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Warning: Do You Recognize These 21 Blogging Mistakes?

Posted By Darren Rowse 30th of May 2009 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

“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:

  1. Giving up too early – blogs take time to take off
  2. Putting off starting a blog – waiting until everything is just right before launching can mean you never do it
  3. Echoing what everyone else is talking about – say something unique and share your opinion
  4. 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.
  5. Irregular Posting – you don’t have to post every day but try to establish a regular rhythm of posting
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Clutter – too many buttons, widgets, navigation elements
  9. 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.
  10. Not Defining a Topic – the most successful blogs have a well defined topic/niche (or they target a certain demographic)
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Thanx for the nice post. I am a new blogger and am in search of some nice thoughts to make it big. This would be really helpfull.

    Point no 1 applies to me since this version of my blog is a re re release of the blog. But this time it’s going good, I am moving smooth and every thing seems to be in place. Hope this continues and will make use of ur other points,

  2. Different bloggers will have different approaches to this one but my personal preference these days is to secure the .com version first and then to seriously consider other versions of the domain if you are serious about developing it in the long term…

  3. >>Giving up too early – blogs take time to take off

    Is this a given? If you pay people for 100 blog posts, and you promote these quality posts, will it necessary take a long time for the blog to take off? (I am new to your website, having added your RSS feed early this morning.) Have you ever heard of the Pillars? This seems like a brilliantly simple concept. The other day I created a simple fact page and promoted it in simple ways. I received about 1500 visits. It seems that How-To and FAQ sites do quite well. In fact, when I ask myself why I visit and return to a site, it is often to learn something new. I will certainly return to your site for this very reason.

  4. #8 use to apply to me and my blog…THis list of no-nos is a mandatory read for anyone starting out

  5. Point 21 is bang on. I am sure even top bloggers like you learn new things everyday. There is end to knowledge and no depth to how much we can learn more.

  6. Your writing here really helps me

    I have made so many mistakes in my own blogs and I will have to avoid all the wrongs that you have mentioned here

  7. Great post and thanks for the reminder on some of those things.

  8. Nice. It’s good to repeatedly reading this post as it keeps us on track. Sometimes we just ran off after blogging for a long time.

  9. Singaporean in London says: 05/30/2009 at 11:13 pm

    Like Jan, I started off with a blogger blog. Even after two years of blogging, I’ve yet to switch to a self hosted site. Come to think of it, I should probably have done it back then but it seems a little too late now, isn’t it. LOL.

    Well, mighty thanks for the post.

    C K

  10. Thanks for the advice. You always put things in simple straightforward terms. I appreciate that. I have several blogs… one is just to have fun… for friends and family… keeping up to date, the other three are for the purpose of sharing good information with readers, and to make some money through affiliations. It’s hard work and takes time. But I find if that my efforts are beginning to pay off. Slow but sure.

  11. Hi Darren,
    Glad to see we can the joyful exchanges we started during the 31 Day Challenge with such excellent reminders. I like the list above and suspect we are guilty of at least one mistake.
    I am developing my rhythm and blogging about topics that give me joy and substance. I am pleased with it. I own my domain name (and more) yet I prefer my WordPress blog; call me a creature of habit.
    Thanks again for all the fantastic tools you gave us at the workshop. I have not even begun to tap into all the goodies … I will . Albeit, slow and steady like the tortoise.

  12. Corrected Copy ~ Typos Torpedoed!

    Hi Darren,
    Glad to see we can continue the joyful exchanges we started during the 31 Day Challenge with such excellent reminders. I like the list above and suspect we are all guilty of at least one mistake.
    I am developing my rhythm and blogging about topics that give me joy and substance. I am pleased with it. I own my domain name (and more) yet I prefer my WordPress blog; call me a creature of habit.
    Thanks again for all the fantastic tools you gave us at the workshop. I have not even begun to tap into all the goodies … I will . Albeit, slow and steady like the tortoise.

