If establishing a blog presence — or revamping some existing content — for your business site was on your list of New Year’s resolutions, you’ve come to the right place.
Use this handy-dandy guide to steer clear of some of the biggest faux pas in blog content writing. Some of them seem obvious yet understated, while others are rarely considered. Either way, the top six content no-nos to avoid when writing for the web are up next!
6 Biggest Mistakes You Can Make While Blogging for Your Business
1. Inconsistent Branding
It should come as no surprise branding is an important part of effective business, but many fail to see this through in their blogging. Your business blog content is a marketing aid, and a powerful one. After all, your online content is one of the most, if not the most, significant touchpoints for your customers — past, present, and potential — and how you present your business to them matters.
Not only would presenting Bluehost as Bluehost, blueHOST, and sometimes Blue Host look strange and inconsistent, it would feel unprofessional to site visitors. The same rule applies to any products or professional services you’re offering within your posts.
Branding elements to keep consistent for your potential customers:
- The voice of your blog content
- Any logos, color palettes, or use of media elements
- Semantic and grammatical style choices
- How you describe your business model, products, and services
- Your company name
You want to convey to readers that you’ve got your act together. Inspire that confidence in your brand and the confidence in your services will soon follow.
2. Writing Just to Write
There are many reasons to begin blogging in the first place: a creative writing minor left you with an itch; it’s cheaper than therapy; everyone loves a good few hundred words as an escape from today’s overabundance of typo-ridden, occasionally witty one-liners below Buzzfeed-esque slideshows. If you’re writing for any or all of those reasons, keep on keeping on. Write from your heart. Go on rants. If anyone else gets a kick out of it, fantastic, but your fulfillment is really all that matters.
If you’re blogging for your business,you can (and should) still write with heart, but don’t let your heart dictate the direction of the copy.
Determine the “why.” Why are you blogging? What are the business goals for your content? Are you:
- hoping to acquire new customers?
- establishing authority in your field?
- providing a resource to existing customers?
- showing your human side for visitors?
If your ‘why’ is related to the first three point above, do your homework before putting your fingers to the keyboard. Look into what your competitors are doing with their blogs. Do it better. Do keyword research!
Tons of sites offer free and paid tools for keyword analysis:
Nothing written for the web, when written well, is done haphazardly. It’s all about getting Google’s attention. You want your posts to rank well in search results so relevant readers can find you. A word of caution, however: Do not over-do it on the keyword homework, especially in section headings. You should still sound natural, human, sensical, et cetera.
Now, if your reason for blogging is more related to the fourth point above, you probably needn’t worry yourself with too much keyword analysis beforehand (though, it couldn’t hurt). If you’re not trying to sell anything or crawl up the ranks of search results, you can have a bit more fun with it.
Maybe the goal of the post is to broadcast your awesome office culture. Maybe you want to introduce a few team members and proudly display the passion that emanates from your staff. The most important thing is that your readers get to know your team’s true self. Get to know some of the passionate players on team Bluehost here.
3. Typos, Semantic Errors, and Grammar Blunders
This one seems obvious, I’m sure. Yet, so many bloggers continue to get it wrong. Your business blog is not some casual forum thread between you and your customers. Text messages, online chats, and professional blog posts are not one and the same.
Grammar, spelling, and stylistic elements matter. You want to come across as professional, poised, authoritative, and downright intelligent. That should be motivation enough to have a second set of eyes look over your posts, or at least give your own a break before one final proofreading. If you’re rolling your eyes and writing me off as a hopeless grammar nerd — would a negative effect on your blog’s rankings change your mind?
Though Google has never come right out and said grammar errors are somehow woven into the ranking formula, CEO Matt Cutts advises bloggers to consider viewing content quality as a ranking signal. “The more reputable pages do tend to have better spelling and better grammar,” he said.
Whether that’s a wink-wink, nudge-nudge hint or simply a good guiding principle to live by, heed Cutts’s advice and remember the quality of your content affects the user experience. Readers will appreciate a well-written piece by an author who took the time to reread and fact-check and/or loop in a copyeditor. And those readers just may come back because of that!
4. Incorrect HTML Structure
Now that we’ve covered the mega-obvious, let’s move on to an understated truth: HTML headers serve a structural purpose.They’re more than an aesthetic feature for site visitors — they tell search engine bots how to read a webpage by signifying the importance of the body copy that follows.
Your heading 1, or <h1> tag, is naturally the most important. The headings diminish in significance from <h2> to <h6>. If you want any visitors to actually reach your posts to see how pretty your headers are, this concept is an important one to grasp.
Picture each tag to be a rung in the ladder that is HTML header structure. With one <h1> titling your post, you can move down the ladder to <h2>s, <h3>s, and so on, but don’t skip rungs or hop up and down the ladder haphazardly. An <h4> should be nicely nested under an <h3>, which always follows an <h2>. Note, you don’t have to use all the header rungs! In fact, some say you shouldn’t go further than the <h4> level and should do so sparingly.
Takeaway rules for navigating your HTML header ladder:
- Each page should only have ONE <h1> tag!
- Headings signify level of importance for the content that follows them. Your heading 1 is most important; a heading 6 is least important.
- Don’t use headings for emphasis. Use bolding or underlining instead.
- Don’t jump around. Start with <h2>s and nest further down only as needed.
- Use <h5> and <h6> tags sparingly.
Note: There is a visual component to headings, sure. You can style your header tags to display text of a given font, font size, and even text color or other decoration using CSS. However, you shouldn’t use a given header simply because its default setting looks good. HTML headers serve as your blog post’s skeleton. They break up copy and help readers navigate the narrative.
5. Infrequent, Unprompted Content
Alright, so you’ve crafted your perfect post — chock-full of keyword-driven wisdom and free of grammar blunders. You’re ready to publish and promote! Now it’s time to establish a rhythm. You don’t have to post daily, or even weekly, necessarily. You just need to be at least semi-consistent.
Determine the frequency at which you can, comfortably, crank out fresh content, and stick to that schedule. You’ll also, presumably, want folks to give your words some love via social media, so make sure to share, tweet, repost, tag, and whatnot.
6. Relying on In-house Expertise
Ego check: We can’t all be experts at everything, nor should that be our goal. There’s strength in numbers, and part of your brand’s authority can be built by hearing from multiple sources.
Pull in industry leaders with guest blogging opportunities. Cite trusted resources. Assemble an army of authoritative voices to represent your business blog. Expand your network of outsourced experts as much as you aspire to grow your in-house expertise, and attract a following for your leadership.
We’ve Covered the Don’ts, Now for the Do’s
Do Use WordPress (and Bluehost)
Now that you know what not to do, let’s cover what to do as you start blogging for your business. First of all, unless you have a good reason to do otherwise, WordPress is probably your best bet. The learning curve isn’t too steep, and the platform is backed by an extensive development and user community. Plus, Bluehost caters services to WordPress users, so you’ve found yourself a winning combination.
It’s not everyday you find a host with offerings endorsed by the WordPress team itself, and Bluehost’s New Year’s resolutions include continuing to shine in the WordPress space in 2017. Backed by a host you can trust, and avoiding the handful of faux pas above, your business blog is sure to have a stellar year. Happy blogging!
Alexandra Leslie manages HostingAdvice.com as the Tech Vertical Manager of Digital Brands, Inc. Boasting 50+ years combined experience in various tech fields, the HostingAdvice team is the web’s leading source for information on all things web hosting.