There are hundreds of thousands of articles out there about how a blog can help your business. I genuinely believe them to be accurate. A business blog can do so much for your website and your brand presence. It opens up SEO opportunities, allows you to enter the world of social media marketing seamlessly, and it gives you a built-in channel to communicate with your clients and prospects. Neat, right?

However, in some cases, a blog can hurt more than it helps. Cue the gasps of shock and horror. Yes, this statement is contrary to almost every inbound marketing guide that exists. But it’s true – and it’s your job to avoid the blogging pitfalls that could have a negative impact on your business.

To make sure that your blog is doing all of the wonderful things it’s supposed to be doing – avoid these key mistakes.

Mistake #1: “Dear Diary”

As a small business owner, you are, in many ways, your brand. This often leads to the false assumption that people deeply care about your opinions. While some opinions are directly related to your business or service model, others are not. And your target audience doesn’t want to read a blog post about them.

These “Dear Diary” posts tend to show up when something has gone wrong, or when a business owner feels particularly passionate (or negative) about something. Sometimes it’s politics, other times it’s a local issue that’s being debated. In the absolute worst-case-scenario, it’s the way business is being conducted with a client.

While it’s tough to believe that any business owner would sit down and spill everything their feeling into a blog and hit “publish” without a second thought – it happens more often than you may think.

The Fix: Don’t gripe on your blog (which will drive prospects away). Offer value instead. Try to keep all posts on-topic, and always circle them back to the question, “How will this benefit my customers?”

Mistake #2: Always Selling

Your blog is a wonderful place for you to showcase your products and services, it isn’t a place to constantly give people the hard-sell. So, before you post your latest promotion flyer as the body of a blog post, reconsider. When you are just selling to someone, you aren’t adding value or building your brand. In fact, you’re not even really showing all of the amazing things your brand consists of, because your reader is too distracted by the pitches you’re throwing at them. They likely won’t buy in, and they definitely won’t be coming back for more anytime soon.

The Fix: Find ways to promote your products and services by showcasing how they can positively impact your reader’s life. If you run a consulting firm, you can write about ways your reader can improve their business with simple steps. If you own a restaurant, you could write about the latest event your team helped to cater.

Mistake #3: Lack of Consistency

A blog that has a different host than your existing website, or erratic design, will drive readers away. That’s because inconsistency hurts trust. You want to make your reader feel confident that they know you and your brand. More importantly, you want them to feel like they like you and your brand based on the content you’re putting out there. If things are all over the place as far as design, hosting, topics, or tags go – they’re not going to be able to decipher how amazing your brand actually is.

The Fix: Keep your design, hosting, and blog format consistent. Even changing small things – like the size of your fonts or the shape of your header image – should be considered carefully.

Mistake #4: Stale Content

Our final mistake is probably the most common – inconsistent content publishing. It makes sense – you’re a busy business owner! You may not have time to keep up with the weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly blogging schedule you originally started with.

Unfortunately, this lack of consistency in publishing ties into Mistake #3. By failing to post consistently, you lose the trust of your reader.

The Fix: Luckily, you don’t need to post with rigid consistency if you don’t have the time. Instead, just remove the date tag from your posts. This will give the illusion of consistent content, and nobody will know that some of the blog posts on your site date back to 2015.

A business blog can be a wonderful asset to your business – if it’s used correctly. By avoiding these four common mistakes, you’re setting yourself up for future success. Happy blogging!