So you call yourself a blogger. Odds are you’ve discovered that the road to readers and advertisers is paved with good intentions. However, even those of us with the best intentions can make some dumb blogging mistakes.
Presumably you understand that crappy writing and bad grammar won’t get you far in the blogging world. We also assume you understand the value of proofreading everything before it goes live and utilizing behind-the-scenes tools such as tags and SEO. Beyond knowing the difference between their, there and they’re, and not slacking on the SEO there’s a few other ways to elevate your blog above the rest of the chatter.
Here’s our list of some common blog traps, as well as tips on how to mistake-proof your career as a pro blogger.
Inconsistency and Commitment Phobia
There are two big Cs when it comes to a successful blog: consistency and commitment. Maybe you got sick or went on vacation, or maybe you took a break from writing about the automotive industry to talk about your kid’s first day of kindergarten. Maybe you have readers salivating over your post about your stay at the rehab center Part 1 and then leave them hanging for three months while you are “too busy” to write Part 2.
Suddenly, your readers are confused and asking, “Uh, what’s going on here?”
If you want to take your blogging from amateur to pro, you’re going to have to make a commitment and be consistent.
- Get serious about a publication schedule and stick to it. Don’t overdo it. Two high-quality posts a week are going to serve you and your readers better than five poorly written ones.
- Keep your tone and content consistent. Are you a chipper cheerleader of new technology? Don’t go all Gloomy Gus on readers over a DIY crafting fail.
Think Before You Type
Whether you’re responding to a negative comment or writing up a bitter diatribe on your lack-of-customer-service experience somewhere, don’t just blurt. Knee-jerk reactions are rarely — dare I say never? — helpful in any form of communication and blogging is no exception.
Readers appreciate thoughtful responses and balanced bloggers. Unless you’ve built your following by being fire-y and temperamental blogger, don’t use your blog as a place to vent your frustrations.
Feeling fired up? Don’t want to type something you’ll regret?
- Walk away from your computer. Put some physical and mental distance between yourself and the snarky BlogMeanie837.
- Anticipate the reaction. Go ahead, type up that nasty post on why food service workers are jerks. But before you hit Publish, think about the potential reaction of your loyal readers. Most likely you’ll think better of it and hit Delete instead.
Don’t fear the comments section of your blog. This is where you find out if your content is hitting or missing the mark. Think of your blog as a conversation. Acknowledging readers’ comments lets them know that you hear them. Even the loud, obnoxious ones.
Some bloggers disable the comments section to spare themselves any coal-raking by angsty readers. Unfortunately, by not allowing feedback you’re doing a disservice to yourself and your blog. That being said, we don’t mean to say that you should let the haters rule your comment section.
- Agree to disagree. Let the dissenting commenter know that you’ve read their comment and understand their point, even if it hasn’t changed your mind. “That’s an interesting point you make, CuddleBear500, but I still don’t think that William Shatner would have been an appropriate casting choice for Christian Grey.
- Delete. There are just some people out there who hate everything. No seriously, according to the Washington Post, scientists studied it. If you’re facing some particularly nasty, off-topic comments that add absolutely zero value to the conversation or someone is insisting on telling you how they “make $250 dollars in 15 minute from at home” feel free to delete away.
- For more suggestions on dealing with haters, check out NFIB’s advice.
The ‘Like Me’ Mentality
Just like you can’t make everyone love you, you can’t make your blog appeal to everyone. And you shouldn’t try. It’s exhausting. What you should do is get clear about who your target audience is and consistently show them why you’re adding value to the conversation — whatever the conversation is.
You can’t be afraid to alienate potential readers when those readers aren’t going to like what you’re saying anyway. Focus on your target readers/customers and don’t worry about the ones who don’t “get you.”
Check out what business strategist Marie Forleo has to say on the value of alienating potential customers.
We don’t want you to lurk in the blogging shadows. Does the phrase “generate buzz” make your skin crawl? Promoting your blog doesn’t have to make you feel like a phony. In order to grow your readership and attract advertisers you can’t be afraid to do a little self-promotion.
Get the word out and advertise your blog. There’s a reason you have 497 friends on Facebook and all those followers on Twitter. Put your contacts and social media accounts to work. Share it, pin it, post it.
And then go from there. Check out these ideas on spreading your word.
Now get blogging.