7 Common Blogging Mistakes to Avoid

You work hard writing comprehensive blog posts, optimizing for popular keywords, and promoting your blog on social media. You’ve followed all the expert advice, keeping your posts to the recommended length, posting at the optimum frequency, and repeating the mantra “content is king.”

So why aren’t you getting more traffic, comments, likes, and shares? Why does everyone else make it seem so easy to make a living blogging?

Along with the explosion in the popularity of blogging, there’s also been a huge uprise in self-proclaimed blogging “gurus.” It’s easy to set yourself up as an expert in the Internet age – all you need to do is set up a website and start sharing advice.

To learn how to create and maintain a successful blog, you probably did some searching and a lot of reading online. You may have followed the blogs of experts, hoping to find out exactly how you could replicate their success.

But even if your role models weren’t faking it, their advice is only a starting point, not a step-by-step guide for anyone to follow and reach blogging success.

The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all, foolproof path that anyone and everyone can follow to create a successful blog.

Every blog, and every blogger, is different. You’ll find that different strategies work for different niches and audiences. And you have your own unique skills, talents, and strengths that are different from any other blogger out there, which will affect your unique path to success.

If a blogging expert proclaims that everyone “must” use a certain tool, or “needs” to follow a certain strategy, or that you should “never” use a certain tactic, be wary. Those kinds of sweeping generalizations aren’t useful, and very often aren’t true. A real expert will acknowledge that they don’t know everything, and that their way isn’t the only way.

If you’re not seeing the results you want with your blog, you could be following the wrong advice.

Are you making these common blogging mistakes, thanks to advice from the “experts”?

Blogging Mistakes to Avoid

Transcript: 7 Common Blogging Mistakes to Avoid

Blogs are an important part of today’s web, with over 409 million people reading more than 17.6 billion blog pages every month. But people who are just starting out may have received some bad advice on how to become as popular as the big sites. Here’s a closer look at some common blogging mistakes to avoid (and what to do instead).

Blog Every Day

The hype:

  • Blogs that don’t post every day won’t have enough fresh content to keep people interested

Why it’s wrong:

  • Researching, writing, editing, and publishing a new blog post every day can burn bloggers out
  • Trying to do too much too quickly may tempt bloggers to cut corners by:
    • Not doing enough research
    • Writing quickly or sloppily
    • Not editing their work carefully

Do this instead:

  • Post regularly
    • That might be 2-3 times a week or once a week
    • The key is consistency
  • Take the time to create well-written content
    • Researching, writing, and editing a quality article can take several hours
    • The average Copyblogger blog post requires 5-7 hours to make

Search Engine (Over) Optimization

The hype:

  • Blog posts need to have a certain number of words/keywords/links, etc. for search engines to pick up on them correctly

Why it’s wrong:

  • Keywords are important, and linking to other websites helps with page trustworthiness, but Google’s (and other search engine’s) algorithms are very advanced
    • Spamming keywords or writing according to some “perfect” formula won’t automatically improve a post’s search engine ranking

Do this instead:

  • Write content for the end user, not just a search engine
  • Be funny/informative/thought-provoking
  • Pay attention to SEO, but don’t go overboard
    • A well-optimized page will do better than a page that doesn’t pay attention to keywords at all
    • An over-optimized page (or more accurately, a poorly optimized one) can lead to penalties from Google and other search engines
  • A particularly helpful tool for WordPress bloggers is Yoast’s SEO plugin
    • Among other things, users can use the plugin to:
      • See how many times they’ve used certain keywords
      • See whether their SEO title is too long
      • Manage their post’s meta description
    • Making sure that your site is optimized for sharing is at least as important as making sure it is optimized for search engines.
      • Include Open Graph (Facebook) and Knowledge Graph (Google) metadata so that your articles appear correctly when shared in social media.
      • Provide easy-to-use sharing buttons to encourage readers to post your content to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.

