11 COMMON MISTAKES BLOGGERS MAKE IN THEIR FIRST YEAR
This happens so frequently.
New bloggers who are struggling to grow their online presence and can't figure out what they're doing wrong. Especially when they feel like they're putting so much work in.
From taking part in Twitter chats to publishing blog posts regularly, to even making sure your SEO is on top form - but nothing happens.
If you're a new blogger, you're probably wanting to know why your traffic and engagement is at a standstill. I get it - it's frustrating.
Well I've been a blogger for four years now, which is hard to believe! And the one thing I've learnt is that I sure as hell made a lot of mistakes before I became successful. My first two years were a huge learning curve. And I've still got a long way to go.
But what's great for you is that you don't have to make the same mistakes I did. You can learn from me and use that knowledge to put yourself out there and get a breakthrough with your online presence.
If this is your first year as a new blogger, here are some common mistakes that you can learn to avoid.
#1 | You don't market yourself enough
Be honest with me here...
How much are you really marketing yourself?
I mean, do you have a plan for promoting your latest blog post? Or, do you just post one link waiting for readers to come flocking, wondering why you're not getting much traffic?
For the longest time, I had no promotional strategy after I published a blog post. I thought hitting publish and sharing it once was all I needed to do.
I could not have been more wrong. You'd think I'd have realised that the more you promote your post, the more chance there is of people seeing it, right?
If you don't know, when a blogger publishes a blog post, you have so many opportunities to promote it than you realise. There could be hundreds more people seeing your content, if only you put it out there more!
There's a lot of content shared every single day and while it can be difficult to stand out in all the noise, you definitely want to make sure you're actually in the noise.
So when you share your blog post, you want to share it on all your platforms the day it goes live, as well as the next day, the next week, the next month and so on. People are on social media at different times throughout the day. You want to make sure you're giving people multiple chances to see your content.
So take a look at your marketing strategy, reevaluate it and make sure you're promoting your content as much as possible.
#2 | Your brand statement isn't strong
Here's the thing about your brand statement:
The number one reason you're probably not attracting your ideal reader is because you don't have a solid enough brand statement.
For example, maybe when you're describing yourself you use phrases like, "I'm a beauty blogger", "I'm a fashion blogger" or "I run a lifestyle blog called X."
Being generic isn't going to make people want to read your blog, because they don't know what's in it for them (unless you have millions of followers).
Remember that you are not writing for your own benefit, you are writing for the benefit of your readers. And this means you need to convey what makes you different and how your content is going to entertain/encourage/inspire/help them. Even if you're just starting out and you're really not sure about your direction yet.
That's why in the 28-day Blogging Breakthrough challenge, you get a whole lesson on how to craft your own brand statement. And I also made sure to provide detailed examples as well as a template so my readers can find it easier to create their own.
This challenge is currently only available to members of my Facebook community, so join here and get your copy!
#3 | You're consuming too much content
This was definitely me as a newbie blogger.
I was new and reading blog post after blog post from some amazing content creators. Along the way, I realised that I was consuming so much content that I wasn't putting anything into action and loosing my voice along the way.
So I stopped. Instead of reading every post about blogging tips out there, I picked 3-5 key people whose content I read, implemented and shared. And you know what happened? I became a lot clearer and started to take action.
Makes sense, right?
Now I know better not to overwhelm myself when I need to research something or want to learn something new.
I leaned to give myself a time limit so I was only spending a certain amount of time consuming content.
Consuming too much content for many bloggers and even small business owners is a red flag that you're feeling overwhelmed and need to cut back.
So, before you spend an afternoon reading up on why you need an email list, pick 3-5 key people you trust and learn from them. I promise it'll make a difference.
#4 | You make too many spelling, grammar and formatting errors
Let me just clear something up here - I'm guilty of making spelling and grammar errors. If I didn't proofread my blog posts, you'd wonder what was going on.
But if there's one thing that's going to make you look more professional as a blogger, it's making sure your posts are formatted correctly. Your blog posts form the foundation of your blog. They're what people see the most. So read through each blog post after you've written it and format it with your readers in mind.
If possible, have a friend or family member read over your blog posts too (this is something I'm going to ask my mum to start doing!)
Formatting is just as important as spelling and grammar. If your post is just one wall of centralised text, I'm going to click off straight away.
Look back at this last section - short sentences and paragraphs. That's what you want to aim for.
I know a great productivity hack is to write up a quick 500 word blog post and just schedule it so you know you've got something going live.
But just be careful that you've checked all your errors before you hit that publish button.
#5 | You're only in it for the money
I know there are a lot of people who start a blog purely for this reason. They see their favourite bloggers being sent loads of freebies and they think, "hey I want that, maybe I should start a blog too."
But this is when it can become dangerous. This is when people don't realise what they're getting themselves into.
This year I've been asked to take part in a few round-up posts where I share a top piece of advice I've learnt as a blogger. I've found myself sharing the same of advice each time:
"You've got to love what you do. You've got to be in it for the long haul. You can just be in it for the money, the freebies or the pageviews, because that stuff doesn't happen straight away, maybe not even within the first year. So you got to be dedicated, keep going with it and remember why you're doing it."
