Almost every blogger starts out bright eyed and bushy tailed, expecting to conquer the world. Unfortunately, reality intrudes, and suddenly blogging loses its luster and becomes a chore; energy is replaced by ennui. This state of mind leads bloggers to become sloppy and silly -- driving readers and business away. These seven bad blogging habits are signs your blogging spirit needs rejuvenation and renewal. Correcting (or avoiding) these habits will help your blog generate traffic, engagement, leads, referrals and all the other goodies that go along with conquering the world.
1. Cheesy, Overworked Headlines
Certain headline formulas have been done to death. I'm tired of hearing about 5 things beef jerky can teach me about website design, or 10 things the Super Bowl can teach me about fluid mechanics. This sort of headline tells me a blogger is relying on gimmicks and perhaps doesn't take his/her subject matter seriously. Is this the impression you want to give prospects and customers?
2. Superficial Posts on Overworked Topics
I'll confess this is one I'm guilty of - shame on me! There's no getting away from the fact that certain topics get a whole lot of attention, but if you're just going through the motions, if you're publishing a lame post that adds nothing new to the conversation -- well, why are you publishing the post? If you're publishing as a pure SEO play or to keep up with an arbitrary posting schedule, rethink what you're doing. Mediocre content fails in the long run.
3. Not Citing Sources for Statistics
Some bloggers toss statistics around like confetti -- more for decoration than illumination, to paraphrase David Ogilvy. Making unsupported statistical assertions inspires confidence in only 22.3% of blog readers, and arouses suspicion among the other 72.7% of blog readers. (I made up those statistics so you could see how you react to them. Here is a deep analysis on evaluating Internet research sources that demonstrates how serious a business statistical attribution should be.)
4. Incessant Self Promotion
Posts and blog sidebars that scream, "Buy Something Now!" smack of desperation. People are either browsing or buying, and 95% of the time, they're browsing. If you're screaming, "Buy!" when the vast majority of your readers are thinking, "Browse," your blog is driving away the very people you want to attract.
5. Total Lack of Self Promotion
This one might surprise you, but I think a business blog does need to convey that it exists for a business reason. The overriding purpose of a blog may be to inform or educate, but if you don't offer some way for a reader to convert, you're sending a message that you're an information charity rather than a business. Assuming that people will buy from you just because you publish brilliant content is usually wishful thinking, and is never a business strategy.
A lot of bloggers never met a widget they didn't like. If your sidebar looks like a circus, your business will be taken just as seriously. Sidebar gimmickry is frequently used as a substitute for serious thinking. The only cure is a complete widgetectomy (besides Zemanta Related Posts of course!).
7. Rambling Posts
Sometimes, writing is a substitute for thinking rather than its fruit. Blaise Pascal said, "I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter." Editing, refining, and clarifying take effort. Vomiting content all over readers may be easy, but does not make for a pleasurable reading experience.
Brad Shorr is Director of Content and Social Media for Straight North, a full service Internet marketing agency. The firm specialises in helping middle market B2B firms, with clients that do everything from mobile credit card processing to electric gloves. Brad has been blogging since 2005 and writes frequently on social media topics. Follow Brad on Twitter and connect with Straight North on Google+.
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