Hey guys! So as you know, I’ve been blogging for just over a month now. While overall I feel like I have had pretty good success and have gotten a lot of positive feedback on my blog, as a new blogger you just make mistakes. Even if you have done your research before starting your blog, you are still entering a community where you don’t know much of anyone, don’t know what the standard is, and are mostly clueless about a lot of things.
So, while I’m still by no means an expert on all things blogging, I wanted to share with you (especially you knew bloggers) things that I have learned over the past month and a half. While I didn’t make every single one of these mistakes myself, I did make a few of them, and I have also heard from other bloggers that did a few of these things as they were just starting out. That being said, here are ten mistakes you will want to avoid as a new blogger
1. Writing massive paragraphs
I may or may not have done this in my first few posts…….
Anyway, the big idea here is attention span. People on the reading your posts n=on the internet have a shorter attention span than professors that may read your papers or employers looking for a detailed and long report.
Nope, people on the internet are looking for fast, easy to read posts that are either 1,000 words or less or divided in some way, shape, or form (headings, pictures, bolded and engaging titles, etc.). So unless you are writing a short story (and I full encourage this…people who like reading short stories have the attention span to read them).
2. Using pictures the wrong way
Pictures can bring life to a blog. They can make it interesting and engaging, while also helping to break up your text. However, many new bloggers use pictures in the wrong way such as adding extremely small pictures to your blog or
breaking up text with extremely large images (yes this is an example of breaking text with a picture mistake, not an actual mistake. Also we are using orca whales because they are pretty much excellent). To avoid these mistakes, take time picking out your pictures and placing them. Also, make sure your pictures relate to your writing (unlike my whales….) and that they are aesthetically pleasing (exactly like my whales).
3. Following people just to follow them
Following, liking, commenting, and interacting with other bloggers is one of the sure-fire ways to attract readers to your blog. However, make sure that you actually care about those that follow your blog, and that you actually care about their blog. While following as many random people as you can will help you boost your followers count, most of the people that follow you or view your site will look at it once and then never return. Also, you need to consistently interact on your followers blogs in order to keep them interested in yours, and you won’t feasibly be able to do this if you are following thousands of people right off the bat. I would recommend starting by following people you know personally or people that write within your niche. This will help to attract a solid group of followers right away.
4. Posting too little
I definitely made this mistake during my first few weeks of blogging, and looking back now, I realize just how crucial posting often is when you are a newbie blogger. At first, I was posting once or twice a week, if that, and I soon realized that I needed to be posting at least once a day, if not more. While this may seem obnoxious, this is something that can greatly increase your following. The more high quality posts that your are publishing, the more people will revere and respect you. This, in turn, will lead them to you blog. Also, posting often provides more and more experience for you so that you can consistently improve.
5. Making it about you
I think this is probably the most crucial point for new bloggers to realize: blogging is not all about you. Believe it or not, your readers will probably not want to hear about YOUR vacation, YOUR story, or YOUR life until they actually know you, see that you know and want to help them, and see that you are respected and somewhat of a professional. So what does this mean for newbies? Don’t write about yourself all the time. While it’s okay to occasionally post that selfie and lay out your personal experience with something, you should really try to stick with posts that will help your readers. This can either be done by writing how-tos, making useful and interesting lists, or somehow using your blogging topic as an advice column for them. For example, let’s say your blog is about interior design and you just re-tiled the bathroom floor and shower. In this case, you have options. You could either make the entire post about YOU and YOUR experience with YOUR bathroom, or you could use your experience to write an excellent how-to article that others can use (you can totally add in small comments like “in my experience” or “when I did this”).
6. You write about broad topics or create vague titles
People like to read posts that are short and to the point. They also like the post’s title to coincide with what the post will cover, and to define exactly what they will be reading. Therefore, don’t make the mistake right away of writing about ALL bird species in one post or by titling your latest post “the hopes and dreams of the average Target employee, gardener, and freelance writer” (unless of course you can tie all of these together and form a high quality post, which I would love to read by the way…). Blog posts should be concise and to the point, and titles need to hook readers, while also identifying exactly what will be covered in the post. Viewers reading your blog should be able to read the title of your post, scan over it, and understand the main topics. Don’t write about something broad that takes a couple of pages to read.
7. Not using social media to advertise your posts
This is a big one. While many of your followers may come from WordPress or consist of other WordPress users, some of you followers may not have WordPress and will only get notified about new posts via email (and who actually has time to scroll through their spam these days right?) To inform all of your followers about new posts, I recommend announcing or sharing new posts on one or two social media platforms. I am currently using Facebook and Instagram to advertise my posts to followers, however I full encourage you to use Twitter, Pinterest, or whatever form of social media works best for you. Several social media platforms also allow you to auto-post directly from your blog so that you don’t even have to manually create a new announcement on social media.
8. Not setting up
People enjoy reading blogs that are well organized, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to read. One mistake that many new bloggers will make (this was definitely me..) is to jump right in before customizing your blog. You want everyone that views your blog to receive a great first impression, so make sure you start this from the beginning. Add a theme, mix up the colors, add pictures, engaging posts, and life to your blog. In all honesty, customizing a blog does not take that long, (took me two to three days and that was with a large amount of procrastination….) taking the time to set up your blog and make it look nice is worth the time investment.
9. Not properly using links
This mistake may not seem like that big of a deal, but in reality the way you use links and advertise other posts (even if they’re you’re own) is important in how your readers view your site. When using a link, whether it be to another one of your blog posts, or to an outside source you’re going to want to embed it into your writing and insert it as a hyperlink. For example, if I wanted to inform my readers build a better blog, I would insert a hyperlink that links to my post on that topic. Notice how I have changed this link from the typical, lengthy gibberish to a nice and concise few words that will not only clean up your blog, but will also inform your readers of what they are clicking on. Use this same format when linking to outside posts as well.
10. Not buying their own domain
I know you want to save money, and that domains are not free. However, if you actually want to attract readers outside of WordPress or your blog host, then you’re going to need your own domain. For example, when I was on the free plan here at WordPress.com, the domain for this blog was http://www.authorscanvas.wordpress.com. Although I was attracting some readers to my site, (so yeah…it can be done if you’re determined…) they were all from WordPress and I knew that no outside readers would ever even see my posts. My blog was also difficult to find and not professional. So, I upgraded my plan and bought my own domain, https://authorscanvas.blog/ and since then my traffic has increased, and more and more people are able to find my posts. On WordPress, this is available in three out of the four plans and, honestly, the money investment is worth it. Your blog will look more professional, will be easier to find, and will be more likely to be accepted by companies for advertising or monetizing in the future.
***That’s it! Thank you guys so much for reading! Please feel free to share in the comments some mistakes you have learned throughout your blogging experience or things you know that might be helpful for new bloggers to know. I always love to hear your advice!***