Content marketing is becoming more and more popular. Businesses are creating blogs to help drive traffic to their websites. Individuals are also taking a plunge into blogging to make either a full-time income or some passive income from blogging.
As more and more people go into blogging, the competition becomes steep, and therefore, a few blogging mistakes could cripple your entire investment in blogging.
While making mistakes is normal, correcting them or avoiding them could save you and your business a lot of pending pain. If you plan on becoming a successful blogger and establishing authority in your niche, avoid these 13 blogging mistakes that most beginners make.
Blogging mistake 1- Lack of a blogging niche.
Establishing a niche as a blogger will help you establish authority in your industry in the long run. This doesn’t mean that you have to write about one topic only.
You can choose two or three areas you know about or are willing to learn about and then write about those topics. Sometimes having areas that are interconnected will help you. Having a niche helps in building a community. Think about the blogs you subscribe to; they are not just random blogs that write about pet food today and the effects of smoking tomorrow.
Mostly, people subscribe to a blog to learn consistently about a topic they are interested in.
Another benefit of selecting a blogging niche is that it allows you to build internal linking. Internal linking is where you link to your other related article. It is an SEO best practice and also, it is one of the ways you can increase your blog traffic. Internal linking helps reduce bounce rates, and it increases your page views.
How do you pick a blogging niche?
Sometimes picking a blogging niche can be challenging, especially for beginner bloggers. However, you can use a few questions to guide what you are writing about.
Who is your target audience?
As we will learn later, having a specific audience in mind when you start a blog is essential for your blogging success. Once you establish your target audience, how do you want to help them?
You will hardly succeed in blogging if you write about the things that interest you and make your heart tick. I know that sounds counter intuitive, but a successful blog is not made of writing a string of personal stories that do not solve the readers’ problems.
Taking some time to understand your audience and what their main pain points are will help you settle for a specific niche.
What are you interested in or knowledgeable about?
While I mentioned that blogging is not about writing things that make you happy, your interests could lead you into your blogging niche.
Are you a vegan or vegetarian? You can create a blog about that, talking about the different dynamics of being a vegan or a vegetarian.
Did you study finance in school, and are you interested in personal finance like I did? Then that is a niche you can settle for. Are you going through a transition in your own life, like being a new wife or a new mom? Such life experiences could inspire your blogging inspiration.
Are you interested in learning something that you didn’t learn in school and have invested hours on end into researching that topic. For example, you can share your findings on gardening in a gardening niche blog.
What is the existing market gap?
Some niches are so small and rare. If, for example, you have been looking for something and couldn’t find that information online, someone else is probably looking, and you could provide a solution.
Blogging mistakes 2- Writing short, useless blog posts.
As a beginner blogger, you may try to stay consistent, something that we will discuss later, and end up publishing short, useless content.
This blogging mistake will hurt your blog traffic acquisition and traffic retention. As I already mentioned, you should write blogs with your readers in mind. No one wants to click on the article and get half-baked piece information from it.
Let’s assume you are writing a week’s meal prep for a complete vegan. If someone searches a week’s meal prep for a vegan and comes across your article, then realizes that you did only the ingredients you used and not the actual meal preps, they will leave as soon as they land on your page.
Visitors leaving as soon as they land on your page do two things to hurt your blog’s success. One is communication to google that your content does not answer the user’s question. Google focuses on enhancing user experience, so if your blog posts do not help them meet that mission, your post will rank lower for search engine results, which means your organic traffic will get hurt.
Two, visitors won’t sign up for your email list if they can’t find everything they need in your blog posts. People sign up when they see the value. If readers don’t sign up for your email list, you might not get return traffic in the future.
As a beginner blogger, you should write posts that are at least two thousand words long. This doesn’t mean stuffing your blog posts with meaningless words. Provide value. Research the topic you are writing about thoroughly and provide complete information on it.
These posts are referred to as pillar posts or cornerstone content. From these long comprehensive posts, you can create a shorter version of the content for your readers, explaining each concept in depth.
