Sometimes, when I tell people that I blog for a living, they roll their eyes. “That’s so easy,” they say. “You get a paycheck for sitting on the internet all day and writing. A monkey could do your job!”
That’s when I roll my eyes. See, people are quick to deem blogging as a no-brainer job. But when they actually sit down to write their first couple of posts, it hits them: This is way harder than I thought. Like any person starting a new job, they mess things up.
That’s okay — it happens to pretty much every new blogger. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to avoid these roadblocks if you know they’re coming.
So for all of you beginner bloggers out there who are looking to get up-to-speed quickly, keep on reading. Below are common mistakes most beginners make and some tips on how to avoid them.
Why do bloggers fail?
Bloggers fail because they don’t realize that blogging is a business that requires effort, time, and attention. Some bloggers fail because they don’t research their audience, they don’t tailor their content accordingly, they blog inconsistently, they don’t use SEO best practices, or they don’t promote their content.
Anyone can start a blog, but many will never give blogging the attention that it needs to be a successful part of a business.
A hobby blog is one thing, but when you want to grow or monetize your blog, there are several things you need to focus on. Namely, you need to identify the goal of the blog, know your target audience and what moves them, build a blog site that is easy to navigate, and choose a writing style that resonates with your audience.
Fear that you’re missing some of these elements? It’s okay! We’re here to help you and your blog become a success. Let’s delve into some common blogging mistakes and the solutions that will help your blog move up the ranks.
Blogging Tips for Beginners
- Create blog posts that serve your larger company goals.
- Identify what resonates with your audience.
- Write like you talk.
- Show your personality; don’t tell it.
- Make your point again and again.
- Start with a very specific working title.
- Specific posts should still tie into the bigger picture.
- Use a specific post type, create an outline, and use headers.
- Give your audience something to walk away with.
- Use data and research to back up the claims you make in your posts.
- Use examples to back up why what you’re saying is important.
- When drawing from others’ ideas, cite them.
- Take 30 minutes to edit your post.
- At a certain point, just publish it.
- Blog consistently with the help of an editorial calendar.
- Focus on the long-term benefits of organic traffic.
- Add a subscription CTA to your blog and set up an email newsletter.
- Refresh old content while writing new content.
- Vary the mediums where you share your content.
- Promote your content.
Most of a blog’s traffic is driven organically — in other words, consumers will search for something on a search engine and click on your blog if it matches their intended topic. However, there are a lot of organizations competing for your audience’s attention, so it’s important to avoid common blog mistakes to stand out.
Here are the most common blog post mistakes (and their solutions), according to HubSpot bloggers.
1. Create blog posts that serve your larger company goals.
Mistake: You think of ideas that only interest you.
As much as you might read and re-read your blog posts after you publish them, you’re not the only reader, or the intended reader.
When you start blogging, ideas will come to you at random times — in the shower, on a run, while on the phone with your mom. While the ideas may come at random moments, the ideas themselves should never be random. Just because it’s a good idea in general — or something that interests you personally — doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for your company.
“Your blog is a honeypot, not a megaphone. Make it a point to position your content around what your audience wants to discover, not what you want to tell them.”
— Amanda Sellers, Historical Optimization Manager at HubSpot
Solution: Align your blog posts with company growth goals.
The reason you’re blogging is to solve problems for your audience and, ultimately, to grow your business. So, all of your blog post ideas should help serve those growth goals. They should have natural tie-ins to issues in your industry and address specific questions and concerns your prospects have.
Need help figuring out what those goals are and how to address them? Chat with your manager about the larger company goals, and then schedule a meeting with someone on the sales team to hear what questions they get asked most often. After both meetings, you should know which goals you need to achieve and have some ideas on how to achieve them.
2. Identify what resonates with your audience.
Mistake: You forget about your persona.
If you want your blog content to perform well (i.e. generate traffic, leads, and sales), it must resonate with your audience and compel them to take action. One of the biggest mistakes is assuming that your content will perform if you haven’t actually considered your audience or the actions you want them to take.
“Your persona is the basis for everything you create. Writing for yourself won’t always resonate with your intended audience. If you, instead, speak to your persona’s pains, challenges, and goals and they feel like you are speaking to them, they are more likely to stay on the page and convert on your offer.”
— Christina Perricone, Senior Manager, Content Marketing at HubSpot
Solution: Understand your persona’s pain points and solve them.
By defining your buyer persona and the things that matter to them, you can bridge the gap with your content. If you’re not consciously thinking about your persona’s pains, you’re just creating content for content’s sake, which is a waste of resources.
3. Write like you talk.
Mistake: Your writing is too stiff.
Writing a blog post is much different than writing a term paper. But when bloggers first start out, they usually only have experience with the latter. The problem? The style of writing from a term paper is not the style of writing people enjoy reading.
Let’s be honest: Most of the people who see your post aren’t going to read the whole thing. If you want to keep them interested, you have to compel them to keep reading by writing in a style that’s effortless to read.
Solution: Write blogs that feel personable.
It’s okay to be more conversational in your writing — in fact, we encourage it. The more approachable your writing is, the more people will enjoy reading it. People want to feel like they’re doing business with real people, not robots.
So loosen up your writing. Throw in contractions. Get rid of the jargon. Make a pun or two. That’s how real people talk — and that’s what real people like to read.
4. Show your personality; don’t tell it.
Mistake: You think people care about you as a writer.
It sounds harsh, but it’s the truth: When people first start out blogging, they think that their audience will be inherently interested in their stories and their interests … but that’s not the case. It’s no knock against them as a person — it’s just that when you’re new, no one is interested in you and your experiences. People care way more about what you can teach them.
Solution: Infuse your personality without eclipsing the topic.
Even though people don’t really care that it’s you that’s writing the post, you can infuse parts of your personality in your writing to make them feel more comfortable with you. How you do that is entirely up to you. Some people like to crack jokes, some like to make pop culture references, and others have a way with vivid descriptions.
Corey Wainwright, Principal Marketing Manager at HubSpot, is particularly good at this. Here’s an example from the introduction of one of her posts:
To infuse personality into your own writing, try looking for ways to relate to your readers on the topic you’re writing about — then write in the first person as if you’re hanging out with them and chatting about it. Make your tone personal, approachable, and engaging, just like you would in a face-to-face conversation.
