Creating and managing a successful blog is a complicated and interesting road. When things go right, you’ll love talking to your readers in the comment section of your posts, planning and writing new content, and learning cutting-edge technologies so that you can grow as a professional and share it with your audience. But the road of becoming a successful blogger is not always easy. Sometimes, things can go completely wrong, specially if you make beginner mistakes.
In the following list, I’ve compiled most of the errors newbs make. I’m quite sure you already know them—common sense will actually warn you about them. But, as you know, common sense is not as common as we think…
We humans like to make the same mistakes over and over again. That’s why I created this list—I want you to be aware of them and avoid them before it’s too late. So, next time you ask yourself why isn’t my blog working?, you’ll have a ton of possible explanations. You’ve been warned!
Common Mistakes to Make Your Blog Fail
Keep this list close to you and make sure you make none of these mistakes ever again. We’ve all made them at some point in the past… but we must learn from our experience! Follow my tips and you’ll have a bright future with a successful blog!
1. Plagiarize Other Blogs
That’s probably the worst mistake you can make. And it’s also the most tempting! You’re browsing the web and find the perfect blog post—it has all the ideas you wanted to share, and it’s perfectly crafted. It’s so great that even you want to share it with your own audience. The only problem? You aren’t the author! You wish you were, though… so, what the heck, let’s copy it! ?
Don’t! Fight it! ? Never, ever plagiarize somebody else’s work! If you do, you’ll lose your own credibility, the original author will hate you (even if you think they’ll never know, they will), and you’ll be basically throwing away all your hard work. It doesn’t worth it.
What you can do, however, is offering a twist to your audience. Be original and different. Get the ideas from that outstanding post. Get more ideas from other posts. Craft your own version and include your own point of view. Agree or disagree with the original author. Link to the original content. People will love having a different perspective on the subject, and you’ll still be a professional.
2. Writing About Things You Simply Don’t Know
Your opinions only matter if you can add some value to the topic at hand. So, if you want to write about something you’re not familiar with… well, my advice is, don’t bother. You might be interested in the topic, or it might be quite trendy these days, but if you don’t know what you’re talking about, the final result will probably look poor.
What would you think if I wrote about the reproduction of Platypus…es (I don’t even know its plural form)? You’d think I just went nuts! I might think it’s a super interesting topic, but it’s probably better if I stick to our area of expertise—WordPress and Online Marketing.
3. Neglecting Your Sources
This mistake is quite common too (and it’s somehow related to the first mistake I mentioned). Whenever you copy a piece of text or an image into your blog, make sure you explicitly mention (and probably link to) the source. In fact, you should also make sure that you can actually use the asset you’re including in your post.
Referencing your sources has multiple benefits. On the one hand, if a claim you quoted turns out to be false… hey, it’s not your fault; it’s theirs! On the other hand, people will be grateful that you attributed them their work, which (as we shall see later on) is a good thing if you want to increase the chances of succeeding.
4. Scarce Time
If you want to create a successful blog, for real, you’ll need a lot of time. There’s an endless list of tasks you’ll have to take care of, so get ready to work hard on it or don’t even bother to try.
These tasks include blog administration (plugin management, themes, setups, users…) and content generation and promotion. The more time and resources you have, the better your blog will be. So, yeah, keep that in mind!
5. Skimping on Resources
If time’s usually a problem, so is money. When you start a brand new blog, you don’t need to spend a fortune on it. But that doesn’t mean you’ll never need to spend some money on it.
I find it surprising the amount of people that are losing readers or customers (and, therefore, money) because they didn’t want to invest some money on their blog. Don’t be stingy and pay a proper hosting provider, use a (maybe customized?) theme that matches your needs and add those premium plugins in your WordPress that’ll help you boost your performance.
In summary, don’t waste your money, but be willing to invest it anyway.
6. Being Oblivious to Analytics
If you ask a blogger where their audience come from or how many visitors came to their blog during the last month, and they don’t know how to answer… well, Houston, we have a problem. This information is crucial, and getting it is as easy as installing Google Analytics on your site.
