Blogging isn’t difficult, but many newcomers find themselves making these common blogging mistakes for months, or even years after they first started… and that can significantly hold back their growth. Here are the major mistakes and what you can do to solve them.
Every blog post should be targeted towards a specific audience, rather than being a general post you simply throw onto your website. How many target audiences you have is something that can only be judged on a case-by-case basis, but most blogs have no more than two or three types of people they’re trying to reach out to.
The content you’re reading right now was written for people who want to make better blogs – nobody else is going to be reading this.
Solution: Create a ‘Buyer Persona’, even if you’re not actually selling things. Having a persona in mind will allow you to focus on what your ideal audience cares about, and that in turn will allow you to target them far more effectively.
Image Source: The Science of Building Buyer Persona (Infographic)
If you’re still trying to get noticed, you may be making one of the worst common blogging mistakes – writing in a way that search engines will like without caring how good your content actually is.
It’s true that there is a checklist of things you’ll want to do to get the best possible ranking – but search engines are smart. They can tell if you’re writing for them instead of a target audience, and if they think you’re doing that, your rank will plummet.
Solution: Remember, every search engine wants to provide high-quality content to its users. If you focus on making great content, follow some of these great blogging tips and search engines will recognize this and naturally reward you with higher rankings and more visitors.
Bear in mind that there are 3 types of search queries that are commonly used by people to type in a search box and the three types are as follow:
Navigational search queries: This type of query is entered with the intent of searching for a particular website or webpage.
For example: your audience might enter “twitter” in Google’s search bar to look for the login site rather than typing the URL instead, and this happens with other search queries as well.
Informational search queries: The informational search query is a bit different from the navigational search query.
This type of search query is entered with the intent of searching for a particular information, such as “how-to fix a leaking faucet”.
Hence, the only way to target such a search query is to provide valuable content or helpful information that is relevant to the query.
Transactional search queries: Lastly, the transactional search query is entered with the intent of making a purchase. These queries may include search queries that consist of a particular brand name such as “Bose speakers”, or it could be a more generic term like “portable speakers for iPhone.”
Also, bear in mind that one needs to add in the relevant call-to-action in order to speed up on the purchase action.
What should people do once they’ve finished reading your blog? Let’s say, just for an example, that you’re running a business selling health and beauty aids to women. As a company, your focus is on natural, sustainable-acquired ingredients that your customers will like, and your blog posts constantly emphasize how eco-friendly you are.
That’s great, but if you forget to tell people to buy your products – or at least sign up for a newsletter and a free sample – then you’re not actually going to sell much.
The call-to-action is the reason you’re blogging in the first place – it’s your opportunity to get the reader to act right then and there on something that matters to you, yet forgetting it is still one of the most common blogging mistakes that people make.
Solution: Focus on writing blog posts that lead up to the Call-to-Action, and be sure to have several different calls you can swap in as needed. In most cases, the call should direct users to sign up for your newsletter, where you can continue working to try and do what you want. This is usually – but not always – buying a product, and the same principles can be used in support of charitable causes, promote an idea, or otherwise support the purpose of your blog.
Below are some good examples of call-to-action.
People are using mobile devices more frequently than ever before. It’s unlikely that desktop users are going to completely disappear anytime soon – some people simply don’t want to go mobile, especially if they work on a desktop – but it’s no longer practical for most bloggers to focus solely on an immobile audience.
Solution: Write blogs with the expectation they’ll be viewed on both desktops and mobile devices. Be sure to provide plenty of space between URL links and avoid excessively-long paragraphs – those are bad on PCs and worse on mobile devices.
To learn more about some of the best practices you should be doing for the mobile friendliness of your website, read it here at – Best Practices for Mobile Optimization.
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This is a newer entry on our list of common blogging mistakes because social media wasn’t really around when blogs first became a viable platform.
If someone really liked your content, there’s a good chance they’ll want to share it with their friends – and the more people you have reading your blog, the better your chance of converting them with your Call-to-Action. Readers will even do some preliminary sorting with you – they generally won’t share content that others will refuse to read.
Solution: Configure your website to ensure that social sharing buttons appear on each blog. You can also tie the sharing buttons into your content, encouraging people to share individual parts they like, and the occasional blog post can have a Call-to-Action that’s nothing more than asking people to share what they just read with their friends.
