33 Common Business Blog Mistakes

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Lately, I’ve been reviewing dozens of business blogs for a new project I’m working on.  The good news is that many businesses are catching on to the blogging thing fast…Others are still missing the mark.  Here are some common missteps that everyone can learn from.

You are free to use this post anyway you like just give me some link love here. To make the list easier for you to digest, I divided the list into Strategy and Purpose, Posting, Promotion, Participation, and Nuts and Bolts.

Here we go -

    Strategy & Purpose

  1. Failing to Start:
    Yep. The #1 mistake is not launching a blog.  I don’t care if you  don’t know what your doing.  Just get started, fail fast, and adapt.  Don’t be a wus.
  2. Launching without a Purpose or Voice:
    Know who you are before you launch your blog.  What do you stand for?  What will you fight against? Are you sassy? Contrarian? An optimist? Once you’ve chosen, maximize your impact by sticking with your voice (even if you get tired of it).
  3. Believing a Logo is a Substitute for Personality:
    I believe that blogs should express a voice and a personality.  It’s lame to enlist your logo as your voice. People want to talk with people not graphic artifacts.
  4. Focusing on the Wrong Audience:
    Frankly people want to hear your solutions to their problems.  Don’t forget that your blog should speak to your customers  and not just yourself.
  5. Promoting Instead of Connecting:
    As a general rule, cool corporate blogs build considerable goodwill with their readers before they promote products and services.  This is a wise choice.  Do the same.
  6. Avoiding A Good Fight:
    Sometimes you’ve got to fight.  For your brand to mean something it has to be against something.  Bad service, arrogant policies, complicated processes, etc.  Your blog readers should know what you will fight for.  By the way, When In Doubt fight for your customers.
  7. Making Your Blog a Solo Performance:
    Showcase your talent – Please, Please, Please, don’t assign your blog to one hip person in the marketing department.  That’s stupid and will just burn out your best talent.  Motivate your entire company to contribute content to your blog.  Zappos is a great place to start for inspiration.

    Posting

  8. Failing to Set a Regular Blogging Schedule:
    If you post sporadically, your audience won’t bother to return.  Do yourself a favor and make a habit of posting on a regular schedule.
  9. Scattershot Blogging:
    Are you blogging on purpose or just writing on any topic that tickles your fancy?  Scattershot topics confuse your readers and make it difficult for you to gather a consistent following.
  10. Overlooking the Power of Blog Titles:
    I’ve fallen into this trap – spending hours crafting a beautiful post and then slapping a hand-me down title on it.Well considered blog titles are the secret sauce that turns an good blog post into a great blog post.  Become a student of writing eyeball-hijacking blog titles and watch your readership jump.
  11. “Me-Too” Content:
    Your blog is your opportunity to create something great for your readers.  They are giving you their attention.  Reward them with your very best.  Original content should be your default blog post not an exception.
  12. Tagging your post with the wrong keywords:
    Tags are your ticket to getting love from the search engines.  Add 5 minutes to your blog writing process to add pre-researched and relevant keywords to your tag list.
  13. Expecting Your Readers to Find You:
    You can post until you are blue in the face but people will not visit your blog until you start marketing.  Your blog is an important brand asset so promote it like your company depended on it.
  14. Repeatedly Writing the Same Type of Post:
    A great blog is really a tossed salad of diverse posts.  Pay close attention to the type of post your are writing – and vary them if you get caught in a rut.As a rule of thumb, I rely on How-To Posts to form the foundation of PushingSocial.  Next, I use List Posts to attract readers and encourage retweets.  From time to time, I season the mix with an opinion post that expresses my personality and let’s me get my vent a little.… How about you?
  15. Poor Writing, structure, and mechanics (lead paragraphs, rambling):
    I could spout off for days on this…and frankly there are other blogs that do a fantastic job of covering this topic.  Head over to Copyblogger, Problogger, and Blogussion to get started.
  16. Not using images in your posts:
    Adding attention getting images to your posts are a quick way to amp up the appeal of your blog.  Images break up the text and add a splash of color .  You can get Common License images from Flickr or pay for them at istockphoto.com
  17. Not Linking Outside Your Blog:
    When appropriate link to 3rd party blogs that add value to your post.  This is a great way to be a resource and build credibility.

