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9335090_sThe humble blog may not look as appealing to companies as super-busy social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook with hundreds of millions of followers each. Statistics, however, prove that blogging builds business. According to HubSpot’s 2013 Inbound Marketing Stats:

  • • 43% of marketers generated a customer via their blog with less than 10% of total time allocation.
  • • 79% of companies that have a blog reported a positive ROI for inbound marketing.

This makes it clear that blogging is important for your business, but at the same time doing it wrong can cost you customers as well as reputation. Regardless of whether you are a small business or a large multinational organization, it’s not difficult to make mistakes when blogging, some of them very common too.

Here’s a list of 10 mistakes you should avoid to extract the most out of your company blog.

1.     Infrequent Blogging

Business blogging requires a consistent approach. The worst mistake that business bloggers can make is not having a proper blogging schedule — sometimes they blog once a week, sometimes once a month.

So how often should you blog? That depends on your business and the purpose of your blog. If daily posting makes you feel like you’re slamming out content just to have a post each day, cut back on the frequency. Create better posts with plenty of value and publish them a few times a week. Publishing recurrent feed content is an essential SEO tactic.

The most important part to remember is to have a proper blogging schedule.Choose a proper posting frequency for your blog and then stick to it; whether once a week or twice a month.

2.      Dead Blogs

It’s bad to have irregular posting frequency, but it’s even worse to have an inactive blog. A stale blog on your website may make customers assume that other information on your website such as your contact info might be out of date too. Your blog may still contain some really good old posts providing useful information to visitors, but then there is no valid reason for them to keep coming back as your blog is not frequently updated. Stale blogs can thus badly damage your business.

So why do businesses stop blogging?

The three most common challenges businesses face with keeping their blog alive are time, resources and ideas.

But, with little content planning, you can create an editorial calendar that will help you develop a blogging strategy. An editorial calendar will make it easy to keep track of your blogging schedule and blog post ideas.

3.     Content That Is All Corporate All the Time

Are your blog articles only about your company, products or services? If yes, it’s time to change things. People are generally looking for informative or entertaining posts.

When someone visits your website only to find all your recent posts to be promotional content, they will immediately leave. To become a credible source of information, you need to widen the scope of your corporate blog by talking about key issues, trends and developments that interest your target audiences.

4.     Not Properly Optimized Posts

Everyone today knows that one of the greatest benefits of business blogging is to increase your rankings on search engines and thus grow your organic search traffic. Business bloggers are therefore found mostly writing for search engines instead of writing for readers.

It’s important to identify the right keywords for your business and optimize your blog content with those keywords to impress search engines, but your main goal should be to impress your readers.

If your readers find your content interesting they will share it within their networks, thus making your content go viral. Such viral content cannot be ignored by search engines even if it is not optimized for SEO.

5.      Ignoring Blog Comments

The most important reason of writing articles is to build a relationship with your readers by engaging with them. But then there are businesses that shy away from responding to readers for one or the other reason. Why allow comments on your blog if you are not going to respond to them?

There could be loyal customers with valid and genuine questions, looking for answers. Not replying to them will make them feel that you don’t care, thus making you lose them. So, to build a strong relationship with your readers, respond to their comments (good or bad) on time.

6.      Use of Blog as Home Page

A new visitor may not have any interest in your recent blog post, and placing those posts on the home page can actually result in a drop in sales or conversions. Your corporate website should have the home page that talks about products and services being offered by your business.

The blog should be accessible through standard navigational menus, though you can provide the link to your latest blog post from your home page.

7.      Using Weak Blog Titles

On the Internet, if your headline doesn’t entice people, they are less likely to click on it. Poor headlines lead you to miss out on turning potential leads into customers. It’s necessary to create click-worthy titles for your posts to bring more readers to your blog. Write headlines that are compelling, clear, and use keywords related to the content.

For instance, Are Your Titles Irresistibly Click-Worthy and Viral?! is a far better title and one that will get more traction than How to Write a Post Title That is Clickable.

8.      No Conversion Strategy or Call-to-Action

Potential customers are finding your posts and reading them. But what if they are not provided with the next step they should take post reading?

You are blogging for a reason. You want to convert your readers into your customers, but if you are providing your readers with few or zero calls-to-action you are limiting your blog’s potential to convert visitors into leads and customers for your business. Every blog post should, thus, have a next step in the form of a call to action at the end. It could be anything – ‘Subscribe to E-mail Newsletter’ or ‘Sign-up for a Webinar.’

Providing your readers with the right call-to-action will increase your conversion rate.

9.     Use of a Third Party Blog Hosting Platform

It is true that making a free blog (as a subdomain) is hassle-free and takes a minute to start, but using such free system (like WordPress.com) has its own disadvantages.

Blogs on subdomains lack the credibility that those with their own domains have. Moreover, if you use your own domain, you can include keywords in the URL, title and tagline that reflect your brand and make it easier for your readers to locate it.

Therefore, invest in a professional website that includes a content management system like Drupal which you can incorporate into your blog easily.

10.     Ignoring Blog Analytics

Blogging is one of the best marketing tools for businesses. But you are committing a cardinal sin if you are not analyzing your blog’s success.

Your blog metrics will give you the best insight into how you can improve your ROI through blogging. You should be tracking metrics like traffic, sources of your page views, traffic driving keywords, number of inbound links generated, conversion rate and the number of comments for your blog posts. They can also be helpful in determining which kind of articles are working for your blog’s audience.

By not falling into any of the above traps, you will be able to create a popular blog that will generate more leads and attract more customers.

June 29, 2014

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