Blogging is an industry that is changing constantly. Because of that, it can be super hard to keep up with the changes and to know what you should and should not be doing on your blog! I made SO many blogging mistakes my first couple of years (and don’t get me wrong, I STILL make a lot of mistakes)! My blog has changed a lot over the years, and I’ve learned a ton of skills and strategies that have helped me continue to grow my blog, and overcome some of the mistakes I made early on.
In this post, I want to share some blogging mistakes I see a LOT of bloggers make, especially when they’re just starting out. Make sure you aren’t making any of these blogging mistakes on your own website!
Before you dive in, make sure to sign up for my free challenge to help you take your blog from a hobby to profitable side hustle!
BLOGGING MISTAKES THAT ARE HURTING YOUR TRAFFIC
You Don’t Have a Plan
Do you have a strategy for your blog, or are you just throwing up random content every day, hoping something will stick? That’s how I was for pretty much my first two years (possibly longer). If your ultimate goal is to turn your blog into a business or side hustle, then EVERY decision needs to have a purpose. Everything you do should be contributing toward a long-term plan.
For example, say you want to monetize your blog with digital products. Instead of writing about a million different topics, write really amazing content about the same topic as your digital products. You can grow an audience and get people excited about your content. They’ll keep coming back for more. And because you were writing a LOT about one topic, the people who keep coming back will be excited to check out that product.
Those people will also sign up for your email list, which can be a GREAT source of blog traffic!
You Don’t Have Branding
Part of getting readers to continue to return to your blog is building a relationship with them. And one important way you can do that is through branding. When your readers can immediately identify your brand and your writing, you know you’ve done this well!
Branding is made up a few key pieces. First, there is the visual aesthetic. This includes the colors and fonts you use on your blog, so make sure to narrow it down to just a few and use the same ones everywhere on your blog and social media. That way, when someone spots one of your posts on Pinterest, they immediately know it came from your blog because they recognize your branding. And because they love your blog, they are sure to click over.
Branding also includes your blogging voice. While you want your posts to be helpful to your readers, you also want a post that is going to be genuinely fun to read and that is going to show your personality. When one of your regular readers reads one of your posts, you want them to recognize it as you and feel like you’re having a conversation with them.
You’re Ignoring SEO
If you’ve been blogging for a while, then SEO shouldn’t be a foreign concept to you. But it might be if you’re a newbie! SEO is “search engine optimization”. It basically means optimizing your content to ensure it will be shown on search engines like Google.
When someone turns to Google with a problem you can solve, you want your blog post to be the first result!
I totally ignored SEO for WAY too long, and I seriously regret it!
There is SO much to learn about SEO and I definitely can’t cover all of it here, so instead I’ll direct you to a couple of sources that I think cover it super well and make it easy to understand for anyone new to SEO:
You Have Low-Quality Photos
This one is kind of a bummer for those of us (myself included) who aren’t great at photography, but it’s just a fact of blogging at this point – it’s a very visual industry. Photos are super important! Not only do you want your blog to be filled with nice photos so your website isn’t an eyesore, but the photos you share on social media are going to be the biggest factor in getting people from your social media pages to your blog.
For those of us who aren’t great at photography, there are still options. Most of the photos I share on my blog and social media are stock photos. I add my branding to them, but it allows me to have high-quality images that will drive people back to my blog without actually being good at photography!
Your Blog is Difficult to Navigate
When a new reader stumbles onto your blog, regardless of how they get there, your website is the first impression they will have of your blog. If they enjoyed your blog post and want to read more but can’t seem to figure out where on your blog to do that, they probably aren’t going to stick around. It’s important to make someone’s first visit to your blog as seamless and as easy as possible.
You also want to make it super easy for them to follow you elsewhere as well! This means having super easy-to-find links back to your social media pages, as well as multiple places they can sign up for your email list.
You Aren’t Being Consistent
When you first start blogging, you might read articles telling you that you should be posting on your blog daily in order to keep your traffic up and your readers interested. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
What your readers really want is consistency. Pick a posting schedule and try to stick with it. My blog posts always, pretty much without fail, go up on Wednesdays, so by now, my readers know that’s what they can expect from me.
Whether you’re posting once per day, once per week, or once per month, stay consistent. Communicate that posting schedule to your readers.
You’re Focusing on Quantity Instead of Quality
Like I mentioned above, posting quality content on your blog is far more important than posting on a daily basis. When I first started this blog I was posting five days per week, but they weren’t quality posts and didn’t provide a lot of value to my readers.
Now I post once per week but am posting longer content and am able to provide significantly more value. When it comes to quality versus quantity, quality is always more important. One weekly post of 1,000d or more words that provides a ton of value is preferable to 5 short posts that aren’t providing real benefit to your readers.
Your Blog is Too Broad
I think “lifestyle” blogs and blogs that talk about several topics are fine and obviously can still be super successful (although it’s definitely a tougher market for newer bloggers). However, you’re going to struggle to retain readers if you have a blog that talks to everyone about everything. While I blog about several different topics, there is a common thread between all of them that allows me to have a very specific type of reader. And multiple reader surveys in the past have told me that is exactly who is reading my blog.
So if you’re opposed to the idea of choosing a niche for your website, at least try to narrow down your target reader as specifically as possible. Because when those readers find your blog, they’re going to stick around because they will feel like each and every post is written just for them.
If you don’t know who your audience is or what they want, just ask! You’d be amazed how much people are willing to share in a reader survey. Send a quick survey to your email list and just ask them about themselves, ask them what they love reading on your blog, and ask them what they’re struggling with that YOU can help them with.
Your Writing Has No Personality
Yes, your readers come to your blog to read the awesome advice you share. However, they could probably find that advice elsewhere as well. The real reason they come to you for that advice rather than getting it somewhere else is your personality!
Your readers are identifying with you through your writing style and the personal tidbits you slip into your blog posts. I’m far more likely to really care about returning to a blog over and over again if I feel that I’m really connecting with the writer.
I used to write my blog posts like I would write a paper in college or a memo for work. They were super dry and clinical sounding. News flash – people don’t want to read that! It’s BORING! Now I try to focus on writing my blog post as if I’m writing to a friend.
You Aren’t Promoting Your Content
If you’re just writing your blog posts, putting them on your blog, and calling it a day, then you’re missing the most important element to getting readers to your blog. Most people aren’t just going to stumble on your blog and with the exception of your most regular readers, most people aren’t going to remember to check back for new blog posts.
Even for blogs I really enjoy reading, I click over to their new posts when they pop up on my social media news feeds, not because I’m checking the site daily.
There are a ton of different ways for you to go about promoting your blog posts. You can share them on each of your social media pages, as well as send them out to your email subscribers. And don’t just promote those posts once! I keep promoting posts long after they first appeared on my blog and some of my older posts get a ton of traffic because of that.
BEFORE YOU GO
There is a lot to learn about blogging, and it’s SO easy to make mistakes. The good news is that once you figure out what you’re doing wrong, you can totally go back and fix it!
And don’t forget to sign up for my FREE 5-Day blog challenge where I teach you how to grow your blog from hobby to side hustle!