11 obvious mistakes most beginner bloggers make
A guest post by Kayleigh Alexandra.
Blogging has for a long time been one of the best ways to generate traffic, build a following online, and generally build a stellar brand (both personal and professional).
But that doesn’t stop many bloggers and businesses from failing miserably at it.
Beginner bloggers are usually guilty of making one of the following 11 obvious mistakes, so avoid these to give yourself a head start with your blogging.
1. You have not defined your target reader
Always create every single blog post with a specific reader in mind. You need to write directly to them in order to connect with them.
Create a buyer persona and create a list of all the things that interest them. Think of what matters to them, the problems they have, the questions they ask you, their main pain points – and create blogs that address these.
Every time you create a blog, ask yourself whether it will genuinely be interesting for your target readers. If it’s not, scrap it and start again.
2. You are not using a personal and engaging tone
Writing for the web is very different from writing for print. If you have not yet learned about writing for the web and the importance of short sentences, bullet points, lists, etc, then do that now.
But most important of all, you need to focus on writing in a friendly and personal tone. You should write directly to your readers, address them as ‘you’, and make them feel like you are writing to them in person.
Many a blog has been ruined by trying to sound too professional. This is definitely one of the obvious mistakes. Your writing will come across as stiff and boring, as it does not engage the reader. If you insist on using jargon, your readers will switch off and go elsewhere.
3. You’re not editing your work
The odd spelling mistake won’t make a bit of difference to your blog’s success, but editing is still essential. Each blog still reflects on your brand image, and blogs that are littered with obvious mistakes are not going to look good for you.
More importantly, you want to edit your blog posts for clarity. Do you cover a topic in 500 words that you could in 100? Do you keep repeating the same point?
Get someone else to check them to point out changes, or get your team members to edit each other’s posts. Once the larger edits have been made, put each blog through Grammarly to catch the smaller obvious mistakes.
4. You are not using images to draw attention
One thing to remember is that if you are not using powerful images, at least one as your main image, then you are not going to get as much attention as you should be.
When you share content on social, the image is what will get noticed first and capture the attention of readers. Without an image, it is more likely to get ignored.
Use images throughout your blogs to break up the text. Humans are visual creatures, and images add interest and information. You can easily find free-to-use images online — just try to select ones that have a genuine bridge with your blog post, or they’ll feel ‘tacked on’.
When you use images, make sure they are optimised, which means being compressed. Don’t let them slow down your site or it could even hurt your SEO.
5. Your topics are not focused enough
Another of these obvious mistakes is it’s too easy to jump into blog posts without planning them properly. But all you end up with are vague posts that don’t go into anything in proper detail.
Keep your blogs focused and make sure each one has a specific goal. If you pose a question, make sure you answer it. If you highlight a problem, make sure you provide the solution.
Provide actionable tips and don’t go off on a tangent.
6. You are not being consistent
One of the secrets to effective blogging is consistency. It’s easier to say than do, but if you are not consistent, you cannot expect good results.
You need to blog regularly. Ideally, that means weekly. Don’t let that be an excuse to publish any old rubbish just for the sake of publishing something, and make sure you publish high-quality posts.
But don’t publish one lengthy post and then forget about your blog for the next month. You need to keep it up, even when it gets difficult.
7. Your blogs are all short
Long posts are the norm now. Google realised that too much content online is short, meaningless fluff. These days, whipping out a 500-word blog in 15 minutes will no longer cut it – at least, not if you want your blogs to rank in search.
The odd short post is fine. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep things fresh by mixing up different lengths of blog posts. Just make sure most of them are long.
But don’t think that just by cranking out 3,000 words of rubbish you will enjoy more success. Longer posts are not better for SEO just because they are long – they still have to be compelling.
8. You’re not building your list
One of the reasons to blog in the first place is to develop a relationship with your readers, to build trust and to encourage them to come back and read regularly.
The best way to do that is to capture their details and build your email list. That way, you can tell them about new posts, rather than hoping they will check out your site again.
Start building a list from your first post and keep on growing it steadily. Also, experiment with techniques like content upgrades to boost your lead-generation even more.
9. You’re not using analytics to make your decisions
One of the popular obvious mistakes is you need to avoid just publishing and forgetting your posts. Like with any other online marketing activity, find out what is working.
Use Google Analytics to find out which posts are generating the most visitors. Keep a close eye on which blogs are getting the most shares and comments.
Sure, this might not apply to your first few posts. But as soon as you are getting visitors, shares and comments, you need to start looking carefully at this.
10. You are not promoting your posts
This is one of the deadly sins of blogging, and one that catches out many beginners. No matter how good your blog posts are, you have to promote them if you want people to read them.
You need to promote your blogs. In fact, many top bloggers recommend spending just 20% of the time creating the post and 80% of the time promoting it.
You can promote them using social media, paid social, AdWords, guest blogging, outreach and more to build backlinks and get more eyes on your content.
11. You’re not planning ahead
Don’t approach each blog without any kind of plan in mind. Plan ahead and make sure you know what you are writing about each week.
Create an editorial calendar and plan for events, seasons, product releases and more.
Have a plan that covers the next three months at least. You can always adapt your plan, but ensure you have something to go on.
Eliminate these obvious mistakes to make your blog a success
Blogging can be tough, but the rewards are well worth it when you do it properly. If you’re just starting out, avoid these 11 obvious mistakes and you’ll have a much better chance of making your blog a success.
About the author
Kayleigh Alexandra is a community writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to spreading the word about blogs and small businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit the blog for the latest biz news and inspiring side hustle stories. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.