The development of a blog takes time and consideration, particularly when building a company blogging strategy, where multiple authors or stakeholders are involved. Strategic blogging decisions include primary blog goals and objectives, the choice of blog software, on-domain versus a new domain and design/usability and functionality. While all of these components of a blogging strategy are important (and essential), here are 16 pitfalls and roadblocks that can stop your blogging initiative dead in it’s tracks, or put yourself on the road to failure, before you even begin your first post.
- You’re afraid of what people may think
Blogging is about creating a conversation and fostering a discussion, which can often lead to criticism, differing opinions and/or different points of view. If you’re not prepared to engage this discussion in a constructive and positive manner, you’ll lose readers and lose respect amongst the online community.
- You get so wrapped up in design and functionality, you miss the point of your what it’s all about
A clean design and user-friendly interface are definitely important, but don’t forget that the real point of a blog is in the individual posts and content. Your blog can have the most beautiful design in the world, but if your content is ineffective, the design isn’t going to keep your readers engaged forever.
- You underestimate the intelligence of your audience
The folks that are actively part of the blogging community are generally more technologically savvy and aware of emerging trends and functionality. In most cases, you do not need to “dumb-down” your material or your functionality, but you do need to write effectively and provide clear cut design and accessibility.
- You think your brand is enough to ensure success for your blog
Just because you have brand awareness doesn’t guarantee that your blog will prosper. Nor does it mean that the email list of newsletter subscribers or registered account holders will all turn into regular blog readers and contributors of comments. Sure some existing subscribers may convert, and your writing style may lead to a successful adoption, but just because your company has brand awareness, does not translate to an immediate and quality blog readership.
- You don’t read successful blogs in your industry or review successful blogs in general
I’m always looking at successful blogs in the SEO/SEM industry and successful blogs in general, for a better understanding of how blog authors organize and compose their posts, so that I can improve my own writing style and techniques. In addition, if you believe blogging is about extending a conversation, it’s a good idea to at least keep pace with what the people in your industry are talking about, so you’re not always on your own island or soapbox.
- You don’t think commenting on other’s blogs is important
Actually investing the time to create quality comments on other people’s blogs is an underrated strategy by many business bloggers starting out. While there is certainly other ways to promote, remember that quality comments get noticed by readers (of the blog you’re commenting on) and (hopefully) the blog author as well, which in turn provides free promotion for yourself and your blog.
- You don’t reply to the comments on your blog or engage your readers
Acknowledge quality comments – both publicly and directly (to the commenter). If you have regular readers and/or subscribers, actively reach out to them for additional feedback and notification of blog posts that they may find of interest.
- You don’t ask for feedback or evaluation from people you respect
It’s important to obtain feedback from people you respect, with a goal of obtaining constructive criticism on your writing style, effectiveness at making a point, and blogging ideas. As your blog gains momentum, the circle of people you can reach out to should also increase, creating a valuable network of talent and experience.
- You don’t think you have to network
Besides commenting and actively obtaining feedback, getting involved in social communities and blogging communities (both general and industry specific) provides an opportunity to share and collaborate with bloggers that are directly related to your own interests and blogging objectives.
- You confuse blog content for something that it is not
Blogs aren’t really places to write press releases or draft case studies, but tutorials, guides and “how-to” posts are critical to establishing credibility in your industry. That being said, every post does not need to be an in-depth tutorial and every product enhancement need not be emphasized with a running commentary.
- You restrict the opportunity for your blog writers to develop a communication style
This is specific to company blogging, as there are likely scenarios where multiple authors and contributors will need to be defined. There’s nothing wrong with setting guidelines and off-limit subjects, but severely hampering creativity and well thought out positions on topics of interest will ultimately dilute your writer’s enthusiasm, impacting the effectiveness of your blog’s content.
- You measure your success in word counts and paragraphs
There’s no secret blogging recipe for how many words need to be written or how many paragraphs each blog post needs to be. I’ve seen incredibly effective bloggers who rarely write more than a few paragraphs and others that have achieved a level of success in providing a great amount detail and description with almost every post.
- You don’t track the reasons why some of your posts are successful and some are not
Take note at why certain posts do well and others do not, so that you begin to tailor your writing style more towards what’s been successful; and not towards the ineffective.
- You set unreal expectations
Having goals for your blog is important, but don’t expect things that aren’t there or are unrealistic. For example, if the most influential blog in your space has 5,000 FeedBurner subscribers, is it really appropriate to think that you’ll have 10,000 in the next 6 months?
- You don’t celebrate small successes
There will always be points in a blog’s life where the author will question if they will be successful or achieve whatever it is that they are striving to accomplish. Make certain to recognize the little accomplishments, because doing the these type of things effectively are what should lead to blogging success in the long run.
Lastly: This list makes you think it’s just too hard to get a blog started.
And that’s absolutely not the intent with this post. My recommendation is to turn these ideas around and think about what it takes to create an opportunity for blogging success, as it’s a given that you’ll make blogging mistakes and face difficult moments. Are there specific pitfalls that you have seen new bloggers commonly fall victim to? Or specific ideas or inspirations that have made your blogging experience successful? I would love to hear your comments and ideas, as well as criticism and feedback.
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