Information about what’s going on with your web is something you’ll need if you want to evolve it based on real data and not hunches. You can’t be oblivious to what’s happening with your visitors!
7. Lack of Strategy
Before starting a blog, you need to define the goals you’re pursuing and think about how you’ll achieve them. Something as simple as “become a millionaire” or “become an influencer in this area” are more than enough—they’re not very specific, but at least they give you an idea of where you’re headed.
If you don’t know how to achieve your goals or whether the steps you’re taking lead to them or not, then you need to stop for a moment and think. I know it’s not easy, because your objectives might be vague, but you need to give it a shot. My partner Ruth talked about it some time ago, so read her posts and try to apply her tips in yours.
8. Ignoring the Editorial Calendar
Most (unsuccessful) bloggers don’t schedule their posts and, as a result, most blogs die before they turn one year old. Consistency and a good scheduling are key factors to success. So, dear friend, read my post about how to create an editorial calendar and get some things done right now.
In Nelio we use our own plugin Nelio Content (surprise!) to schedule, publish, and promote our posts in social media. It doesn’t really matter the final solution you use—just use one and stick to your calendar. Success will eventually come.
9. Not Converting Your Traffic
Do you have tons of visitors? Congratulations! But have you ever wondered why you should be interested in having a lot of visitors? We want a lot of visitors in our website because we’re interested in their doing something—we want them to buy a product, subscribe to our newsletter, recommend us to their friends…
Don’t waste any more time and take some actions to increase your conversion rate. How? Take a look at out plugin Nelio A/B Testing—it’ll help you a lot ?
10. Ignoring SEO
This might have changed lately, but there are still too many blogs that simply don’t care about SEO until it’s “too late”. I get it—there’s a lot of information about SEO on the Internet and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But don’t be—I think most opinions out there are crap, because almost nobody really knows how SEO actually works.
There’s a few guidelines you should apply, though. Just install your favorite SEO plugin (just one!) and make sure to fill the basic information when you write new content and/or upload new assets to your media library.
11. Earning Money is Easy
If you think your blog will help you earn money from the beginning, well, you’re wrong. Unless, of course, you’re “famous” and your audience is already there.
If you want to earn some money out of your blog, you’ll need to invest time and resources to build a loyal reader base. Once your blog has enough (regular) visitors, you can look for a way to monetize that traffic.
I don’t want to discourage you, but I don’t want you to set false expectations either. Nowadays, earning money with a blog is very complicated—you’ll need to write quality content consistently, and you’ll also need some luck.
12. Not Knowing Your Audience
Another rookie mistake is not knowing your audience. And I’m not talking about knowing them one by one—you can only do that if the only visitors your blog has is your family ?. You need to know, though, what kind of visitor or reader is visiting your blog.
My partner Ruth talked about Buyer Personas on a previous post—the same ideas apply here. Try to define the profile of your ideal/actual visitor, and then, make sure that the contents you create are aligned with their interests. If you do so, your blog will be more valuable to them and it’ll be easier to succeed. This is where analytics come really handy.
Lots of typos in your posts? Browser include a spell checker, so please use it when writing new content! You can’t prevent all mistakes from happening, but there’s a difference between a well- and a poorly-written post. Be careful with your orthography ?
14. Using Random Titles
Titles are the first thing your readers will see from your articles. If they aren’t catchy, people won’t be interested in clicking on that link and coming to your website to read the content.
Take your time to create beautiful titles. In fact, I’d also recommend you take a look at your old articles and, perhaps, rewrite their titles to make them more engaging!
15. Design is Better than Content
A lot of people believe that a beautiful blog is all they need to succeed, because content isn’t that important. And that’s a huge mistake. Indeed, your visitors will like your blog more if it has a pleasant design, but if content is poor, they won’t be interested in reading you anymore.
That doesn’t mean that your blog design can suck—if you write awesome posts but it’s presented like crap, visitors might simply dismiss it before they even start to read it. As always, there’s a trade-off—write the best content you can and spend some resources in finding a pleasant theme.
