Whether you’ve been blogging for years or are just starting out, there’s one undeniable truth that plagues all of us:
It’s incredibly frustrating when our content doesn’t perform well.
We take all that time to write and publish a blog post, promote it to our social channels and email list, and yet no one seems to care. Why is that?
Certainly if it’s your first blog post that you just published, it’s not reasonable to expect droves of readers and overwhelming amounts of comments and feedback. But for the rest of us, it can be extremely disheartening when we publish a new blog post and it bombs.
Of course success is relative. For you that might be measured in traffic or subscribers or sales. Your goal might be brand awareness or new readers or business results. Whatever the measurement, it’s easy for blog posts to fail.
And yet folks like me continue to promote blogging and content marketing as an effective means for growing a business.
So let’s be honest here. What’s wrong with those blog posts? Why are they performing so poorly, or even your entire blog? Sometimes we need to take a step back and shine the harsh light of inspection on our work. Sometimes we need to evaluate what we’ve been doing and look for places to improve.
To that end, I’m going to share with you ten ways you may be blogging completely and utterly wrong. Ten blogging mistakes that, in your defense, if you didn’t know you were committing these faux pas you can hardly be blamed. And now, fortunately, you have an opportunity to recognize and fix these blogging issues!
Blogging Mistake #1 – Not researching keywords in advance
One of the first mistakes I often see bloggers make, and one that even I’m guilt of, is not researching keywords and topics in advance.
This is part of the blog planning and ideation process, where we determine what posts we’re going to work on and publish in the coming weeks, months and year. Brainstorming and coming up with our own ideas is absolutely essential. But that just be followed by careful research.
You see, if I were to blog about a topic I’d come up with without doing my homework, I’d risk creating content about something no one was interested in. Sometimes that’s still a good idea – I call it a purpose pitch – but usually that’s the first reason our posts aren’t getting any visibility or interest. The topic just isn’t one that people are actively searching on so there’s nothing Google can do to help us.
So do your homework and make sure that your time spent blogging will be rewarded.
Blogging Mistake #2 – Not optimizing for keywords
Along the same lines as blogging mistake #1, another failing I’ve experienced personally is not optimizing my content well enough for search engines.
Because there has been so much backlash in recent years against SEO practices that are a detriment to the reader, for some the pendulum has swung to the other side and encouraged completely disregarding SEO in favor of “writing for humans.”
Unfortunately, that really just means wasting opportunities. There’s simply no reason that you cannot write in a way that humans will enjoy while simultaneously optimizing that content for great search engine rankings.
And that means making sure that your keywords and versions of your keyword are sprinkled throughout.
Blogging Mistake #3 – Not answering questions
The next mistake made by many bloggers and businesses has to do with not understanding some of the core fundamentals of content marketing.
If your blog’s business model is entirely driven by traffic, meaning you earn revenue based on ad views and clicks, then you can simply continue to produce more and more interesting content around your topic of choice.
But if you’re trying to sell something, whether it’s a product or a service or membership, then you must consider your buyer’s journey and what your sales funnel looks like. With every purchase that anyone makes, they take at least a moment to consider alternatives. They ask themselves comparative and contrasting questions, and questions about price, which you would do well to answer for them.
This bottom of funnel content is what converts best, yet the topics often seem uninteresting to us so we don’t write about them.
Blogging Mistake #4 – Not sharing stories
When I first started blogging, I was sharing tips and information that my target audience – other businesses – would find interesting and valuable.
Those posts performed well enough, but not exceedingly well. But then one day I write a post about how I was using Google+ and about some of the ways I saw other people using the platform that were negatively received. I shared my story of finding success on the platform and that became one of my best performing posts ever.
As content creators, it might seem like we ought to follow in the footsteps of Dragnet’s Joe Friday and blog, “Just the facts, ma’am.” But of you think about it, the reason Friday had to stop witnesses time and again from their expanded narratives is because as human’s we’re wired to share and consume stories.
We crave that kind of content.
Factual, informational content is absolutely essential. But make sure you’re weaving in stories, either within such blog posts or as blog posts of their own – often referred to in the business world as Case Studies.
Blogging Mistake #5 – Not writing what you know
My new blogging students and readers often lament that blogging takes too much time. When pressed for details, they’ll often share that it takes them as many as six to eight hours to write an article.
Which of course is a mistake. While I don’t ever expect other bloggers to write as fast as I can, your average blog post should take you half that time at most. And the reason for this particular blogging mistake is that new bloggers often feel they need to create well-documented research papers instead of sharing what they already know in a nicely structured article.
Because look, I don’t want to read a research paper! I can use Google like a pro and look up whatever information I need on my own. I want to know what you know. What your experience and perspective is – information that’s completely unique to you and your brand.
