There are a number of reasons to run a blog and even more blog mistakes that I have seen recently. Most websites now contain a blog, from limited companies to simply a local Sunday league team. Whilst I am a big advocate of the power in creating fresh content for your readers, I should also make it clear that if you do not use it regularly and properly it is probably a waste of time, money, and effort.
I see a few silly mistakes made by people spending time creating a blog because they have been told ‘you should be blogging’. In their haste, there are some crucial elements neglected to leave that inspirational piece sitting in the internet’s basement where it could not even be found by Larry Page.
Blog Title and URL Mistake
This little error is actually a huge monstrous catastrophe. Having no blog header title and a non-descriptive URL left me tearing my hair out. The work to create content for a blog without these elements almost made me feel like I was wasting my time. It can still share ok on social media but after that initial bump, it is unlikely that it will gain any traffic from search. Believe me, when I say, search is still bigger than social when generating website traffic. It is usual to see at least 60 percent of visitors entering your blog or website from Google, especially when posting evergreen content.
SEO friendly URLs are important when signalling to Google what you’re all about, make sure you are getting some keywords in there.
Look at the example below. The end of the URL reads ‘/?p=175’. These letters are a missed chance and Google will crawl this whole URL. Change this to include keywords, for example, the URL for this blog might read www.eliotprince.com/blog/silly-blogging-mistakes
A blog title is pretty important, huh? Not only does it look unprofessional and lazy just to have ‘Just Another WordPress Blog’ as the title for the ENTIRE blog, it says I don’t care to readers and Google.
Google wants quality, trusted information. Google wants to know you are legit. ‘Just Another WordPress Blog’. On a scale of 1 to legit, it is probably minus 10.
Stand Alone Blog Mistake
Creating a blog separate from your existing website is something that I have seen many times and it sets alarm bells ringing. It can be leveraged if setup correctly and a plan is in place. More often than not it will be a headache inducing, time waster.
One of the underlying aims of a blog is to drive traffic to your website. Getting eyeballs on your brand and signalling to search that people find your website useful. So if you have a blog under a different URL, working as a stand alone website that you link to a ‘blog’ menu tab on the website proper it could still work, right? Maybe, but unlikely unless you have a dedicated marketing and content creation department.
The damage is significant and, yes, the reason is Google. Let’s take an example of website 1 and website 2. Imagine the two websites are equal in all aspects. The only difference is website 1 has more traffic because their blog is built into the site, where as website 2 is missing out on those extra eyeballs on its URL as they are busy looking at website2bloggyblog.wordpress.com.
Very simply website 1 (your competitor) will rank higher, as Google can see website 1 is more popular than website 2.
I have seen some notable exceptions from companies who know their stuff when it comes to content marketing. ski-buzz.co.uk is a particular stand out. A stand alone blog from the tour operator Crystal.
Their work tends to dominate search and social when it comes to the ski industry. It works because their blog is trusted and of such quality that it constantly ranks number 1 on Google. Simply pop ‘ski blog’ in your search bar and at the time of writing ski buzz is top.
They drive a lot of traffic to their blog and with high-quality content that also contains links, calls to action and branding for their company website. I still must think that they miss out on some readers to their main website, but they can also tailor a fresh blog to different keyword topics.
I personally find it quite a turn off when I see outdated, old, useless blog posts from 3 years ago. If you are not going to use a blog just get rid of it spend your time on something else.
There are a few reasons I will visit a companies blog. If I’m likely to find some informing work to help me learn a certain niche or subject, maybe gain a few pointers from the experts.
The second reason is to get to know the company. To find out what they do and if they are as good as their marketing blurb. You can imagine that having 1 blog post a year is not going to fulfil my intent. I’m certainly not going to find the cutting edge information on a subject from a 3-year-old post.
I’m more likely getting a little bored of a stagnant outdated website. I might have a click over to their social media. I pray has been updated recently otherwise it’s time to get the hell out of town.
2010 is old.
My theory for social is the same as a blog if you do not use it get rid. There is a lot of work to freshly manage 6, 7 or 8 social media channels and some are probably neglected. It’s more damaging to a brand having an old social media channel than to not have it at all.
Pick what works for you and do it well, even if it’s only 1 or 2 channels.
Not Representing Your Service
Be very careful about how you present a blog, especially if you run a service that can be affected by what content you are posting. This is very simple and I saw this mistake the other day. The result was a big fat red cross in my mind about their credibility. Let me explain what I mean.
I was flicking through a website and blog for a digital marketing company recently. They do website design, content creation and social media management with a nice looking flashy website, as you would expect. So time to dig a little deeper and get to know what they’re all about. Clicking the Facebook link leads to a broken link on every FB badge around the site. This is followed by minimal activity of their other social media was a complete car crash. How could I possibly trust them to manage my brand if they can not provide it for themselves? Hmm.
A tuition centre that I work with could have a similar problem. We are creating a lot of content on the website, mostly written, so it better be grammatically correct. Three sets of eyeballs are checking the articles that are published so no commas are missed.
To add to that I also run the Grammarly software when writing. It would be a complete trust breaker to have a glaring spelling error on a website offering tuition.
Avoiding Blog Mistakes
We all make mistakes, it’s easily done and to be honest, you might not even know you are making them. We have to remember that do it properly or not at all. Take your time and do a little research a rush job will be obvious to readers, slow is smooth and smooth is fast.
It would be sickening to spend hours, days, weeks, building your blog only to have to rip it down and start again.
Whether you are blogging, sharing, collaborating think of this as an opportunity. It is a chance to speak with authority to new people or deliver added value to regular customers. If you feel like it’s an obligation because every tells you to do it, have a think.
Are you going to commit enough to reap the rewards? Or will it slowly wither, becoming a shadow over your brand rather than a shining beam. It is an opportunity, not an obligation.
Maybe you just need a little help? That’s me. Feel free to drop me a line with any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org