    PS. Now there’s a title I like! =D

  13. Our blog, for us, has always been a little tough to keep fresh, consistent and interesting.

    I know I would benefit from (and suspect others may as well) an article on how to come up with fresh, new ideas for posts on the same topic over and over.

    We’re in the credit industry, and quite frankly, it’s not the most exciting topic. Sometimes I wish we were in celebrity gossip or tech reviews because there’s always something to talk about.

    But credit? Sometimes it takes me days to come up with something that is interesting and hasn’t been done to death already.

    Do you have suggestions for coming up with new angles on the same topic?


  14. Wow, it’s amazing how many people I know who have made exactly those mistakes.



  15. Nice post.

    Adding Procrastination ie., putting off or delaying or deferring an action to a later time. Every one should avoid this mistake.


  16. You always have the best advice and information! Thank you for your work.

  17. Unfortunately I have commited more than a few of these mistakes.

  18. Really great post. I teach blogging to real estate agents and almost all of these points apply. I think number one is fitting that it is in 1st place.

  19. Hi !

    I would have 2 more advices to add :

    Error No. 22: Not building a “base contacts”

    One of the mistakes of neo-bloggers is simply to subscribe to the RSS feed to retain its readers. But RSS feeds do you can not get a contact database, your readers are free to return whenever they appear, or even stop reading your blog Informartion happen overnight. Your goal should be to recover their emails to communicate with them regularly via a newsletter. Over the months you have a true “customer base” that will ensure regular traffic and eventually to monetize your blog.

    Similarly it is essential to offer them to join your community, whether on Facebook, Twitter, Viadeo via a button … “Follow me on …” or widgets like Facebook Connect, Mybloglog …

    Error No. 23: Do not rely on your own traffic to succeed.

    Many novice bloggers read articles about problems caused by duplicate contend, and therefore they do not see articles by other sites. Should provide the incentive, provided they have 1 or 2 links pointing back to your site. And even if the site in question is better placed than you, do not worry, you will receive traffic and especially the reputation.

    Similarly you must use every opportunity to generate free of Hearing: paperblog.fr … will give you the visibility that you don’t have when you launch a blog.

  20. Awesome post, you should be forced read this before your aloud to blog. Thank you!

  21. Great post there. I think I’m a bad stats-oholic! :). I get excited everytime I see more traffic! hehe

  22. I recognize all of these!

  23. Another terrible mistake, that a lot of bloggers do, is to copy the content! It’s really disgusting!
    I find everyday blogs, that call themself “aggregators” that copy all my content, also the pictures, with hotlinking..


  24. Excellent post. Every blogger should read this post at least once a week!

  25. Thanks Darren,

    That was an excellent post, i am sharing it on my blog even for the benefit of Bloggers.


  26. I personally know… a lot of these… Especially number 18…

    Two rules:
    1. Don’t flamebait to begin with
    2. If you do, don’t use your real name at all. Stay anonymous.

    I broke both of those, and it came back to bite me in the end…

  27. off course, I agree with you, most of the people try to learn about blogging and how to make money first. After that they prefer to blog on making money as they have some good knowledge.

    People with adsense knowledge won’t click on ads.

    Check it out with your own personal experience.

    Have you clicked ads after knowing that they are ads?

    Here somepeople may answer like “YES, i have”. But my intention is that the ratio is too low.

  28. I have made so many of these mistakes early on in my various blogs.

  29. I definitely need to work on #7. Coming from a background in social media, it’s tempting for me to want to push my content via those ties. On my new blog at http://www.joshauriemma.com I’m actually devoting Wednesdays to “social media push days” but in retrospect, I’m not sure whether or not it’s a good idea.

    On one hand, if I convert even 1% of the traffic into readers, that’s a huge [for me] addition to my current reader base. On the other hand, maybe I’d be better off spending my Wednesdays networking with other bloggers. Hmm . . .

  30. Among those 21 mistakes, I ever done the mistakes stated at no.5. I just don’t have time. I know It’s a jerk reason. I’ll try to make my time more manageable. Thanks for the reminder.

