Beginning Blogging Mistakes To Avoid
Starting a new blog requires you to consider a large number of different factors, so it’s easy to make mistakes and even totally neglect important things that many beginners don’t even know that they should know about.
To hopefully help you avoid some of those mistakes, and save you from having to ‘reinvent the wheel’ here are some of the more typical mistakes that beginners make.
Using a Free Hosting Service
Free blogs, as opposed to ‘self-hosted’ ones, appear less professional to advertisers. Thus ad agencies are much less likely to want to have such a site host their ads, so it’s harder to make money from your blog.
Others cons are:
- Speed and Bandwidth limited – your site is likely to be slow, discouraging visitors.
- Poor Support – Free hosts usually have inferior customer service.
- Less control – you can’t download plugins to expand the site’s capablities. Theme selections and CSS functions are also limited.
In the words of Ryan Biddulph of ‘Blogging From Paradise’ fame: “New bloggers often make the calamitous mistake of not buying a domain and hosting. This is like trying to run a store out of your parents house. Free rent but nobody will take you seriously.”
Not Promoting Their Work
Too many bloggers spend most of their time tweaking their blog, and not enough in marketing or PROMOTING it. Successful bloggers often preach the ‘80/20′ rule, which says that you spend 20% of your time creating content and the other 80% promoting it (mostly on social media.)
Promoting your work on some combination of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ etc etc is almost essential these days if you’re hoping to monetize your blog. If you want the world to come to your blog, firstly you have to go and tell the world that it exists!
Failing To Capture Leads
Many successful bloggers say one of their biggest mistakes when they started out was failing to capture leads and start an email list from day one of their blogs.
Usually this is done by a web form (such as provided by ConvertKit on my blog) and the offer of a freebie (lead magnet) such as a PDF, ebook or even a free course. Lead Magnets have been shown to have higher takeup rates than simply offering to “Keep You Updated With Our Newsletter” as many bloggers still do.
An email list is one of the primary traffic drivers and monetization streams to a blog once it’s sizeable enough. A few relevant quotes in case you’re not convinced:
Neil Patel of CrazyEgg: “Out of all of the channels I tested as a marketer, email continually outperforms most of them.”
Ramsay Taplin of The Blog Tyrant: “If my search rankings disappeared, I’d still be able to promote my blog to thousands via email.”
Noah Kagan of SumoMe: “Appsumo is a 7 figure business and 90%+ of our revenue comes from emails.”
Poor Layout & Presentation
Watch out for the dreaded ‘Wall of Text’! Writing text for the net is very different to writing for a book, as the average reader’s attention span is much more limited and distracted, especially for those reading on mobile devices.
Thus experienced bloggers use lots of white space and keep paragraphs short (a maximum of two to three sentences is usually recommended.) Sentences should be kept short and simpler language is usually better (no showing off your vocabulary in other words.)
Larger fonts are also used by most sites, with a font size of 16 pixels recommended by many (it’s usually 12 pixels in books.) Still quite a few sites persist with tiny text, which is definitely a turnoff for many, including myself, and looks even worse on mobile devices.
Since mobile accounts for about 75% of web use, you DEFINITELY need to ensure that your site is optimized for it.
Google Analytics data is invaluable for finding out your ‘bounce rate’, which posts are the most popular, how long readers are staying on the site, and how they’re finding the site (social media, Google etc).
You can use this information to decide what type of posts to write and what’s not working for you.
Focussing Too Much On Keywords
By all means perform keyword research, but make sure you put your readers first and search engines second. Writing for people also works well for search engines, so don’t focus on stuffing as many keywords as you can into your posts. Google can even penalize you for this practice, unlike in the early days of blogging.
Omitting Social Media Icons
To reach a wider audience you should make your blog posts as easily shareable as possible. You can greatly increase your traffic by including buttons that don’t force your readers to copy and paste the URL to Facebook and Twitter etc (mostly they won’t bother).
Make sure the icons are prominently displayed so that the reader doesn’t have to hunt for them, or they may just decide it’s not worth the trouble.
Using Copyrighted Images
Some bloggers have been hit with lawsuits costing them thousands of dollars for using copyrighted images on their blogs, so this is something you should make sure you’re doing correctly right away. If you’re not sure of any pictures on your site just delete them immediately—better safe than sorry!
Don’t think that it’s a chance worth taking – companies use programs that crawl through websites looking for copyrighted images. It can take a long time, but unauthorized images are usually located eventually.
What other mistakes are beginning bloggers prone to? Let me know in the comments!
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