It's hard advise to stomach but it needs to be said. It can be a tough gig for bloggers, especially for those using a blog to support their business or career. And although the money and freebies might be nice - they're definitely not the be all and end all.
So when you know you're doing it for the money, don't be surprised when your readers see straight through that and you don't end up getting anywhere.
It doesn't mean you're not a good blogger. It just means you might not be in it for the right reasons.
So take my advice, please don't get into blogging for the money. Do it for the right reasons and all that stuff will come when you've made more of a name for yourself.
#6 | You don't have an editorial calendar for your blog
Do you have an editorial calendar for all your blog, newsletter and even YouTube content you send out?
I'm learning that the more content platforms I manage for myself and my clients, the more I really need to plan out what content is being published. And the best way to do that is using a tool like Trello or a template in Google Docs.
I use Google Docs to store my editorial calendar and video ideas, and Evernote to store all of my different content ideas.
My Google Doc template lays out what piece of content is going out on each day of the week and what category each falls under. You can see what I mean in the image below.
After my posts are written, there's then a process they go through, which includes being formatted, edited and proofread.
My template is also colour coded, meaning that each category has its own colour, which helps me keep track of all my content. Items in not in bold are scheduled and ready to go. Items in bold are yet to be scheduled.
I keep tabs of every single piece of content I create and if I don't use an idea, I move it ahead to the following month. I also create editorials calendars for each of my clients that I provide blog post writing services for so that I never miss a deadline.
I've been using this system for nearly two years and it's been so effective in helping me streamline my content and see how everything flows together.
#7 | You're not using your blog enough
I see so many business owners saying they don't post enough on their blog because they don't think it's a priority. And you know what I think?
They're crazy! A blog is the best way to attract readers, fans and clients!
It's an instant way to grow your portfolio and build a community. Readers like to see consistent, fresh content on a blog - if you don't post frequently enough then people will soon loose interest.
It's also a great way to demonstrate your expertise and become a thought leader in your industry.
So get your editorial calendar and start planning more content.
#8 | You're too confident
Yep, I went there!
Being confident can definitely help to make you a successful blogger. There are so many new bloggers out there that don't have confidence yet, so having any amount of confidence can help you grow your online presence. But having too much confidence won't get you anywhere.
If you feel entitled that you deserve a certain amount of pageviews a month or that because you've got an English degree your blog posts should get shared more than others, you're going to have a tough time getting ANY amount of readers.
And just because you're in blogging for the right reasons, doesn't actually guarantee you success.
Being too confident can come across the wrong way to readers and other bloggers too.
So before demanding a certain amount of money for that sponsored post, be sure you've earned enough experience and credibility first.
#9 | You're blogging about too many topics
Sometimes, more doesn't necessarily mean better.
If you're blogging about too many topics - for example, fashion, beauty, food, gardening and music - you'll have a harder time growing a loyal community.
You know why? Because readers don't want to get too confused.
Bloggers that focus on 3-4 main categories have a much better chance at getting readers to come back to their blog, because they're staying consistent which helps readers know what to expect.
When I moved from a lifestyle blog to a blog purely about online marketing focusing on four specific topics, my pageviews doubled and just between October and November this year, they've doubled AGAIN.
The more knowledgeable you are about a few specific topics, the more your traffic and engagement will grow.
#10 | You're not sure how to use social media effectively
With Instagram changing its algorithm and Facebook favouring paid content, what's a new blogger to do?
You're just learning how to use Twitter to generate traffic to your blog and now you hear you need to be on Pinterest?
Which social media platforms are the right ones for new bloggers to focus on? A lot of people say to concentrate on one or two platforms but I've found four to have really worked for me:
These four platforms have played a huge part in getting me to where I am today and winning my two blog awards. So don't worry too much about platforms like LinkedIn, Periscope or even YouTube.
Get yourself set up on those four platforms and just take it from there step-by-step.
#11 | You don't have time to develop your skills
I get it. There's no time to do even the basic things on your to do list!
I'm on a train right now and nearly at my station, and really want to get this blog post finished so I know it's done, so I'm super typing right now!
But you're a new blogger. You should have a bit of extra time, right? And one of the best things you can do with some of your time - especially if you want to grow your online presence which I know you do - is to develop your skills and learn how to use new tools.
Things like Facebook advertising, Evernote, and social media management tools can all help you add more structure to your blog and online presence.
What's great is that if you take up one of my blog coaching packages, I'll give you a customised list of recommended tools that you can start using immediately.
Learn from my mistakes
I didn't make all these 11 mistakes, but I definitely made a few of them. And you know what? Now I'm a multi-award-winning blogger.
So if you do make these mistakes, don't ever think that your blogging journey is over. It took me longer to get to where I am today, but it doesn't have to be like that for you.
Have you made any of these mistakes? Share your story in the comments!
If you're ready to really get a breakthrough with your blog, you can get unique content every month in the Blogging Breakthrough magazine. It's created by myself and a team of writers, sharing stories from our own experiences to hell you.