Why should you blog?

Well, it boosts your online exposure, positions you as an expert in your field and can drive traffic to your website as part of your search engine optimisation strategy.

All you need is a blog, some ideas and a bit of time.

It sounds easy, doesn’t it? The problem is there are still many people out there getting it wrong. To make sure you don’t, here are some of the most common mistakes made by bloggers:

1. Who is your audience?

If your blog is to be successful, you must know who your audience is and what they want to know.

This blog is about copywriting, marketing and social media because that is the type of thing my audience are interested in. If I suddenly started writing about organic fruit, my readers would get pretty fed up and head off to a blog that told them what they wanted to know.

2. Don’t ignore your niche

You can’t be all things to all people.

The most powerful blogs are the ones that understand their readership and know exactly what they want. Don’t be tempted to step outside of your niche.

3. Blanket coverage

If you ignore number 2 and step outside of your niche, this is the result.

Your blog becomes diluted with all manner of subjects that don’t gel. You won’t be seen as an expert and your posts will be viewed with skepticism.

If you want to write about different subjects, run different blogs for each.

4. Consistency

Every single post has to be good.

If the quality of your writing starts to slip, you’ll lose readers.

Find a frequency that suits you and stick to it; reader and re-read every post before publishing to check for errors; make sure every post is informative and relevant to your audience.

5. Commitment

A blog is for life – once started, you have to continue with it. Your readers are going to expect a new gem from you and that will demand commitment from you.

6. Writing for yourself

Obviously, your blog is going to be on a topic that’s interesting to you, but it also has to relevant and interesting to your reader.

Make sure you pick a subject that is something other people (as well as you) are going to find interesting. It’s no fun publishing content that no one else wants to read.

7. Poor headlines

It doesn’t matter how great a writer you are, if your headlines are lame no one is going to read your work.

The vast majority of people will look at the title of a post first and if it doesn’t grab them, they’ll walk away.

Make sure your headlines are strong enough to draw the reader in.

8. Self-promotion

Yes, you’re writing your posts to drive traffic to your website. But every post still has to add value.

If all your posts are thinly disguised adverts for your business, your readers will go elsewhere.

Of course, you can add a link to your website if it adds value. Or, alternatively, why not add an author’s bio at the end with a link back to your site?

9. Engage

All your post’s mush engage and make a connection with your readers.

To achieve that, write in the second person and in a conversational style. That way, it will appear as though you are talking directly to your reader.

10. No promotion

You have to promote the existence of your blog if you want to attract readers.

Push an RSS feed to your website, Facebook page or Twitter feed to announce when your posts are published.

If you shout loud enough, people will listen.

There you are – 10 of the biggest mistakes made by new bloggers. If you can avoid all of them, you’re well on your way to becoming a blogging success.