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Five Blogging Mistakes To Avoid

Mike Essex

by Mike Essex on 23rd April 2014

Video Transcript

Every blog is broken in some way, and once you appreciate this, you can start to realise some of the issues that are holding your own blog back. Today I want to talk about five of the biggest issues that we see regularly as well as five experiments that we conducted to overcome these issues and the results that we had.

Now, the first thing I want to talk about is the actual frequency in which people choose to blog, and often people fall into the trap of not blogging often enough. Their blogs become these ghost town areas that just sit on their website and look out of place.

But another problem is that sometimes a blog can be updated too often, and in our case we actually used to publish several blog posts every single day on the Koozai.com website. What we found was if we took the time that we gave people to write several blog posts and allowed them to use that time to write one singular blog post that was a lot more detailed and in-depth, we actually found that the results massively improved and that actually people didn’t want to see a lot of blog posts from us, they just wanted to see a few highly detailed blog posts on topics. So you should also consider that perhaps you may be blogging too much. When we cut our blog schedule by two-thirds, we actually saw a massive improvement.

The next issue is old content. Any blog that’s been running for several years is going to have a lot of content that perhaps is out of date, doesn’t comply with new best practices, isn’t really SEO friendly anymore or doesn’t actually convert people, which we will talk about more a little later one. All these problems can taint people’s perception of your website or damage the website as a whole if there’s SEO issues. It’s worth going through and looking at your old content and checking if it’s still working for you.

In our case, we looked at 900 of our old blog posts and actually decided to either redirect them to more relevant resources, rewrite them to bring them up to date, or remove them altogether if they were completely irrelevant. That actually didn’t result in any Google penalty. In fact, our organic search traffic went up by 10% in the months after we made that change. The pages converted better because people were going to more relevant resources, and readers actually didn’t notice that we’d made a change, which was actually a fundamental positive as far as I was concerned because it meant that we hadn’t affected the user journey by removing so much content. So actually removing a quarter of all the content on our website was a positive move and only helped to improve things.

Responsive design has also played a key part in the way that websites have been designed in the last few years. If you can make your website viewable on as many different platforms as possible, it will only increase the audience of people that can consume your content. Now, it is worth checking Google Analytics to see what percentage of people come from mobiles and tablets, because if it’s incredibly low, then it may not be the right time just yet for you to go responsive, but it is something that you have to consider in the future.

In our case, we created seven different versions of our website, including a version that works on an iPhone App and a Kindle version for people who wanted to read it in that format. Although it was a lot of work to create these different formats, it only increased our readership over time, which in turn increased conversions from an audience that we may not have reached if we didn’t have these different experiences. So you certainly should consider having responsive design.

Stolen images are probably one of the biggest pitfalls I see that most people aren’t aware that they are doing. I think most people assume that, yes, if you search on Google and just grab an image and put it on your site, then it’s obviously stolen. But actually it’s really easy to steal images without thinking about it. Even if you buy an image from a stock photo site, you actually have to credit the author, and there may only be a limited number of times you can use it. So you have to consider that.

Creative Commons images are often seen as a safe haven, but there have been occasions where images have been uploaded with creative commons licensing, which means that you can use them for free, but actually the people who uploaded it didn’t have the copyright of the image initially, and therefore the original copyright owners could still sue the people who got it from Creative Commons sites, meaning that if you do take an image, wherever it’s from, you should always do a reverse image search on Google to see where the original place was that content came from and actually if you are really crediting the right place when you put it on your website. The safest option is always to buy an image from a stock photo site and credit it. But if you do use Creative Commons, always do a search because it is so easy now to search for an image and find the original source and people who stole it, that the people who own these images originally can catch you very easily. Even if it’s an image on a blog post that you wrote years ago, it could still come back to hurt you. So it’s worth doing your due diligence.

In our case, we actually checked over 4,000 images on our site, and we had to go through and make sure that every one had a source, was credited, and that we owned the copyright for them. We found that the majority of them we did own the copyright, but it was certainly worth going through to update those that were not credited properly at the time.

And last of all ‘no conversions’. A lot people seem to write content on their blog because they want to have a blog, and that in itself is not a good reason for having a blog. You have to have specific goals in mind, whether that’s getting email subscribers, selling more products, or anything else, perhaps you want to grow your awareness of your brand on social media. Those are all good goals and reasons to have a blog, but those different goals will dictate how you blog, how often you blog, what you blog about, [whether] it is relevant to the right audience or not, and also how you choose to gather people’s details at the end of the blog post. What is your call to action that you have on every blog post?

We went through and we added ten separate calls to action to all of our blog posts. Initially we tested just one or two of them at a time to see if conversions would increase, and we actually found that adding lots of different options for conversions, so ten separate ones, was the best performing version of all the tests that we did. We were really scared that people were going to get annoyed that we were actually pushing them too heavily to download white papers and give us their contact details or to get in touch, but in the end we found that the opposite happened. People actually enjoyed the extra content we were giving them and were happy to provide their information. With over I think it’s 4,000 downloads of white papers so far, it’s certainly proved effective for us.

I hope all of these suggestions have helped improve the way that you view your blog and actually you can see more of a commercial benefit from blogging now. If you have any questions, then please leave them at the end of this video. There’s also social profiles that you can click on to interact with us, and don’t forget to visit Koozai.com if you want to learn more about our content marketing services. Thanks for watching.

Mike Essex

Mike Essex

Mike Essex specialises in digital marketing and everything search. A recent project of Mike’s was featured on BBC News, Radio 5Live and the Times here in the UK, whilst also featuring on USA Today and ABC News in the US. He will be writing throughout the month about digital marketing and much more...

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5 Comments

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  • Arun Kallarackal 24th April 2014

    Went through the transcript. Some crucial mistakes that we tend to commit have been listed there. Going through it and getting to know the mistakes better and trying to avoid them is recommended! :)

    The mistake related to stolen images is one that we commit easily. The real problem is that most folks are unaware of this whole copyright saga and the other issues associated with it.Nice to see that issue and creative commons being described in detail here.

    Responsiveness is again a crucial factor that still many bloggers tend to overlook. I mean, responsiveness is trait all blogs should have, given that the mobile web usage is seeing a rise!

    A very useful article indeed! :) I found the link to this post on Kingged.

    Arun

    Reply to this comment

    • Mike Essex

      Mike Essex 25th April 2014

      Thanks for the feedback Arun. Hopefully the video will help stop a few people from breaching copyright as it’s certainly a huge minefield.

      Reply to this comment

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  • Robert Watson 2nd September 2014

    I am wanting to start a music blog that will include album covers and You Tube videos, but I don’t know if there are any copyright issues there as the images are in the public domain, and the You Tube videos are promoting the content of the person who posted the videos in the first place, and usually if there is an issue with copyright infringement it is usually taken off You Tube anyway.

    I could be incorrect in my assumptions though, so I would be interested if you could tell me if I need copyright clearance in both cases, thanks,

    Rob

    Reply to this comment

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