Blogging has become a common marketing tactic for everyone looking to build an online strategy. Small businesses, large businesses, freelancers, authors, you name it. Everyone is blogging. And because everyone is doing it, it’s becoming harder and harder to get your voice heard.
Even if you’re just starting out, or maybe you’ve got an established blog, there are some common mistakes that bloggers are making all over the globe, and this blog is going to help point you in the right direction. First, let’s identify the problems:
- Blogging every day
- Keyword stuffing
- Not investing in marketing
- It’s easy
- No variety
- Poor website design
And now, let’s have a look at how we can solve them:
Blogging every day
If you’re starting out, don’t overestimate how time consuming this can be. Going straight in a deciding you’re going to blog every day is just going to end in tears and burn you out. Even the most professional full-time bloggers won’t necessarily blog every day, and there’s a reason for that.
Churning out content for the sake of it isn’t an effective strategy, there needs to be a purpose to the content. Let’s put this into practice:
For me, I help to teach my audience how to improve their marketing and writing. Therefore, the purpose of my content is to provide useful and insightful information.
What you need to:
Identify the purpose of your content.
If you’re an author: it may be that you want to share your writing experience with your readers. You may want to open a gateway so they can learn more about you, your personality and engage with you.
If you’re a small business: it may be that you want to demonstrate the benefits of your services, or even generate leads for your sales team.
If you’re a freelancer: it may be that you want to create an awareness of your services, and build authority around your brand.
Most people have heard of SEO. If you haven’t, then I would highly recommend taking a look at this article by Moz.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of improving your website content in order to become more visible to Google and thus appear higher up the search rankings.
To put this into a more tangible description; when you Google something, whether it’s the cast members of the last Tarantino film or the opening times of your local corner shop, Google trawls the internet and ranks individual pages on individual websites according to their relevance and authority. This essentially means that websites like IMDB who are established authorities in the film information world are going to appear first.
Google is a monumental machine so it’s important you play by the rules. The keywords people use to search for certain things are used to determine the relevance of these web pages, and many try to get ahead of the game by stuffing as many relevant keywords into their blog post as possible.
But this doesn’t always work.
In Google’s rudimentary form, this was the best way to climb those rankings and appear at the top, but as Google has grown in complexity, but’s able to determine who the spammers are and who the authorities are, based on a number of different factors and not just keywords.
Not investing in marketing
Blogging isn’t the end of the journey, not by a long shot.
‘Blog and they will come’ no longer applies in this oversaturated market. At the end of 2016, 6.7 million people were blogging on blogging sites. That’s a lot of blogs.
So, like any strategy, you need to support your efforts with marketing. Otherwise, how else will people find you?
Marketing can be an intimidating word for many people, but it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Social media sites and community networks are great marketing resources to begin with, and they’re free!
Blogging is not easy. Fact.
It’s hard work that requires time, dedication, discipline and know-how. That isn’t to say you need to be a marketing expert to understand it, but you do need to understand the basics.
This comes back to the purpose of your content. The purpose will define how much time you put in to it and how much you need to understand.
The dedication and discipline are another thing entirely, so it’s important you know what you’re getting yourself into before jumping in.
Blog after blog of just 400 words is boring. Not to mention damaging.
Short and sweet might work in many disciplines, but it doesn’t necessarily work for blogging. You need to include as much variety as possible in your strategy. That means that a couple of blogs at 400 words won’t hurt, but really you should be aiming for at least 500 and then a varied mixture of 600, 700, 800 and so on. Even up to 2,000 if you can manage it.
As well as creating blogs, if you’ve got the budget, or the experience, try creating some images. For authors, this might not be particularly relevant – although a collection of photographs about a recent experience may do well.
For small businesses, we’re talking infographics. If you can also include video, then excellent, but I know this isn’t always an option.
Poor website design
Nothing frustrates me more than when I come across an author website that is poorly designed. I know that many authors have a restricted budget, and also a restricted skill set i.e. they’re excellent at putting words on paper but maybe not so familiar with online marketing.
However, that’s no excuse.
The modern digital world means you can have a great website made in now time for very little money. Depending on how you feel about a custom domain, it could even be free!
It doesn’t need to be complicated, or fancy.
In fact, this is one I did recently: https://simonfairfax.com/
It’s a very basic design, simple layout and yet it’s very effective. You can easily add a blog with very little hassle, and hey presto there’s a fully functioning website.
Admittedly this wasn’t free, but it wasn’t expensive either. We’re talking less than £200 all in including paying me to build it, the custom domain, and the upgraded account from WordPress.
With so many websites out there, poor website design is only going to hinder your online presence, especially when it looks like it’s come out of the 90s. Ew. No-one likes that.
Where making a living can be so difficult as a writer, every penny counts and I know how difficult it can be to let go of the website you paid good money for ten years ago. If it was good enough then, it’s good enough now, right? Wrong.
If we live in a world where interactive fridges and smart watches are the norm, I don’t see why we can’t upgrade a few websites to look good.
That’s all from me today on how to improve your blogging. Some harsh truths, but I hope they’re helpful all the same.