Things Plumbers Can’t Overlook In 2013.
There’s a huge difference.
6. Too Much Focus On Comments
In my experience I’ve found that comments don’t really equal customers. In business blogging you’re looking for customers. Comments are great on their own. They build more content on your site and when you have active readers they’re likely to share your posts with others, but I don’t feel comments should be a high priority.
There are a few exceptions, but it’s more important to focus on traffic and sales.
7. No Promotion
It’s difficult for new blogs to get traffic. If you’re writing consistently you’ll get readers over time through search and some social sharing, but to fast track things you’ll have to email people.
Send out your best blog posts to other bloggers and other people with an audience. Some will share your content with their readers, which will send you traffic.
8. Too Short
Not the rapper. I’m talking about posts that are too short.
I think some of the best posts out there are short, but for the most part blogs seem to average around 500 words. Some formats are shorter. Others are much longer (like this one).
In general, shoot for 500 and more if you can. Short can work sometimes and it’s good to mix it up, but if you’re only writing 50 or 100 words per post you’re not going to capture people’s attention.
9. Not Linking To Other Bloggers
I’ve had clients say to me, “WHY is there a link that goes OFF my site to another site?! I don’t want readers LEAVING my site!”
Linking to other sites is a good thing. It allows you to validate the things you’re saying. It also sends traffic from your site to other sites, which is something those sites will notice.
When other bloggers notice you it’s a good thing. Some will send you traffic back in their future posts.
10. Taking Garbage Guest Bloggers
Guest blogging has been ruined over the last 1-2 years by spammers. People were doing it for links and providing garbage content.
Taking garbage content from guest writers is not worth your time. They’re only looking for links that will not even help their SEO in the long run.
Take guest posts only when you know the writer is quality. You might have to reach out to them instead of the other way around.
Most emails you get about guest blogging are junk. I delete them all.
11. Not Sharing Enough Knowledge
The whole point of blogging is to share your knowledge. The information you share with your customers is now part of what you sell. You have to give to get in the world we live in today.
It’s like a plumber giving away his knowledge for unclogging drains. He’ll help people out, but he’ll also get more customers that hire him or her to actually do the work.
12. Long URLs
I like simple URLs so I choose to leave the date out of my URLs. I even shorten them on occasion while still trying to make the URL relevant to the topic. Shorter is better in most cases. People don’t want to click on or read long URLs.
13. Not Learning Any HTML
In order to blog you’re going to have to know some HTML. I knew zero when I first started blogging and out of necessity I learned some coding so I could work my way around a blog post.
This will help with your blogging and it will help you with your understanding of the online world in general.
Try Code Academy.
14. Wrong Reader
You have to have your customer in mind when you’re writing. Think about what they want to read. You’re not writing for your peers (in most cases). Write about the topics your customers cares about.
15. Wrong Expectations
Too many bloggers give up before their blog has a chance to succeed. There are a million blogs out there that were launched, had a few posts in the first few months and now site idle.
I’ll tell you that you need to put in effort for six months before you start seeing some traffic coming in. It usually takes longer than that to really start building your momentum.
Stick with it.
16. Too Much SEO Focus
SEO is important, but if you optimize your posts for the search engines you’ll lose readers and search engines.
The best approach is to write copy that makes sense to your reader. Always have their interests in mind when creating titles, body content and anything else.
Too much focus on SEO will leave your blog stale and uninteresting.
17. No Headings
People don’t always want to read long, huge sections of content. It’s not appealing.
Break your content into sections. Use headings and images to break things up.
18. Too Much Selling
Asking for a sale right away in a blog post is like asking a person to marry you on the first date. It might work once, but most times you’ll turn people away.
Make a sale, but the sale you’re making is the next logical step in the relationship. Ask the person to read another article (a second date). Ask them to subscribe to your email list (their phone number).
Make the next logical step in the relationship.
19. No Editorial Calendar
With every client we have we create an editorial calendar. This separates the idea generation and the writing.
It’s a lot of work to come up with an idea and do the writing all at once.
When you have a list of ideas ready to go it’s much easier to write a post.
Create a calendar. Put a bunch of ideas in it so you have something to work from.
20. No Collaboration
It’s always good to include others in your blog. Share the stories of your clients. Share the stories of your readers. People like to see a little interaction and different perspective from time to time.
21. No Image Captions
It’s a weird natural reaction, but people look for captions on images. If you don’t use them you’re missing an opportunity and making a common mistake.
22. Too Much Thought About Design
My significant other might kill me for saying this, but your blog design, especially early on, is not a huge deal. Some of the best blogs out there have the most basic designs you will ever find.
I’m a big proponent of design, but I’ve seen too many people worry about the design elements of their blog right away. They end up getting way behind on actually writing content.
Your blog could look great, but if you don’t have great content you won’t succeed.
Focus on content. Then as you gain more readers slowly improve the design of your blog.
23. No Email Signup
Your email list is one of the biggest assets you can build and your blog is a great vehicle for building a list. As you write better and better content, people will want to read more and get the latest updates.
Setup an automated blogging system that provides the latest posts. You can also add those subscribers to your marketing lists.
Image: Leszek Leszczynsky