This guest post was written by Kimberley Laws, a freelance writer and avid blogger.
There are many corners of the Internet that resemble a cyberspace ghost town, littered with abandoned blogs.
Yes, countless disillusioned bloggers have chosen to wave the white flag and desert their intellectual property. Pop a few search words into Google and odds are that you will find a forsaken blog buried among the dust and tumbleweeds.
Why are so many small business blogs orphaned–left to wither and die?
The truth is that some business owners embark on a blogging mission without truly understanding how to make it a success.
Here are a few of the most common mistakes that business bloggers make and some simple ways to avoid them:
The Spotty Schedule
It is important to maintain a regular schedule that readers can rely on. If your blog falls silent for extended periods of time, then your audience may falsely assume that your business has gone “belly up.”
Your readers need to know that you are reliable, and a consistent offering of quality content will earn you that reputation. Furthermore, if you don’t make blogging a habit, then you are more likely to give it up.
- Block out some time in your day planner to create posts. If the post will require research, ensure that you allot time for that too.
- Create a realistic goal, like publishing content once or twice a week.
- Keep a notebook on hand to write down content ideas the moment they pop into your mind. If you don’t get them on paper, then you won’t be able to remember them later–and you’ll kick yourself. This notebook filled with possible topics will save you hours down the road.
- Use your bookmarking tool. When you come across a great source of online information for a future story, add it to your bookmarked sites right away. You can also create a private Pinterest board to store your story ideas.
Writing for an audience of one–you–can become disheartening. A lack of traffic will not only harm your business, but it also increases the odds of you abandoning your blogging efforts. Ensure that your content garners attention–the good kind–with the following tips.
- Avoid “in your face” self-promotional content that reads like a long commercial. Your readers will only continue reading if they feel there is something in it for them–a valuable takeaway. Instead, answer commonly asked questions, provide entertainment, or teach them a skill.
- Write as if you are talking to your audience. Let your personality shine through. This will better enable your audience to relate to you as a person.
- Make sure that your post does not contain grammatical, punctuation, or spelling errors. It is important that every offering is polished and written like a pro. This does not, however, mean that you should attempt to dazzle your audience with your thesaurus-like vocabulary. Your readers will not want to refer to their dictionaries to decipher your meaning.
- No one wants to tackle a huge wall of prose. It is important to present your content in “easy to chew” bits. Make sure to include high quality images, lists, and bullets.
- Choose a blog design that is user-friendly and eye-appealing.
Blogging to a Black Hole
The whole point of blogging is to share information with an audience–and “sharing” is a two-way street.
Bloggers who use their blog as a platform to pontificate are doomed to fail. It is extremely important to encourage your readers to respond to your posts, ask questions, tell their own stories, and share your content with others.
- First and foremost, ensure that you have enabled “comments” on your blog’s setting.
- Encourage conversation by asking your readers questions within your content. You can also embed polls because, let’s face it, everyone loves a poll.
- It is also important to cross-link your posts. If your latest offering is about the benefits of fiber in your diet, you may wish to link to an earlier post about a related topic such as your list of high fiber foods.
- Make sure that you have included sharing icons for popular social media networks to allow your readers to share your content with friends.
- Look for opportunities to be a guest blogger and invite guest bloggers. Posting on other blogs will allow you to attract a whole new audience. And letting other well-known bloggers compose posts for your blog will add credibility to your site and draw readers from said blogger’s own audience.
- Follow and comment on the blogs operated by other people within your industry. When you generously support another blogger, they are likely to reciprocate in kind–creating greater exposure for your blog and your business.
- And always post links to your latest post on your own social media accounts.
You don’t have to kiss your blog goodbye and send it to live with its abandoned cohorts. By adhering to a few proven tips, you can dramatically increase your blog’s success–and ensure that it enjoys a long and productive life.
What features do your favorite blogs have in common? What are your pet peeves? Share with us in the comments section below!
Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer and avid blogger. She has written dozens of articles on a vast array of topics, including social media marketing and blogging.