Here’s the thing, blogging mistakes are easy to make – and chances are you won’t even know when you’re making them, especially for the new blogger. So today I’ll show you how to avoid making some of the biggest blogging mistakes.
Maybe you’ve got a great idea for a blog (or maybe you already started one), but it’s hard to figure out how to really turn your passion into a success without churning out blog post after blog post and hoping that something sticks.
So how do you avoid making these common mistakes?
The solution is simple… learn from the mistakes that other’s have made.
And there’s a lot of people to learn from.
Blogging has come a long way over the years. It might feel like it’s been around for ever, but it’s a pretty new phenomenon when you think about it. The first blog went live in 1997 and was written by Jorn Barger (a pioneer of online culture).
I started my own counter-culture blog in 2004, and haven’t looked back since. Even though I made a bunch of blogging mistakes over the years, I’ve learned from each one.
And in the three decades that blogging has existed it has helped shape the modern world, sometimes for good, occasionally for bad.
In that time, many bloggers have come and gone. Some people are successful from day one while others struggle for years before figuring out their niche or figuring out how to make money with their blog.
There are so many things that can go wrong, but thankfully there are simple solutions to these common blogging mistakes which will help you achieve blogging success sooner.
Not Having Realistic Expectations
One of the biggest blogging mistakes the new blogger makes is not having the right expectations when they first start. It’s easy for the beginner blogger to get lost in daydreams and fantasies; imagining you’ll get a million followers and make enough money to quit your day job in a few months.
But the truth is that building a successful blog takes time, energy and determination. Especially if you want to build a business blog. You have to be realistic about what it will take for your blog to succeed.
It’s also important not to compare yourself too much with others.
We all start out at different levels of experience or knowledge in this field so don’t let the success of other blogs let you become discouraged.
You might want to focus on things like who has the most meaningful content instead of just how many Twitter followers someone has – because the numbers can often be misleading.
It takes time to build the audience, and that will be driven by your message, so don’t get discouraged if things don’t happen overnight. They rarely do.
Not Choosing A Niche
Writing for the love of writing is fine, but if you want your blog to become successful then you need to choose a niche. Here’s how to avoid making one of the biggest blogging mistakes.
The only way to be successful in blogging is by choosing a niche market and creating content that solves problems for your audience.
The best way to do this is to first figure out what you’re passionate about. Write down all the things that interest you and narrow your list down from there by ranking them in order of importance, or just choose one topic for now until you become more established as a blogger.
Not only will this process help narrow down your topic but it will also give you ideas on topics related to what you enjoy doing, watching, reading, etc… Also remember there are no wrong answers here.
A good way to think about niches is to look for problems that you can solve.
The best way to find out if a particular market really needs the content you would like to create is with keyword research tools such as Google Adwords Keyword Tool, SEMrush and Ahrefs.
Another way to see if there’s a demand for your niche is to use Google Trends to see what topics are increasing in popularity over time.
Also look at social media websites like Reddit and Facebook for communities dedicated to your niche. Seeing communities is a good signal that there’s demand for what you have to offer.
Some good questions to ask yourself might be:
- How and where can I learn more about my niche?
- What is the best way to make money blogging about this topic?
- Where do I find blog ideas related to this topic?
- What are some blogs on a similar subject that I should read more often/subscribe too?
- What problems are my audience facing right now?
- Why do those problems exist?
- What qualified me to help them?
- Are products in this niche selling on marketplaces like Amazon?
You might also want to take a look what type of topics are popular in your niche, to help you generate ideas for blog posts. You might find some suggestions there that you might not think about on your own.
Choosing A Bad Hosting Company
One of the easiest blogging mistakes to fix is choosing the right hosting environment. However for new bloggers, it;s hard to tell a good hosting company from a bad one.
And there are a wide range of blog hosting options out there.
Hosting companies allow you to get your blog live, on the Internet and typically start their pricing at anywhere from $0.99 per month, depending on what features you need and how many visitors your blog receives.
You should avoid using free hosting companies like Blogger.com and WordPress.com. They’re free for a reason.
Free hosting companies do not give you the protection you need and can shut down your website at anytime. But on the other hand, a paid host gives you the most control.
And if something happens to your site because of the host shutting down or going out of business – you can take it somewhere else in minutes.
The benefits of paid hosting:
- No ads
- Customer support
- Faster load time
There are many hosting companies that offer services for all different types of bloggers and budgets. You should do your research in advance so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.
