The 5 most common mistakes made in business blogs
Updated: May 3
Making mistakes is a part of life, and it’s also the best way to learn how to do something better - but there is a caveat to this. How can you possibly learn from your mistakes if no one tells you how?!
So today I’m spilling the beans about six of the most common mistakes I’ve seen in the hundreds of business blogs that I’ve read over the past few years. These are things that won’t necessarily make your blog bad, but they will mean you’re less likely to see results from your blog in the form of increased traffic, a growth in subscribers, or increased lead generation.
1: A clever, convoluted, or vague title
Aside from the dreaded SEO, titles might be the most confusing and dreaded part of writing a blog. “Be catchy! Be different! Make sure people click on it!” the marketing ‘gurus’ tell us. There are so many other blogs and web pages out there to contend with that it’s not surprising we all feel under so much pressure to write the perfect headline.
I’ve fallen into this trap many times myself before I noticed the trends and the data that told me the truth: a clear, concise title will always win over something confusing or obscure.
So if you’ve written a blog about cottage holidays in the lake district, resist the temptation to use a profound or snappy line from a Wainwright book as the title. Refrain from shoehorning the name of your favourite character from Swallows and Amazons in there too.
The reason: not only will the proportion of people looking for what you’ve written about who will get the reference be decidedly small, the algorithms at Google won’t have a clue what you’re on about and therefore won’t show your blog to anyone googling the topic you’ve actually written about.
On the flip side, it’s important to be a bit more specific than simply titling it ‘Blog about Cottage Holidays in the Lake District’. Being too vague means that anyone who spots your blog in search results or on social media won’t have the faintest idea what they will get from reading your blog. Top tips on how to find the perfect cottage? Reasons why they should rent a cottage in the lake district? A blow-by-blow account of your own cottage holiday in the lake district?
Your content needs to shout to the exact person who is looking for the answers you’ve provided. So don’t be coy, for best results plump for a slightly dull but extremely clear title and save the references to your favourite books for the body text instead.
2: Sounding ‘professional’
You’d be forgiven for thinking this point might be in the wrong blog, but I mean it when I say that the insistence on sounding professional is one that kills off your brand voice and actually turns away your ideal client.
Well, what does ‘sounding professional’ even mean? It’s different for everyone. Sometimes, it simply means not swearing. Other times I’ve found it can be a way of hiding behind jargon and unnecessarily complicated sentences because you’re too afraid to really be yourself.
Instead of worrying about whether you sound professional, focus on whether you sound like yourself. Have you included the idiom you love to use when talking about your subject? Have you embraced your lovable local accent or dialect? Have you made references to your favourite TV show or music?
All of these things make you YOU, and they’re the things your ideal clients will be intrigued by and fall in love with as they’re deciding who they want to work with to solve their problem. So by masking them with corporate-sounding jargon and cliches, you’re doing yourself a real disservice.
3: Big chunks of text
As more and more of us use smaller and smaller devices, it becomes more important to make the text of your content as easy to read as possible .
Large chunks of text make it much harder to keep your place when reading. You’re more likely to reread the same line three times, and that means that the reader will skim your blog out of frustration, or worse, they’ll simply close it and read something else.
Skimming means they’ll miss the carefully constructed story or information, and you’ll be less likely to have gained their trust by the end of the article - and therefore less likely to gain a new subscriber or group member as per your Call to Action.
To avoid this fate, simply split your paragraphs into the smallest chunks possible while still retaining the sense of them. Each paragraph, or sub-paragraph, should be no more than three or four lines long.
By their nature, some readers will still skim your article, but you’ve made it much easier to stay with you and to take notice of the Call to Action you’ve left them at the end.
4: An extensive biography at the end
I have a fierce aversion to biographies at the end of articles. This is probably a reaction to all those ironic Buzzfeed-type articles that use the biography to tell you completely pointless details like the fact that the writer likes hot dogs and their favourite colour is purple... but I digress.
Jokes aside, the main reason I don’t like bios is because, generally speaking, your blog will be hosted on your website, and that means you’ll have a whole About Me page to tell your readers who you are, what you stand for, and how you can help them. (Caveat to this: if you're writing a guest blog, a bio is super important! Check out this article for more on how to guest blog effectively.)
It’s very hard to distill all of that into a meaningful three-line biography, especially when most readers will switch off when they get to the end of the bit of the blog that actually tells them what they need to know to solve their problem.
The time you spend crafting that bio would be much better spent crafting an easy to follow, relevant Call to Action instead, and this brings me onto the final point...
5: Missing or hiding the Call to Action
The Call to Action is one of the most important parts of your blog in terms of your strategy. Missing it out is like sending your CV to a recruiter and not including any details about how they can contact you about the job.
If you’ve added a biography at the end of your blog, your reader usually has to sit and read that paragraph all about your qualifications, your brand values, and whatever else you’ve included before they reach the bit where you say “And if you’d like more support from me, you can find me in my free Facebook group/my website/on LinkedIn”. Very few people are likely to have the patience for this.
By hiding your call to action underneath a biography, or by being too shy to explicitly tell your reader what you want them to do next, you’re pretty much guaranteeing that your blog will stop before you can direct your reader to the next step of your buyer’s journey.
Instead, weave your Call to Action into the final paragraph of the blog itself. Make it clear to your reader that, if they enjoyed the article or took value from it, they’re bound to love the support they’ll find in the Facebook group, in the emails you send, or the other blogs on your website. Wherever it is you want them to go to progress along your buyer’s journey, make it clear what the benefits will be for them and make it obvious that it’s for them.
Now the fun bit
Once you’ve identified which elements of your blogs could be improved, it’s time to take things up a level and start writing blogs that get you real results.
If you’d like more support from me to help you do that, I’d love to invite you to join my free Facebook group Blog Magic.
In there, I'll teach you processes and strategies that will allow you to write high quality blogs without it draining all of your time and energy. I'll inspire you with topic ideas, and I'll support you in increasing your blog traffic by inviting you to share a blog with the group every Friday.
It's a supportive space for business owners to learn about and support one another in their blog-writing journey. Click here to join us today, we can't wait to meet you.