Finding blogging tips is a pretty easy task, right? All you have to do is enter a query in Google, hit “enter,” and take your pick from the massive list of articles. Unfortunately, though, as online culture and search algorithms have evolved, some of the most popular blogging practices and habits have turned into pitfalls.
Here are seven once-popular blogging habits you need to shun in order to run a successful blog. Avoiding these mistakes will set you on the path to blogging greatness.
1. Being hyper-professional.
Here’s something that might surprise you – the subject of your blog isn’t original. Only your voice is. The way you develop your voice is the reason people will keep coming back to your blog for more. Offer real opinions, ample personality, and use as many contractions as you want. One of the reasons I’m so addicted to Seth Godin’s blog is how unique his voice is. Every article he writes feels natural and exudes personality.
Be warned, however, that having a voice and writing in shorthand like you’re a 13-year-old with your first cell phone are two completely different things. Proper grammar should never be sacrificed.
2. Writing about “anything.”
Blogs are a niche market. If you’ve developed a readership for your blog, the audience is likely interested in your area of expertise or your opinions on a particular subject. Don’t get bogged down writing irrelevant posts related to subjects you don’t have any experience with. Choose from topics that will allow you to deliver value for your audience.
Stick to what you know. If you can’t rightfully call yourself an “expert”, you probably need to avoid those subjects (or dedicate some time to learning them).
3. Obsessing over SEO.
While you want your blog to rank at the top of every Google search, that will never happen without exceptional content. The only way to operate a successful blog is to create content that excites your audience and delivers value which keeps them coming back to read your content over and over again.
If you create rich content and use keywords organically, you’ll have a much better chance of attracting qualified traffic and improving your search engine ranking.
4. Abandoning your blog when the writing is done.
Blogging doesn’t end after you hit “publish.” That’s just the beginning. Without actively promoting your content there is no guarantee the target audience will ever find your blog in the first place. Even with a strong search engine presence, many brands miss out on hundreds (even thousands) of potential readers because they don’t follow through with promoting their posts.
Use specific social media outlets and plan strategic email campaigns to help spread the word about your new articles. Focus on targeting the places where your potential readers spend the most time.
5. Skimping on visual appeal.
Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook…we live in a world obsessed with visual content. People love to see images, graphs, and videos included in blogs. It helps break up the monotony of large text blocks, and adds much-needed color and personality.
It’s important to include visual content that’s relevant to your topic. Don’t randomly add a photo just to break up a paragraph. Make sure it adds to the context of your article.
6. Stressing over length.
Readers are stingy with their time and it’s easy to scare off potential readers with a large wall of text. Here’s a rule of thumb to follow: say exactly what you need to say to convey your message. Nothing more and nothing less.
The length of your blog post doesn’t matter. The only thing that really matters is the quality of your content. People will stick around to read a 3,000-word blog post if they’re learning something new that they can turn around and implement in their own lives. Focus on creating value.
7. Blindly posting to meet a quota.
If your content is truly remarkable, then you can never write too much. However, remarkable content takes time to develop and time is a precious resource. The temptation to write shorter, less relevant content will probably enter your mind. Don’t give in. Spending a considerable amount of time writing one exceptional blog post is worth the effort.
The quality of your content should always take precedence over the quantity of posts you create. You could hire a high schooler to write 50 blog posts in a month if you want quantity, but there (likely) wouldn’t be an ounce of value in any of those posts.
Delight your followers with exceptional writing. Successful blog authors focus on creating worthwhile content, building an active readership, and (eventually) generating a profit. The more you focus on creating content that improves the lives of your audience, the more successful you’ll become. A blog can only be as good as the quality of the articles you post.