I don’t want to be rude, but if you are new to blogging, I am sure you are making one or more mistakes.
It is kind of unavoidable. When I started out, I had my own share of blunders.
But so what? You just have to identify and correct these mistakes. That is what smart bloggers like you do!
Correct! But it is easier said than done.
How would you know about your mistakes? Wouldn’t it be nice if someone helped you out?
What if you could get help from 25 of the best bloggers in the business?
Blogging tips to overcome your blogging mistakes, coming from the some of the best bloggers in the business.
With that in mind, I asked the best about their “biggest newbie mistakes in blogging”. I really wanted to know, what are the biggest mistakes that these people have made as newbies, and what they learned from their mistakes. That knowledge would be the best blogging tip for new bloggers.
They have replied and it is time for you to take notice. Whether you are a new or an experienced blogger, this is a resource you would like to keep bookmarked.
But before proceeding, I have a request. If you are making any one of the mistakes listed here, please do something about it. Only then, I will consider this post a success.
So let’s begin. Here are the biggest mistakes that you should avoid at all costs. Expert comments are listed under subheadings, each of which cover a particular mistake. Under each subheading, expert comments are listed alphabetically. Each subheading ends with a blogging tip for you.
Ignoring the importance of an e-mail list from day one
There are two big mistakes that seem to happen over and over again. One deals with the craft, the other deals with the operation.
Not using an email newsletter from day 1.
The first is a huge misstep I and many others have made. Don’t be like us. There is no way to create a “recurring” audience from your writing without a simple email newsletter—they are so easy to set up that you have no excuse.
My biggest blogging mistake was not starting my eMail list from day 1. Because John Chow dot Com started as a personal blog, with no intentions to make any money, I didn’t apply my normal Internet marketing methods to it. As a result, the list didn’t start until a year down the road.
Had I started the list from day 1, my list would be twice the size it is now, and my income would also be twice as high. This is a mistake I hope you don’t make. Start the list TODAY.
Not starting an email list until a year after starting my blog.
This emerged as the most common (and perhaps the costliest) mistake and rightly so. As cliched as it may sound “money is in the list”. Do not treat the e-mail list as a luxury, it is a bare necessity for any blogger. There’s simply no excuse for waiting a couple of months and ending up losing a few hundreds to thousand subscribers. Start collecting those emails, NOW.
In my 6 years of blogging career I have made numerous mistakes and learned a lot from them. One of the biggest mistake is not creating the products or eBook in time. Right now I have one WordPress Guide eBook but I should have done the same almost 3 years back, and I missed building email list. That also reminded me, sticking to feedburner for long was another mistake as for niche sites like ShoutMeLoud, power is in Email list.
As Harsh points out, Feedburner is not something you can depend upon. Feedburner’s deliverability is a big issue. Moreover it is extremely limited in its functionality. There is no facility to set up an auto responder with a follow-up series. In fact, you cannot send any e-mails excepting your RSS feeds. Pretty much destroys the main use of an e-mail list.
Your best bet is to get a professional e-mail marketing service from day one. Aweber (I’m using it for two weeks now) works great in my opinion. Their customer service is also very helpful. You can start using Aweber for 1$ for the first month. Give it a go, I’m sure you’ll love it.
As Harsh also mentions, it is better if you have an incentive to get people to sign up to your e-mail list. Make sure your incentive provides some value to your new subscriber.
Let go feedburner and get professional email marketing service
Getting out of habit of writing and being inconsistent
The biggest mistake I made was not being consistent. The moment you take your foot off the gas peddle by not posting on a consistent basis, you’ll notice a huge drop in traffic. When I stopped posting for a whole month, it took me at least 3 months to recover.
I think my biggest blogging mistake over the years has been getting out of the habit of blogging. Writing daily was something I did for the first 5 years of Moz (2004-2009), and over the next 5 (2010-2015), my writing became much more intermittent. At its worst, I’ve gone months without publishing a post and it’s hard to get back in the saddle. The bar I set for myself for what I can publish when it’s been a long time goes up and up, and thus the drought of writing continues. It’s a habit I hope to break this year.
