How to Nail Your Blog Content: 12 Blogging Mistakes To Avoid
There are a lot of things to consider when blogging - for example, did you know that 83% of traffic to marketing blogs comes from desktops, or that home builders who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to have a positive ROI on their investment?
Of course, these stats don't paint a full picture - we could go on providing numbers on the importance of blogging for home builder brands, but they would all amount to the same thing: get blogging or miss out on selling more homes.
Time: 14 minutes
Skip to the section you're most interested in:
- The Importance of Nailing the First Blog Post
- 1 Ignoring the Basics
- Blogging Design
- Blogging Platforms
- 2 Failing to Master Your Niche
- 3 Thinking You Have Multiple Opportunities to Impress
- 4 Not Mastering the Art of Writing for the Web
- The Hook
- Simple Language
- Vary Your Blog’s Length
- 5 Not Sticking To A Schedule
- 6 Ignoring SEO Best Practices
- Keyword Research
- External Links
- Internal Links
- Be Careful Not to Over-Optimize
- 7 Failing to Urge Action
- 8 Hitting "Publish" and Walking Away
- 9 Ignoring Comments
- 10 Not Sharing Your Post
- Social Sharing
- Use Email
- 11 Not Making It Easy For Everyone Else To Share On Social Networks
- 12 Failing to Keep Enhancing Your Industry Knowledge
Learning the tricks of the trade for blogging is essential to bringing in more traffic to your website (and therefore more traffic to your show homes). Stats show that 77% of people read blogs, so you definitely want to make sure you're doing it right. You’ll need to begin with a solid understanding of what makes a blog post worthy of your readers’ time.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to get your blog posts spot-on while avoiding the common blogging mistakes many bloggers make; both first-timers and veterans.
The Importance Of Nailing the First Blog Post
Your first blog post is the one that sets the tone for your audience. First impressions matter to prospective home buyers and this is equally true when it comes to blogging.
For example: let's say you hit the bookstore, grab a couple of books, and start skimming through them to find the best read. Which book are you most likely to read first? The one with a killer introduction, right?
Your first blog post is a lot like a great intro to a book - the first post you publish will determine what people think about your home builder brand. If you set the bar high right out the gate, your readers are a lot more likely to come back for more.
So how do you get that first blog post exactly right? There’s no magic formula that guarantees 100% success, otherwise, every blog post would be perfect. However, there are quite a few common mistakes people make with their blog posts that can be easily avoided if you know to look for them.
Here are some of the most common mistakes we see.
Mistake #1: Ignoring the Basics
It's easy to think all you need to create an outstanding blog post is well-researched content, a witty sense of humour, and a sharp turn of phrase. While these are essential, the path to a great post begins before you write a single word.
A great blog starts with a user-friendly design and choosing the right blogging platform. Before you can publish, you need to build the blog. This is where optimal blog design comes in. Readers will absolutely judge a book by its cover in this case.
When browsing the web, you'll find yourself on multiple websites and blogs. A well-designed blog catches your attention before you even start reading. Not only is it attractive, but it also enhances your experience. On the other hand, poorly-designed blogs look cluttered and deter readers, regardless of how good the content is.
When creating your blog, keep the following design tips mind:
- Include plenty of white space. This involves leaving more spaces between elements such as margins, footers and headers. The Google homepage is a perfect example of this.
- Embrace a responsive design - your blog should load properly and quickly on both mobile and desktop devices.
- Break up your text. A huge wall of text is intimidating to readers. Split it up into smaller, bite-sized paragraphs that are more digestible.
- Minimalism in blog design is a growing trend - If an element is unnecessary, strongly consider leaving it out. This means a simple, clean layout and theme.
- Font and typography matter - the text must be easy to read. Try to only use a maximum of 2-3 fonts in your page - one for your logo, one for headlines and one for the body text. Any more and the page looks cluttered.
- Apply the same rule to colours - use a primary colour, a shade of grey to emphasize certain parts of your blog and a call-to-action colour. Try to only use the call-to-action colour once - you want it to stand out. There are many online tools you can use to find colours that compliment each other.
But which should you choose?
Of course, HubSpot is our go-to option because it's easy to use and customize. HubSpot is also fully integrated and offers homebuilders a variety of software including a free Customer Relationship Management (CRM), marketing, customer service and sales software.
Wordpress is also an excellent option, as it’s one of the world’s most popular blogging platforms. In fact, nearly 42% of all websites are powered by Wordpress! This means you’ll have the widest selection of themes, plugins and web design tools to get your blog looking just right.