    Promotion

  18. Ignoring Retweets and Facebook Likes:
    Add Facebook Likes and Tweetmeme to each of your posts.  Next, encourage readers to retweet posts they enjoy.  You’ll see an instant bump in your readership.  Do this now.
  19. Not Creating Resource (AKA Sneeze) Pages:
    If you are kicking out tons of great posts then your readers may be missing your best content.  Sneeze pages are mini-directories to specific topics.  They are cool way to create and crazy-effective linkbait.
  20. Not Guest Posting:
    Tsk, Tsk.  Pound for Pound, Guest Posts are the best way to get eyeballs to your blog.  As a rule, I suggest you devote 40-50% of your time in the beginning to getting your best work published on other blogs.  The relationships, learning, and traffic you’ll get will make the time investment worth it.
  21. Overlooking Email Opt-Ins:
    You need email addresses to start a relationship.  It may be a pain to initially set-up an email list but it’s worth it.  Your email list will be your first best tool for monetizing your traffic.
  22. Relying on Feedburner to manage email signups:
    Feedburner is good for the occasional (read:weak) blog.  Heavy duty world changing blogs need a real email solution to manage your reader database.
  23. Writing Books Instead of Posts:
    I recommend keeping your posts between 500-800 words.  Readers consume blogs in quick sessions.  Deliver your point and let your readers get on with their business.

    Participation

  24. Forgetting to Solicit Participation:
    Remember that your posts are a conversation starter.  Ask questions, encourage sharing, embrace disagreement. Don’t let a post get published until it has a strong participation hook.
  25. Turning Off Comments:
    Sometimes the bigwigs get scared that they will get flamed by a disgruntled customer and decide to turn off blog comments.  This is…lame.  Turn the comments back on and tackle the concerns. You might even learn something.  Believe me,  your business won’t go up in flames.  I promise.
  26. Not Answering Comments:
    Readers who leave thoughtful comments are precious.  Not responding to their questions is disrespectful and will kill your blog.  Just make it a policy to respond.
  27. Not allowing others to Guest Blog:
    Guest posts add variety and different view points to your post line-up.  You can go one step-further and actually solicit guest posts within your blog.

    Nuts & Bolts

  28. Complicating your blogging platform:
    Sometimes the IT group can’t help but complicate things…just use WordPress for your blog.  It has all of the functionality you need to make a world-class blog.
  29. Forgetting to install analytics (Google Analytics works):
    I’ve actually done this so don’t beat yourself up.  Google Analytics is free and there are great WordPress plugins that make this integration a snap.  The Thesis Theme also makes adding tracking to your blog easy.
  30. Picking a Bad Theme:
    A complicated theme make look nice but slow you down with unnecessary nonsense.  Pick a simple theme that will let you customize to your heart’s content but look great out of the box. I use Thesis. (I also get paid if you use them too – just so you know).
  31. Not paying attention to meta tags and titles:
    Use the option to customize your meta description, keywords, and title if possible.  This will take an extra few minutes to configure but will give you an SEO advantage.
  32. Cheap Graphics:
    Your graphics express your brand.  Skimp on them and you’ll look like a clown to your readers.  Nobody wants to rely on a clown.
  33. Looking like a corporate blog:
    Let your hair down a little.  Your corporate blog doesn’t have to look like a text book. Give your people permission to make your blog a great place to hang out.  Boring is bad and will just scare away your best readers

What about you? Have you learned any lessons the hard way with your business blog?

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About Stan

Stan Smith is the Managing Director of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.

37 thoughts on “33 Common Business Blog Mistakes

  1. ziqafei

    Do you also keep in front of the TV for the upcoming start of the team nervous? It does not matter, every team promissory commitments from their own country and the fans of this, as to whether the outcome seems to be important from time important in the best condition to play the game is the most important, that you say is not it? !
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  3. JamieGriffin

    Stanford, I'm curious. You say "just use WordPress for your blog". I decided a little bit ago to go with Blogger on my own domain and have been doing fine so far, I think. I definitely know that WordPress has more plug-in options. But, so far, every WP feature that I've seen in a posting I liked, I have searched and found a way to get it on Blogger.

