Blogging is a tricky game. Regardless of what the A-listers tell you, it’s not as easy as it seems. One problem is that the learning curve is steep. Because of that, many new bloggers make mistakes that impede their progress.
To help you get past rookie mistakes, I want to talk about the 13 sins of blogging as I see them.
1. Focusing On Quantity Instead of Quality
They call it ‘churn and burn.’ It’s a philosophy that will lead you to thinking you’re being productive when you’re not actually producing.
Just because you pump out five pages of work doesn’t mean you have five pages worth reading. Write to the best of your ability, and only publish the stuff that deserves to be published.
If you have a schedule, try to stick to it. If you don’t, don’t feel like you have to. But beyond that, try not to waver in your content-generation strategy.
Don’t write about bananas if your blog is about mushrooms (unless you use mushroom compost to grow the bananas).
You get my drift. Your content should be laser-focused and refined to a point where people know exactly what they’re going to get when they visit your blog.
3. No Outreach
Chris Guillebeau once said that he spends 25% on blogging and 75% on marketing his blog. This is tremendous insight from one of the best in the business.
If you aren’t spending time making connections with readers and partners, then you’ll have a hard time gaining traction. In other words, no outreach is another way to failure.
4. Offer No Value
Your content should not only be written well, but it should provide value, too.
Whether you’re teaching, inspiring, or energising, make sure that you’re doing something besides focusing on yourself (unless, in doing that, you provide value).
Always put yourself in your reader’s shoes and ask, “Can this help me?”
5. You Use Google Images
Google Images are not copyright-free. Even if you haven’t been caught yet, I wouldn’t risk using them.
To make sure your images can be used commercially, buy them from a stock photo site or ask the owner for permission. Otherwise, you may risk litigation.
6. Begging for Money
I see this all over the web, and it makes me sick. If you’re a blogging consultant or you take money to help others make money, then you have no right to beg people to buy from you, donate to your blog, or offer you gifts in any way.
Look, I realise we’re all putting on a brave front, but why would someone pay you for advice if you can’t pay yourself? Be professional. If you need money, ask someone for it privately.
7. Non-Stop Sales
Look, I realize your product might not be selling well and/or you need to find a way to inject some cash into your business.
I have no problems with a fire sale from time to time, even if it will devalue your business. (That’s your problem, not mine.) But having a new sale every week, or several times per month, screams DESPERATE!
Use sales wisely. Do not abuse them.
8. Having Nothing to Sell
Hobby blogging aside, if you have nothing to sell, be it a product or service, then how will you reward your effort well enough that it makes sense to keep writing?
Let’s be real. We’re in this to make money. If you aren’t working that angle, then you suck.
It’s easy to get jealous when you watch someone’s blog skyrocket to success overnight, or when someone is featured in a list post and you’re not.
Jealousy is human nature, and it’s OK to be jealous. The problem is people make bad decisions when they’re jealous and lash out at other bloggers because of it.
Never write a post when you are in a jealous state. Sit, relax, and breathe. Trust me, when you write with envy, you write with malice. People will notice.
10. You Annoy Other Bloggers
We’ve talked about the benefits of controversy, but let’s cut that crap – you can’t do this on your own. You’ll need the help of friends, affiliates and partners. If you annoy all of them, you’re well on your way to failure and isolation.
Treat every interaction, whether on Twitter or in a blog comment, as if it’s the most important one you’ll ever have.
11. Not Moderating Comments
I’m a big believer in openness, but I’m also a big believer in moderation. Have you ever seen a blog with endless spam in the comments? It looks amateurish, doesn’t it?
I know it sucks, but try to keep your comment section free and clean of spam. At the same time, remain respectful of yourself and your audience.
12. Not Taking Time to Respond Thoughtfully to Blog Comments
If someone takes the time to leave a comment on your blog, you owe them the consideration of a well-considered reply.
You don’t need to write a page in response to every comment on your blog, but you should be respectful and appreciative.
13. Not Sharing Your Expertise
There’s nothing more frustrating for a reader than finding someone who has great knowledge that they refuse to share.
It’s like meeting a guru that wants to keep his wisdom all to himself. That’s not the way it’s supposed to happen.
If you have knowledge that can benefit your readers, then do your best to share it often, and in as many ways as you can.