Eleven Small Business Blog Mistakes That Sabotage Marketing Efforts

Many marketing campaigns rely on quality blog content but you need to avoid common pitfalls to ensure success

Making critical small business blog mistakes can quickly hinder your company’s marketing strategy and send your SERPs rankings plummeting into the dark internet abyss. So—avoiding these mistakes is essential to an overall successful online marketing campaign.

In fact, according to a study conducted by Sistrix, websites that appear in the first three positions of Google search results receive over 50% of the overall click rate. Backlinko reports that only 0.78% of the Google searches they analyzed saw second-page clicks. That's how important getting on page one is.

But how effective can a blog be when competing against the powerful influence of social media and other more traditional marketing strategies?

The secret? Don’t view it as a competition. The most successful small business blogs work by complementing various other marketing strategies and offer unique opportunities you may be unable to create elsewhere.

Furthermore, a well-structured marketing blog can position your company as a trusted authority in your industry.

But if marketing blogs are beneficial, why isn’t your small business blog reaping the rewards?

Often, small business blogs make critical mistakes that sabotage their hard work and tireless effort. If your small business is not benefiting from its blog, you are likely making some of these common mistakes.

The good news is that it’s never too late to change course.

Today, we’ll discuss the most common mistakes small business blogs make and how to fix them. We’ll also answer a few of the most frequently asked questions on the topic and offer additional solutions to ensure your blog starts moving in a more rewarding direction.

Let’s dive in!

Mistake #1 - You Are Failing To Go “All-In” With Your Blog

Apprehension is a point of contention in this regard. To nurture and grow a successful small business marketing blog, you must commit to its growth and development–you must be all-in.

Here are some of the most common mistakes:

  1. Publishing posts sporadically or inconsistently
  2. Publishing content with little-to-no value
  3. Failing to recognize what content is connecting with your readers

If you have made any or all of these typical mistakes, you’ll need to step back and decide to either abandon ship or fully commit. Consider implementing the following fixes in your blogging campaign if you decide to commit fully.

The Fix - Committing To Your Blog’s Marketing Campaign

Great! You’ve made the commitment and investment into your small business. Growth and up-scaling are right around the corner. But first, check out these fundamental elements in every impactful marketing blog. Successful small business blogs always:

  1. Develop and maintain a consistent posting schedule
  2. Create relevant and engaging content
  3. Tailor content to their target audience or customer base
  4. Include an enticing CTA (Call-to-Action)

Mistake #2 - You Poorly Plan or Strategize Your Blog

Consistently posting content doesn’t automatically nominate you for success. You need a solid plan and a foolproof strategy. Maybe you rushed into getting your blog up and running. What’s the harm in that? You were anxious to begin generating interest in your new and exciting business. That’s a perfectly reasonable course of action, isn’t it?

In rare cases, you might get away with it–but only by doing your homework first. You don’t want to end up with your blog working against you. Building a solid foundation and developing a trusted brand that is seen as an authority in your industry is far more beneficial. Influential small business blogs that accomplish this earn far more customer trust and loyalty.

Nevertheless, you're far from alone if you’ve launched your blog without proper planning. It’s not uncommon for small business owners to underestimate the time or financial investment required to sustain a successful blog. You may even discover that supporting a successful blog is too much to handle, given the time requirements mandatory to other essential aspects of running your small business.

Several small business owners face this dilemma, so outsourcing their blogs to be developed and managed by a third-party service becomes a worthwhile consideration. Blog management and content writing services understand the necessary elements to establish a successful and sustainable marketing blog.

But if you prefer to keep things in-house, you’ll need to know how to launch off the pad successfully and maintain momentum.

The Fix - Planning Your Small Business Blog

The good news is that there is always time to turn things around with some work, research, and dedication. Here are a few essential factors to consider when planning your small business blog.

  1. Define your specific niche or market.
  2. Identify your target reader, client, or customer.
  3. Develop website traffic and email generation strategy
  4. Create a content plan and posting schedule
  5. Layout a blog design and standard format

All the above factors will form a solid foundation for your blog to build traction.

Mistake #3 - You Use Your Blog Solely For Marketing Purposes

Wait, isn’t that the purpose of a small business blog? Yes, but how you connect with or come across to your customer base is vital to your efforts here. Essentially, you want to market your business or brand without people thinking you are there solely to sell them something.

If all you do is promote your business’s products or services via your company blog, social media, or other avenues, your readers will likely pick up on it. Being overly self-promotive is a common, crucial mistake, and successful small business blogs shift away from this practice.

What should you do instead? How do you market your small business without blatant self-promotion? Well, there are several options to consider.