Image Source: Mashable
Of all the common blogging mistakes newbies make, this could be the most likely. A/B testing is a system where you try to figure out what sort of page works better by subtly tweaking different parts of it.
Solution: Make A/B testing an integral part of your blogging process and put it on your schedule of things to do for each post. Be sure to create a list of different things to do the testing on – and make sure that you can test by directing users to different versions of the page. This is easier than manually changing it on a regular basis.
A very good example would be the A/B testing on button colors, which was tested on Performable’s website. Button colors has always been a debatable issue for many people, primarily whether or not the color of the button would affect the conversion rate.
As can be seen from the diagram below, two colors were chosen – green and red – to see which one is more effective at converting people.
The result? The red button actually achieved 21% more clicks that the green button. As you can see, everything remains as it is – the content, the message and the graphic – except for the button color, which made all the difference.
Plus, with the 21% increase in the conversion rate, they did not have to increase the traffic to the page to improve its performance, but instead they went on to improve the efficiency of the page. This has save them lots of time and resources.
Anyway, if you are running an eCommerce website on your own, I have personally chosen this infographic for you, in order to give you a better idea of what to test for your website.
There’s really nothing mysterious about this – blogs that are updated on a regular basis are seen as active and relevant, while those who languish for weeks or months without change are seen as old and unlikely to be useful.
Guess which one gets all the traffic.
Solution: Update the blog according to a set schedule. At least once per week is good, though three times is usually better.
This is one of the common blogging mistakes that appears among independent-minded writers and businesses. They often want to be seen as ‘different’, and the idea of following someone else’s rules about content creation can seem like a betrayal of who they are and what they’re trying to do.
Unfortunately, search engine optimization is the only way anyone will ever notice that blog. If you don’t care about how many readers you have, you don’t need to optimize – but if you want to get noticed, there’s only one way to do it.
Solution: Stay on top of the best practices for SEO – and read the Official Google Blog, which is usually a great place to learn about upcoming changes to its algorithm. You may occasionally need to go back and edit previous posts to remain in compliance and ensure your content is seen – try to give yourself that time when you know changes will soon be needed.
Image Source: Social Media Today
Remember that example company from Number 3? If there’s one thing we can say about the beauty industry, it’s that it knows how to advertise – and so should you. Promotion is by far one of the most effective ways of getting people to read your content and ultimately act as you’d like.
Solution: Learn to promote your content – emphasize sharing, include links to the best blogs in your newsletter, and post links to your updates on social media so others have a better chance of hearing about it.
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Below are some of the best tools that you can use to promote your blog posts.
Photo Source: Bufferapp
It is a great software where you can queue all your posts to be published on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Photo Source: IFTTT
IFTTT is a platform which uses the concept of “ if this then that” that allows the user to create something IF something happened or triggered. For example, ‘if someone retweet your tweet’, then automatically send a thank you message to them for retweeting your message. Other great benefits include following a user whenever someone is following you, scheduling posts or tweets according to the ‘Date & Time’ you want, etc.
Here’s another one of the common blogging mistakes that newbies make – trying to do everything yourself. There’s only one thing readers like more than top-quality content, and that’s seeing posts from experts within your industry.
Basically, the goal is to convince readers that your blog is a source of authoritative information, and drawing on authority besides your own is an excellent way of establishing yourself.
Our beauty-aid company, for example, might host the occasional guest post from doctors explaining exactly what the health benefits of a given product are and how they work.
Solution: Look for ways to collaborate with experts. Sometimes this means paying them, but others simply want to talk or get people to visit their own site. The easiest solution is to simply ask what they’d like in return and see if that fits in with what you can do.
Blogs are rarely a conversion point for customers – unless they’re really excited, they’re not going to buy your products right away and trying to get them to won’t work very well.
A better plan is using your blog to collect email addresses and use that as your foot in the door. This is on the list of common blogging mistakes for a reason, and as simple as it sounds, it’s surprisingly easy to get this wrong.
Remember, each blog post should encourage the reader to do something. It doesn’t have to be big or complicated – in fact, it usually shouldn’t be. A small commitment now can encourage people to take a bigger step later on, and focusing on that is where your success will come from.
Focus most of your content on collecting email addresses. Be sure to make this as easy as possible – ideally, visitors should need to do nothing more than write in their email address and hit ‘Enter’. Don’t forget to add some kind of notification that their submission was successfully received – people do look for that.
Updated: 27 May 2016