I visit lots of business blogs on a daily basis for inspiration, information, or just to be nosy to be honest with you, and the official study I’ve conducted with my brain, is that 75% of them are filled to the brim with bollockery and I find myself clicking away in disgust.
I’m not saying we aren’t guilty of these crimes ever, nobody’s perfect, but if you have a blog for your business I implore you to at the very least start treating it with a bit of love and attention. Here are five things I see regularly which make my teeth itch
The 5 Mistakes you’re making in your blog posts
Mistake 1: Blog posts are for life, not just for SEO
SEO is important. Writing both web page content and blog posts which are going to help people find your website is important.
Back in the early days of Google I could have filled an entire web page with ‘Katie Gillingham is the best copywriter in the world’ a thousand times, and pretty immediately found myself ranking number one for ‘best copywriter in the world’. However, we’ve come a long way since the 90s, and along with poppered trackie bottoms and leggings with weird elastic bits that go under your feet, keyword stuffing as described above has been consigned to history’s bin.
Yes, it’s important to use whatever keyword it is that you’re targeting a couple of times proportionately throughout your blog post, but they’re there to signpost to Google exactly what you’re talking about so that they can serve your content to people when it’s relevant to their search. They’re now much more concerned with their users hitting your site, and finding an answer to their question.
If you have a blog post titled ‘How to bleed a radiator’ but the content is a load of waffle about how great your property maintenance team is, the person who has clicked on your article to find out how to bleed their radiator, is I’m afraid, not going to give a single crap. In fact, they’ll probably remember you for being annoying and Google will also see how quickly they noped right off of your website and rank you lower for it.
Solution: Stop trying to outsmart the Google gods, and focus on giving your readers the helpful, interesting content that they’re looking for.
Mistake 2: Stop being boring
Don’t look at me like that. If you feel a little bit hurt then you know I’m right!
If you stuff keywords everywhere, drone on about property industry legislation drier than an overcooked Victoria sponge and pay little attention to being interesting and enigmatic, it will just make anyone who does read it switch off. Look, we’re nearly 500 words in and you’re still here. I’ve mentioned the SEO phrase “Mistakes you’re making in your blog posts” three times and I bet you didn’t even notice until I just pointed it out. It’s because I’m not arsed about the SEO, I’m arsed about you reading this and being able to take something useful from it.
It doesn’t matter whether your business is in selling properties, touring the world singing to packed-out stadiums, or manufacturing the parts for cheese making machinery, every topic you might want to talk about can be made readable and interesting.
Mistake 3: Voice an opinion!
Please note, I was careful with the wording here and didn’t use ‘Voice your opinion!’. The reason for this, is that your personal opinion might differ slightly from the opinion of your business.
What do I mean by this?
Well, you might be a dog-hater, but not wanting to publish the fact to avoid alienating animal-loving landlords and tenants. So whilst you personally believe all dogs should go the same way as the dinosaurs, you might write a post for your business with the strong opinion that good tenants with pets should be encouraged. Or writing about the best dog walking routes in the local area.
And yes, I’m going there, you might have complex personal views on Brexit, but decide that on balance you’re going to write a piece reassuring landlords that it’s a good thing for the industry. As long as you can back up the opinion and you’re not using your business blog like an online soapbox, it’s far better to stand for something than sit atop the fence wondering why no-one is reading your third post this month on why you’re the best local estate agent.
Also as a sidenote, adding a little bit at the bottom of your posts with links you’ve used as sources adds to your credibility, and gives weight to what you’re saying.
Solution: Make sure you’re authoritative in what you’re saying, without being argumentative.
Mistake 4: Layout is important
As much as I would love to write about how it’s only the words that are important, when you’re writing for the web you need to factor in that people will be reading it on screens. Possibly small screens. You need to bear this in mind when formatting your text.
- Split your post up with headings and subheadings
- Use bullet points for lists (see what I did there?)
- Don’t be scared to add photos or GIFs into your blog posts
- Use short paragraphs to break up big blocks of text
- Use bold and italic text formatting to add emphasis and interest
If you’d like to learn more about usability and writing content for the web, this is a really good start.
Mistake 5: Think about your audience
This should probably go as number one because it is THE most important. If you think about your audience, all of the other points I’ve made will likely happen as a side-effect.
People want to read interesting content that’s going to improve their lives. If you’re only thinking about ‘what do we want to say on our blog’, you’re doing it very wrong. You need to be asking ‘what do people want to read on our blog’ and using that as a starting point.
Whilst you can have a look on your analytics so you can see the kind of posts you’re doing which resonate with your audience, you’re also you, so you know your business best and know the kind of questions your customers ask. Start there!
Solution: Think about the kind of helpful content people want to read. Important legislation updates, local community news, how-to guides for basic property maintenance tasks, interior design inspiration for rental properties, a breakdown of the buying process for first-time buyers – the options are endless!
So, there we have it. It’s a long one, but I think it’s a worthwhile read. If you’re looking to add some life and soul into your blog posts, you don’t have to take it on yourself! We’re here to help, come up with ideas, and write the posts for you if you like – get in touch!