In our 21st century digital age, starting a blog is quick and easy. Anyone can do it. This is a good thing, because it creates the ability for anyone to easily get his voice out there. However, it also means that you might be new to blogging or may have picked up bad habits that you’re not even aware of. When someone lands on your blog, you have mere seconds to grab their attention and keep them there. Fixing these mistakes can mean the difference between someone who returns to your site again and again and someone who moves on and never returns.
The competition is fierce. Copywriter and marketing guru Henneke Duistermaat states on Copyblogger:
“We live in a world full of cheap information. At the push of a button we can get our eyes on far more ideas, blog posts, and news stories than we could ever possibly consume.”
Indeed, we do exist in a world where just about any information you could want or need is at your fingertips. If one site doesn’t offer it in the way the reader likes, he simply moves on to the next choice in his search engine results. Mixing the following mistakes from your blog can up your chances that he’ll stick around your site for a few minutes and possibly even order something.
7 Blogging Mistakes to Avoid
Mistake #1 – Not Creating Landing Pages
Jeff Bullas believes there is one big mistake that bloggers make and that is not creating landing pages to collect visitor info.
“Once you have their email and their name you can start to engage with your prospect. That means building credibility and trust over time. This can be done by providing a stream of free and valuable content.”
Bullas makes an excellent point. If you’re going to spent your advertising dollars trying to get new people to come to your site, don’t you want a way to contact that person in the future? There are a couple of ways you can get them to your site and also encourage them to share their information.
Offer something free in exchange for their e-mail.
Run a contest that they can enter with their e-mail.
Offer a free newsletter that provides free valuable information only to subscribers.
Offer a book in installments via e-mail that is related to your product or service.
Offer a discount on their first order if they sign up for your newsletter.
One example of a company that does this well is Limoges Jewelry. They advertise heavily on Facebook and via AdSense. When you click on one of their ads and hit their landing page, you’ll be invited to sign up for their newsletter to receive news and discounts and 20% off your order today. The incentive to sign up is to get that immediate 20% discount. They then send out one or two e-mails each week offering a discount, free shipping or letting you know about specials they are running. This is a good example of how they are using advertising to send visitors to a landing page, gather information and keep in contact for future sales.
No one expects you to be perfect. Minor typos and errors will be overlooked by readers. However, some grammar purists will cringe and possibly even leave your site over consist misuse of the English language and basic grammar that you should know. In addition, Google may see your site as lower quality and your site’s rank could take a hit in the search engine results.
“Words and phrases that sound fine in your head or spoken out loud can suddenly look like gibberish when written down — that is, if you’ve realized that you made a mistake in the first place.”
She suggests reading articles like hers and other tips on how to avoid common grammar mistakes. You may also want to bookmark the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) so you can look up any grammar issues you are uncertain about. Some basic errors include:
Their/There/They’re – “Their” is possessive and indicates belong to. “There” indicates location. “They’re” is an abbreviation for “they are”.
Lose/Loose – This is a common error that will drive any English teacher who visits your site absolutely insane. “Lose” means to misplace or to not know where something it. “Loose” means not tight.
To/Too – “Too” means more than enough of something. I ate too much, for example.
These are just a few of the common errors people make when writing. Add a little time into your weekly schedule to learn grammar and improve your writing and the payoff will be seen in the quality of your articles.
Mistake #3 – Regurgitating Content from Others
Originality is important.
Even if you’re putting together a list like this one and pulling in views from experts, your list should be different than anyone else’s and should offer some insider information, personal examples and content that can’t be found anywhere else.
“More than anything else, what really matters about your blog is that it represents you and is genuinely unique. While you still need to attune your messaging to what people want to read, whatever you write must be infused with your unique take and style.” – wikiHow
This means that your first step is to do your research. Take a look at what content is already out there. What is missing from that content that readers might want to know? How can you add to it? Give it a different spin?
