You’ve been writing your blog for a while now, and working hard to create content that will catapult your business to new heights and get you noticed by the world.
But you’re still not seeing the results that you’re really after.
Your audience and your business hasn’t grown.
You haven’t seen a sudden spike in social media shares.
Your number of followers on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram hasn’t suddenly gone through the roof.
Your email box hasn’t become a flurry of activity, your online courses haven’t sold out overnight and absolutely zero has gone viral.
So what went wrong?
Are you just completely rubbish at writing and would be better off going back to your old job? Are the experts wrong and blogging isn’t as good as it claims? Or do you need some kind of crazily talented brain to make blogging work for your business and help grow your income?
To answer these in turn: I doubt it. No. And definitely not. 🙂
Absolutely everyone can use blogging to help solve their readers’ problems, add extra value to their clients, boost their public visibility and move forward in their goals to make money from their passion. And it can be quite simple, once you know how.
In this post, I’m going to help you avoid making those horrible blogging mistakes that jeopardise your chances of success and grow a blog that you can be proud of.
1. Choosing a topic that is too broad
When you start blogging for your business, it can be so incredibly tempting to write long, detailed blog posts that solve every single problem that your customer could potentially come across.
This is completely understandable given your expertise, but it’s also a mistake when it comes to blogging.
Trying to cover huge topics and answer all of your clients’ questions all at once means that you’re denying yourself the opportunity to do a good job with your blog post. No matter how hard you try, you’ll find it extremely hard to deliver the kind of detail that is needed and if you do, you’re likely to burn yourself out trying.
How to fix it
Try to think more narrowly when planning your blog content. Focus narrowly on one question or problem and if this is still too narrow, break it down into even smaller pieces and address each one step-by-step.
By doing this, you’re making any information you share much easier to digest, much more likely to get shared and much more useful to your audience.
2. Forgetting to check for mistakes
Yes, it takes hours of focus to get a blog post written to the standard where you’re happy to share it with your audience. So like most other bloggers, you’re likely to feel sick of what you’re writing and just hit that ‘publish’ button as soon as you can. You don’t go through it with a fine-tooth comb to check for mistakes, typos or grammatical errors because you just want it to be done.
The only issue is that when you do this, you’re practically taking a sledgehammer to your business and crushing all your hard work.
Mistakes like these scream, ‘Amateur!!!!’. They shout ‘I don’t know what I’m doing!’ and even if your audience is a pretty understanding bunch of people, they’ll also have a pretty bad impression of you.
How to fix it
Before you publish your blog post, check your content as many times as you can. Run it through the native spellcheckers you get on Microsoft Word and Google docs. Use the ‘read aloud’ function so you don’t miss a trick and make sure you know that it’s 100% perfect before your audience lays their eyes on it.
If you still don’t want to do this or notice that minor errors still slip through, consider hiring an experienced content editor or proofreader to help.
3. Writing in an overly formal way
Have you ever read a blog post that seems ‘stiff’, ‘formal’ and much more like a formal document than a blog post?
You’re interested in the topic so you do your best to wade through the content.
But you just find yourself falling asleep, or thinking about what you’re going to have for tea instead of effortlessly absorbing what the writer wants to share. You have to re-read whole paragraphs or realise that you haven’t remembered a word that you’ve just read.
The problem isn’t you. It’s that you haven’t used the right style of writing for a blog post.
Forget what you’ve been taught at university about writing.
Wipe those formal reports, presentations and other official documents that you’ve ever written from your brain and instead relax and allow your personality to shine.
How to fix it
Loosen up your writing and add personality. Throw in as many contractions as your heart desires. Get rid of the jargon and write just like you talk. Make a pun or two, share unique information about you that illustrates your story.
Relax and write.
4. Doing a ‘brain dump’
There are moments when we get that jolt of inspiration and we find the words flowing from our fingers and onto the page in front of us. We feel like we could just write…and write…and write. Before we know it, we’ve created an entire page of content that looks ready to publish.
But on closer inspection, we realise that this piece of writing isn’t as strong as it could be. It’s not going to engage readers and it’s not going to perform well because it’s ‘floppy’.
What do I mean?
Well, ‘floppy’ writing is writing that doesn’t have a structure. It’s like a blob of jelly (jell-o to my US readers). Yes, it might be tasty and it might fill a gap, but it’s not going to keep you satisfied for long. You’ll soon go off raiding the fridge and looking for more snacks.
To really ‘hit that spot’ you’ll need a chocolate gateaux-style post, with its layers of moist, delicious sponge cake, its rich, creamy chocolate butter icing and its delicious tender cherries on the top. (feeling hungry yet?!)
You need structure, baby!
How to fix it
Get yourself a slice of that chocolate gateaux! Just kidding! Instead of writing your stream of thought, you need to create a rock solid structure that will help your blog post stand strong, allow those ideas to flow, keep your reader engaged and even keep those Gods of Google happy.
5. Not giving readers what they want
One of the biggest mistakes I see business owners and bloggers make time and time again is writing on topics that they want to write about. Or writing about topics that they assume their readers might like to read without knowing for sure.
Although this is really common, it’s a very bad move if you want to have a successful blog and build a business.
It’s a lot like going fishing with a chickpea for bait.
Yes, you might hook a (confused) fish or two, but you certainly won’t be breaking any records for greatest catch anytime soon and you’re probably not going to feed your family either.
How to fix it
The only way to understand what those ‘fish’ really want is to do your research. Research, research and yet more research. Survey your audience to ask them about their greatest struggles and biggest pain points. Start a focus group to discuss ideas, offer rewards for filling out a Survey Monkey questionnaire. Ask questions on social media.
