The Worst Blogger Pitfalls And How To Avoid Them
By Patrick Foster
The world of online content can be difficult to navigate.
SEO, keyword research, and trolls will undoubtedly keep you on your toes.
You need to know what your target reader wants to read if you want people to engage with your blog posts.
If you’re a blogger looking for a shortcut, hoping to learn from the mistakes of others and avoid making them yourself — then this article is for you.
The post, 4 Amazing Growth Hacking Tactics You Need to Double Your Blog Traffic, an in-depth guide on how to grow your blog traffic, is the opposite side of the same coin. That article explained 4 steps you can take to grow your blog. This post explains 4 steps you shouldn’t take if you want to grow your blog.
This article details the worst blogging mistakes bloggers can make and how to avoid making them.
What are the 4 Worst Blogging Mistakes?
Not Researching Your Target Audience
Market or audience research is the key to success for any blog, whether you are writing for a business or your own personal brand.
For bloggers, audience research should be something you constantly return to in order to make important content and blogging decisions. Use social media, surveys, blogger groups, keyword research, competitor research, Quora, and content research tools (to name a few) to collect accurate, in-depth audience data. Make the most of the information you accumulate and employ it in your content marketing mix.
Your audience research should tell you:
- What terms or questions are your target audience searching for?
From this information, you could brainstorm potential blog topics and themes that would interest them on your blog. Creating a content calendar of potential blog posts from this information would be a great idea – ensure that your posts will answer their burning questions.
- What products or services does your target audience want to buy?
Blogs give you the chance to write important pieces of content of real value to your potential customers, like buyer’s guides and lookbooks, to assist them throughout the course of their buyer’s journey.
As an individual blogger writing to publicize your personal brand or services, it’s important not to forget about the power of market research. You may not be operating under the guise of a business name, but it is still vital for you to publish blog posts that are well researched and relevant to attract readers. Finding out what your readers want you to write about is a great idea – consider asking them via email or engaging with them on your existing blog post comment sections for inspiration.
Let’s not forget about metrics. Bounce and dwell rates are useful evidence for personal brands and businesses alike to decide what kind of content has the highest levels of engagement. The lower the bounce rate and the higher your dwell rate, the better. If that is the case, you know that a particular blog post is a good quality one for people visiting your page from a SERP [Search Engine Results Page], and this should provide inspiration for what you should post about next.
2. Ignoring SEO on your blog
Sure, blogging can be about creative writing and publishing your feelings or musings in a digital format. But if your blog is representing your services or a brand, you should be thinking about SEO.
Ranking on Google can make or break your online business: if you aren’t appearing on the first page of a SERP, then you’re missing out on a lot of web traffic and new business opportunities. Without solid web traffic, you won’t be able to monetize your blog and earn revenue as easily.
Blog posts are a clever way to optimize your site for certain keywords that will get you ranking on SERPs. As discussed in our first point, the first place to start is with keyword research. Tools such as keywordtool.io and Google Adwords are great ways to collect a list of keywords, phrases, and questions that your target audience are searching for. Check out our previous post on ways you can improve your keywords for SEO value if you need extra guidance.
Pro tip: Keywords, phrases, and questions are constantly changing, because your target audience is searching for new things all the time. It’s best to do regular keyword research to stay on top of new trends and ensure that your blog content is optimized for the right things.
In terms of onsite optimization, the Yoast plugin (for WordPress blogs) is fantastic for page analysis and offers additional functionalities such as changing metadata and link elements. On top of this, Yoast helps you manage technical things such as submitting your sitemap to search engines – this is essentially a table of contents for your website and will help Google crawl your site in the right way.
3. Using stale material in your posts
credit: Raven Roxanne
Many bloggers fall prey to posting out-of-date or irrelevant content. There’s a multitude or reasons why this happens: perhaps life gets in the way, or the content was written and queued months in advance. A lack of inspiration and a pressure to post can lead to substandard content — but bloggers are often better off posting better content less frequently, rather than keeping up with a punishing publishing schedule.
Raven Roxanne is an abstract painter from South Carolina, and her online store (powered by Shopify) is a perfect example of how to use a blog the right way. Roxanne frequently updates her blog with posts featuring information, context and a backstory on the pieces of art she sells online. She also posts relevant pieces of news and information about the art world, particularly on the subject of impressionist or abstract art. This creates a connection with her viewers, promotes her work, and encourages continued readership thanks to expert-level content.
So, how can you ensure that your content doesn’t go stale? You should:
- Stay up to date with current affairs in your industry. For example, as a writer on topics such as ecommerce and marketing, I like to frequent sites such as The Drum. The information I acquire from news sources inspires and informs my writing
- But, if you’re too busy to keep posting yourself, there are other avenues to explore. You could make like Brian Dean and adopt the Skyscraping technique. This involves finding successful content written by your competitors (BuzzSumo is great for this) and using those ideas but making them better. Make sure that your post develops upon the target post and offers updated information of even greater value to the reader. It’s important to give your own unique twist on it.
- Opening your blog up to sponsored or guest posters can be a great way to receive high-quality content without writing it yourself. If your blog has a relatively high authority, chances are you will already have received emails of people offering their content to you. If it’s good, don’t be afraid to accept it – it can keep your blog ticking over, even when you’re snowed under.
- Creating some evergreen blog posts is a sure-fire way to ensure that your content remains of value for years to come. This guide offers an impressive list of ideas for evergreen content. How-to-guides with statistics (that are easy to update) and resource lists are two great ways to go.
Your blog needs a lot of TLC to stay relevant, which can be extremely time-consuming, particularly if you are running an online business too. These tips should provide you with some shortcuts and have you well on the way to hosting a successful blog.
4. Getting caught up with trolls
With any online discussion or community, there’s always the chance that someone will have nothing but negative things to say about you or your content. Constructive criticism can be useful, and you should always take it on board to better your online offering and constantly improve your user experience.
However, you may encounter ‘trolls’ who seek to start an online flame war in the comments section of your blog posts. While it may seem tempting to defend yourself and argue back, it is worth cutting all ties with this person instead. You have the power to moderate your blog comments section – so use it to your advantage. Remove any comments posted by trolls and spend your time on more productive things, like writing fantastic content.
Are you stuck in a rut with online trolls? This article provides actionable solutions to save you valuable time and effort.
So, there you have it: the worst blogger pitfalls and how to avoid them. We hope that these tips will point you in the right direction with your blog, whether you are writing for your personal brand, or representing a larger business.
Author Bio: Patrick Foster, ecommerce entrepreneur & writer
I am a freelance writer and I love sharing my knowledge on a variety of topics from blogging to ecommerce. Sharing my knowledge with others is my favorite pastime.
Host blogger’s comments:
There you have it. Have you been able to avoid making these worst blogging mistakes or are you still working on some of these tips?
Are there any errors you feel Patrick left out? If so, what do you believe are the worst blogging mistakes?
I look forward to your views in the comments section.
Readers, please share so other bloggers know how to avoid making the worst blogging mistakes and can have better success with their blogs.