“What’s the most common mistake made by new bloggers? How can we avoid it?“ – asked on Twitter by @alisonkerr.
Here are a few quick mistakes that I see new bloggers making (some of which mistakes I made myself). They’re listed in no particular order and I’d love for you to continue the list in comments below:
- Giving up too early – blogs take time to take off
- Putting off starting a blog – waiting until everything is just right before launching can mean you never do it
- Echoing what everyone else is talking about – say something unique and share your opinion
- Not blogging on your own domain – I know some swear by using hosted blogs but if you want ultimate control of your blog it is best to do it on your own domain and hosting.
- Irregular Posting – you don’t have to post every day but try to establish a regular rhythm of posting
- Being too apologetic – ‘sorry I haven’t written for a while’ can end up being the most common type of post on a blog – yes apologize if you’ve messed up but don’t be too hard on yourself – keep investing your time into building your blog up rather than highlighting it’s problems.
- Focusing more upon Quick Traffic than Loyal Readers – there’s nothing wrong with a big rush of traffic from social media or another blog – but just as important as that is building reader loyalty. Sometimes growing one reader at a time is more fruitful than getting spikes of traffic that never returns.
- Clutter – too many buttons, widgets, navigation elements
- Great Posts but Terrible Titles – don’t short change yourself by investing hours into writing great content only to slap a mediocre headline/title onto it.
- Not Defining a Topic – the most successful blogs have a well defined topic/niche (or they target a certain demographic)
- Choosing a Topic you have no Interest in – for your blog to be successful you’ll need to blog regularly on your topic for years – if you want to sustain it choose something you have an interest in or love for or you’ll run out of steam.
- Too many Ads – I don’t have a problem with ads on a blog from Day #1 but when they overpower the content and push it down the page too far they hurt your chances of building a loyal readership.
- Being too Insular/Expecting Readers to come to You – many bloggers starting out fail to realize that the more you put yourself out there and interact with other bloggers the more chance you have of being read.
- Blogging about Making Money Blogging (as a first blog) – I’ve lost count of how many bloggers I’ve seen start blogs on the topic of blogging for money when they’ve never made money blogging. Start with something you know.
- Not Being Useful – blogs that meet needs and solve problems are blogs that people will keep coming back to and which they’ll spread news of to their network.
- Writing for Search Engines Before Humans – you can always tell when a blogger discovers Search Engine Optimization for the first time. Suddenly titles don’t make sense, keywords appear in posts for no real reason, links to other pages on the blog that are irrelevant to the post keep being used. Learn SEO – but keep your readers as your #1 priority.
- Becoming a Stats-a-holic – the lure of checking your stats is understandable and common to new (and older) bloggers – but it can become an unhealthy obsession that leads to distraction and depression.
- Link Baiting with Personal Attack – taking pot shots at other bloggers might get you some quick traffic – but hate breeds hate and the type of readers you attract and the culture it’ll breed on your blog could come back to bite you. Plus you’ll get a reputation that you might not want to live with.
- Not Knowing Why You’re Blogging – while most of us don’t really know what we’re doing at the start – the faster you can work out what the purpose of your blog is the sooner you’ll start moving toward achieving that purpose.
- Not Selling Yourself – one thing I don’t think many bloggers get is the power of blogs to sell yourself as a blogger. There’s nothing wrong with monetizing a blog with ads – but maybe a better long term strategy is to use a blog to advertise who you are and what you can offer readers.
- Thinking You Have to Know it All – one of the best things about blogs is that they’re a great medium for involving your readers in the process of learning. Leave space for others to interact, share what they know and contribute.
There’s A LOT more to be said on this topic – what mistakes do you see new (and older) bloggers making?