Top 15 mistakes that are costing your Blog

15 mistakes that are costing your blog
Is your blog suffering for want of traffic and activity? If you want to attract readers and subscribers, get shares and showcase your expertise, fix these 15 mistakes that are costing your blog.

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?

Content confusion

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 reader.

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.

Find out how Smart Design can turn a good website into a memorable one in this FREE power packed webinar!

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.

Get this comprehensive e-Book for some of the best, easy to use Free Design Tools available to you today.

Poor formatting

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.

Uninviting headlines

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 and subscribe? Get this e-Book on Websites that Convert!

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 which 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.

e.g. instead of to read a leading blog for women, click here, you should link this sentence read a leading blog for women.

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 you 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 join.

10 awesome reasons to join Maroon Oak

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.  

Article tags related to Public Speaking. And #WomeninCareers, which is a part of the brand.

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 night time reading.

 

2 different image sizes work best for desktop and mobile devices.

 

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 any 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.

Conclusion

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 mis-steps, your Blog can be a winner!

Who’s in?

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. 

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23 Comments
  1. Katelyn 4 months ago

    Great tips! So helpful!

  2. Kristi Porter 8 months ago

    I recently wrote a similar post, and included a number of the same things! Great to see how you’ve expanded on them. I know this will be helpful to many!

  3. Sara Miller 8 months ago

    This is such a goldmine or helpful info! I’m doing most of these things but there’s always room for improvement for sure! I definitely struggle with that first one–there are so many things I want to blog about, and I don’t know if it’s clear how they’re all related!

  4. Karoline Rose 8 months ago

    Thanks for the tips!

  5. Julia 8 months ago

    These are great tips! I’ve been trying to add more external and internal links to my posts lately

  6. Kate Allyson 8 months ago

    Thank you for sharing! I need to add more links to my posts, and work on being consistent. Do you have any tips for how to create content regularly? How do you decide what to blog about and when, and how do you make time to create content on weekly basis?

  7. Jessica Barnett 8 months ago

    I actually find myself doing a few of these.. *phheeww* haha thank you for the information! You have some great tips that this beginner blogger could definitely use!

  8. Martin Burt 8 months ago

    All great points, thanks for sharing. Definitely need to work on a few of these, headlines being the first I think !

  9. Preet 8 months ago

    This is such a good compilation is all the points to consider to improve the blog and it’s performance. Consistency is so important as is the content. I have been through most of these, this is going to be very helpful for anyone taking their blog seriously.

  10. Nailil 8 months ago

    These are all really great points. And after a year of blogging, I find this to be very helpful! Thanks for sharing.
    Xx, Nailil
    http://www.thirtyminusone.com

  11. nati 8 months ago

    I’ve been working hard in the past two years to make my blog more professional, and I must say most of these mistakes I once made, they are in the past for me now. However, I admit my headlines could be a little more creative… in fact I prepare makeup and nail art tutorials, and after having published over 1100 posts, it becomes difficult to come up with an interesting title for a nail art tutorial!

  12. Elizabeth O 8 months ago

    This was a really interesting article to read. It gave me a lot to think about and some tools I can apply to my own blog. This is a super post for new bloggers too!

  13. Sue-Tanya 8 months ago

    You really have a great post here. These are indeed mistakes that will hurt your blog. Thanks for sharing. Looks like I have some things to fix.

  14. Thank you for this informational and helpful post. Gosh! I am so guilty. My biggest problem is consistency. Since I don’t really prioritize blogging, I end up with some months with no post at all.

  15. Ithfifi 8 months ago

    Wow these points are all so good! The idea of leading readers with relevant post links is not one I had thought of but I’ll try implementing it!

  16. Natalie 8 months ago

    These are all really great points ! I am still working on a CTA to get more subscribers. It’s been difficult for me to figure out what I can make/give my followers !

  17. Taryn 8 months ago

    Great post! All necessary things to do. I need to make sure I’m covering all of these. Thanks!

  18. Mary Yowell 8 months ago

    These are all great tips! I will work on some of these!

  19. Ophelia T 8 months ago

    You have some really great tips for blog posts. I love the tip that having great format and layout is a must in getting more people to check out a blog. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Alaina Monster 8 months ago

    Great tips for seasoned and new bloggers. Something I really been working on lately is SEO. It’s been paying off. I have a couple Google first Pages now!

  21. Tee Evans 8 months ago

    This was such an informative post. I took a lot of notes. Thank you!

  22. Christine 8 months ago

    These are all excellent tips. I need to check if my external links open in a new tab…great tip…thank you!

  23. Ashley 8 months ago

    You have some great tips in this post. I’d definitely recommend that all bloggers (beginner – expert) read this just to make sure they’re avoiding these mistakes!

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