5. Make your point again and again.
Mistake: You digress.
Although you are encouraged to let your own personality shine through in your writing, don’t abuse the privilege. It’s one thing to be yourself in the topic you’re covering, but it’s another thing to bring up too many personal experiences, which will bury the point you’re trying to make.
Don’t digress into these personal anecdotes and analogies too much — your readers aren’t sitting in front of you, which means you can’t guarantee that you have their undivided attention. They can (and will) bounce from your article if they lose patience.
Solution: Repeatedly assert your argument.
To prevent your writing from losing its audience, restate your point in every section of the article. The best blog posts commit to an overarching message and then deliver it gradually, expressing it multiple times in small ways from beginning to end.
If you’re writing about how much water a potted plant needs, for example, don’t spend three paragraphs telling a story of how you came home to a dead fern after returning from a two-week vacation. This story offers real evidence of your point, but what is your point? Certain plants can’t go without water for more than 14 days. That’s one possible point, and it should be stated upfront.
6. Start with a very specific working title.
Mistake: Your topics are too broad.
When people start blogging, they generally want to write on really big topics like:
- “How to Do Social Media Marketing”
- “Business Best Practices”
- “How to Make Money on the Internet”
Topics like these are far too broad. Because there are so many details and nuances in these topics, it’s really hard to do a good job answering them. Plus, more specific topics tend to attract smaller, more targeted audiences, which tend to be higher quality and more likely to convert into leads and customers.
So, to get the most short-term and long-term benefits of blogging, you’ll need to get way more specific.
Solution: Begin with a clear, concise idea.
Nailing really specific blog topics is crucial to knocking your first few posts out of the park. Let us help you brainstorm with our Blog Ideas Generator. This tool allows you to enter basic terms you know you want to cover, and then produces five sample blog titles that work for business blogs.
Keep in mind that a working title isn’t final — it’s just a concrete angle you can use to keep your writing on track. Once you nail this stage of the ideation process, it’s much easier to write your blog posts.
7. Specific posts should still tie into the bigger picture.
Mistake: You don’t tie a specific topic into your reader’s broader struggle.
You already know how important it is to resonate with your buyer persona and understand their pain points. However, there’s a reason why they’re experiencing pain points and what is driving them to get it solved.
Solution: Understand the challenges and consequences they’re facing.
You should be asking yourself:
- What is at stake?
- What do they gain by taking action?
- If they don’t take action, what will happen?
All of these things can manifest in the content that you write for your blog post. Doing so will signal to your reader that you understand what they’re going through and that you want to help.
“If you’re uninterested in a particular topic you’re writing about, it’s probably because you haven’t stopped to think about the big picture. Understanding how the topic you’re writing about will fit into a reader’s broader challenges will help you find meaning and value in any post you write, and will enable you to connect with your readers better.”
—Caroline Forsey, Senior Content Strategist at HubSpot
For instance, let’s say you’re tackling a post like “first vs. third-party APIs.” While the topic is dry and allows for little creativity, the big-picture value is huge: to help your readers decide whether they need to shell over the big bucks for an in-house API or whether they can save money and time by asking a third party to develop their API. Essentially, “first vs. third party APIs” is a question that hits at computer security, efficiency, and budget constraints, all of which could have big consequences for your reader.
8. Use a specific post type, create an outline, and use headers.
Mistake: Your writing is a brain dump.
Sometimes when I get a great idea I’m excited about, it’s really tempting to just sit down and let it flow out of me. But what I get is usually a sub-par blog post.
Why? The stream-of-consciousness style of writing isn’t really a good style for blog posts. Most people are going to scan your blog posts, not read them, so it needs to be organized really well for that to happen.
Solution: Structure your blog with a template, outline, and section headers.
The first thing you should do is choose what type of blog post you’re going to write. Is it a how-to post? A list-based post? A curated collection post? A SlideShare presentation? For help on this, download our free templates for creating different types of blog posts. Once you have a template down, it’ll be easier to write your outline.
Writing an outline makes a big difference. If you put in the time up front to organize your thoughts and create a logical flow in your post, the rest becomes easy — you’re basically just filling in the blanks.
Using headers is also critical for the reader experience.
“While it’s nice to imagine that your readers hang on your every word, the reality is that they’re probably mostly skimming your posts. As you write, be sure you’re making your piece skim-friendly: including plenty of paragraph breaks, clearly titled sections, relevant images, and formatting that makes it easy to find the piece of information they came for.”
— Karla Cook, Senior Manager of the HubSpot Blog Team
To write a blog post outline, first come up with a list of the top takeaways you want your readers to get from your post. Then, break up those takeaways into larger section headers. When you put in a section header every few paragraphs, your blog post becomes easier and more enjoyable to read. (And plus, header text with keywords is good for SEO.) When you finally get to writing, all you’ll have to do is fill in those sections.
9. Give your audience something to walk away with.
Mistake: You’re relying on vague concepts instead of concrete information.
One of the first things you’ll do in your blog research is look up how other publications are writing about a topic. If you notice, almost all of the results on the first page of Google are writing about conceptual, vague ideas. How can your blog stick out? You can include concrete, actionable steps for your readers to achieve success.
Solution: Include actionable steps for your readers to follow.
One of the biggest tenets of content creation is that it should be useful, and that means your audience should walk away with something.
“People want to learn how to do things in actuality, not just theoretically. When you’re done with a blog, ask yourself, ‘Will the reader know how to implement this idea?’ or ‘Did I provide steps to achieve success?'”
— Rebecca Riserbato, Former Staff Writer at HubSpot
This might come in the form of a “how-to” as you recommend they implement a particular strategy, or it might simply be a suggestion for a tool or tactic to make a process easier.
10. Use data and research to back up the claims you make in your posts.
Mistake: You don’t use data as evidence.
Let’s say I’m writing a blog post about why businesses should consider using Instagram for marketing. When I’m making that argument, which is more convincing?
- “It seems like more people are using Instagram nowadays.”
- “Instagram’s user base is growing far faster than social network usage in general. In the U.S, Instagram will grow 15.1% this year, compared to just 3.1% growth for the social network sector as a whole.”
