Blogging is an integral part of any online business, but it’s surprising how little people read up on the topic before they launch into the unknown seas of blogging. There are a number of mistakes that new bloggers can fall victim to, mistakes that can be easily avoided with a bit of basic know-how. A simple bit of craft goes a long way in the blogosphere, and avoiding these common pitfalls can help lift your blog above and beyond the competition, while getting a smarter and more streamlined message out to your (ever-increasing) audience. So without further ado, here are eight blogging mistakes you can easily avoid making once you know about them!
Don’t Use an Overly Formal Tone
You shouldn’t treat your blog posts like essays. They’re not formal documents, they’re a friendly glimpse into your company’s life, or the happenings around your business. Making your blog too stiff will result in detachment from your readers, and, more often than not, zero shares on the clock. You want to engage people, and the best way to do that is with a light, breezy tone that entertains and engages all the way through. Go ahead and crack some jokes or make some pop culture references. Everyone likes to smile and your audience will thank you for it. Don’t treat it like an assignment, just write like you speak; this will give your blog a unique voice, while also making it relatable for your readers.
Remember to Use Images
A picture says a thousand words, as we’ve all known since childhood. How then can some bloggers forget about this most valuable of resources? Walls of words are intimidating, especially if it’s a long post; a picture or two (or three! or four! Go nuts!) can really help in settling your reader, as well as grabbing their attention with a striking image. Pixabay‘s photos are plentiful, great quality, and, most importantly, free-to-use, which means you won’t have any issues with copyright. If your post is data-heavy, don’t forget about adding in charts or infographics to break up your research, and help your audience to ‘get the picture’ straight away.
Don’t Go Off on Tangents
In the ‘Poetics’, Greek philosopher Aristotle’s classic text on drama, he dictated that a play should be about one action; one thing and one thing alone. This maxim has stood the test of time, and is still considered to be a pretty inflexible principle in the world of playwriting and screenwriting today. So it is with blog posts. Take some of Uncle Ari’s advice, and keep each post about one thing, and one thing alone. Unless you’re actually a genius, tangents are confusing and frustrating. Keeping your posts individually focused on one topic or point will give them a pleasing unity, and also show off your writing skills.
Don’t Focus Too Much on Word Count
Yes, most bloggers are aware that the longer the post is, the higher it will rank in search engine results, which is ultimately the name of the game. However, you have precious little chance of keeping your audience, let alone have them sharing your blogs, if you write purely to meet a word count. You should also bear in mind that you need to engage your audience, and truly consider what you’re putting out there; you might be relieved to meet your word target, but a 2,000-word mishmash isn’t going to impress anyone. More content is not always better, so make sure you’ve got the content (and skills) to justify an opus before you embark on one.
Remember to Edit Your Blog
You might think that you’re finished the post as soon as you hit your target word count, or have managed to get out all you wanted to say. Not quite there, I’m afraid; you haven’t finished yet. ‘Writing is rewriting’, as the old saying has it, and to make your work really shine, you’re going to have to edit your pieces a number of times over. This is not only to catch out typos (you’ll never get them all, unfortunately), but to fix sentence structures and take out unnecessary words or phrases. Don’t be afraid to cut out pieces of your post if you know deep down they’re superfluous; a simple and direct blog post is a thousand times more preferable to a convoluted, overwritten one.
Remember to Post Consistently
Obviously, the more you blog, the more traffic you get to your website; that’s why we engage in blogging in the first place. However, equally important to volume is consistency. When you’re starting out, you need to keep up whatever rate you set yourself in the beginning, even if you’re not yet experiencing the traffic you desire. You need to lay a strong foundation and prove that you’re here to stay; blogging is a sign of commitment to your brand and business, and shows that you’ve got your head in the game.
Make Sure Your Personality Shines Through
Blogs are a pretty impersonal form of communication in the first place, so it can really pay to let your personality shine through. How do you do this? Mostly by caring and knowing a lot about the subject you’re writing on. If you’re genuinely excited by what you’re writing about, rest assured it will shine through, as will some genuine lived experience in your chosen field. Giving your blog a unique voice is a crucial step in standing out from the crowd, as chances are thousands of people the world over are writing about the same subject as you. Find a unique perspective, utilise your distinct sense of humour, give your readers a glimpse at the person behind the posts; these simple tactics can pay off dividends and place your blog head and shoulders above the rest.