9 Blogging Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make! Avoid the Pain Before Its Too Late
Mistakes are not completely evil.
Each one holds a valuable lesson you can use to get better.
Making mistakes means you’re doing something. I’ll take that over a perfect zero any day.
There is one fact though about mistakes we cannot avoid–they steal our time. That’s the one trade-off. Our mistakes bring us wisdom, yet take away precious, irreplaceable time.
This is why learning from other people’s mistakes is the smartest thing ever. We can avoid the time suck and gain valuable insights without going through the pain mistakes bring.
So to help you become a better blogger faster, I want to list some common mistakes that slow bloggers down and ultimately hold back their success. I still see these mistakes happening out there and I did plenty of them starting out…here’s your chance to avoid them entirely.
Blogging Mistakes You Can Avoid Starting Today
1. Not targeting the right audience
If you are blogging just for yourself and don’t care if anyone visits your site, then you don’t need to read any further. That’s fine if you want to do that.
For those who want to build an audience, you need to KNOW who you are serving. The clearer the perspective and more intimately you know the target audience, the better off you will be.
Sometimes a blogger starts out with a vague notion of their audience, and discovers later a more specific, narrowed audience. Or a blogger may start out serving the wrong audience at first and then adjust their content to better reach the right audience. If you’re in that place, just keep looking for who really needs your solutions. Don’t do what I did starting out and create content to impress others in my niche. Those folks are nice people, they just aren’t going to ever become a customer, so I was wasting time creating content to impress them.
How to avoid this mistake: Take time to study your target audience. Who are they? What problems do they need help with? What do they like or dislike? This is determined through engagement. Answer their emails. Dialogue with them in the comments. Put out a survey. Listen to what they’re saying on their own sites or social media pages.
2. You don’t have a niche
The noun “niche” is defined as “a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.”
For example, Build Your Own Blog is in the “blog starting” or “new blog” niche. Some other blog niche examples include travel, food, fitness, fashion, photography, and the biggest of them all, the “mommy blog.”
Does your blog have a niche? If you’re writing about your trip to Branson one week, a lasagna recipe the next week, why cardio workouts are bad for you next, then close out the month with a book review about Donald Trump, you definitely don’t have a niche.
This will cause your growth to move at a snail’s pace, if it grows at all.
You need to choose a niche and keep your content pretty much focused on that niche. This is what draws a crowd. People don’t follow blogs and stay loyal to them if they cover random topics, unless the blogger is a ginormous celebrity. I suppose there are people who would love to read about Tom Hanks’ trip to Branson or his favorite lasagna.
Make sure the niche has an audience out there to begin with. You might have what seems like a brilliantly unique blog concept, and perhaps you do…but if you build it, will anybody come?
How to avoid this mistake: Don’t be scared about jumping in to a large, “crowded” niche. That is a good sign. Obviously, there is a big demand for the topic. And that means there are plenty of people you can spy on to learn from their mistakes and grow faster. 😉
3. Your publishing schedule is half-baked
How often you post is your decision. There is no one right answer.
I can tell you this: posting every day is difficult to sustain over time. You may find it easy at first, but eventually you will notice it becomes increasingly difficult to find good topics every day. Posting for the sake of keeping it frequent is a bad strategy because your quality begins to suffer, which turns off readers.
Posting too little is also a mistake. If you have weeks or months in between your posts you don’t gain any momentum and nobody follows you because they forget about you.
How to avoid this mistake: You need to determine a realistic frequency for your posts, then stick to it. Using an editorial calendar is helpful.
4. Blowing off an email list
Email marketing is one of the best ways to build a loyal audience. If that sounds too business-like for you the casual blogger, let me rephrase this: Email is a great way to connect with readers and let them know you have a new post up.
Not only do I wish I would have built a list much sooner, I hear others lament the same…you can start now, or as soon as your blog begins, by learning some techniques anyone can do.
Email builds loyalty when done right. Traffic gets driven to your post, and a percentage of those visitors will leave comments and share your content.
That’s what you want, right?