The second, of course. Arguments and claims are much more compelling when rooted in data and research. As marketers, we don’t just have to convince people to be on our side about an issue — we need to convince them to take action. Data-driven content catches people’s attention in a way that fluffy arguments do not.
Solution: Use data to support your arguments.
In any good story, you’ll offer a main argument, establish proof, and then end with a takeaway for the audience. You can use data in blog posts to introduce your main argument and show why it’s relevant to your readers, or as proof of it throughout the body of the post.
Some great places to find compelling data include:
11. Use examples to back up why what you’re saying is important.
Mistake: You’re not adding enough context.
Meg Prater, Managing Editor of the HubSpot blogs, shared with us that “When I first joined the HubSpot Blog team, I would consistently get the edit that I wasn’t adding enough examples to support my statements. For example (See what I did there?), I might write ‘SMBs should expand their social media strategies to experiment with newer, cheaper channels.’ Sure, that might be true, but it’s a pretty broad suggestion.”
Solution: Illustrate ideas with examples, visual aids, and additional content.
It’s important to build upon your point with details. Meg says, “A stronger way to share this with an audience might be to say, ‘SMBs should expand their social media strategies to experiment with newer, cheaper channels. For example, you might test running ads on question-and-answer platform Quora, or simply answer industry questions for which your product or service is an answer.’”
“By adding a specific example to my previously broad statement, I’ve made my point easier to understand and more actionable for my readers.”
— Meg Prater, Managing Editor of the HubSpot Blogs
As bloggers, we become experts in our industry. Because of this, it’s easy to forget about specificity when giving advice, explaining examples, or walking through a common process. Even Pamela Bump, HubSpot’s Senior Marketing Manager of Audience Growth, admits that she has been guilty of not going into enough depth in a first draft.
“When you review your blog post, read it from the point of view of a new grad entering a field or someone who’s just learning about a topic for the first time.”
— Pamela Bump, Senior Marketing Manager of Audience Growth at HubSpot
Ask yourself questions like, “Will readers know what this big word means?”, “Will they recognize this acronym?”, or “Can they easily visualize this example, or do I need to add a visual aid?” From there, you can determine where you need to explain something more, or hyperlink potentially confusing words to other blog posts that relate to them.
12. When drawing from others’ ideas, cite them.
Mistake: Your content borders on plagiarism.
Plagiarism didn’t work in school, and it certainly doesn’t work on your company’s blog. But for some reason, many beginner bloggers think they can get away with the old copy-and-paste technique.
You can’t. Editors and readers can usually tell when something’s been copied from somewhere else. Your voice suddenly doesn’t sound like you, or maybe there are a few words in there that are incorrectly used. It just sounds … off.
Plus, if you get caught stealing other people’s content, you could get your site penalized by Google — which could be a big blow to your company blog’s organic growth.
Solution: Give credit where credit is due.
Instead, take a few minutes to understand how to cite other people’s content in your blog posts. It’s not super complicated, but it’s an essential thing to learn when you’re first starting out.
13. Take 30 minutes to edit your post.
Mistake: You think you’re done once the writing’s done.
Most people make the mistake of not editing their writing. It sounded so fluid in their head when they were writing that it must be great to read … right?
Nope — it still needs editing. And maybe a lot of it.
Solution: You’ll never regret time spent proofreading.
Everyone needs to edit their writing — even the most experienced writers. Most times, our first drafts aren’t all that great. So take the time you need to shape up your post. Fix typos, run-on sentences, and accidental its/it’s mistakes. Make sure your story flows just as well as it did in your outline.
To help you remember all the little things to check before publishing, check out our checklist for editing and proofreading a blog post.
14. At a certain point, just publish it.
Mistake: You try to make every post perfect.
I hate to break it to you, but your blog post is never going to be perfect. Ever.
There will always be more things you can do to make your posts better. More images. Better phrasing. Whittier jokes. The best writers I know, know when to stop obsessing and just hit “publish.”
Solution: Better to publish and update than postpone for perfection.
There’s a point at which there are diminishing returns for getting closer to “perfect” — and you’re really never going to reach “perfect” anyway. So while you don’t want to publish a post filled with factual inaccuracies and grammatical errors, it’s not the end of the world if a typo slips through. It most likely won’t affect how many views and leads it brings in.
Plus, if you (or your readers) find the mistake, all of you have to do is update the post. No biggie. So give yourself a break once and a while — perfect is the enemy of done.
15. Blog consistently with the help of an editorial calendar.
Mistake: You don’t blog consistently.
By now, you’ve probably heard that the more often you blog, the more traffic you’ll get to your website — and the more subscribers and leads you’ll generate from your posts. But as important as volume is, it’s actually more important that you’re blogging consistently when you’re just getting started. If you publish five posts in one week and then only one or two in the next few weeks, it’ll be hard to form a consistent habit. And inconsistency could really confuse your subscribers.
Instead, it’s the companies that make a commitment to regularly publishing quality content to their blogs that tend to reap the biggest rewards in terms of website traffic and leads — and those results continue to pay out over time.
To help establish consistency, you’ll need a more concrete planning strategy.
Solution: Schedule and publish blogs consistently.
Use a calendar to get into the habit of planning your blog post topics ahead of time, publishing consistently, and even scheduling posts in advance if you’re finding yourself having a particularly productive week.
Here at HubSpot, we typically use good ol’ Google Calendar as our blog editorial calendar, which you can learn how to set up step-by-step here. Or, you can click here to download our free editorial calendar templates for Excel, Google Sheets, and Google Calendar, along with instructions on how to set them up.
16. Focus on the long-term benefits of organic traffic.
Mistake: You concentrate your analytics on immediate traffic.
Both beginner bloggers and advanced bloggers are guilty of this blogging mistake. If you concentrate your analysis on immediate traffic (traffic from email subscribers, RSS feeds, and social shares), then it’s going to be hard to prove the enduring value of your blog. After all, the half-life for those sources is very brief — usually a day or two.
When marketers who are just starting their business blogs see that their blog posts aren’t generating any new traffic after a few days, many of them get frustrated. They think their blog is failing, and they end up abandoning it prematurely.
Solution: The ROI of your blog is the aggregation of organic traffic over time.