The Fix - Promoting Your Business Without Blatant Self-promotion

Great! You agree that blatant self-promotion might end up hurting your credibility and reputation. Smart call. Here are a few ideas to consider exploring when generating content ideas:

  1. Conduct Surveys: Ask your audience or customers what they want to learn or read. The more interest you generate, the better reach your blog will experience.
  2. Embrace Social Media: Use social media to ask questions and research trends in your industry.
  3. Study Other Blogs: Looking to see what works for your competition is just smart business. Fortunately, this tactic easily crosses over to your blogging efforts.
  4. Offer Free & Valuable Information: If you own a small gutter cleaning business, write a post offering homeowners tips on how to keep their gutters performing in optimal condition all year round.

Mistake #4 - Your Blog Is Full of Bad Writing and Poor Grammar

Poor grammar is different from writing in a conversational style. However, you should not write your company blog like a text message to your buddies–keep the slang and abbreviations to a minimum.

Conversational writing is a great way to connect and engage with your readers. Bad writing and poor grammar, on the other hand, are not.

What do we mean by poor grammar and bad writing? Here are some crucial mistakes to avoid making.

  1. Spelling mistakes: Receive (correct) vs. “recieve” (incorrect)
  2. Word choice: using the wrong form of their, there, or they’re.
  3. Punctuation errors: Putting commas in the wrong place. Adding random, unnecessary apostrophes
  4. Passive voice: passive writing is not as clear or engaging as active writing.

With all the proofreading software available today (much of which is free), ensuring that your blog posts are grammatically correct is easier than ever.

But why do good writing and grammar matter so much?

There are several reasons. A few of the more notable include:

  1. It’s distracting to the reader
  2. Your message gets muddled
  3. You lose credibility
  4. Missed opportunities

So, how can you ensure you respect your readers and convey a clear message?

The Fix - Developing & Publishing High-quality Content

Excellent! You understand the importance of quality content and proper grammar. Here are a few simple tips to ensure your small business blog develops a clear message and a trustworthy reputation.

  1. Use proofreading software such as Grammarly (but don’t put ALL your faith in it).
  2. Read other high-quality blogs for inspiration and guidance.
  3. Read your work out loud to yourself.
  4. Don’t immediately proofread after you finish writing—return to it later with fresh eyes.
  5. Have someone you trust check your work before publishing.
  6. Persevere: the more you commit to better your writing, the better you’ll get over time.
  7. Stay open-minded and teachable—always be learning and developing your craft.

Pro Tip: Don’t worry too much about the formal “grammar rules” your high school English teacher drilled into your head. For example, starting a sentence with “But” or “And” is not grammatically incorrect—it’s just informal. Making stylistic choices is a great way to establish your voice and brand.

Mistake # 5 - You Don’t Use Images or Videos

Using visuals as a part of your overall blogging effort is vital to building a successful marketing campaign. According to a survey published by Optinmonster, articles or posts with images receive 94% more views than those without them. Furthermore, 43% of consumers also want a video element from marketers.

So, why are images so powerful? The answer is relatively simple.

Your readers want to process and retain the most information with the least amount of work. In short—your audience is lazy.

Here are some additional facts to support the case for using images in your posts:

  1. 90% of information transmits to the brain through visuals, and your brain processes 60,000x faster than text content.
  2. Publishers who utilize infographics grow traffic 12% faster than those who don’t.
  3. Posts with videos acquire 3X more inbound links.

The bottom line? Your text content could be top-notch, and you may even have the most valuable information to offer above and beyond your competitors. But without a visual element, readers will quickly seek another source for the information they seek.

How can you ensure your post is the one reader's trust? Here’s the scoop on including visual elements in every blog post.

The Fix - Using Visual Elements Effectively

Using visual elements in any capacity will likely grab your audience's attention—at least at first. However, you should adhere to a few fundamental rules to ensure readers stick around and maintain interest.

  1. Use appropriate images: Always use images or visual elements that suit your content.
  2. Optimize for search engines: Search engines consider your site's load time when determining rank. Using software such as Adobe Photoshop can significantly affect image file size. You can also install special Plugins to help optimize images.
  3. Utilize Image ALT text: Image ALT text is a basic description that helps search engine crawlers decipher what the image is.
  4. Develop infographics: Readers simply remember more information in visual form.
  5. Creating tables, graphs, and pie charts helps break up text sections and aids in the reader's ability to retain your message more clearly.
  6. Add videos: Some research shows that adding a video element can increase the time visitors stay on your page by over 100%. Do you have a YouTube channel for your business? Incorporate it into your life blog posts.
  7. Take screenshots: “How To” guides offer the perfect opportunity to turn to screenshots. On top of explaining how to do something in words, you can also visually show the steps.

Important Note: Staying Out of Legal Trouble

Staying out of legal hot water is crucial for a successful business, so this is important to mention.

Obtaining visual elements for your website is not as simple as entering a quick Google images search and picking from the vast array of stunning photos.

