The websphere is saturated with blogs, and new ones continue to be published and find favor with readers.
Yet, despite the best intentions and great insights, a vast majority of great blogs languish for want of traffic, activity and even suffer from high bounce rates, (when visitors leave your blog very quickly.)
We all want a blog that attracts readers and subscribers, gets shared, showcases us as an expert and ultimately converts.
If that’s what your aim is (well, of course!) evaluate yours critically.
Are you making any of these 15 mistakes that are costing your blog?
If you’re not clear, the readers will be in the dark too.
All too often, there are blogs that don’t stick to any particular niche, which undermines the value of the entire content, even the good articles.
Be clear about the goal – is your blog the final product or is it a traffic driver for other products and services?
Then stay true to the description of your blog. All too often, there are blogs that don’t stick to any particular niche, which undermines the value of the entire content, even the good articles.
Yes, topic ideas can be a challenge and a drought on those can force you to change focus, but ideally, don’t veer too far. Think about and write for your readers.
If you traditionally blog about your mom experiences, you should review mom products. Similarly, your travel blog should talk about services and experiences that relate to journeys.
If your blog is a part of your product (or service) business, make sure that your overall theme stays true to that. Maroon Oak is a professional platform for women and every one of our articles covers work-related topics, e.g. career choices, personal development, work-life balance, and more.
If you expand your topic range for any reason (maybe a new line of business), make sure that the switch is not drastic and your posts reflect a subtle shift.
Lack of Consistency
Don’t disappoint your readers
A blog where articles are not published regularly is in surefire failure mode. No matter how strong the muse, don’t publish two posts in quick succession and go silent for a month thereafter. Blog visitors will not find any fresh content should they visit, nor will the search engines.
Instead, create a posting calendar with a bank of outlines that you can build on. Keep track of the important dates in your niche so you can build posts around those e.g. Mother’s Day or Teacher Appreciation Week. You can also ‘ride the news’ to write about a recent happening.
One thumb rule that has worked well for me was to not publish a post till I had at least a basic idea (or rough draft) of the next one in the pipeline.
Finally, while longer posts do well, it’s okay to write shorter posts if you can do those at a consistent frequency.
Dated, amateurish layouts
Because first impressions count!
It’s not just what you write but also how you make the reader feel. And poorly done layouts do NOT say – welcome and linger! Quite the opposite, in fact.
It is important to present your content in a way that your readers will love. If you’re not sure about the look you want to go for (or what construes as the right style), look up other websites for inspiration. Preferably pick some from your genre or line of business. A food blog will need to be very visual, maybe even bright and colorful. But a wellness blog will have a different, calming vibe and tone to it.
If it’s hard to read, no one’s reading!
Too much text without visual breaks, small fonts, misaligned paragraphs, very dark backgrounds or overpowering images are a huge put off. Create texture in your content with subheadings, visuals, quotes, etc.
Ask a few friends or colleagues to review your blog. Get their impressions, not just on the aesthetics but also how readable the blog is. Facebook Groups for entrepreneurs are a great way to get unbiased and objective feedback – post a query on one and seek member opinions. If you’re lucky (and if you ask nicely) a design expert might even share quick tips to make it better.
No Landing page for Blog
Give me the lowdown first!
Imagine yourself as a visitor to your own blog.
First-time visitors usually prefer to get a feel of a blog. A potential subscriber will want to see multiple posts before they hit ‘Subscribe’. A magazine or top blog evaluating your work surely needs to get an overview of your expertise and range. Chances are that most will skim through your work first, so why not make it easy for them.
Moral of the story – create a compelling landing page!
Even better, share a line or two on what your blog is about, even clickable links on categories or topics covered. Even if you already have more detailed info on your About page, a brief mention (or a link to that page) doesn’t hurt.
Blah. Boring. Banal
What attracts and inspires a reader in your niche? What will compel them to read?
Which of these 2 blogs will you choose? The one titled – 10 ways to make paper crafts or 10 Creative rainy day paper crafts that the kids will love!
Add interest and intrigue, appeal to their fears, desires or concerns. But stay away from clickbait – the kind of content that promises the moon but delivers way lesser.
If you’re stuck for inspiration on your next title, try one of these blog topic generators.
Want a blog that invites visitors to read, explore and even subscribe?
This free e-Book shows you how!
Lack of internal links
Don’t you have other posts of value?
A lot of blogs offer up ‘related posts’ or archives (in the sidebar) that redirect to other posts, but that’s a passive way. Why not actively lead them to other content from within your post. But needless to say, no link stuffing – stay relevant.
A smart way of doing this is to share content that can be a part of your conversation. A recent article on our blog on selling better to grow your business included links to previous posts on boosting your visibility and creative ways to collaborate – both these linked articles offered additional value while staying in context.
Always use anchor text to add links. Instead of hyperlinking to text like ‘click here’, ‘read here’ or ‘get more’ etc. hyperlink the actual words. It’s a user-friendly practice and good SEO too.
No external links
How about credibility and business sense in one swoop?
