1.) Selfishness– The first trap I have fallen into as a blogger is that there is too much focus on me. HYPEorBOLE is meant to help independent artists find creative ways to get their band’s name out there, so naturally almost every article has talked about my own band. The truth is, we’re still local with a small draw most of the time, so the twenty or so people that have glanced at my blog were probably a little turned off. Posts should instead offer solutions to readers’ problems. To connect with a reader through a blog is to write about them and share common problems!
2.) Overselling– This point is pretty straightforward, and doesn’t just apply to blogs. Filling your page with gaudy ads with no relevance to the blog will send the readers back-clicking all the way back to Google. If there must be ads, keep them on the subtle side. Nothing should distract a reader from the actual text. The closest my blog gets to advertising is providing a “Like” widget for the band’s Facebook page.
3.) No Outside Expertise– Credibility is one of the most important attributes to have when creating content for strangers. Bringing in an outside expert can prove to be extremely valuable, as it shows a blogger’s willingness to provide the best information as well as a display of his/her access to expertise. I plan on interviewing a member of a local band on the rise who can share how his Facebook page has grown to 3,000 fans in under a year.
4.) Useless Content– While it may seem like a no-brainer, posts should be valuable and offer as much exclusive information as possible. In my article about having a CD release show, it focuses on both the direct and indirect benefits of actually having a CD release show rather than just listing how to sell more CDs. Someone who believes that the CD is dead will not care about how to sell them; they will first need convincing that it’s still a worthwhile venture.
5.) Lack of Sharing Options– We’re halfway through 2011. People visiting your blog should not be copying the URL and pasting the link in an e-mail every time. Chances are, if someone is looking at your blog, they have a social networking account that goes beyond e-mail. Try using AddThis to embed Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Google +1 icon buttons to your posts. This is a win-win. The reader has an easier way of sharing the post with their network and your post appears even more credible when it is shared more. Most blog creation platforms provide the option to display sharing buttons (some with share counts). Take advantage of this as often as possible.
6.) Disengagement– If you’re lucky enough to receive comments on a blog post, answer them back promptly. The readers will love the recognition and feel glad that they chose to interact with your blog. Check the spam comments as well, because even spam filters mess up now and again and mark genuine user comments as spam. Go one step further and visit the commenter’s blog to leave input of your own. This will establish an online rapport that can bring the reader back regularly.
7.) No Reason to Return– The 80-20 rule of sales applies to your blog, too. Only 20% of readers are returning to read new posts. You have to literally remind readers to return and keep them updated on the latest relevant information. It can’t hurt to include new blog post links on your Twitter and Facebook statuses. Consistency is key. The biggest weakness of my blog right now is the fact I haven’t been posting on it regularly. Consistent information and weekly articles will show readers that the blog is important to you and that it is a constant source of new information. Do not become discouraged by low readership; continue to post!
I hope that these tips can help your blog receive more recognition in the future. At the end of the day, a great blog has useful content, engages readers, and brings return visits because of high quality. If you can pretend your blog is a brand new boutique and the internet is the Mall of America, focus on what is being sold in the boutique first and foremost. If these tips are followed, success in Web 2.0 is not far from reach.