Are These 6 Stupid Blog Mistakes Costing Your Business New Leads?

Do These 6 Stupid Blog Mistakes Cost You Business?
Even an eraser this big won’t fix these costly blog mistakes (Image Source)

You’re blogging your socks off.

You work damn hard to generate good blog post ideas. You polish each sentence. You choose the right words. Heck, you’re even watching your punctuation.

But let’s be honest.

Does it sometimes feel a little too much effort for too little gain? Does your blog really generate the business you deserve?

Let’s have a look at the 6 most common blogging mistakes that could be screwing up your precious business leads.

1. You don’t have an email strategy

A blog without an email list is like a swimming pool without water. A bar without beer. A city without transport links.

People may arrive at your blog by accident once, but what makes them come back?

Email allows you to nurture a relationship. It encourages people to come back whenever you publish a new blog post.

An email list allows your subscribers to get to know you, like you, and trust you before you start selling your products and services.

Write a short, engaging email each time you publish a post. Get people to click through to read your blog posts on your website. Because that gives you a better chance that they browse around to look for more information about your products.

You can also use an autoresponder email series to welcome people, point them to popular blog posts, and offer a trial or a discount.

One-time blog readers are useless unless you make them return again, and again.
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Unbounce Blog Email Strategy
Unbounce encourages you to sign up to the email list and to start a free trial

2. Your sign-up form is not optimized

Do you agree that email is important?

Your first action should be to remove your RSS button. Don’t give people the choice between RSS and email. Because email is much more valuable.

For instance: I have 313 blog feeds organized in 21 categories on Feedly. And I just checked: 3,202 posts are unread. Do you think I will read all these posts? Come on. I’ll soon mark them all as read in one go. Without reading. Perhaps even without scanning the headlines.

When people allow your emails in their inbox, you have a much better chance to be read. So, how can you increase your email sign-ups? A few ideas:

  • Give people a reason to sign-up. Get updates isn’t an incentive. What will they learn when they sign up? How will you help them save or make money? How will you make them happier, healthier, or more productive?
  • Consider a bribe – a relevant bonus like an ebook, video, or free e-course.
  • Place your sign-up form in strategic locations, like at the bottom of a blog posts, in your side bar, on your home page, and on your about page.
  • Review your privacy statement as it could actually scare people away from signing up. Read more about the impact of your privacy policy here.

Increasing email signups is a careful balance between not annoying loyal readers and ensuring new readers sign up. Be careful with how you use pop-ups. Consider the DreamGrow Scroll Triggered Box or use a simple plugin like Elevatr to design forms that stand out.

For more information on optimizing your signup forms check out How to Write High-Converting Sign-Up Form Copy or 14 Steps to Building Sign-up Forms That Convert.

3. Your blog is too corporate

Nobody likes chatting with a corporation. Nobody fancies taking a company out for dinner. Nobody enjoys phoning a call center robot.

So why does your blog sound so corporate?

A few tips on writing engaging blog posts:

  • Stop talking about your products, your company, and your services. Instead, answer your readers’ questions and help them solve their problems.
  • Write as if you’re having a conversation with your favorite customer.
  • Use the word you more often than the words I and we.
  • Create your own unique blogging voice. Use phrases only you use.
  • Avoid gobbledygook and jargon – unless your readers use the same words.
  • Use short sentences and short paragraphs.
  • Write compelling subheadings to tempt scanners to start reading.

Stop selling on your blog, start teaching. You’ll sell more.
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KISSmetrics blog that doesn't sell
The KISSmetrics blogs is extremely informative and rarely sells their products

4. You got your SEO strategy completely wrong

Blogging and SEO are a powerful duo, but you have to maintain a careful balance between the two.

Too much emphasis on SEO slaughters your creativity. It makes your blog posts boring as hell. But ignoring SEO is a wasted opportunity. You might miss out on relevant traffic and precious leads.

How can you strike the right balance? How can you write seo-friendly blog posts that your audience will love?

