Common blogging mistakes and how to avoid them

The beauty of blogging is how deliciously accessible it is. Virtually anyone can become a blogger and, theoretically at least, become quite well-known from it. It isn’t a craft that’s reserved solely for society’s upper crust with their fancy college degrees and cocktail mixers and agents and publishing houses and pants; blogging is for the masses. If my four year-old nephew, Stellan (named after the Swedish actor, Stellan Skarsgard) wanted to start a blog, very little would stop him from doing so, although I suspect it would just be a series of critical essays about The Good Dinosaur, because he’s watched it about a thousand times.

And really, who can blame him? That shit is fucking awesome. Moving on.

Thing is, the widespread popularity of blogging and its shift from casual pastime to serious marketing effort have meant that many bloggers are looking to be the next big success story in cyber storytelling.

Common blogging mistakes and how to avoid them

Sadly, many of these same bloggers also very often suffer from the delusion that the mere fact that they have a blog means that they can order their yacht from the yacht shop (is that where one gets yachts from? I get seasick so I wouldn’t know) and start practising their autographs in preparation for their inevitable superstardom.

Look, it’s probably easier to get famous from blogging than it is from, say, rose cultivation, but that doesn’t mean your blog’s success is guaranteed.

Firstly, being good at it is pretty much a requirement. If you’ve ever had aspirations of writing a book, and you’ve done some research on getting published you’ll know that many experts warn against self-publishing because, without professional editing, there’s just too much room for error and, ultimately, disgrace.

Well, with blogging, it’s sort of like self-publishing, only no one really looks down on it and you can actually be taken seriously as a writer. But just because you’re technically not required to hire a professional editor, that doesn’t mean that the quality should be sub-par, especially if you hope to make it big in the blogosphere.

Here are some common blogging mistakes, and how you can avoid them.

That’s right: it is actually possible to blog wrong.

Comparing your blog or writing style to others. This is something that I made myself guilty of during the early days of my blogging career. And do you know what ended up happening? That’s right. I became fucking miserable because I was so convinced that I could never live up to the truly great bloggers such as Neil Patel or the folks at Copyblogger.

But now I’m older and, thankfully, much wiser, and I know better than to compare what I do to what others do.

I’m not saying don’t read or even get inspiration from other blogs in your niche – you should totally do that! – but you shouldn’t sell yourself short just because you write in a different style or use a different tone of voice.

I used to really beat myself up because up because Copyblogger writers write in such an easy, fluid, conversational tone and I write like I have a stick jammed up my behind. But, one I made peace with the fact that I am not, in fact, someone else, and that I have my own unique voice and own unique style of writing, I didn’t only become more prolific, I also became a whole lot fucking happier.

Oh, and I sometimes use bad words. That also makes me happy.

Putting no effort into spelling or grammar. Hey, it’s just the Internet, right? Home of Lolcatz and Salad Fingers and a plethora of other disturbing creations that seem to have been dreamed up (nightmared up? Is that a thing?) by people who are on bad acid.

Does proper language and diction really matter?

Why yes. Yes it does.

Virtually every professional blogger will tell you that the key to your blog becoming popular is creating quality content.

Common blogging mistakes and how to avoid them

Now, quality content, as it relates to blogging, has two meanings:

1. It means that the subject matter should be engaging and of such a nature that people would actually want to read and, equally importantly, share your stuff.

2. It means that your content needs to be well-written; in other words using proper sentence construction, punctuation, spelling and grammar.

Because mistakes creep in and, for many of us, high school English is about a million trillion years ago, I recommend downloading the free Grammarly plug-in which will rap you over the knuckles with a steel ruler if you make mistakes in your use of language.

Not doing research or referencing your sources. This point also comes down to creating quality content, and is especially relevant if your niche involves data, facts and statistics. If you make claims or state facts and figures in your blog content, be sure to either reference the source or, most favorably, link directly to it with a hyperlink. If you don’t, your readers may be tempted to call bullshit.

Common blogging mistakes and how to avoid them

Not making your blog visually engaging. It is a common misconception that blogging is a purely textual medium. In fact, some of my favorite blogs rely very little on text and choose to convey their messages through media such as images, infographics and video content.

Break up blocks of text with eye-catching imagery, videos and other multimedia content in order to grab visitors’ attention and keep it.

Being inconsistent. Firstly, blogging regularly keeps your website’s content fresh and can actually help boost SEO which, in turn, can help your site rank better on search engine results pages.

Common blogging mistakes and how to avoid them

40105572 – notepad with word seo concept.

But it’s also important to remember people follow your blog for a reason, whether it is for entertainment, news, gossip, to learn or to read all about The Good Dinosaur is actually, like, a metaphor for capitalism. Or something. Point is, you need to keep your audience engaged by consistently posting quality content and keeping your blog up to date.

The reality is that there is no magic formula for attaining blogging superstardom. Being a successful blogger is a combination of a lot of fucking hard work, a shitload of patience and, perhaps most importantly of all, really good content that’ll make visitors want to come back for more.

Struggling to get traffic to your blog? Check out these ridiculously simple hacks for increasing blog traffic.

Posted by Charl Mijnhardt

Charl Mijnhardt is an established freelance writer with a special interest in wellness and mental health. He is also an experienced technical writer with many years' experience writing for the security industry. He currently lives in South Africa with his wife, Nastasia, and his cat, Gizmo. Hire him to write engaging copy for your website, blog, e-book, newsletter or marketing communications.

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