As an inbound marketing tool, your company’s blog is one of its most valuable resources. Not only...
12 Dangerous Blogging Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Having a high-performing blog is about more than writing good posts. Quality writing can be accompanied by a bunch of mistakes and faux pas that will ultimately ruin a blog’s performance. Polished writing is key, but you’re going to need much more than just that to build a strong blog.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of blogging mistakes you should start remedying immediately. These mistakes go beyond just writing. Many of them are about excellent organization and management.
1. Picking the wrong topics
2. Not keeping a schedule
3. Having too many content managers
4. Bad formatting
5. Not using links to other content
6. Missing keywords
7. Not including CTAs
8. Leaving blogs without updates after publishing
9. Bad titles
10. Not making your point clear
11. Not editing enough/p>
12. Being too formal
1. Picking the Wrong Topics
There’s nothing worse than picking an irrelevant topic. You could have an amazingly written blog, with all the right keywords and formatting, but if your blog isn’t interesting to your readers, it’ll flop.
Not only are irrelevant blog articles useless for traffic and engagement, but they’re also bad for SEO. Search engine algorithms respond very well to highly specialized content, which has very focused themes and topics.
If you want to avoid picking the wrong topics for your blog, the best thing you can do is plan ahead. By having a larger idea of the topics you’ll be writing about in the coming months, you can make sure that every single blog topic is relevant to what your audience is interested in.
Don’t take this as a reason only to write blogs on a very narrow set of topics, though. Having diversity within your catalog is also valuable, as long as it doesn’t turn into irrelevant and unrelated content.
Not sure where to start? These tips can help you choose relevant, engaging blog topics.
2. Not Keeping a Schedule
One of the best ways to succeed as a blogger is to keep publishing your blog posts at a consistent and reliable pace. When bloggers fail at keeping a tight schedule, they fail at setting proper expectations for their audience and search engines.
Regular blogs, given enough time, will enter the habitual routine of your audience. After months of reading a new post every Wednesday afternoon, you can bet that your regular readers will be expecting a new blog post next Wednesday.
Regularity also helps with email lists. Receiving irregular emails doesn’t help users view your brand as worthy of paying attention to, and your content will be more akin to spam in their inbox than a useful notification. Keeping a strong schedule means that your weekly newsletter alerting your contacts about your new blog post will be even more effective than before.
The best way to avoid inconsistency and irregularity is to finish things in advance. Having a small buffer of blog articles that are complete and ready for publication is a great way to stay ahead of the game. This way if you mismanage your time one week, you have a bunch of blogs that are sitting there ready to be published.
If you’re finding that you’re unable to keep a schedule for your blog, consider reshaping your schedule. It may be that whatever goals you’ve set are too demanding and you need to focus more on the consistency of your content rather than sheer output.
3. Having too many content managers
Having a system of content creators and content managers is great. The creators can focus on creating the content, while the managers organize how that content is introduced to the world: scheduling, notifying readers (through emails or social media posts), editing and publishing content, etc.
The problem arises when you have too many content managers working on your blog. Each content manager will have their own approach and style, and having multiple managers working in tandem could result in clashing styles. While the extra manpower sounds like a great idea, if the content managers are unable to work in harmony, then they may end up harming your blog more than they help it.
This doesn’t always have to be the case, however. To start, you can make sure that your multiple content managers can work well together. An easy way to make sure of this is to pair up people who have worked on a project together successfully in the past.
If you don’t think you can find a group of managers that would work together well, then you can experiment with using a single content manager and see how that pans out. Remember that if you have a single content manager, try to limit the number of tasks they are responsible for so that they don’t get overwhelmed by work.
4. Bad Formatting
A poorly formatted blog is one of the least engaging pieces of content to consume. A blog’s main source of content is text, which requires much more attention than audio, video, or text. Because of this, formatting text properly so as to make reading it as effortless as possible is one of the most important things to master for your blog.
Not formatting a blog properly is especially damaging when you have longer, more in-depth pieces of content. A single, poorly formatted paragraph is acceptable. But almost no reader will go through a 2000-word badly formatted blog.
There’s no trick to avoid making this mistake. You really just need to learn the basics of formatting. Luckily, once you learn them, they’ll become second nature to you.
Some of the basics are:
- Using paragraphs and headers to split your blog into distinct sections
- Taking advantage of whitespace
- Using bullet points and numbered lists when applicable
- Using short, simple sentences for greater clarity
Make sure to help members of your content team learn these basics so that you don’t have to edit everyone’s work after they submit it. Having a team that is well-trained in blog formatting will save you a lot of time and effort.
5. Not using links to more content
A lot of blog writers will be given a topic and will write a good blog for you about that topic. The mistake they will make is to think that that blog is self-contained, and they won’t link to any other content on your website.
The thing about blogging is that it’s about directing the experience of your website’s visitors. If once a blog is finished, the reader doesn’t know where to go to answer some questions that might have come up during their reading, then they’ll probably just close the website. That’s lost traffic and time spent!
A great way to avoid this is to think about your readers when you are composing a blog. What questions will they be asking, and at what point while they read? If you have answers to those questions in other blog posts, you should try to link them somewhere in your blog.
The best links are ones that are inserted organically into your content. If you can’t find a way to do that, it’s O.K. to insert a link to another blog post in between two paragraphs. The important thing is to direct your readers to more content on your blog.
Finally, remember that if you have multiple writers working on the same blog, they may not be aware of all the content that is available to be linked on your blog. In these situations, a content manager who has better overall knowledge of your blog can quickly edit blog posts and insert relevant blogs where needed.
