For all you amateur bloggers out there, here are three questions for you. Do you want more people reading your blog? Do you want to build your subscriber list? Do you want to make money from blogging?
(This is a guest post from Jennifer Nini)
Of course you do, why else would you have a blog?
You could just as easily be journalling in the privacy of your bedroom. Instead, you’ve chosen to publish to the world wide web.
So let me guess, you’ve slaved away perfecting your prose, editing and re-editing your work before finally hitting that submit button. But for all the work you’ve put in, I bet you’re not getting anyone reading your blog except for some family and friends who are obliged to. Am I right?
If you have poor traffic numbers, zero blog comments, have a dismal subscriber list and haven’t made any money from your blog, here are the five mistakes you’re most likely committing:
1. Writing for yourself only
When people first begin blogging, they write what they want to write. They write to express themselves on matters they deem important.
While that’s great, remember that blogging professionally isn’t actually about you.
It’s about your readers.
To build a blog worth following, you need to look beyond yourself and consider your audience. The only way to attract new readers and build loyalty with existing ones is to provide them with value. The bulk of online readers are looking for information, and answers to questions. They want to learn, to be inspired, to grow, to be entertained. So before you publish your story about that doughnut you ate from Krispy Kreme or your cat Jinxy consider whether it gives value to your readers. If it doesn’t, don’t publish it.
2. Covering too many topics
One of the most common mistakes that amateur bloggers make is that they explore a variety of different subjects on their blog. One day they’re writing about fashion and the next day they’re writing about a frustrating incident that happened at work. While this is okay if you’re an amateur blogger, if you want to blog professionally you need to narrow this down in order for your blog to make sense to your readers.
Ask yourself: what do you want your blog to be known for? Why do you want readers to keep coming back? Is it because of your fashion styling tips? Is it because you offer green lifestyle advice? Is it because you’ve decided to go vegan and offering awesome vegan recipes?
Remember that focusing on a central theme means that your readers know what to expect when they come to your blog. It’s okay to deviate once in a while if you really need to, but remember to let your readers know why you’re doing so! Try not to do it too often otherwise readers will decide that you’re blogging is just too random.
3. Forgetting to market your post
Many amateur bloggers publish a well-crafted blog post and expect readers to just find it in amongst all the millions of information published daily on the web. Sorry to break it to you, but they won’t.
Professional bloggers understand that marketing is as essential to success as writing for their audience. Even some of the most popular bloggers in the world that attract millions of hits on their websites still market their posts. It is one of the quickest ways to get immediate traffic to your website.
So how do you market your blog post exactly? Use social media. Just don’t make the mistake of tweeting about it once as chances are that people may not have seen your tweet. If you want to maximise the number of people who see your post, you need to market it on social media at different times and days so that it increases the chances of it coming up on their news feed.
4. Plagiarizing and not attributing sources
Professional bloggers follow proper online etiquette, properly citing content and attributing sources for images. Amateur bloggers plagiarise other people’s copy and steal images without giving proper credit. This is a no-no and in fact, opens your website up to being penalised by Google. If you are using a quote from someone else or using a statement from someone else’s copy you must always use quotation marks and credit the website, article, person by hyperlinking back to the original source. For more information on how this works, see Corey Eridon’s HubSpot article: How Not to Steal Other People’s Content on the Web.
5 – Poor Grammar
While blogging isn’t the same as writing a PHD thesis, many amateur bloggers commit the ultimate writing sin: poor grammar. We’re not just talking about a simple typo as these things do happen when you work alone and have no editor. We’re talking incorrect use of words, run-off sentences and the use of rogue apostrophes.
Why is grammar important?
Poor grammar detracts from what you’re trying to convey so that the meaning is muddled. It causes the reader to scratch their head and wonder why they’re reading such poor quality copy. Brands and PR companies are less likely to approach a blogger that commits grammar sins. It’s an all-round turn off.
To identify whether you’re committing grammar sins, check out Brian Clark’s Copyblogger post: 15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly.
Amateur bloggers can easily turn professional
If you want to become a professional blogger avoid making these common mistakes. By doing so, you’ll increase your blog traffic, attract subscribers, win over advertisers and brands and be well on your way to making money from blogging.
Jennifer Nini is co-founder of The Social Copywriter and Editor-in-Chief of Eco Warrior Princess, a leading ethical fashion and sustainable lifestyle blog. When she’s not coaching business clients or writing, you will find her cultivating her organic green thumb.