Many a new blogger is excited about her new venture. Many an old blogger loses sight of the bigger picture, the wider vision he had for his blog.
Both types of bloggers need to rethink their approach, even if it is from opposite ends. A lot about what goes wrong with blogging is finding a midpoint between these opposites. When you take a look at the most common mistakes bloggers make you will realise that it is a lot about striking a balance.
Ultimately, you don’t want to waste your readers’ precious time and you want them to keep coming back.
The blog doesn’t have a niche
Generic blog posts add up to very little. Would you like to read something that you didn’t learn anything new from? If your blog doesn’t have a niche you are most likely going to end up talking about anything and everything. In fact, it might even be a good idea to pick on a niche within a niche to set the tone for what readers should expect from your blog. After all, you don’t want to ramble, you want to be of use to your readers.
On the flip side, you don’t want to go all jargony and technical on your readers.
The blog has a broad target audience
Connected to the point above, you have to understand that the entire Internet using population is not your reader. You have to pick who will most likely connect with the topics you have chosen and you speak to them. So, you might consider using colloquial language for a younger demographic or might use medium other than the written word for a lesser-savvy Internet user. You create your own voice and style and keep the reader engaged using that.
On the other hand, you don’t want to write for an audience that is only 100 people strong.
It’s all me, me, me
When was the last time you enjoyed a conversation that was all about the other person? Your blog is a conversation you are trying to initiate with your reader. If all you are doing is over-sell your self/product, you shoudn’t be surprised the reader number starts dwindling. Make sure you are keeping content interesting with anecdotes and stories, even if they are personal – but only if they are relevant to the point you are making.
At the same time, bring in your self, your experience, your style because it is after all your blog. Just don’t do it – All. The. Time.
It isn’t breaking news that your reader doesn’t have time. If they don’t understand things in one go, more likely than not, they will leave never to come back. So, simplify rather than complicate.
But simplify at the level of your reader. Do not dumb it down so much that the reader feels like they are in a 101 course of a subject they are reasonably well-versed with.
Yes, you need to publish at regular intervals. No, you don’t need to publish thrice a day or even once a day. At any given time, for any subject matter – two well thought out and researched posts a week are better than one hurried post every day. If you are going for high quantity, you should have checks in place that it is not at the expense of quality.
It’s reeking of keywords
It is very easy to make out that a post has been written for the sake of writing, even by readers who aren’t aware of SEO techniques. They might not identify the purpose, but they will smell something off and won’t find value in what you’ve written if you are trying to fit in words where they don’t belong.
At the same time, you can’t ignore SEO. Keep it as a secondary aim.
It’s only words
You want to add visual and aural variety to your content. This is beyond design decisions. You want images, videos and audio files when they belong. Again of course, you want to balance it out with text as necessary. Make sure you don’t autoplay embedded audio or video. Ther eis nothing as annoying as landing on a page and not knowing where to turn the volume down.
You think longer is better
Whether it is the length of the post, paragraphs, sentences or words themselves – keep it short. Smaller words have greater impact rather than the reader leaving your page to look up the meaning of a word. Four shorter sentences are quicker to comprehend compared to one long sentence with four conjunctions. 3-4 line paragraphs are easier on the eye and the brain. Posts that take forever to get to the point lose the reader long before.
You think the first draft is good enough
Well, it isn’t. You have to re-read, proofread, and edit – mainly because you are likely to leave typographical, grammatical and thematic errors. These errors are rather distracting to a discerning reader.
You don’t reply to comments
If a reader has read through your post and taken the time to leave a reply, the least you can do is reply. The more involved your reply, the better your reader retention. It is difficult for bigger blogs to do that for want of time and other resources, but they should certainly consider replying to comments in bunches.
You engage in unhealthy discussions
Reply to as many comments as you can. Except if you are being baited by a troll. There is no point spending energy in locking horns with people who are around only to create mischief.
Design and Layout
Trying too do too much in little space can get the better of you. Prioritise your content and keep the layout as simple on the eye as possible. You want to apply visual gimmicks only if they are relevant.
Last but not the least, be patient. Very few of the amends you make will bring about instant results. For one, all the changes have to be consistent and consistency can be seen only over a period of time. And then, it takes time for these changes to be noticed by readers.
Do any of these mistakes ring true to you? Have you learnt from any mistakes that you made as a blogger? Please share your experience to make this effor more effective.