Are you doing things that might hurt your blog post? You may be – and not even realize it.
Whether you blog for a hobby or as a business, you want people to read what you write. After all, that is why you blog, right? You want to share your ideas with others.
But, what happens when you hit the publish button? Is that all you need to do? You have amazing stuff to say so everyone should want to read it.
Not so fast.
Sure, you have a great article, but writing it is only one thing you need to do. There are other things you must do to ensure that you have a great post takes off. Why, then, are you doing these things that will hurt your blog post?
Take note and make sure you are not doing any of these.
MISTAKES YOU ARE MAKING ON YOUR BLOG POSTS
1. Grammatical errors
There is nothing worse than reading a post and seeing grammatical and/or typographical errors. If you do not know how to write – and write well – you should pay an editor to review every single post you write.
Another option is to use one of the online grammar sites. You can try GrammarCheck or use Grammarly. I’ve even seen bloggers type their content in Word or other programs and then copy/paste it to their site when ready.
The point is to take the time to very carefully review and edit your posts before you hit publish. Some of the most common errors include:
- Using “seen” instead of “saw.”
- Typing the wrong form of there vs. their.
- Saying I could care less when it should be couldn’t care less.
2. No photos
You’ve probably heard the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” That is also true on your blog posts. The photo on your post sends a message to your reader so that he or she instantly knows what the article is about. It should grab their attention and make them want to read more.
All too often, bloggers forget to include an image, or they use the wrong one. The wrong photo can almost be even worse than having no image at all! You would not expect a dress company to use an image of a man’s tie to advertise, correct? That holds for you as well.
Not everyone can take photos. I get that. In fact, if you are not very good at photography, I advise against taking and using anything you shoot. Instead, pay someone to take them for you, or use stock photos.
There is nothing wrong with using photos that are not your own in your posts. However, you cannot just search on Google and use whatever you find. That could lead to a lawsuit as you may not have the rights to use it. Instead, use one of the paying sites, such as 123rf.com or depositphotos. You can purchase images here to use on your posts.
If buying photos is out of your budget, or you just want to make sure you are wise with your business expenses, some sites offer free images as well. Some of them require attribution (which means image credit), and others will not. You can find 30 websites that offer free (or almost free) images that you can use on your posts.
3. Using the wrong headline
Think for a moment about scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed. There are often headlines that make you want to click over. However, the minute you do, you realize that the headline had nothing to do with the article. You feel let down and often, annoyed that you even clicked.
Keep that in mind when creating the title for your article. Sure, you want it to be captivating and get people to click through to read. However, you do not want to mislead or misguide your reader.
In addition to the user experience, Google will index your post. Since you more than likely want to be discovered in search, your article must allow that to happen.
Keep your title simple. It should also solve a reader’s problem. If you can make it urgent, you can also get more clicks.
Read more: Six Tips to Writing Captivating Headlines
4. No links
Links are vital when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Links help establish authority within Google, which can help you rank higher in searches. There are two types of links:
External backlinks. Links to sites other than your own are external backlinks. You do this when you link keywords or phrases to other sites. These are important for three reasons:
- Establishing authority in Google. When you link to other authority sites (not just random sites), you can increase your search rankings. Moz has a great article that helps explain the rules of attracting authority links.
- Crediting another blogger. Another blogger may have inspired the article you are writing. You might have even shared a thought or idea they wrote. By giving them credit, you are thanking them and having proper blog etiquette.
- You engage others. When bloggers start to see that you are linking to them in your articles, they will be more willing to do the same. Since searches are made of links to your site from other authority sites, you can increase your ranking there as well. As a bonus, you get to know others in your niche. That can open the doors to networking and learning from one another as well as developing a community to help all of you.
TIP: Make sure that any links that lead people away from your site open in a new page. While you want to help others, you do not want them to leave your site to do so. Just add a simple code to open that link in a new window.
New Window Code:
Example: OPEN THIS LINK IN A NEW WINDOW
Internal backlinks. Links to other posts on your site are internal links. It is essential to use them throughout your content. There are a few reasons why it is always important to include links to your articles:
- Create additional resources. If you are writing a new article that is related to something else, those links can provide more detail or even drive home your point even more.
- Helps Google. Google is constantly looking at your site. It can help guide them through your site to see that it is authoritative.
- Gives life to old posts. After a time, some of those great posts you wrote a year or more ago tend to get buried. By linking to them, that great content can get another person looking at it and bring it new life through additional shares, links, pins, etc.
5. Ignoring SEO
SEO matters to bloggers. You can’t expect people to find you just because you think they should. It is crucial to ensure you are optimizing each post for the keywords you want.
