Though it may not always sound like it, blogging can be hard work! It can be so easy to get discouraged when something that seems so simple isn’t nearly as easy as you thought it would be. Never fear--we’re here to help! Whether you’re about to embark on your first blog or are taking time to improve one you already have, here are five common blogging mistakes to keep an eye out for!
1. Thinking it’s all about “me, me, me!”
I think it’s fair to say that most new bloggers have that one blog that they check all the time. It’s really popular, looks fantastic, and is basically everything they want their blog to be. I’m starting with this point because I think every new blogger needs to hear the following advice: you are not this blogger, and expecting the same results that someone more popular than you gets will only hurt you in the end.
It can be frustrating when you first start out not to see the results you want. Make sure that these frustrations don’t make it onto the blog itself. Complaining about your lack of readership or comments should not be part of any blog post. If you must vent your frustrations, express them in a constructive way--ask your readers for feedback, or perhaps make an informative post on how you’ve researched how to solve your problems.
Making money off your blog can be another thing that new bloggers get too preoccupied with at the expense of their blog. Making money off of a blog can be a difficult task, and if that’s your only goal, you may find yourself giving up all too quickly.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try to monetize your blog--of course you should, and there are many different ways to do it, including ads and affiliate programs. It is important to remember, however, that making money will not happen immediately and not to get discouraged. Pick subjects that you are passionate about and want to write about so that the act of blogging itself becomes rewarding.
2. Updating inconsistently
There are days where you aren’t going to want to blog. Maybe you’re not in the mood, or maybe you’re coming down with a serious case of writer’s block. It’s important to learn to power through these issues as best you can to keep your content consistent.
A good place to start is identifying your specific audience. When you know exactly who you’re addressing, you can focus on what kind of content to post and allows you to keep your topics relevant and useful to your readers.
Making a posting schedule is also a big help, as it lets your plan out in advance what you’re going to write about. For example, on my own blog I schedule posts every Sunday and Wednesday, meaning posts planned ahead every couple of days. It also helps organize when your posts will go up--consistency lies not only in your choice of subject matter, but also your frequency. Readers who know that you post at similar days or times will be more inclined to check for updates.
3. Not being social
You know the cliche about the tree falling in the woods with no one around to hear it? Well, if a blogger makes a post and no one is around to read it, the post may as well not exist in the first place. If you want people to visit your blog, you’ll need to do more than just write--you’ll also need to promote it.
The most obvious way to do this is through social media: use Facebook, Twitter, and anywhere else you think potential readers frequent to promote your work. It is important that you go to them, rather than wait for them to come to you.
When they do finally come to you, make sure you interact with them! Simply posting your articles without acknowledging any of the questions or feedback you receive can be just as harmful as not promoting what you’ve written to begin with. Readers want to know that you’re listening to them, so always respond to comments to ensure that readers are engaging with what you’re writing.
4. Not learning to adapt
While your blog should have your own personal touch, it is important to be able to adapt your content to in order to ensure that readers will actually see it.
A really easy way to do this is to keep track of what your audience is into. Again, this is where identifying your audience comes into play; if you know who you’re writing for, you can better follow trends and learn what to post about. After all, why would your readers keep track of what you’re up to if you’re behind on the times?
Then there is the matter of SEO. At first, trying to follow all the different SEO guidelines can feel like you’re going against your own writing style, but once you get used to it you’ll learn it’s actually not such a big deal. A few tricks, like putting keywords in strategic locations and tagging your images properly, can go a long way and help increase your readership.
5. Focusing too much on little details
Remember how I said don’t try to be that one blog you idolize? At the end of the day, you need to be yourself--you need to have your own great, original content, and your own unique spin on whatever your topic is. If a reader wanted to go to that other blogger, they’d be there. Focus on honing your own writing skills and on the tips mentioned above, rather than becoming fixated on being a copy of something that already exists.
It’s also really easy to get lost in the actual design of your blog. I’m not saying that your blog’s appearance is of no importance, because that would be a lie. Make sure everything looks presentable, but don’t get lost in picking layouts or reorganizing widgets. Your blog may not look as good as other ones out there, but at the end of the day, it’s your content that will keep people around.
Bloggers, what are some of the problems you’ve encountered over the years? Have you ever been discouraged enough to consider giving up blogging, and how did you overcome that feeling?