  • Always write for your readers first, optimize for keywords later.
  • Think about the questions your audience asks; use each question as a headline to target long tail traffic.
  • Consider the choices your audience needs to make and write comparison posts to target even more long tail traffic.
  • Create resource pages where you collect your best posts about a specific topic.

Only publish blog posts you’re proud of.
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5. You’re bored with your blog

If you’re bored with blogging, rest assured: you’re boring the bejesus out of your readers, too.
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How can you write interesting blog posts if you don’t feel passionate about what you’re writing? How can you fascinate your readers and get them to read your posts word by word, if you’re just throwing a few sentences together because you have to?

But what can you do when you really do feel bored with your blog? How can you write interesting blog posts that fascinate, entertain, or help your readers? A few tips:

  • If you’re bored with your topic, switch to another topic. Yes. Seriously. At some stage you’ll find that you’ve written enough about the same old topic. It’s time to mix it up and widen your scope. Read this case study on how Buffer pivoted their blog twice.
  • If you’re bored because you don’t want to write what your editorial calendar suggests, rip up your calendar. Throw it in the bin. Instead, keep a list of ideas. When you write your next blog post, pick the idea that appeals to you most. Don’t feel bogged down by this-is-what-I-must-blog-about-today. You should also consider your blogging schedule. Can you reduce your blogging frequency so you can focus on the quality of your posts? And keep your readers happy?
  • If you’re bored with writing, set yourself a new writing challenge. Don’t stick to list posts if you’re bored with list posts. Try a new blog post template, make up a new metaphor, write a super-short post, or create your most comprehensive post ever. Try visual blog posts. Create podcasts or videos. Try. New. Things

Whatever you blog about, be sure to have fun because your enthusiasm is contagious.
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Buffer pivoted blog twice
Buffer widened their blog topics from Twitter tips to productivity and life hacks

6. You focus on vanity metrics

We’re all human. And we’re all at least a little vain.

We like to get lots of page views. We like loads of comments. We love social shares. Simply put, We like social proof. And we LOVE attention.

But social proof doesn’t directly contribute to your company’s bottom line. The most important question to ask is whether your blog generates quality leads. How are you turning blog readers into customers?

You can get excited about a link from popular blog. Maybe it sent you thousands of web visitors. But don’t pat yourself on the back so quickly. What happened to all those visitors? Did they read and then bounce off? Without lingering? Without checking out your product pages? Without signing up for a free trial? Without joining your email list?

Focus on what makes your business grow. Get people on your email list to nurture a relationship and turn them into customers. Measure your email subscribers and conversions into trials or sales.

Focus on blog metrics that count. Measure how blog readers turn into business.
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The truth about blogging for business

I’d love to tell you business blogging is easy. I’d love to tell you there are a few quick fixes and that you can win business with no effort at all. But the truth is that blogging is hard work. You need to be creative. You need to write well. You need need to promote your blog.

Work hard to become the most comprehensive source of information in your industry. Build your authority. Answer all questions you’ve been asked by customers. Be helpful.

And don’t forget to add a dose of personality to your blog. Share your knowledge with passion, because your enthusiasm is contagious.

– Henneke Duistermaat


About The Author

Photo of Henneke Duistermaat

Henneke Duistermaat is a blogging coach and irreverent copywriter. She’s on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring companies charming. Looking to improve your web copy? Get the free ebook 21 Easy Tips to Turbocharge Your Web Copy and Win More Customers at Enchanting Marketing.
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Comments

  1. Lou says:

    Thank You Henneke, Some great tips I will put to use.

  2. Sam Flatman says:

    Hi Henneke. Many thanks for these tips very helpful. What are your views on adverts at the side of a blog? I’m worried they may cause more distraction than good?

    • Henneke says:

      Yes, they can indeed be distracting, and you need to weigh up the money you can make from advertising (often relatively low) against the benefits you can get from getting people to sign up to a trial or your e-newsletter. It depends of course, but usually you can make more money by selling your own products. And that means that often you’re better off without ads – unless they’re ads for your own products!

