It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.
If you've missed past Expert Briefs, you can click on the undies to see them all –>
I feel that being transparent is really important and shows the “real” person behind the business. So, on that note, this week I asked our panel of experts …
What's one mistake you've made with your blog?
And, what did you learn from it?
I think you'll find the answers this week helpful in developing your blogging strategy over the course of the year.
Connie Ragen Green of ConnieGreen.com says:
I started blogging in 2006, when I was brand new to the Internet. Even though I started taking classes and learning as much as I could, I made lots of mistakes. The biggest mistake I made with my blog was not planning out the categories ahead of time. Instead, I just started posting, and soon I had more categories than you can imagine. In fact, my list of categories looked like an Internet marketing dictionary!
The result was that I had very little search engine ranking for my main topic. As I learned more and more about SEO (search engine optimization) I began to change my ways, and soon people were finding me simply by searching on Google and the other search engines.
What I learned from this experience was that you must take action right away, but always be flexible enough to ‘course correct' along the way. Even though I made mistakes with my first blog, it was still the best way for me to get started online. As I continued to learn, I made small changes here and there to improve what I was doing. Over time, I was able to build my list and increase my income steadily each month.
I encourage you to get started blogging now, and not to wait until you think you know everything before getting started. This is an industry that changes on a regular basis, so even when we think we know everything there is to know, it is very likely that something new is right around the corner.
Shannon Cherry of The Business Building Live Intensive says:
I was one of those ‘early adopters' in blogging. Those were the days when blogging was more about journalling and less about business, so I wrote a lot of different stuff. It was a good time – and I even got media coverage in Entrepreneur Magazine as a result of my blogging.
However, I wasn't seeing any kind of conversion: no growth in my list, let alone sales. And at first, I couldn't figure it out. I knew the content I was sharing was good stuff. But why weren't people even commenting?
Turns out, I hadn't asked them to. You see, I never included a call to action on the blog at all. I made a terrible assumption that if my target market liked the content, they would figure it out. Essentially I was giving them good ideas and tips, but then they were left with a question “Now what?” vs a direction “Here's what I need to do next.”
Some calls to action on a blog can include:
- leave a comment
- share the link on social media
- check it out
- sign up now
- subscribe to the RSS feed
- buy now
What I also learned was to step up the calls to action gradually if you've never included them before. Basically you are training your audience to take action. So first, I asked them to leave comments. After watching the amount of comments I was getting, I stepped it up to ask for them to sign up for something for free (a report, audio, etc), until I felt confident that when I asked for a sale on my blog, I would convert. This strategy worked effectively for me.
Today, I offer a mix of calls to action, but on every post you will see one, no matter what.
Jeanette S. Cates, PhD of JeanetteCates.com says:
I started online in a different time when business was much more formal, and I've had a hard time adjusting to the “transparent” approach. So two mistakes I've made really stand out.
First I put off blogging and social media too long. I was sure it was a passing fad, but now that I've realized this is a whole movement in society, not just online, I'm having to play catch-up. So if you aren't blogging and you aren't actively working social media – get over it! And get on board.
Second is that I sometimes forget to post to my blog regularly. I tend to communicate with my list because they are MY people. But then I'm leaving out new people who I might get to know by not being more visible publicly on the blog. My most consistent blog posts have been when I prescheduled PLR articles (thank you Nicole!) mixed with my original articles, so that there was new content coming out as I worked on the rest of my business.
An observation: Just participating in Expert Briefs provides the opportunity for more transparency, especially when you ask us to reveal our mistakes. Scary!
Nicole Dean of .. here! .. says:
Let's see… so many mistakes… so little time to write them all. 🙂
Two big mistakes stand out that I've personally made.
1. Talking to the Crowd & Trying to Please Everyone.
The first one was not knowing who the heck I was talking to – or what the goal of my blog was. When I first started blogging, it was PAINFUL to me. I didn't know what the heck I was doing, who I was writing to, or what they wanted to know about. At the time, my main site was ShowMomtheMoney.com – so I was alternating between articles about working from home, Direct Sales tips, business ideas, home organization, and internet marketing.
What a nightmare. I had no purpose and didn't know if my readers were interested in working from home, network marketing, internet marketing, or starting an offline business from home, like Tutoring. EH GADS!
About that same time, I started doing some work for Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero as her Affiliate Manager. She's one of the best copywriters on the planet (in my not so humble opinion) and I started to learn from her. The biggest lesson I picked up was a term she coined “Tarket” – which means your one person who is your target market. So, I forced myself to figure out and narrow down exactly WHO the heck that person was.
Now, it's easy as pie for me to blog. I get on here, and I know exactly who that person is. (Actually, I have two. One male coaching client of mine and one is a female coaching client of mine. I know their problems, their concerns, and their wishes and dreams.) And, now blogging is a breeze. I just think of things that they'd benefit from and voila! Done.
You may remember this blog post: Please All, and You Will Please None.
The same lesson applies.
2. Spending too much Time ON my blog instead of OFF of It.
This is one thing that I lecture my coaching clients about now. Get OFF your blog! Go steal someone else's audience. It's much easier to get people to read your blog that way.
What exactly do I mean by that?
Yes, it's important to focus energy on your own blog. But, it won't do you any good if no one sees it. That's why you need to dedicate time every day to getting exposure on other websites.
This can be accomplished in any number of ways, including…
Here's a blog post with more information on this topic: How to Get One-Way Incoming Links
I hope it helps!
It’s Your Turn.
So, now, I’ll pose this question to you. What has been your biggest blogging mistake? Do you have any questions about the answers above that you’d like to ask? Go for it!
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
PS. Here are a few of my favorite Expert Briefs: