Creating remarkable content is one of the core components of inbound marketing, and one of the best ways to generate a steady flow of fresh content is by publishing a business blog. HubSpot research indicates companies that blog generate 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, and have 434% more indexed pages than companies that don’t blog. Still, while many businesses are starting to recognize the powerful impact a blog can have on business success, that doesn’t mean they’re all doing it right.
Whether you’ve only just decided to launch a blog for your business or you’ve been blogging for a while, it's not difficult to fall victim to some of the most common business blogging mistakes. To help prevent you from making some of these blogging bloopers -- and give you the tools to fix the mistakes you might already be guilty of making -- let's get a handle on the top 7 most critical blogging mistakes you should avoid at all costs. Ready to start applying some blogging band-aids?
1. Not Integrating Your Blog With Your Website
Mistake (And Why It Hurts): Your blog is published on its own domain, separate from your company’s main website. Even worse: Your blog is published on a free blogging platform’s domain such as Blogger.com, WordPress.com, or TypePad.com. Eeek! Not integrating your business blog with your company’s main website can be damaging to your business' search engine optimization, branding, and the centralization of your business' content.
Easy Fix: The ideal home for your blog is either on a sub-domain of your main website (e.g. http://blog.website.com) or in a folder of your main website (e.g. http://website.com/blog). Both of these options will allow your corporate website to benefit from the search engine optimization advantages your blog will create.
2. Publishing Too Much Product-Centric Content
Mistake (And Why It Hurts): The content you publish on your blog is too heavily focused on you -- your products, services, achievements, and why you’re awesome -- and it’s seriously lacking thought leadership. Publishing product or company-focused content is okay only if you limit it to a company news and/or product blog. For thought leadership blogging that will help your business rank in search engines and generate leads, you’ll get stuck if you feature too much product-focused or company-centric content.
Easy Fix: Change the way you think about content for your blog. Instead of creating product-focused content that is unlikely to get shared, consider spending more time on educational, data-driven, or especially thought-provoking content related to your industry. This type of content has a much better chance of attracting readers and gaining social traction.
3. Publishing Infrequently/Inconsistently
Mistake (And Why It Hurts): You have a blog, but you don’t publish posts on a regular basis; and when you do post, you’re not publishing enough articles to make your blog effective. Research shows that the companies benefiting most from business blogging are the ones that blog frequently and consistently.
Easy Fix: Make a commitment to the upkeep of your blog. The most common frequency we observed for business blogging is weekly, so start by striving for at least one blog post per week and work your way up. If time or bandwidth is a major concern or deterrent for you, consider other ways to source content for your blog.
4. Neglecting to Optimize for Search
Mistake (And Why It Hurts): You’re not actively doing anything to take advantage of your blog’s power to help you get found in search engines. One of the greatest benefits of business blogging relates to search engine optimization, and if you’re not consciously acting on the various ways to optimize your blog for search engines, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity your blog can offer to increase your keyword rankings and grow your organic search traffic.
Easy Fix: The number of terms that a website can rank for is directly related to the size of the site. More often than not, the difference between a 50-page website and a 500+ page site is a blog. Because of this, blogging is an absolutely essential practice for SEO and traffic-building. More indexed pages mean more opportunities for keywords, so develop an SEO strategy for your blog by which you identify the right keywords for your business and optimize your blog content with those keywords.
5. Failing to Promote Content in Social Media
Mistake (And Why It Hurts): You’ve launched a business blog and are publishing articles on a regular basis, yet you’re not taking advantage of the power of social media to promote your blog content and increase your readership and subscriber base. By not promoting your blog content via social networks and social media sites, you are missing an opportunity to reach a large audience of readers who may be interested in your content but don’t even know it exists.
Easy Fix: Spend more time building your reach in social media and promoting your content there. If you don’t have the time to promote your content, scale back on the amount of content you’re creating to allow yourself some more time to promote existing content. Create a brand presence on the social sites your audience populates, expand your reach, share links to blog content through those channels, and make social sharing easy for your readers by adding social sharing buttons to all your articles.
6. Not Optimizing for Lead Generation
Mistake (And Why It Hurts): There are few (or maybe even zero) calls-to-action (CTAs) on your blog, severely limiting its potential to convert visitors into leads and customers for your business. At HubSpot, our blog is one of the top sources of leads for our business. If you’re not optimizing your blog with offers and calls-to-action, you’re missing out on a tremendously powerful business opportunity to generate leads, thus diminishing the value of your blog’s ROI.
Easy Fix: In addition to placing CTAs on the top and/or sidebar of your blog, make a commitment to lead generation by making it a habit to ensure that every blog post you publish has a CTA. Also think about revisiting old blog posts (particularly those that receive the most traffic) and adding CTAs to them, since people are still probably finding, reading, and deriving value from your blog’s evergreen content today, as well.
7. Ignoring Blog Analytics
Mistake (And Why It Hurts): You’re blogging away, but you haven’t stopped to analyze your blog’s success or to think about whether your efforts are paying off. Analytics can give you valuable insight into the success of your blog and help justify your efforts to your boss and management team. They can also be helpful in determining which topics, titles, and types of articles are working -- or not working -- for your blog’s audience. By failing to analyze your blog’s effectiveness, you’re ignoring information and data that can take your blog to the next level and increase its effectiveness.
Easy Fix: Pay regular attention to analytics so you’re aware of how your blog is performing. Depending on your blog’s goals, you may want to focus on different metrics, but the following several blog metrics can greatly help measure your blog’s success and discover valuable insights to improve your blog's performance: monthly visitors, traffic-driving keywords, subscribers, comments, page views, leads and conversion rate, social media shares, and inbound links.