Consistency is the key. As Neil Patel warns you, it is easy to loose traffic if you do not post on a regular basis. New posts get a lot of traffic through your e-mail lists and social media. Once you stop writing new posts, traffic from these sources will dry up. Moreover, readers always have a certain expectation from you. Whether you post once a week or once a day, maintain your posting frequency.
Make sure your posting frequency allows you to come up with quality content. There is no point in posting more frequently but producing sub-par content.
And it is not only about your users. Once you stop posting consistently, you get out of the habit of writing. And this is a very bad thing! You’re a blogger, you must never get out of the habit of writing. Writing is your bread and butter.
As Rand mentioned, the longer you wait for your next blog post, the more difficult it gets. The burden of expectation keeps getting higher. Don’t let this contribute to your procrastination. Whenever you feel that you are putting too much pressure on yourself, take a deep breath, remind yourself that you are just a human being and write your next blog post.
Be consistent and don’t lose the habit of writing
Writing short and useless posts
Not taking your writing seriously.
To get results other writers can’t, do things other writers won’t. Take your writing very seriously: read above your level, study the absolute best (John McPhee is one), and look for ways to get honest feedback. You’ll never succeed with “blogging” until you learn to make your writing more meaningful.
My biggest mistakes was not putting enough time and effort in my content. I used to publish short (200-300 words) blog posts that didn’t really help my visitors. Once I changed my angle and started to publish 800+ words articles, I got a lot more search engine traffic and my visitors were more satisfied too. So my suggestion is to write more comprehensive and longer blog posts for your visitors.
I didn’t write.Or, I didn’t practice writing 1,000 words or more daily. Write, write and write some more to find your voice and to stand out
Let’s face it: if you want readers, you have to first give something to them. You have to earn your readers. A 300 word piece of rehashed content is just a waste of time and energy. Focus on creating quality, something that is useful and valuable to your readers. As Gregory points out, you have to make your writing more meaningful and take it to the next level.
Moreover, search engine algorithms do not like short content. If you have very thin content, your blog may get penalized. As Jessica tells you, longer content not only pleases the user but also gains you the favor of search engines.
Go the extra mile to produce detailed and quality content
Spending time on unimportant things like traffic stats
The biggest mistake, I did, was not tracking my progress. Instead of tracking and working on my work progress, I wasted a lot of time in checking Google analytics real time stats.
I would suggest all the novice bloggers to stop checking your emails and traffic stats multiple times a day. Instead of that, focus on making your day productive. Make a proper work plan and try to finish all work as soon as possible. I highly recommend reading “Eat That Frog” book.
This is something each one of us is guilty of. When you’re starting out, it is quite tempting to check out the analytics every now and then. Getting the first hundred visits, getting the first thousand visits and so on. It seems pretty exciting.
But checking your analytics every now and then is not going to help you in growing your blog. You have to focus on the important things first, which is to write exceptional content and promote it. As Ankit suggests, being productive is very important for your blogging success. Identify your essential tasks and focus on them. HINT: Do it and you love your analytics stats afterwards!
The biggest mistake I made in my own blogging career was to not create a publishing schedule early on. A schedule and editorial calendar are a great way to not only stay on track with consistent publishing, but it’s a great means of strategically planning out your content and promotions. Without a strategy you tend to “wing it” which can really slow you down and leave you scrambling for content ideas.
A well-planned schedule & strategy allows you to capitalize on seasonal topics, work through topical series that really engage readers, and align your content with strategic promotions and product releases. For example, I have a low carb blog and know that people love low carb picnic & grilling recipes in the summer months. Planning in advance I can release a cookbook at the beginning of the season that lines up nicely with the content and social updates throughout those months.
As others have mentioned before, consistency is the key. And a great way to be consistent used to have your own publishing schedule. As Lynn Terry explains, an editorial calendar can really help you stay focused. Even if you are a part time blogger, blogging schedule like this one would be of great help.
And isn’t that a great example cited by Lynn? Spotting the trends early and taking appropriate long-term plans can really the big rewards. Are you spotting the trends in your niche?
My biggest mistake was buying backlinks for bloggingcage.
