Bloggers make mistakes. Beginner bloggers, experienced bloggers, and all bloggers in-between make mistakes. I have not come to this conclusion due to hours upon hours of research. Instead, I’ve come to this conclusion from the plethora of blog posts that have been written about the ‘common blogging mistakes’.
I read through most of the top posts on the topic and compiled the following list of 31 mistakes. .
- Inconsistent publishing schedule
- Metrics and SEO
- Writing for yourself
- Bad writing
- Bad formatting
- Bad headline
- Lack of promotion
- No formal editing
- Not capturing emails
- Not having a niche
- Not knowing your audience
- Not responding to comments
- Too much about you
- Writing too formally
- Being a perfectionist
- Copying others too closely
- Covering too many topics
- Lack of commitment
- Lack of data as evidence
- Lack of images
- Lack of organization
- Lack of originality
- Lack of specificity
- Not capturing leads
- Not spending money on it
- Quantity over quality
- Trying for perfection
- Unrealistic posting schedule
- Writing short posts
- Writing solo
- Writing with no outside input
These mistakes don’t have equal weight. Of the 10 articles I read on the topic of common blogging mistakes, most of these 31 mistakes were listed just once, but a handful showed up in multiple articles.
The Common Blogging Mistakes
Inconsistent publishing schedule
7 out of 10 posts reference this as a mistake. Each article points out how an inconsistent publication schedule messes with readers expectations from the blog. If the purpose of the blog is to educate/inform/entertain and it gets published on an erratic schedule, even loyal readers will fade way for more consistent sources.
A blogger needs to establish a realistic publishing schedule and adhere to it. No one will care if a blogger publishes an additional post once in awhile, but missing a post can be quite harmful to maintaining her readership.
Planning out the posts, and building in a few useful posts in the schedule that do not require a ton of time will help the blogger maintain the schedule. Writing a backlog of posts will make sure each week isn’t a scramble and will allow the blogger the time to edit and refine the post.
Metrics and SEO
I cheated a bit on this one. 5 of the 10 blog posts I read referenced issues of writing too much for SEO, writing without thinking about SEO, spending too much time worrying about the traffic each post is getting, and the cardinal sin — not using Analytics at all.
The point of this set of mistakes is measuring the blog in a meaningful way. Time and money are spent on the blog and knowing if the blog is doing what it is supposed to be doing is very important. Is the blog doing the job it was supposed to be doing?
Writing for yourself
5 of the 10 blog posts cite this, or variations of this, as a blogging mistake. This is mainly about navel gazing writing. Blogging as a form of memoir/diary filled with personal stories with little to no relevance to the reader.
There is no harm in having a personal blog post once in awhile, if it relates to the overall topic. I try really hard in coming up with analogies for SEO and some of these are pulled from my everyday life experiences (or sometimes a movie I just watched). Being personal does not have to be a mistake, but if the blog is a narcissistic rabbit hold, it will not attract and retain a strong readership.
Surprisingly, only 4 of the 10 blog posts called out bad writing as a common blogging mistake.
The blogger needs to take care in making sure the writing is solid. Having an editor review the work is vital in making sure the quality of the blog post meets the blogger’s expectations.
The Uncommon Blogging Mistakes
The rest of the mistakes all get mentioned 3 times or less in all the articles I read. I would think if we were truly talking about ‘common’ problems, that there would be a lot more consistency in the problems. To be fair, these articles span a range of time from 2013 to 2019.
In those 6 years, the nature of blogging has changed. Blogs were once a great resource for a website to attract traffic, because there weren’t a thousand other websites trying to write about the same things.
Now, when a company or individual starts to write a blog, it is in direct competition with all those other companies and individuals writing about the same topics. Case in point… common blogging mistake, am I right?
The Common Blogging Mistakes I See
My advice in regards to blogging does not come from a highly successful career built on writing blogs. It does come from being an avid reader of blogs and having written a few successful individual blog posts.
Ironically, some of my most successful blogs posts were based on SEO experiments, like trying to determine how hard it would be to rank for shawarma in Chicago after watching the first Avengers movie, or whether or not Pinterest activity can have an affect on organic search. The answers, if you are curious, are ‘not hard at all’ and ‘inconclusive, but it feels like there is a strong correlation’.
