Let me share with you what has been part of my journey: in 2003 I started to blog as a freelance translator. I knew nothing about marketing. I had never heard of target audience, and I most certainly had never given any thought to who my ideal readers could be. All I knew was that I had a unique combination of experience, knowledge and style, as a construction engineer and translator Dutch & English. That is what I wanted to blog about. So I did 🙂
The result? I enjoyed writing! I enjoyed publishing my posts, and yet I became very disappointed when I noticed my blog posts generated zero comments. Perhaps this resonates with you…? If so, then please keep reading!
Mistakes are a great educator
Years later, once I had learned a lot about entrepreneurship thanks to my networking years with BNI and a whole range of inspiring marketing and business programmes and master classes, I discovered that success comes from a sequence of mistakes. You know, that was such a relief, because you can learn a lot from mistakes, and when you make as many mistakes as quickly as possible, you’re on a steep learning curve with success around the corner. Luckily I took that definition to heart, started implementing this in my business at that time: my translation agency. Yes, I have made many mistakes – including the mistakes listed below – and yes, my translation agency became more and more successful.
The art of learning from other people’s mistakes
My most important lesson about blogging without disappointments is that I much rather learn from other people’s mistakes. That in itself is a major accelerator for my learning process and is now also the ultimate reason why I am sharing these 7 frequently made mistakes with you.
You see, the word “earning” is an often overlooked part of “learning“. This contains a lesson, if you’re wishing to see it: learn the good stuff from others and earn the benefits that come with that. Avoid the mistakes other people make. A mistake isn’t something negative: a mistake is an action that is not eligible for repetition!
So, are you ready to discover which actions are not eligible for repetition? Here goes!
The 7 blogging mistakes you don’t want to make
1 – Keeping a Diary
Please don’t. Nobody, absolutely nobody, wants to read your online diary. Your business blog is not about you, you know. It isn’t. It’s all about your reader! Your ideal reader, your target audience. You won’t be writing blog posts about what’s on your mind, but about how you will help your audience. A diary is a NO-GO area.
2 – Focusing on SEO
The focus on SEO for your blog posts means hoping for traffic from search engines. If SEO is not your expertise and you therefore don’t know for sure what you’re doing exactly, forget that for your blog. Accidental readers are not your most important readers. And SEO sauce over your blog texts aren’t spicing things up in a good way, either. Your texts won’t be quite as digestible as when you write in your own words, in your own style, and with your own ideas. Focus on writing for your target audience and leave SEO to the experts.
3 – Forgetting a Call to Action
A call to action is marketing terminology for telling your readers precisely and clearly what you want them to do at the end of your blog posts. When you forget to finish with a call to action it will cost you valuable action on your blog. Do you want comments? Tell your readers! Do you them to download a file? Tell your readers! Do you want them to register for a free webinar? Tell your readers. Tell them in a call to action.
4 – Blogging irregularly
Not cool. Why? Well, I learned the hard way… Irregular posting puts your credibility on the line. I know how that feels, as I’ve been there… more than once, even. When there are big gaps between your blog posts, your readers might lose interest, or worse, even forget about you. Conversely, when you post too often, this can be experienced as too much, as spam, or lead to irritation. Just make sure you find a rhythm. For yourself, but most certainly for your readers!
5 – Not allowing Comments
Blocking comments on your blog is not a smart idea. Why? Because it will deprive you of valuable information and an even more valuable dialogue. You do want comments, as they are part of the conversation you want on your blog. I strongly believe that the most important social media platform for your business is your own blog. The advantages of comments are plenty. First of all, readers will notice that other readers are commenting – this illustrates that your blog posts are interesting. Then, your posts will have increased value with comments. And thirdly, readers will be more inclined to comment, too, if they can see other comments. Also, comments provide you with highly important questions & information about your target audience. That is a win-win-win situation. Surely, you would want that, wouldn’t you?
6 – Allowing unmoderated Comments
Equally bad are unmoderated comments: when you allow comments, make sure you moderate them! What I mean by moderating (not to be confused with ruthless editing) is using a traffic light system. Red comments are ugly, by nature, content or language and spam. NEVER allow these. Amber comments are not ideal, they may contain errors or a promotional link you don’t want to allow on your blog, so you amend spellings mistakes, other errors and external links before allowing the comment. Green comments are valuable comments, well spoken, relevant to your blog and topic and you allow those.
7 – Too many Words
Too many words are risky. Readers may instantly notice there is a lot of scrolling to do, and they could well click away immediately. Bear that in mind. Research shows that the ever increasing amount of information that comes at you on a daily basis that more and more people either skim or scan texts. Readers who scan texts want to get through to the end of your blog post quickly. Lots of text and scrolling, hinders that. My advice is to keep the number of words below 900 for a blog post – this way you will keep your readers reading up to your call to action.
Well, what do you think? Will this enhance the value of your blog posts for your clients? Let that be my wish for you!
There are plenty more mistakes you may wish to avoid. I am highly interested in mistakes you have come across. Let me know and comment below! And when you do, I’ll give you three more mistakes to avoid, by way of a bonus, how’s that?
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