Are you citing strong and credible sources in your articles? Even if yours is an authority piece, backing up your claims with links that carry higher (SEO) value than yours helps your content very much.
Including quality links attracts repeat readership too because you’re sharing valuable info rather than just a vehicle for your products.
There’s another dimension to this – not all links have to be from leading publications either. You can also link to other blog posts or even LinkedIn profiles of experts. This is good business sense because others are looking for quality backlinks too. Showcase examples, visuals, and links from other businesses, especially if they don’t compete with yours.
If someone gets a mention on your blog, they are more likely to share or engage with your article. The best part is that this support strategy is often mutual. One of our articles on building relationships and pooling resources included a link to a bestseller. This got the blogger a Linkedin follow from its bestselling author – an unintended but definite plus!
But if there’s specific reciprocity involved (like an affiliate link or remuneration of any sort), make sure you disclose that clearly.
Not opening external links in new tab
Why push your audience away?
You want to keep your readers engaged with your posts for as long as possible.
If you include outside links, remember to pick the target as ‘Open link in new tab’. This ensures that the reader doesn’t leave your website when they click. Not doing this is a poor traffic strategy. It’s also a poor SEO move – Google notes that the reader stayed on your site for a very short time before going elsewhere.
Lack of CTAs
Entice me, motivate me!
Some blogs naturally get more reader love. Invite the user to subscribe to your blog, with a clear Call to Action – create a prompt for sharing, comments or the very important, invite them to Subscribe now! Other CTAs can include a tool or freebie, a free product trial, etc.
You can include CTAs in the middle of the blog as a block of text or an image with links – assume that not everyone is going till the end of your article and this way, you can catch them early.
This CTA in the image below is intended to create a visual break from the text and also invite the users to find out more.
Not enabling comments
Feedback is a gift!
Comments are endorsements, feedback and a sign that you have visitors. They can also get meaningful conversations going with your content.
One of the leading career blogs Ask a Manager’s real value and traffic is due to the comments – each of the short Q&A style posts gets dozens, even hundreds of responses. There’s so much info in those, a big inducement to others to read and share their responses, in turn.
Missing search option and tags
No one can find needles in haystacks
Enable either a website search or a Google search widget in your blog. This helps people find more content by topic, keywords or even authors, especially as your blog grows larger.
Similarly, add tags to your blog posts – since they are clickable, you can see all the content that has a particular tag. A tag like makeup may be used in multiple posts on a beauty blog, creating a common thread, which lets the reader easily find other articles on makeup.
Additionally, like in the image below, you can also create or adopt a tag that you then use in all posts – this is great for SEO and social searches, plus a brand-building tool.
Not optimizing for phone
Go where your audience is.
Even if your blogging platform is responsive, you are still not home safe. Since text and data appear differently across devices, you need to check manually for formatting like text layout and images. With so many different device types (phone, tablet, and desktops) it is definitely more work to review layouts, but it also means that people have more ways to read your blog, whether on their morning commute or catching up with nighttime reading.
Not sharing or marketing
Social Media is your billboard!
You created the blog, you wrote the posts. Now don’t wait and watch. Go out and share your work. Social Media is the best channel for this. Follow the 75:25 rule to promote content – i.e. a quarter of your time creating it and the other three quarters to repurpose and promote it.
If your blog has multiple pointers or tips (or even sub-headings), you can choose to showcase one with a different image or feature text – repurposing content is an awesome way to gain more mileage from your posts.
You can go a step further – a reverse of sorts – and build awareness for your social media accounts on the blog.
In this post on Pinterest, I shared not only links to useful pins but also to a Pinterest group for women entrepreneurs. It helped me illustrate how users can maximize their blogs and business on Pinterest and added visibility to the group.
Poor or missing social sharing
Help them share a good thing!
Yes, you are sharing your posts, but are you enabling others to do the same right from your blog?
If your posts appeal or inspire your reader, they would want to spread the word. If readers can’t find social shares instantly, they will not bother. And this costs your blog/ content at many levels.
Most blogging platforms today offer social sharing plugins or widgets – ensure that social icons are prominent and easily findable so that the reader can tweet a snippet or even the whole story. If you also have your own social media displayed on the page, label each category clearly. E.g Follow Us and Share this Post.
A blog is a great tool – for self-expression, marketing as well as sharing your expertise with the world. It can help build your brand, drive traffic to you and is possibly the best vehicle for indirect advertising.
If you can create and share good quality posts and fix the above missteps, your Blog can be a winner!
Pooja Krishna is an Entrepreneur, Consultant and Mom. She has worked both in large corporates and managed startups over the last 20+ years. A co-founder of Maroon Oak, she’s also founded Win Thinks, a small business consulting company, and Trading Paces, which educates amateur and pro stock traders. She blogs and teaches workshops about Brand Strategy, Social Media & Future ready Career Solutions. She loves being a Classroom Mentor and teaching students across the U.S. about Job Skills and Entrepreneurship. Read her interview on Huffington Post.
A trivia buff and yoga & hula hoop enthusiast, Pooja loves spending time with her family playing board games and watching documentaries.