There are bloggers, and then there are bloggers. While one breed struggles to get traffic to their blogs, the other sees their server’s crash with the number of visitors that land on stellar posts. These are the veterans who have made all the right moves to build a magnetic blog brick by brick. The list of things to do to grow your blog to such a pre-eminence is long, and suitable for a different discussion. (Here’s an excellent read about what to do, if you’re interested. Here’s another.)
However, the stuff you absolutely must not do as a rookie blogger – whether it’s a personal blog or a company blog – is shorter. So here goes…
Being Too Generic
Remember you are not the only blogger on the planet. Millions of blogs dot cyberspace already with hundreds (thousands?) of new ones popping up every single day. That was the bad news.
Now the good news for you, is that most of these blogs are as generic as they come. Nine times out of ten they’re random musings about the blogger’s day, posts about what their baby did this week or rants about how the government is dragging the country straight to hell. Few blogs have a clear focus and a definite industry they’re targeting. Be one of the smart, targeted bloggers. Not only will you build a dedicated audience that is directly interested in the specific industry niches you write about, your blog will also be easier to find on search engines.
It’s good to aim for perfection. However, sometimes the quest for perfection leaves bloggers tinkering away at the same post for days. Avoid this over-indulgence. Set yourself a target of publishing at least two to three new posts per week. Blogging ninja Neil Patel admitted,
“KISSmetrics only started to see big traffic increases when I started to publish 5 pieces of content a week.”
Don’t wait to write your masterpiece and then publish it on your blog. Keep the ball rolling and the posts coming. That way, your readers have a reason to keep coming back to your blog to read fresh content. Also, Google’s algorithm rewards fresher content over old, stale content. As they say, out of sight is out of mind.
Writing for Einstein
Let’s say you write a blog on big data analytics. Now, if every post of yours only deals with formulae and numbers, you’ll leave a lot of your readers out in the cold. Instead, explaining concepts to them and breaking down difficult ideas into easily digestible morsels will make your blog a lot more popular. Even worse, some bloggers have a knack for making even simple things sound complicated. Stay away from that path.
Another hazard to steer clear of is using verbose, heavy language that scares away readers. Not only does comprehension suffer, clunky outmoded language can be misunderstood as being condescending. Keep it simple and conversational, to build a friendship with your readers.
Not SEO-ing Your Blog
If you want to grow traffic to your blog and build a strong readership, your blog needs to be easily found by search engines. For this to happen, you need to focus on getting your on page and off-page SEO up to speed.
To begin with, opt to host your blog on your own domain name, instead of going for a free hosting option like WordPress.com. And when you create content, focus on keywords that your audience searches for on a regular basis. Keyword research tools like Keywordtool.io or the Google AdWords Keyword Planner are free tools you can use to arrive at the right keywords for your niche.
Here’s some great reading on optimising your blog for search engines. Or, check out our article on the best WordPress plugins for content marketing and discover SEO plugins that’ll help you optimise your content on-the-go.
Not Promoting Your Blog Enough
Creating great content and then hoping that readers will find it automatically is wishing for too much. Do justice to all the content that you publish by driving eyeballs to your blog actively.
Tap every resource you have within your means to put your content in front of the right audience.
- Promote your content on your personal social networks. If you’re promoting a company blog, post your latest content on your company’s social media pages to reach out to readymade followers. Have too many social networks to handle? Set up Hootsuite (B2C) or Oktopost (B2B) to publish posts automatically across all your networks as soon as you publish a new post on your blog.
- Create a mailing list and send out your latest content to your email subscribers on a regular basis. Email marketing software such as GetResponse offers you a simple drag and drop interface to create professional looking newsletters that will impress your readers and keep them hooked.
- Reach out to key influencers in your niche and ask them if you can guest post on their blog. They may or may not agree, but if they do, you have the opportunity to get backlinks from respected blogs that enjoy high authority from a search ranking perspective. A content strategy app like BuzzSumo is perfect for identifying and contacting the right influencers easily.
- Paid ads are also fair game when it comes to promoting your blog. Check out content networks like Outbrain and Taboola that promote content on leading sites around the web. Another option is to create keyword driven ads in Google AdSense to drive traffic to specific posts.
Bad Grammar, Spelling Errors
First impressions are everything. Most of us spend hours trying to zero in on the perfect theme for our blog, the right layout, flawless colors and so on. Unfortunately, none of that amounts to much if you have a shiny pretty blog with some pretty awful language littering it.
Most word processors pick out common spelling errors or incorrect grammar right away. Pay heed to these corrections and edit your post thoroughly before taking it live. However, more nebulous things like awkward sentence structure or the wrong use of idioms and phrases are difficult to spot. The Hemingway app is an option you can use to refine your writing. If you ask me though, the best way to make sure you write well, is to make sure you read voraciously. The more you read good writing, the better you own writing skills will get. Monkey see, monkey do.
It’s a Wrap
So those were my top 6 blogging no-no’s that every blogger would do well by remembering. Did I miss out anything important? Please feel free to point it out. I don’t mind eating humble pie. Who doesn’t like pie anyway!