6. Missing keywords
Nailing your keywords is one of the pillars of any SEO strategy. Failing to include the most important keywords in your blogs will just result in worse SEO performance. This is a mistake that can happen quite commonly as writers aren’t always well-versed in SEO and don’t know what resources to use to optimize their content.
To avoid this simple mistake, you can make sure that you are making basic SEO information available to writers. Things like required keywords could be included in your blog calendar under a given post, so the writers know what to do.
Alternatively, you could train your writers to do their own keyword research. Whatever approach you take, make sure you’re getting all the keywords you need!
7. Not including CTAs
The last thing you want is for a reader to feel like they’re done browsing your website once they finish reading a blog. By not including CTAs, you won’t be nudging the reader toward the next step they should take during their stay on your blog.
Linking, as we mentioned above, can be a first step toward keeping your readers on your website. If they’re cycling through your blog posts that’s a great place to start.
But you need more than that. Having people go from post to post is great, but that may not keep them coming back to your website the next day, week, or month. CTAs offer a pipeline toward more reliable and long-term engagement with your content and your brand.
Here are some examples of CTAs to include in your blog:
- Subscribing to your mailing list.
- Signing up to your website.
- Redirecting to relevant products you sell (even better if the blog gives readers a discount code to use!).
- Signing up for events (webinars, Q&As, etc.) you’ll be hosting.
8. Neglecting blog posts after publication
When you produce a high-quality blog post, you need to remember that it might not be high quality forever. A piece of information or a key statistic from 3 years ago could be drastically different now today. As the world evolves, the relevancy (or even accuracy) of your content will likely evolve with it.
This is especially relevant to your best-performing blog posts. Since these posts perform well, they will likely have the best SEO and will attract more traffic than your other post, even if they are older.
Allowing your best-performing content to become obsolete can be a death sentence for your blog’s overall SEO. Users quickly notice when a blog has outdated information and don’t stick around long once they notice.
It can be hard to keep everything up to date, especially once the number of posts you have starts growing. The best approach to this is to do regular passes across your blog in small chunks. Make sure to prioritize blogs with strong performance, too. If you go over a few of your old but good blogs every couple of months, you’ll keep the tedium at a minimum and everything will stay up-to-date.
9. Choosing Bad Titles
This is, surprisingly, one of the most costly mistakes you can make. A bad title can easily ruin all the hard work you put into a blog. The title is the first thing people read from the blog. It’s what draws them in and gets them to read in the first place. If your title is too boring for anyone to care, then you may lose clicks just for that.
Despite how deadly bad titles can be, fixing them is pretty easy. Much like formatting, it’s just a matter of learning the basics and applying them with consistency.
To avoid ruining your great posts with bad titles, here are some quick tips to follow:
- Keep things short and to the point.
- Use the most relevant keywords when you can.
- Be attractive but not clickbaity.
- Be hyperbolic and use power words to draw attention.
- Use numbers and questions instead of vague sentences.
For more on how to write good titles, check out our dedicated article on the topic here!
10. Not Making Your Point Clear
Just as irrelevant topics or bad titles can kill an article, so can meandering body paragraphs. Most of the time, your readers won’t be visiting your blog because they are a fan of you and your brand. More often than not, they’ll read blogs because they believe they’ll gain something useful from it. If you end up wasting your readers’ time by going on tangents and making irrelevant points, you’ll almost certainly lose them before they finish reading the post.
This is ultimately a writing issue, so look toward your writers and see whether you can spot a pattern. You may notice that a lot of poorly performing articles come from the same writer. If this is the case, you should offer your writer advice and give them access to resources that teach them how to keep a reader’s attention.
Additionally, you can rely on proofreading to iron out these kinds of errors. Sometimes it’s hard for a writer to self-assess whether their writing is clear and concise or not. If you always have someone reviewing articles before publishing, you’ll be way more likely to catch these issues before they ever get published.
11. Not Editing Enough
An editor’s job can be harder than you’d expect. Having to constantly go through content written by others and assessing what kinds of changes are needed before publishing requires a lot of experience and expertise.
A major problem in blogging is when editors are too hesitant to suggest large but necessary edits in written content. A lot of the time, this is caused by social relationships between writers and editors, and a fear of hurting someone’s feelings by editing their work too much.
The best way to avoid such a situation is to create a system, or a publishing cycle, for each article. If each article that is written must go through a proofreading and editing process, then edits become a part of the job, and not a singular event that can be taken personally by writers. Normalizing the process is key to making sure what needs to be done gets done without any obstacles.
12. Being Too Formal
At this point, we should know that people just want to read something that is easy to understand, to the point, and relatable. The tone of your article should hit that sweet spot, where the reader doesn’t feel like they’re being condescended to or disrespected. Failing to do this will quickly put readers off and stop them from enjoying the content.
Surprisingly, this can be pretty hard to fix. A lot of people learn to write in a more formal voice due to schooling, so changing a person’s writing voice through training isn’t as easy as it sounds.
The thing, though, is that people only use that formal voice when writing. When they speak and send messages, they use a more casual and normal voice. What you want to do is channel that voice within your writers. One exercise you can ask them to do is to record an article instead of writing it. If writers are forced to speak their content rather than write it down, it’ll naturally be more casual. Once your writers figure out how to channel this style, things will go smoothly from there.
By paying attention to the mistakes outlined in this article, you’ll be erasing the majority of harmful errors from your blogging process.
Remember that this list isn’t exhaustive. Your blog will still have plenty of areas to improve on and plenty of mistakes to correct even if you follow our advice to a tee. So make sure to learn how to spot mistakes in your process and address them as they come up in the future.
Want to learn more about best practices in blogging? Check out our complimentary ebook!