By Edie Melson
Blogging is a great way to connect with our online audience. And while there are a lot more people out there doing it well, I still see some common mistakes. These things affect a blog, making readers click away before we have time to connect.
Today I’m going to point out some of the specific things we do that keep us from our audience
• Lack of Interaction. When someone takes the time and effort to comment on your blog post, it’s only polite to answer them. Sure there are days when we get busy and really can’t reply, but if you’re known for taking time to answer, those times will be forgiven.
• Inconsistent Posting. I know you’ve heard this again and again, but it bears repeating. If we expect readers to visit our blogs consistently, they have the right to expect us to blog consistently.
• Weak Blog Post Titles. I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover-or its title. But we all do it. Without compelling titles, blog posts go unread and readers drift away.
• Little or No Formatting. Reading online takes more effort than reading actual ink on paper. Bloggers can overcome that obstacle with proper formatting. This includes using a sans-serif font (like Verdana or Ariel), block formatting, bullet points, and bold subheadings. All these make the page easier to read.
• Too Many Grammatical Errors. I know, I really shouldn’t be the one throwing stones here. You all know I’ve allowed misspelled words, omitted words and grammatical errors creep into my posts. But I’m referring to numerous errors in almost every single post. Taking an extra five minutes to read a post out loud before we publish it can make worlds of difference in the professionalism we project.
• Lack of Focus. Variation isn’t bad, but don’t go overboard. A blog without a focus is a blog without an audience.
• Posts that are too Long. People today are way more willing to spend time rather than money. Regularly posting things that are more than 500 – 600 words long will cost you readers.
• No Images with Blog Posts. Just like the formatting issue, images help break up the text and provide for easier reading. They also give visual clues to the content.
• Auto-Linking to Social Media. Yes, it’s important to share our blog posts on social media. But we need to be the one to compose the announcement. We’re a savvy audience and we recognize and ignore updates composed by computers.
These are the mistakes I see consistently. But I’d love to know what you see that bugs you the most on the author blogs you follow. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Edie Melson is an author, blogger, and speaker with years of experience. Her bestselling ebook on social media has been updated and re-released as Connections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers. She also writes for military families. Her latest book, While My Soldier Serves, Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military is now available online and in bookstores everywhere. In addition, she’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, and the Military Family Blogger on Guideposts.org. She’s also the Senior Editor at Novel Rocket. Connect with Edie through her blog, Twitter and Facebook.
Hi, Edie. Thanks so much for these suggestions. I have a question about posting about posts. When we’re guest posting on other blogs, is it helpful to do a post with links to those other blogs? Any tips on being effective with that strategy? Again, thanks for your insights. You are very much appreciated!
Thank you, Edie, for the excellent reminders of what to do and what not to do on our blogs. My favorite of your advice is the suggestion to reply to comments. It makes the reader feel welcome and more likely to return.
I’ve noticed my longer posts get less comments, so I need to work at making them short again.
Blessings ~ Wendy