The Perfect Start: 10 Blogging Mistakes You MUST Avoid as a Beginner
We are all taught to learn from our mistakes, time and again. While it is true that the mistakes we commit to are our best teachers, it is also true that you can learn from the experience of others.
Blogging happens to be a thoroughly creative pursuit. So it often seems like there are no right and wrong answers – but there are. Blogging is so much more than just writing about the topics you feel passionate about.
10 Blogging Mistakes that Novice Bloggers Make
Here we list down 10 blogging blunders that novice bloggers make, so you can take pre-emptive action and save yourself from unnecessary falls.
Blogging Mistake #1 – Working Without a Calendar
Here’s a typical life cycle of any beginner: when you first start publishing content, you are so driven by your enthusiasm and passion, you write reams of posts. Sometimes, even multiple posts in a day.
However, as time passes, you become erratic with your posts, the frequency goes down a steep curve and you struggle with finding inspiration for the next post. It could be the writer’s block and that is totally fine, but as a blogger, you need to send out content in a more regular manner.
Here’s a hack no one tells you: you don’t have to write every day in order to churn out good content. Instead, strategize. Write on the day that you feel like it and then use this content in packets through the week.
This is where the editorial calendar will come in handy. Consistency is key in today’s time. All the algorithms favor consistency in posts, even on social media (where you are likely to share the posts with a wider readership).
Setting a routine can help bring in seriousness to the process. Have a dedicated space where you can write and brainstorm for your blog. Invest in a whiteboard and let the ideas roll.
The more content there is on the blog, the more readers will find it useful to visit the blog and that will directly translate into more traffic for you. But the volume of content should never compromise the quality and consistency.
2. Thinking that Blogging = Writing
Blogging is more than just writing. It is planning, brainstorming, reading the pulse of your audience, tailoring content to their needs or the needs of the brand you are writing about or for.
Blogging also encompasses technical tidbits like content optimization, keyword infusion, among other things.
3. Ignoring the Audience
Writing is often referred to as a solitary pursuit. I’ve already stated that blogging is different than writing and this is one of the ways. As a blogger, you essentially write for a specific set of people – your target group. So it is important to understand the demographic that you are catering to.
If your readers are engaging with a particular piece, take that feedback and analyze what got them ‘hooked’ to the post. Why did it resonate with them? If they leave a comment, respond to them. If they write to you, write back.
One way of ensuring that your content resonates with your target audience is by testing it on micro-blogging or social media platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn first. If you receive a good response, you can go ahead and write a feature-length post.
4. Preaching Rather than Talking
You may be an expert in your field, you might have years of experience under your belt, but if you are didactic, people are not going to listen to you. Do not be preachy and tell them what to do. Instead, share anecdotes and examples so they can see your point and are convinced.
Another blogging sin is using heavy jargons. If your readers wanted to read research papers and scientific studies, they’d source the whitepapers. But that is not what they are looking for. They want someone to have a conversation with them. Your tone should be chatty, conversational and engaging.
5. Writing Long, Winding Posts
If you are taking the first part of your post and just going in concentric circles to reach the topic you are doing it wrong. You might be thinking this helps create mystery. But what you are not taking into account is the short attention spans we have today. The time of your readers is precious. Get to the point. Dice out information. Give them thinking points.
6. Making Claims without Evidence
It may not feel like a big deal but if you are making claims and statements on your blog, try and back them up with evidence. When you say something like ‘all doctors face this issue’, there is no way for the reader to confirm the fact. If this is the premise for your entire blog post, it might jeopardize the credibility of every word that follows such statements.
7. Biting without Citing
Following the last point, when you quote someone or borrow someone’s words or ideas or comics or illustrations or photographs or even research findings etc, you should give them appropriate credits. Not only is it an ethical thing to do, but it will also keep you out of legal trouble. Remember, unique content works and plagiarism is not acceptable under any condition.
8. Work without a CTA (Call to Action)
You’ve written a great blog. It has your expertise but in a chatty, conversational tone so people will enjoy it. There are a lot of important points you make in the post. The readers tell you they are using it in their life and benefiting from it. The post is driving a lot of traffic to the website.
On the surface, everything looks great. But have you made the right use of this opportunity? If there is no Call-To-Action on your blog, you are missing out on a massive opportunity. You can ask people to subscribe to an email list. Or direct them towards a purchase that will bring commissions for you.
Monetizing your blog is another conversation, but little steps like these are crucial even when you first start out.
Crucial Blogging Mistake #9 – Neglecting the Headline
This is a BIG ONE folks – so pay attention!
If you think that your post is great, that people will have multiple takeaways from it and that the readers will find value in it – but don’t put any effort into the headline, then you are setting yourself up for failure.
Your headline is what is going to make people decide if they want to even open the link and read the article. Invest some time in your headline and keep it simple, powerful, useful and bold.
10. Faking It
Being ‘authentic’ is the buzzword. Your audience will not relate to you if you are faking it.
Have your unique voice and stick to it. Let your personality stay authentic – you don’t have to change yourself for a blog post. It does not have to be a declaration of the kind of person you are, just infuse your personality into the content without eclipsing the topic.