Blogging mistakes happen to even the most seasoned bloggers. In less than 10 minutes, you can learn about some of the biggest blogging mistakes and how to avoid them. These include mistakes such as writing without clear direction, having articles that are too short, and blogging only when you feel like it.
1. Failing to Collect Emails
When I first started blogging, it was simply to provide value to my audience. I didn’t want to sell anything, so why should I bother collecting emails? I held this irrational notion for four years before realizing what a big mistake this was. I grimace thinking how much further along my blogging business would be had I started collecting emails from the beginning.
There are a few reasons why you should collect emails:
- You might not sell anything right now, but eventually, you might want to make money blogging. A list of emails to market will substantially increase your odds.
- Social media platforms come and go, and search engine algorithms change regularly. If you rely solely on one of these to drive traffic to your blog, your blogging traffic can plummet overnight. With a list of your own emails to send new blog posts to, you aren’t relying on traffic from platforms you can’t control.
- By paying attention to how a reader joins your email list, and which emails they respond best to, you get a better understanding of your reader. This helps you provide value to them in a way that resonates with the reader.
One of the best ways to obtain emails from your readers is to offer an incentive for them to give you their email address. This incentive is a lead magnet or freebie and often provides an opportunity for your reader to score a fast win, or implement one thing very quickly.
These lead magnets are usually in the form of a cheat sheet, mini-course, template, or PDF. I’ve come up with a list of 38 of the best lead magnets for bloggers, so be sure to check it out. You can create a lead magnet in Canva and then use an email provider like [fitlink slug="constant-contact-blogging-mistakes"]Constant Contact[/fitlink] to collect emails and deliver the freebie to your readers.
2. Using Duplicate Google Analytics Plugins
As a new blogger, it can be tempting to download any and every plugin that might be helpful. What a lot of bloggers don’t understand is that this can definitely slow your site down. Not only that, but many functions of plugins are redundant, particularly if you download a plugin for any type of blog analytics (Google Analytics in particular).
When you have more than one plugin feeding to Google Analytics, you get inaccurate analytics. This is especially harmful when you’re trying to work with an ad network or a brand. Even after blogging since 2006, I only recently learned about this issue and had to correct it on my own blog.
A good way to tell if you have an issue with your analytics plugins is to look at your Google Analytics dashboard. If your bounce rate is below 50%, there’s a really good chance you need to remove a plugin. Head to your plugin dashboard and search for Google Analytics. If there is more than one feeding to Google Analytics, you want to deactivate the duplicate.
3. Writing Too Formally
Do you enjoy reading textbooks on quantum mechanics? You might, but many people don’t. This is because formal writing is more difficult to comprehend. I’ll never forget the time my 10th-grade social studies teacher scolded me for writing too casually. This is where I began to learn that formal writing gets praise and is often rewarded, all the way through graduate school and into the corporate world. So, I continued writing formally because I thought that is what’s expected.
However, in the online blogging space, anything too formal is quickly regarded as dull. Well, for most niches anyway. If you’re a tech writer, your audience might love technical writing. When you learn a concept, do you like to read dry, complicated instructions? Or do you prefer fun, but accurate instructions? I think most people agree it’s better to have fun, especially with daunting tasks or confusing topics.
Write directly to your blog’s avatar or customer persona. You may not sell anything right now, but eventually, you will. Readers buy products and services from people they know, like, and trust. So if you craft your messaging to speak directly to that one singular person, they will feel as though you’re a familiar friend. I like to write as though I’m talking to my best friends while enjoying brunch in the French Riviera.
After you’ve written a blog post, use a tool like Hemingway or Grammarly to determine its readability. Like my speech mentor always says, big words don’t make you sound smart—it makes your audience feel stupid.
4. Thinking the Blog Is About You
Unless you’re a public figure with an already-established audience, people probably don’t necessarily want to hear about your day-to-day life. People use search engines to have their questions answered.
This might seem jarring considering it’s your blog and your business. However, think about this: who will read your work if you’re only writing for you?
For example, if you have a lifestyle blog and a reader signs up for 20 DIY Pallet Furniture Designs, you know that a particular reader wants to read DIY articles. They might not care to read your lead magnet titled 5 Steps to Potty Training in a Weekend.