Some hosting companies include extra benefits such as domain name registration or SSL certification fees. However most hosts now provide SSL for free .
You should also consider what type of website hosting best suits your needs. Some options are listed below:
This is the most affordable hosting option and it’s great for personal blogs or small businesses with low traffic requirements. These tend to have a limited amount of storage space, less bandwidth per month and slower page-loading times.
However, this can lead to another blogging mistake when your blog traffic exceeds the resources of your hosting environment. That’s when it’s time to consider upgrading.
A dedicated server is a more expensive but higher performance option that’s better suited for sites with heavy traffic volume like a large business blog requiring constant uptime as well as shared resources (such as databases).
The increased cost allows you to get faster speeds than on a standard shared server while maintaining unlimited data usage across all web pages served from this host. Disk space can be purchased in increments of gigabytes.
On the flip side, one of the common blogging mistakes I see is newbie bloggers jumping to a dedicated server too soon.
This is an elegant and versatile option that’s perfect for remote hosting, scalable environments where you can create your blog and then upgrade with no downtime or administrative hassles as needed to meet a changing business needs.
It also comes at a higher cost but offers the ability to host multiple websites within one account on shared resources (such as databases) while providing unlimited data usage per site served from this server.
This is an excellent option for those who want to host their website on a private server in a data center with limited or no access to the internet. If you’re running a business where security is crucial, this might be your best bet.
No matter which type of hosting environment you choose , make sure you have a plan in place for backups.
Failing To Launch Their Blog
Another blogging mistake is failure to launch.
Like most ventures that succeed, it starts with a launch.
Launching your blog doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need is a basic setup, I recommend a self-hosted WordPress blog.
The next thing you need before the launch is content on your site and I don’t necessarily mean written posts. Your blog should have images, infographics, videos or anything that captures the readers attention.
You also need to make sure the blog is setup for people who are coming from a mobile device because more than half of all users now access content on their phone or tablet. If not, it’s likely they won’t visit again because the site was difficult to navigate on smaller screens.
Once those are setup, you’ll want to make sure that your branding looks professional including logos, text colors and contact info. And if there are any partnerships in place with other brands be sure to list them on the contact page as well.
When your blog is ready for the world to see, what next? How do you actually launch it?
The easiest way to launch a blog is to build an email list in advance. This will help you stay in touch with your readers and followers so that when you launch, they can be notified.
You can do this with a simple landing page, an opt-in form and give away something in exchange for an email address.
A great way to get people on your list is by offering a free downloadable PDF, a mini course, or short series of posts. And don’t forget to add social media links like Facebook and Twitter so that those who are already following you there will be notified when the blog goes live as well.
I’ll discuss ways to continue building your email list later on because it’s one of the most important things you can do for the future success of your blog.
Additionally, make sure that you’re easy to contact. If someone wants to reach out with questions or feedback, they should have no trouble getting in touch right off the bat with all necessary information including mailing address, phone number and hours of availability.
Not Sticking To A Schedule
It’s not easy to maintain your blogging momentum. Sometimes you’ll feel like the well has run dry, and then out of nowhere a flood of ideas will come crashing over you. But what about the times when that doesn’t happen?
One way around this is to set up an editorial calendar so you can be consistent.
So get organised with a blog planner.
Another is simply to make sure you’re keeping track of important dates on your blog (such as posting new content). One technique I’ve used is to create templates for each month or week.
These can include topics, post titles and (if you want to go one step further) even social media updates. This allows us to get ahead of the game, so that we don’t waste time when inspiration hits.
– This decreases your workload because you can assign tasks to specific days and times. It also helps keeps things organized in a single space (rather than having scattered files).
– Finally, it provides peace of mind for those moments when there is little time left on the clock but many posts need to be written or scheduled.
It’s easy to set up a content creation calendar. There are two ways this can be accomplished:
– The first is through an online service, or a WordPress plugin. Then we can set up calendars so that they sync across multiple devices and platforms which makes content creation easier no matter where we are at any given time.
– The second way is by creating a spreadsheet in Excel or Google Sheets, then filling out your weeks accordingly.
Not Optimizing Their Posts
Not optimising for search engines. Is this one of the blogging mistakes you’re making?
Without SEO it’s difficult to get blog traffic.
