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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. I know I had too many ads on my blog at one time. They were mostly affiliate links that were pretty useless. I removed them, added more links to my website and a couple Adsense ads and that’s it. I may even scale it down even more.

  2. Really great post! You knocked it out of the park right off the bat with #1. Unfortunately, not only do some people give up too early but I know of instances where a company has been given the recommendation that the blog they were launching was just part of a campaign for the next few months. I’m sure you know what my advice to them was…

  3. Considering how many people take up blogging for making money online, one of the most common mistakes is to have unrealistic expectations of your own income out of the blog.. Blogs can make good money but most dont .. it takes time and effort to take the blog to a successful plank,.. invest in it.

  4. I especially liked the point on posts being SEO-friendly than human-friendly! I believe when a visitor drops by, s/he needs to feel that there is some takeaway from the visit. If there is no value-addition, what’s the point in creating a blog? One might as well write down thoughts in a paper journal.

    Thanks for ProBlogger.

  5. I think it’s important to reach a balance in blogging, as many of these “mistakes” are very subjective depending on the particular blog.

    For instance, what defines too much advertising can vary from blog to blog, depending on the subject matter, design, etc., and it may also be important to reach a balance in writing for humans versus writing for search engines, if you want to at least attempt to get some search results, so that humans will actually find your blog to read it.

    If I go to a blog, and they’re all about anti-capitalism, but they have a ton of advertisements, then that doesn’t make sense, but if a blog about affiliate advertising has a bunch of ads, then it’s sort of what defines the blog.

    As far as selling yourself through your blog, I feel that also depends on the purpose of your blog. If you have a real estate blog, and you are an agent, then yes, it makes sense to sell yourself, but I feel a blog should otherwise be about selling the blog itself, and the ideas represented by the blog, and not necessarily the individual behind it.

    Just like Rolling Stone magazine is about promoting the rock and roll mantra, and not about the publisher or editor behind it, a blog is an entity in itself, and not necessarily a portal for the personality behind it to promote themselves, unless promoting yourself is in itself the purpose of your blog.

    Thanks for the article, there are lots of good ideas here. I just wonder how you get so many people to comment on your articles, it’s amazing. I’m lucky if I get any comments.

  6. I’m attracted to #14. There’s a lot of making money blog that we can see today although the articles posted show that the writer of the post him/herself never know how to do what had been said in the article.

    write something you know. learn from what you’d wrote and comments from the readers. Plus your knowledge, don’t wait too much, and you’re ready to rock!

  7. Blogging is a steep learning curve and I suppose you either learn form your mistakes and then you will have a chance of succeeding, or you don’t and as a result you wont get too far.

  8. I’ve built a website and want to move my blog over from blogspot–one place to update + my domain. Anyone have any thoughts? I could use the custom domain option at blogger….but want to be able to drive traffic to my online store, when I get that running (Photography). Any thoughts? Would I be able to customize blogger enough to look like the real thing?

  9. Nice read! I will improve my blog according to this read, thanks for sharing this post :)

  10. Hi Darren,

    Thank you so much for the tips. They were indeed very helpful and I could relate to a few of them. I can understand how your site has attracted quite a number of readers, do you think a blogger such as myself writing about personal experiences having recently relocated to Africa can make money and attract a following?

    Will appreciate if you check me out .

  11. You just gave me the kick in the butt I needed to launch my online book club, FreakingBookworm.com. That coming soon page has been sitting for far too long!

  12. Personally, I love the “Blog about making money online, yet they haven’t made a dime”. If you’re going to do this, at least try to fool me into thinking you know what the heck you’re talking about. Otherwise, get your feet wet and learn a few MMO skills before you try to run a blog about it.

  13. Darren thanks for the tips, I know I need some major help on my titles. I actually need work on many things on that list.

    I am going to keep at it.

    I included a link to this post on my blog here. http://www.yolablogger.com/index/part-2-how-to-create-a-niche-and-start-your-free-yola-blog-

  14. I do recognize all of these things, and I must say, you did a very good job in briefing them all. I like the part wherein you stated: “Giving up too early – blogs take time to take off” since this holds true. When you want your blog to succeed, you should work hard and try your best to find ways to improve it.

  15. One of the mistakes you mentioned was using hosted blogs; but you did not explain why. I’ve seen many blogs that are on Blogspot and WordPress.com and they are doing great and are quite popular. Are there exceptions to the rule??

  16. the NUMBER ONE mistake you can make as a blogger is to listen to what “the experts” have to say about blogging.

    Find your heroes, mentors, and friends in the blogosphere and emulate but don’t copy. And for the love of God, stop listening to what the “experts” have to say. No one can tell you how YOU need to blog.


  17. Thanks Darren, I felt you were talking about me personally!! My biggest mistakes have been being a stats freak, comparing myself to bigger blogs, and often wanting to give up because I would always say, “bigger blogs w/more traffic are doing what I’m doing, I’m just gonna give up” and being so focused on these things that I keep forgetting to just enjoy writing girl talk. I would suffer from severe writer’s block because I was not allowing myself to just relax and enjoy.

    I tell myself each day that I write for my girlfriends and it helps me relax & focus on the fun of putting in a post what I normally will share with my girlfriends.
    Thanks for writing this, I needed this to realize my habits were only affecting me! :)

  18. Nice post. You might consider #12 for your own blog. Man, there’s a lot going on in the upper right part of your blog.

  19. thanks for posting this! I’ve been blogging for more than a year and I’m glad to know that I’m going in the right track. :)

  20. Thank you for this post! I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I appear to be on the right track.

    Best Wishes!

    MidwestElle @ iowabride.blogspot.com

  21. This is a great post. I like how some of them get straight to the point. I really like the one about not blogging about making money blogging.

    I got my successonmymind.com domain years ago. It has been many different things. However, the first blog I put on it was all about making money. I hadn’t made any more money than the average person. Needless to say, blogging about making money didn’t work out for me.

    I’ve since learned to only make sites about things that I am already passionate about. I still use that domain name but now I use to talk about having positive thoughts. I am really big into this… the name fits… and I know the ins and outs. Much better!

  22. Isabel says: 06/18/2009 at 12:17 am

    Great article Darren:

    I will take all this into consideration, since I want to start a blog myself. You have been very helpful.

  23. When I first started my blog, http://www.saladsticks.com, I almost made the mistake of “giving up early”. Thank god I didn’t or I wouldn’t be where I am today.

  24. It’s truly amazing to see how many people have commented on this post. Surely thousands have read it. Great topic Darren. You can’t ever stress enough the power of mistake #1. In a way it’s a good thing for bloggers who don’t want more competition, but if more people stuck to their blogs and persevered, there would be literally millions more interesting blogs out there right now.

  25. Nr. 2 and 17 Gave me the chills.
    Great post.

  26. Recognize a few of those and have realized a few of my own as well.

  27. I see way too many blogs with a bunch of clutter. It’s just a distraction for those who check out your blog. You want them to focus on just your posts/content. Less is definitely more depending on the topic.

  28. Well all of sudden I forced to think about my blog after reading your post , it seems every caution you pointed out I am favoring those in my site.
    The best part of your post is ” write for search engines before humans” I personally feel this one sentence summarize the whole discussion for me.
    Very Informative share Thank your very much.

  29. Great stuff. I really appreciate you guys posting this type of information and I often incorporate into my own blogs.

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