It is almost impossible for businesses to survive today without an online presence; a way they can facilitate two-way communication with their consumers, and share information via blog posts regarding the latest developments in the industry, or the newest products to hit the market.
In order for the customers to find their way to your site, search engine optimisation (SEO) must be undertaken, so that Google and all other search engines recognise your blog as offering the best of the information the consumers are searching for.
Here are five of the most common mistakes business bloggers can make:
1. You don't know who your blogging audience is
The internet is a big, big place. Millions, of people make use of it everyday, and within these millions there is an ever expanding range of demographics and psychographics, so knowing who you are writing for exactly can be difficult.
As a small or medium business owner, it is your duty to clearly define the market segment you are targeting through your blog, so you can write accordingly and in a way that will engage that segment.
Addressing the key questions, queries and concerns of this particular market will keep them interested and keep drawing them toward wanting to do business with you.
You can also use a number of SEO tools to assist you with understanding your audience. Google has provided two of the best FREE tools available for a website owner.
They are Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. Both can be used to test and measure your content by looking at who your actual audience is that is landing on your website. You may have a strategy and think you know who your target audience is but the reality is, without looking at your data you may be fishing for whales but only having sardines turn up.
Google webmaster tools can give you a list of search queries used to find your content this alone is very useful. Google Analytics gives you a broad amount of information that you can drill into. Some of the key areas of focus is Audience Demographic and Audience Acquisition.
These two areas in Analytics can give you some great insight to what social channels are working for you, where your geographic audience is coming from (e.g. if your target is local and your only traffic is international) and referrals.
2. You don't post regular, relevant content
By analysing the usage of keywords, Google can prioritise blogs for the search engine user according to the emphasis certain blogs place on topics.
The more you make use for the phrases and words that the consumers are looking for, with regards to certain industries/fields, the more likely they are to find your blog. A blogger should not fall into the trap, however, of decreasing blog post frequency once traffic to the blog has increased.
Research has shown that small businesses that make blogging a priority are more than ten times more likely to see marketing success than those who rely on more traditional methods of connecting with their target markets.
For more blogging stats read 45 Reasons to Blog
3. Your blog is hosted on another domain
Blogger, Blogspot, WordPress, etc. This may seem like an easy and inexpensive way to host a blog, but who is getting the content, the links and the traffic? Not you!
With using a website other than your own you are not in control of your own destiny. The blog host is legally able to close down blogs, or charge bloggers to use their services, both of which can be detrimental for the small business blogger. What is a short term gain in savings can be a long term expense.
You can take advantage of your SEO potential long term by using the generated traffic to your advantage and not some else. You can also easily secure your blog and site using https:// which gives you another small boost in SEO.
4. You're not getting the word out
It simply is not enough to create a blog, and then sit back with your feet up waiting for the traffic to come. Without promotion and or advertising, no one will ever know your blog exists. A good rule of thumb is that bloggers should expect to spend as much time promoting their blog as they do writing and developing it.
Share your content by posting to your social media channels such as your Facebook page or twitter feed. If you are part of other professional groups such as Linkedin or Yelp then share content there as well.
Also look at Google + as a great way to target your content. Find Google+ communities that are relevant to your target audience and post your articles to different circles or community groups. Google+ also creates great relevance for you and your business which aids in Google Rankings.
Find some great blogging or news communities that you can share your content directly with them, there are a number of big sites such as Business2Community, Digg and Reddit that can give you credibility and a wider readership audience.
5. Not installing social sharing buttons
Gone are the days when you called a friend, or waited to see them to let them know you had read something interesting. It is blatantly obvious that social media has become the global information sharing hub, so not installing social sharing buttons is pretty much asking your readers not to share the information with others.
Nobody wants to copy and paste the address link, they want to be able to, with a single click, share the link to their Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account, and then move on – it's a fast paced world!
If you run your site using WordPress you can install a number of plugins that will automatically give you sharing options one of the most popular plugins for WordPress is Jetpack it is free and has a number of social sharing options from Google+ to simple Likes on Facebook.
If you use custom code you can easily add social sharing tools such as Add This and Share This they are both paid services but are very affordable. Both tools give you different social sharing options and a great cloud login to see how many shares your articles have had to the different social media groups you have chosen.
SEO is crucial for small business bloggers, and can be achieved readily by following the aforementioned tips to ensure business blogging success.