Nowadays, anyone and their neighbor’s cat can set up a blog within 10 minutes. But attracting visitors and making that blog a success? Well, that’s a whole different story. If you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot on the road to blogging success, here are the mistakes you definitely should avoid.
1. Irregular Blogging
As a blogger, you need to be consistent. You must blog regularly. On the internet, you are quickly forgotten if you go silent for a while. And each new blog post is an excellent opportunity to promote your blog (again).
You don’t have to blog five times a week; that’s not necessary. Instead, try publishing two articles per week on fixed schedules and strive to maintain that frequency as long as possible. That will work better than posting five blogs per week followed by a 14-day silence and then coming back with three articles, and so on.
Regular blogging is not just about the quantity of articles per week or the specific time of posting. It also involves choosing the right topics for your blog. Blogging about anything and everything may be fun, but it’s not the smartest approach if you want to be truly successful.
Instead, it’s better to have a blog that revolves around a specific niche or topic. This way, both your readers and Google will quickly identify what you excel at. And both readers and search engines will find your blog more easily when it focuses on your chosen subject.
Here are a few tips:
- Before starting your blog, think about topics that you can discuss endlessly. Can you build a blog around those topics?
- Don’t promise yourself (and your readers) too much. Good blogging takes time. Set a realistic blog schedule.
- Regular blogging always starts with knowing what the next blog topic will be. Therefore, maintain a list of possible topics to blog about, and review the list at least once a week.
2. Not Using Blog Categories (or Using Them Incorrectly)
If you prefer a blog where various topics can be covered, that’s fine, but make sure to use your different categories correctly. Categories make your blog more organized and easier to navigate. Readers and visitors can then search for posts within the categories that interest them the most (and ignore the rest).
This way, you can gradually create an omniblog—a blog with various, potentially diverse subjects—organized and grouped under specific categories. This structure is not only convenient for visitors and readers who want to explore your site but also beneficial for your blog’s SEO (search engine optimization) (see further explanation).
Even niche bloggers should make use of blog categories. Divide your main topic into different subcategories. For example, on a food blog, you can have categories like:
- Main Courses
- Vegetarian Dishes
- Seafood Dishes
These are all possible blog categories for a food blog. Of course, you can create even more categories and subcategories.
But a word of caution: to make blog categories effective, you must consistently add blog posts to them. Your blog software creates separate archive pages for each blog category. If no blog posts are assigned to a category, you’ll end up with a bunch of nearly empty, low-quality web pages.
That’s not ideal if you want to rank well in search engines.
Here are some tips:
- Think carefully about your blog categories. Create a new category only if you’re sure you’ll regularly assign blog posts to it.
- Limit the number of blog categories. It’s better to have three categories with frequent blog posts than ten categories, half of which are rarely used.
- Occasionally review your blog categories. Are there any categories that almost don’t have any blog posts? Remove them! Do you have double categories? Move all posts to one category and delete the duplicates.
3. You’re not working on your SEO
Let’s not beat around the bush: if you want to blog successfully, you need (a lot of) visitors. And it helps tremendously if your blog easily surfaces in search engines. So, you need to get into SEO. If you’re dreading it, I actually have good news for you.
Try following the first two tips in this article, and you’re already on your way. Get started with the following tips, and you’ll be doing more than most bloggers…
4. You have no idea what (focus) keywords are
Although theoretically every web page can be included in search engines, you can give them a helping hand by following a few rules, especially if your article is less than 600 words long.
What words would your future visitor type into Google to find your blog post? That’s your keyword, the focus keyword in the Yoast SEO plugin. These words should naturally appear in your text.
If you don’t use a focus keyword in your article, and search engines will have a much harder time determining what your text is about. They’re also less likely to include your article in the index. Don’t overthink it and use words that you would naturally use.
Here are a few tips::
- Before writing an article with the intention of being highly visible in search engines, type a few keywords into Google. See what comes up on top. Get ideas for focus keywords, titles, subtopics, and more.
- Don’t aim to rank for short and highly popular keywords. There’s a lot of competition from other websites, and as a “small blogger,” it’s difficult to gain a foothold. Make your keyword a bit longer, and you’ll have a much better chance of success.
- Good SEO has nothing to do with “getting as many green dots as possible in your SEO plugin.” Those plugins provide an indication, but that’s about it. Just try to write in a natural, spontaneous manner. Deliver an engaging and logical story that your reader wants to read or finds helpful.
5. You neglect the formatting and structure of your articles
Now let’s discuss an aspect that is often overlooked. All your efforts to attract readers to your site with great blogs can be undone in an instant if your article is not pleasant to read.
- Tiny, unreadable fonts Inappropriate use of colors
- Lack of white space Long paragraphs without subheadings
- No logical menu structure
- Lengthy articles without images or other multimedia
These may seem like trivial details, but they can make or break your article nowadays. People online have no patience. Your content should effortlessly slide into their minds.
There was a time when bloggers had to spend a lot of time on social media. A few well-placed shares could significantly increase your blog’s traffic. Today, that’s less the case. Social media now mainly causes distractions and time wastage. Time that you can’t spend writing great articles.
I’m not saying that you have no place on social media. They are damn useful for connecting with followers and other bloggers, finding inspiration for new blogs, sharing your knowledge and expertise, promoting your blog in ways other than just sharing links to your latest article, and more.
Are you someone who finds it hard to detach from social media? Perhaps it’s a good idea to engage with social platforms only at specific times. Another option is to use online tools that allow you to schedule your social media posts in advance.
Reserve an hour each week to create and schedule all your updates. This will give you more time for blogging.
7. You have no clue about your blog’s top-performing pages
If you’ve been blogging for a while and have ambitions, it’s crucial that you know which articles and pages on your blog perform the best at any given time. This includes:
- The pages on your blog with the highest positions in Google
- The blogs that bring you the most visitors The pages where visitors and readers tend to spend the most time
Every blogger should be able to name these top pages off the top of their head. Simply because these specific pages deserve continuous attention, which will help your blog convert better. For example, you want to:
- Ensure that those articles are always up to date
- Include (additional) affiliate links
- Display your newsletter subscription form
- Show advertisements
- Add extra internal links Promote those top-performing pages more
Many bloggers dream of having their blog work automatically for them. But to achieve that, you need to set up your blog accordingly. It starts with understanding your best-performing articles. So, let’s head to Google Analytics.
8. You’re not building an email list
I’ll admit it right away: building an email list for your blog is not easy, and it requires patience to see results. However, it would be a big mistake not to work on it. And here’s the good news: just like with SEO, once the ball starts rolling, things can continue automatically.
You create an additional traffic channel for your blog. The people on your email list give you permission to reach them in their inbox. So, you can send them an email whenever a new article is published on your blog, for example. If you handle it smartly, you can generate a significant amount of extra traffic to your blog.
The major advantage is that a large email list brings in many returning blog visitors. You’ll also be less dependent on Google or social media to get visitors. So, it’s a good idea to start early.
Well, those are the mistakes that an ambitious blogger should avoid, in my opinion. Any surprises for you? Which mistake are you going to work on?