Blogging mistake 3- Not learning SEO/ Over-emphasising SEO.
Search engine optimization is one of the must-have skills for a blogger. This is writing content optimized for search engines. Most beginner bloggers either have no idea what SEO is or put a lot of emphasis on SEO, both of which are detrimental to your blogging.
To begin blogging, you do not have to be an SEO guru, but learning the basic SEO best practices is advisable. Optimizing your posts for search engines helps you acquire organic traffic for your blog.
While other traffic sources, such as social media, are great to leverage, focusing more on organic traffic will help you gain sustainable traffic.
Search engines such as google have been around for a long time and will be there in the future. As we have seen, social media keep changing, and some platforms have disappeared. So, focusing on social media as your source of traffic and ignoring organic traffic might be detrimental to your blog in the future.
The other side of this blogging mistake is over-emphasising SEO. Beginner bloggers may sometimes get tempted to cheat the system and staff keywords in a blog post. While this strategy may work for a short time, it will hurt your blogging journey sooner than later.
As a blogger, you should pay attention to users’ experience. Have you read blogs that had words that were misplaced and over-repeated? How long did you read that blog post?
In most cases, readers leave your blog immediately when they notice wrong-placed words that do not add value to what they are looking for. This is what keyword staffing is all about.
As a beginner blogger, focus on writing blog posts that are as natural as possible. Put the keyword where it fits, and avoid all those SEO shortcuts that promise quick success. It may take three to five months to get traffic from search engines. However, the wait will be worth it if you write great content.
Blogging mistake 4- writing inconsistently.
Like everything else, consistency is the game in blogging. Google rewards consistency, and you are more likely to appear on search results when you keep updating your content than when you write once after a long time.
How do you stay consistent in blogging?
Have a blogging plan. Like anything else in your business, set time aside to write, edit and publish blogs. Keep showing up. As you will learn, most things in life require discipline and not motivation. As a beginner blogger, that is a truth you will need to remind yourself repeatedly. Sometimes you are not in the mood to write, but you must get on the computer and do it anyway.
One thing I have learned in my blogging journey is discipline is vital. This doesn’t mean you won’t experience writer’s block. It will be there, but you must look for a way to get yourself out of the low and keep going. For me, that thing is my career goal as a blogger.
Blogging mistake 5- Lack of a plan.
Having a clear goal of what you want to achieve with your blog will help you channel your energy to the right places. Planning as a beginner blogger can take two forms; having a blog publishing calendar and a clear goal for your blog.
As we previously discussed, having a content calendar helps you remain consistent as a blogger. There are many available tools online that can help you plan your content. This can be as simple as the free google calendar. Also, if you use Canva to design graphics for your blog and other social media, the premium one provides a content calendar that you can use to plan your blogging.
In terms of planning the overall goal of your blog, this helps you remain committed to the end goal. Some people start blogging as a complementary marketing tool for their small businesses—other people blog as a way of making money blogging, while others do it as a hobby.
Your journey will look different depending on your plan when you start blogging. For example, if someone is starting a blog as a hobby, they might consider having a free wordpress.com blog instead of a self-hosted WordPress.org blog.
If someone is starting a blog to make money or to be their own boss, they might pay more attention to the different ways to make money blogging, and so forth.
Though it is difficult for anyone to figure out everything about their blog when they start, having a rough idea of where you are headed and a plan that leads towards achieving that could help.
Blogging mistake 6- writing content that is irrelevant to your audience.
As a beginner blogger, one of the things that you need to do is learn about your audience. Who are they? What are their questions?Do you understand their pain points? Can you provide a solution to them?
Unless you write as a hobby, you must make your blog about your readers and not about you. Every blog post you publish should aim at solving a problem or informing your readers about something they didn’t know about.
Writing stories about yourself and your family that are unrelated to your audience’s needs will hurt your blog’s growth before you know it.
While storytelling is essential to effective writing, ensure the stories are relevant and lead the readers to a solution for their existing problems.
