Owning a blog is one of the best ways a business can jump start its inbound marketing campaign—if it’s a good one. Brands that publish 15 or more posts a month see about 3.5 times more traffic than companies who choose not to, and it’s safe to say that with an increase in traffic often comes an increase in leads. It’s true. B2C companies that blogged 11+ times per month got more than 4 times as many leads than those that blogged only 4-5 times per month.
With stats like that, it makes sense to hop on the blogging train, but blogging is easier said than done.
We’ve all seen it. A bad blog. If you’ve come across one, you probably clicked away shortly thereafter…bad blogs are hard to read.
Here are seven signs of a bad blog (names have been changes to protect the innocent):
1. Your headlines scream “Don’t click me.”
Exhibit A. If a consumer is looking for swimming content, they might Google something along the lines of “swimming workout.” I can confidently say, consumers will never Google “April 27” when looking for a swim workout. Dates ≠ headlines.
The bottom line: Boring headlines make posts tough to find. Be creative and descriptive; titles with 6-13 words attract the highest and most consistent amount of traffic.
2. Your post doesn’t include any hyperlinks.
When writing a blog, it is important to link off to other content—especially inbound links. Linking off to your own content demonstrates validity to search engines and it helpful to your readers looking for more information.
3. You are going for the hard sell.
Exhibit B. These are the first two paragraphs in a fitness equipment company’s blog post. Who’s convinced? Not me.
Consumers look to blogs for information and expertise. Not hard sells. If your brand continually publishes relevant, helpful content, your readers will come back to you for more, and later, when they are in the purchasing stage of their buying journey, your brand will be top of mind.
4. You’re pots have grammer and spelling error.
Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. It’s tough for a brand to be trusted with consumer dollars if its publically posted content is poorly written and littered with mistakes.
Read drafts out loud when proofing, and pass along to a coworker for a second/third round of edits.
5. Your blog post is a huge block of text.
It might be my millennial attention span (or lack thereof), but when I click on an article, if it isn’t immediately scannable, I move on.
But I am not alone! 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts.
If potential customers are skimming articles for information, it’s important to make your brand’s blog content easy to read. Photos, headers, block quotes, lists and bullets are simple ways to break up a wordy post. Readers everywhere will appreciate it, and you are likely to see an increase in the duration of time people spend on your page.
6. You haven’t published a blog post since August of 2013.
Inactivity=Unprofessional. If a company is doing business daily, but their blog hasn’t been updated in 8 months, it says something about that brand. Do they care? Does this company still exist? That’s not what you want your web visitors (a.k.a. current and potential customers) to be thinking.
Even further, publishing sporadically hurts your SEO. Brands that have a regular blogging schedule see in increase in traffic and have better luck with the Google rank gods.
7. Your posts don’t include a call-to-action.
If your blog has killer content, headlines and images, but no way to bring buyers further down their buyer’s journey, it’s a missed opportunity.
Whether it’s a free e-book, template or newsletter, having some kind of “next step” is a great way to capture leads and showcase your expertise.
It is easy to be bad. Good blogs take time, content, persistence and hours, but at the end of the day, if consistent blogging brings in 4 times more leads, it’s worth it. To get you started, download the blogging template we use here at Hodges.