The eyes of people start to roll when I tell them that I make my money on the internet by scoring high in Google through ‘simple’ blogging. “That is so easy, and you get a paycheck to write the whole day on the internet. Even a monkey can do your work!” I hear them say… Of course, if I had a website design firm they would look upon me with respect, but a “blog” sounds more like a hobby.
The reality is that people are quick to judge before they have tried it themselves. People often see blogging as a no-brainer job. However, as they sit down to write their first article, they shut out load: “This is much more difficult than I had thought.”
It is quite normal that as a starting blogger you can hardly type anything. If you are already a writer, that is a very nice start though. Although it is true that when you start a blog in another niche that this is a quite different story. Lorelei knows that too well. She has always loved writing, but when she started as a blogger at TopTut.com, it also cost her a lot of effort. She has written that often in her blogs. But that does not mean, of course, that you – as an inexperienced blogger, cannot put something together. Because the inexperienced bloggers can also blog!
I remember very well when I wrote my first article. Gosh, it took me the whole day to type around 300 words. Now I write blog articles averaging 3000 words in the same timeframe (By the way, did you know, how long should a blog post be?). Okay, we are now 12 years later, and I get more and more experience. It is a matter of continuing and reading. Then you will automatically pick up the speed.
In this article, I have listed 20 mistakes that the most novice bloggers make and the tips on how to avoid those blogging mistakes.
Mistake 1: Ideas come at the weirdest moments
When you start blogging, you’ll soon discover blog ideas – in the shower, in the car, when you’re with your mother. While your thoughts can come at random times, the ideas must never be random. Just because it is a good idea in general, it does not mean that it is a good idea for your company. The result is that you may start blogging about more and more random topics and lose your vision.
Solution: Your blog posts will all have to have larger business goals.
The number 1 goal you need to keep in mind, is that your blog is there to grow your business, so all your blog posts should help to make those goals prosper. You will have to focus on the problems of customers/visitors where they can read the solution of their problem on your website. Read here also, how to capture blogging ideas on the go.
Mistake 2: You write too monotonously
Writing a blog post is very much different from writing on a piece of paper. But as bloggers start, they generally only have experience with writing on paper. What is the problem with that? The style of writing on paper is not the style of writing on the internet. It’s not even the difference between “web copy” and “blog posts.”
Let’s be honest: Most people who see your post often do not read the entire blog. If you want to keep the reader interested in reading the whole article, you will have to write in a style that is effortless to read.
Solution: Write as if you were talking
Try to write conversely. This means that you have to use straightforward language so that visitors enjoy the text they read. People want to feel like they are doing business with real people, not robots. Feel free to make a language mistake or use a wrong word spelling. That is how real people talk.
Mistake 3: You think that visitors are interested in your story
It may sound harsh, but it’s the truth: When people start blogging, they think their visitors will be interested in their stories and interests. But that is not true. Most visitors are interested in what your story is and what your experiences are. Visitors prefer to find a solution to the problem immediately. You would also find it annoying if you first have to read an article of 1000 words while the answer to the problem is in the last sentence. Right?
Solution: Show your personality
Although most people do not care who writes the article, it does not mean that you do not have to process your personality in your writing. How you do that is entirely up to you. Some people like funny comments in between and others have a lively writing style. A *personality* in your own blog is very important. Try to find a way to challenge the readers about the topic that your blog is about. Make your tone personal. Try to blog as if you are facing each other face to face. The only way to make your writing stand out is by adding your unique “speaking style” to your blog posts.
Error 4: Your subject is too broad.
When people start blogging, they usually want to write about really big topics such as:
- “Social Media Marketing “
- “Business practices.”
- “Making money on the internet.”
Subjects such as these are far too broad. Because there are so many details and nuances in these topics, it is tough to score in Google or SERPs. On the other hand, it is possible to divide these large topics into smaller relevant topics, which will attract more targeted visitors. Often these topics are of a higher quality, much more informative and you are more likely to get leads and customers. Unless you just landed on planet Earth yesterday, you won’t be reading a blog posting title “business marketing.”