Lack of Voice
A lot of people come to blogging from writing formal business documents. Formal business writing does everything it can to strip away a sense of personality. It is a bad business document if you read it and can immediately say “BobbieJo in Account Services wrote this.” Formal business writing does not have to be dry, but it does have to lack any sense of personality. Save the puns for Reddit, BobbieJo.
Blogging is meant to be different. If a blog post can be copied and pasted onto another website and you cannot sense the personality behind the writing, then there is a problem. The audience won’t connect with the writing beyond the core point of the post. Repeat visitors is a lifeblood of a successful blog. A successful blog builds a community of people wanting to interact, engage, and share the lessons they learn in the blog.
In a blog, it is okay to be aware of the author. These are not academic, peer-reviewed papers, even if the topics are very serious. Bloggers need to find a voice and stick with it.
Lack of Purpose
Why are people reading this blog post? Is the writer a famous thought-leader in the industry and her very words are the essence of best practice? Probably not. Most likely the writer is one of thousands writing about the topic. Why should the reader be reading this post instead of all the other posts? More importantly, what about this post will make the reader want to share it with others or bookmark it as a resource for future reference?
If the only point of the blog post is to fill a publishing slot in the editorial calendar, then it isn’t really providing the reader with value. It may get reads, it may attract search traffic, but it won’t be remembered, won’t build thought-leadership, and won’t be considered a resource.
No Internal Linking Strategy
A lot of bloggers fail at implementing any form of internal linking and I consider internal linking one of the least talked about SEO strategy. There are two issues at play with internal linking on a blog.
Linking to Existing Content
When internal links are added to content, they do normally link to other blog posts. This is a way of building consistent, fresh links to ‘pillar posts’. These links allow search engines to understand the priority of content and to build up internal authority. In many cases these links are not implemented. It is easy to forget about these kinds of links.
Linking From Existing Content
Linking to existing content helps promote and boost the authority of that content, but existing content has an advantage over all other content – it is already indexed by the search engines, already has authority, which means anything it links to gains benefit from that authority. I call linking from a new post to existing content as ‘linking backwards’. Linking from existing content to new content gives that new content a boost. If there are several published posts from which links can be created, then the new content will get crawled sooner, and more often.
Once this strategy is adopted, then all blog posts are written not only with the idea of what current content can be linked to, but what future content will be written and linked to from the content.
Lack of a Call to Action
The reader has read the post. Now what? What is the ideal action the reader would take after reading the post? This does not have to be focused on a business transaction, but it might be to download a case study, sign up for a newsletter, follow on social media, or request more information about services.
Posts need to have a strong Call to Action, telling the reader what step to take. This CTA might even be as simple and straightforward as asking the reader to read another post.
Lack of Promotion
How much time does a blogger spend writing? And after all that writing, what does the blogger expect the blog post to accomplish? For a blogger, the blog post is the product, and they want people to consume their product. A blog post could hit organic search gold and get an amazing amount of attention but the reality is it won’t and the only attention it will get will come from promotional efforts.
A blogger needs to write a blog post and then do everything to put it in front of people other than their mom and best friend to get readers. Promotion is about sharing the blog post on channels that care about the blog’s topics.
Share the post on Twitter, on Facebook, create a great cover image and share it on Instagram and Pinterest, do an executive summary and share it on Linkedin, and email it to everyone. Promoting the blog post is part of the job and one of the biggest mistakes a blogger makes is doing all the work of writing a blog post and then failing to do anything to get people to read it.
Quite simply, there are an infinite number of mistakes a blogger can make and depending on the nature of the blog, the mistakes being made may have different negative effects on the site as a whole. There is one blogging mistake that is universally bad. In the infinite number of mistakes a blogger can bake, this one is at the top.
The single biggest mistake a blogger can make is not blogging.Tweet This
A blogger who does not write is making the biggest mistake a blogger can make. And the blogger cannot let the fear of making mistakes stop the writing process. So yes, a blogger may write a naval gazing piece that is pointless, lacks a strong call to action, and fails to support the SEO strategy of the site. Sometimes, a blogger just needs to publish a piece of garbage blog post to keep the process alive.
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