Instead of focusing on the sudden decay of short-term traffic, focus instead on the cumulative potential of organic traffic. Over time, given enough time, the traffic from day three and beyond of a single blog post will eclipse that big spike on days one and two thanks to being found on search engine results pages through organic search. You just have to give it a while.
To help drive this long-term traffic, make sure you’re writing blog posts that have durable relevance on a consistent basis. These posts are called “evergreen” blog posts: They remain relevant, valuable, and high quality year after year with little or no upkeep.
“Your evergreen content is an ongoing asset and in many cases has more potential to perform than a new, unproven post.”
— Amanda Sellers, Historical Optimization Manager at HubSpot
Over time, as you write more evergreen content and build search authority, those posts will end up being responsible for a large percentage of your blog traffic. It all starts with a slight shift in perspective from daily traffic to cumulative traffic so you can reframe the way you view your blog and its ROI entirely.
17. Add a subscription CTA to your blog and set up an email newsletter.
Mistake: You aren’t growing subscribers.
Once you start blogging, it’s easy to forget that blogging isn’t just about getting new visitors to your blog. One of the biggest benefits of blogging is that it helps you steadily grow an email list of subscribers you can share your new content with. Each time you publish a new blog post, your subscribers will give you that initial surge of traffic — which, in turn, will propel those posts’ long-term success.
The key to getting significant business results (traffic, leads, and eventually customers) all starts with growing subscribers.
Solution: Set up a subscription CTA and email newsletter.
First, use your email marketing tool to set up a welcome email for new subscribers, as well as a regular email that pulls in your most recent blog posts. (HubSpot customers: You can use HubSpot’s email tool to easily set up these regular email sends, as well as set up a welcome email for new subscribers.)
Next, add subscription CTAs to your blog (and elsewhere, like the footer of your website) to make it easy for people to opt in. These CTAs should be simple, one-field email opt-in forms near the top of your blog, above the fold. As for where to put these CTAs, we typically place our blog CTAs at the bottom of our blog posts or add a slide-in, which you can learn how to do using a free tool called Leadin here.
You can also create a dedicated landing page for subscribers that you can direct people to via other channels such as social media, other pages on your website, PPC, or email.
18. Refresh old content while writing new content.
Mistake: You are publishing new content while neglecting old content.
Once you start blogging consistently, it’s easy to put all of your effort on publishing new content. However, neglecting old content can hurt your click-through rates and SEO because as time passes, the more outdated and less relevant your content becomes to reader’s current needs. For instance, if you have a blog post about Facebook pages with screenshots from years ago, your content is no longer as helpful and thus will drop in ranking. Updating your old content will show Google your information is valuable, relevant, and fresh.
Solution: Refresh your old content.
Your old content is just as important as your new content. When you refresh the information on your older blog posts, you are ensuring your content is accurate and up to date, thereby improving your rankings and click-through rates. By checking for spelling and grammar, updating information, and linking to newer resources, you’ll enrich the user experience and greatly improve your blog post in Google’s eyes.
19. Vary the mediums where you share your content.
Mistake: You only use one medium to share your content.
Growing your audience is imperative to your business, and using different mediums — such as podcasts, ebooks, and more — to distribute your content will help you do just that. Try experimenting with various mediums to present the same information that’s in your blog post. A 2021 stat says that 56% of Americans aged 12-34 listen to at least one podcast per month. That means that more of your audience is relying on podcasts to get the same information they might get while reading an article. Publishing your article in a text medium only will significantly limit your audience reach.
Additionally, by having different mediums, you also get to produce more content around the same topic, negating the need for brainstorming sessions.
Solution: Try different mediums to reach your audience.
By utilizing different platforms, you will increase audience engagement on your blog. You can generate more ideas on the same subject when you use more than one medium and, consequently, generate a larger audience. Additionally, adding video content can help your blog. 34% of bloggers say they experience strong results after including videos in blog posts. So, if you are trying to increase audience engagement or switch up how you share your information, including different mediums will go a long way in building a successful blog.
20. Promote your content.
Mistake: You are not sharing your content via social platforms.
It is essential to write new posts on a consistent basis to be recognized and scale your audience; however, as much as it is important to write new content, you have to promote the content you’re writing. Posting your content on social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram will help your content get more traffic and can help grow your audience. In 2021, 90% of bloggers used social media to promote their content, while 62% of bloggers used email marketing and SEO to help promote their content.
Solution: Promote your blog on your social platforms.
Over 3.6 billion people use social media, and the number is increasing rapidly. That means that platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are essential to promoting your business. Sharing your content via social media will attract a wider range of people to your content. With the right social media marketing strategy, you can drive hundreds, if not thousands, of qualified visitors to your site.
Feeling overwhelmed? Let’s summarize the blogging mistakes you should avoid.
Blog Post Mistakes to Avoid
- You think of ideas that only interest you.
- You forget about your persona.
- Your writing is too stiff.
- You think people care about you as a writer.
- You digress.
- Your topics are too broad.
- You don’t tie a specific topic into your readers’ broad struggle.
- Your writing is a brain dump.
- You’re relying on vague concepts instead of concrete information.
- You don’t use data as evidence.
- You’re not adding enough context.
- Your content borders plagiarism.
- You think you’re done once the writing is done.
- You try to make every post perfect.
- You don’t blog consistently.
- You concentrate your analytics on immediate traffic.
- You aren’t growing subscribers.
- You are publishing new content while neglecting old content.
- You only use one medium to share your content.
- You are not sharing your content via social platforms.
Blogging Mistakes Are a Thing of the Past
Blogging is more than just writing words on a screen and hitting the publish button. Don’t worry if you read through this list and are now thinking to yourself, Well, this is awkward … I’ve made literally every single one of these mistakes. Remember: I used the word “common” to describe these mistakes for a reason. The more you blog, the better you’ll get at it — and you’ll reap the benefits in terms of traffic and leads in the process.
Blogging as a business is always about setting yourself up for success and knowing and understanding your audience and the content that they want to read and see. Making sure that your grammar, title, and blog is properly organized, staying on brand, connecting with your target audience will only help your business scale into more success.
We hope you’ll use this list of mistakes to step up your blogging game. After all, the benefits of keeping up a healthy business blog will be well worth the time and effort.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Chatbot Improving Customer Experience in Online Business
Globally, more people are using smartphones now. The use of text-based chatbots is the most significant trend that has been noticed. Although we think of the chatbots for current smartphones as rudimentary, it is anticipated that the automated discussions on which the chatbots are based will become more valuable. The chatbots offer customers recommendations.
