Blogs provide an excellent platform to engage with customers. WordPress blogs reach more than 70 million readers and Tumblr blogs reach up to 39 million. With numbers like those, you can see how important a blog can be, both as an extension of a business site and as a standalone destination.
But many bloggers make basic errors that lessen their blogs' effectiveness. Are you making the same errors? Review the following list of nine unforgivable blogging offenses to make sure you are not committing any of them.
Crime No. 1: Your posts are all dense text
Your blog is a horrible dense block of text with no breaks, bullet points, headings, or graphics.
Organizing your blog posts into sections and including bullet points, subheadings, numbers, and graphics not only makes your post easier to construct but also makes for a much easier and appealing read. Consider all the blogs you admire and follow the most: What do their posts look like?
I thought so!
Dense posts do not work. Headings and bullet points are your friend!
Crime No. 2: Even you don't care what you write about
Your blog post is a rambling mess of inaccurate information and lazy writing that even you cannot bear to reread.
How can you expect people to read content that even you do not care about? If you are not passionate yourself about the work that you do, that will show in your posts. Take the time to get to know your field, only write what you know and care about, and take the time to write carefully. Your passion and care will shine through and make your blog a more interesting place to visit.
Crime No. 3: Your blog design is more chameleon than consistent
Every time a visitor returns to your, its look and feel is completely different... because you just can't make up your mind!
That sort of inconsistency is confusing, and confusion is the last thing you want when encouraging regular visitors and subscribers.
Though the content and tone of your blog may have remained the same, the constant changes in theme (design template) will make people second-guess whether this is the place they had previously visited, potentially resulting in the loss of some valuable followers.
When launching your blog and beginning to promote it, take the time to pick a theme and stick with it. If you decide to change your theme down the road, promote it as rebranding and make a show of it, ensuring that your followers are aware of the change and on board.
Crime No. 4: Any space on your blog is crammed with advertisements
Every tiny bit of spare space on your blog is filled with an advertisement so you can make just that little bit more cash.
A blog crammed with ads is an assault on the eyes; all the flashing and busy text causes visitors to click frantically away just to MAKE IT STOP!
That's not to say you should include no advertising at all. Just be selective about what you include. Ensure the ads are related to your topic and do not detract from the blog itself. That is the best strategy both for you and for your advertisers: You get ad revenue without turning off readers and you put relevant ads in front of them, and advertisers get a target market for which their ads are appropriate and in some cases even welcome.
Crime No. 5: You provide no contact information, you have no social media presence apparent, you do not have a bio, and you do not respond to comments
Your blog feels a little like a ghost town, with no one to connect with and no information about the owner of the blog.
Hello? Is there anyone there?
Not connecting with your readers is a fundamental mistake. You want people to connect with you and your work—that's the point of a blog. Readers of a blog want to be able to ask questions and find out more about the person behind the writing.
Simply adding a contact page, including a little bit of information about you as a person, and taking the time to respond to comments and questions will encourage more engagement with your blog. And including those all-important social media buttons is a must as well! (More on this next.)
Crime No. 6: You do no blog promotion whatsoever
Your blog sits there on the Web, waiting for someone to stumble across it.
That is potentially the biggest and most catastrophic crime that any blogger can commit. Blogging away and writing excellent content on a beautifully laid out blog is all well and good, but if no one knows about it then you may as well just have badly written, dense blocks of text on a blog that daily changes its theme.
Blog promotion is critically important: You must get the word out there that you exist and that you are producing good content. So join the conversation on social media, guest-blog on others' blogs, and basically just shout far and wide about your blog!
If you have something valuable to say, you need people to hear it, and promotion is the only way people are going to get the opportunity to do so!
Crime No. 7: Your blog is full of guest posts
Every post seems to be from a different person, and there seems to be no consistent blogger on your site.
Accepting guest posts is a great way to offer your readers valuable information and perspectives, but if you are not a consistent presence on your own blog, then it really isn't your blog.
Ensure that for every three guest posts you publish there is a post from you or from another resident blogger. As much as I advocate accepting guest posts, I also advocate that you be the key presence on your blog.
Crime No. 8: Your titles are confusing or boring
Your post titles do not clearly convey what your post will be about, or they are so boring that no one will be encouraged to click on them.
Your posts' titles are the most important tool you have for getting people to read your blog. If they are misleading, people will click to the post, be disappointed, and not return to your blog. If they are accurate but dull, then people will infer that the post is dull and they will go looking for something more interesting.
Post titles will be seen in numerous places: on your blog, in search engine results, and on feeds. It's absolutely worth spending the time to make sure they are perfect. There is a lot of good advice online about crafting great blog titles, but this resource on writing "magnetic headings" (http://www.copyblogger.com/magnetic-headlines/) is particularly useful.
Crime No. 9: You hide advertising in your blog posts
You include links and implicit promotion within your posts to affiliate companies.
Not disclosing your relationship with affiliates is underhanded. If you have a relationship with a company, say it! Doing so does not make the information you give any less valuable. To the contrary, by being up front about the relationship, you increase your credibility and that of the affiliate.