I made my first attempt to blog in 2011. The goal was to highlight socio-political issues affecting women and young people in Nigeria. I was having fun and enjoying the feedback from my small fan base of 50 readers, mostly in Lagos and Abuja. No, they weren’t strangers. it was friends and families who wanted to support me. Bless their beautiful hearts.
I was using a free blogger account to create content. Customisation features were limited and I couldn’t access the tools I needed to work. That was my first blogging mistake.
Remember when you decided to start blogging? You were super excited to share your ideas and dreams with the world. You wanted to help people solve problems and become an industry authority. Within a few weeks, you noticed that blogging is not as easy as it seemed. No one is visiting your blog or taking your CTA. What could be wrong?
To help you identify errors and avoid the mistakes I made in my early days, I wrote this blog post for you.
You Don’t Have Specific Goals
If you’re running a blog as part of your overarching business strategy, you must have clear, achievable goals for your blog. Success is difficult without a roadmap. You need an established goal to measure success and determine your content strategy.
For your blogging strategy to work, it has to be built around an objective – what you aim to achieve with your blog. It ensures long term stability. Split your goal into smaller chunks to make it easy to achieve. Set deadlines, milestones and stick to your plan.
You’re Not Focused on Your Target Audience
You’re writing for an audience. They’re all that matter. If you want to be successful with blogging, you need to understand the people you’re writing for. An important part of your blogging strategy is to connect with your audience.
Draw up personas of your target readers. Uncover their pain points and create a blog post that solves problems for them. That’s how you become the go-to resource when they have problems.
You’ve Not Chosen a Niche
What is your blog about? Who does it serve? Without a definite answer to these questions, your readers won’t know you. Your blog’s purpose should be clear to your readers when they read your articles.
Readers are in search of solutions to problems. Be the solution. But it’s impossible to succeed if you’re far removed from your passion. Ensure that your niche aligns with your interest. Can you sustain a blog in this niche? Does it have long-term demand in the market? Do not blog in an obscure niche. It limits your ability to grow.
Blogging Without an Audience
You need an audience to grow. If you’re a newbie, the direct referral from Google search result pages won’t happen for a while. Your best options are to spread the word on social media especially through Ads and to build backlinks from authoritative blogs.
Backlinks are a vote of confidence from one site to another. You need a healthy mix of dofollow and nofollow links. Backlinks increase your domain ranking and appearance on SERP. Find ways to connect with influencers in your industry. Read this guide to building backlinks to learn more
You should guest post on their site to leverage their connections and earn a backlink. Use freemium tools such as Hunter to find and connect with influencers.
Failing to Promote Your Blog Content
A great article sits on a dusty shelf if no one sees it. Many bloggers assume that traffic from Google is enough. Wrong. Even great bloggers promote their content.
I’m not saying you should go overboard with self –promotion. No. Get your content in front of your followers without driving them nuts. Promote your blog posts on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Where ever your audience is, that’s where you should be.
Your Blog’s Design Isn’t Appealing
Overlooking visual design is a blogging mistake I’ve noticed. Poor website design hurts the performance of your blog. Enhance user experience through great website design and easy-to-read text. From your colour combination to your font style and CTAs, all elements of good website design should be carefully considered.
It’s easy to fall prey when you’re not a web designer. Hire a website designer to fix these issues for you.
Use beautiful stock photos that create an emotional connection with your readers. Use lots of white space to improve readability.
Your goal as a blogger is to find and keep your reader. The fastest way to lose readers is through bad writing. Have you read an editorial on a magazine and found one typo error on the page? It’s all you can focus on. Everything else is a blur.
With the ease of access to information on the internet, you would assume all blogs have perfected the art of writing with good grammar and eliminating errors. Wrong. It’s not uncommon to find spelling, formatting and grammar errors on an online article or blog post.
Your blog post should be easy to read, understand and free of typos or grammar errors. Take time to research ideas and concepts you’re not sure about. Use a spell-check tool such as a Grammarly to remove typo errors. Proofread your work at least 4 times before posting. Trust me, it makes all the difference. I cover grammar mistakes in this article.
Your Website User Experience Isn’t Up-to-par
The feel and performance of your website also determine the success of your blog. Factors such as broken links, low page-load speed, and slow responses could increase the bounce rate. Get a hosting plan that is sufficient for your traffic and reader-base. Your website should function like a well-oiled machine.
You’ve Not Optimised Your Headlines
You need good headlines for every blog post. The first thing your readers see before clicking through to your website is your headline. They have to be interested to click. A study from Copyblogger found that only 20% of the 80% of visitors that see your headline will go on to read the article.
To create a catchy headline:
- Begin with numbers (preferably odd numbers)
- Use active sentences
- Use words that trigger emotional responses (Power Words
- Make your headline unique
Your Content is Average at best
You can’t impress your users if the information you share is already out there. Your content needs to address a pressing problem. Explore a fresh angle if you’re working on an over-flogged topic.
You’re Uber Focused on Hitting Your Word Count Target
It’s easy to leave your audience behind when you only worry about word count. Readers see through this. They know when an article is rushed. It’s okay to pursue goals and hit targets but not at the expense of your site visitors.
You’re Ignoring Organic Search Ranking
Search Engine Optimisation is one of the most important activities for bloggers. If you don’t integrate an SEO policy into your general blogging strategy, you’ll be invisible to search engines. Users search for solutions through Google more than other platforms on the Internet. If you want to have a winning strategy, figure out ways to optimise your content for organic search.
You Don’t Measure Performance
How do you determine goal achievement without tracking results? Metric tools such as Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and Google Keyword Planner are useful. You discover what your site is lacking, where you’re not performing, and how to improve performance.
You’re Using a Free Blogging Platform
A free blog on WordPress.com or Blogger.com makes your blog seem unprofessional. I wouldn’t advise it even for a hobby blog. You have no control over your blog traffic or content. You can’t customise your blog as you would on a paid blogging platform.
If you want to make money with your blog, get a paid hosting plan and register a blog domain name. Avoid cheap hosting plans that run slowly and leave you vulnerable to a cyber attack. A fast loading website is crucial to blogging success. This guide details ways to start a paid blog and make money from it.
You’re not Optimising for Social Sharing
Your target readers have their own social media accounts. You need social sharing buttons on your blog if you want your content to reach a large base. If readers are convinced that your article is valuable, they’ll want others to benefit from it.
To make this work, you need to ensure it’s super easy for your readers to share your content. Sumo Me is a great WordPress plugin that lets your readers share your blog posts with ease.
The major blogging mistake I’ve seen is bloggers who set unrealistic goals. Don’t try to achieve all your goals at once. Create a step-by-step plan and follow it. Choose a niche and build your strategy around it. Measure results to determine what’s working and things you need to change. Most importantly, be patient. Success isn’t achieved in one month. Except you’re a celebrity with a large social media following.