Don’t hurt your credibility and your branding with your blog by accidentally making these three big blog mistakes.
Avoid them and you’ll get better results, faster from the time and energy you invest into your blog.
Big Blog Mistake #1: Not Showing Up Consistently
You need to blog consistently if you’re going to blog effectively. This doesn’t have to mean every day. It can be once or twice a week.
Blogging every day for a week then not at all for three months doesn’t work. Just like other marketing and promotion strategies in your business, consistency matters!
If you can’t blog consistently, many will advise you to remove the dates from your posts. Realize that people can still tell when you posted (by the dates of comments and shares on the social networks or looking at your RSS feed).
So what can you do to stay consistent? Here are 5 of my best tips: 5 Smart Ways to Keep Your Content Consistent.
One of my best strategies is to plan out my content a month at a time. Here’s how I do that in 5 simple steps: How to Plan Your Business Blog Content (Video)
Big Blog Mistake #2: Ignoring Your Blog’s “Image”
What does your blog’s appearance say about you? Have you looked in the mirror lately to see what’s staring back at you?
The second most common blog mistake I see professionals make is not putting their best foot forward, so to speak.
When we go to a networking event, or meet a new client, we work to present a professional appearance. We don’t show up in our pajamas, right? (Unless it’s a pajama party, in which case give me a call because I’d love to attend that event!)
Your blog is representing you to everyone who stops by. What image is it projecting?
Do you have…
- a lot of typos and errors scattered around?
- poor formatting that makes it difficult to read your content?
- a theme, layout or navigation that makes it really hard for visitors to find what they’re looking for?
Here are the simple solutions:
1. Always Proofread
Proofread each post before it goes live. I find reading my posts out loud helps me catch errors I’d have otherwise missed.
Check out the “After the Deadline” plugin on WordPress to help you catch misspelled words, incorrect grammar, and even style issues.
2. Take Time to Format Nicely
Notice the common elements in well formatted, easy to read blog posts.
- a headline
- bulleted or numbered lists
- short paragraphs
- images, videos, or other multimedia elements
Follow that pattern so your posts are easy to scan and read as well as visually interesting.
3. Choose Your Theme Wisely
The layout and colors of a site are a personal choice and our tastes are all a bit different. But do follow some basic rules to make your blog easy to read:
- Use dark text on a light background, with enough contrast that it’s readable.
- Go for muted and calm backgrounds unless you’re really, really sure a wild background is appropriate for your audience and your branding.
- Be sure people can tell what text is a link. They should be a different color so they stand out.
Consider investing in a professional theme. I’m a fan of the Genesis themes from Studio Press. WooThemes and Thesis are also good. There are nice free themes, too. Today I like Academia, TrulyMinimal, Delicacy, and Weaver.
You might also check into having a custom banner designed for your blog. You can find talented graphic designers on Fiverr.com.
4. Check Your Navigation & Organization
Do the links on your navigation bar make sense to your visitors? Can they easily find what they’re interested in?
Are your blog posts organized by category (not date, your visitors aren’t looking for what your wrote last March!) and tagged with keywords?
Does your sidebar support making it easy for visitors to get around on your site and find what they’re looking for?
Big Blog Mistake #3: Lack of Engagement
Have you landed on the blogs of successful, smart entrepreneurs where there are no comments and no social network sharing happening? That’s not helping build the image that they have an engaged audience!
Or have you stopped by a blog and you spotted comments where people are asking questions (maybe even about the professional’s products or services) and no one is answering them? Oh no!
Or maybe you’ve seen a blog that’s just pitch, pitch, pitch… every post is about a new product, service, client or why you should buy what they’re selling. Nothing there to help their readers or connect…
Successful business blogging requires engaging with our readers. We’ve got to keep the focus on our readers and delivering value to them.
What does that mean?
- Brainstorm your content ideas based on what delivers value to your readers — so they’ll read, comment, and share!
- Get out there and PROMOTE it so your readers can see it — engage with them where they are at, on the social networks, in forums, on other blogs and elsewhere.
- Engage with your readers on your blog — reply to comments, thank those who share your content, and really look for ways to connect with your community.
Take a look at your blog and review where you’re doing great with engagement and where you’re not, then set a goal to improve in those areas.
Here’s a few ideas to get you started. Give yourself gold stars for the ones you’re doing well!
- Do you brainstorm content based on what could be helpful to your readers?
- Are you actively asking your readers to respond to your posts?
- Have you made it easy to comment and share your blog posts?
- Are you replying to comments (at the very least a few per post, especially to answer questions)?
- Are you thanking those who share your content (on social networks or by linking to your blog)?
- Do you know where your community hangs out online and are you getting in front of them with your content?
- Have you stopped by any other blogs in your niche, or that reach your niche, or belong to regular commenters, to leave them a few comments?
Take some time this week to review your blog and be sure that it’s helping you BUILD your credibility.
Ask a few colleagues or clients for feedback on your blog. They may be able to offer suggestions and tips on what you can improve that you haven’t thought of yet!
Michelle Shaeffer’s Twitter profile describes her as: “Entrepreneur, homeschool mom, SyFy fan, voracious reader, lover of coffee.” That sums it up nicely. Stop by and grab her free checklist with 51 ways to make your blog more awesome!