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Whether you’re blogging for business or for pleasure, you’re going to mess things up. That’s totally fine – every blogger makes mistakes (including moi).  The trick is to identify these mistakes, learn from them and do better as you move forward.

Let’s look at some of the most common mistakes that bloggers make, and quick ways to fix them.

Mistake #1: It’s only about you

Although it may be cathartic to write down thoughts about what’s happening in your life, if your readers don’t find any value in it, they won’t read it.

Here’s the thing: people aren’t interested in you, your life, or your stories. They’re selfish. They want information they can use. So use your blog to talk about things that matter to both you and your readers.

How to fix it

Always remember that, as a blogger, it’s your job to provide information that can help, educate, inspire or motivate your audience. Sharing things about your life and experiences is fine because it also adds some colour and personality to your blog posts.

But always ask yourself this: ‘What’s in it for my audience?’.  How can this blog post help your readers become healthier, happier, more motivated or more productive?

For example, if you have a travel blog, don’t just write about your first day in Paris and how much coffee you drank, or how sunny it was. Instead, share useful information like your dos and dont’s, must-see places, must-try culinary treats and so on. Here’s an example:

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Mistake #2: You have no idea who you’re writing for

When you don’t know who your readers are, your blog posts can become generic. Instead of addressing a specific crowd, your crowd, you end up speaking to no one. As a result, no one will listen.

How to fix it

Every blogger hopes to attract lots of readers. But to be able to do that, you need to know who those readers are and what they’re interested in.

So, for example, if you have a blog dedicated to solo female travellers, when writing imagine you’re having a conversation with a friend – let’s call her Jane. What are Jane’s dreams and hopes, and what keeps her up at night? And what information can you provide to help her achieve her goals and dreams, and take away her worries about travelling the world as a woman?

Having this one imaginary friend in mind makes blogging easier, and your posts will also become more conversational, more personal and more engaging.

Mistake #3: You don’t show off your personality

This is a common mistake with new bloggers. They copy what popular bloggers are doing thinking that’ll make their blog popular as well. Don’t, ok?

If tens or hundreds of bloggers write about exactly the same topics as you, then why would people come to your blog and read you? How can you possibly stand out from the crowd if you’re doing exactly what everyone else is doing?

How to fix it

Make waves, be brave and have the courage to do what no one else is doing. It’s your blog after all. Let your personality shine as that’s key to increasing the value of your blog posts.

Here’s how:

  • Find a different angle to tell a story. For example, if you have a blog about eating healthy and staying fit, don’t just share the same advice everyone else is sharing. Instead, write from experience and what has worked for you.
  • Have a unique sense of humour? Don’t be afraid to use it to entertain your readers.
  • Develop your unique blogging voice that speaks strongly to your crowd.
  • Share a glimpse of who you are to allow your audience to get to know the person behind the blog. This can help you bond with your readers.

People don’t read blogs for just another useful tip on how to eat healthier or how to travel the world with £1,000 in your pocket. They do read blogs for personal experiences and advice they can’t find elsewhere. And they engage with you because of who you are – your great personality, quirky sense of humour, one-of-a-kind experiences or easy to follow tips and advice.

Here’s a guy who travels the world with a hilarious “Mom, I’m fine” sign.

He could’ve been just another traveller who shared pics from his trips. But he managed to find something that made him fun and unique, which quickly caught everyone’s attention.

Mistake #4: You don’t blog consistently

Writing when you feel like it or when you finally have some spare time is a big mistake. If you don’t keep a schedule and you publish five posts in a week, and then only one in the next month, this type of inconsistency could confuse your readers.

If your blog posts are interesting and useful, people will keep coming back.

If they come back after a week expecting to see new content and it’s not there, you risk losing their attention.

How to fix it

If you want reading your blog posts to become part of your readers’ routines, then you need to keep a schedule. So whether you decide to publish new content once a day, a week, or a month, make sure you stick to your programme so readers know when to come back to your blog for fresh content.

Now, there’s no magic number of posts per week or month that you should publish, but being consistent can help you to become a habit to your readers.

An editorial calendar can help you with planning your blog posts, publishing consistently, and even scheduling posts in advance if one week you’re feeling particularly productive. To create your editorial calendar you can use tools like Google Calendar, Excel or Google Docs.

