Hooray, you got a blog! Congratulations, you’ve taken an important step towards leveraging the power of the internet community to build your success and increase your personal freedom.
Now I want to tell you about five common mistakes that new bloggers make that can completely destroy your credibility and nuke your efforts to create the online brand that works for you.
Take heed, young Jedi, because if you get this stuff wrong you’ll be driving your hard-earned readers away from your blog, and out of your sphere of influence.
- Brand Free Zone
The sad truth is that, in the beginning at least, people are not going to come to your blog because you’re famous. They will arrive not knowing (or indeed caring) who the heck you are. They will leave not knowing too, unless somewhere during their visit you tell them. Make sure you talk about who you are and why you have value to offer them, close every post with a call to action (such as ‘tell your friends’ or ‘leave a comment’) and give them a reason to remember you, bookmark you, and follow your blog in future.
- Woah, TMI!
If you’re blogging for business, keep it on a business level. By all means drop in an anecdote or mention an amusing occurrence from your personal life along the way, keep it personable and warm, but if you prattle on about stuff which doesn’t relate to your business AT ALL you will only attract fellow chatterboxes and turn off the people who would otherwise want to do business with you. Your blog should not be sterile, you do have to be ‘real’, but keep it focussed to what you’re trying to achieve and what value you can offer your readers.
- Suicidal Linkage
It’s great to share resources and offer an easy way for your readers to find products, services and websites that will be interesting and useful to them. Choosing to link to the right places will get you brownie points with potential venture partners and convince your readers that you are a genuinely useful person to know. But choose wisely, you are staking your brand on your ‘recommendation’. Only link to sites that you know offer great product/service/info, who will appreciate your link, and who offer complimentary value to your own. Don’t link to people who are your direct competitors, or whose product/service you do not know, trust and/or heartily recommend. You have too much to lose to gamble on a badly chosen link.
- Bland with side order of bland
It’s great to be a happy, positive, friendly kind of a person. Nothing at all wrong with it. But keep it real, or you can end up looking two dimensional and boring, possibly even irritatingly chirpy. Post your viewpoint, even (especially!) if it’s an intriguing or controversial one. Insightful posts draw comments, which in turn draw repeat visitors and followers, and that’s all good for your brand.
- The Copy Room
It’s tempting to post second hand content all over your blog. It’s so quick, easy, and goodness knows there is plenty of it out there with permission given to repost, reuse and rehash. Certainly good quality content by other people can make a valuable contribution to your blog, and if you find something that you really like (and you have permission to repost), by all means use it. Beware though, too much third party content can drown your brand and send your visitors off to visit the byline links of the original authors instead. Balance your blog posts with content of your own. People want to read YOUR insights, tips, opinions and advice, so let them have it and keep recycled content to a bare minimum. It’s your blog, you owe it to yourself and your readers to keep it that way.