It can be challenging to do this on your own. I recommend that you install and use the YOAST plugin. There are both paid and free versions, but I find that the free one works very well on its own.
Make sure that you fill out the entire section on every post. Here are some tips to fill it out correctly:
Title: Make sure it is a captivating headline that tells the user what your article is about.
URL (or slug): This is the link for your post. It needs to include those keywords.
Meta description: Explain what the article is about and include those keywords. Doing so provides a snippet to the user, so they know they will land on the right page. Google likes to make sure that they send people to the correct pages, and this can help.
There are also colors to let you know if you need to make improvements. Red, Orange, and Green. While it is great to have green across the board, there are times when you can’t make that happen. Don’t stress about it. Good content matters more than making sure you write strictly for SEO.
6. Not sharing it
Once that post is live on your site, you need to make sure you get the word out! It may mean sending out a newsletter to your subscribers. Promote it on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter — any of the social media platforms where your readers live.
You also cannot just share it once and think that’s it. Create a posting schedule and continue to cycle through all of the great content on your site. It takes time to develop, but once you figure out your plan, that old content continues to get eyes on it time after time.
A couple of resources you should check out include Pinterest and Facebook. Check out this post on How to Create A Viral Pin and also How to Develop a Facebook Strategy. Both of these can help ensure your content gets visibility time and time again.
7. Stealing content
Let’s face it. If you have been blogging for years and years, it is easy to get burned out. After all, there are only so many ways to talk about the same topic.
If you find yourself in this situation, you might be tempted to copy what another blogger has done. I’m here to say – don’t. Now, you can use their idea as inspiration for your post. That is where you can – and should – give them credit (see links above).
Instead of using someone else’s idea, sit down and start a brainstorming session. Look at some of your old posts and see if there is a topic you could expand upon. Even better, ask your readers what they need help with – and you’ll come up with lots of ideas for new content!
8. Not writing frequently enough
You don’t have to write every day. But, you can’t also push out one new article a month. Those who follow you are doing so because they like what you have to say. They may sign up for a newsletter because they want to learn more about what you have to say.
But, if you write one article a month, they will forget. Then, when the newsletter arrives in their inbox, they don’t remember signing up and will sign up (or worse – flag you as spam)!
Push out content at least one article a week. That establishes consistency for your followers and also gives you a goal to maintain. The more you post, the more you will gain consistent traffic.
9. Writing a clunky post
Another way to hurt your blog post is to write an article that is one enormous paragraph. It is not only challenging to read, but it will turn your readers off. Here are some things to keep in mind when writing your post:
- Try bullet points or numbered items. That is what I’ve done in this post. It gives the reader direction, and they know exactly what I will be discussing in each section. It also provides a great break between items so that there is no confusion as to what you are talking about.
- Shorter paragraphs. When writing a story, don’t have long paragraphs. Those can lose readers. Aim for no more than 3 – 4 sentences in any paragraph. It breaks it up and makes the post simpler to read.
- Make sure you have white space. If your post is nothing but text with little, to no white space, it can overwhelm your readers. White space breaks up the post. Just look at this article you are reading right now. You see white space between each section, and that makes it simpler to read.
- Use images. I mentioned that you need an image on your post. But, if you have a longer article, break it up by placing some photos in the post. Check out this example that I wrote on my other site. It is all about how to save money planning a wedding. Since it is a lengthy post, I sprinkled in some images to help break it up and make it easier to read.
- Use sub-headings. Sub-headings use a larger font and are bold. They stand out. They help break up sections and ideas and improve the flow of your article.
- Use bold and italics. When you have words that need to stand out, be sure to bold or italicize them. That makes them pop and ads interest to your article.
10. Going rogue on your site
If you are excited about a new idea or hobby, you want to talk about it. You hope to find others who feel the same passion as you. That might be why you started blogging in the first place.
But, if you happen to learn something new, don’t be tempted to talk about it on your current site. Your blog needs to stay on topic. Don’t post content that makes no sense to your original mission. That will turn readers away, and they won’t come back. You will confuse them.
For example, if you may have started a site about how to make fun and easy desserts for your kids. Your articles and recipes are all fun and sweet, and your readers love these ideas. One night, you make the most amazing sweet potato side dish for dinner one night and decide to share it on your site.
Your readers will not like it. Why? Because your site is not about side dishes. Your site is about desserts. How does this fit? Did you change what you are doing?
You have a following because of what you have to say. When you try to change direction, it confuses and will alienate your readers. Stay on topic – always.
If you have a new passion, then it is time to create another site or outlet to share that passion. Don’t try to lump it all in together under one site. It will never work.