Are you making any of these common blogging mistakes?
Blogging is a skill that takes practice. You may be an excellent therapist, but you probably didn’t learn anything about blogging in graduate school. Over the years, I’ve made a lot of blogging mistakes and I’d love to show you how to avoid them!
These are some of the most common blogging mistakes that therapists make when trying to attract clients and build a successful private practice.
1. You don’t know your audience. Your blog should be written with a particular client or population in mind. If you try to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no one. Your posts need to solve a problem or question that your ideal client has. So, know what kind of problems your ideal client is googling and use language that speaks to them. If you’re already working with this population, notice what words clients use when they describe their problems. For example, does your client say “postpartum depression” or “baby blues” or “maternal mental health”?
2. You don’t understand SEO (search engine optimization). Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an SEO expert (I’m certainly not), but you do need to know the basics. Your posts need to have keywords. These are prominent words in your blog post that tell search engines what your post is about. The keywords should be what someone would type into Google hoping to find a post like yours. This is another place where it’s important to know your audience. The average person is probably searching for depression not dysthymia, for example. Try to get your keywords into your title, post URL, first paragraph, H1 and H2 headlines, and the alt descriptions on images. The keywords need to flow naturally in the post (Google is smart enough to know if you’re just shoving extra keywords into a post and will penalize you). If you use WordPress, get the Yoast SEO plugin and it will help you immensely.
3. Your posts are hard to read. Break up the text with headlines, lots of white space, some images, bullet points or numbered lists. At the same time, you want to keep it clean and simple and not overly cluttered or distracting. Too many sidebars on your blog, dark backgrounds, or strange fonts make it hard to read. Remember, the majority of people are reading on their mobile devices, too. And keep your language down-to-earth. People don’t want a bunch of jargon and words they don’t understand.
4. The title is boring. Your title should accurately describe what your post is about, but it also needs to be interesting or helpful enough that people feel compelled to click on it. I always find it easiest to write my blog titles last, rather than first, so I know the title truly reflects the content of the post. These types of titles have proven to be effective:
- Numbered lists (15 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues)
- Questions (Are You in a Codependent Relationship?)
- How to (How to Start Loving Yourself)
- Including strong adjectives (10 Effective Strategies to Decrease Anxiety)
5. You’re not authentic. Writing authentically doesn’t mean that you have to self-disclose at an uncomfortable level. It simply means that your personality and approach should come through in your writing. If you’re funny and sarcastic, let that come through. For example, if you’ve got a potty mouth, a few curse words will be fine for your audience. While your blog is professional, it doesn’t need to be overly formal. Readers (and potential clients) want to connect with a real person.
6. You don’t post consistently. For your blog to do its job, it needs new content on a regular basis. The frequency will vary depending on your goals: If you’re trying to attract a lot of new clients, post at least once a week; if you just want to maintain good SEO and steady referrals from your website, probably once or twice a month will suffice; and if you’re hoping to build a large email list and customer base for books or products, I’d suggest once or twice a week on the same days (every Monday and Wednesday for example). Regular new content keeps people coming back to your site and those SEO web crawlers happy!
If you’d like to learn more about how to avoid these blogging mistakes and blog your way to a successful private practice, please join me for an online blogging class especially for therapists. As a therapist myself, I know the ins and outs of writing a mental health blog that both helps the community and attracts ideal clients. There are a few spaces left in my next session, so act quickly. All the details and sign-ups are here.
©2017 Sharon Martin. All rights reserved.
Image courtesy of Unsplash.com.