You know that blogging is key to driving traffic to your website, so you’ve made a commitment to publishing content on the regular. Congrats! You’ve laid the first brick on the superhighway that will bring legions of readers to your digital doorstep.
There’s just one problem. Instead of launching your content to thunderous applause and mass adoration, you’re watching tumbleweeds blow by in a deafening silence.
I bet your blogs are brilliant, useful, and beautiful too! So why is everyone who lands on your page backing slowly toward the exit instead of staying to dig into the content cornucopia you’ve laid out for them?
You might be making some rookie mistakes that keep you from realizing full-on blogging mastery without even realizing it. If you’re doing any of these five things, you need to stop. right. now. Then follow a few simple blogging tips to help get your content on the mend.
Blog Post Mistakes to Avoid
1 – Burying the Lede
The term “burying the lede” (or “lead”) is an old-timey journalism term that refers to hiding the most important facts of a story amongst other distracting information. Are you making your readers hunt for the information they need?
10 Seconds Until They Bounce
People arrive on your page looking to solve a problem. If you don’t make it evident that you’ve got what they need within 10 seconds of their arrival, they’re going to move on in hopes of finding it somewhere else.
Everything on your page — from headers and paragraph breaks to graphics and bulleted lists, should lead people to the salve of facts you’ve got in response to their burning questions.
Tips to Fix It
- Cut the fluff.
Don’t write like you’re being paid by the word and raking in millions. Long, rambling posts are a waste of time for readers on a fact-finding mission. That doesn’t mean your posts have to be short but make every word count. If something pithy isn’t adding value, let it go.
- Make it skimmable.
Remember the 10-second rule we mentioned above? The way you format your content can go a long way to helping your readers find the information they’re looking for.
Break up long paragraphs into smaller chunks of text. Subheads, bullet points, and strategic bolding are great signals for skimming eyes that they don’t want to miss the important parts.
2 – Creating Tension with Condescension
Even people looking for expert advice don’t appreciate being talked down to. You might be a subject matter expert, but all the smarts in the world don’t matter one bit if you alienate people with your attitude.
Tips to Fix It
- Speak simply.
Leave the jargon at home with your pocket protector. Making difficult concepts easy for non-experts to understand is a rare and valuable gift. Even if the knowledge you possess isn’t unique, the generosity of a simple delivery is rare.
- Be relatable.
Remember, there was a time you didn’t possess all this wisdom. Whether you’re writing a technical blog, an advice blog, or something in between, your words will carry more weight if you pull back the curtain and show your readers that you know the struggle is real.
- Stand in their shoes.
It can be tough, but from your side of the knowledge divide, try to remember what it felt like to NOT know what you NOW know. Empathy goes a long way to building trust with your readers.
3 – Speaking to the Wrong Crowd
Have you ever been carrying on simultaneous text conversations only to accidentally send your mom the off-color joke meant for your best friend? Ouch.
Talking to the right people is as important as saying the right things.
Tips to Fix It
- Know your audience.
Before you can decide what to write about, you’ve got to know who you’re writing for. Build a clear and specific picture of the person who needs what you have, research their pain points, and speak their language.
- Don’t try to talk to everyone.
Many writers make the mistake of going for broad appeal, thinking that speaking to as many people as possible is the best way to build an audience. Because the internet is a crowded, noisy place, people filter out messages that they don’t think are intended for them. The more niche your target audience, the more likely those people will recognize that you’re speaking directly to them.
4 – Being a Copy Copy-Cat
There’s jet-engine decibel noise on the internet. The world thanks you for not adding to it with ideas or (gasp!) words that belong to someone else.
Can you be inspired by other people’s work? Absolutely! But make sure you’re bringing your own words and personal perspective to all of your content.
Tips to Fix It
- Offer a fresh take.
With 5.51 billion web pages on the internet, chances are pretty good that someone else has written about the same topic as you. That’s fine, as long as you have something new to add to the conversation.
One of the fantastic things about being a content creator is that as long as you cultivate your own voice and generously give from your unique experiences, you’re one hundred percent guaranteed to offer an original perspective that will resonate with someone.
5 – Leaving Readers Empty-Handed
When someone spends time on your site, you want them to feel like they’re the guest of honor at your party. Remember, it’s all about them. Not YOU. THEM. Like a good host, you want them to leave feeling satisfied and appreciated.
Tips to Fix It
- Summarize key takeaways.
Wrapping up your thoughts with a few main points is like boxing up a piece of cake for your guest to take home. Who doesn’t want more cake?
- End on an up note.
If they came to you looking for a solution, give them more than just that. Send folks on their way with the inspiration they need to put your advice into action.
- Include links to relevant resources.
Share tools, sites, and sources of information that you trust. Your expert recommendations are valued by and valuable to your readers!
- Point to related content.
You’ve written other tremendously helpful posts, haven’t you? Include related content in your article with a descriptive link that opens in a new tab. That’s an open invitation to visitors to partake of all the wisdom you’ve got to share.
Take Heart, Your Efforts Matter
If you recognize that you’ve been making some of these content blunders, don’t be too hard on yourself. There can be a steep learning curve in blogging for beginners — no judgment here. Remember, the first step in solving any problem is admitting that there is one! Hopefully, these blogging tips will help you find your way!
Keep calm and continue writing because the world needs more great content, and your business will boom if you can provide it.
Still not sure it’s worth it?
Maybe this data will inspire you to keep at it:
- 68% of all online experiences start with a search engine.
- The number of Google searches exploded from 3.6 billion per day to over 6 billion per day when the COVID-19 pandemic began.
- 68.5% of consumers say a blog adds credibility to a website.
There has never been a better time to lean in to consistently creating helpful content.
If You Write It, Will They Come?
There’s no substitute for well-crafted content to attract and build trust with your customers, but the internet isn’t a field of dreams. Even the best content needs to be SEO optimized to be found.
Want tips for making a good blog post better?
Our Content Strategist, Ashley, has created a step-by-step guide to help you optimize your blog for SEO. Read How to Create Content That Gets Results and make sure everyone who can benefit from your wisdom can find it!