16. Content Creation is More Important than Content Promotion
I’ve said this several times—you must spend 20% of your time generating new content and 80% promoting it. If you don’t promote your content continuously, you’ll have trouble reaching your audience. The quality of your content doesn’t really matter if there’s nobody reading it. Keep that in mind when you schedule your tasks.
17. Forgetting About “Old” Content
You spent a lot of time and effort creating all the posts that now sit in your blog—why aren’t you taking advantage of all your content, even if it’s “old”?
There’s actually a lot of things you can do to give old posts a second chance. First of all, you can update them—find the posts that generated the most traffic and interest, and update them with the latest information available. This is much easier than writing new posts from scratch, and your visitors will appreciate the update.
You can also keep promoting old content on your social media. There’s plenty of timeless articles—they don’t expire and their content is as true today as it was when you wrote it. Your newest followers might have never heart of them, so promoting them again makes sense, doesn’t it?
18. Setting Social Networks Aside
Your audience is probably spending a lot of time on social media. That is, you also need to spend some time there if you want to reach them and let them know you exist. Create your own profiles on different networks and be active, sharing content, replying to your followers, and so on.
But wait a minute! There’s no need to create social profiles on all social networks—use your analytics to learn where your visitors come from (that is, which social networks drive more traffic to your web). Once you have this information, focus on those networks first!
19. Flying Solo
Don’t isolate yourself. Let other authors publish content in your blog and improve its quality—your blog will present multiple perspectives, your workload will soften as other authors help you, there will be more diversity, and you’ll build a beautiful and strong community.
Everybody does this. If you take a look at your competitors you’ll see there’s more than one author. Open your blog to people that might be interested in participating.
Oh!, and, by the way, if you’re interested in writing in Nelio Software, let me know—we always welcome new authors ?
20. Not Growing Your List of Subscribers
If you don’t have a subscription list yet, go ahead and create one right away! David wrote a post last week describing how to create automatic newsletters in MailChimp.
Newsletters are a perfect tool for keeping in touch with your audience—once they’ve subscribed, you’ll be able to send them a notification every time there’s new content available in your blog or when you’re interested in letting them know something in particular. You need to promote the newsletter actively and invite visitors to join it. There’s plenty of techniques to do so—presenting popups, offering content that can only be accessed if they subscribed, and so on.
21. The More You Publish, the Better
We used to think that the more you publish, the better your blog will be. Wrong! Nowadays, quality is what really matters.
Ideally, you’d have to write high-quality content often. But that’s a utopia—you’d need a lot of resources to pull this off. If, like us, your time and resources are limited, it’s better if you focus on quality instead of quantity. Your readers value your posts based on how helpful they are, so make sure your posts are valuable to them ?
22. Networking? Nah!
It’s not easy and we don’t always have time for it, but networking is very important. How should you do it? Comment on other blogs, engage with their authors on social media, promote their contents in your blog, go to offline events and meet people face-to-face… With all these actions, people (both your audience and your competitors/colleagues) will know you and think about you and your blog when they’re looking for information.
In our case, for example, we collaborate as much as we can with the WordPress community here in Spain (example) and we interview WProfessionals monthly. These actions increased our visibility and more people know about us today ?
23. Not Letting It Go
If you make the same mistakes over and over again, stop for a second and think why. If you can’t invest the required time and resources in your blog, don’t have a blog—it doesn’t make sense to insist on it. An abandoned blog with no recent activity is far worst than no blog at all ? As they say, it’s better a retreat than a defeat.
It’s surprising that bloggers keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Not only rookies make them, but also “professional” bloggers every now and then (I’m sure we did recently ?). The important thing here is that you’re aware of them and try hard not to fall for them again ?
I’d love to know what errors have you made in the past so that our readers and I can learn from them. Hopefully, our combined experiences will help us become better bloggers! Just post a comment below ?
Featured Image by veeterzy.