Three Common Blogging Mistakes
I see three common mistakes new bloggers make without realizing it. I know – starting a blog or website is sometimes overwhelming. You have a lot to learn, and you’re anxious to get up and running quickly. So, you look for some shortcuts, like free or boiler plate websites, or you blog on social media. Unfortunately, you don’t see the results you want from your new endeavor. However, you can also easily avoid these mistakes.
Mistake One: You Don’t Really Own Your Blog
Are you building your blog on someone else’s land? It’s easy to do, and it’s a big mistake. For example, you might create all your content on Facebook. You think it’s a good place to start because you already have a lot of friends who share your posts.
Unfortunately, Facebook owns what you what you write there. Even worse, Facebook can decide it doesn’t like what you write and delete your page or stream. In fact, starting your blog on Facebook is a lot like sharecropping. If you don’t believe me, the experts over at Copy Blogger have written a great post that explains it better than I can. Take a look at their post Digital Sharecropping: The Most Dangerous Threat to Your Content Marketing Strategy.
Or, you might build your blog on a free proprietary blogging platform, like Blogger. I know how easy this is to do. I made this mistake. However, I didn’t realize at first I was just leasing my space on the web. While I owned my content, I had little to no control over the design of my site or its SEO. Furthermore, my blog existed only if Blogger existed. I was at Blogger’s mercy. It was kind of like renting a kiosk at a market. I didn’t own my space, and my landlord could take it away from me at anytime.
Fortunately, you can easily build a blog you completely own with a tool like WordPress. You control your design, your content, and your SEO. If you don’t want to manage all the upkeep, you can choose a managed WordPress hosting solution.
Mistake Two: You Have a Boilerplate Site
Boilerplate is something that is used over and over again. A boilerplate site is a plug and play website, similar to a website kit. You sign up for the service, make a few changes to the color palette, and you have a fully loaded and functional website. And, it’s very easy to get caught in this trap. But it is a trap.
In addition to not really owning your blog and its content, your website is the same as dozens, if not hundreds, of other websites out there. In fact, Google penalizes duplicate content. Consequently, your audience will have a difficult time finding you in the crowd.
Even more problematic, your blog does not reflect you. As HubSpot points out in its blog post Why You Should Write Your Own Content, you are the only person who can share your passion. The best way to build an audience is to be authentic, and your blog must be in your voice to be authentic. Additionally, the content you receive from the website service might be outdated, inaccurate, or just plain boring. Is that the reputation you want?
So how do you set yourself apart from the crowd? Write most of your own content. I believe quality content is more important than quantity of content. So, if you have limited time and resources, don’t try to post daily or even weekly. An original post once a month will perform better than daily copycat posts.
Mistake Three: You Don’t Have an Email List
You might be asking why you need an email list. Believe it or not, email is one of your best marketing tools. Although your Facebook posts may receive dozens of likes and shares, you have no way of tracking down those fans later and reaching out to them. And, your fans have no way to track down your content later. If you get your fans’ email addresses, you can send your content to them and build your relationship with them at the same time.
Melyssa Griffin is a marketing coach and master of email. She succinctly explains why you need an email list in her post Why You Should Start Buidling an Email List. She believes your email list is the only thing you can control in your business, other than your website. Furthermore, she reports that people on your email list are more likely to buy from you.
To get another similar perspective, you can check out Revealed: Why You Should Start Building Your Email List Right Away from WP Beginner (one of the best WordPress blogs out there). This post makes similar points. With email, you can personally connect with people who have asked to get your content. Because they are already interested in your services or products, you have a much better chance of selling to them than anyone on social media.
If you have a WordPress blog, it’s pretty easy to start collecting email addresses with opt-in forms. I’m not suggesting you litter your site with tons of distracting popups that annoy your readers or make your blog nearly impossible to read. However, a few strategically placed signup forms connected to a service like MailChimp will help you build an email list faster than you think.
Avoid These Mistakes New Bloggers Make
If you avoid these three mistakes new bloggers make, you’re off to a good start with your blog.
- Setting up your blog on rented space
- Creating a boilerplate site
- Not building an email list
Of course, if you need help setting up your blog or creating your opt-in forms, reach out. I’d love to help you out.
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