In this ever-evolving technological age, so many people are creating dedicated sites to blogging about their unique life experiences, sharing their opinions on products or services, or any other type of topic they deem interesting to share. Many are doing this without any background in writing or in creating a site. This has led to many blogging mistakes that are holding them back from creating a successful site. With this in mind, consider some very basic blogging tips regarding the most common blogging mistakes that could be beneficial in making positive changes to your blogging endeavor:
1. Creating Overly Complex Content
Excess words and long, drawn-out sentences will only lead the reader to skim what you have written and not return for your next blog. The average daily newspaper is at a fifth-grade reading level for this reason, so keep this in mind when you edit your blog content.
2. Content Focus is not on the Audience
If every blog post is strictly about you and how you feel, your audience will quickly get bored with reading them. The best way to avoid this is to ask yourself a few simple questions about your content before you begin to write it:
- How does this affect my audience?
- Will my audience find this helpful and relatable information?
- Will this content add to the productivity, health, and general well-being of my audience?
3. Daily Blogs
Are my readers going to have the time in their daily life to stop and read my posts every day? Before you answer this, think about what a daily blog entails for you and your readers.It will be more refreshing and value-driven for your audience if you consider publishing blog content only once a week. It also gives the reader the idea that you have been researching the topic more thoroughly and reflecting on it much longer. This gives vastly more credibility to anything you write.
4. SEO-Dominated Content
If your primary aim is to cater to the search engine powers that be to drive your blog visits, then you will be boring your readers right off your site. Your audience will very quickly pick up on the redundant content of key words and phrases and realize that you lack a substance to your content that they are looking for and will bring them back again. Create content that is audience-driven first then edit for SEO later.
5. Limiting your Content Based on Word Count
Oftentimes, bloggers have this specific idea in mind of how much content a reader will skim through each time before they become bored and move on. To adhere to this type of word-content mantra of “only 500 words or less” also limits value and meaning. Your end-goal is to present content that delivers a message as completely as it can in the minimum amount of words that is needed to deliver it. Ask yourself the following to accomplish this:
- As I read through my completed draft, are there words and phrases that I am repeating?
- Can some ideas be combined or connected?
- Can I narrow the message down by adding links or referring the audience to other sources of information not online instead of explaining it?
- Then, revise your post and you will more than likely create a second draft that is much more value-driven and reader-friendly.
6. Not Ending with a Message
There is very little that a reader hates more than reading an entire post and not finding an insightful message to carry with them at the end of the content. The ambiguousness of this makes them wonder if the content was worth reading at all. Your aim should always be to wrap up a blog post with a statement that will motivate your audience to change their mind about something, take action, or inspire them to feel better.
7. Not Knowing Your Audience
It can be extremely difficult to find a consistent voice as a blogger that readers can identify with if you try to create your post with thousands of readers in mind. This leads to posts without a personal touch and a very general personality. There are several ways to do this through some simple research:
- From time to time, post small questionnaires on your site and welcome your audience to give their feedback. Ask them questions pertaining directly to the topics. You can use a free audience survey template here.
- If you are promoting a particular product or service, contact that company and make them aware that you are writing about their product or service and would like to have a summary of their research statistics regarding their customer base. Most companies will jump at the chance of free advertising and will offer you a general summary of who you should be targeting.
- Use strategic social media posts to get as much feedback on a topic as you can. For example, pose and open-ended questions in a Twitter or Facebook feed or even a very short Instagram post that asks: How do you feel about…? Then, include whatever topic you are considering writing about. Your thread will be inundated with all types of feedback and generate interest in the blog post itself.
8. Passion-less Topics
Just because something is popular doesn’t mean you have a passion for it. This will show in the tone of your writing. Readers will sense your boredom and move on and not come back for the next installment of your blog. If you need to find some inspiration, there are few things you can do:
- Find an expert and speak to them. They would not be an expert if they didn’t have some level of passion for it, so you will probably find out many things about the topic you didn’t even know or understand which will inspire you to share with your audience.
- If it is a product or service you are promoting, speak to a customer who has used it and find out how it has improved their quality of life or their business so you can find something your audience can relate to as well as you.
- Look for other topics that are related to the one you will be writing about to find a link that will inspire some passion for you to share this connection with your readers.
9. Poor Editing
There is nothing worse than reading something and finding error after error in either punctuation or simply typographical mistakes. Readers will give you a “pass” on the first few, but after four or five they will most often stop reading. You should go through at least TWO revisions of your blog post to find typos, revise phrasing to make it more concise, and to add meaningful tidbits here and there that come to mind after the fact as you reread your post.
10. Content Lacks Personality
You can share as much useful information as you like, but if it doesn’t come with your personality attached to it, how can your audience believe in your message? You don’t always have to get personal either. Making up a “personal experience” can show through very easily as disingenuous, so don’t go there. But you can share other people’s experiences anonymously and make it your own by showing empathy for that person’s struggles and inspiration in their journey. An audience will usually appreciate your candor, sense of humor, and even humility, and see your character shining through.
11. Too Much Social Media
Yes, this is the age of social media. We get it. But over-saturation of anything leads to several issues including too much time spent promoting your blogs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, as opposed to actually WRITING them! Instead, choose one or two platforms where you can reach an audience that will grow over time and stay within the confines of a focused group that has interest in what you blog. In time, that group will grow.
12. Waiting for Traffic to Arrive
Speaking of a growing audience, many bloggers tend to rely on their audience growing organically instead of strategically planning for it. This includes setting a goal for a target number of unique visitors to your site over a specific period of time. If you don’t reach this goal, then don’t just move the goal line a few months ahead; you are avoiding a problem that will just get worse. Instead, figure out what you are doing wrong and find a new strategy by doing the following:
- When readers email you, read it. If someone takes the time to do this, it usually means they like something or really hate it. Those are the two things that move people to give feedback. Then, compile a list of the responses and analyze them. You will find a common thread about something that you may need to fix.
- Look at the competition and see what they are doing right. Study their blogs, their audience comments or feedback if it is posted, and compare it to what you are offering your readers. Just short of copying their brand, make what they do successfully uniquely your own while still offering the same type of thing to your readers.
13. Creativity over Practicality
Your title may be confusing your reader. You may be substituting “catchy” phrasing for actually invoking interest in your audience to keep reading. Most people who are perusing through your site are doing so by skimming or scanning titles that interest them or suit their needs. So, presenting something that is ambiguous and does not tell them with a topic word or phrase what the blog is about will get them to move on quickly to another post or even another site.
14. Visuals are missing
People absorb information in several different ways; one way is through visual perspectives of ideas. If your blog posts only present word content without any images, that segment of your audience is never really getting the full message. They will also probably never become return readers. Create a variety of your content that will appeal to a wider number of readers. Depending on the topic, you should usually include at least two images that specifically pertain to the subject matter.
15. Poor Content Organization
The way that you lose meaning very quickly for your blog post audience is by not presenting what you mean in an organized style. Ask yourself: What do I want to say and how should I say it? For example, if you are presenting a product and how to use it, understand that it must be set forth in a process pattern of specific stages in order for the audience to understand how it is used properly.
Keeping these common blogging mistakes in mind and following the blogging tips that are prescribed should put you well on your way to a successful blogging experience.