Mistake 5: The subject you have chosen does not interest anyone except yourself
When you start blogging, you will, of course, start blogging about something that you love, a topic that is dear to your heart. It is essential that before you start blogging, you first start to look and examine whether your target group is interested in your topic. You will need to look carefully and find out what those people (your target audience) find interesting and what they are looking for in Google.
If you have more clarity about this, only then do you know what to blog about and what words you should ‘play around’ with. The big question is, of course: are these the topics that you find so interesting as well? It’s a sweet spot you need to find, between your interests and expertise and what your audience is looking forward.
Mistake 6: You do not know precisely what kind of audience you are writing for.
Do you know who are you targeting, and who actually reads your blog or visits your main business website? Many entrepreneurs who have just started blogging do not even know for which target group they write. It is imperative when you start blogging, that you know which target group you are approaching. Even if you know which topics your target group likes to read, you can still go wrong…
Very wrong. For example, if you get visitors who have heard little or nothing about the subject, then you can fill your text with technical and professional terms, but they will not understand that. When you get visitors that are already experts, they are not willing to read the first 500 words, where you explain all the technical terms to the smallest detail. It is, therefore, important to investigate what type of people is in your target audience. In this way you not only have the perfect subject, but you also speak to the visitors in the right way, on their level and according to their needs.
Error 7: Keep your focus on the goal
When you blog for another company, it is often difficult to keep your focus on the right subject. I often see that bloggers who blog for other companies lose sight of the goal. Watch out for that! It should not be the intention that you, as a blogger, shoot around when you blog for your own or for someone else. Try to return to that center keyword with regularity in your blog posts. When you do that regularly, it is easier to keep focusing.
Error 8: The keywords you choose are too broad
This is the most common mistake that all bloggers make. Why? Purely because entrepreneurs look at the figures. When they see that certain keywords are searched for thousands of times per month, they want to focus on that one keyword. It’s called “popular keywords.” Even though the competition is extremely high, they think they can easily beat the competition if they only manage to produce 1 article per week.
However, when they focus on a relevant keyword that is less popular in the Google search results, they have a bigger and faster chance of winning customers through Search Engine. Pure because there is less competition there.
Of course, I understand that you want to write for as many people as possible. The more people you can achieve, the better it is for your year-end figures. But do remember that it’s going to be hard to beat keywords that have 50,000 search queries per month, and there are already 8 million web pages about that topic…
However, one specific subject (keyword) can be explored entirely and split into smaller topics. This means you have much less chance of big competition and you can score more easily in the search results. Generally speaking, targeting long tail keywords is always easier. For example, instead of targeting “WordPress” keyword, you may want to target “fix WordPress admin upload size limit.”
When you discuss a very broad topic, you only tell a small part of all the different aspects of the subject anyway. You may also be giving the reader the impression that they should not keep an eye on your blog. Moreover, do not forget that a wide subject has very tough competition. It can kill you.
Error 9: The audience you have in mind is too big
You obviously hope that your blog will be as high as possible in Google and attract as many visitors as possible. That is also not a wrong approach to blogging, but… What I often see is that bloggers start a blog and do not focus on a target group. But just start blogging for a huge audience. For everyone.
The disadvantage of blogging for a large audience is that you actually miss the purpose for the target audience you have in mind and also that you do not really focus and share the right information in your blog posts.
Did you know that your visitors do not care how many visitors you have? They come to your website or e-shop to get information and answers to their specific questions. So before you start blogging, find out who your target audience is. And what you want to pay attention to. By decreasing your target group audience, you will notice that the number of visitors is really focused on what you offer. Also, that people will come back to your blog, simply because you have something to offer them in a particular area.
Error 10: Your blog post jumps from one subject to another
When you begin blogging for the first time, you probably have lots of ideas to start blogging about. This is, of course, very good, but the chances are that when you just start writing a blog post, your blog post will have different topics in it. And that is not good. Every blog post should be written around one specific topic, or keyword(s) without simultaneously discussing 10 other subjects.
When you write a blog post, and you jump from branch to the other, this will cause a lot of confusion among your readers. And that is precisely not what you need to be doing. When a blog post has many different topics, your visitor will no longer see the forest through the trees. The result is that they are looking at a huge blog post, and can’t figure out where the core message is.