Here’s the explanation for those who are yet to have a better understanding of the term.
What is a Chatbot?
Artificially intelligent chatbots that automate customer interactions are likely the most promising technology in the digital era. Businesses like Facebook are spending much money creating and promoting their Facebook Messenger platform and adding a Developer SDK and Messenger API. You can create your chatbot if you know some programming and technical jargon.
A Chatbot is a computer application that uses a messaging platform or app to communicate digitally with consumers. Enterprise chatbots often use big data and artificial intelligence to learn more intelligently about people with each contact. To achieve this, they employ a system of neural networks, which technologically mimic the enormous connections in the human brain.
As artificial intelligence technology advances, AI-based chatbots will gradually be adopted into all human-computer interactions across all industries.
Factors That Influenced The Need For ChatBots in Various Industry Segments
- It’s difficult to dispute the rising popularity of texting apps. The development of artificial intelligence technology has raised the bar for chatbots.
- AI increases the accuracy of machine parsing and understanding of requests by up to 90% when used in conjunction with natural language processing.
- Sophisticated notifications that are always on across devices and take into account the situation’s context are another essential element.
- The personalization of virtual communication and the capacities of predictive aid were enhanced by the accelerated development of all types of sensors and wearables, as well as analytics and data science.
- The chatbot’s functionality is expanded further by the payment integration to other parties via APIs.
A new challenge for businesses and ability offers, chatbot app development, has every opportunity of becoming one of the hottest trends.
Chatbots Are New Way To Interact With Customers
An AI-based chatbot is one of the newest innovations fostering the expansion of companies with an online presence. Forbes claims that more than 80% of retailers worldwide intend to use online chatbots in marketing in some capacity by 2020. Additionally, it is anticipated that by 2025, the chatbot market will be worth $1.25 billion.
Many companies are working to develop chatbots to assist organisations aiming for automation. Businesses’ marketing and consumer interaction strategies must include chatbots. They support companies by:
- Facilitating automated user interaction
- Offer 24/7 customer assistance
- It produces leads
- Save time and effort for people
- Speed up customer response
Chatbots Supporting Key Industrial Verticals
Chatbots assist with everyday conversations, e-commerce, trip arrangements, and more. Today, marketers are employing chatbots more and more extensively to boost e-commerce, particularly concerning younger clients.
The technopreneurs are adamant that chatbots have the potential to raise user shopping cart contents and attract transactions. In addition, chatbots offer more significant potential for consumer involvement and customization while reducing the activities of a customer support representative and sales associate. For instance, the conversational commerce paradigm has been revolutionized by Amazon’s chatbot named “Echo,” which enables users to ask the bot anything they want.
- You may order a taxi using Uber, another well-known chatbot for messaging apps.
- For ordering food for delivery home, consider Taco Bell and Domino
- Users who utilize HelloVote can register to vote.
- Users may search for and book flights with Icelandair.
Why Should Your Business Consider Implementing ChatBots?
Businesses use many resources in customer service and technical support. Chatbots can also aid in the improvement of this procedure. You will notice that most inbound requests are identical once you have examined them.
You can automate repetitive queries by building a chatbot for your company. Your consumer will value the direct communication from support service that avoids holding on the line and speaking to strangers.
- By 2023, 86% of customer retention will be handled automatically.
- ChatBots are the most often employed AI technology in businesses, according to 35% of executives from various sectors.
- In the next few years, intelligent agents will handle 45% of all mobile interactions.
Taking The Next Leap – Integrating Chatbots
You have probably never noticed one intriguing detail. Millions of various apps are available in in-app marketplaces. However, the research reveals that users spend roughly 24 hours each month using apps, with just five apps receiving 80% of their attention. Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, and WhatsApp are, without a doubt, among them. As a result, it is challenging to launch a new app for your company, but there are still good chances that you will be able to include your chatbot in a platform like Uber Clone App that is used frequently by your users.
From a practical standpoint, bots might provide more efficient and quick user contact. Uber is a good example. When the Uber app is opened, the user can call a taxi with a single button. With the Uber bot, the user can request a car without opening the app by sending a quick message to the Uber Chatbots over their preferred messaging app.
Hence, integrating Chatbots in a Taxi Booking App has the potential to become one of the most popular trends and a brand-new challenge for businesses and software providers.
Moving Forward With Chatbots – Final Thing
Chatbots will ensure better customer service delivery than conventional communication methods.
They are currently greeted with an equal amount of zeal and cynicism regarding their usefulness, but they will eventually gain knowledge and skill. Younger millennials also referred to as “Generation Z,” are expected to be the first to fully adopt bots because messaging apps are their preferred means of communication.
Get ready for bot talk since the time is running out and the bots are rising.
How To Build a Communication and Implementation Plan
You learn about a C-suite decision that will have a transformative impact on your content marketing team. Perhaps, the announcement included one or more of these directives:
- “We must produce more content and manage multi-platform distribution with greater agility. We plan to add ChatGPT to our editorial capabilities and implement a headless CMS.”
- “We’re updating our three-year business strategy and need all teams to align their operations around achieving a new set of goals.”
- “We’ve been acquired. We will be merging many of our business units and will need to relaunch our website so we can tell a more unified story.”
Or maybe it’s another substantive shift in strategy or operations. As a content team leader, whether excited or terrified, you must get your team on board and ensure the initiative succeeds.
Transformational changes are nearly impossible to implement without a clear plan that communicates the desired destination, the motivation to pursue it, and the path to reach it.
You can watch the conversation (beginning at 2:30-minute mark) or scroll down to read her recommendations to gather support, clear obstacles, and keep efforts moving in the right direction.
5 sabotages that disrupt transformational changes
Every organization has unique conditions and challenges, but Jenny points out five common barriers that prevent the successful adoption of new priorities and practices:
- Forced change. When workers don’t understand or agree with the change, they won’t invest in the process, especially if it requires a lot of effort or a long-term investment.
- Misaligned goals. You can’t sell a change that benefits the company if employees don’t see how it helps them reach their personal or professional goals.