    I guess my question is, what are the reasons besides cool plug-ins to opt for WordPress over any other platform?

  4. JamieGriffin

    Stanford, I'm curious. You say "just use WordPress for your blog". I decided a little bit ago to go with Blogger on my own domain and have been doing fine so far, I think. I definitely know that WordPress has more plug-in options. But, so far, every WP feature that I've seen in a posting I liked, I have searched and found a way to get it on Blogger.

    I guess my question is, what are the reasons besides cool plug-ins to opt for WordPress over any other platform?

  5. JamieGriffin

    Stanford, I'm curious. You say "just use WordPress for your blog". I decided a little bit ago to go with Blogger on my own domain and have been doing fine so far, I think. I definitely know that WordPress has more plug-in options. But, so far, every WP feature that I've seen in a posting I liked, I have searched and found a way to get it on Blogger.

    I guess my question is, what are the reasons besides cool plug-ins to opt for WordPress over any other platform?

  6. Sean Cook

    Hey Stanford,

    I really like list posts and found this one pretty useful. I guess I'll just join the herd of mindless followers. Tell me where I should send my Master's Degree and IQ scores, since I obviously don't need them, now that I am mindless.

    Gotta go figure out how to write a sneeze page now…must do your bidding. Moo!

    Sean : )

  7. Sean Cook

    Hey Stanford, I really like list posts and found this one pretty useful. I guess I'll just join the herd of mindless followers. Tell me where I should send my Master's Degree and IQ scores, since I obviously don't need them, now that I am mindless.Gotta go figure out how to write a sneeze page now…must do your bidding. Moo!Sean : )

  8. Shawn Christenson

    Are you suggesting it's a Business Blogging mistake to create this list post using a # in the title? If so, help display it.

    A mindless unoriginal follower isn't really the best thing – I fully agree. But is it a Business Blog mistake?

  9. Stephan Herwig

    Great post, Stanford!

    I like the list. Do you think it would make sense to add something on resources (people, process and technology)? I read a lot about blogs being “free”, which I feel is a half-truth… I've been working on my own blog (which I haven't published yet) and am realizing that I do spend significant time on research / information generation, and even defining what options, widgets, etc. I'd need and like.

    Also what you say about leveraging your labour force and getting more than one person to become active bloggers make sense. Maybe then another common mistake is the lack of coordination and accountability?? Just some food for thought

    What do you think?

  10. Stephan Herwig

    Interesting feedback, RecruitingANIMAL, but I have to say I do disagree…

    Giving blog posts a numeric list title is anything but a mistake. Yes, many are using numeric lists and some are more useful than others, but they are still extremely helpful for readers as they show specific items at a glance. Also, we as readers can more easily refer back to individual items on the list (“Hey, I found this useful, Tom, and for our corporate blog, I agree that we need to work on #4, 6 and 18″).

    Personally I think the merit of a numeric list is greatest when the list is sequential and shows items ranked by importance. But I also feel that I'm going to move away from this post remembering that there was a list of 33 rather than the same, old “top 5″ or “top 10″.

    Either way, to say that a post is unoriginal because it uses a numeric list is, frankly, very odd indeed. Would it be mindless and unoriginal to blog in prose as well then?

    Also, just a word of advice: Oftentimes, it's not what you say, but how you say it…

    StephanHerwig
    http://www.twitter.com/StephanHerwig

  11. Cege

    I think this is a great, comprehensive list that would be useful for a business contemplating adding a blog component to their social media strategy. I'm bookmarking it as a resource to give clients!

  12. Shawn Christenson

    Are you suggesting it's a Business Blogging mistake to create this list post using a # in the title? If so, help display it.A mindless unoriginal follower isn't really the best thing – I fully agree. But is it a Business Blog mistake?

  13. Stanford Post author

    It’s funny but I just stumbled across the Sneeze Page post on Problogger. It’s a goldmine. More business blogs should use them.

  14. Stanford

    It’s funny but I just stumbled across the Sneeze Page post on Problogger. It’s a goldmine. More business blogs should use them.

  15. Stanford

    It's funny but I just stumbled across the Sneeze Page post on Problogger. It's a goldmine. More business blogs should use them.

