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7 Common Blogging Mistakes to Avoid

Blogs are an important part of today’s web, with over 409 million people reading more than 17.6 billion blog pages every month. But people who are just starting out may have received some bad advice on how to become as popular as the big sites. Here’s a closer look at some common blogging mistakes to avoid (and what to do instead).

Blog Every Day

The Hype: Blogs that don’t post every day won’t have enough fresh content to keep people interested.

Why it’s wrong:

  • Researching, writing, editing, and publishing a new blog post every day can burn bloggers out.
  • Trying to do too much too quickly may tempt bloggers to cut corners by not doing enough research, writing quickly or sloppily and not editing their work carefully.

Do this instead:

  • Post regularly: That might be 2-3 times a week or once a week. The key is consistency.
  • Take the time to create well-written content: Researching, writing, and editing a quality article can take several hours. The average Copyblogger blog post requires 5-7 hours to make.

Search Engine (Over) Optimisation

The Hype: Blog posts need to have a certain number of words/keywords/links, etc. for search engines to pick up on them correctly.

Why it’s wrong:

  • Keywords are important, and linking to other websites helps with page trustworthiness, but Google’s (and other search engine’s) algorithms are very advanced.
  • Spamming keywords or writing according to some “perfect” formula won’t automatically improve a post’s search engine ranking.

Do this instead:

  • Write content for the end-user, not just a search engine.
  • Be funny / informative / thought-provoking.
  • Pay attention to SEO, but don’t go overboard. A well-optimized page will do better than a page that doesn’t pay attention to keywords at all. An over-optimized page (or more accurately, a poorly optimized one) can lead to penalties from Google and other search engines.
  • A particularly helpful tool for WordPress bloggers is Yoast’s SEO plugin. Among other things, users can use the plugin to:
    – See how many times they’ve used certain keywords.
    – See whether their SEO title is too long.
    – Manage their post’s meta description.
  • Making sure that your site is optimized for sharing is at least as important as making sure it is optimized for search engines. Included Open Graph (Facebook) and Knowledge Graph (Google) metadata so that your articles appear correctly when shared in social media. Provide easy-to-use sharing buttons to encourage readers to post your content to Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.

If You Write It, They Will Come

The Hype: Writing a quality blog post is all a blogger needs to do for it to become successful.

Why it’s wrong: Nobody will read a blogging masterpiece if they never hear about it. Quality is important, but so is marketing.

Do this instead:

  • Spend as much as time-sharing posts as writing them. Some sources recommend spending time 2-/80 writing/sharing. Others recommend 50/50.
  • Experiment with what publishing methods lead to the most views. Publish on a variety of social media platform, experiment with the time of day posts go out and try out different days of the week.
  • Share older articles too. Evergreen posts (which don’t focus too heavily on current events) should be interesting long after they’ve been published. Older content can still be relevant or entertaining.

Blogging is an Easy Way to Make Money

The Hype: Setting up a free website and cranking out a few blog posts is all a blogger needs to do to make a comfortable living off their blog.

Why it’s wrong:

  • Making a living from a blog typically requires more than just quality content, but also a way to make money from one’s audience, such as through:
    – Advertising
    – Affiliate marketing
    – eCommerce
  • Quality blog posts take hours of hard work to create, sharing posts (old and new) requires time and energy as well.

Do this instead:

  • Take advantage of the many ways to monetise your blog, including:
    – Post advertising, such as Pay-per-click ads and sponsored content.
    – Sell services or products, these could be Webinars, in-person presentation, eBooks and Physical products.
  • Secure affiliate marketing deals, Bloggers can do this:
    – Directly with a company’s affiliate marketing program.
    – Indirectly through an affiliate network such as ClickBank, CJ Affiliate by Conversant and LinkShare.

No Ones Uses Email Lists

The Hype: Social media is the only thing a blogger needs in order to promote their posts and connect with their audience.

Why is wrong:

  • Social media is great at communicating with a large group of people and making an initial connection with people who may not know about a blog.
  • Email allows bloggers to connect with their existing readers on a more personal level, email lists should consist of people who have opted-in to hear from you. An email list is made up of people who care about what you have to say, social media can be a bit like shouting into a crowded room.
  • Create exclusive or premium content for those on the email list, this can include: special offers on products/services, personalized messages and access to blog articles before they’re posted on the main site.

Do this instead:

  • Make it as easy as possible for readers to opt-in to an email list
    – Use popups, slide-ins, etc. to bring people’s attention to the list.
    – Create a strong call-to-action that encourages people to sign up.

Only Write Short Posts (or Long Ones)

The Hype:

  • People don’t have time to read long posts, writing posts that don’t require the user to scroll down will ensure they read the whole thing.
  • People want more from their blogs. Creating long, detailed offer more value and will keep readers coming back for more.

Why it’s wrong: Readers crave variety

  • Constantly writing posts of the same length can grow boring.
  • Consistently posting short posts works in some situations, but many topics require 300+ words to do them justice.
  • Writing extremely lengthy posts can turn off readers. A 10-page article, unless it’s really high quality, might require too much investment from the reader to keep going.

Do this instead:

  • Mix things up: Write long and short posts.
  • Ask readers questions (and answer them)
  • Format long articles so they are easy to read
  • Long blocks of text can seem intimidating.
  • Vary paragraph length (and make sure paragraphs are spaced well).
  • Use headlines, section headings, subheadings.
  • Include pull quotes, images with captions and other “sidebar” material.

Run out of idea? Refer to this post for important content types for your blog post.

Words are the Only Part of a Post That Matters

The Hype: Blog readers are readers first and foremost.

  • The most important part of a post is the words.
  • Everything else doesn’t matter.

Why it’s wrong:

  • What a blog post says is important, but so is how it looks, people won’t stay to read a well-written post if it’s difficult to read.
  • 46.1% of people polled by Stanford University said their top criteria for judging a website’s trustworthiness is how it looks.

Do this instead:

  • Pay attention to formatting.
  • Use different-sized headers and short paragraphs to break up a long string of text.
  • Use whitespace effectively. Space between paragraphs and on the margins of text can help increase reader comprehension as much as 20%.
  • When asked to compare a well-optimized page layout to a poorly-laid-out page by Usability News, participants rated the well-optimized page as being 33% more satisfying to read.
  • Pictures or graphics can help illustrate a point.
  • Human beings are visual creatures. Images will grab a reader’s attention.
  • According to a study by Skyword, articles with relevant images have around 94% more viewers than similar articles without pictures.
  • People remember roughly 80% of what they see and do. Compare that to roughly 10% of what they hear and 20% of what they read.
  • Video and infographics can sometimes help better explain a point.

Plenty of people offer “expert” advice on what bloggers should and shouldn’t do, but every blog is different. What works for one person or organization may not work for another, depending on their style, niche, or audience. What’s important to keep in mind is that people come to blogs for well-written content that’s entertaining or important. Any blogger who writes with that in mind should do well.

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