growing your blog

This is a guest blog post from Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner, a leading social media blog and author of Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition.   ( If you want to learn how to grow a large and loyal following, be sure to read the first chapter of Michael's new book.)    

Do you blog? Have you been working hard to build a loyal following for your business, but it's just not happening for you?

The good news is you're not alone.  Most blogs don't get the traffic or the attention they desire. What follows are the top mistakes made by bloggers (and how to fix them):

Mistake #1: It's All About You

When I first started blogging , this one surprised me: Nobody gives a hoot about my products, services, or me . That also means most people don't care about you, your company, or your products.

What do people really care about? Solving their problems, getting access to great information, and recognition. If you can provide content that focuses on the challenges faced by your readers, you'll grow much quicker.

Mistake #2: You're Over Selling

Have you ever been to a blog that contains so many ads that there's almost no room left for the content?  People are repelled by marketing messages .  You wouldn't wrap a wedding gift with coupons would you? If you want to keep people, tone the selling down.

Great blogs deliver commercial free gifts in the form of valuable content. That means very subtle ads. And when you do use ads, promote free content, such as a newsletter subscription or a white paper.

Mistake #3: You're Not Embracing Outside Experts

  Whether you're a one-person show or your have employees, have you ever considered shining the spotlight on outside pros?  If you're not working with experts who could bring value to your audience, you're missing out.

These are people that have great knowledge to share with your audience.  Why not interview book authors, experts working at familiar companies , or even your peers?  When you work with outside exerts you can grow a bigger following and form potential strategic alliances with the experts.

Mistake #4: You Don't Produce Useful Information

Perhaps you buy into the notion that your blog shouldn't be about your products . Then the next mistake is producing content people don't find valuable.

For example, let's say you produced an article titled, "10 Things to Look for in a Wedding Planner." Now that might be useful to people who've already decided they need a wedding planner.  But what about couples who aren't sure of the value?

If you instead produced an article titled, "The Ultimate Guide to Picking Wedding Music," or "5 Ways to Prepare the Bride and Groom's Reception Table," you'll get a lot more interest. And just maybe some people will decide to hire you to help with their wedding.

Demonstrate your expertise by producing highly valuable content .

Mistake #5: You Haven't Made it Easy for People to Share

You might have great content that people love. But if you don't give folks an effortless way to share the content with their friends, that content won't live up to its full potential.

Be sure to include relevant sharing buttons for your audience. Here's a video that shows you the most popular social sharing options.

Mistake #6: You Aren't Engaging People

Have you ever entered a small store only to find the cashier on the phone behind a desk, fully ignoring you?  When people leave comments on your blog, you should engage them.

Try replying to nearly every comment left on your blog post and watch how quickly you create loyal followers.

Mistake #7: You're Not Giving People a Reason to Return

A surprising 80% of people who visit your blog are first timers, according to some recent research . That mean's only 20% are returning!

If you want people to return, you need to encourage them to do so.  Over at Social Media Examiner , we offer people a free video tutorial if they signup for our email updates (see example below).  We also employ social proof by showing how many people are on our subscriber list.


I've been blogging since 2006 and I'm guilty of every one of the mistakes above. So don't worry—it happens to all of us.  With a few fixes mentioned above you could become a top blog .

What do you think? Have you made any of these mistakes? What tips would you add? We'd love to hear your comments below.

If you want to learn how to grow a large and loyal following, be sure to read the first chapter of my new book Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition .   Click here for free and immediate access to the first chapter of Launch (no registration required)

Originally published Jun 6, 2011 4:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016


Inbound Marketing