You must consider the licensing and legalities associated with images. Fortunately, there are several ways to stay out of legal trouble. Here are a few options:

  1. Free stock image websites
  2. Paid stock image websites
  3. Using original photos or images

Mistake # 6 - You Promote Your Blog To the Wrong Market

Whether commenting and interacting with other small business blogs in your industry or building a master email list, there are specific ways to approach your marketing strategy. There are also common mistakes to avoid.

Here are a few essential do’s and don'ts when promoting your small business blog.

  1. Do: Build a relevant email list of people genuinely interested in your product or service.
  2. Don't: Compile as many emails as possible regardless of interest and infiltrate inboxes with unsolicited email blasts—this begins crossing the line into spamming and can become counter-productive.

  1. Do: Interact positively and constructively with other relevant blogs in your industry.
  2. Don't: Randomly comment or interact with irrelevant small business blogs, especially without adding value or a unique perspective. Basically—don't be a troll.
  3. Don't: Exclusively discuss YOUR business or blog. Adding value or a unique perspective to other forums is often enough to intrigue people into visiting your site—think of it as a subtle marketing style.

Moreover, remember these crucial strategies.

  1. Do: Utilize the power and reach of social media to promote your content.
  2. Don't: Over-post or over-share. Finding a nice balance when promoting your content on social media is essential. By over-sharing, you may push people to begin overlooking your efforts.

Here are a few additional tips for promoting and sharing your content:

  1. Connect to emotion
  2. Stand out with high-quality images
  3. Thank your followers for sharing

Mistake #7 - You’re Failing To Refresh Outdated Content

If your business has been using blog marketing for a while, some of your older content is likely out of touch with current SEO best practices. You might have a gold mine of information already written that only needs some revamping.

A few benefits of revamping your older content include the following:

  1. Satisfying Google’s Freshness Factor: Essentially, Google sees the freshest and newest content as having the most up-to-date information–therefore, dolling out ranking points. It’s a minor factor, but a factor nonetheless.
  2. Conveying to your audience that you care: Reviving old posts and updating them with the newest information shows your readers that you genuinely care about them. This also lends itself to a great user experience.
  3. Review your CTA’s (Call-to-Action): Your business may be in a completely different place than it was a year ago when you published that blog post. Going through your older content also allows you to update your CTA’s and ensure they are still relevant to your goal.
  4. Fix broken links: The internet is an ever-changing organism, so you will likely face the problem of broken links somewhere along the way. Broken links essentially lead readers to a “404 not found page.” It’s frustrating for your readers, and search engines frown on them.

Now that you know a few benefits of updating your older blog posts, how do you do it?

The Fix - Updating Old Content Effectively

Let’s look at the best way to fix that old content. As with any aspect of your company blog, you’ll want to strategize and implement an effective plan of attack.

  1. Start with your best-performing posts: these posts already have traction with readers and search engines, so a little sprucing up here and there will catapult their performance to the next level.
  2. Follow by working on your worst-performing posts: These posts will take a little more work, and you can learn from your better-performing posts how to improve them. This work may mean conducting new keyword research, adding better links, or making the content more engaging.

Pro Tip: When you finish updating and reinvigorating all your old blog content, reindex your posts with Google by submitting them to Google Search Console.

Mistake #8 - You Don’t Engage Your Readers With an Enticing Call-To-Action

You’ve put together an incredibly helpful post, which is excellent, but you don’t tell your readers what to do next.

A call-to-action (CTA) is essential to any blog post or article. A good Call-To-Action includes a few crucial elements. Consider the following:

  1. Begin your CTA with an authoritative action verb like “join” or “click.”
  2. Create urgency by invoking emotions such as the fear of missing out
  3. Use persuasive words and build a sense of intrigue
  4. Make it visually appealing by combining great writing with a stunning design
  5. Apply a no-pressure tactic by offering high value at minimal risk

The Fix - Write an Engaging Call-To-Action

You’ll always want to be looking for opportunities to include a Call-To-Action. Putting a call to action in a blog post or article is arguably the most essential strategy. Still, other equally effective spots exist to include, such as your homepage, email marketing campaigns, and social media.

Consider all the above elements of a good CTA, and start putting them into practice on your small business blog.

Mistake #9 - You’re Not Optimizing Your Content For Mobile Devices

Another important ranking factor for search engines is mobile optimization. Optimize your website and content for mobile devices to increase your ranking probability.

According to Statcounter Global Stats, 56% of internet traffic comes from mobile devices. This alteration is a significant increase compared to a decade ago, when desktop traffic accounted for nearly 90% of all search traffic. So, by not optimizing your content for mobile devices, you’re neglecting over half of the search traffic on the web.

The Fix - Optimize Your Content for Mobile

You should do a few things to optimize your site and content for mobile devices.

