As I’ve mentioned before, blogging for your business is a good idea for several reasons. It gives you the long-form space to really connect with your audience, provides a container for content you can share on social media sites such as Pinterest and Facebook, boosts your search engine optimization, and more.
If you’ve resolved to start a blog this year, or would like to put more effort towards the one you’ve already got, here’s a list of 10 typical mistakes you will want to avoid:
1. You forget to do it or keep pushing it off.
This seems silly, but it happens. You don’t need to blog everyday (and you probably shouldn’t, unless you WANT to burn yourself out), but a blog that’s been sitting un-updated for several consecutive months looks abandoned and even untrustworthy. Potential customers who stumble across your old blog before they see the rest of your shop may think you aren’t even in business anymore. Plus, a stale blog starts to lose all of its search engine “juice” and likelihood of making new audience connections–of which were probably your whole reason for having a blog in the first place.
At minimum, plan on posting new content once a month. If you’re nervous about that appearing too stale, go ahead and take the dates off of your posts and refer to them as “articles” instead of “blog posts” – which give readers a lower expectation of frequency than they are used to with blogs.
2. You don’t promote your posts.
If Google analytics is telling you that your traffic numbers are low and you feel like no one except your mom is actually reading your blog, it’s probably because you aren’t promoting your posts enough, or not promoting them effectively enough. Even older posts, if their content is still relevant, can be promoted again through your social media platforms and via other marketing channels . YOU may be aware of that one great post you wrote last May, but chances are there are a lot of people who would enjoy reading it don’t.
To be more effective with your promotion efforts, entice people to click through to get the full scoop of each post. For example a tweet along these lines: “Hate household chores? Here’s a list of 10 ways to make them more fun [link],” which is far more enticing than “Today’s blog post [link]”.
3. Your blog design is a pain.
If your fonts are too small, hard to read, or a light color against a dark background, most people aren’t going to stick around long enough to absorb the awesome content you’ve conjured up. It’s simply too irritating.
Also, be sure to check to make sure your blog reads well on mobile and tablet devices, as more and more of us prefer consuming digital content with our handhelds than via our desktops monitors.
4. Yours posts don’t contain images.
If you’re a handmade seller, then you have plenty of beautiful products you can post images of in your blog posts, or, if you don’t feel that they fit with the content of a particular piece, you can always create a “quote graphic” in a photo editing program utilizing a chunk of text from your post highlighted with an image.
With social media becoming more and more visual, it’s especially important to include images so your post can be promoted through channels such as Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and beyond.
5. You don’t have share buttons.
Speaking of social media, it’s everybody’s preference these days to click a button and share through their favorite stream instead of( or in addition to) commenting. Without these buttons, it’s significantly less likely that your readers will be sharing your posts with their networks, reducing the reach and viral opportunity of your blog.
6. You aren’t blogging for your audience.
The main purpose of your blog is to build up a connection with your target audience. If you are sporadically changing tone, direction, and subject matter suited to widely different audiences, it can be confusing to your readers and cause them to feel unsure if your content is for them or not. For example, my audience for this blog consists of mostly handmade business owners, so I generate content and tailor my blog topics for them. The blog on my website, however, is tailored for customers interested in my jewelry and hair accessories, so the posts tend to be shorter, lighter, and more fashion-oriented.
7. Your headlines aren’t search-engine friendly.
Just like with your product titles, the headlines of your blog posts are the most important element of each post for generating search-engine traffic. That means that if you want to use something clever and mysterious (such as “Midnight Dreams” instead of “New Collection of Evening Wear Necklaces,” it helps to adjust the URL to the more search-engine-friendly title, and/or add a subtitle with the matching keywords.)
8. Your readers don’t know what to do next.
With each post, consider what action you would like your readers to take once they have finished reading it. This could be anything from sharing the post on social media, clicking over to your shop to buy something, leaving a comment, signing up for your e-mail newsletter, or reading another related post to stay on your site longer. The more obvious you can make this actions for them, the more likely they are to take it.
9. You don’t proof-read.
(Full disclosure: I’m more guilty of this than ANYONE. But I’m working on it.)
If you are on-top of your blogging schedule, then you should be able to write out a draft of an upcoming post and let it sit for a day before coming at it again with fresh eyes to check for errors and tune up your overall writing and/or included images.
10. You don’t respond to blog comments.
No, you don’t have to reply to each and every comment, particularly if you have an active blog and there are a lot of them. However, when someone asks a questions and you just let it hang there, it can sometimes look like you don’t care about your readers. Or, alternatively, if someone contributes a really helpful, thoughtful comment, it’s always nice to thank them for doing so.
If you don’t like responding to comments, or don’t like that you blog doesn’t get very many of them (except, maybe, from your mom), it’s okay to turn your comments off altogether. Nowadays people like to share blog content anyway, and forcing your audience to share as the only way they can put their two cents on the subject can even encourage more of them to do it.
Want more information on starting and running a blog for your handmade business? Then you may want to check out my e-book, Blogging for Your Craft Biz here, where you can nab it for just $8.99.
(See how I ended this post with instructions on how you can take the action I want you to take? That’s what it’s all about folks. ;-))