21 Blog Mistakes (& How To Fix Them)
Do you feel in your gut that your blog’s missing something? If so, there’s a good chance one or more of the following issues is hindering its success.
Every blogger sets out to create a world-class blog. But despite the best of intentions, a blogger often will overlook important elements of success. Being too to close and too invested in your blog’s process can blind you to what appears obvious to others.
To help you get your blog on the track to success, here are twenty-one blog fails and how to fix them.
- Lack of goals. It’s difficult to succeed without having a set of well defined objectives and related strategies to attain them. Actionable Blogging Fix: Determine what you want your blog to accomplish. Among the most common goals are to build branding, attract customers, support sales, improve search optimization and feed social media.
- Not dressed for success. If your blog looks like a child put it together, it won’t make a professional impression or support your brand. Actionable Blogging Fix: If you’re not an art director and have a limited creative talents, get some help to creating your blog design. Have limited resources? Try a local design school or exchange services with a graphic artist.
- Contains telltale signs from free themes and graphics. A blog that still says “Another WordPress Blog” has a flashing red light that no one’s done much with the blog. Actionable Blogging Fix: This step should be a no brainer but don’t get embarrassed if you’ve slipped up here, you’re not alone. Get some outside input on your blog’s look and feel. Also, check the header and footer, the most obvious places for this information.
- Are you talking to me? Does your blog resonate with your target audience? Even more importantly, do you know who your target audience is? Actionable Blogging Fix: Take time to develop your marketing persona.
- Lacks personality. Blogs need to contain more than neutral content. They should have a point of view and perspective on the world that’s enhanced through their brand (even if the blog is part of an organization’s marketing efforts.) Actionable Blogging Fix: Develop your blog’s brand personality. (Here’s branding help.) If your blog is part of a larger marketing initiative, determine how the brand will be adapted to the blog format.
- Doesn’t sound human. Blogs, like other forms of social media, require a human voice. Skip the corporate speak cleansed of anything remotely sounding human. Even worse, don’t write only for search engines. Actionable Blogging Fix. Even if your blog is associated with a company that requires legal and regulatory approval, don’t let the process edit out the human voice. If legal gobbbly-guck is needed to say what you are saying, consider covering a tangential topic. Your goal in writing a blog is to be understood!
- Regurgitates other people’s ideas and content. Just rehashing other sources won’t get you noticed. People are too pressed for time to read another version of something they’ve read elsewhere. It’s even worse if you scrape someone else’s content! Actionable Blogging Fix: To get noticed, your blog needs compelling content that lures readers in.
- Lacks eye candy. Is your blog an endless stream of words? Yes—writing is at the core of most blogs but people are visual beings. You need to lure them in with attention-getting graphics. Actionable Blogging Fix: The easiest way to get attention is to add photographs to your posts. Don’t have any? Search online but make sure it isn’t copyrighted and can be used commercially.
- Is a one shot wonder. A blog is an on-going publishing platform. Building it for a one-time event defeats the purpose. Actionable Blogging Fix: Once you’ve built a blog and reader base, don’t abandon it! Create a path for making it an integral part of your content and marketing offering. At a minimum, offer readers an alternative.
- Just blasts out promotions and press releases. While blogs are a form of media, just using as a distribution mechanism is the surest path to loosing readers. Actionable Blogging Fix: Create engaging posts for your blog and use other forms of media to distribute promotions and press releases.
- Has lonely blog syndrome. To be an effective part of your marketing and communications, your blog must be integrated into your overall plans, not something off to the side that someone does when they have time. Actionable Blogging Fix: Coordinate your blog and related content with the rest of your marketing, social media, content marketing or other communications. Remember a blog should be at the heart of your social media.
- Looks deserted. You might as well have a sign saying Go Away! The most obvious sign that no one’s around is the lack of recent posts. Actionable Blogging Fix: Instead of over committing and not delivering or abandoning your blog, decide how frequently you can blog and arrange your editorial calendar around your ability to deliver content. Then readers know when to expect your posts. It’s better to blog once a week at the same time than to blog in massive spurts and leave your blog empty during busy periods. (Here’s some research on blog post frequency.)
- Doesn’t share the wealth. Does your blog use links, both internal and external? It helps your readers find more interesting materials on your blog or website and others. Actionable Blogging Fix: Include links in every post. Link out where appropriate and associate the link with the appropriate words. Aim for two links to external sources and two links to internal sources.
- Isn’t optimized for search. Blogs are the perfect tool for supporting search optimization. Actionable Blogging Fix: Fill you RSS reader with the top SEO blogs and learn the secrets of SEO. Focus each post around one keyword phrase. Additionally, use real words, especially keywords in your permalinks.
- Aren’t listening to your audience. Comments are an attribute of bloging that makes them a social media platform. They allow a public discussion. Actionable Blogging Fix: Encourage readers to comment on your posts. End your posts with a question to get readers involved. Also, use a commenting platform. (It’s on my webmaster’s list –Hat tip to Mari Smith) Understand that you can set guidelines for what’s acceptable in terms of blog comments such as no foul language. (Here’s three ways to get massive comments.)
- No one knows you exist. Many bloggers think that they’re work is done once they finish writing their post. If only that was true. Actionable Blogging Fix: You need to promote your blog. This means using your other forms of internal and social media to let your family, friends, colleagues and social media connections know about your posts.
- Is missing cheerleaders. Get support from others, particularly better known bloggers in your category. The 12 Most blog is a great example of building a blog community. Actionable Blogging Fix: Make your blog easily shareable by including social sharing buttons. Engage other bloggers by commenting regularly on their blogs and sharing their content. You can’t expect one comment on someone’s blog to necessarily get a response.
- Lacks your stump speech. Go out and engage with others by writing guest posts. Actionable Blogging Fix: Target some blogs for which you’d like to write. Read them and check whether they accept guest posts. If so, submit your best suggestions. (Guest blogging also helps your search optimization.)
- Doesn’t track any (or appropriate) metrics. This relates to having goals. While many executives and bloggers love comments, it’s critical to measure what’s driving your blog or business. Actionable Blogging Fix: Create trackable metrics that relate back to your blog goals. (Here’s a list of 40 blog metrics to get you started.)
- Has no resources or the wrong resources. While it’s possible to start a blog using a free service like WordPress or Blogger, you still need to create strong content. Actionable Blogging Fix: At a minimum, you need someone to write strong content, add graphical support and supply technical assistance.
- Has no technical support. While many bloggers can handle most of the programming issues a blog throws at them, there are times when having a friendly geek on call is useful. Actionable Blogging Fix: For technical information check out Codex.Wordpress.org. Alternatively, you try a forum like #BlogChat. But, don’t underestimate the value of calling someone you trust to take care of your tougher issues. (That’s why I have a webmaster who’s a WordPress wizard!)
Building a successful blog takes hard work and continuous effort to create great content and an engaged community. It doesn’t happen overnight. You have to try different things in order to find out what works best for you.
Do you have any special blogging tips that have helped you build your blog?
Here are some related blogging articles you may be interested in reading.