  3. Amandah says:

    Thanks for this post on blog mistakes!

    I just read a post on HubSpot about Google updating their Webmaster Guidelines’ Link Schemes document. It’s becoming clear that bloggers cannot ignore the fact that writing for an audience first and foremost is important.

    SEO is a part of blogging, but your content needs to connect with people. It needs to provide solutions to their problems. Blogging for search engines doesn’t cut it anymore.

  4. Seo says:

    And don’t forget to add a dose of personality to your blog. Share your knowledge with passion, because your enthusiasm is contagious.

  5. Dustin Heap says:

    Great advice Henneke. A few of these hit home for me. Lots to think about when it comes to a corporate vs. personal blog. Love the Triggered Plugin as well. Visibility of a pop up without the annoyance.

  6. I hate a boring blog. Typically these are corporate blogs with no personality whatsoever. I dont pay these any mind whatsoever.

  7. Mike Searles says:

    What a great article full of handy tips on better blogging.

    Thanks Henneke.

    PS You walk-your-talk too with your own writing oozing personality

  8. William says:

    Great advice here, Henneke. The “too corporate” is definitely one many companies make. It’s always good to try to inject a bit of humour and personability into your writing — and make it read more like a conversation. Lots of emphasis on you’s and your’s, and not taking yourselves *too* seriously.

  9. Monica says:

    I love these tips! I will have to make some tweeks to my blogs in the future to make sure I avoid some of these conundrums.
    I do marketing for a startup company, and dove into the relm of blogging recently. Two great ways I found to blog about my company without pushing my product is to:
    1..) Write about the INDUSTRY I am in, not my company, but slip in at least one link to a page on my company’s website that relates to the topic.
    2.) Instead of blogging as “My Company Name”, I created a character that blogs for my company about stuff in the industry. It helps because I can go on forums and promote my blog without directly promoting my company, and stay under-the-radar without being a paid advertiser (sneaky, yes). It also makes people feel more comfortable talking to me as a “blogger” instead of a “company”.

  10. Json says:

    wow! i like your blogs! Anyway the most exciting, insane promo I have ever put out is now in motion!

    ◘ The Most Exciting and Insane Promo

  11. Jason – your promo didn’t look insane. Or exciting.
    Sorry

  12. I love the 6th one about focusing on Vanity metrics! Like you stated I think that when blogging people can tend to be a bit in vein, and not focus in on what makes their company grow! To be honest customers probably don’t care much about personal information, but more of what service or product you have to offer. Focus on what helps promote your business, not yourself… ill keep that in mind!

  13. Shruti says:

    I know of some useful blogs that have not been updated in so long that I seldom even check to see what’s new — and may miss what’s new. You mentioned that it’s important to keep a schedule, but I’d like to add a few tips:

    (1) Before you “go public,” publish five or more posts. This way, when you do go public, people who find you will spend more time on your blog, and people who are not interested in a particular topic are more likely to read your other posts than to merely dismiss you and go elsewhere.

    (2) Don’t be reluctant to publish reruns, particularly of popular posts, updated if possible and with a new title. You should be constantly attracting new readers, so don’t assume that someone who sees a post on 8/4/13 also saw it on 11/7/10. Some items may be tied to the calendar and deserve annual or more-frequent publication.

    (3) Build up a backlog of posts (some complete, some almost complete and some that may be just concepts or titles). If you come up “dry” on a particular day, look at your pending post list.

    (4) Read, read, read and listen, listen, listen. New blog posts won’t always pop magically from your brain. You can publish your reaction (which can be praise, condemnation or amplification) of what you’ve read online or on paper, or a movie or TV show you’ve watched, even a conversation you’ve overheard.

    (5) Periodically change the way your blog looks. You can change a background color, change the title typeface, move the sidebar from one side to the other, change the sequence of items in the sidebar. Don’t let readers think, “same old same old.” This goes for websites as well as blogs.

    Thanks

    • Henneke says:

      Thank you for taking the time to add your thoughtful comment, Shruti. I especially like your point #4. This is so important!