Mistake #5: You write purely for search engines

Just like writing only about yourself, writing for Google will bore the boots off your readers. If you’re only writing for search engines and robots, you might be wasting precious human time. Your readers aren’t interested in regurgitated keywords that exist for crawling robots. They’re interested in interesting, useful information and advice.

How to fix it

Optimising your posts for search engines is important to help your blog get found in the search engine results. But you don’t need to sacrifice the quality of your content for that to happen. So write for your audience first, and then optimise your blog posts for search engines.

Mistake #6: You’re not promoting your blog posts

One of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is they don’t promote their content enough. Just because you write an awesome blog post, that doesn’t mean that traffic will automatically come your way. You also need to put some effort into getting your blog posts out there.

How to fix it

If you’re writing great content, don’t feel guilty about promoting it. Here’s how:

  • Share it on your social networks.
  • Drive paid traffic with Facebook and Twitter advertising. It’s easy to get started with, effective in almost any niche, and fantastic for both specific and broad targeting. If you’re not familiar with social media advertising, take our free course to learn how to get started with your first Facebook and Twitter ad campaigns.
  • Email your subscribers to let them know about any new content you’ve published on your blog.

Mistake #7: You’re not encouraging engagement

A blog post is not and should not be a monologue, but the starting point of a conversation. That means you should do your best to encourage readers to share their thoughts and experiences on the topic.

How to fix it

Why not ask readers what they think about the topic or if they have any additional tips and advice?

You can ask for feedback at the end of each blog post, and also when sharing it on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

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Mistake #8: You’re not answering your comments

Some writers think of blogging as being an “I have something to tell you” unidirectional means of communicating. That’s like going to a conference where you’re not allowed to ask any questions. You just sit there, listen and then leave.

Not engaging with your readers in the comments section has got to be one of the biggest mistakes bloggers make.

How to fix it

No matter how interesting your blog post is, the richness often comes through the back and forth with the audience. Your readers might ask great questions, which can also give you ideas for future blog posts.

But what’s more important is that acknowledging and responding to readers’ comments can help you build stronger relationships. People remember you when you take time to reply, make sure you always do.

Mistake #9: You’re not networking

If you want to be a successful blogger, you can’t do it alone. Neglecting community-building is a huge mistake that most bloggers make at the beginning. So make sure you’re not one of them.

How to fix it

No matter the type of blog or business, it always pays to have a great network (both online and offline). So take the time to connect, learn from and build meaningful relationships with other bloggers and influencers in your niche.

When you form relationships and become part of a community, you can more easily increase the visibility of your blog. Imagine you’ve connected with a popular blogger, and he shares or retweets one of your blog posts to his 50K followers. Imagine the huge difference this can make to your visibility and blog traffic as more people learn about you and come visit your blog.

Watch these Swift Six videos to learn how to:

Mistake #10: You’re not growing subscribers

When you start blogging, your focus is usually on writing posts and attracting new readers.

So why not try to collect the emails of your readers so you can update them every time you publish a new blog post?

How to fix it

Easy. Add a subscription call-to-action to your blog and encourage visitors to sign up to your mailing list to receive your most recent blog posts.

Here’s an example:

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If you don’t know how to get started, in our beginner’s guide to building your first email list you’ll find all the information you need to learn how to get people to sign up to your mailing list.

You can also take our free email marketing course here, and learn about our email marketing tool here.

Mistake #11: You’re not measuring results

Do you know how visitors found your blog? Or which blog posts they liked best?  Without analytics data, you’ll never know what posts they’re reading and enjoying, and which may need tweaking. You also won’t know who your visitors are, where they live or what devices they’re using to get on your blog.

How to fix it

Installing Google Analytics is fast and easy and will give you tons of insights, including:

  • Which posts are most popular
  • How people are finding your blog (search engines, social media platforms, etc)
  • How much time they’re spending on your blog, and much more

You can learn about installing Google Analytics here. And you can also take our free online business training course to learn how to use Google Analytics to find out more about your visitors and make your blog even better.

You’re up

Blogging isn’t easy. And yes, you’ll make mistakes but hopefully not these 11 mistakes, which you now know how to avoid.

Your turn now: what are some other blogging mistakes that you’ve made? Tweet us @123Reg.

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