Don’t make this mistake. It is unethical, and it does not work any longer. The risk to benefit ratio is far too high. And anyways it is not a right thing to do. Instead focus on getting backlinks by providing value, the natural way.
I think my biggest mistake when I first started was thinking the money from Google ads would come rolling in overnight. I think many bloggers wrongly assume that people will find their blog easily and make money from blogging as easily. Creating a profitable blog takes time, a lot of effort, and tons of patience.
Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme. Of course, you can make good money, there are people making six figures from blogging alone. But it does not happen overnight. If you want instant gratification, blogging is not for you. It takes some time.
The first few months are often the hardest. You will get little traffic. It is easy to lose motivation and get demoralized. But Neil Egginton points out, you have to be persistent. If you put in adequate effort, your persistence will pay off.
My biggest newbie mistake in blogging was let one or two negative comments stop me from doing something.
Shortly after I started blogging I posted an “opinion” article that maybe one or two people violently disagreed with and called into question my authority or knowledge of the niche I work in. I immediately got a bad dose of “imposter syndrome” and it was, literally, years before I did another opinion piece.
I really regret taking that criticism to heart now. Now articles in which I’m free with my opinions get the most positive comments.
Lesson learned: don’t let negative comments deter you from anything. Negative comments mean you’re doing something right!
Rob Cubbon summarized it himself. Thanks Rob. At the same time, you should also accept positive criticism with an open mind. Whenever someone criticiszes you about something, take a neutral point of view and try to assess the situation. But don’t let people, whose sole intention is to put you down, from affecting you and your actions.
I think the biggest mistake that most newbies make is starting to blog on a topic where their desire for income from writing on that subject is greater than their interest in that subject.
The heart and soul of blogging lies in your ability to create content. If you’re not passionate about your topic, sooner rather than later, you’ll find it hard to come up with useful content. That is why it is important for you to write on something that you are passionate about.
At the same time, make sure that there is money to be made in your niche. It is not hard to find such a topic. Make a list of 10 things you are passionate about. Research each of the topics for moneymaking opportunities. I’m sure you will find at least one topic that will match the criteria.
Be passionate about your topic
Forgetting about your users
A common mistake I see people make when they set out to blog is “trying to be an expert”. Expert or not, readers enjoy hearing from real people – people they can relate to and like as a person. My best advice for any blogger is this: “Stop blogging. Start talking.” When you stop trying to create the perfect essays and simply start having conversations with your readers… you’ll notice your engagement increases, and you’ll also ENJOY blogging more! 😉
Very true. That is why you should always write in a conversational manner. I’m sure you like the way I am speaking to you, don’t you? That is the way it should be. Think of blogging as a two-way conversation and not as a one-way lecture. Ask questions to your readers, call them to action at the end of each blog post, take time to carefully respond to user comments. All these things help a lot.
My biggest mistake when I first started out was not reaching out to other bloggers in my niche to help promote my content. I thought of everyone as competitors instead of colleagues.
Now I ask my colleagues to share and to link to my content. Not only did my traffic grow – I also am enjoying the relationships that I have built.
Very valid point. Although new bloggers may find it weird to ask others for help, there is no reason to be shy. Every one of us is perfectly approachable. Just see the number of top bloggers helping me out in this expert roundup. The blogging world is full of nice people. If your work is good enough, other bloggers will love to share it.
My biggest blogging mistake when I was just getting started was that I focused too much on a single promotional tactic…. Social media.
Don’t get me wrong, social media is an important part of any marketing strategy, whether you’re a blogger or not but I prioritized it over everything and neglected building an email list entirely (as well as plenty of other tactics).
The truth is that you can’t rely on a single promotional tactic, you need a full marketing strategy.
Not only that, but you need to understand how each tactic fits into the “marketing puzzle”.
For example, email is the most reliable way of getting visitors back to your blog so your priority should be to convert visitors into email subscribers.
Try not to put much focus on promoting your social profiles initially, you could hide them away in the footer so people can still find them if they want to.
The reason behind this approach is because, even if someone follows you on Twitter, Facebook or Google+, the chances of them seeing your new content is minimal.