Once you’ve done this, you can start creating content based around their needs and start hooking yourself some awesome fish 😉
6. Using lots of technical terms or jargon
How many times have you been having a discussion with someone who insists on using words that you have no clue about and no idea what they mean? Although you try your hardest to make sense of what they’re saying, after a while your eyes glaze over, your brain switches off and you completely lose interest.
Exactly the same happens if you use too much industry or niche terminology, jargon or other technical words in your blog. Yes, they will see that you know your stuff and trust you, but your words won’t touch them. They won’t connect with them. They won’t get the answers they need from your writing because it just seems so hard.
How to fix it
Unless you’re sure that your audience understands what you’re talking about, avoid using jargon. Keep your blog posts clear, concise and easy to understand and explain any difficult concepts where necessary. If you’re not sure how complex your writing is, run it through a free checking tool such as the Hemmingway App.
7. Posting inconsistently
Starting a new blog is exciting. You’re brimming with motivation and excitement and somehow you manage to write several blog posts all at once or order a batch from your content writer.
But before too long, you lose that momentum. You’re over the honeymoon period and so the novelty is starting to wear off. It’s early days so you’re not seeing an immediate return from your investment of time, money or energy just yet. This means you forget to post, you decide to prioritise other things and the wheels fall off the wagon.
In the wise words of the great Homer Simpson, ‘D’oh.’
Posting less often means less useful content for your audience. It means you’re not allowing your business to live up to its full potential. You’re not getting anywhere because Google has given up on you, your social media pages are deathly silent. And your business just can’t grow.
How to fix it
Consistency is key when you’re blogging for business. Even if your only readers are your mum, sister and best friend, keep going. It takes time and effort to build a blog but it will pay off in the long term.
Pick a posting schedule and stick to it. It doesn’t matter much these days whether this is once per month or once per week. What counts is that you’re creating new content, you’re adding more value to your business and you’re helping your audience in whatever way you can.
8. Not promoting your blog post
After all the hard work you’ve done creating that brilliant blog post for your business, you just want to get it published and then get on with whatever else is on your to-do list.
You wait a few hours or maybe a day or so and check in with your analytics to see how many people have been reading your work and are surprised to see…zero. Or at least, a handful of people, no doubt including your mum, your sister and your best friend again.
The crowds don’t come beating down your door, your products and services don’t go flying off that virtual shelf and all you hear is the sound of crickets.
The problem isn’t that you’d written a rubbish blog post.
It’s that you didn’t take time to tell the world about it. And if you bury your light under a bushel and don’t tell them that your ‘masterpiece’ was even there, how do you expect them to ever find it?
How to fix it
It’s not enough just to write. You also need to spend at least a few hours promoting the life out of it.
Obvious ways include sending a link to your email subscribers, sharing it on social media and reaching out to any groups or masterminds that you’re a member of, but you can probably think of more.
9. Forgetting to include a strong CTA
If you’re anything like me, the act of writing can be so pleasurable that you enjoy every moment of getting those words onto a page.
You love to craft unique ways to share your message with the world, to explain exactly what you mean, to help solve your readers’ problems AND to make a difference in the world.
Your readers love the result of your hard work too. They feel they can actually ‘hear’ you as they read your words, they understand your points and they want to know more. They read the entire blog post you’ve worked so hard to create and secretly feel disappointed that you haven’t shared more of your expertise and insight. At the very end, after your carefully crafted conclusion, they hit a brick wall, a dead end and there isn’t a clear way forward.
So as much as they enjoyed your post, there’s nowhere else to go so they click away and try to find someone else who can help them.
I’m sure you don’t need me to point out that you’ve missed a huge opportunity. By not including a ‘signpost’ or call to action at the end of your post, your audience got lost and you will find it much harder to convert that casual reader into a loyal fan.
How to fix it
Before you even start writing your blog post, ask yourself what you want your reader to do when they finish reading.
What is the purpose of this piece of writing? Do you want them to sign up to your newsletter? Download your brilliant freebie? Post a comment? ‘Like’ your page on Facebook? Follow you on Instagram?
Spell out exactly you want them to do at the bottom of your blog post and get them to do it.
10. Forgetting to make the post look good!
Have you ever clicked onto a blog post that sounded like it was exactly what you needed to know?
Then you found pages full of tiny text that was all bunched together in blocks without many gaps, paragraph breaks and not an image to be seen?
Yeah, we’ve all been there. It’s usually a very painful experience that has you clicking away faster than you can say Jack Robinson. It’s boring, hard on your eyes, hard to read, hard to focus on and plain dull.
The thing is, whilst blog posts are all about writing amazing content that engages your reader, shares info and turns them into loyal fans, how your page looks is just as important.
It can make or break the entire reader experience and make the difference between them feeling happy and engaged with your work, or giving up and walking away.
How to fix it
Get your blog posts looking great by using one or several images to break up the text, make you look professional and help your reader engage with your post. You can find plenty of free stock images on Pixabay, Unsplash and so on, but be sure to credit the owner where needed. (Whilst you’re there, also make sure you use ‘alt’ tags on your images to boost your on-page SEO.)
You should also use plenty of white space in your posts and use shorter sentences and paragraphs than you would if you were writing an academic essay or something similar. You could even have paragraphs as short as a sentence or two if you like, but I’d advise that you only do this occasionally for effect so you can avoid looking spammy.
Don’t panic if it feels like your blogging efforts are a complete waste of time. There’s a lot we can do to fix those problems, improve your readers’ experience, grow your audience and get you a loyal fanbase. Follow these tips and you’ll be making an excellent start.
Now I want to hear from you!
What is your biggest struggle when it comes to blogging? Add your thoughts to the comments section below.