  31. Great post… I have also written about my first 4 mistakes while I started blogging. You can see here http://www.reviewpk.com/my-first-4-mistakes-in-blogging/

  32. Blogging is certainly not an easy thing to do. It is serious stuff. It needs patience and a lot of hard work especially when you are on your own.
    I agree to some extent to your point no.17 – (Becoming a Stats-a-holic). Checking stat counter everyday may lead to depression. On the contrary sometimes it may be read as a sign of recognizing your work and add to your motivating factor.

  33. Hmm, I’ve definately made several of those mistakes in the past, but managed to cut my list of mistakes I make considerably shorter or at least less frequent. Still got work to do, but this list is great for personal blog/blogging review and shifting things on the right track again.

  34. Great reminder article. My biggest problem is good articles with not great titles. I think I’ll make that my focus the next 2 months, really working on better titles.

  35. Thanks! I just started blogging again so this was just in time! I especially like the posting on a regular basis so visitors don’t get frustrated when they return and no new updates.

  36. I’ve tried to be good, but I have fallen prey to more than one of these mistakes. I started my blog on wordpress, and now I’m ready to move it to my own personal domain. How do you do that? I don’t have a lot of traffic, but I’m afraid of losing any SEO value that I’ve gotten until now. (I don’t for SEO, but I am concerned about it.)

    Thanks! I enjoyed reading your article.

  37. Shalina says: 06/01/2009 at 2:15 am

    This one makes me laugh especially as I read your post comments:

    “Adding links from other blogs to yours in the hope that it will boost your rankings – most [decent] blogs use ‘nofollow’ in the anchor tags from comments so this won’t help your SEO!”

    Keep up fantastic articles Darren!

  38. I’m so glad having a cluttered blog made this list! As soon as I come to a cluttered blog I leave it right away because I find it overwhelming.

    As de-cluttering is one of the main focuses of my blog, I try to keep it as organized and streamlined as possible.

    Thank you!

  39. One mistake I see made all the time is smooshing the two words “a” and “lot” into one… :-)

    Just one of my pet peeves. It drives me crazy, awholelot!

  40. Fantastic information! I recently started blogging after making some of the mistakes listed in this post. I thought I had to know everything before I launched the site; and, I thought it had to be perfect. 2 years later….lol..I’m finally up and running.

  41. I asked my self if those 21 point apply to me. Here my answers and I added the point 22.

    Be warned: my English is terrible.

  42. Fantastic advice, 5 weeks a go I started a blog that I am taking seriously and adding at least one post everyday and will continue to do so for the next few months and slow down a little and then add product reviews, more about destinations and my trip stories etc.

  43. Dixon Marshall says: 06/01/2009 at 1:35 pm

    A great article, but being quite the grammar nazi, one common mistake that I see is using the erroneous non-work “alot,” instead of “a lot.”

    Please see http://www.grammar-monster.com/easily_confused/alot_a_lot_allot.htm.


  44. Here’s one more:

    Not having a vision for your blog – the old Bible adage is true. “Without vision, the people perish”. Without a vision for your blog, the readers disappear. Set a vision and some goals and work towards it.

  45. Very good list there. I get a few people asking me how they can make moneey form their blog (not as many as you, obviously) and the one tip they fail on all the time is the first one!

  46. Thank you so much for this. I am very guilty of no 17. This post was really encouraging.


  47. Irregular posting isn’t all that bad. Is it?

  48. Thanks. I think I’m doing pretty well on these criteria overall but definitely room for improvement. Good tips.

  49. A very thoughtful list of mistakes. I learn a lot from your such useful posts. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  50. my gosh there is a huge amount of value even in the comments here.

    Everything takes time to improve and grow on. Some of these lessons were probably learned overtime and after making the mistake.

    I think just pushing yourself in the act of blogging will help you find you’re style and content. I love what I am doing now and I am starting to think about more and more post topics that are unique. It all takes time…and patience it seems.

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