Recently, I got two emails asking to get their small business blog pimped & pumped up. Interestingly, both of them were exhibiting almost same shortcomings that were hindering their growth. For some of us, it's very surprising to see a business struggling to take full advantage of their blog. Is it lack of formulating effective web marketing strategies or is simply underestimation of the power of new media? Whatever is the case; some of these mistakes are committed by countless small business blogs leading to frustration and financial loss.
Fortunately, the road map to build a successful small business blog is very much realistic, practical and implementable. It does take some time, but the results are equally rewarding. Some new small businesses also put this question - "Why the hell do we need a business blog?" That clearly suggests that the brains behind the business are ignorant about new media. Well, here's a list of DONT's, that may help in identifying and weeding out the negative practices responsible for sluggish growth of your small business blog.
- Making it news outpost - That's the most common practice that makes your business blog dead even before you expect first 1000 visitors.
- Posts written by bot - I've often found business blogs posting content without proper author profiles. You can see 'by Admin' as the author name. Common, you're dealing with humans!
- Countless irrelevant categories - Now this is purely lack of professional blogging staff. I've seen business blogs creating categories as 'My Company X products', 'My Company Y products'. Categories are there to segregate relevant content, that's it.
- Flash, flash & more flash - Some businesses can't resist to add a large flash gallery above the fold to showcase their products. Leave this for your primary website. Blog is to build a community around engaging and persuasive content.
- Keeping comments closed - Unless you're a trillion dollar company holding a monopoly in your domain, you can't afford to close comments on your business blog. Bring out the human face and interact!
- No contact information - This is the last thing can do to ruin your company's image and credibility. Build a contact page offering multiple ways (contact form, email, toll-free number) to contact your public relations department.
- Hard-selling - This is yet another mistake done by large number of small business blogs. Use cleverly crafted contextual links within content to drive traffic to your primary website's product landing pages.
- Irregular updates - Like any other blog, business blogs too demand regular content feeding. This doesn't mean you have post every single day. Create a posting frequency and stick to it.
- Ranting about personal & business problems - Avoiding all this sounds quite obvious but still some small business blogs fall in this trap inadvertently. Think twice before hitting the publish button.
- Disclosing classified information - This can be the last thing you can do to severely damage your company's credibility. Occasionally, business blogs do share statistical data and clients' case-studies, but make sure you're picking up the right files before making them public.
- Indulging in head-on confrontation with competitors - Who doesn't like healthy competition, provided you keep the limits and practice good business ethics. Talking too much negative about your competitors on your business blog can backfire.
- Failing to integrate correctly with primary website - Your small business blog should provide a prominent link to your business website. Make sure you host it in a sub directory (mycompany.com/blog) instead of hosting it on a sub-domain (blog.mycompany.com) to preserve link juice.