Do you plan to write a blog post today? Then make sure that you only discuss ONE topic in this blog post. It’s your decision, how deep you want to dive into that subject, but remember to always stay on track.
Error 11: A blog post that does isn’t easy to read.
I’ve said it before; anyone can blog. And so can you! However, in the beginning, you will not have your own style of blogging. It comes with time.
A mistake that is made a lot when it comes to blogging is that the blog post isn’t easy to read. This can happen due to two main factors:
You use too much professional language. You yourself know very well what does this mean, but your visitor is an amateur and does not know it in most cases. If you do use a professional language or many technical terms, make sure you also translate them to your readers. Your blog post is way too “stiff.” It reads like a book. This is a mistake I made in the beginning, and I did not write the way I *talk*.
Write your blog post in an airy way. Just like you talk. And occasionally a little joke in your blog post is not a bad idea, assuming it fits naturally.
Error 12: Your blog post does not have a catchy title
A catchy/powerful/inciting title is extremely important. A title of your blog post gives the first impression for your visitors and is the deciding factor as to whether or not the article will be clicked on and opened. Because of the title, people determine whether they continue reading, or not.
It is, therefore, very important that you think carefully about the title of your blog post. If you already have a title and are still working on your blog post, you can take a closer look at your title when you’re done. Is it catchy enough to make people curious? Adjust it if necessary.
Error 13: Your blog post has no personal touch
Starting with business blogging has the disadvantage that you can lose your persona. This is, of course, not true when you start a personal blog. You can very well make each of your blog posts personal. Yet, I see that people who start blogging mostly start to write objectively or just give information about a certain subject.
People rarely need “just information.” If I want to buy a pair of shoes, I already have that “plain information” in the description box at Amazon. But what do we do? We read reviews. We want opinions. We want to hear a personal angle. Are they comfortable? Are they durable? Do they look cheap or expensive? You obviously need to hear a personal opinion.
But even when you start blogging as an entrepreneur, you can give a personal touch to your blog posts. You can write about things that you have experienced yourself, but also express a wish you would have for your company (for example: where will I be in 10 years from now?).
Of course, it is important that you give information when blogging. Informative posts rule. But you can certainly provide a blog post a personal touch, by adding:
- Your own opinion.
- Share your own experience.
- Use a little humor.
- Writing in your own way. Who are you and let this be “felt” throughout the blog post.
There are lots of opportunities to make your blog post personal. Consider how you can do this yourself. Let your creativity run wild. Yes also as an entrepreneur. Are you going to stand out from all the others out there, and if yes, how?
Error 14: Visitor cannot start a conversation with you
Getting reactions can be exciting because deep inside you want to know how do visitors react to what you have written? Did they like it? Was it bad? Too shallow? Was it a post they shared with everyone they know?
But unfortunately, I often see that visitors are not being encouraged to engage. And I mean the here: call to action. It is not only a reaction under your blog post on your website but also on your social media.
I want to make it clear that getting reactions is not self-evident. Nowadays you see that people are starting to respond less and less to a blog post and it’s a sad reality, proven in stats. Especially when you are just getting started. Yet it is important that your visitor can communicate to you about your blog posts.
Make sure that when you get a response, whether this is on your message on your website or on social media, you always respond. And you can also provoke a reaction by placing a question or comment at the end of your blog post that people can respond to. As a rule of thumb, the more provocative your blog post is (within cultural limits), the more responses it gets.
Error 15: You copy blog posts from others
Plagiarism (copying content from other sources) is a tick that bloggers can quickly make use of. But do not do this, seriously! It can seem so easy, especially if they are texts that really fit within your own niche. Yet you should not do this anyway, because Google will also punish you severely for this. You will not be found as easily in Search Engines, or in the worst case, your website or blog will be completely wiped out from the search results.