Mistake #2: Failing to Master Your Niche
One of the questions you need to ask yourself is: "Who is my audience?"
Since you're building a blog for your home building business, it's safe to assume you already know who your prospects are. Are they first-time homebuyers? Move-up buyers? Downsizers? Investors? You must have your audience clearly identified - it's the only way you can create content they're truly interested in.
Once you've clearly identified these buyer personas, you're in a better position to create killer content that matters most to them - and the best time to post it. Naturally, your topics should revolve around home building, real estate trends, industry regulations and other relevant themes.
If you don’t have a firm grasp on the people you're blogging to, you'll end up creating content not helpful to the people who are most likely to read it. And when you make the mistake of creating irrelevant content in your content, - whether your first or 50th post - you can destroy your credibility as an authoritative voice.
Mistake #3: Thinking You Have Multiple Opportunities to Impress
Speaking of blowing opportunities... a common mistake many new bloggers make is using the first post to say irrelevant stuff, like telling readers this is the beginning of your blogging journey and asking them to stay tuned for more!
For a personal blog that might be acceptable, but for a home builder blog, it’s a costly mistake. In fact, the most recent blogging statistics have uncovered that there are over four million new blogs that go live every day - all competing for our attention! With all that data, do you think readers have the time to consume irrelevant information?
Each blog post is an opportunity to impress with informative content that hits all the right spots. So don't start the journey on the premise that you'll build authority with your subsequent articles.
Mistake #4: Not Mastering the Art of Writing for the Web
Writing a blog post is vastly different from writing an academic essay or any other type of content not typically consumed online. Before you start writing, understand what it takes to write content online that readers can easily and readily consume.
Here are a few things you need to know.
Grab your readers' attention with an opening sentence that gives them a taste of what's to come - something that makes them want more.
For instance, if you're writing about home building trends in a certain local market (let's say Edmonton), you could begin "Did you know home building costs in Edmonton are set to increase this year?" People have short attention spans, so you need to hook them as quickly as possible.
- Put out your message in simple words - words your readers use
- Use short sentences and paragraphs (2-3 sentences per paragraph)
- Use an active voice
- Craft a shareable title
- Break up your content to make it scannable
- Use clear headlines and sub-headlines
- Address the reader as "you" (write in the second person)
- Uses the right images and other visuals where applicable
Vary Your Blog’s Length
As you progress, don’t just stick to the same formula every time. Some people like a long, in-depth read while others may prefer a more concise article that they can skim over. Try a few different formats and see what your readers respond to.
Look at the topic you’re writing about, and use that to determine the length of your article. Don’t try to hit a “perfect word count” by filling your content full of fluff. Alternatively, don’t use twenty words when five will make the same point.
Mistake #5: Not Sticking To A Schedule
This can be a tough one, especially for people with an already busy schedule, but it’s crucial for blogs to keep their momentum with regular, scheduled posts. As soon as you start to become irregular with your posts, the traffic drops.
A best practice is to draw up an editorial calendar and plan your content in advance so you’ll always have a backlog of content to work on. This not only improves your SEO but also helps to alleviate writer’s block - you’ll always know what’s supposed to come next.
You Don’t Need To Blog Every Day
Whichever tool you choose to use, the most important part is to stick to it and be consistent. This doesn’t mean you need to blog every single day - this is a good way to quickly burn yourself out! Pick a schedule that works for you, whether it’s every two - three days or once a week, and post regularly. Not only will it help you to stay sane, but it will also help your readers get into the routine of looking for your new content.
Mistake #6: Ignoring SEO Best Practices
A lot can be said on what search engine optimization is and isn't, but one thing is clear; brands, especially small and medium-sized, need search engines to succeed. That coveted top spot on Google can help your business increase sales triple-fold.
When writing your blog posts it's important to adhere to best SEO practices.
Keywords are the heart and soul of SEO; they are the words or phrases internet users type into search engines when looking for certain information, products or services.
Home building-related keyword research will help you find these words and phrases. Create your content around them, but use them sparingly and as naturally as possible. Title tags, meta descriptions and headers are used by search engines to determine if your post is relevant to a search query - so be sure to use keywords there as well.
When you're just getting started, link building might not be top on your priority list, but it helps you get off on the right foot. It also helps you establish a habit of using external links as you continue to post.
External links are links that point at another website from your own blog. When you link externally, the owners of those blogs could notice and return the favour by backlinking to your site when their content allows.
