It’s so easy to get started blogging anyone can do it.
All you need is a blog, a few ideas, a willingness to write great content and active social media channels to let people know what you’re writing about.
You know it’s perfect for your website traffic, positioning yourself as an expert and boosting your profile, so how come you’ve been doing it for the past six months with little success?
The problem is that it’s too easy. Like many before you, you’ve launched into blogging without giving what you’re writing a lot of thought. The good news is that you can fix it easily. To prove it, here are the top 11 mistakes new bloggers make so that you can avoid them.
- Do you know your audience?
It’s more than likely your blog is going to be linked to your business. Therefore you should be aware of the answer to that question.
Your audience is your customers or people with similar interests to them. You want to be sure that when they have questions (relating to your industry) and search Google for answers, your blog posts come up in their search results.
For example, in my blog I write about all things copywriting, content related, marketing and social media because that is the audience I am aiming for. That way, if someone out there is looking for advice about marketing, or looking for a copywriter, my stuff is more than likely to be listed in their search results, boosting my chances of attracting their click.
If instead, I wrote about dogs, cycling and gardening, I would be getting a lot of frustrated visitors to my site (because that isn’t what my site is about). It would also drive away my regular readers. That’s why it’s important to write about stuff your readers want to know about.
- Ignoring your niche
Following on from number one, a healthy, high-performing blog is run by the person who knows his or her market.
You may think your niche is too narrow and will restrict the number of posts you can write about. If you do, you’d be wrong. I’ve been running this blog for about ten years, and I haven’t run out of things to say yet.
Don’t forget you can also use other peoples’ work as inspiration (as long as you reference back and give credit for the source), or comment on new things that are happening in your industry too.
Find your niche and stick to it.
- Random writing
If you ignore point two, this is what happens.
By writing anything and everything, your blog becomes clogged with posts covering random topics that don’t gel.
If you’re thinking, “that must be a good thing because it will bring more people to my website,” you’re wrong. All you will do is confuse people.
For example, if you started writing about interior design and built a regular readership, your audience would get to know you as a source of information on that topic and will come back time and again. But if you suddenly start writing about cars the continuity is lost, and because they won’t know if your next post will be about something they want to read about, they won’t bother coming back.
So far I’ve rambled on about the topic of your posts, but it’s just as important you maintain consistency in the quality of your work.
When you’re blogging regularly, it’s easy to let standards slip, especially when you realise a post is due and you only have half an hour or so to knock one out.
The first sign of a dying or unloved blog is a slip in standards. Sloppy wording, typos, and grammatical errors all affect your readership. Quality is everything, so you have to keep your standards high.
It’s also worth pointing out here that your readers will get to know the frequency of your blogging, so make sure the timetable you initially decide on is achievable long term.
- A blog is for life
If you don’t have the stamina, workforce, or budget for a blog, don’t start one.
You have to be 100% committed to the writing and running of your blog otherwise it won’t work and it could damage your reputation. There’s nothing worse than looking at a website’s blog to find the post was published three years ago.
- Make quality you focus
The quality of your posts is vital.
All too often, companies will give up writing posts internally and instead opt for an offshore provider that knocks out posts for a few pounds.
It might seem like the perfect answer, but it’s not. All you end up doing is filling your blog with sub-standard rambling posts that don’t offer any value to your customers and readers.
- Writing for you
Another trap people fall into, is writing about stuff they like in the misguided belief that their readers get excited about the same topics.
If you want your blog to thrive it’s essential you write about the stuff your readers want to know about.
Identify their needs (for example, take note of the questions you’re always being asked by your customers and write about them) and give them what they want.
- Naff headlines
If your headline isn’t eye-catching (and relevant to your content) no one will bother reading your post.
Most people will only look at your post’s headline, and if it doesn’t interest them they won’t read on. Every post you write must have an original and strong headline.
- Blatant self-promotion
Don’t you hate it when you find a post that looks interesting, and it turns out to be an advert in disguise?
Your blog exists to add value to your relationship with your reader. If everything you write is plugging your products or services, you’ll scare your readers off.
They want information that will benefit them. If you really want to, you can always end your post with a short author’s bio with a link to your site.
- No connection
Every post you write must draw your reader in and make a connection.
That might sound like a lot, but all it means is that you need to write in a chatty style using the second person (using you and your – just like I have done in this post). Your post will then be ‘talking’ directly to your reader, making it personal.
Finally, your blog is working and attracting readers. Now and then one of them leaves you a comment. What do you do?
If you ignore them you’ll come across as someone who couldn’t care less about their readers. If you respond and interact they’ll be more inclined to come back.
There you go – 11 of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make. If you manage to avoid them, you’ll be well on your way to being the owner of a successful blog.