Wanna hear something astounding? By the year 2020, the number of bloggers typing away in the United States will reach 31.7 million. Many will be newbies, leaving the internet awash in a sea of blogging mistakes.
But you don’t have to contribute to the problem. In fact, we want to see you succeed! Here’s our list of the top 10 blogging mistakes every noob makes and how to avoid them.
1) Your Ideas Are Boring
We need to do a little tough love here so bear with us. YOU are not the intended reader of your blog posts… no matter how many times you pour back over your first blog post. What you think makes for interesting first blog post ideas might tank with readers.
Now, your initial reaction could involve rebellious indication: “I don’t care what other people think. This blog’s for me!”
In that case, here’s what we have to say… Congratulations! You’re the proud owner of a very public, “private” journal that you invest your time and energy into with little to no payoff.
Why? Because you’ve decided to go the random blogging route. In the process, you’ve abandoned your poor reader.
2) You Don’t Know Your Readership
Alright, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get serious. You got into this new blogging thing because you want a readership. You secretly, desperately, truly desire for people to read your posts.
You want them to leave comments and share your posts with their friends. You want an audience. Period.
In that case, find ideas that speak to your intended readers and grab their attention. This might require some research. That’s okay.
You need to provide your audience with value so that they’ll keep reading and coming back for more. After all, you’re asking people to spare a chunk of their precious time to read and engage with your posts. They need to get something out of it in return.
3) You’re Trying to Sound Smart
Remember the ridiculous white starched collars that Cate Blanchett and her co-stars wore while filming Elizabeth: The Golden Age? Yes, they were historically accurate. But did they look remotely comfortable or natural?
Many new bloggers approach writing the way those masochistic Elizabethans pursued over-the-top fashion. They want their writing to sound smart and profound. They want to be deep.
The result? They write single sentences as broad and long as entire blog posts.
They pepper these posts with verbiage requiring a standby dictionary, and they talk down to their readers.
4) Your Writing’s Too Formal
Now, remember when we discussed your intended readership earlier? How would you talk to this person one-on-one? Would you patronize them or try to make them feel stupid?
For a whole bunch of reasons, let’s assume your answer’s no. This begs the question. Why are you writing to them in a formal, unnatural way that would make anyone feel uncomfortable?
Here’s your golden rule of writing: write to people the way you want to be written to. In other words, write conversationally using a voice that’s warm and friendly.
5) You’ve Got No Point
Have you ever read a book or watched a movie that left you dissatisfied? It wandered aimlessly. Perhaps you found yourself asking, “What’s the point of all of this?”
Don’t do the same thing to readers. Yes, we want to see your personality shine through, but don’t do it at the cost of your post topic and main point.
Readers will put up with a small digression here and there, especially if it helps drive home your main point. But don’t take advantage of your platform. Make a point, and stick to it.
6) Your Topic’s Too Broad
When your topic’s too broad, your writing suffers. Blog posts should represent readable chunks of information tightly focused around one main idea. So, don’t try to cover 20th-century movie making, French cooking, or digital marketing in one post.
While these could make great themes for your overall blog or a category of your blog, you’ll still need to break them down into digestible chunks for each post. Your readers will thank you for it, and you’ll have more content to post, which will help your blog’s SEO rankings.
More specific topics will help you attract a smaller audience more targeted to your topic. These individuals are what we call “high quality” leads, which means they’re easier to convert into loyal customers down the road.
7) You’ve Got No Road Map
We need to discuss the method behind the madness for a second. How do you write a blog post? Do you outline it ahead of time to ensure that it stays clear, concise, and on point?
Or, do you pull the equivalent of vomiting on the page (or, rather, screen)? You know what we mean…
While it’s great to start with a brainstorming session, that shouldn’t represent your finished product. After the brain dump’s complete, look for related ideas. Then, create a hierarchy of importance in terms of how you’d like to present them.
After that, list which sub-arguments and evidence relate to each idea. Now, you’ve got the makings of an outline!
Outlining will make your posts hyper-easy to follow. After all, many of your readers will skim your posts, an unfortunate but sad truth. You’ve got to get your main ideas across in a clear way… even for the skimmers.
8) You’re Taking Artistic Tirades to the Next Level
Yes, we get it. The world doesn’t always appreciate artists or small business owners, for that matter. You may feel underpaid and under-appreciated.
But please don’t barrage readers with an angry tirade that leaves them longing for the end. Not that they’ll stick around to read it anyway…
We’re all on journeys of self-discovery. We all have good and bad days. You need to focus on providing value to your readers.
At a bare minimum, this requires educating them about a narrowly-defined topic. It may also involve helpful advice, motivating words, and even inspiration.
Never write anything that sounds unprofessional, offensive, or rude. Make sure your readers walk away from the screen feeling enriched rather than drained. Your blog represents your brand, so don’t forget it.
9) You’re Unfounded
The internet remains deluged with fake news. Don’t add your own assumptions and presumptions to the toxic mix. Your readers need to trust you and believe in what you say.
So, make sure your claims prove accurate. Then, demonstrate this by including data as evidence.
Arguments gain instant credibility when you cite your sources. Focus on producing data-driven content that shows you’ve done your research.
Well-researched, authoritative writing drives people to take action. If you want them to buy from you, then you need to create credible, compelling content.
10) You’re Passive
Remember when your English teacher taught you to avoid passive constructions? While you can probably throw 80 percent of what they said out the window when it comes to digital writing, don’t chuck this rule!
Think about it for a second. Which of these sounds more compelling? She was happy. Or, she radiated joy.
It was cold. Or, the frigid, single-digit temperatures stabbed into his skin like sharp knives.
Alright, maybe that last one sounded a tad melodramatic. Nonetheless, you get our point.
Blogging Mistakes to Avoid
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