However, getting inspiration from other sources is not only a good idea, but it’s also often necessary. How many ideas can you come up with, if you just sit in a dark room? (Even if you meditate and pray ideas will come flowing to you). Sometimes it is difficult to blog about something for a long time without running out of things to say. You can certainly look at your competitors/colleagues for inspiration…
Do you see something that you can also blog about? Fine, but make sure that the blog post you write is entirely your own. You can read the contents of a blog post that inspired you and write your own, in your own words (yes, kind of article spinning, only even more complicated). But you know what I mean. Be sure to check with Grammarly’s free Copyscape tool to make sure your text is, indeed, original.
Error 16: Your blog post consists of only text that connects
Oh god, I do not know how it works with you, but what do you do when you visit a website and only see text a text that doesn’t make sense? The first thing I do is immediately click away and continue searching. Reading blog posts should be easy. And you do not do this by popping up a whole lot of text just to stuff the page with fluff, or re-write content to the point it passes Copyscape yet become impossible to read.
It is important that when you write, you also break it down into (logical) paragraphs. Because this ensures easy eye-scanning. In addition, this kind of article also reads easily. Most people, who read a blog post, are just scanning it with their eyes. Moreover, people can also choose what is interesting for them and what they might already know and therefore skip.
Error 17: Your blog post is purely focused on Google and the SEO
You’ve probably read that it’s important that when you start blogging, you’re focusing your blog post on the SEO, keywords optimization, keyword research, and Google optimization. So the visibility in Google is a top priority, right..? Of course, it is important and very cool that you score high in Google. But seriously… for whom do you actually write your blog posts? Just your visitors.
Of course, you can really work on the SEO around this, by using keywords that you process your blog post. Yet, I often see that bloggers start blogging for the sole purpose of getting higher in Google. Oftentimes, this is also the primarily and only goal. So the blog post is not really interesting to read for the visitors, but was built for SEO. Personally, I think you really miss your goal, because it is ultimately about giving visitors answers/tips on their questions.
Don’t forget that if you start blogging regularly and release blog posts on some kind of regular basis, you can also continue to score higher on Google. Google loves fresh content and frequently updated blogs. Google recognizes that new unique content is published and values it.
Error 18: You do not update your old blog posts
One of the mistakes I regularly see is that a blog post does not get an update, once it becomes outdated. For example, hyperlink which is no longer functional. That is unfortunate because when I experience that, I am quickly gone as a visitor. Especially if it happens more often.
So it is highly advisable to go through old blog posts from time to time to check if everything is still up to date. Do images show up, or are there broken images? Do links work well? If you use affiliate networks, is the link still functional and will generate commissions? If not, then fix it and replace or remove links that no longer work.
Error 19: You blog irregularly
Do you want to score higher as quickly as possible within the Google search results? One of the most important things to do this is that you regularly post a new blog post.
But what do you mean by the term “regularity”? Because what works well for one person will not work as well for the other person. I prefer to have three blog posts per week online. Now that has not been successful in recent weeks because we had holidays. But there are always two blog posts online on any given week. Maybe you only have time for one blog post per week or every other week. Just make sure you pick up the pace that works for you.
The point is – keep it consistent. Evaluate your lifestyle and your free time, how often can you write a new blog post or article? You will still be scheduling them in advance (just like I do). You can choose to take a few hours once a week to start blogging. And who knows, you can stay in the flow and you can type 2 or 3 blog posts. Which you can then schedule in advance, thanks to this fantastic feature in WordPress.
Error 20: You keep reading and tweaking your blog post to death.
You know that? Are you not easily satisfied? Are you a perfectionist? If you are blogging, it may happen that you are not satisfied quickly, you will continue to read and fix and re-write… to death. The result is that you never or sporadically put a new blog post online.
Of course, it is important that you read through your blog post when you are done and iron out any inconsistencies and mishaps. It is possible that certain sentences are not entirely correct or easy to read, especially if you are not a native English speaker. In that case, by all means, proofread it. But keep in mind, that a blog post cannot be perfect and shouldn’t be. Not in all cases, but sometimes, quantity can beat the quality, when it comes to blogging.
As you can see, there are 20 mistakes that are common when it comes to blogging. Not only for beginners, but also for bloggers who have been working for a long time. We all make mistakes.
I wonder if there are other mistakes that you may have made and that I have not named. Leave it in a comment below!