Beginner Blogging Mistakes – 8 Habits You Need to Ditch ASAP
As a beginner blogger, there are going to be plenty of roles you’ll play during the creation of your first blog. You can expect to become a writer, marketer, designer, and whatever else might need to be done.
Since you’ll have a ton on your plate, there are going to be mistakes made along the way. But if you can bypass these mistakes you’ll be able to jumpstart the success of your blog.
Warren Buffett once said: “It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.”
Today I’m going to tell you 8 habits every beginner blogger needs to ditch. I have learned these lessons through personal experiences and outside experiences helping other bloggers grow.
1) Putting More Work Into Design Than Content
Focusing on your design as a new blogger is understandable... you want your blog to look good! But if you’re spending more time designing compared to producing content then you can’t expect your blog to grow quickly.
As a beginner blogger, your main focus should be on producing quality and consistent content. What is quality content? Words, images, and videos that answer your reader's questions (and even ones they haven't even though of yet).
Consistent content is the main force that will grow your blog.
When you first start blogging, you should spend the first 3 days building a layout and theme you feels represents your brand and goals. Once you finalize a design, leave it alone for 6 months.
This 6 month period will give you more than enough time to start building an audience and produce more content. If you feel tempted to change your theme, mess with cool-looking plugins or optimize your logo... write another post.
When you get to the 6 month mark you can go back and redesign your blog. Your design isn't going to matter unless you have traffic - and you won't have traffic unless you have content.
2) Bad Writing
Writing is the foundation of any successful blog. Heck, without writing, blogs wouldn’t even exist (it'd be all video like Youtube or images like Tumblr). This is why it’s important that your writing skills are as strong as possible. If you’re not a confident writer don’t worry, writing is relatively easy to improve on.
Great writing helps your blog in many ways:
- Better communication with your audience
- Helps you look more professional
- Increases your credibility
How do you get better at writing though?
Well, first you'll want to start learning the fundamentals of writing. It’s important that you know how to incorporate things like: sentence structure, punctuation, word usage, and more into your writing. Nothing is worse than asking Google "how do I grow my blog" and find content that looks like it was written from an 8th grader.
Think of these as tools, each time you sit down and write you have the ability to use each tool to sculpt a great post for your reader.
Next, you’ll want to write everyday. If you’re going to build a successful blog you’ll want to develop a habit of consistent writing. When you make it a priority to write everyday, you give yourself the ability to find your writing style. You don't get bulky, sculpted arms without lifting 3x a week, and you won't be able to clearly and confidently communicate your ideas with words without writing 3x a week.
Lastly, you need to read! I don’t mean read a few books a year, read as many books as you can. You should also aim for non-fiction to increase the truthfulness of your knowledge, but fiction has been known to help with creativity.
As a beginner blogger you can get caught up in all the dynamics of your blog, but if you want to better help your readers, you should read more. Reading will help you find inspiration, learn new writing tricks, and become an overall better writer.
In fact... if you read about your niche, you'll become more knowledgeable about it!
A few books I recommend are:
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
- On Writing
- The Power of Habit
- The Compound Effect
- Think and Grow Rich
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
- The 5 Love Languages
Also, use Grammarly as a last resort. They are great at correcting beginning grammar errors and misspelled words. I highly recommend buying their premium version because it's cheap and works wonders if you're not a nerd 🙂
3) Setting Unrealistic Writing Goals
As a beginner blogger, you might think that you have the ability to take on the world, writing thousands of words per day. While that is great and all, you need to make sure that you’re setting realistic goals for your writing.
If you’re new to writing, you cannot expect to pump out 5000 words every day. This will only cause you to become discouraged and quit. I personally am up to around 1000 words per day on average.
Start off by writing 500 words each day, and once you can complete your daily goal then bump it up. This is going to help you get your ball rolling and create momentum. In my guide to boosting your success as a beginning blogger, I mention that you should aim for 3-4 articles of 1000 words each week. This comes out to around 500 words per day.
4) Horrible Readability
If you want to become the best blogger you can be, you’ll want to make sure that your content is as readable as possible. There are many aspects to this.
When someone lands on your content you’ll want to make sure that they can read and understand it as easily as possible.
You can do this a few different ways:
- Increase white space: Various studies have shown that white space increases your readability and the time someone stays on your page. To incorporate white space try and distance it just a little bit.
- Writing Flow: This might take some time to grasp, but the main point is to make sure your writing flows seamlessly. This will make it easier for your readers to just keep reading. The goal is to remove their own thoughts, so they don't get distracted. When you’re able to make it easy for your readers to read your content then they will keep reading.
- Add large headers to break up text: Add h1 and h2 tags into your headers to break up your writing and make it easier for your readers to skim your content. If they can land on your content and skim to what they need then you will gain another reader for your next post. Lots of readers are actually skimmers.
5) Not Doing Enough Research
Whatever your topic might be, one of the largest mistakes beginner bloggers make is not doing enough research. As a blogger, you now have an obligation to provide content that is as accurate as possible.
How do you do better research for a blog post?
Well, before you start writing take around 15-30 minutes to Google your topic. This can be as easy as just clicking through the top 10 links and scanning the information. Check out all the information on writing your first blog post:
(I've clicked on them all because I've written a post about writing your first blog post!)
