By James Chartrand
Could it really be possible that your blog is costing you sales?
Well, imagine this: a potential client searches Google for products or services like yours, picks a likely-looking site from the search results, and lands on a site that displays… a bunch of articles.
You can guess what happens next: “What is this? Am I in the right place? I was looking for a store… I must have the wrong site.” And they click away. They go back to Google and click the link to your competitor’s site, where the home page content promises them exactly what they want.
Sadly, it happens all the time. You look bad, and you lose sales to a savvier competitor.
Mistake #1: Making Your Blog the First Thing People See
Visitors expect to see a home page when visiting a business site, not a blog.
The home page tells them where they are, what the site is about, and what they’ll find if they hang around. In only a few seconds, they can decide if they’re interested, and if they are, the home page tells them exactly what to do next.
But a blog? It just confuses them.
Which post should they click? Where do they find the price? What do they do next?
Those aren’t questions you want your customers asking. So get your blog off your home page and tell them what you want them to know: that you’re a business first, and your blog is just a secondary feature.
Mistake #2: Your Blog Isn’t Integrated with Your Website
Sometimes you visit a business website that has “Blog” in its main navigation, but when you click the link, three common problems occur:
- You’re taken off the main site and sent somewhere completely different. You don’t expect it, and you wonder, “What happened here? Where’d I go?”
- The blog you land on doesn’t even look like the main site. It has a completely different design, which doubles your confusion about whether you are where you want to be.
- The blog is often on a free platform like Blogger.com or WordPress.com, and you can’t help but think the business is a tiny one that’s bootstrapping. Even if it isn’t.
Typically, these problems happen when someone started blogging before they got serious about having a business. Their blog was on a free platform or already had design, but they knew they couldn’t have their business on the same site, for appearances’ sake. So they built a business site elsewhere, had it professionally designed, and decided just to link to their blog.
That’s a mistake. If you want to have a blog for your business, integrate both into the same site with consistent branding and design. Keep visitors in one location, and don’t send them to a different URL.
Mistake #3: Your Blog Is Cluttered
Another issue that makes visitors leave a site is visual clutter.
There’s nothing more painful to the eyes or harder on the brain than a blog all cluttered up with gadgets or widgets or too much information. Overly busy sites get really overwhelming for visitors, and they can’t quickly and easily find what they want.
It’s the result of trying to do too much with your blog. You think you need everything in plain view, but the problem is it doesn’t work.
When visitors have too many choices, they slow down and get confused about what they should choose. Very often, they don’t choose anything. They just leave.
Keep your blog neat, clean and simple. Give your text a nice, clear font for easy reading. Have a single sidebar on the right and make sure there are only a few items within it. You want to give everything plenty of space and room to breathe.
Mistake #4: Hesitating to Promote Your Products and Services
Yes, social media is about giving. Yes, blogging is a great way to showcase your experience and expertise. Yes, educating potential customers can help create sales.
But it’s all for nothing if you don’t promote your products and services.
Talk about what you do. Add links in your sidebar to your services and products page. Blog about case studies or past clients you’ve helped. Mention specials and promotions, or pitch new services.
You don’t have to be pushy about it, but don’t be shy about reminding people that you have something to sell. You have a product or service that you genuinely believe will help them, right? Then talk about it, shamelessly and without remorse.
Mistake #5: Getting Sidetracked from Building a Business
This point is very important, which is why I left it for last.
I see so many business owners decide their blog needs to be a huge success. That’s fine, but then they make the mistake of pouring all their time and energy into their blog and completely neglecting their business. They spend hours learning technical stuff they don’t need to know, worrying about how to get hundreds of readers, writing article after article to feed their blog…
Hey. You have a business. That business needs you. It needs customers and clients and prospects. It needs administration and management. It needs to be promoted and turned into a huge success.
But it will never be a success if you get sidetracked by your blog.
Imagine how much more your business could be bringing in if you poured all that time and energy you’re devoting to your blog into following up on leads or preparing a great marketing campaign or developing a new product. Your blog doesn’t deserve all the attention and focus. Sure, it’s important, but what good does it do you if you never get around to developing a marketing funnel that turns readers into buyers?
So don’t take your eye off the ball. Remember that business comes first.