Good, regular blogging is one of the best things you can do to help your business grow – businesses that write on their blog regularly receive 55% more website visitors and have 437% more indexed pages in Google than business that do not. But even inside the realm of business blogging, there are still important mistakes to avoid, or pitfalls that can prevent you from fully seeing that success.
Let’s examine four signs that you’re not blogging for the right reasons.
The Ultimate Guide to Blogging for Small Business
1. “We were told to blog often to keep our website ‘fresh’ for SEO.”
This mistake is often made by bloggers who don’t understand why their blog isn’t having the impact on their business that they thought it would. At some point, they heard that fresh content is critical for SEO, and that Google and Bing both love to find fresh content. This is all true, but their content isn’t having the impact they had hoped for because they are writing to try to make a search engine happy, instead of for their human readers. Instead of creating great content that people want to read and share, they end up writing short, lower-quality blog posts just to make the site have some appearance of activity. After six months of poor results, they’re understandably frustrated.
Instead of trying to trick the search engines into thinking you have great content, actually have great content. Produce articles that people will want to read and share with their peers. Far more important than being “fresh” is having high-quality content for people to read. Search engines appreciate that too. Those extra website visitors are the results of real humans sharing your post and enjoying it, which the search engines watch for and reward.
If people don’t like your content enough to link to it, share it, or comment on it, it’s not going to have the same impact on your business as truly great content will. If you want the benefits of having great content, you must put in the time and effort to produce it.
2. “We post all our company news and press releases on our blog.”
Great blogs exist to share unique insights, useful information, and help you express your authority and expertise on a subject to your audience. They can be narrowly focused on one topic, or cover broad subjects (like inbound marketing!) Blogs shouldn’t exist just to put your company’s news and awards online. There’s nothing wrong with doing that from time to time, especially for unusual events, but if the majority of your content has no educational value for your audience, that’s not a good sign.
Instead, make sure that you’re providing content on your blog that is interesting to people at all levels of depth. Maybe your blog is the best place to post this news for employees to find it, but your leads and customers will be seeing this too and will probably be less excited about it than you are.
There’s nothing wrong with posting exciting company news or announcements on your blog. But if that’s all you post, your blog just won’t attract a lot of repeat readers. Great bloggers know to mix up their content and keep things interesting so that they can attract readers without relying on too much promotion.
3. “We used to blog every week, but it’s actually more like once a month.”
You’ve got a lot of things going for you, but you need to be regular and consistent if you want to see some real growth of your blog. Without regularly adding content, it will be difficult to attract subscribers or inbound links unless your content is truly exceptional – and chances are, if you’re not a blogger with years of experience writing riveting blog posts, it won’t be easy to produce that much content at such a fast pace.
If you have pressing demands on your time that make it difficult to publish new content frequently, you still have good options for making your blog vibrant and successful. Try creating shorter content that’s still high-quality, such as useful top ten lists, or take older posts from your blog and update them for new and improved versions. It’s also useful to make sure that you set reasonable expectations for yourself so you don’t get discouraged. If you can accept that you’re driving less traffic and fewer leads for your business because you’re blogging less, then that’s an option too.
Blog readers love to be able to come back to sites that they enjoy to read more content. If you’re only updating your blog sporadically, it’s hard to build a real fan base. Keep creating great content, and set reasonable expectations for the frequency and volume of your blog so that it can fit into your schedule.
4. “Our blog is full of great content for our customers!”
Out of the three major mistakes of blogging, this is the least problematic but still an important issue to note – and that is, you’re creating interesting, engaging content, but you’re missing out on a big potential audience. If you’re not using your blog as a magnet to attract new visitors and leads, you might be missing some big opportunities. It may be that a separate blog that is specifically for your customers might make sense.
Just like in number two above – make sure that you are producing content for a variety of potential audiences. Gather topic ideas or questions from your sales team or contact form to learn about what your potential leads and customers are asking about and what their needs are, and write posts that answer those questions.
It’s great to use your blog to encourage your customers to continue to learn more, and to share content with them. Make sure that you write for a broad audience by varying the types of content you produce, and use your blog to generate leads as well as to help your existing customers.
Have you ever had any of these problems on your own blog? How did you solve it or change your content?
Guest Author: Brian Whalley is the Website & SEO Manager at HubSpot, a marketing software company in Cambridge, MA that makes inbound marketing and lead management software. He works on lead and customer generation from organic search to help HubSpot and other companies.