Wednesday, I posted an exceptionally brief post on when to stop reading a blog. The gist was that, if you’re not getting something out of reading a blog, it’s a waste of your time. My hope was that you stopped to think a bit whether you truly provide something of use with your own blog.
Blogs are brilliant little things. They allow us to stroke our own egos, diligently record our lives, and provide the reasoning behind countless hours of “shiny thing” browsing. Is that how you’re using your blog?
Oh… maybe not. Maybe you think your blog is about marketing your business. And for certain, it is. It’s a place to put information about your business, why people should buy from your business, how your business was created, what your business is doing next Tuesday. Is that how you’re using your blog?
Eh… that sounds a little boring. Concerned your blog might not be creating a magnet for customers the way it’s supposed to? Keep reading. I bet you’re making at least one of these common creative business blog mistakes.
1.) You don’t ask why.
You post stories, inspiration, pretty pictures, funny links. You love it all and your small business blog is supposed to reflect you, right? Sure it is. But blogging isn’t about posting pretty pictures, it’s about asking bigger questions: WHY? If you fail to ask yourself WHY a picture, story, or link is important to you – and subsequently explain it to your readers – you’re not doing anyone any good. You’re simply adding to the noise of the blogosphere.
Consider why an image moves you… consider what it says about your character, your business goals, or your family. Consider how what little Johnny last Monday resonated with you & taught you a lesson. Always consider the usefulness, the experience, and the “takeaway” of what you’re posting.
The blogs that do that are the ones I remember, the ones I comment on. And they’re definitely the ones I go back to when I’m looking to buy.
2.) You think your SEO is broken.
In my job as a web designer/make-blog-go analyst, I am asked all the time if a website’s SEO is alright. Presumably, they want me to make sure that the right pieces of code are in the right places because the client is concerned it’s not. This is, of course, a valid concern! But more often than having “broken” SEO, a blog just isn’t writing about good stuff, using good words, and attracting the kind of attention that gets good links.
Good SEO happens when you are writing good headlines for interesting stories about relevant-to-you topics and those stories engage, challenge, and entertain your readers enough to want to link back to your posts.
Your SEO isn’t broken – but your blogging strategy might be.
Now, if you think you’re doing pretty good with that part but want to get better at the slightly more technical side, I would highly recommend my friend Dave’s ebook on SEO called Blog Post Engineering. You’ll be smarter & blog better after the first few pages. Promise. You can read my full review here.
3.) You don’t consider the bigger picture of your blog.
Finally, the mistake I see creative business bloggers making is that they haven’t considered the bigger picture of their blogs. You post when you’re inspired, when you have news, when you’ve created a new product. But there isn’t any cohesiveness. There isn’t a sense of anticipation.
To achieve this, you must ask yourself what larger questions your blog is answering. And then answer those large questions by posing tiny ones. Those tiny questions are your posts. As the answers to those questions pile up, you can link them together through simple category navigation, pillar content pages, or free resources.
By the way, if you run an image-heavy blog, this is one of the most important things to consider. How do your images play together between posts? Are you telling a larger story with the images you choose? Is that story calling your readers to action without words?
How’s your creative business blog doing?
Are you making one (two? all?) of those mistakes? Truly, there are many ways to make a blog successful but if you don’t consider the ramifications of the points above, you’re trying to reinvent the wheel. Providing value, actionable information, and true inspiration with your blog is rewarding in more ways that just warm fuzzies (I’m talking $$$ here, people).
What will you do today to remedy the problem?