The more backlinks you get, the more search engines will view you as an authority and reward you with a higher ranking (hello #1 spot!). Just be sure your anchor texts are in context.
The other part of link building is internal links. These are hyperlinks that point from your content to another place on your website. These types of links help your visitors with navigation and increase the search value of your site.
The basic rules of internal linking are:
- Create a lot of content
- Use anchor text
- Link deep
- Use links that are natural for your site visitors
- Use relevant links
- Use follow links
- Use a reasonable number of internal links
Check out this Neil Patel article on internal linking to get more details about these rules.
Be Careful Not To Over-Optimize
While SEO is important, there’s also such a thing as over-optimizing. Avoid trying to stuff keywords or links where they don’t belong - Google’s search algorithm is very advanced and will actually penalize sites for this.
At the end of the day, remember you’re writing for the reader, not the search engine. Be personable, informative, and thought-provoking.
Mistake #7: Failing to Urge Action
Besides writing to inform your audience, you also want to engage them. A call to action within your content (beginning, middle, end - you'll need to do some heat mapping to figure out where to put it) is the best way to subtly persuade your readers to move further into your marketing funnel.
One of the simplest call to actions for a blog post? Subscription for an email newsletter!
By the way, don't think including a CTA in your first blog post will make your business come off as pushy or sales-y. As long as the contents strike all the right chords, readers will be more than willing to subscribe for more posts. And in return, you'll collect their precious email addresses, right from day one!
Mistake #8: Hitting "Publish" and Walking Away
So you have done most of the hard work, and now the post is edited and ready to go live! You hit publish and you're done.
Not quite... stopping at this point is a big mistake!
How does it look? Is everything perfect? After publishing your first blog post, access it from outside your content management system. This way, you'll be able to catch any errors from the reader's point of view and make changes while it's still early. If it goes live with mistakes here and there - like a spelling mistake or a broken image file - you risk creating a bad brand image.
Mistake #9: Ignoring Comments
A good blog post is bound to get a few comments - DON'T IGNORE THEM! Believe it or not, comments are part of a blog post. In fact, some readers pay more attention to comments than the content itself!
As such, it's best practice to keep looking out for new comments and responding to them. You don't always have to say something insightful. Sometimes, a simple "thank you for reading" is enough to make the reader feel appreciated.
Mistake #10: Not Sharing Your Post
It doesn't matter how groundbreaking the content in your blog post is, if nobody knows the blog exists, it won't see any traffic.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is failing to share your published post on your social media platforms. You already know you should have company social media profiles set up, so post a link on those profiles to your new blog article. Gradually, you'll grow your readership.
You should also take this a step further and have a Facebook advertising budget for promoting your new articles. This will boost traffic to the page right away, increasing its chances for ranking well organically. You’ll also build an audience of the right kind of people; those who are interested in reading the content you create.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again - email is alive and well! Once your perfect post is live, don’t forget to send out an email to your list. These people have been kind enough to give you their email address, don’t let it go to waste.
You don’t need to be fancy here - a simple branded email with a brief description of the article and a link is totally okay, Keep it short, simple and sweet.
Mistake #11: Not Making It Easy For Everyone Else To Share On Social Networks
Ideally, you shouldn’t be the only one who wants to share your blog! If you do a good job, others will want to share the helpful, relevant information you’re putting out.
However, as mentioned above, people have short attention spans and you can’t always rely on them to copy your blog’s URL (or copy it correctly), head over to their social media and paste the link. Make it easy for them by adding simple, easy-to-spot buttons for sharing to the most common social media platforms. Most blogging platforms will either have plugins to add these buttons, or it will be built into the platform itself.
Mistake #12: Failing to Keep Enhancing Your Industry Knowledge
Blogging is all about sharing your knowledge with others. The fact that you run a home-building business already means you have the relevant expertise, so readers are inclined to trust your views.
But, as you'll soon realize, the demands for keeping an active blog beat the demands of writing the perfect first post. To meet this demand, you must keep enhancing your knowledge. Read industry publications and attend conferences and trade shows, and try to look outside your market for further inspiration and ideas.
In today's digital world, blogging is one of the best ways for home builders to educate, engage and entertain their target audiences. You've made a smart decision to work on your blog. All that remains is to wow your prospects with a well-written post. If you have any questions or concerns or need any help along the way reach out to us, we're here to help!
Originally published Oct 23, 2018, updated Aug 18, 2020