Setting up, maintaining, and running a popular blog isn’t as easy as it sounds. In addition to doing everything right, you have to make sure you don’t do anything wrong.
There are 7 common mistakes bloggers make, most of which end up killing their blog—sometimes before it ever even really gets started.
1. You Don’t Post Consistently and Frequently
Frequency is one of the most important aspects you should consider when planning out your blog posts. Your posts need to be consistent in their frequency, and that needs to be fairly often. We post two to three times a week, but even one post a week is fine so long as you do, indeed, post every week.
Having four posts one week and no more for another month and a half doesn’t do much good, even if it’s the same amount of content. Without frequency, people stop coming back to your blog to see what’s new.
In addition to frequency, your posts should stay consistent in common theme, voice, and quality. If you’re able to keep your post consistent with all of these qualities, you’ll be a lot more likely to build an audience and keep it intact.
2. Your Posts Aren’t Long Enough
Posts that are only 200-300 words aren’t long enough to be informative, helpful, or even really entertaining.
Every now and then a quick post alerting followers to a special event is one thing, but overall, your posts need to be significantly longer, aiming for at least 1,000 words. If they’re much less, there isn’t enough content to be worth reading in most cases.
Keep your posts long enough to have substantial information and you’ll be good to go.
3. Not Doing Your Research
Just as with everything else in business, being successful with blogging has a little to do with luck and networking, and a whole lot to do with hard work in the form of research and preparedness.
There are a lot of things you need to know before you ever get started on each blog post. You need to research:
- Your Audience: If you haven’t figured out who your audience is or what they’d like to read, you don’t have much to go on. While you do get to choose what you want to write about, you also have to keep your audience in mind—after all, if no one wants to read it, it won’t make a difference at all.
- Keywords: Keyword research is so important, especially if you’re ever going to want SEO to help your site (which, at least eventually, you will). In order to make sure your blog post is seen, you need to understand what keywords tie in well with each post, and optimize the post for these keywords. Fortunately there are some really great tools that help bloggers and site owners research keywords. I recommend WordTracker and WordStream.
- Your Competition: Not researching your competition is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. When you take a look at the sites and blogs that will be youre direct competition, you can learn a few things, like what content they have performs best, what your target audience is responding to, what keywords they are using, and—most importantly—what you can do to make your site different and offer something unique.
In addition to researching each blog post and making sure the facts you’re providing are correct (there is no faster way to lose credibility than to post wrong information), you need to do research than what you’re posting in each article, too.
Research and preparedness will pay off, even if it takes a while and doesn’t seem worth it. Trust me, it is, and neglecting this research is one of the biggest and most common mistakes bloggers make.
4. Using Weak Titles and Headlines
People won’t read your post if your headline can’t even catch their attention.
For the record, this is something I personally struggled with, despite having had a penchant in college for titling creative works. I originally made the mistake of thinking “7 Mistakes Made on Blogs” would be better than “7 Common Mistakes Bloggers Make that Kill Their Blog” because it was simple—that, however, isn’t enough.
When creating a title for each blog post, there is a lot to consider—certainly a lot more than I’d realized when I first got started. You need to keep several factors in mind to create a strong headline. Your title needs to be:
- Keyword Oriented: Whenever possible, you need to feature the keyword you’re targeting in the title of your blog post. Even if SEO isn’t your endgame, it still shouldn’t be ignored. If you’ve got your keyword(s) in your title, you’re already on the right step. There’s a great plugin you can use to help you optimize for keywords, which you can read about here.
- Descriptive: Your title and headlines need to be just descriptive enough that it tells visitors what they will be reading about. When users see your title, it needs to give them a basic idea of what they’re reading. People won’t click if they have no idea what page they’re going to next.
- Brief: For all of my fellow Parks & Rec fans out there, you know how Leslie is always coming up with titles for news articles, and the titles always seem to take a solid two minutes to say? That’s the opposite of what you want. While you want your title to be descriptive, telling readers what’ll read, you also need it to be brief. An eight word maximum is a good place to stay around—descriptive, but not as long as the post itself.
- Interesting: In addition to being both descriptive and brief, it is crucial that your title is interesting and eye-catching. Your title needs to make users want to click and want to read that post. It should offer value, often either in the forms of entertainment or informative value.
5. Not Being Audience-Focused
Some bloggers think more about what they want to write about, instead of what readers want to read. While you do get to write about what you want to write about, you also need to really consider your audience and your readers. After all, if no one wants to read it, what’s the point?
This goes back to researching your audience and knowing your niche. Sites like Quora, Yahoo answers, or industry forums (for us it’s Warrior Forum) are really useful tools when you want to see what your audience is talking about and what questions they’re asking.
The goal is to provide value in your posts, whether through entertainment or information. Answer questions or offer entertainment that your audience will want to read, and your posts will be shared and read much more frequently.
6. Not Having an Email Sign-up
In the cases of most “serious bloggers” who are using blogging to expand or boost their business, the ultimate goal isn’t to necessarily to get people to their blog—it’s to get leads from the people who come to the blog.
Without a pop-up or easy-to-spot sign-up form that prompts visitors to subscribe to your e-mail list, you won’t get those leads, and more often than not, they’ll forget to come back to your site to visit if you aren’t reminding them to.
7. Working on Auto-Pilot
If you’re blogging casually, approaching it as a casual past time is perfectly fine. If, however, you’re using it to expand or grow your business and/or client list, you can’t function on auto-pilot. Working on auto-pilot without plans for expansion, or adjusting strategies when needed, can be one of the fastest ways to kill your blog—even if it’s going strong at first.
You have to track the stats on your blog; we recommend using Google Analytics. It’s also important to come up with new ways to bring traffic to your blog, and to make sure your posts are getting the same (or better) traffic and responses as the last one.
Just because you did research once doesn’t mean that’s it—it’s important to continue to research, to come up with new ideas, and to continue to grow. You wouldn’t put your business on auto-pilot, but so many people do it with their blogs.
Blogging for business and careers is no easy task, especially when your business is relying on content marketing and blogging for its expansion. There’s a lot of thought and work that needs to go into each post, but if you can avoid these 7 common mistakes bloggers make, you’re on your way to growing your blog—and your business.