Blogging mistake 7- waiting for too long to start an email list.
In case you are wondering, email marketing still exists, and it is one of the most effective ways of marketing your content and your business.
Most beginner bloggers think that an email list is for successful bloggers. On the contrary, successful bloggers confess to getting a good measure of their traffic from their email list.
Getting people off the internet into your little corner (blog) is one thing. But how do you get them to return to your blog next time? It is by asking them to sign up for your newsletter so that you can stay in touch. An email list helps you build an authentic online community and get repeat blog traffic.
Do not wait until you start getting X amount of traffic to start an email list. As soon as you create your blog and launch it, start an email list immediately.
Internal linking is one of SEO best practices and helps you increase your blog traffic. Linking to your other blog posts helps the search engine know what your site is about and creates a correlation between your blog posts.
Also, it helps reduce your bounce rate and increases your page views. This is because a reader may click a link on one of your posts, leading them to another post that they weren’t necessarily looking for, leading to increased page views.
Blogging mistake 9- Writing terrible titles.
Your blog titles are the first impression of your work. Blog posts with catchy titles are more likely to get clicks when they appear on search than blogs with bland titles.
Writing titles that elicit emotions such as joy, fear, and anxiety is key to writing good titles. Also, point out the problem you are solving in your article and provide a solution.
Thankfully, there are free tools such as Optinmonster headline analyzer that can help you come up with brilliant titles for your blog posts.
Blogging mistake 10- No call to action.
New bloggers assume their readers will know what to do after reading their articles. Well-written articles do not necessarily convert; explicit calls to action do the conversion.
What do you want your readers to do after reading your blog post? Do you want them to visit your shop to take advantage of a sale? Or do you want them to subscribe to your newsletter? Let them know explicitly.
One of my favorite examples of having a call for action was when I first created a YouTube channel. I would ask people to subscribe and embed my Instagram handle in all my videos, but I was getting no following.
When I started asking people to check me out on Instagram, I started getting a following from my YouTube viewers. That is the power of an explicit call to action. Do not assume that your audience knows what step they should take next. It is your responsibility to let them know.
Blogging mistake 11- Not editing your blog posts.
Written words are not dead letters. I love to see them as living letters that speak for themselves. Your audience can tell if you put in the work to write or not.
We cannot be perfect, but we have to do our best. Blog posts with obvious grammatical errors could annoy readers and also devalue your credibility as a writer.
Make sure you take at least thirty minutes to edit your work. I use Grammarly, editing software that helps me spot any mistakes in my work. After editing my work on Grammarly, I also proofread it because human proofreading always beats any software editing.
Read more on how to write perfect blog posts.
Blogging Mistake 12- Overthinking blogging.
I understand the pressure to write perfect blog posts, but listen; nothing will ever prepare you enough to start; just start. Unfortunately, many beginner bloggers take a lot of time preparing, trying to create the perfect blog, and decorating the small aesthetics, and they fail to do the actual writing.
While I understand that imposter syndrome is real for bloggers, I would advise that you start. Like so many other jobs out there, blogging takes practice. The more you write, the better you become. Sure, enough, you will make mistakes, but that is how we learn.
Blogging shouldn’t be as complicated, and do not overthink it. Also, you can read my complete guide on overcoming imposter syndrome in case you are still struggling with getting your hands on the actual blogging.
Blogging mistake 13- Failure to Promote your blog.
Like anything else, people will not stumble upon your blog by accident. This “accident” might happen later in your blogging when you start appearing on search engine results, but at the beginning of your blogging, you must promote your blog.
Social media is one of the ways you can promote your blog. In digital marketing, we call this cross-channel marketing. Do not write and hope that people will find your content. Be vigilant in posting your content on social media and learn social media marketing.
I hope you have identified something that you might be doing wrong in your new blogging journey and learned how you could correct it.
As usual, be sure to reach out in case of any questions or clarification. Also, what mistakes have you made in your blogging journey that you think I should have shared? Let me know in the comment below.