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7 common business blogging mistakes and simple ways to fix them

I was working with a client on a one-to-one basis. They were already blogging but wanted some tailored advice on ways to improve their blog posts.

Chances are, you’ve clicked through to this post for the same reason. Stay with me – you’re in the right place.

I’ve pulled together some common business blogging mistakes, along with simple fixes you can apply to help you blog with confidence and better engage your readers.

So, let’s get started.

1. Headline horrors (not giving the reader what they were promised)

‘Clickbait’ headlines are a classic example.

You’ve probably come across them, even if you’re not familiar with the terminology. They look something like this – ’11 ways investing in mindset tricks can make you a millionaire.’

They work by grabbing the reader’s attention and making it (supposedly) irresistible to click. Who doesn’t want to be a millionaire?

via GIPHY

The problem with headlines like these, in most cases, is that they fail to live up to expectations in the main body of the blog.

So, what does the reader do after they’ve clicked through? They leave…usually as quickly as they entered – not good when you’re trying to establish a relationship and not good for your website stats.

The other problem with ‘clickbait’ headlines? They’ve been overused. Massively. So, lots of people know to avoid them in the first place!

How to fix it

Quite simply – make sure your blog content delivers what you promised in the headline/title. Yes – your headline needs to spark interest so the reader is encouraged to click through, but not in a way that’s misleading.

Want to write better headlines? Try Coschedule’s handy headline analyser (I LOVE this tool!).

2. Giving your reader blocks of text to wade through

According to HubSpot, “43% of people admit to skimming blog posts”. I’m actually surprised that percentage isn’t higher! Problem is – it’s not easy to skim through big blocks of text. It means your audience has to work hard to find what they need – think of all that helpful information they could miss out on as a result.

How to fix it

Make your content accessible by breaking up large blocks of text. Use headings and subheadings, bold text, bullet points and images – a combination, ideally. That way, your audience can easily skim through and find what they need.

3. Stuffing your content with long sentences

You know when you’re reading something and at first, it’s fine, but then you keep reading, and reading, until finally you begin to wonder whether the sentence you’re reading is ever going to end and when on earth you’re going to be able to draw breath?

Long sentences aren’t much fun to read.

Not only that, but research by the American Press Institute, reported by Ann Wylie, found – “the longer your sentences, the less your readers will understand.”

How to fix it

Shorten long sentences to improve readability.

The same study reported that readers understood 100% of information when sentences were eight words long and 90% of information when sentences were 14 words long. On the flipside, readers understood less than 10% of the information when sentences were 43 words long!

3. Selling, selling, selling

No one likes being sold to. Imagine going up to a stranger on the high street and saying “Hi, I’m Katie. Want me to redesign your living room?” Why would anyone want to hire someone or buy a product from someone they don’t know? Treating your blog like a sales pitch will have the same effect – it’s off-putting.

How to fix it

Ditch the sales pitch and provide helpful content that will guide your audience through your sales process and help them to overcome any reservations along the way. Blogging is the ideal opportunity to build relationships and trust with your audience.

Not convinced? Research found that “47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.”

With purpose and planning, your blog can become an integral part of your sales process.

4. Poor; grammar and speeling mistaykes

Let’s say you go onto a website and it’s dotted with spelling and grammar mistakes. The fact you notice them does two things…

  1. It detracts your focus from the content
  2. It gives you a bad impression of the company – will they be this careless with me as a customer?!

How to fix it

  • Write your posts in Word (other word processing software is available!) first. Make sure your language setting is correct and then use the spelling and grammar tool to check your work. Use it as a guide, as tools like this are pretty good but not always 100% accurate
  • Ask someone else to proofread it – it’s difficult to spot mistakes in your own work
  • Upload it to your website as a draft post, then do a final check with Grammarly. It spots grammar and spelling errors in your online content. The best thing is you can use this handy tool beyond your blog – including on your email, social media channels

5. Scaring your readers off with jargon

When you know your business inside out, it’s easy to forget that your customers/clients don’t.

The Cambridge dictionary defines jargon as – “special words and phrases that are used by particular groups of people, especially in their work.”

via GIPHY

Using jargon that your customers/clients don’t understand in your blog posts will create a barrier. And you don’t want anything that could get in the way of building a relationship.

How to fix it

Ask someone outside of your business/someone without the same knowledge to read your blog post before you hit ‘publish’ to identify jargon. Using acronyms? Don’t forget to include the full term when first using – “Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO…” or “SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)…”

6. Missing out on opportunities for your audience to find you

MOZ, a US-based software as a service company, describes Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as “…the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

Your blogs should always be written for humans first. BUT you also want to make sure you’re making it as easy as possible for people to find you.

How to fix it

Blogging is a great way to boost SEO, so make the most of your blogging by optimising your blog posts. Here are some ways you can optimise posts –

  • Use keywords that your ideal customers are using
  • Focus on one – two keywords per blog
  • Include your keywords in headings, URL, meta description and title tags
  • Link to other relevant pages on your website

For a more in-depth look at this, check out this HubSpot guide – Blog SEO: How to Search Engine Optimise Your Blog Content.

7. Not telling your readers what you want them to do next

Call to actions (CTAs) tell your reader what you want them to do next. A blog without one is a missed opportunity.

How to fix it

Don’t leave your audience hanging! Include a call to action that will guide readers through the sales process. You might want them to download a guide, find out more about a product, get in touch or buy a product. You’ll notice that all of these contain action words like:

  • download
  • find
  • get
  • buy

“Your CTA should be as strong and motion-oriented as possible. It’s a call to ACTION, after all” – Marketing Land.

First published on theqwertykeyboard.co.uk

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