Business blogging can be an effective way to brand your business as an expert in your industry and to connect with your customers and prospects. But there are some easy mistakes to avoid to make sure all your hard work pays off.

Unprofessional Blog Design

Regardless of how useful and interesting your posts are, if your blog looks amateurish and unprofessional, you’ll be turning off visitors. Even a great design can be a turnoff if it conflicts with your message; for example a dark, technical design for a kid’s day care.

Review other websites in your industry to get an idea of what they are doing. Don’t copy them directly, but use these sites as an inspiration for your own design.

Too Much Focus

Your business blog should complement your business’ website – it shouldn’t be the centerpiece. While your blog might have an important role in your website, you want to bring traffic in to your blog and then expose them to the rest of your business. Try not to let your entire website turn into a blog.

Getting Distracted

Many business blogs fail at keeping on topic. Remember what your message is, and who your visitors are. Try to stay consistent and not get sidetracked by too many off-topic posts. It’s essential to be consistent and stay focused on your message and deliver what your readers want to read.

Too Much Self Promotion

It’s important that your blog is relevant to your business, but you don’t want to go on and on about yourself. Nobody wants to read a blog that is filled with self-promotion. Your readers are there for valuable information, opinions and advice. Promoting your own self-interests will only drive visitors away.

Leaving Your Readers Stranded

Finish each blog post with a clear call to action. Tell your readers what they should do with the information you have just given them. You can outline specific steps to take, invite them to join your newsletter, ask them to contact you or encourage them to share their own opinion. Whatever you do, don’t leave them hanging with no clear direction to take.

Not Sharing Your Post

You need to promote your blog for it to be effective. Take advantage of all the social media channels you have, newsletters, optimizing for search engines and connecting with other bloggers to get the word out.

Blog Abandonment

Your blog is an important component of retaining existing customers and drawing in new ones. If your blog is a ghost town people will immediately think your business is the same way. Don’t start up a business blog and abandon it – commit to keeping it updated and regularly posting new content.

Not Monitoring Comments

A blog is ultimately a dialogue between your business and your customers. When your visitors leave comments, it’s an opportunity to connect and to keep them engaged. Don’t abandon your post once it’s live – keep engaged and show prospects that you are alive and interested in their feedback.

Once your blog is live, you can outsource some of the writing duties. But always make sure that you proofread and edit all new content, and try to set aside time to publish your own content and keep it as personal and relevant as possible.