If you’re old enough, you’ll have seen me writing on this site for some 17 years now. Back then there was no social media, no iPhones and no Android phones either. A lot has happened in that time and blogging has become more mainstream.
I sometimes get asked about why or when I actually do the updates one the site, so here’s a little behind-the-scenes detail that can help if you’re thinking of getting into it. Let’s note forget that, with over 400 million people reading more than 17.6 billion blog pages every month, they have now become an integral part of today’s internet.
The best part about creating a blog is the decision to do it, it’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of that initial launch and the buzz to get going. Sticking with it can be a little tougher – it’s more work than just sending out a tweet or a quick Facebook update.
It’s important to write about something you love. Something you’re interested in. That’s what originally got me into smartphones, but you can end up hitting some common blogging mistakes even if you’ve followed the expert’s advice. Sure, you might have comprehensively-written blog posts, optimised keywords and promotion, but why aren’t you crazy successful?
Well, to start, don’t give up your day job. I didn’t, and there’s really not many that can. Even some of the most successful bloggers and vloggers still have a day job, and there’s a fine balance between the amount of time you invest in the blog, your family life and your normal job.
You may be scratching your head wondering why you aren’t getting more traffic, comments, shares and likes?
Below I’ve got perhaps some of the 5 most common mistakes you can make:
The Myth: You must post daily to have continuous fresh content and keep people interested in your blog.
Why it’s a Mistake: Posting everyday can lead to burnout. You can end up just typing any old stuff just to keep those tweets being fired out. It’ll result in you perhaps cutting corners, creating posts quickly and ending up with poor quality and less productive posts.
Solution: Consistency is the key, post 2-3 times a week or once a week and take the time to create well written content. A well written blog post can take several hours incorporating appropriate research, editing and writing.
Over Optimising Your Blog:
The Myth: For search engines to pick up on them your blog posts must be littered with specific keywords and links.
Why it’s a Mistake: An over-optimised blog post may lead to penalties from search engines, plus it looks just… fake. In the world of YouTube it’s similar to adding misleading graphics and text on your preview image, and it doesn’t automatically improve a post’s search engine ranking.
Solution: It is important to pay attention to SEO but don’t go overboard when creating a blog post. Remember, you are writing content for an end user – not just a search engine.
Only Short Articles for Your Blog:
The Myth: Attention spans are shorter than ever; people don’t have time to read long posts.
Why it’s a Mistake: When you create a blog it is important to provide readers with variety, constantly writing the same length posts can become tedious for readers. I tend to write about industry stuff plus random projects in my shed. It’s good to mix it up a little.
Solution: Variety is the spice of life, so create both short and long blog posts. If you format long posts correctly, with subheadings and varied paragraph length, it can make them easier to read too.
Blogging is an Easy Way to Make Money:
The Myth: If you create a successful blog, you can benefit financially and all you have to do is churn out a couple of posts a week.
Why it’s a Mistake: To make a living from blogging takes more than just quality content, you need to take advantage of different ways to monetise your blog. You need to be immensely successful too. Some of the bigger blogs are actually owned by publishing houses, with several dozen writers involved. Trying to match that on your own is a non-starter.
Solution: Use advertising such as pay-per-click ads and sponsored content or sell services and products to your readers if you can. In the past we’ve done discount codes with affiliates in order to benefit you guys whilst giving us enough money to keep the show running.
Words are the Only Thing That Matter:
The Myth: The most important part of a blog post is the words, nothing else matters.
Why it’s a Mistake: The content in a blog is critical but how a post looks holds as much importance, one of the top criteria for judging a website’s trustworthiness is how it looks. Gaining trust and taking your own pictures, doing your own work rather than lifting it from elsewhere or just using the graphics from manufacturers is a great way to push forward.
Solution: Enhance your content with proper formatting and include pictures and graphics to illustrate a point, such imagery can grab a reader’s attention.
Over the years I’ve sometimes struggled with time too. It’s a problem most bloggers, Instagrammers, YouTubers and others will have in this line of work. If you can, work in the evenings – or perhaps early in the morning before breakfast. Schedule stories and blog posts so that they go out in the day time, when people will be awake and interested in your content. Be wary of the people you’re targeting too – if they’re in the UK, you won’t get many click if you add a post at 2AM. Likewise, an early-morning post about the latest Star Wars film might get missed by those who haven’t woken yet.
Most of all though – do it because you love it.