When you’re researching, look for things like: studies, quotes, opinions, and anything else that you feel will help justify your content. Also think about experiences you’ve had and how you can add it into your writing.
Once you feel you have enough factual information, you can now write both a accurate and informative post.
Citing your sources and adding outbound links also increases the quality and trustworthiness of your content. I aim for at least 10 outbound links to really give my readers extra content if they don't find mine satisfying enough - and this pleases Google.
6) Not Using Images
After you’ve finished writing your post, you’ll want to start adding relevant images to your content.
Images serve three different purposes:
- User Retention: As your reader scrolls down your content, their eyes will keep gravitating towards the images. This’ll cause them to stay on your site longer trying to figure out each image.
- SEO Purposes: With each image you post, you can add “alt-tags”. These are tags that let users search for your content through images.
- Visually Appealing: Adding images to your post helps with your content being more visually appealing. When someone scrolls through your post they can clearly see what’s happening.
When you’re adding images to your post, make sure they correspond with what you’re talking about at the time. It wouldn’t make sense to include an image of a cup of coffee if you’re talking about how to train a dog. In fact, a lot of new bloggers will use stock photos, or just use one of the first 10 images Google gives them for a search term.
Also I recommend to take your own photos. This will show that you’re involved with what you're talking about. For example… let’s say you run a cooking blog, you could take a photo of each step of the recipe and include it in your content. Creating your own images also shows Google you're creating unique content... because they're good at recognizing duplicate images (no matter how much you stretch, shrink, or crop it).
If you’re unable to take your own photo, then there are some high quality websites that let you use images for free.
One thing to remember though: when you use someone else's photo, make sure to include their name and other relevant images.
Just give your readers something to look at instead of a mountain of text. Images greatly improve the quality of your content because an image is worth a thousand words.
Check out a blog I have, where I get as many clicks from images as I do web results:
7) Your Writing is Too Broad
Another common mistakes beginner bloggers make is writing about every topic they can think of.
Yes, it’s good to test and see what your readers like, but don’t write about dog-sitting if your main niche is cooking. When you’re first starting out try and stick with one area. For example, this blog is about making money online, and more specifically creating, growing and making money with a blog.
When you tighten your topics and "niche-down", your readers will know exactly what to expect from your blog. This consistence will create a more reputable brand. Another great plus of this, is that they'll click around to other articles. By "bouncing" around your site, Google will see that you provide quality content not just once, but consistently. They will reward you for it, too!
8) You Aren’t Collecting Email Subscribers
The last mistake you’re making as a blogger is that you’re not turning readers into subscribers.
When someone lands on your content, you want to make sure that you capture their information. Not in a weird, stalkerish kind of way, but in a marketing kind of way!
Check out one of my lead-magnets for my PracticalPsychology Youtube channel:
It doesn't have to be super fancy. In fact, with my A/B testing technology, I've found usually basic opt-ins work better than more flashy, fancy pages.
When you publish a new post or release a product you can tell them about it. These readers will become your first customers, and your most profitable resource. You might make $100 from an affiliate sale, or $10 per 1000 views, but an email subscriber can literally pay you thousands of dollars by just adding an opt-in.
You can collect a subscriber a few different ways:
- Create an free checklist: Checklists are great for collecting subscribers. For example… I could create 10 point checklist for writing a viral blog post.
- Create a free email course: Use your expertise to create a free email course to teach your readers something new and rewarding. This is great for proving that you’re an expert in your field and they can trust you.
- Free Downloads: If you have cooking recipes, or other downloadables, you can use them as incentives.
- Mini-Course: Maybe instead of an email course, you actually create 3-5 videos on a topic and give them away to subscribers.
Whatever your opt-ins are, just make sure you’re collecting emails. You're leaving a lot of money on the table without them!
These mistakes can be made by anyone, and the sooner they’re corrected,the faster you can find success in your blogging adventures.
Before I send you off, let’s recap on the 8 mistakes beginner bloggers make.
- Putting more work into design then content: Though it is good to have an attractive blog, your readers are there for the value and content you provide. Not the color scheme or nifty logo.
- Bad Writing: If you cannot write in a decent manner, your readers will not give you the time of the day. You need to make sure your writing can be easily read, understood, and shared.
- Setting Unrealistic Writing Goals: You need to make sure you’re setting goals that you can achieve. These goals will help you create more momentum.
- Horrible Readability or No Whitespace: Blogging is about making your information as readable and accessible to your readers. Use white space to make their skimming easier.
- Not doing enough research: You’ll need to make sure your content is accurate. Spend the time to do thorough research so you can give your readers the best possible content
- Not Using Images: Images are important in making sure your content is scannable. Include images that relate to the topic and if you can go ahead and take your own pictures.
- Your writing is too broad: Make sure your writing is focused around one area. Whether that be writing, blogging, cooking, etc.. Make sure that you’re writing in one niche so your readers know what to expect from you.
- You aren’t collecting Email Subscribers: The money is in the list. When you build up an email list you create the ability to pitch your products and new articles to a group of readers that trust you.
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