- Group-speak. Your team may nod in agreement when the CEO says, “We’re all going to do this together, right?” But that enthusiasm might not hold when the boss’ eyes are no longer on them.
- Rushed process. Team members already overwhelmed with responsibilities don’t give new tasks top priority. Jenny says if you can’t take something off their plate, communicate they won’t be pressured to rush it through.
- Lack of team alignment. Everyone must be on the same page regarding the direction, intention, and actions required. Without this alignment, tasks fall through the cracks, and all the hard work may not lead to achieving the goal.
For your change mission to succeed, your communications plan should account for how you’ll address (or avoid) these obstacles. These details will minimize the friction, lack of participation, and flagging enthusiasm you could have experienced during implementation.
The marketer’s field manual to content operations
A hands-on primer for marketers to upgrade their content production process – by completing a self-audit and following our step-by-step best practices. Get the e-book.
Plan for the transformation journey
Jenny shares a three-part approach she uses to help her consultancy clients get big ideas off the drawing board, onto team members’ priority lists, and into the marketplace.
1. Establish the destination: What’s changing, why, and what’s involved
To get your team to join the journey of change, they need to know where they’re going. Create a change summary to help with that. The simple map summarizes the relevant details about the change, the phases of implementation, and the benefits gained when the goal is reached.
First, identify the most critical details to communicate. Answer these questions:
- What’s the nature of the change? What is being done differently, and what does that mean for the business and team? What isn’t changing that might be the stability anchor?
- Why is it happening? Why does the organization think this change is critical? Why is now the right time to do this?
- Who’s involved? Who will the change affect? What will they be expected to do? What about their roles, processes, and priorities? Why would they want to participate, and why might they be reluctant?
- When will it happen? Will the change occur all at once or gradually? What happens at each stage, and which ones will require the content marketing team’s involvement?
- What are the expected results? What is the organization looking to achieve? What benefits or advantages will it bring? What will the company and team see when the goal is reached?
With these answers, you can build a change summary to share in stakeholder and team member conversations. Any spreadsheet or presentation tool will do, though you can create a template based on the document Jenny uses for her client engagements (below).
The summary of what’s changing appears at the top of the page and details of the most critical elements appear below it. Bulleted notes detail what to expect with each element and the benefits for the business and your team. Lastly, a general timeline outlines each project phase.
2. Load up the crew: Gather support and communicate benefits
To achieve the change goal, all players must agree to travel together and move in the same direction. “If our team is not aligned on where the heck we’re going, there’s literally no chance we’re going to get there,” Jenny says.
Team members who immediately see the value in the initiative might follow your lead without question. But some key players may need a little more convincing. Jenny offers a few ideas to get them on board.
Enlist the support of an active, visible sponsor: Social media shows putting the right influencer behind your pitch can move minds. The same goes for pushing through a big change within an organization. Research from Prosci finds projects with an extremely effective sponsor met or exceeded objectives more than twice as often as those with a very ineffective sponsor.
If you have the support of senior team leaders and high-profile company personnel, ask for their help socializing the change to others. They might seed relevant information in their newsletters and other content they share internally or help shape your change activities and messaging to improve their appeal.
Translate organizational goals into personal motivations: Some team members may reluctantly participate because they perceive an impact on their role. For example, workers may think the added work will strain their already demanding schedules. Others may be skeptical because of negative experiences with similar changes in the past or disbelief that the change might benefit them.
A series of stakeholder conversations can help identify the significant concerns and disconnects that might prevent them from engaging. They also can reveal specific challenges and motivations that you can address with more resonant and appealing messaging.
Some marketing tools you use to influence an audience can help you facilitate those conversations. For example, Jenny says, personas can surface critical insights about who may be impacted by the change and what it might take to nurture them onto the path.
Her personas checklist includes these questions:
- Who’s leading the change? Do any key sponsors directly relate to the persona’s role?
- Will this persona be impacted more or less than others?
- Will they need information more frequently or in greater detail?
- What reactions will they have?
- How will you approach training for this persona? What support will be provided?
- At what phase of the change will they be most affected?
Jenny also recommends using your marketing communication and engagement tools. For example, the simple tracking sheet she developed (below) can help visualize the audience, delivery formats and channels, optimal messages, and approval and final sign-off requirements to mention in your stakeholder discussions.
Choose the right messenger – and a customized message: Sometimes, a disconnect occurs not because of the message but because of the message’s deliverer. For example, employees expect to hear about significant corporate initiatives from executives and senior leaders. But for changes impacting their day-to-day responsibilities, they may prefer to hear from a manager or supervisor who understands their role.
Other times, preventing a disconnect could require tailoring the message to the team’s needs. Jenny suggests focusing on the direct benefits once the initiative is activated. “Consider how it might help them further their career, address something they’re struggling with, or offer an opportunity to explore an area they’re passionate about,” Jenny says.
Surface hidden issues with confidential interviews: Valid concerns can remain hidden, especially for team members who are reluctant to voice their objections in team meetings. Working one-on-one with a neutral or external moderator – someone with no stake in the decision for change – might help them open up.
Ensure they know the confidential interview results will be aggregated so no individual responses will be identified. “It’s really helpful to get that confessional energy,” Jenny says. “It can help you surface individual reservations, causes of their reluctance, and personal motivations. “
Jenny shares in her checklist (below) some preliminary questions for a moderator to assess during a confidential interview:
- How does the individual feel about the change?
- Is it the right change?
- Is it the right time?
- Is it supported enough to succeed?
- What risks do they predict?
- Do they have ideas about how we could reduce obstacles and challenges?
- What lessons from past change efforts can they share with us?
- Could they become a change champion?
The process can fuel opportunities to shift messaging, positioning, or delivery approach to help the outliers see how the change can benefit them and get them more excited about participating. Jenny says it can also reveal valid concerns that need to be solved so they don’t hinder progress.
3. Hit the road: Position and prepare your team for success
Big changes are always risky. They disrupt the status quo, and if they involve multiple teams and business functions, some changes may feel like a win for some at the expense of others.
Taking a few extra steps before executing your plans can keep those issues from diverting the goal or leaving any team members stranded along the way. “This is where we establish commitment and accountability and think about what could go wrong and how we’re going to deal with it,” Jenny says.