How to avoid this mistake: Start building an email list as soon as you start blogging.
5. Not using social media or doing it wrong
Social media is a free tool anyone can use to promote their blog posts. Are you?
Instead of sharing what you had for lunch on Facebook, see how people respond to your blog posts! 😀
If you are not doing this, you’re missing out on traffic.
You don’t want to turn people off doing it wrong, so be sure to read up on how to best use social media. There are important differences per each platform. You should not treat them all the same.
Here are some helpful articles:
One way to get a leg up on social media is to hire someone’s expertise. If your budget can afford this, and you need more time to focus on other areas, ask a professional social media expert for help. A few I recommend include:
1. Kate Ahl – Simple Pin Media
2. Amanda Relyea-Voss – Like a Voss Social Media
3. Brandon Schaefer – My Virtual Sales Force
How to avoid this mistake: Let social media work for you by learning how each platform works. Hire some help if needed.
6. Your blog offers no share buttons
Making life easier for your readers helps you get more shares on social media, and putting social sharing buttons on your blog is one way to do that.
Rarely does someone take the time to copy/paste a URL to share something, unless it is super good.
Even those who create awesome content provide social sharing buttons.
Don’t overlook this free publicity.
How to avoid this mistake: Find a good social share button WordPress plugin.
7. Your writing is convoluted
That subhead intentionally illustrates this point…many folks don’t know what convoluted means. Using big words when they aren’t needed is just one example of convoluted writing. (Convoluted means extremely complex and difficult to follow.)
Another example is tightly packing your text into large blocks of text, like a 1980 history textbook. When visitors see something like this:
They are going to bounce pretty quickly (most likely).
Web surfers do not like the text to look like a book or kindle. They want easy scanability, and so that’s why you want to use short paragraphs like you see on this blog.
How to avoid this mistake: Observe how popular blogs format their text on the page. Do the same.
8. Using a design with a dark background and light font
You might think that a blog design with black backgrounds and white fonts looks really cool…remember, this isn’t all about you.
Your readers might get a migraine trying to read a design like one that or a myriad of other color combinations.
Since reading on the web is already harder on our eyes than printed materials, you want to design your blog so that the reader is comfortable. This encourages them to stay on your site longer. And keeps their vision intact.
How to avoid this mistake: Select an eye-friendly design and font.
9. Not responding to comments or doing it without much effort
All the top blogs spend time building relationships in their comments section. This has many benefits, to both you and your readers.
Friendships are formed. Loyal readers are developed. Good comments provide bonus material for readers. The writer gains valuable feedback. The list goes on and on.
That’s why some well-known blogs who dropped their comments section are now bringing them back. (Copyblogger is one example.)
You need to not only allow and respond to comments, you should put some thought into them, engage with those who take the time to leave thoughtful comments. Don’t just type “Thanks!” in reply to every single one. (You know what I mean.) Be yourself. Provide additional value to the post by answering questions and giving folks some feedback.
You won’t regret it.
How to avoid this mistake: Pay no attention to the already dated advice that its good to have no comments on a blog. That fad is fading fast. Keep your comments going, encourage readers to leave comments, and reply to all or most commenters with something of value they can gain from.
Let’s Review the Blogging Mistakes to Avoid and Their Solutions
1. Avoid targeting the wrong audience or no audience. Get to know your audience
2. Don’t avoid having a niche. Avoid combining multiple niches. Choose a niche for your blog
3. Avoid having no publishing schedule. Use an editorial calendar
4. Avoid blowing off your email list. Build an email list
5. Avoid using social media poorly. Use social media effectively
6. Avoid not installing social sharing buttons. Add social share buttons to your blog
7. Avoid bad writing. Write clear, concise and compelling blog posts
8. Avoid color choices, fonts and designs that are hard to look at. Use white backgrounds and easy-to-read fonts
9. Avoid lazy blog comment replies and neglectful comment management. Allow comments and put excellence into them
Any More Blogging Mistakes to Include Here?
Let’s chat in the comments about blogging mistakes. If you have any questions or want to add some more mistakes to the list, join in the conversation!