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ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated

Seven Missteps to Avoid in Your Business Blog

According to data analysis by HubSpot, small businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors and 126% more lead growth than small businesses that do not blog. If you own a small business and don't blog, you are missing out on a valuable opportunity to generate traffic to your website and position yourself as an expert in your field.

However, as with any endeavor, the process of blogging for your business often comes with a few missteps, especially for businesses that are new to the concept of blogging to increase their potential customer base. Whether you have blogged for your business for years or are just now starting to take advantage of this wonderful marketing opportunity, learning to avoid these common errors will help ensure your blog is a success.

Misstep 1 — It isn't your personal blog — don't write it like one

While personal anecdotes and observations can help your clients get to know you as a business owner, focusing too much on yourself and not enough on your business will drive customers away. Your company's blog should be a space for discourse and education on topics related to the company's focus. Specific things to avoid are politics (unless you run a political organization); religion (unless you run a religious organization); or controversial topics that have nothing to do with your business, your product, or the services you offer.

Misstep 2 — Avoid discussing insider information

Remember—anything you put in print (whether online or otherwise) could have potential for litigation. Discussing insider information, particularly if you are a franchise of a larger company, could have legal consequences and might end up being more trouble that you anticipated. Beyond this, it is unprofessional to go public with information that should be kept private, or among your employees.

Misstep 3 — Don't discuss company drama

Every workplace has its share of drama—some more than others. However, airing that dirty laundry through the company blog is unprofessional. Keep workplace conflict out of the public's eye in order to maintain your company's reputation, and never use a blog for a personal vendetta against a co-worker, co-owner, or the competition.

Misstep 4 — Don't relate news, statistics, or published information without citing the source

Beyond the fact that it's plagiarism, including information on your blog that is not properly cited looks sloppy and untrustworthy. With so much information available on the web, and so much misinformation published daily, you don't want your business blog to run the risk of being seen as misleading. You will lose readers quickly by doing this.

Citing sources can be as simple as including where you found it within your text, creating a hyperlink to the original source, or including a citation at the bottom of the blog—just as you would do if you were writing an academic paper. Particularly if your blog is written to show your expertise to potential clients, you'll want to make sure your writing is seen as a legitimate and valid source of trustworthy information.

Misstep 5 — Don't limit your blog to written content

Internet users are accustomed to a wide variety of content online, including videos, photos, graphs, music, and written words. Limiting your blog to the written word not only makes it boring to read (regardless of how great your content is)—it also limits your audience. Ask any marketing professional and they'll tell you that using a variety of tactics and media is the best way to attract potential customers. For this reason, you can immediately make your blog more interesting and more likely to have a larger audience if you include photos, videos, graphs, or other types of media. These media also work well as posts on social media to attract readers to your blog.

Misstep 6 — Don't allow your blog to become outdated

You've seen it before—a business has a great website with a blog, but when you start reading the content, you find that most of the information was written years ago. This is bad for two reasons. First, outdated content makes your business appear outdated. If the last blog entry you posted was in 2010 and it is now 2014, anyone reading that content or visiting your website will wonder if you are still in business. Second, if the purpose of your blog is to draw more traffic to your website, the only way this will happen is if you continue to add fresh content on a regular basis. Constant activity on a website not only helps search engines like Google find your pages, it also makes your page rank higher when those search engine results are returned to an internet user. Higher page rankings mean more traffic.

Misstep 7 — Don't neglect your audience

Most blogging platforms allow for comments from readers. This is a great asset to your blog because it shows that people are reading and that your content is generating interest. Responding to these comments allows your readers the opportunity to interact with you and benefit from your expertise, which ultimately draws customers to your door. Responding to criticism is equally as important, since criticism will help you improve your business and will show that you care about your customers or clients.

Blogs are also easy targets for spammers, so not paying attention to the comments could make your blog appear unprofessional. One way to avoid the spamming is to set your blog to post only comments that you approve. If you do this, be sure to also approve the comments that question the content you've written. Replying to that questioning not only shows your expertise—it shows that you are confident enough in your content to defend it. Just keep the replies professional.

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