If You Write It, They Will Come

The hype:

  • Writing a quality blog post is all a blogger needs to do for it to become successful

Why it’s wrong:

  • Nobody will read a blogging masterpiece if they never hear about it
    • Quality is important, but so is marketing

Do this instead:

  • Spend as much time sharing posts as writing them
    • Some sources recommend spending time 20/80 writing/sharing
      • Others recommend 50/50
    • Experiment with what publishing methods lead to the most views
      • Publish on a variety of social media platforms
      • Experiment with time of day posts go out
      • Try out different days of the week
    • Share older articles too
      • Evergreen posts (which don’t focus too heavily on current events) should be interesting long after they’ve been published
      • Older content can still be relevant or entertaining

Blogging is an Easy Way to Make Money

The hype:

  • Setting up a free website and cranking out a few blog posts is all a blogger needs to do to make a comfortable living off their blog

Why it’s wrong:

  • Quality blog posts take hours of hard work to create
    • Sharing posts (old and new) requires time and energy as well
  • Making a living from a blog typically requires more than just quality content, but also a way to make money from one’s audience, such as through:
    • Advertising
    • Affiliate marketing
    • eCommerce

Do this instead:

  • Take advantage of the many ways to monetize your blog, including:
    • Post advertising, such as:
      • Pay-per-click ads
      • Sponsored content
    • Sell services or products
      • These could be:
        • Webinars
        • In-person presentations
        • eBooks
        • Physical products
    • Secure affiliate marketing deals
      • Bloggers can do this:
        • Directly with a company’s affiliate marketing program
        • Indirectly through an affiliate network such as:
          • ClickBank
          • CJ Affiliate by Conversant
          • LinkShare

No Ones Uses Email Lists

The hype:

  • Social media is the only thing a blogger needs in order to:
    • Promote their posts
    • Connect with their audience

Why it’s wrong:

  • Social media is great at:
    • Communicating with a large group of people
    • Making an initial connection with people who may not know about a blog
  • Email allows bloggers to connect with their existing readers on a more personal level
    • Email lists should consist of people who have opted-in to hear from you
    • An email list is made up of people who care about what you have to say
      • Social media can be a bit like shouting into a crowded room

Do this instead:

  • Make it as easy as possible for readers to opt-in to an email list
    • Use popups, slide-ins, etc. to bring people’s attention to the list
    • Create a strong call-to-action that encourages people to sign up
  • Create exclusive or premium content for those on the email list
    • This can include:
      • Special offers on products/services
      • Access to blog articles before they’re posted on the main site
      • Personalized messages

Only Write Short Posts (or Long Ones)

The hype:

  • People don’t have time to read long posts
    • Writing posts that don’t require the user to scroll down will ensure they read the whole thing
  • People want more from their blogs
    • Creating long, detailed posts offer more value and will keep readers coming back for more

Why it’s wrong:

  • Readers crave variety
    • Constantly writing posts of the same length can grow boring
    • Consistently posting short posts works in some situations
      • But many topics require 300+ words to do them justice
    • Writing extremely lengthy posts can turn off readers
      • A 10-page article, unless it’s really high-quality, might require too much investment from the reader to keep going

Do this instead:

  • Mix things up
    • Write long posts
    • Write short ones
    • Ask readers questions (and answer them)
    • Format long articles so they are easy to read.
      • Long blocks of text can seem intimidating.
      • Vary paragraph length (and make sure paragraphs are spaced well).
      • Use headlines, section headings, and subheading.
      • Include pull quotes, images with captions, and other “sidebar” material.

Words are the Only Part of a Post That Matters

The hype:

  • Blog readers are readers first and foremost
    • The most important part of a post is the words
    • Everything else doesn’t matter

Why it’s wrong:

  • What a blog post says is important, but so does how it looks
    • People won’t stay to read a well-written post if it’s difficult to read
    • 1% of people polled by Stanford University said their top criteria for judging a website’s trustworthiness is how it looks

Do this instead:

  • Pay attention to formatting
    • Use different-sized headers and short paragraphs to break up a long string of text
    • Use whitespace effectively
      • Bring the reader’s attention to a Call to Action with well-proportioned white spaces
      • Space between paragraphs and on the margins of text can help increase reader comprehension as much as 20%
      • A cluttered page is difficult to read and lowers customer satisfaction rates
        • When asked to compare a well-optimized page layout to a poorly-laid-out page by Usability News, participants rated the well-optimized page as being ~33% more satisfying to read
  • Pictures or graphics can help illustrate a point
    • Human beings are visual creatures
      • Images will grab a reader’s attention
      • According to a study by Skyword, articles with relevant images have around 94% more viewers than similar articles without pictures
      • People remember roughly 80% of what they see and do
        • Compare that to roughly 10% of what they hear and 20% of what they read
    • Videos and infographics can sometimes help better explain a point

Plenty of people offer “expert” advice on what bloggers should and shouldn’t do, but every blog is different. What works for one person or organization may not work for another, depending on their style, niche, or audience. What’s important to keep in mind is that people come to blogs for well-written content that’s entertaining or important. Any blogger who writes with that in mind should do well.

Sources

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