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Every business needs a blog these days, right?
But, there’s actually a chance your blog is doing your business more harm than good.
Well, this article is here to explain why, and to help you avoid some of the most common blogging mistakes that not only can lose you potential customers, but can also result in your website receiving a lot less visitors than it should be.
You’ll discover blogging pitfalls you must avoid, and how to easily solve them…
Reason #1: Very Occasional Blog Updates
If someone comes to your website, is interested in what you’re offering, but the last blog post was six months ago, it makes your website look rather deserted, and frankly unprofessional.
The person visiting might even be wondering:
“Is anyone even running this site any more?”
This simple mistake can punch a huge hole in your online credibility, because who wants to do business with a website that can’t even keep their own site up to date?
The problem is — and this is a problem shared by all website owners — blogging regularly is a lot of work.
While it takes just five minutes a day to publish a blog post which is nothing more than a few news links, that isn’t really adding any value at all to your site, and it certainly won’t inspire visitors to become repeat visitors.
So yes, writing something worthwhile can be time consuming, and even just putting together 500 words a day and publishing it to your blog may take thirty minutes of your time. This does of course depend on how fast you type, how quickly you can think of things to say, and how long it takes you to edit and finalize a blog post, but let’s keep half an hour per 500 words in mind as a broad rule of thumb.
And frankly I wouldn’t really recommend such short blog posts. Your website visitors (and Google too) want something they can get their teeth into. Useful, interesting, relevant and in depth content is great. Short content that barely touches the surface of the subject — not so much.
So instead of 500 words a day, perhaps consider at least one in depth post a week, and aim to make it 2,000 words or more if you can.
So, what are your options for solving the ‘Deserted Blog’ problem?
Well, again — one blog post a week at a minimum. Pretty much any website owner should be able to handle that I would say. Or if you’re so busy with work that you don’t have time to write your own blog, perhaps a member of your staff can write it, or you can outsource the writing work to someone you trust to do a great job for you.
Weekly updates will greatly help your site look up to date and interesting, plus it can help encourage repeat visitors, get more people linking to your site, and of course can get you more visitors through Google, since at the simplest level: the more pages of useful content on your site, the more visitors you’ll get through the search engines.
And actually, one further option to consider — if your website gets a decent amount of traffic, you can offer people the opportunity to write guest posts on your site. This often involves putting a notice up on your site letting people know that you’re interested in guest posts.
One potential downside however of accepting guest posts is quality of submissions can vary wildly, and this could potentially take quite a bit of your time, reviewing other people’s work.
If you do take this approach, do make a point of keeping an eye on what other blogs are doing as regards guest posting — some blogs have quite a few rules regarding what they allow and don’t allow in submitted articles.
Having firm policies in place and only accepting high quality content can make the guest post acceptance process easier, and can mean you end up with a lot of great content without having to write it yourself. Of course most people guest posting will want a link back to their website, but that’s expected and you can include your policies regarding that on your site too.
Some people may even approach you saying they’ll pay you if you publish their content, so if you go down that route it could be a potential extra money earner, although technically that would be considered a paid link in Google’s eyes which is something they frown upon.
Reason #2: Short Posts That Don’t Say Much
As already mentioned, Google likes long blog posts. And so do your readers (as long as they’re interesting) as in depth writing is generally much more informative and useful than shorter writing.
And when I say long, I mean at least a thousand words, but I would actually strongly consider two thousand words or more per post, or at the very least fifteen hundred words.
In the days of Twitter and people trying to cram as much as possible into 140 characters, I still don’t believe you can say that much in 300 words.
Now a 300 word blog post is better than absolutely nothing, but if you can, do aim to write at least 1,000 words with each post, or even better 2,000+ words.
And importantly – make your posts interesting and easy to skim. Use ample sub headings, short paragraphs, and if possible include at least one image, or even better multiple images. Taking unique photos or screen shots and adding them to your article is always popular with in depth blog posts.
(If you’re not familiar with it, a screen shot is where you take a capture of your computer screen as an image — this is usually done by simply pressing the PrintScreen button on your keyword and then pasting that into image editing software.)
And there’s plenty of websites online that sell you ready-to-use images, plus there’s also fantastic free resources like Morgue File that has many thousands of images you can use copyright free.
Again, it really comes down to the fact that the more helpful, informative and interesting your content, the more your readers will enjoy reading it, making it much more likely they’ll share it with others through links and through Twitter & Facebook.
And it’s also widely thought now that Google takes into consideration time on site.
