And What You Can Do About It
There are currently around 112.8 million blogs. That's according to Technorati's About Page, a company that reports on happenings in the blogosphere. Back in April 2007, Technorati estimated that there were over 70 million blogs. If these statistics are true, there are over 42.8 million more blogs today than there were about a year ago. I launched about 10 of those blogs and today, most of them related to my business. Today, only this one is active. The rest of them are dead.
I learned a lot by giving birth to so many small business blogs, and then burying them one by one. Don't make the same mistakes I did. Here are the top 10 reasons why your blog (and 9 of my old ones) is dead, and what you can do about it.
1. It's Hard To Read. No one wants to sit at a computer screen and read paragraph after paragraph about what you know or think. Edit draft posts down to the lowest common denominator. Include lists like this one to help break up text.
Use dark text on a light background. Separate thoughts with headings to help readers quickly scan for information. Make it bite-sized and easy to digest.
2. There's No Link Love. People don't like to be held captive at a website. Keep them engaged and excited by linking out to relevant sites that illustrate the point of your post better than you can. Share information and resources with them. They'll appreciate it, and reward you with page views and comments — the life blood of your blog.
3. It's Disorganized. If available, use Categories so people can quickly find your posts on topics that interest them. Keep it neat and tidy, reflective of the professional image you want your business to display. If your blogging platform allows it, add a search option so people can search for a post they want to read again, even if all they remember about it is a word or two. (I'm working on adding this feature at this blog.)
4. It's A Ghost Town. If you post less than 2 or 3 times a week, your blog will get dusty because no one will read it. If no one reads it, no one will comment. If no one comments, there's no conversation. If there's no conversation, call the undertaker. People need a steady diet of you or they'll order from someone who serves them consistently.
5. There Are No Pictures. Give me some eye candy, maybe even use video now and then, and readers will stick around. In addition to the appeal of pictures from a reader's point of view, adding them makes it easier and more fun to post when it's hard to think of something to post about.
If you are struggling to create a juicy blog post, find a picture or video (get one from You Tube) you like (and that you think your readers will like) and tell them about it. Once you are comfortable with blogging, you may consider adding a podcast or another kind of audio, or maybe even your own video, to engage your readers.
6. It's Poorly Written. You don't have to write like Ralph Waldo Emerson or Maya Angelou, but at least try to use proper grammatical structure and spell check each post.
7. It's Written For You. When posting, keep your audience in mind. Read their comments carefully to see what matters to them. Pay attention to the questions they ask and the conversations they have with each other. Write your blog posts around what they clearly like about your blog. Blog for your audience, not only for yourself.
8. It's Too "Salesy". Your blog should be connected to your business, but it should not be a pushy sales tool. Sales talk or general posts that are really thinly veiled attempts to get people to pull out their credit cards get old quickly. It's OK to talk about what you sell, but try to weave your products and expertise into blog posts in a way that informs and entertains. If all you're doing is pushing your goods, people will get tired of you.
9. No Conversation. People take the time to come to your blog and post comments, and you should take the time to acknowledge and respond to them. You can't reply to every comment, but blogging is all about conversation, connection and interaction, and taking a few minutes each day to respond to a few comments will encouarge people to participate.
When people see that you are paying attention to them, they will continue to pay attention to you. Since people gravitate toward things they can participate in, the more conversations you engage in, the better off your blog will be.
10. No One Knows About It. I helped a client launch a blog last month. Her goal was to use the blog to connect with her customers and encourage sales at her e-commerce site. The blog launched over a month ago and there's still no mention of it at her e-commerce site.
If you don't tell anyone about your blog, no one will come. If no one comes, there will be no conversation. If there's no conversation, it means you're talking with yourself. That's boring. It may not kill you, but it will kill your blog.
A Few Of My Favorite Blogs
Ladies Blend Thymes. The pictures are enticing, it's easy to read and there is lots of Link Love so I can learn new things. When I'm surfing and kind of bored with what I'm finding online, I often go to this blog because I know I will see beautiful things and learn something interesting.
Soap Queen. Sometimes, I read the posts and when I do, I comment. But mostly I go to get inspired and to find another reason to tell you about this blog. Anne-Marie blogs nearly every day. She recently got married and every few days, she changes the photo of her and her new hubby. She also trolls the universe for pretty pictures of cupcakes. This blog makes me smile.
Michael Hyatt. OK, he writes really long posts, but he's an exception to my rule because he's an exceptionally good writer. He writes about things that every human being can relate to.
Seth Godin. Lots of meaty stuff for the small business marketer in you. I love this post.
What About You?
Has your blogging experience (either as a reader or a blogger) taught you some things that can help other bloggers? I can't be the only one out there with some musty, dusty blogs that I don't want anyone to find out about. Post your tips here!
Avoid The Blogger's Kiss of Death
The Whole Hog Business Blog
Time Is Money (Blogging For Business)