  1. Use Google Analytics to see what percentage of your website traffic comes from mobile devices.
  2. Analyze your Google Search Console account's clicks, impressions, and click-through rates.
  3. Allow Google to crawl everything on your website.
  4. Enable mobile-friendly pop-ups.
  5. Use various tools to check whether or not your website is mobile-friendly.
  6. Improve your local SEO for mobile devices and perform technical SEO for mobile.

Google and other site-checking tools will reveal any errors and offer steps to fix them so you can optimize your site for mobile traffic.

Mistake #10 - You Make “Ranking At Any Cost” More Important Than Your Message

Quality content and readability go beyond recklessly stuffing your post full of unnaturally written keywords. Remember—search engines consider user experience as a factor in ranking.

Overdoing it by “keyword stuffing” or implementing other unsavory SEO tactics is about as counterintuitive as avoiding SEO altogether. Search engines are getting smarter, so publishing content that reads like a robot wrote it creates a poor user experience–and ultimately can land your site in hot water.

You will quickly incur penalties or get banned from Google and other top search engines if they begin to detect any shady business. These unethical practices are often called Black Hat SEO. So, what’s the best approach? Create high-quality content that offers readers the most value.

The Fix - Keep Your Message in the Forefront

Hard work and an honest effort go much further in the long run than trying to take shortcuts and beat the system. In the end, it's unlikely you are going to outsmart Google. Keep your message clear and offer your readers the most informative and valuable content possible.

Why is White Hat SEO best? Google’s #1 ranking factor is to satisfy user intent. Creating content for your readers and not search engines automatically aims to satisfy the user's search query.

Consider the following when creating your message:

  1. Know your audience and what they look for
  2. Optimize your content for specific keywords
  3. Format your content for “internet reading,” aka skimming (use headings, subheadings, spacing).
  4. Use visual elements

Mistake #11 - You Rely Solely On Your Expertise

Consistently churning out quality content for your small business blog is hard work and takes time away from running your business. And while hiring a content writer is a practical approach, finding guest authors is a great way to supplement your blog marketing campaign and add a unique perspective to your platform.

Plus, your readers will likely benefit from a fresh perspective from time to time.

Here are a few reasons why guest posts can benefit you and your small business blogging efforts.

  1. Build credibility: Publishing the perspectives of various experts in your industry can help foster trust, reliability, and integrity.
  2. Generate new leads: Attract new readers based on what your guest authors have to share.
  3. Create more content: You can only do so much on your own—guest posts simply fill slots on your content calendar.
  4. Drive more website traffic: Fresh perspectives can add a layer of relevancy to your small business blog.

Now that you understand the value of a good guest post, how do you get the right authors?

The Fix - Getting Quality Guest Authors

You’ll need to answer a few questions before narrowing down the list of possible guest authors. A good guest post must provide a unique perspective or valuable insight into your industry. You also need to cater to your target audience. Consider the following:

  1. What challenges does your audience face?
  2. How do these challenges leave your audience feeling?
  3. What does your audience think the solution to their problems is?
  4. What is the actual solution to their problems? What is your audience searching for online?
  5. Who is respected and trustworthy in your industry?
  6. Is anyone irrelevant or outdated in your industry?

These questions help you compile a solid list of potential candidates. You can reach out to those on your list and see who might be interested in the guest post opportunity.

Pro Tip: You can expand your customer base by providing guest posts for other businesses. Doing this is a great way to network and earn quality backlinks to your small business website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have questions about small business blog mistakes or blog marketing as a whole? Here are a few answers to the most frequently asked questions.

What is a blog marketing strategy?

A blog marketing strategy is a plan of action for promoting a blog to increase its visibility, reach, and engagement. Your blog marketing strategy will comprise a series of tactics and techniques aimed at attracting and retaining a loyal audience, generating traffic, building authority, and achieving your business goals.

Do I need a blog for my small business?

Implementing a blog on your website is essential to increase organic search results and drastically improve your small business marketing strategy. While you don’t technically need one, more businesses realize the immense benefits of a blog.

How do I promote my small business blog?

There are several avenues for promoting your small business blog, with some of the more common and effective being social media sharing, link building, and email campaigns.

How can I market my small business for free?

There are various approaches to free advertising. Some of the more popular options are guest posting on other blogs, finding affiliates to promote your product or services, and implementing SEO best practices to satisfy search engine results.

Final Thoughts

Implementing a blog into your small business marketing efforts can be a game-changer if you know what you’re doing. Start formulating a plan or strategy and build on it from there. Avoid these common small business blog mistakes to optimize your results. SEO doesn’t furnish results overnight, but you should work towards ensuring potential customers can easily find your small business.

Are you ready to take your blog to the next level? InspireMedia's team of expert writers know what it takes to drive traffic to your blog. We offer scalable packages that fit budgets of all sizes and makes your vision a reality.

Contact us today to learn more about how our tailored solutions can meet your content needs.