A significant segment of the online ecosystem is made up of blogs. WordPress alone—one of the most popular blogging platforms—powers 28.9% of the internet. It’s estimated that there are currently over 440 million blogs worldwide.
One of the most appealing things about blogs is their democratic nature. With many powerful free blogging options available, the only thing you need to get started is a point-of-view, a talent for writing, and an internet connection. There is, however, a potential downside to this freedom of access.
The low barrier to entry means that it can be difficult to make your blog stand out from the crowd.
One way to do this is to ensure that you avoid the 7 biggest mistakes that bloggers make. Here, we’ll take a look at the pitfalls and discuss how to sidestep them.
1. Be Patient
You may be writing brilliant content, but it will still take time for your audience to find you. There are more bloggers than ever before and it’s not easy to stand out from the crowd.
Are you writing primarily to drive organic traffic to your site thru keyword and search engine optimization (SEO)? It’s estimated to take six months of regularly publishing quality content before Google’s algorithms will take notice and direct traffic to your site thru their search engine results page (SERP).
Google has become much better at sniffing out quality content over the years. There really is no shortcut to higher organic search ratings—the days of keyword stuffing are long gone.
Don’t be discouraged by this. If you take a patient approach to both creating quality content and publishing it on a regular basis, you are far more likely to be rewarded by Google with higher search rankings in the long run. Someone is much more likely to click on an “Ultimate Guide” to a topic, including “how to”, and “best practices” sections, as opposed to a list of random tips.
So patiently develop your content packages into unique and comprehensive products that position you as the best authority within your chosen field.
Chances are when you first start your blog, you will have a million ideas. It’s tempting to let them all spill out onto the screen at once. Resist that temptation. Once the honeymoon period of writing blog posts is over, you’ll discover it can be hard work. It’s far better to come up with a realistic schedule and publish on a regular basis.
There’s certainly no harm in building up an arsenal of content that’s ready to post, but don’t publish it all at once. Instead, develop a content calendar. Schedule posts to be published at regular intervals—daily, every other day, weekly, etc.
Keeping a consistent schedule is key not only to ensure you stay on track with content creation but it also enables your readers to anticipate fresh content at predictable intervals.
3. Quality Over Quantity
Going hand-in-hand with consistency is quality. Be realistic about your output. When creating your content calendar, don’t set yourself goals that are impossible to meet. It pays to stick to a schedule, but if you focus on quantity over quality, every aspect of your blog will suffer.
How your visitors engage with your content on Google can have a significant impact on your SERP ranking. If a user clicks on any given search result and quickly returns back to the results page, Google will assume that the visitor didn’t find what they were working for. They will adjust your SERP ratings accordingly (and negatively).
Keep in mind, it’s not just about SEO either. Keeping visitors on your site longer is both gratifying and good for business. If your content isn’t of high enough quality that people will want to read it, there is little reason to create it in the first place.
4. Know Your Audience, Set Your Goals
It can be easy to blog in a vacuum. After all, you are free to publish whatever you want at virtually no cost. And maybe that’s OK. Perhaps the sole purpose of your blog is to entertain family and friends and keep them up to date on your activities. There’s no harm in that—and blogging is a great way to do it.
If you have loftier goals for your blog—perhaps you want to create a popular affiliate marketing site, build your brand or drive organic traffic—you need to have clear goals from the start. One way to do this is to think long and hard about your audience.
What will interest them? What questions will they be asking a search engine that will bring them to your site?
Consider, also, doing research on what keywords are ranking well for your competitors. Ahrefs is an invaluable tool for doing just that.
5. Be Approachable
You may be an expert in your field, but, keep in mind, your readers may not be at your level. After all, that’s probably why they’ve sought you out in the first place. Make sure to explain concepts that seem basic to you, but are perhaps unfamiliar to the audience you are trying to reach.
Pay particular attention to industry-specific abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and spell out the full phrase the first time it’s used in a post.
Another way of being approachable is by allowing comments on your blog. Disqus integrates with many blogging platforms and processes, on average, 50 million comments a month.
Having a comments section can help drive engagement, but be prepared to engage directly with commenters. Disagreements are common amongst blog commenters, so you may have to moderate comments before they go live. Carefully weigh up whether there are solid reasons to introduce commenting on your blog.
6. Develop Your Own Voice
Whether your blog has a single author, or multiple writers working as a team, it is good practice to maintain a consistent and distinct “voice”. This can vary somewhat from author to author — particularly when authors are publishing under their own name.
In fact, it should. Allowing your personality and your way of looking at the world to shine through in your writing is a wonderful way to engage readers and develop loyalty. As you develop this “voice” be aware that any sudden shifts in perspective and tone may alienate your readers.
After all, you’ve put a lot of hard work into having them get to know you—be careful of scaring them away.
7. Be Specific
You may well be an expert on a wide range of topics. But, chances are, your potential audience is searching for information or guidance in a specific area of interest.
Are you a celebrity? Then your musings on a variety of subjects may be of interest to the general public. Otherwise, it is best to stick to establishing yourself as an authority on a particular topic or niche.
The more focused your content is on a particular niche—and the more authoritative content you create that’s relevant—the more likely you are to build a dedicated audience. And the more likely your blog is to come up in search results.
Of course, it’s natural to have more than one interest (or business). If you find your interests are diverging from your specific niche, consider starting another blog dedicated to them.
But make sure to avoid spreading yourself too thin. It’s best not to attempt being a jack-of-all trades. Rather be a master of one.
Whether you’re blogging for fun or profit, these seven pitfalls are to be avoided. Even if your audience is family and friends, you’ll no doubt want to create the best possible experience for them.
If you’re a blogger for business you really can’t afford to make any of these seven mistakes. To summarize:
- Be patient
- Be consistent
- Quality over quantity
- Know your audience, set your goals
- Be approachable
- Develop your own voice
- Be specific
If you avoid these these simple missteps, you will be well on your way to being a successful blogger.