keyboard_grenadeBusiness blogs have become more ubiquitous than big hair in Texas. But just because everyone is blogging these days doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re doing it right. Whether you’re an old pro or a blogging newbie, it’s still all too easy to fall into some of these common blogging bloopers.

All Promotion, All the Time

Let’s call this one the cardinal sin of business blogging. A little self-promotion is great, and certainly to be expected. But if all you’re writing is blog post after blog post about how awesome your business is and how amazing your products/services are, you’re not going to build any kind of readership.

Instead, you should focus on content that your audience will find relevant and useful. Provide them with technical tips, business advice, interesting news items, or even humorous anecdotes. Just make sure you’re giving them a reason to keep coming back.

Posting Infrequently or Inconsistently

A lot of small business blogs start off strong, but eventually peter out due to a lack of resources or commitment. In order to make your blog effective, you need to publish content on a regular basis. The frequency of your posts will depend on just how much time and bandwidth you can devote to blogging, but you should certainly strive for a goal of at least one post per week.

That said, consistency is more important than frequency. A blog that posts one article per week will attract more readers than a blog that posts several articles at once and then lies dormant for weeks.

Poor Writing

Blogging is often done in an informal or conversational style, but that doesn’t mean all the rules you learned in school are off the table. Your blog posts need to convey expertise and professionalism, which means they need to be free of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and word usage errors.

Not Integrating with Your Website

Your blog needs to be an extension of your website. If you’re hosting your blog on its own domain or on a free blogging platform domain, then you’re missing out on some premium opportunities for optimization and traffic building.

Ideally, your blog should either live on a sub-domain of your main website (e.g. http://blog.mainwebsite.com) or in a folder of your main website (e.g. http://mainwebsite.com/blog).

Overlooking Analytics

The most successful blogs are those that consistently produce content that appeals to their readers. And the way you figure out which posts are resonating with your audience is by examining blog analytics. With just a little effort, you can see which posts are generating activity and which are going unread. And armed with this information, you can increase your blog’s effectiveness.

Too Much SEO

A business blog can be great for driving organic traffic to your website. However, you should never optimize to the detriment of your content. Will stuffing your articles with awkward keyword phrases, dubious links, and repetitive titles help you with the search engines? Probably not. Will it drive away a lot of visitors before they have a chance to become customers? Probably so.

Ignoring, Deleting, or Disabling Comments

If you’re just using your blog to present information, then you’re missing out on a great opportunity to engage directly with your customers and community. If you have readers who care enough to comment on your posts, the worst thing you can do is ignore them. Instead, you should take the trouble to acknowledge them, thank them, answer their questions, and converse with them.

There’s always the chance that a disgruntled customer will leave a negative comment, and your first inclination might be to delete it before your other readers see it. However, this could actually end up hurting your credibility in the long run. The best way to deal with negative comments is to acknowledge them, apologize if necessary, and do what it takes to make things right. A negative comment, handled correctly, can generate a surprising amount of goodwill.