Similarly, keyword research makes it easy to figure out what people search for on the internet. You can also learn related topics people search for so that you can expand your topic arsenal.
5. Blogging When You Feel Like It
Building a profitable blog takes consistent action over time, and a blog is rarely if ever an overnight success. If you post five blog posts in a row, and then nothing for two months—will your readers stick around? Some will, but many won’t. They’ll stick to a blog that regularly shares content in your niche.
The key to blogging consistently is using an editorial calendar. There are many options for you to choose from, including Coschedule, Trello, and even a regular wall calendar. We dive deep into how to make an editorial calendar in this article on blog planning.
6. Writing With No Clear Direction
Ever read a blog post that bounces around from idea to idea? That’s exactly how I used to write my posts before coming to Fit Small Business. As a creative, I balked at the idea of structure. Unfortunately, this doesn’t lend itself to the greatest reader experience.
The best way to write an article with great flow is to use an outline with subheaders. By creating an outline, you can help organize your thoughts in a logical sequence before you even get to writing the actual article. Then, after you have your outline you can begin writing. According to Harvard, creating a detailed outline in the beginning, saves time editing on the backend.
7. Forgetting to Track Progress
You’ve had a blog for a long time, but don’t seem to have any progress after a few years. You aren’t really sure what the problem is, simply because you just write blog posts and don’t understand the analytics behind your blog.
How can you measure your blog’s success if you don’t track it? Create a Google Sheet to keep track of your page views, organic keywords, sessions, bounce rate, and SERP ranking. You should also keep track of your blog’s expenses and income. Depending on your niche, you may even want to share your blog’s progress via a blog post to share with your readers.
8. Relying Solely on Personal Anecdotes
A personal anecdote is a story commonly used in blogging to help support an idea. Your blog posts should absolutely have personal anecdotes—after all, they’re entertaining and help avoid mistake #3. However, your argument for, or against, a particular subject or thing will be much stronger if you also provide research and data.
Alongside your personal anecdotes, include statistics and data that help support what you’re writing in blog posts. For example, I can tell a story about why a certain gardening method produces the best tomatoes. However, if a die-hard tomato grower swears by their own method, why would they switch over to my gardening method? To back up your idea, use statistics and data. A tool like [fitlink slug="statista"]Statista[/fitlink] makes it easy to find relevant data to support your stance, otherwise, you can use Google Scholar.
9. Creating One-and-done Blog Posts
Let’s say you’re a lifestyle blogger covering a broad range of topics, like food, parenting, fitness, and DIY. You create a blog post about making a pallet planter, and then a few days later you write about how to make a cloth diaper.
Susie Reader comes to your blog wanting to know how to create your pallet planter because she found a stack of free pallets. She builds the planter and loves it, so she looks for other DIY posts involving pallets but can’t find any on your blog. You don’t actually write about making anything with pallets again until 18 months later.
Do you see a missed opportunity here? You haven’t given your reader a reason to view more content on the same subject, so your bounce rate will remain high.
It is completely fine to have a lifestyle blog that writes about a wide range of topics, but you must also be very intentional about the content you write. To keep your readers around longer on your blog, and reduce your bounce rate, you must learn how to cluster your content.
Clustering your content involves internally linking to relevant blog posts and resources, as well as conducting keyword research to determine what content to write about. The idea is that you will become the most authoritative source for that topic, so build up your arsenal of content on each subject you write about.
10. Writing Short Articles
When I first started blogging, the standard for optimal blog post length was 300 words. In fact, some SEO plugins still tell you that a 300-word blog post is sufficient to rank in search engines. However, research suggests that the optimal blog post length is 1,600 words—that’s five times what many bloggers write.
If you think about it—it makes sense, though. Remember how I said in mistake #4 about how your blog posts must thoroughly answer a reader’s question? Can you really do that in just 300 words?
If you have a hard time writing more than a few hundred words, conduct a Google search of related keywords. Consider including those keywords and phrases in subheaders throughout your blog post.
Blogging is one of the best ways to make money online, considering you can get started in as little as a weekend. However, you’re bound to make many blogging mistakes—we all do, even the most seasoned of us bloggers. Don’t get too stuck in analysis paralysis and just keep moving the dial forward. Learn what you can, implement, learn again, and implement rapidly. Remember the key to blogging success is to create great content consistently over time.