  16. Stephan Herwig

    Great post, Stanford!I like the list. Do you think it would make sense to add something on resources (people, process and technology)? I read a lot about blogs being "free", which I feel is a half-truth… I've been working on my own blog (which I haven't published yet) and am realizing that I do spend significant time on research / information generation, and even defining what options, widgets, etc. I'd need and like.Also what you say about leveraging your labour force and getting more than one person to become active bloggers make sense. Maybe then another common mistake is the lack of coordination and accountability?? Just some food for thoughtWhat do you think?

  17. Stephan Herwig

    Interesting feedback, RecruitingANIMAL, but I have to say I do disagree…Giving blog posts a numeric list title is anything but a mistake. Yes, many are using numeric lists and some are more useful than others, but they are still extremely helpful for readers as they show specific items at a glance. Also, we as readers can more easily refer back to individual items on the list ("Hey, I found this useful, Tom, and for our corporate blog, I agree that we need to work on #4, 6 and 18").Personally I think the merit of a numeric list is greatest when the list is sequential and shows items ranked by importance. But I also feel that I'm going to move away from this post remembering that there was a list of 33 rather than the same, old "top 5" or "top 10".Either way, to say that a post is unoriginal because it uses a numeric list is, frankly, very odd indeed. Would it be mindless and unoriginal to blog in prose as well then?Also, just a word of advice: Oftentimes, it's not what you say, but how you say it…StephanHerwig <a href="http://www.twitter.com/StephanHerwig” target=”_blank”> <a href="http://www.twitter.com/StephanHerwig” target=”_blank”>www.twitter.com/StephanHerwig

  18. Stanford Smith

    Hmm…You are an insistent one.

    Your comment is colorful but not as useful as I would have hoped
    I especially love how you paint everyone who use List Posts as mindless unoriginal followers. I disagree (obviously) since the top thinkers (Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse, Brian Clark, Chris Garrett) in this space write List Posts with great results.

    I originally just deleted your comment and moved on but your chutzpah intrigued me. Especially your bombastic ultimatum of “outting me on twitter” so I decided to let the “mindless herd” your describe the pleasure of commenting.

  19. RecruitingANIMAL

    It's a mistake to give a blog posting a numeric list title.

    It is of no relevance at all that there are 33 points in this posting.
    So why mention it?

    Numeric lists were an eye-catching technique for awhile.
    They aren't anymore. Why? Because everyone uses them.

    That means it's run of the mill. And a title that is stylized but
    run of the mill is not exciting. It makes you look like part of the pack.
    A mindless unoriginal follower.

  20. Cege

    I think this is a great, comprehensive list that would be useful for a business contemplating adding a blog component to their social media strategy. I'm bookmarking it as a resource to give clients!

  21. Stanford Smith

    Hmm…You are an insistent one.Your comment is colorful but not as useful as I would have hopedI especially love how you paint everyone who use List Posts as mindless unoriginal followers. I disagree (obviously) since the top thinkers (Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse, Brian Clark, Chris Garrett) in this space write List Posts with great results.I originally just deleted your comment and moved on but your chutzpah intrigued me. Especially your bombastic ultimatum of "outting me on twitter" so I decided to let the "mindless herd" your describe the pleasure of commenting.

  22. RecruitingANIMAL

    It's a mistake to give a blog posting a numeric list title.It is of no relevance at all that there are 33 points in this posting.So why mention it?Numeric lists were an eye-catching technique for awhile. They aren't anymore. Why? Because everyone uses them.That means it's run of the mill. And a title that is stylized but run of the mill is not exciting. It makes you look like part of the pack.A mindless unoriginal follower.

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  24. RecruitingANIMAL

    Here’s another error for you. Using a numeric list as a title. The fact that you have 33 points is totally irrelevant. It just tells everyone that you are part of the mindless herd that follows the fad that all of the uninformed copycats are using. It is no longer novel and eye catching. It has no SEO value.

  25. WRN Montco

    Stanford,

    This is a great list. #1 is definitely the top priority, stop waiting and start blogging. I like the link about sneeze pages. I have been reading his posts but somehow missed that one. Thank you!

  26. WRN Montco

    Stanford, This is a great list. #1 is definitely the top priority, stop waiting and start blogging. I like the link about sneeze pages. I have been reading his posts but somehow missed that one. Thank you!

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