It’s true. Most blogs in general do not succeed in the minds of those that start them or those that read them. A common outcome for a blog is to have excitement early on. Posts are published on a regular time line early on in the stages of the blog. Over time, however, the owners of the blog, the writers, and others with contributions begin to lose interest.
There are a number of reasons why business blogs fail. Nearly four years ago top notch SEO firm SEOmoz published an article on their own blog written by their CEO. The blog still has some of the best reasons why business blogs fail.
- Blogs vs. Corporate Culture
- Editorial Control Issues
- Unfamiliarity with a Blog’s Structure
- Misunderstanding Your Audience
- Crafting a Corporate Voice, Rather than a Personal One
- Attempting to “Sell” or “Market”
- Domain & URL Issues
You will have to continue reading for more details from CEO Rand Fishkin on these common blog pitfalls. I’ll provide my own thoughts along with some additional pitfalls I see with corporate blogs.
A common pitfall Rand hits on more than once is the struggle between a corporate structure and the nature of a successful blogging voice. Blogs often require a human voice. Readers and potential customers often look for subjective content that includes interpretation of a news event and how it will effect them and their business. A blog with a human voice gives passion, desire, and emotion to a topic. Rigid corporate guidelines can often strip a blog of what makes it unique from the thousands of others blogs in your industry – a unique voice.
A few of the other reasons blogs fail as highlighted by Rand have to do with a general misunderstanding of what a blog is, what the goals should be, and how the blog should be written so it’s valuable to potential customers. It’s really worth your time to dig in more to understand Rand’s points.
Frequency is one of the most important factors of a successful blog. Search engines love content so it makes sense for search engines to put more value in a site that creates content frequently. This doesn’t mean you can put out garbage every minute of the day and rise to the top of the search engines, but there is an apparent balance between taking time to write a novel and to submitting shorter posts on a more frequent basis.
For example, on the Ghost Blog Writers’ blog Country Music Life we’ve found success with longer content – see: Sad Country Songs and its search result – and with shorter content – see: Keith Urban Put You In A Song and its search result. At the time of publication for this post these terms were both in the top five. Sad Country Songs is a long series that took a good amount of time to write. Keith Urban Put You In A Song took about 30 minutes to write and publish, but the results were the same and the traffic is good for both terms.
Business blogs and blogs in general often fall into the path of frequent posting in the beginning, but as interest fades and unrealistic expectations aren’t met frequency begins to slow until there is no interest in the blog by its writers or by readers.
Frequent blog posting is good for search engine results. The more value a search engine places on your domain the higher your entire site and all of its posts will rank.
I just mentioned incorrect expectations when it comes to blogging. Working on a solid blogging strategy and setting expectations for growth, sales, and profits as a result of blogging activities is extremely important for the success of a blog.
Some folks have read about the success of other business blogs and may assume writing for a month or so will yield the same results. Often this is not the case and frustration can set in and the blog will fall by the side as an ineffective marketing tool.
A few key considerations are needed for setting proper expectations.
Industry Size – How large is the audience for your industry? What percentage of the overall industry is likely to be interested in reading a blog? How many will find the blog via search engines and how long will it take?
Time – How long has it taken other blogs in your industry to reach their current levels of readership?
Conversion – What are reasonable expectations for sales conversions?
Resources – How much effort can you commit to the blog and how will this effect your expectations and time line?
These are all important factors for setting the expectations for your business blog.
Keyword research is an important aspect of blogging that is overlooked. A common pitfall is to pick a topic that interests you and to write about it. Every once and a while these posts will catch fire, but the true goal of a blog should be to write about what your audience wants to read.
There are free tools to determine what your audience wants to read and how competitive the keywords are around those topics.
Most business blogs will fail.
It’s reality and there are common reasons as to why most of these blogs fail. Rand highlighted in his post for the SEOmoz blog some of the most common pitfalls companies come across when blogging.
I added a few extra and expanded on them. The idea is to share a few of the common mistakes that lead to an unsuccessful business blog.
What are some of your experiences with blogging?
Have you overcome any potential pitfalls?
Share your experiences in the comments.
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Image courtesy of Alex E. Proimos