Starting a blog for your business is a big decision. It’s also a good decision. Blogging is a fantastic way to share ideas, showcase expertise and build trust with prospective clients.
So the last thing you want is to make a mistake that could be detrimental to your blog’s future success.
In this post I’m sharing some of the common errors bloggers make so you can avoid them in your own. If you fancy hearing more pearls of wisdom and want to develop your writing further, check out my Business Blogging Masterclasses.
1. Duplicating content
People ask me all the time if it’s ok to publish a post on their website, then copy and paste the same content into a LinkedIn article. The answer is it’s absolutely not ok!
When you post identical content in two places Google will penalise you.
Imagine you’re a Google robot searching the web for relevant content and you come across the same blog post in two different places. You can’t tell who wrote or published them. You just see the same content in two places.
Usually search engines index the first version of a post and ignore any duplicate content. In this example the LinkedIn post would be unlikely to be listed in search results.
Aside from the fact that duplicating content is lazy, if you want to post similar content in more than one place, edit the post so it at least appears to be different content. Tweaking your headline, intro and ending can help. Then look at the body content and update it for the channel you’re writing for. Ask yourself who the audience is and write for them.
2. Written plagiarism
If you want your blog to be seen as a credible information source, you must do your research. Copying text from another website without permission is absolutely not ok! As is failing to check facts, figures, or credit information sources properly.
It’s fine to use the web to source relevant data to back up an argument. But don’t rely on the first source you come across. Be wary of Wikipedia (anyone can update this). Look instead to reputable industry bodies, research organisations and respected experts or journalists in the field.
If you read a fact in more than one reputable place and can attribute this to a credible source, such as a research report, you’ll be on the right track.
3. Not attributing images
Where do you source the images or photographs you post in your blog? Do they belong to you or did you source them from the web?
Finding images via Google image search and copying and pasting directly into your blog without asking the owner for permission could land you in a whole heap of trouble. The photographer’s lawyer could be on your doorstep before you know it.
If someone kindly allows you to use their image you should credit them within your post.
There are plenty of royalty free image sites where you can find and download images legally at no or little cost. Check out Pixabay, Pexels and Unsplash for free images from reliable sources. But bear in mind the world and his wife use these so consider how you can make your version stand out from the rest.
A little extra SEO tip… When naming image files try to use keywords to reflect what's in your image and the theme of your blog post.
4. Inconsistent posting
Every blog writer is guilty of this one at some time in their career. It’s so easy to be side tracked by other more important tasks (usually client work!).
Posting inconsistently is generally the result of not having a content plan. The secret to success is in creating a realistic blogging schedule that you can stick to and writing posts in advance. If you’d like more tips on how to get into a consistent blogging routine, check out my training page.
5. Being too formal
A blog should read like a chat with a friend. I like to imagine I’m chatting in a coffee shop when writing mine. Hey, sometimes I actually am!
Lots of businesses are guilty of using language that’s too formal in their blog posts. They think their writing should reflect the work they produce (think lawyers, solicitors, financial advisers and accountants here). Overdoing the formality just makes you come across as stiff and unfriendly. You’re also making a presumption that your audience understands the language, jargon or acronyms you’re using.
It’s likely the person reading your blog post is looking for help or advice. Am I right?
Writing in a formal style could alienate your audience and make them miss the important point you’re trying to make.
There’s a simple way to check if you’re doing this in your blog. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer and re-read your post as them. Does it connect? Would they understand the words you’ve used?
If you find it hard to do this, ask someone else to give you some feedback. I’m always available for a chat (in a coffee shop!).