Also, use your own unique voice while writing. It should be almost as though the reader is sitting across from you over a cup of coffee and you’re sharing a story with her. Lay out the article in a way that makes sense for the storytelling process and use your own unique words and thoughts.
Mistake #4 – Not Being Mobile Friendly
Is your blog mobile friendly and do your articles make sense for mobile readers? In a recent article, Top Lessons you Can Learn from Google’s New Hummingbird Algorithm Changes, I talked about the fact that you need to “make your site mobile friendly. It stands to reason with the new focus on tablets and smart phones that Google will change their algorithm to look at sites that are friendly to these mobile devices.”
According to the Pew Research Center, “As of May 2013, 63% of adult cell owners use their phones to go online.” The same report also offers the statistic that people are now accessing the Internet from mobile devices about 40% of the time.
With those statistics and the fact that the numbers are almost certain to grow as mobile devices get smarter, faster and data less expensive, it only makes sense that bloggers should make sure their material is mobile friendly by:
Adding mobile friendly options on the backend of the blog (make it easy to access text only versions).
Writing content with headlines that grab attention.
Breaking content into manageable pieces that can be read in short spurts between appointments or during commute time.
Mistake #5 – Not Keeping Your Blog Updated
Let’s face it. Entrepreneurs are busy people. I’ve been guilty myself of not updating my blog at times when I know I should. If you’re set up good quality content, your traffic may not even drop noticeably. However, if you want to stay in good graces with your readers, you’ll want to post at least once a week or so.
If you’re so busy with other things that you simply don’t have time to write blog posts, consider hiring a writer to manage this for you. If your blog grows to the point that you have several writers, you may need to promote one as your editor to go over the blog posts for typos or other errors. Remember that quality is key. So, whether you are writing the articles yourself or you are hiring other writers to produce the content for you, you’ll want to be sure each and every piece is edited and the best quality possible.
Mistake #6 – Writing Off-Topic
Another mistake that some bloggers make is adding pieces outside of their niche topic. Let’s say you have site called House Cleaning 101. You might have articles on natural cleaners to us, how to make up a spring cleaning list, the best way to get a stain out of clothing, how to get the shine back in your linoleum floor. Then, one day, your puppy does something cute and you think you’ll add a note about how to pick the best puppy for your family.
You’re right. This is a cute topic and all those adorable pictures of your puppy are sure to be a hit with your readers. The problem? Readers coming to your site want to know how to clean, not how to pick out a puppy.
If it is a topic you simply must write, then consider pitching it as a guest post on another site. Those who read your profile description and want to read more articles by you will understand that your blog link is about house cleaning and articles there will be as well written as your puppy article but will be about housecleaning. This might seem like a nit picky point, but readers are fickle. They will love your blog one day and find a new one the next. If you don’t give them what they want, spot on, then they can and will move on without looking back.
Mistake #7 – Not Backing Up Your Blog
You’re trucking right along, posting content every other day, gaining traffic to your site, when someone hacks into the blog and puts up an add about why people should go to chicken fights. Your server is supposed to keep backups but they are all corrupted and your files on your current site are beyond repair. You had better hope you have at least a somewhat recent backup of your blog.
A good habit to get into is backing up your blog on a specific day of each week or month. If you only post once a week, backing up once a month is okay. If you post more often, you might want to back up weekly. Here is what you should do to backup your blog:
Go to your Control Panel and backup the database.
Go to FTP and transfer all your files in your blog folder (all wp- files), images and php files.
Install a backup plugin, such as BackUpWordPress to automatically backup your site, but do not rely on only this to save you in the case of an emergency. Do regular manual backups as listed above, too.
Article by Lori Soard
Lori Soard has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 1996. She has a bachelor's in English Education and a PhD in Journalism. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, online and she's had several books published. Since 1997, she has worked as a web designer and promoter for authors and small businesses. She even worked for a short time ranking websites for a popular search engine and studying in-depth SEO tactics for a number of clients. She enjoys hearing from her readers.