Think about the number of blog posts you read on a typical day. Now, think about how many you read from start to finish, without missing a word. Chances are, it’s not many—maybe one or two.
This is just a fact of life, but that doesn’t make it any better for bloggers, many of whom invest their time and effort into creating content that only a few people ever see or appreciate.
The most successful bloggers are the ones who a) know how to reach their target audience, and b) produce content that audience will consume, in entirety, from start to finish.
Other bloggers never reach that level of success because they perpetually commit certain blogging mistakes, which keeps their content from receiving the recognition it may deserve. Let’s look at eight of the most common rookie blogging mistakes to avoid.
1. Writing for bots
The age of SEO means more and more bloggers are writing to suit Google’s crawlers instead of their readers. Far too many bloggers are focused on having the right keywords and meta descriptions for search engines, rather than on serving users’ needs.
This is not to say that SEO is unimportant; it is, and when done right, it can send a lot of organic, targeted traffic your way. However, the key is to create content that satisfies both your users and Google’s algorithms.
It’s also worth noting that when you have high-quality content, others are more likely to link back to your site, thus further improving your search rankings.
2. Attempting to please everyone
With over a billion individuals online, there is no way you are going to make them all happy. One of the most common mistakes committed by newbie bloggers is attempting to cater to everyone. Instead of blogging about different topics and trying to reach all audiences, focus on being an expert on one thing, for one audience.
Identify a niche and be the best blogger you can be on that topic. This way, you will gain a following from people who are interested in (or need something from) that specific niche. The more knowledgeable you become, the more reputable your blog will be, and the more traffic it will attract.
3. Lacking a plan
Starting out with no plan or strategy is an almost certain way to fail. You can’t just decide what and when to write on a whim.
If you take blogging seriously, create an editorial calendar and stick to it. Plan your posts well in advance and assign each one a publishing date. Committing to specific dates and holding yourself accountable will keep you from slacking off, even when you are not feeling inspired.
The quality and consistency of your content is what matters most. This is another way having a plan helps: it gives you the incentive and time to thoroughly research before writing.
4. Below average headlines
Headlines are everything when it comes to catching the attention of internet users. If the headline does not impress, many won’t bother reading your post. A well-crafted headline, on the other hand, has the ability to make your content go viral.
Take a look at these tried and tested headline designs for some inspiration.
5. Talking about yourself
Most bloggers spend a lot of time talking about themselves, instead of offering something to their audience. People have come to your blog to learn something or improve their lives, not just hear about you. Unless you are a celebrity, you don’t need to give your readers a daily update on your life.
Sure, you can share your opinions about things, but sparingly, and when it really adds something to your post. Otherwise, you will just turn people away. Aim to share knowledge over everything else. That is what is what people are there for.
6. Your blog design leaves a lot to be desired
Not only does your blog have to deliver killer content, it needs to look the part as well. Invest in your own domain and a hosting package, hire a designer to set it up for you, or use WordPress on the premium theme.
A well-designed and self-hosted blog appeals to visitors and shows you take your blog seriously—which means they will, too.
7. Not validating your content
A common blogging mistake is making factual claims without linking to sources. People love data, and if you give them sources to learn more about those facts, they’re more likely to share your post.
Credible facts come from authoritative sources. Linking to authoritative sources not only helps with your SEO efforts, it shows your audience you took time to research before posting and they can trust what you say. That is how you build a following.
(And don’t forget to proofread! Use a tool like Grammarly to help you avoid errors and catch typos.)
8. Not including calls to action (CTAs)
You should have CTAs in multiple places on your website, especially in your blog posts. What’s the point of creating exceptional content that gets thousands of views if it doesn’t convert leads? You’ve hooked your audience and built your following—so use it.
Writing and managing a successful blog can be a daunting endeavor. However, if you avoid the above mistakes, you will be well on your way to blogging success.