What that term means is how long on average visitors stay on your site. Since Google owns one of the most popular web browsers in the world they have a huge amount of information regarding how long people spend on your site. If they notice that people are spending longer on your site than your competitor’s site, it’s more likely your site will be rewarded by appearing above your competitors in the search engine results.
Reason #3: Uninteresting or Incorrect Posts
Nobody wants to read a boring blog post. Right?
And this can have as much to do with writing style as it does with content.
Your content may be incredibly interesting, but if it’s written in a very difficult to understand way, either simply through lack of putting across ideas clearly or through unnecessarily use of particularly verbose or cryptic language, it’s a simple fact that you’re going to lose readers. And every reader is a potential customer.
A blog post should not be written like a PhD thesis – you want to engage your audience with interesting content written in a way they understand and in a tone of voice they relate to.
So for starters, use a conversational tone, and make it appropriate for your target audience. If you’re not sure what constitutes a conversational tone, it’s generally:
- Easy to read
- Sounds as if the person writing is speaking directly to you in a friendly and easy to understand tone
- It verbally flows, so you may actually forget you’re reading entirely
One way to help you become familiar with writing in this style, is as you write your blog post, imagine someone sitting across from you, and you’re speaking directly to them but through the words you type.
And also to help keep your text readable — short paragraphs are good, and so are lots of sub headings.
People tend to skim online, so make your content easy to skim, since it may just be one thing in your blog post that catches the visitor’s eye, and because of that they go back to the beginning and read the entire article.
And you could potentially use software like Dragon Naturally Speaking to transcribe as you talk. This can help automatically make your text sound conversational, and then it might just need a little editing to tidy the text before you publish it on your blog.
And writing about what’s of interest to your audience becomes a lot easier the better you know your market. The more involved you are in your market, the more you’ll know what topics are of interest, what the latest news is, and you’ll find it easier in general to write blog posts that are informative too since you’ll be bang up to date with the latest market news.
Reason #4: Thinking Keywords Don’t Apply to You
Using Google’s keyword tool and then religiously writing content around certain keywords can make your content appear over optimized for SEO for both your readers and for Google.
Being too heavy handed with jamming your desired keywords into your text can make your text strange to read and simply look unnatural.
But on the other extreme, completely ignoring keywords and just writing whatever you feel like might be an option if you don’t care at all about traffic through the search engines, but may mean over time you receive significantly less traffic than if you’d at least given some consideration to keywords.
So it certainly doesn’t hurt to consider the middle ground of knowing which keywords people are searching for in your market (and which of those keywords are relevant to your site), and then keeping them in mind when you create content.
You certainly don’t need to be particularly heavy handed with the keyword placement, but if you’re writing on a topic related to those keywords, using them should happen naturally.
And if it’s a really important keyword that you’d really like to get traffic for, and can naturally include the keyword within the title of the blog post (even near the beginning if at all possible) then even better, but again, it should look natural.
If one of Google’s site reviewers looks at your blog post, and goes “Hmm, they’re obviously over using those keywords to the detriment of the content…” that’s not good.
But if they instead say to themselves “That keyword is obviously a natural part of the content, so no problem here” — that’s perfect.
So content first, keywords second.
And you may choose to keep keywords in mind for every blog post, or just some blog posts. You can also think of covering multiple keywords in one blog post if they’re all relevant and the finished text looks natural.
And again, this comes back to in depth content. The longer your content, the more likely you are to cover a lot more keyword phrases, and make the finished product look entirely natural. So simply focusing on in depth content can solve a lot of your keyword placement issues almost automatically.
Reason #5: Letting Spam Overtake Your Blog
It’s never been clear to me why some blogs allow this to happen, but if you don’t apply any moderation at all to the comments people can place on your blog, quite soon your blog will be overrun with spam promoting all sorts of questionable sites and products.
Obviously this reflects very badly on your blog, and if as a blog owner you really don’t want to spend your time moderating comments, simply turn comments off entirely.
That said, there are benefits to allowing comments including:
- Increasing how much time people spend on your site
- They can have the effect of making your blog posts more interesting
- They can get your readers more involved with your site.
These two software add-ons give you the option of having more advanced comment functionality on your blog compared to standard blog comments, and can solve many if not most of the problems related to people spamming your blog with promotional and unnecessary comments.
They’re both quite straightforward to install and set up, and then you can choose which comments get published, and which don’t.
So if you’d like to allow people to comment on your site but don’t want to spend 20 minutes a day moderating comments, then either of these two options could be a good fit, and can allow your blog posts to receive many informative comments, without the negatives of blog spam.
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