That’s not to say it’s a waste of time, but email performs so much better. It’s personal, it’s immediate and the return on investment is so much higher.
The bottom line is this: understand your blogging goals, determine the best tactics to help you accomplish those goals and then prioritize each of those tactics.
Adam explains this so well. It is indeed important to use different tactics and find out what works best for you.
I think blogging is very different now to when I got started back in 2007, blogs used to be very informational and still grow well thanks to search traffic from producing so much content, this just isn’t the case anymore.
One of the biggest mistakes I made early on was not investing my time in social, I wrote posts, got traffic from Google and expected people to sign up via rss or follow me on Twitter, it just didn’t work. If I were a new blogger I would write a little less and instead use my content as topics of discussion on social networks like facebook, twitter and even relevant forums. This doesn’t mean posting links to your posts everywhere, instead start or join a discussion around the topic area and eventually refer to the information.
If Tim is saying that he should have invested more time in social media back in 2007, you can imagine the situation now. This is the age of social media. You just cannot escape it. In fact, top bloggers get a good chunk of the visitors from social media. You’d be a fool to ignore it. Follow Tim’s suggestion and take time to build your social media profiles and promote your content in social networks.
Give importance to social networks
Putting all your content in your own blog
Guest blogging, I never guest blogged and instead put all my articles on my blog. You need to invest in this to build your audience.
Make sure you do some guest posts. It is a great way to build your reputation. Try making quality guest posts on reputable blogs. Before you start guest posting, make sure you have enough content on your blog. You expect users to be directed to your site and get interested, right? Also, make sure that you have an e-mail list opt in box ready.
The biggest mistake I made with blogging was moving away from it. Despite the success I’ve had with publishing and promoting sites on the blogs of my clients, I foolishly attempted to bite more than I could chew. Back then, I believed that diversifying my skill set in online marketing would help me make more money in the long run.
I tried my hand on SEO and website audit, both of which aren’t necessarily my strongest suits, and aggressively searched for clients interested with my services. After two months, I was without a client and abandoned my core strength, which was blogging.
Since then, I focused all my energies on blogging and haven’t looked back ever since.
Lesson: Identify your strengths and stick to them. Build up skills to develop your main skills, not the other way around.
Pay attention to the last sentence. You always have a distinct skill set which makes it suitable for a particular type of work. Identify your main skill and then develop other skills to complement it. If you have found a working formula, just stick to it.
Stick to your strengths
Depending solely on affiliate products and not perfecting the sales funnel
Not building my own product or perfecting my sales funnel right away
Affiliate marketing and other income streams can make you good money. But having your own product takes it one step further. You may not need your own product from day one. But start creating it early. Creating a really good product, that is valuable to your users, takes lots of time.
Another important thing is the sales funnel. It is correlated with your products, landing pages and emailing strategy. It does take a good amount of testing and tweaking to get it right. Even with the same user base, you can significantly increase your sales just by perfecting the sales funnel.
Create your own product and perfect the sales funnel
When I first got started I just set my blog up over on Blogger. While it was simple and easy to learn on, I really regretted it when I wanted to migrate to my own domain and hosting setup. I really encourage new bloggers to start a blog on their own host straight away and just jump in with a more professional setup. It gives you so many more options, and is powerful enough to grow and change as your blog does.
Ramsay makes a very valid point. Compared to the benefits you get, a self hosted blog is a very small investment. But sadly, many people do not invest in it. Don’t make the same mistake. A free blog is harder to get ranked and has very few avenues for monetization. If you are considering blogging as a career option, you should get your own blog (seriously, it would probably cost less than what you would spend for hosting a dinner party for your friends).
Get your self-hosted WordPress blog
Thanks to the contributors
Huge thanks to every contributor for sharing their knowledge and making this such a great resource for bloggers. Thank you everyone for taking your time out and giving your inputs. I learnedt a lot from you and I am sure my readers are also learning a lot.
I am sure that you found this post to be very useful. Now be honest, how many of these mistakes were you guilty of? Did we miss something in our list? Let us know in the comments section.
Do not forget to share this super-useful resource with your followers.