Own up to what you do and don’t know: Ultimately, you can’t plan for every contingency. “You’ll lose trust rapidly if you pretend you do,” Jenny says. She offers a few communication tips to set the right expectations from the start:
- Be clear and candid: Directly address what you do know, don’t know, and what is and isn’t possible with this change. Outline how you will communicate status updates and new information as they arise.
- Be receptive: Don’t take resistance personally. Listen to your team’s questions and respond to their feedback with an open mind.
- Be visible: Socialize progress across your team’s preferred communication channels, and make sure everyone knows how to reach you if they encounter a problem. You can regularly host town hall meetings, road-show presentations, or open forums to ensure everyone stays informed and has a chance to share their thoughts.
Position project requirements as opportunities and advantages: Jenny suggests exercising creative thinking to help concerned team members see the new responsibilities as a chance to benefit personally.
For example, if they need to learn additional skills to accomplish their tasks, provide in-house training or access to third-party educational tools. Position the opportunity as a chance to expand their capabilities to help them be more prepared for this change and to advance their careers in the long run.
You can also use the big change to rethink your org chart and rebalance team member responsibilities. “Every single person has work that they hate on their to-do list. I’ve found folks become more open if they’re offered an opportunity to do a task trade-off,” Jenny says.
Incentivize the journey – not just the destination: A lengthy and gradual implementation process should include incentives at regular intervals to motivate team members to stay the course.
Rewards can be specific and tangible, such as bonuses or loyalty program points. Or they can be intangible, such as shoutouts during monthly meetings or in internal newsletters. Arrange team happy hours or give comp time for extra hours worked. These appreciation efforts can make the added burden feel worthwhile.
Overcome obstacles in predictive planning: An element of science exists in the journey of change. You can’t reach your destination if the forces of resistance are stronger than the forces propelling you forward.
Jenny shares an innovation tool from a company called Gamestorming that can help quantify the balance of those forces at each phase. By working through this force-field analysis, you can take steps to ensure the winds of change will be in your favor.
An example of how it works is shown below. In the center, an illustration represents the change you want to implement – transitioning from hierarchical to more transparent hubs.
On one side, the forces of change – all the elements of the vision that characterize the importance of the change and how it works in your favor – are listed. In this example, those forces are:
- Improve long-term revenue
- Help meet market demand
- Satisfies customer expectations
- Addresses current unsustainable costs
- Give a competitive advantage in the marketplace
On the other side, the forces of resistance – conditions and constraints that may prevent realizing the vision – are listed. In the example, these forces include:
- Company culture
- Time constraints
- Viability of new tech
- Client adoption
- Current costs
Rank each element’s impact on the project’s success on a scale of one to five. Then add the rankings on each side and compare the scores to see whether you have a stronger chance of success than failure and identify where efforts should be made to overcome obstacles.
Plan the journey for a smoother arrival
Convincing your team to jump aboard the organizational-change train is rarely easy. But with a clear operational plan, aligned support, and open communication, you’ll help them see the benefits of participating and get them excited to reach their destination.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute
Alternative Search Engines: Why They Matter and How to Rank on Them
The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
12 billion, 3 billion, 1 billion. That’s the number of searches made in some of the top alternative search engines monthly.
While Google still holds more than 80% of the market share, ignoring search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo can make you lose out on relevant traffic. So don’t limit yourself to Google’s algorithm as you plan the next year’s SEO strategy.
In order to grow in the digital economy, we have to diversify our efforts. What better way to do that than by making sure that you rank on all the top search engines relevant for your audience?
Generally, there’s two reasons why your audience would choose an alternative search engine over Google: geopolitical reasons and/or privacy concerns.
As such, I’ve categorized the search engines below by global market share and by data privacy.
Top alternative search engines by global market share
When analyzing the global desktop market share of search engines throughout the last decade, there are a few small but mighty search engines that stand out. These are:
These are the engines you want to give extra consideration if you intend to expand internationally. They all have their own unique search algorithms that are in many ways as complex and developed as Google’s.
Why they matter and how to rank on them
If you’re like me a few years ago, a die-hard Apple fan remarkably repulsed by Microsoft’s products (I’ve now converted to the seamless team of PC), you might think prioritizing resources to optimize content for Bing or other engines is a waste of time. What I failed to consider then, and what you might be overlooking, is geographic segmentation.
Do you want to reach the American audience using voice search? Consider Bing.
Are you expanding into China? Check out Baidu.
Each search engine matters because of its unique user types. Regardless of how small that market share might look on a global scale, if there’s regional search volume from your target audience, it’s worth the optimization.
Let’s go through them one by one.
Bing and Yahoo
Since 2018, Yahoo is exclusively powered by Bing Search. So as long as you rank in Bing, you’ll rank in Yahoo.
Bing Search, in combination with Yahoo, is without a doubt the strongest player after Google. Together, they have more than 10% of the global market share for desktop.
Now, some say that Bing’s market share will increase due to mergers and acquisitions, while others argue for its decline due to the death of Internet Explorer.
Still, all Microsoft browsers, such as Microsoft Edge Legacy and Chromium-based Microsoft Edge, have Bing as the default search engine, making Bing Search the natural choice for Microsoft product users. Yahoo, which is powered by Bing Search, is the default search engine for Mozilla’s browser Firefox, adding billions of impressions to Bing’s search results each year.
If we look at the United States alone, Microsoft sites own over 18% of the market share.
This is much due to their partnership with Amazon, where all voice-activated searches on Amazon Echo and Alexa are made with Bing Search.
Although the algorithms differ, optimizing for Bing search results is not much different than optimizing for Google. With a bit of fine tuning, it’s more than possible to come up with a strategy that allows for high rankings on both.
To rank on Bing, and thus Yahoo, make sure to do the following:
1. List your business on Bing Places
Bing Places is the equivalent of Google My Business and is the fastest way to get your business ranking for local seo. Many even consider Bing Places to favor small business owners as Bing puts their information more prominently on display.
2. Upload an XML Sitemap using Bing’s Webmaster Tools
While the debate on how much sitemaps really do matter for Google SEO continues, uploading one with Bing’s Webmaster Tool for XML Sitemaps allows the algorithm to better categorize and manage your content, making it more visible and relevant to the search audience.
