The days of "build it and they will come" are gone. Back in the early days of blogging, we built our blogs, wrote good content, and 'they' came. We weren't always sure who 'they' were, however.
Today, we can track and chart and understand who's coming to our blogs. We can write content directed at the like-minded people we want to meet and converse with. But, today, there are so many of us out there, having a presence in the blogosphere is no guarantee of traffic. Even when you use cute pics of your granddaughter (I just couldn't resist!)
You have to be more focused, more attentive, and more responsive.
Here are some ways we fail... including a few deadly "seo" sins from our friends at Business on Main.
1. We write to please ourselves.
Yes, everyone has an opinion and sharing it is what blogs are all about. But, if your blog is a business blog, you need to be sure your readers are interested in the things you write about. Take your yourself out of the picture for a bit and look closely at the posts that get the most traffic and comments. That's the content you should be writing. Pleasing yourself over and over is equivalent to shouting into a vacuum.
2. We think keywords are so inherent in our writing, we don't pay much attention to them.
Keywords are the phrases your readers and others search to find you. Sometimes, they aren't looking for you... but, the right keywords will bring them to you. From BoM: "The solution? You can use Google Insights for Search to compare potential keywords, and the Google AdWords Keyword Tool (both free!) to assess search volume for those terms. Based on your research, you should use the more common terminology in your titles and headings."
3. We forget what 'fresh' content is.
Yes, it can be challenging to write every day and be informative or educational or funny. So, sometimes we step back, take a break, and depend on our existing content to carry us through. That's okay if we're talking a few days here and there. A week, a month...or longer, and you've dropped off of everyone's radar. If you can't come up with new content on your own, there is plenty of content to share - with proper citation, and some added words of your own. And, there is always the option of bringing on guest bloggers.
4. We get lazy.
Lazy means using "click here" or "here" and "here" and "here" as anchor links to reference material. Since the whole world is using the same generic phrases or words, you become one in hundreds of millions and... the search engines ignore you. From BoM: "You can’t control how other sites link to yours, but you can control how you link to the pages on your site internally. Make sure the text you use in those links is descriptive, both for visitors to your site and for search engines looking to better understand what your site’s pages are about."
5. We 'talk' as if we're right in front of the person.
I know, blogging is a conversation. You're supposed to write like it's a conversation, without lecturing. But, too often we forget that our readers may be new to the page and they may need some introduction to the topic - beyond the casual tone many of us use. Always write with the thought that the person you're writing for knows nothing about you or your blog. Provide relevant links (see sin #4), and always invite feedback questions.
6. We share other people's content... freely and without reference.
It's astonishing to me but there are still people out there who think everything on the web is free. They think logos and images and content on websites or blogs was put there for them to borrow. (steal is a better word but let's remain friendly, shall we?) EVERYTHING on the web is copyrighted. You only own the original content you create. If you take content or images from others, that's wrong. If you cite a few sentences or a picture that you like, you MUST say where you got them, link back and even let the original author know. It is not all right to just take content you find on the web, and put it on your blog.
7. We spend so much time online we lose touch with reality.
Truth is - online should be a path to connecting offline. There is nothing more powerful and there will never be anything more powerful than face-to-face connections. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, et al, are just tools meant to build connections, share ideas, bring people from different locations together. But, if you don't unplug on a regular basis and get out in the fresh air to have coffee or lunch or a drink with actual people, you run the risk of becoming ... old and stale and unimportant. Because, if you are just an avatar online... you are ... just an avatar online. And, avatars are not real. They're made up visions of who we want to be.
Be who you are, with people who like you, as you are.
Lip-sticking is part of an online influencer network for Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.