But when you get it right you can:
- Rank higher in google searches
- Drive more organic traffic
- Increased brand awareness
- Hit more of your target audience
The first step is to make your blog crawlable by search engines.
In the Reading section of your WordPress dashboard make sure the “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” box is unchecked, and then click save changes at the bottom of the page.
This will allow Google to index your content.
Then publish a sitemap so crawlers know what’s available on each page of your site before they start adding it their indexes. An easy way to do this is to use the Yoast SEO plugin.
In the Yoast SEO plugin, go to Featured and switch on ‘XML sitemaps’. Now add the sitemap URL to Google Console. Now Google will know every time you publish a new post.
Next you should get into the habit of optimizing posts with keywords that are relevant to your target audience. This will make it easier for people to find your site via search engines.
This is the bare minimum basics of how to SEO your content.
Your title should contain your focus keywords, the first paragraph should also include your keywords, and the final sentence of your post should also mention them.
Images should be optimized with alt text and captions containing your keywords. But it’s important not to keyword stuff.
Failing to add these is a common blogging mistake.
Forgetting To Write For Humans
On the flip side, new bloggers can focus on search engines too much and forget about writing for human readers.
Targeting keywords are great, but if readers can’t get the value they’re looking for then all the SEO in the world won’t matter too much.
To write for humans instead of search engines, think about the emotional impact of the information you’re sharing.
Create a sense of urgency and excitement for your readers, or focus on solving an important problem that they’re experiencing.
If you want to write for both humans and search engines then use keywords in the following ways:
-Include them naturally throughout your content to optimize its readability.
-Use keyword phrases once per paragraph (no more).
-Don’t forget about including synonyms, different word variations, etc., so that you have multiple opportunities to rank without repeating yourself over and over again.
You should also try adding a sentence at the end of each article after mentioning your main point with one final shoehorned mention of your targeted keywords.”
For example: “I hope this has given you a little more insight into the world of ____, and how to successfully get started in today’s market.”
Not Providing Actionable Content
Perhaps the worst blogging mistake you can make is not understanding your blog readers enough to provide actionable content.
The newbie blogger will often write their content for the sake of writing, and they provide no real value to readers.
Try this instead.
In addition to your blog topic, cite an example from your personal experience (or from someone else’s) in regards to the problem, in order to help illustrate concepts and ideas that might be difficult for some people when reading online text.
Or you could find case studies.
Offer free downloads with information related to the blog topic if possible – this could include templates, worksheets, guides, checklists etc., depending on the subject matter. Make sure these resources have been edited and proofread for spelling, grammar, etc.
By the end of your blog post, your readers need to know how to achieve something, solve a problem or know how to take action.
If the reader learns about the author’s personal experience, but they are still left facing the problem, you have to rework the article.
One idea is to map out a customer journey. A customer journey framework allows you to clearly identify common problems your readers face, and plot the steps they should take.
Try this, start with the end result your readers want and work backwards. Draw out each milestone they need to complete to move forward on their journey.
To help you get clarity, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the problem they are trying to solve?
- Why it is important?
- How does this affect their life or business?
- What stops them from moving forward?
- What steps need to be taken in order for them to overcome that obstacle?
Your content should speak directly to those needs, in a clear and easy to understand way.
Not Capturing Leads
I promised to explain more about the power of email marketing.
If you’re building a precence on social media you might be tempted to ignore email list building, however…
Social media has an average engagement rate of 0.6%while email has an average open rate of 22.86%.
The best way to get people interested in your new blog posts, and to get them to return to your site is through good email marketing. This starts by capturing their information so that you can build a list of leads for future emails and promotions.
In time, email should become your main traffic source – sending visitors to your content and offers anytime you want them to.
If you’re not capturing leads, then most of your content marketing efforts are wasted.
The good news is that it’s really easy to set up an email capture form so that anyone who reads your posts can subscribe and get emails from you in the future. It only takes a few minutes to install an app like MailChimp, Aweber, MailerLite or ActiveCampaign.
You can monetize through affiliate marketing or even your own products.
To entice readers to subscribe, use a lead magnet like I mentioned earlier.
Your lead magnet should be something that your prospect wants so badly they’re willing to give you their contact information in exchange for it.
One of the most popular lead magnets is a free report or e-book, which readers can download once they subscribe and provide an email address.
Using the customer journey I spoke about earlier, use the next step or milestone to accurately predict what your read will need help with after they’ve read your content.
