Blogging is a minefield when you first start out. There’s so much potential here and no doubt you’re probably already dreaming of what your life will be like once you’re a ‘top blogger’ with a massive, consistent, passive income from writing about something that you feel passionately about.
But it only takes a mistake for that dream to disappear in a puff of smoke. Smaller mistakes meanwhile can leave you spinning your wheels and making no progress. How disappointing would it be to work hard on a blog for years and make no progress because of a few avoidable mistakes?
Here are 7 that you should avoid at all costs.
1 Having a Badly Designed Site
You’d think this one would be obvious, but it’s actually one of the most common issues you’ll run into when you look around the web.
People seem to think it’s okay to have a site filled with low res stock images, a free WordPress theme and poor grammar. Maybe they’ve covered it in adverts.
But this will immediately limit your potential for growth in numerous serious ways.
For starters, it will make other bloggers and authorities in your niche far less likely to want to associate with you. It will prevent potential customers from wanting to spend money on your site. And it will mean many people dismiss your opinion – even if you actually had something very interesting and useful to say!
2 Using the Plural
‘We here at ‘health bloggers.co’ are very interested in health and how it can impact the rest of our lives. Sounds okay sure, so what’s the problem? Well, unfortunately many of the people using the plural in this way are not members of groups, organizations or businesses. In other words, they’re pretty much just pretending at being a company when it’s actually one dude sat at home in his pants.
And the unfortunate thing is that everyone knows that. I’m sorry fella, but by writing ‘we’ you really aren’t fooling anyone. A blog owned by a large company will have several new articles uploaded a day, unique photos and a very professional web design. There is nothing wrong with being indie – in fact it’s quite hip to be independent these days. But that said, there’s nothing more amateurish than making out you’re a big organization when it’s plainly obvious that you aren’t. So, don’t do it…
3 Avoiding Controversy
There’s a very successful blogger who writes about self-development and general success. His name is Steve Pavlina, and his blog is actually very deserving of its success being a great read and regularly updated.
And part of the reason that the blog is so interesting is that it tackles some very interesting subjects and doesn’t shy away from controversy. Many people it seems are just too afraid to talk about subjects like religion, vegetarianism, politics etc. because they don’t want to offend half their readers. It makes sense, but actually, that then just leaves the blogs a lot less interesting than they could otherwise be. People don’t have to agree necessarily with your articles, but if you can generate some kind of emotional reaction then you are on to a real winner. If people are angry at what you’ve written, then that’s good – because they’ll remember it for sure this way.
4 Not Having a Strong Brand
More to the point, the aim is not to try to appeal to everyone. Know your audience and deliver great quality, in-depth content that they will find riveting: even if you ruffle a few feathers along the way.
This comes down having a strong brand image and knowing what your brand represents. What is your site really about? Who is it for? What are your values?
Knowing all this is crucial because it will allow you to better market your site and to hone in on your target audience. If you are a fitness site, then ask yourself what kind of fitness site you are. Are you a ‘fun’ fitness site? Or are you a hardcore bodybuilding site? This will change everything from your marketing, to your logo design, to your subject matters.
5 Writing Opinion as Fact
While it’s okay to be occasionally controversial, you do have to make it clear that this is your opinion and not claim that it’s fact. At the same time, you need to make very certain that you are certain on any facts that you do report – if you are sharing inaccurate information and someone notices then this will instantly make you look very amateurish and you will lose those viewers. There’s no surer way to lose trust and authority (two of your most valuable commodities) than to write nonsense and disguise it as fact.
Not only that, but you really don’t want to attract too much angry dispute in your comments – and certainly not to engage with it if you don’t have evidence to back up what you’re saying. If you write in a scientific subject area, then look for references wherever possible. Otherwise, quote your sources!
6 Not Investing in Social Media Marketing
Content marketing and social media go hand in hand. At first, social media growth will be slow and you might feel as though you’re shouting into the void… it can be very easy to just ignore it.
But once you start gaining traction here, you can use it to cross-promote your new posts and it will make a massive difference to your viewer count. So, invest a little time here to begin with and then grow it with time.
Also: if you have the skills then create a YouTube channel. This tip is potentially game-changing, don’t ignore it!
7 Not Providing Value
Finally, the biggest and most serious mistake you can make is not providing any value.
Many of the points we’ve looked at so far come down to your motivations as a blogger. Have you created a blog in a niche that you’re passionate about? Are you proud of the design? Do you have something useful, new and interesting to say in each post?
Or have you chosen a niche that you know is popular, paid a cheap writer to fill it with generic content, tried to design it yourself and covered it in ads?
Think about all the sites you read on a regularly basis – that make the real money and have huge audiences. What sets them apart from the trashy, spam-filled sites you see advertised on marketing sites?