That’s not to say you can’t do any research (review Blogging Mistake #1) or even have a topic once in a while that you need to devote more time and energy to. But generally, you should be able to come up with a viable topic and write about that without spending too much time outside of your composer.
This article is a great example. Once I’d determined that I wanted to share some blogging mistakes I’d seen myself and others make over the years, I took a moment to list and outline what I wanted to cover and within a few minutes, had all of these mistakes written down. I ordered and structured them out, then sat down to fill in the details within each blogging mistake as you see here. I limited myself to the mistakes I could think of and didn’t have to do any additional research. The whole process, including writing and publishing, took less than two hours.
Blogging Mistake #6 – Not using enough images
This blogging mistake is incredibly common with large publishers and so all too often I see bloggers and smaller businesses falling into the same trap. There’ll be no featured image at the top of the blog post, and no images throughout the article itself.
This results in content that isn’t optimized for social shares and doesn’t keep readers engaged and continuing throughout the entire article.
Whenever your blog posts are shared to Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, those networks will attempt to create a “Link Preview” that tells network users what the content is about, including a Title, Description and Image pulled from your post itself. If you don’t specify an image, the network may pull a random image from your page or use none at all – either of which options aren’t ideal.
And as readers begin to go through your article, including images every so often will ensure their eyes and mind are engaged – more engaged than if they were just reading solid blocks of text. This technique will help more people keep reading your blog posts all the way to end, which gives them more reason to share or follow a call to action.
Blogging Mistake #7 – Not writing long-form posts
People tell me they hate to write.
People also tell me that today’s consumers are only interested in snackable content.
Therefore, these people, if they blog at all, only write relatively short pieces of content.
They’re wrong, and that’s a huge mistake they’re making.
The fact is, long-form content – over 2500 words – that excellently explains a particular topic or thoroughly answers a specific question, always outperforms shorter posts. It’s simply more likely that a longer article is going to be the better answer, the more definitive source of information, and Google recognizes that.
The good news is, you can set out to create “The Ultimate Guide on X” as it relates to something in your industry and because most people haven’t ready this article and still believe the fallacy that short form content wins, you can outperform the competition.
Blogging Mistake #8 – Not spending enough time on headlines
Again, if I’m being honest, this is yet another blogging mistake that I’m frequently guilty of. Whether I’ve spent an hour or ten on a blog post, by the time I’ve finished writing it, all I want to do is publish it and get it out there.
I’m usually not interested in actually testing the title or even brainstorming some alternatives to try and make it better.
And that’s dumb.
Whether it’s a social share or a search engine result, your blog post’s Title is the first thing potential readers see. If it doesn’t immediately capture their interest and suggest that you’ll be sharing something of value, they will not read your post.
For instance, the original title for this post was going to be, “9 And A Half Ways You Are Blogging Wrong” and I also considered options like, “9 Embarrassing Blogging Mistakes And How To Avoid Them” or “9 Critical Blogging Mistakes You Positively Must Overcome.” The resulting title scored higher than the rest and is what I went with.
Blogging Mistake #9 – Not writing to a plan
I mentioned in blogging mistake #3 that it’s important to answer questions and create “bottom of funnel” content. Not creating content like that risks losing opportunities for search traffic, as well as blog conversions.
But it also implies that you might need “Middle of Funnel” and “Top of Funnel” content. If it seems like there’s a tremendous amount of blog posts you need to write and it’s somewhat overwhelming to consider how it all works together, it’s because you lack a plan.
And that’s blogging mistake #9.
There’s a reason why I take the time to update a Blog Planner every single year and let my students and readers purchase and download it so inexpensively – it’s a critical component of the successful blog and content marketing strategy.
While you needn’t plan out an entire year of content in advance, you cannot afford to spend time blogging and promoting blog content that isn’t part of a real strategy to grow your business.
Take some time now to consider what your goals are for the coming year and what content you need to have in place to achieve those goals.
Blogging Mistake #10 – Not taking the time to improve your blogging
Blogging, like anything else, is a skill which can be improved over time with practice and deliberate effort to learn.
Reading articles and blogs like this one are a great way to gain more information and sharpen the saw. But the challenge most will find with this approach is that it’s unguided and random. When reading blog posts, you can only know to search for the questions you already have. How can you be told and walked through what you actually need to know?
That’s where my Blogging Bootcamp will help you. I will be taking you on a 10-week journey during which you’ll receive 10 training sessions covering strategies and techniques that will help you avoid all of the blogging mistakes listed above, and more! After each session you’ll have an opportunity to ask questions or even hop into the video call live for some “hot seat” type analysis and feedback. And throughout the bootcamp, you’ll have access to a private community to re-watch lessons, ask more questions, and share in each other’s successes.
Due to the nature of this training, seats are limited. Click here to learn more and register for the next bootcamp!