7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Blogs
So you’re planning on creating a blog for your business website. Or maybe you’ve already started one and it’s just not performing how you hoped it would. Either way, for every business blog there are ways to make it thrive, and there are ways to make it sink like the Titanic. Here are seven common “icebergs” to avoid on your course to business blogging success.
Being Overly Promotional
How many of your blog posts aggressively promote the benefits of your product or service and encourage readers to make a purchase? Here’s a hard truth: no one likes reading sales pitches.
You can’t treat your blog like a billboard. That’s not how a blog is supposed to work. Blogs are meant to provide educational content that builds a personal relationship with your readers and makes your brand look trustworthy and well-informed on the issues of your industry. It’s okay to talk about your company, especially if you’re trying to build your brand. It’s even okay to write the occasional post about why your product or service is great. But don’t get content marketing confused with advertising.
43% of people surveyed said that they strongly dislike “blatantly promotional and self-serving content”. Instead of acting like a salesman looking for their next commission, think about how you can genuinely engage your target market. How can you help them? Listicles, how-tos, infographics, and industry research pieces are all great ways to fill out your blog and build that all-important relationship with your readers. When readers trust your brand, they’re more likely to turn into customers.
The company blog isn’t your diary, to be updated once or twice a year. It needs to be a living thing that enables your visitors to interact with your brand on a regular basis. There’s no magic frequency for how often you should post, but generally speaking, it’s a good idea to post anywhere from once a day to once a week. Even once every two weeks or once a month is better than nothing.
Whatever you do, be consistent. If you really don’t have the time or resources to maintain your company blog, consider subscribing to a free article writing services to supplement your content.
Creating Low-Quality Content
Not to sound like a grammar nazi here, but if your content is low-quality, it doesn’t matter how often you update your blog or how much the topic may interest your target audience. Here are the main things to avoid:
- Spelling and grammar mistakes
- Overly wordy
- Not scannable
- Stale sentence structure
- Large paragraphs
- No subheadings
- Font is hard to read
- Not citing your sources
- Too short to be adequately informative
Struggling with spelling, grammar, or general readability? Hemingway app and Grammarly are great tools that can more or less do the proofreading for you. Hiring professional blog writing services can also be especially helpful in this area.
The amount of time you spend working on a post is generally a good indicator of its quality. Some very talented people can whip up a great blog post in 15 minutes, but chances are that you’re not one of those people. Popular bloggers spend an average of 2-10 hours on each piece that they write. And that’s how much time you should be budgeting out for your posts.
Ignoring Your Target Audience
You’re not writing your blog for you. So if your posts aren’t necessarily something that you would read, that’s okay. You’re writing this for the people who will be reading it, and the people who will (hopefully) convert into paying customers.
Who are these people? It’s impossible to know for sure who is reading your content and interesting in purchasing your product or service, but you can make an educated guess by attracting the type of people who are most likely to do so. This involves creating a reader persona — this may sound familiar if you created a buyer persona during product development. The process here is just the same. Ask yourself:
- How old are they?
- Male or female?
- Income level?
- Where do they live?
- What are their primary concerns in life?
- What are they sharing?
- What are they talking about?
As you put together content for this ideal reader, ask yourself a couple more questions to further hone your piece:
- What is your goal with this content?
- How will you make your readers’ lives better?
SEO? What SEO?
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. It’s how you make sure people can find your site when they do a Google search (or Yahoo…or Bing…or Ecosia…but mostly Google). And if you don’t know what we’re talking about when we mention rankings, algorithms, or SEO, that needs to change pronto.
Understanding SEO will not only increase traffic on your blog posts, but also likely improve your sales. That being said, beware of hyperfocusing on SEO and ignoring content quality. There is no better way to write truly awful content than to deliberately stuff it with keywords as part of your amateur SEO scheme. What you really need is for people to start reading and linking to your content in the first place. Signing up for a free article writing service can be a good way to “prime the pump,” so to speak. Then you can start worrying about SEO and everything that comes with it.
Despite its name, keyword stuffing is not what digital marketers eat at Thanksgiving. Keyword stuffing is what happens when a writer “stuffs” their content excessively with the same target keyword, in the hopes of ranking higher for that keyword in Google. This includes unnecessarily repeating words or phrases, adding words that are out of context, inserting blocks of the same keyword, and using keywords that have nothing to do with the page topic.
It’s not the 1990s anymore, so wake up and smell the white-hat SEO! Aside from being unattractive and making your content hard to read, keyword stuffing your content makes your site looks spammy to Google’s algorithm. In other words: keyword stuffing can tank your SEO *and* your audience engagement.
Instead, focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately. There’s no exact number for “correct” keyword density, but generally speaking, 2% keyword density is a safe goal. If you’re worried that this isn’t enough, keep in mind that Google is smart enough to recognize synonyms and slight changes in spacer words between the important ones.
Neglecting Website Appearance and Function
One of the worst things you can do to your business is have an ugly, obnoxious, poorly functioning website. We’re talking page load times longer than 3 seconds, intrusive autoplay videos and popups, and web design that looks amateur at best and at worst like an art project that not even a mother could love. When you have an ugly website, bounce rate (the percentage of site visitors who leave after viewing only one page) goes through the roof.
To prevent a high bounce rate and make sure that you have an appealing website appropriate to both your brand and your target market, the first thing you should do is hire a professional web designer. It’s one thing to DIY a personal blog — it’s another thing to DIY a business website. It’s also a good idea to do formal usability testing or get a usability test from apps like Silverbackapp.com, FeedbackArmy.com, and UserTesting.com.
Don’t let your blog be the weakest link in your marketing strategy. Instead, keep an eye out for these seven bad habits and nip them in the bud before they have a chance to sink your business. And if you need professional blog writing services to give you a hand? We’ve got your back.