If you’re aiming to get your blog out to a wider audience, there are a few blogging mistakes you’ll want to avoid. These are the sort of mistakes that can easily prevent you gaining real momentum with your traffic and reach. There are of course countless mistakes one could make, and many of them are subjective rather than firm rules, but there are a few that I think most people will agree are definitely blogging mistakes…
1. Inconsistent Posting
One of the most prolific blogging mistakes is being inconsistent with posting. You don’t have to post every day, but you do need to be relatively consistent. If your blogging is sporadic, you will never gain regular readers. Basically, in order to keep people coming back for more, you need to keep giving them more to come back for! If you update every day for a week, and then disappear for two weeks, people won’t bother to come back; they’ll think you’ve stopped blogging. You can’t build traffic to your site without regular – and frequent – posts. Any successful blogger will tell you there is a definite link between the frequency of their posts and the level of their traffic.
2. Making Posts Hard to Read
We all have a short attention span these days; we often read blog posts on our mobiles, while the TV or radio is on in the background, or we’re in a queue somewhere. There are numerous things that will pull our attention away from what we are reading – and if it’s one great big chunk of text, it’s really hard to find your place when you return. I don’t know about you, but I’ll only do that once or twice; the third time I’m distracted from what I’m reading, I’ll come back and look at it and think “I don’t think I really care where I was up to…”
Lists and bullet points are a great way to break up text. Use header text too, to break up your post so that people can easily see where they’ve got to. Think about how newspapers set out their articles – especially tabloids. There are lots of breaks in the text, short paragraphs, headings and lists. Aim for an easily read post, and more people will read it.
3. Too Many Personal Updates
Ok, ok, I know a lot of blogs are personal – and many of us have built up a readership of people who genuinely want to know what happens in our lives. But it’s hard to build a big following just by posting about yourself and what you’ve been up to. Unless your last name is Kardashian, most people really aren’t that bothered by what you’re up to. Of course. we can all still write personal updates which include our experiences – but the trick is to make them something that will appeal to a wider audience. If you’ve been through something tough, talk about how you got through it. Tell people how you’re overcoming a health problem, things you’re experimenting with to help solve a problem. Rather than “this is what we did yesterday,” try to make it “how to do the thing we did yesterday.”
This one is sort of linked to the first point. Quite often I read blog posts that seem to begin with one particular train of thought, and then go off on a tangent about what the author ate for their tea last night, or recounting a long conversation that doesn’t really seem relevant to the story they were originally telling. I’m a massive fan of editing, espeically with blog posts. Once you’ve written your post, edit the life out of it! Ask yourself whether every single sentence is relevant to the point you’re trying to make, or just filling up space. I deleted three sentences just from this paragraph.
4. Bad Headlines
I know it’s great to have a very funny or edgy blog post title; you probably think it will make people intrigued, so they’ll click on the link to see what the heck you’re on about… not so. Your headline should really spell it out to people what they will find if they click the link. These days very few people have the time to click a link just to see what it is; they will just scroll on down to the next thing, which tells them exactly what they’re getting. This is where making a list becomes really useful; you can make your title not just “ways to improve your blog” but “10 ways to improce your blog.” It tells people explicitly what they will find when they click the link.
5. Poor Opening Paragraphs
Following on from the previous point, your opening paragraph is the first thing people will read when they click your link. If it is badly written, people will just click away. You don’t need to waste valuable time A great way to begin a blog post is with a short story, an interesting fact or the promise of what readers will get from reading the rest of your post. This will hopefully grab their attention and make them want to read the rest of the post.
These are my top five blogging mistakes; do you agree? Is there one I’ve missed off this list? I’d love to hear your thoughts!