Tips & Tricks
One of the most common misconceptions about blogging is that it is an easy thing to do. After all, how hard could it be to write a few articles loosely related a topic that you are truly passionate about? It’s usually not until somebody sits down to write that they realise creating and managing a successful blog is not quite the walk in the park they assumed it to be.
In this article, we’ll cover why it’s important for your creative business to have a blog before addressing some of the most common blogging mistakes that can harm your chances of blogging success.
Why Write a Blog?
A well-written blog has the power to transform your creative business. Blogging is a powerful tool through which you can communicate and connect with your audience on a more personal level.
You can effectively communicate the quirks of your personality and the admirable ideals of your company. Additionally, you can give readers an exclusive insight into the interesting happenings that go on behind the scenes of your day to day creative adventures and mishaps.
What’s more is that the search engines love them. When blogging is done right, you can expect to see your website shoot right up the search engine rankings. This is wonderful because it conveniently provides you with more traffic to your site. More traffic means more business, no matter how obscure or enigmatic your creative tastes are!
So without further ado, let’s carefully examine the most common pitfalls that aspiring bloggers fall victim to and discover what we can do to avoid them.
Not having a deep understanding of who your target audience is
Professional bloggers spend a large proportion of their time tediously deciphering the exact demographics of their audience. They examine copious amount of analytics and other data which allow them to pinpoint exactly who they are writing for. They know their tastes, their interests, their age, their sensibilities and even how much money they earn.
The reason they go to such lengths to understand their audience is because they know that once they have established an image of their ideal audience, they can write in such a way that resonates deeply with them. While you don’t have to delve deep into the data to pinpoint exactly who your ideal reader is, it’s best to have a general idea of who you are targeting before you begin to write.
When we don’t know who it is that we are trying to reach, our blogging tends to become rather generic and unappealing. One practical piece of advice is to write as though you are having a one–to-one conversation with your favourite reader. Your writing will become infinitely more personal, more conversational and more engaging.
Tip: Use a web service such as Alexa or SEMrush to have a look at who is interested in some of your big competitors– this will give a good idea about the demographics you should be writing for. Don’t forget to examine your own analytics too with Google Analytics.
Publishing posts inconsistently
If one behaviour exists that has been responsible for the death of more blogs than any other it is this; a failure to devise and adhere to a realistic publishing schedule. When you first start blogging you are filled to the brim with a plethora of fresh, new and exciting ideas. It can be very tempting to take to the page like a maniac and churn out a sizeable amount of content in a very short space of time.
However, as a few weeks pass, you will start to discover that the true challenge of blogging is not to write a masterpiece sporadically but to write well consistently.
If a strict schedule is not set, blogging can often take a backseat as time is quickly assigned to other important and necessary tasks for your business. Blogging is much more of a marathon than a sprint. A realistic schedule can help increase your chances of success by providing your readers with a steady stream of content that will keep readers coming back for more.
Tip: Devise a realistic schedule for your writing and posting that strikes the balance between consistent publishing and consistently high quality. This is the cornerstone of long term blogging success.
Neglecting the visual appeal of your blog
The visual presentation of your blog is almost as important as the writing; even if your ideas are ground-breaking your readers won’t be drawn in if they can’t navigate the text easily.
It’s imperative to create reference points by breaking up large sections of text into smaller, more manageable pieces. Headings, sub headings and lists make your posts easier to scan and far more pleasurable to read – especially on mobile devices.
Additionally, high-resolution images are an indispensable asset when trying to optimise your blog posts. Researchers who have investigated the behaviour of readers online have reported that visitors will read only about 20% of what you have written!
While this is quite a depressing figure, with an array of appropriate images, charts and infographics punctuating your monotonous looking text you stand a far greater chance of communicating your message to the visitor. For a more in-depth analysis of how formatting can affect your readership take a look at this interesting piece written by Conversion Review.
Not engaging with people who comment on your blog
Taking the time to thoughtfully respond to people who comment on your blog lets your readers know that you care. It’s easy to fall into the mindset of thinking that a blog is a unidirectional stream of communication, but the best bloggers behave more lecturers, with each session followed by a useful question and answers section at the end.
The exchange of information between reader and writer is wonderful because it provides both parties with tangible benefits. By responding to your readers’ comments, they can gain a clearer and more insightful sense of what the post was attempting to communicate. While similarly, you as the writer can glean a better understanding of what it is the reader’s needs and questions so you can better tailor your writing in the future. The richness of this exchange also means that the comments section of your blog can become a rich depository of ideas for new articles that the audience would enjoy reading.
Lastly, comments beget more comments. Seeing that a dialogue has opened up between the author and the readers, others may feel compelled to add their reactions, thoughts and ideas into the mix. As you get more and more comments, your audience will become highly engaged meaning that you will be setting yourself up for the greatest chances of success.
Tip: You will find all the comments left on your blog under Settings → Communication → Blog. Comments are by default enabled for each new blog post you create on your Portfoliobox site.
Writing without marketing yourself
‘Write it and they will come’ they said. Whoever they were obviously never blogged in their life! The internet has become a very crowded space in recent years. It can seem at times as if the world and its mother are all engaged in an elbow-nudging battle, constantly vying for the same finite amount of clicks and attention.
Having a killer marketing plan for your blog is a brilliant way to help give you an edge over your competition and ensure that your content gets read, liked and shared more frequently. Invest a little time in writing irresistible headlines that entice browsers visit your page. If you are on a budget, the best way to promote your business is to collaborate with other bloggers. Visit Kissmetrics for an in-depth guide on how to go about this. Reaching out in this manner won’t cost you any money and has the potential to expand your reach to new engaged audiences at a rapid rate.
Tip: Make sure that your posts are sharable by activating the Social Media share button on your Portfoliobox site.
One wonderful habit to develop is to write conclusions that provide a short round up and summary of the main points discussed within the post. It can be very helpful to capture the attention of browsers. Some people aren’t sure if they want to commit to wading through the whole content but just want to get a quick idea of what the article is about. So to recap, when starting a blog be sure that
• You have a very good idea about who it is that you are writing for
• You set a realistic publishing schedule and stick to it
• You avoid big walls of text and use good images, videos and infographics to help convey your message
• You answer each and every comment in a professional manner
• You guest post on larger blogs and consider using paid traffic to boost your reach
By implementing these 5 strategies you will be avoiding the most common blogging mistakes that haunt aspiring bloggers and stunt their chances of attracting an engaged and passionate audience.