3. Match keywords in your content
Check that the exact keyword match can be found in your page titles, meta descriptions and overall content. It’s known that the impact of on-page tactics as a ranking factor is much greater in Bing than Google.
4. Keep your social media profiles up to date
Go social! Bing considers your social media presence more than any other search engine. The Webmaster Guidelines specifically states that Bing considers social signals from third-party platforms to rank your content. Bing might even extract certain information directly from your Facebook company page to your Bing Places display.
5. Use high-quality images to enhance your content
Bing’s image search is much more advanced than Google’s. If you want your landing page to rank, add high-quality design assets to showcase your offerings. If you want your blog to rank, attach too-long-to-read infographics to highlight your points. Like the one above.
Second to Bing is Yandex, having a total of 1.5% of the market share in global desktop search.
While it looks a lot like Google, its algorithm is different in many ways. Most prominent is the way Yandex indexes pages. Unlike Google’s almost continuous indexation, Yandex indexes pages sporadically. That means that you might have to wait around for a while before your site shows up on Yandex.
Despite this, it is still possible to rank on Yandex. You just need to have a bit more patience.
While waiting for your site to be indexed, take a look at the following:
1. Focus on tags over internal site structure
According to The Ultimate Guide to Yandex SEO, your header tag, title tag and slug are way more important than your internal site structure. In fact, it was only recently that Yandex started to support hreflang tags. Before that, Yandex only allowed the <head> hreflang implementation.
2. Consider search intent to rank
Some argue that Yandex meets search intent better than Google. The modern ICS score, which replaced the Thematic Index Citation, is determined by how relevant a site is to the query. Yandex uses its own version of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T) test to determine relevance.
3. Eliminate toxic links
Many do not know this, but Yandex was actually the first search engine to roll out a link-based algorithm. Already in 2005, 7 years before Google’s Penguin algorithm, Yandex introduced the Nepot filter, which specifically looked at the impact of toxic link exchanges and spam links.
With over 3 billion searches daily, Baidu is the Google of China. If you want to do business in China, it’s the place to be.
While the site is available worldwide, the site predominantly favors simplified Chinese. So before taking any other steps, hire a native speaker to help you along the way. To win at global, you have to ditch translations.
Here’s a few steps to get your content ranking.
1. Localize your keywords and content appropriately
As with all multilingual SEO, you need to work with a native language expert to ensure proper keyword localization and content optimization. If your site experiences high bounce rates, Baidu will tank your rankings immediately. As with any search experience, localization matters.
2. Position relevant content and keywords to the top of the page
Baidu favors a completely opposite layout than the Westernized one. The sooner you get to the point the better. Therefore, it is important to position your keywords as early as possible in the text and introduce all relevant content already in the top of the page to rank.
3. Obtain a verification level and get certified
By registering and paying a small fee you can obtain a verification level to improve your domain authority and rankings on Baidu. If you want to secure top ratings, you can get certified and obtain an ICP license, which is much more difficult than getting verified.
Top alternative search engines by data privacy
While most of the search engines mentioned above are tied to big corporations or political forces, global initiatives are setting the stage for more privacy-focused search engines. Among these is DuckDuckGo, the forefront runner with over 130 billion searches processed since launch.
Why they matter and how to rank on them
In many ways, the movement is a response to Google’s invasiveness on privacy. Many are fed up with how they are capitalizing on personal data and controlling the narrative with targeted search.
From a micro perspective, documentaries such as The Great Hack shine a light on how global companies monetize on personal data. As a result, privacy-safe search engines continue to rise.
If you’re working for an innovative SaaS startup, there’s a high chance your ideal customer persona is using one of these search engines.
Let’s go through how you rank on DuckDuckGo and two alternative equivalents.
Screenshot of duckduckgo.com, November 2022
DuckDuckGo aims to make your search experience as simple and true to its cause as possible, i.e. no tracking for personalized search results and filter bubbles. Instead it uses semantic search to determine search intent for your queries from over 400 sources.
Consequently, this attracts tech-savvy experts with a lower bounce rate. Once they commit to a search, they stay.
Here’s how to optimize for it:
1. Sharpen Your User Experience
UX continues to make an impact on SEO, not to mention for DuckDuckGo. Make your content easily scannable and stay away from intrusive pop ups that harm your users’ experience and ease of navigation.
2. Focus on High-Quality Backlinks
As with any SEO, high-quality backlinks play a huge role for ranking. If you already have a solid backlink profile from your Google strategy, you should be good to go. If your backlink profile has a high level of toxicity, do some cleansing.
3. Rethink Local SEO
Since there’s no location tracking available for searches, location-specific searches such as “services near me” don’t work. If you like to rank for these types of searches, include a specific location in your keyword strategy. Otherwise, you won’t be able to optimize for local seo.
Startpage could be my personal favorite among the alternative search engines. It basically is Google without the tracking.
And while many consider DuckDuckGo to be the forefront runner of the privacy-focused search movement, many forget how Startpage ‘blazed the trail in 2006’. Offering a search experience without IP recording or tracking back when it was more or less unheard of. Now, it is the common denominator among all privacy-safe search engines.
So, how do you rank in Startpage? Simple. You rank in Google.
There are many more privacy-safe alternatives to search engines than the two mentioned above. Perhaps one without equal is SwissCows – a search engine that prides itself on being the only family-friendly, privacy-safe semantic search engine available on the web.
This means that any intrusive search results, like adult entertainment or offensive content, is naturally censored from the search results. At the same time, they never store any data nor track user specific information.
SwissCows SERPs bring up organic results and paid ads directly from Bing so in order to rank in SwissCows, you need to rank in Bing. Just make sure to omit any content that’s not PG-13.
What do they all have in common?
In the end, none of these alternative search engines can replace Google. As an SEO, I’ll never advise starting out with anything other than a Google strategy.
But when you are ready to branch out and extend your reach, give these alternatives a try. Analyze where your target audience hangs out and optimize thereafter.
Many of the privacy-focused search engines require little optimization as they pull their search results directly from other sources anyways. Simply do a quick check to see how you rank on each one.
And who knows, perhaps Microsoft will continue to steal more of the global search landscape. If that happens, you’ll be there — ranking in first position, ready to reap the rewards of your diversified efforts in an ever-changing search landscape.
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