Blogging: 5 Fatal Mistakes and How To Avoid Them
Blogging is an amazing and powerful tool that can fuel the growth of any website when done properly. Unfortunately, there are plenty of myths and bad information floating around in the wild that can derail your dreams of blogging success.
Executing any of these mistakes will at best slow down your progress and at worst stop your blog dead in its tracks. Never fear, fellow blogger, I’ve got your back.
While what I am about to share with you are simply my opinions, I’m also speaking from experience as well as things I’ve observed during my time roaming the internet. My goal for this post is to help you and your blog start gaining traction as quickly as possible.
Here are 5 common blogging mistakes and how to avoid them so you can crush it online with your blog.
#1. Publishing too often or not often enough
One of the most common pieces of advice I hear about blogging is that you need to publish a post every day.
This is garbage advice for a lot of reasons.
First, it’s extremely important that you’re writing quality blog posts. Quality beats quantity every single time. I would rather read one awesome, information-packed blog post from a blogger per week than 5 poorly-thought-out filler posts.
Actually, some of my favorite bloggers and podcasters do only publish once per week and it’s killer content.
If you can maintain a schedule of 5 posts per week and every post is great then more power to you. If that seems a little overkill and you feel more comfortable writing less, but ensuring it’s great content, then do that.
Another consideration you need to make when deciding on your posting schedule is your audience. How often do they want or expect to hear from you? It’s possible to overwhelm your audience and give them too much information to the point where they may not feel they can consume your content fast enough so they stop consuming it altogether.
Darren Rowse over at ProBlogger.net actually did a survey on his blog awhile back and the #1 reason people unsubscribed from blogs according to respondents was: Too many posts (the post levels are too overwhelming).
The flip side of this coin is not publishing often enough. If you’re not regularly in front of your audience with great content you’re going to get lost in the shuffle.
How to avoid it
I’d be willing to say that posting once per week is a solid starting point for most blogs and it’s what I do here at Green Tree Media – although admittedly I’ve done a poor job staying on schedule in the past.
My current goal is to publish a great post, full of actionable tips and content every single Wednesday. Feel free to call me out on it if I miss a post – accountability is always welcome.
If, after awhile, you find you want to start experimenting with a more frequent posting schedule go ahead. It’s easier to explain to your audience why you’re giving them even more great content than it is to explain why you’re cutting back.
The important thing here is to be consistent with your posting schedule.
#2. Having too wide of a range of topics
Keep your blog related to a specific industry or topic or niche. If I subscribed to your blog because I want to learn more about automotive repair, I probably won’t read your other post about the family vacation you just took, no matter how much I love Chicago.
How to avoid it
Stay on topic and give your readers the content they came for.
If you’re looking for blog post ideas, there are usually plenty of subcategories related to your main category you can include in your blog.
For example, my blog is all about teaching website owners how to grow and maintain a successful and profitable website. Having a successful and profitable website relies heavily on a few other vital platforms, like email marketing and social media, to help spread awareness about your brand and your content.
Between the topics of blogging, email marketing, SEO and social media, I could blog literally forever.
Also, if you’re having trouble coming up with blog post ideas for your category, maybe you just need to approach it from a different angle. Another post I wrote that might be helpful is a roundup of some awesome blog topic generators, where you simply drop in your subject matter and they spit out lists of blog topic ideas based around your subject.
#3. Using too many keywords in your content
This mistake usually results in having unnatural or spammy-sounding blog posts and it’s a surefire way to turn your readers (and search engines) off.
As I mentioned in a previous post about optimizing your blog’s SEO, you don’t have to go crazy throwing in your keywords left and right so that Google and other search engines understand what your post is about.
They’re smart, they get it.
Here’s something else you may not have known: Google can understand related keywords. That means you don’t even have to use your exact keyword for Google to pick up what you’re putting down.
How to avoid it
I shoot for 5% keyword density in blog posts. That means out of your entire blog post, only 5% of the words should be related to your target keyword.
A quick exercise you can do to see if you’re overusing a keyword is to take a minute and read your post out loud to someone else. If it sounds natural and not repetitive you’re probably fine. If it sounds like you’re repeating a phrase or idea over and over again, go back and rewrite it.
Remember, write your content for actual, real life human beings, not for search engines. You still want to make sure you’re doing the other things I mentioned in the blog post SEO article I linked to above to ensure your post is search engine-friendly, however, writing naturally and connecting with your readers is an important step in your overall SEO strategy.
#4. Assuming that because you’re writing, you’ll get readers
I wanted to insert the obligatory Field of Dreams “If you build it, they will come” meme here but thought better of it.
The goal of the blog is to boost traffic to your website because you’re providing all of this great information and content. However, (and this is a big however) just because you have a blog does NOT mean anyone will care or show up to read it.
The internet is full of undiscovered blogs, dying slow deaths in the outskirts of the information super highway.
You can write a million amazing articles but no one will show up to read it except maybe a few stragglers who wander in if no one knows about it.
I reconsidered the Field of Dreams meme, obviously.
How to avoid it
Promote the heck out of your blog.
Share your posts on social media, with your email list, put it in the signature of your actual email account, tell your neighbors, tell strangers, tell everyone.
Spending time writing posts for your blog and then not actively promoting it to people is like spending time restoring a beautiful, classic car. And then leaving the car in the garage. With the door down. And lying to people about why you spend so much time in your garage.
You need to work at it to gain traction. There are close to 76 million blogs powered by WordPress alone – give people a reason to care about yours.
#5. Thinking that the design of your blog matters
What I’m about to say might come as a shock because website design and development is a passion and service of mine, however, stop worrying about the design of your blog.
The importance of the overall design of your blog is nothing compared to the quality of the content you’re writing and the relationship to your audience that you’re developing.Both of those factors should be addressed before how your blog looks.
Both of those factors should be addressed before how your blog looks.
There are a few big name digital influencers and bloggers that I personally follow that I would love the chance to redesign their blog. I think their blogs look extremely dated (and somewhat ugly if I’m honest).
Knowing all of that, they are still wildly successful and have amassed a massive following full of rabid fans and they didn’t do it by having a beautiful and cutting edge blog. They did it by giving away killer content and developing a powerful relationship with their audience.
How to avoid it
If you have the money to hire a developer to create a custom blog theme for you, great – do it. Having a great looking blog helps boost credibility.
If not, stop worrying about it – it doesn’t matter enough to keep worrying about it.
Grab a free, basic WordPress theme, install it and start blogging. You can always change the layout and design of the blog later. What’s important is the content and the relationship.
There is a ton of bad blogging information floating around the web so if you only take one thing away from this post, let it be this:
Focus on regularly writing quality, high-value content for your readers and then promote the heck out of it.
Your blog won’t take off overnight but if you stick with it and continue posting great content and sharing it with others, you’ll be well on your way.