Whatever that milestone might be, should be the foundation of your lead magnet. The key to success is relevancy.
Creating Content That Doesn’t Convert
This is one of the biggest blogging mistakes I see.
So you’ve got your readers attention, you’ve helped them to solve part of their problem, and you’ve motivated them to take action and subscribe to your email list.
The next step is to convert the subscriber into a customer via an email sequence.
A common mistake is to ignore your blog readers pain points and start promoting affiliate links. Let’s fix that right now.
Your email sequence should deliver enough value that your subscribers begin to view you as a trusted friend and advisor. This becomes the foundation of your relationship with them.
Mixed in with the value you provide, you should occasionally let them know about relevant products, offers and services that will benefit them.
This is how you can begin to generate revenue.
But if your content doesn’t convert, it’s a waste of time and money. That’s why relevancy is key to success. For that reason we only promote products that we know are the best possible solution for our subscribers, above any affiliate commission we earn for the recommendation.
I know it’s tempting to promote offers that promise a high commission rate, but if the offer isn’t exactly what your subscribers need then your conversion rate will be low.
It’s a good idea to test each product before you promote it. In my own business, I only ever promote products and services that I use and benefit from.
This lets my audience know that my recommendations have real value to them.
One important thing to keep in mind is that if you were able to find a product or service that solves your problems, then chances are it will be valuable for other people as well.
But when is the right time to start promoting offers? In my experience it’s better to deliver value up front, before asking the audience to buy anything.
It takes time to build trust, and the structure we’re using here is very effective.
What we’re actually doing here is building a sales funnel.
Sounds intimidating, right?
Don’t worry. Building a sales funnel is way easier than you think.
The key to success in this step is relevancy and urgency.
Urgency will motivate your subscribers to buy quickly. A great to trigger it is by offering an exclusive bonus to fast action takers.
Not Promoting Blog Content
You’ve poured your heart and soul into creating an amazing piece of content that delivers genuine value. But nobody knows it exists.
The problem is, you’re not promoting it.
And honestly, while SEO is essential, you can’t rely on any search engine to drive blog traffic.
The truth is that promotion doesn’t start after the piece of content has been published and shared on social media (though this may help). Promotion starts before anything else – even writing the article in the first place.
It’s crucial to think about how your blog post will be promoted from the beginning.
You need plan of how you’ll get your content in front of potential readers. So you need to know where your audience congregates online.
Without a plan, you might end up spending hours on social media networks and in forums where your audience doesn’t exist.
It’s important to start by figuring out what distribution channels will be most effective for the content you’re creating. This could mean choosing between Facebook or Twitter (or both), blogging groups, email lists, Reddit, and even the comments section of other blogs. View each of these as communities.
There is no “one size fits all” solution.
You need to communicate with each group in different ways, depending in the distribution channel you’re using.
For example, your email subject line would be different than your Facebook post. So you need to match the tone.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you join Facebook groups and Reddit communities just to spam them with links to your blog.
You need to add value and be a part of the conversations happening in those channels. Provide useful solutions, ask questions and become part of the community.
Instead of viewing these channels as merely traffic sources (which they can become), you should view them as tribes filled with people who are crying out for your help.
When you position yourself as someone who’s knowledgeble – and offers solutions without asking for anything in return, you’ll strike the right tone. You’ll aquire blog readers relatively easily.
And when you have a blog article that will benefit the community, it will (usually) be welcomed with open arms, instead of being viewed as purely self-promotional.
You’ve seen it yourself. There’s nothing worse than seeing someone post an article and then spend all their time on social media promoting it instead of engaging with people in those channels as if they’re just traffic sources to be exploited.
It’s a slow process, but a rewarding one.
But a little patience will go a long way in helping you grow your audience quicker. Start with one platform at the time instead of posting on everything simultaneously. The more platforms that are live, the less attention each individual post receives. So take some time and focus on building up each individual channel.
It’s also a good idea to reach out to other bloggers in your niche and ask them if you can write a guest post for their blog.
Now you know how to avoid making some of the most common blogging mistakes that new bloggers make. Remember, your blogging business will take time to build. Becoming a successful blogger from the ground up doesn’t happen overnight, even with great content. It takes persistence, dedication, and most importantly consistency.
With this guide you can now hopefully write great articles, and build a stronger online business as a result from your very next blog post.