Yikes! I see these mistakes in so many of the blogging groups I am in. New bloggers with so much passion and talent who make these mistakes and it ultimately kills their blog before they even gain traction.
I love finding a blog written by someone who eats, lives and breathes their passion. It fills me with passion. It inspires me and so many others. It makes us want to come back again and again.
But if you’re making any of these mistakes there’s a massive chance that I, and many others will never get a chance to see your blog and fall in love with you and your writing.
Avoid these at all costs!
1. The “If I build it they will come” mentality.
Yikes, this one pops up the most for me. For a lot (particularly less internet savvy generations ie: my parents haha) they fail to realise that traffic needs to come from somewhere and believe that people will just be typing in their url magically and seeing what they post. The fact that no one knows they have built a website, or even exist, fails to even come to mind.
While I know that’s not you, I do know that some of you don’t realise how hard it can be to drive traffic to your blog/website. The bottom line is people need an invitation or to see your sign in their faces just as they do with a physical shop front.
Many times I wander past a new shop on the main street, see their sign and step inside. If I didn’t see that sign how would I know they existed? Your blog or website is the same.
So pop your sign in their faces. Meet them where they are at (pinterest, facebook, instagram, youtube, google, stumbleupon) and then they will start visiting.
2. Not creating a mailing list (email list) from DAY ONE and actively growing it.
If you’ve built it, you’ve invited them and they’ve come how on earth are you going to keep them coming back?
That’s right, you need an email list. A way to keep everyone up to date and let them know when you’ve posted something else. If they love your content they will come back and read again.
You can also leverage your email following to create income further down the track, but if you never started then you don’t have that chance! So build an email list from the very first day!
3. No Photos or bad photos.
Posts with great photos are more pleasant to read. Breaking up your wall of words with nice photos for viewers to rest their eyes on increases time viewers will spend on the site and will enhance their reading experience. Which in turn means they will be more likely to click around and read more, spend more time on your site and come back again. Triple bonus!
Can’t take photos to save yourself? Well, you need to be careful as a new blogger. You absolutely CAN NOT take an image from Google or Pinterest and slap it on your blog/website. This can end up costing you thousands of dollars in Copyright lawsuit fees and payouts (I know a photographer who was awarded $10,000 dollars in damages after his images were illegally shared on a website).
So, what images can I use? There are many completely free stock photos out there (Pexels has amazing images of people for free and they look great on Pinterest and Instagram) and I even give away three high resolution styled stock photos each month (click here to sign up for my free photos). Or there are paid styled stock photos via a membership, or for singular purchase on Etsy or Creative Market sites.
Oh Tilly Styled Stock Photos are very affordable at $25 or less per month for access to hundreds of images and a minimum of 40 new images are added each month. More info on that here: Styled Stock Membership
Use those images to break up long blog posts, create beautiful blog/website headers and opt ins for that email list that you should be growing.
4. No Personality.
I go to blogs and read certain blogs because I love the personality of the writer. I feel as if we are having a chat over a cup of coffee and often these wonderful women are on the other side of the world from me and we’ve never spoken.
But I can relate to their personality through their writing. How cool is that!?!
Now when you show personality there is always a chance you will alienate some readers, they just might not click with you, and that’s ok. Because you will attract loyal readers who love you for who you are and it’s so much easier when you can just be yourself and write how you think and feel.
And never be afraid to appear real and vulnerable, we are all human and it makes you so much more real.
5. Poor website design and a hard to navigate site.
There are few websites out there (I think one is a Korean car salesman) that are notoriously ugly and difficult to read.
The hands down best colour scheme for text and background on any website is black text on a white background. That’s it. Simple and effective. The contrast makes it easy to read and the colours don’t give people a headache from looking at them. Pick no more than three colours to work with and always keep your background white and content text black. Your colours are for your logo, navigation bars and graphics not your readable text.
Negative space is visually appealing and gives readers a chance to rest their eyes, which actually improves readability massively.
A clear menu at the TOP of your website that doesn’t disappear on scroll is also important. When someone needs to click somewhere and can’t find the button, they usually just close the website and move on. They don’t have time to work it out. Make it easy for them to move around your site.
6. Failing to plan ahead or have a blogging schedule.
Life gets in the way, it happens often. We get busy and forget the things we need to be doing on a regular basis (ie writing posts, sharing posts etc)
With a content calendar or blogging schedule and everything planned out ahead of time it helps us stay on track. Have a note file handy on your smartphone and keep a list of every idea for a blog posts that pops into your head when you’re out and about. This way you always have a list of posts you can go to if you’re stuck for what to write.
When you have spare time, write content and schedule those topics for future dates.
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
7. Not making your content shareable!
Hello, taking us back to mistake number one here. If people can’t share your post then they can’t send more people your way. This is part of the whole build it and they will come mentality.
Social shares contribute to the absolutely vast majority of blog/website traffic today. If you don’t make your posts EASILY shareable, then you are losing traffic.
Use a wordpress plugin like Add To Any to quickly add social sharing buttons to your blog posts. Remember to always make things easy for your readers, they WILL NOT share if it’s difficult.
Which brings me to….
8. There has to be some point to your blog.
It’s so lovely to write a diary and yes, the term blog did originate from the words WEB LOG, but readers don’t want to read about our trip to the local library – Unless there is something they can get from it.
Are you entertaining, educating, edutaining (entertaining education), or just creating more noise?
People will only read your blog if they have a reason to. They will only share your blog if they think it will be useful to others.
So let’s be clear here – you have to offer them something. So which is it? Education or Entertainment?
9. Misleading Titles
Oh no, you found one of those Pinterest guides on writing catchy titles (cough clickbait cough) and thought it might be a great idea to utilise some of them.
That only works if the reader gets the answer to the title when they click on your post. It’s not only an instant x close when a reader comes to a post that has nothing to do with the title, but they will remember your name and most likely ignore your content when they see it in the future.
You can still create catchy titles without misleading people. Ask yourself before you post, “if I clicked on this title is this content what I would be happy to find?”
Only click publish if the answer is yes! If not, rethink that title.
My final point, and it’s a good one. Stop trying to be perfect. Our flaws make us human and relatable.
I know a man (okay it’s my stepdad) who has a million projects on the go and often he doesn’t finish some because he is a perfectionist. For him if he doesn’t get it 100% perfect he will abandon it until he can. This costs him time, trying to be unattainably perfect, and ultimately it means he achieves less because there’s so many projects that he stopped at “good enough”. Mind you, his “good enough” is better than 99.9% of what is out there because he is so ruddy talented!
People will love what you have to say without it being 100% perfectly written. There will be people out there who love your personality and style and sense of humour and authenticity and creativity. You just have to hit that post button!
So what’s stopping you now? I’d love you to link up in the blog comments to your latest blog post. Let us come and read your blog.
And as always please share this post so that other bloggers can avoid these mistakes that may be killing their blogs.