A few days ago I finally had the opportunity to visit a blog by Terry Starbucker (what a name, right?) and an old post of his titled Leaders as Teachers: Two Things You Absolutely, Positively Must Do To Be Effective. It was a great post, although I had a minor problem with it, and I decided to leave a comment, even though it was an older post. After I left my comment and hit the button, the phrase came up: “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

by C4Chaos

I hate being moderated, and it’s one of the big no-no’s I write about on my technology blog, I’m Just Sharing, where I talk about many things, two of which are blogging and social media. Something that irks me to no end is having people who write blogs setting up reasons for others not to comment on their blogs. You might not think it will stop people from commenting, but trust me, after one or two times when someone has written a comment on your blog, only to see that it’s not immediately there, most people won’t come back.

This isn’t just me being snarky. Every person that’s writing a business blog has something they want to get out of it, be it clients, visitors, money, whatever. What most people who are writing these blogs don’t understand is that blogging really is a community; I say that often. If you don’t interact with people and you’re not Seth Godin, or you don’t make it easy to leave comments or navigate around on your blog, you won’t get many repeat visitors, your blog won’t rank well, your website won’t rank well if your blog is connected to it, and no matter what else you do you’re going to be frustrated and possibly quit writing your blog, saying that you did it and it didn’t work.

It’s the first business day of the year and I’m here to help. Here are 10 things you’re probably doing wrong with your business blog; think about them and your blog:

1. You’re not self hosting your blog. If you have a blog on Blogspot or WordPress.com and you’re not paying for it, you’re wasting your time blogging. The “why” will come within the next couple of points.

2. If you have a button asking people to subscribe to comments, then you’re sending them an email asking them to subscribe to comments as well, you’re irritating people. Obviously I clicked on the button; why are you asking me to subscribe again?

3. If people have to log in to leave a comment and they don’t want to belong to that company, they you’re going to lose them. Blogspot has a place where you can leave a post “anonymously”, which requires a name and domain address, but it doesn’t require an email address, in which case if you respond to them they’ll never know it, and thus you’ve lost them.

4. If you’ve set your blog up so people have to subscribe to a service and they’re not in the mood to do so, then you’re probably losing comments as well. The top two services are Disqus and Intense Debate. On both, if you don’t subscribe to the service you can still leave a comment, but if you want to hear back from anyone you’re going to get an email asking if you want to subscribe to comments; see #2.

5. Do you accept comments to begin with? If not, unless you’re Seth Godin or someone else famous you’re probably being ignored. People love to interact with each other and they want to leave comments and have people respond to them. If you’re talking about leadership and you’re saying leaders need to interact with their employees, yet your blog is one directional, you’re being hypocritical. If you’re any other business and not communicating both ways with your potential customers, trust me you’re losing business.

6. Do you accept comments but never respond to any? If that’s you then you’re losing business. Do you think your time is more valuable that the people who respond to you? Are you conceited or clueless?

7. Are your blog titles too long or too boring? Did you see my post asking when leadership got boring? All of us eventually learn that in today’s world we don’t have a lot of time to grab someone’s attention. True, sometimes a title can’t help being a bit long; the one I have for this blog is 8 words. But the blog I highlighted above has 13 words; way too many. However, if you’re going to have a long title, it needs to say exactly what you’re looking for it to say, as well as be compelling.

8. What do your permalinks look like? Permalinks are your HTML links to your articles. There are some things that, if you’re doing them, will kill your blog’s opportunity to get indexed on search engines. One, if you have numbers before your post titles, that’s a killer. Two, if you have numbers and no post title in the link, that’s a killer. Three, if you have way too many words so the search engines don’t know what to do with your title, that’s a killer.

9. Are you using a lot of words or names that most people don’t know? If so, and you’re not linking to them in any fashion, you’re going to lose people. I don’t link to every word I use on this blog if it happens to be a large word, but if I’m talking about a technical term I will link to that so people can get an understanding of the term if I’m not going to talk more about that term while I’m writing.

10. Are you commenting on other blogs, whether they’re in your genre or not? To increase your visibility, you have to work your network. However, you probably don’t have a network yet. What this means is that you have to set up a plan for visiting blogs both in and out of the topic area you discuss. Many blogging “experts” will tell you to only comment on blogs within your niche. The problem with that is those people are the ones who, hopefully, already “get it.” You’re looking to connect with people beyond your niche as well, and for that you’re going to have to become a real person and comment elsewhere.

Believe it or not this is a down and dirty quick tutorial on how to make your business blog better. I have 10 more I could post, but this is a start. The overall topic isn’t something I’ll talk about here often, but it will pop up occasionally, as one of my unstated goals for this year is to highlight others by commenting on their posts on this blog and linking back to them. However, my list has shrunk drastically because of some of the things I mentioned above. So, I need more blogs in the topics I usually discuss on this blog to read. Lucky for me, I’m all over the place, so I have no worries about finding blogs to read or comment on.

If you’re a business blogger, be better this year with it than you were before, even if you’re pretty good now. By the way, this is something I do for a living, teaching people about social media and things like blogging. Yup, I’m all over the place, but you might already know that about me, Mitch Mitchell, anyway. Let’s get it together folks; I need more blogs to read.