12 Blogging Mistakes You Should Avoid
You’ve done it. You’ve finally done it. After eight hours, several cans of Red Bull and the pitiful cries of your increasingly
hungry two-year-old, your newest blog post is finally complete. You can now send it into the world and wait for the acclaim
that is surely yours.
Too bad your subheadings suck and your web design is laughable. Oh, and no one’s going to give you any prizes for SEO,
I’ve been blogging for several years now, and there are a few common blogging mistakes that I see creeping into a lot of
otherwise quality content.
The good news is that you can train yourself out of them, learning how to revise and refine your
process so you’ll make excellent, SERP-attractive updates every time.
The bad news is that your two-year-old has finally given up on dinner and started gnawing on the couch. Whoops. Better
go fix that.
1. Boring Headlines
Here are two possible headlines. Tell me which one is more interesting to you.
“Scientists Find Immune-Boosting Enzyme In Chimpanzee Family”
“DO MONKEYS HOLD THE SECRET TO ETERNAL LIFE?”
Which one is more likely to make you do a double-take? Which one demands immediate investigation? You don’t want your
readers to bookmark your post with a vague plan of reading it later. You want to pique their interest right away, so employ
a headline that’s short, powerful and attention-grabbing straight out of the gate.
2. Too Many Updates
Yes, you should add new content in a timely fashion, but there’s a fine line between regularity and “God, that guy is
posting again?” If you don’t have anything new or interesting to say, don’t force the issue. Don’t update just for the sake
of waving your arms around and announcing your continued presence. Quality over quantity, that’s the key.
3. Misunderstood Demographic
I once worked retail in a neighborhood so poor that our most frequent shoplifters always went for things like toothpaste
and toilet paper instead of luxury items two shelves away. Our company, however, demanded that we push expensive,
high-end products as part of nationwide sales initiatives, so I often found myself trying to earnestly sell $100 face cream
to homeless women. “It’s, uh… it’s good for scabies?”
Knowing your audience is a critical component in running a successful blog. If you haven’t already, run your site through
an analytics tool that will give you real-time information on the ages, genders and incomes of your readership. Use these
stats to tailor your content towards the people who are really listening.
4. Isolated Content
Are you part of a community? Do you have a regular rotation of guest writers and industry experts stopping by for
interviews? Your blog shouldn’t be the lone rock in a churning sea of twerking adolescents and kittens riding roombas.
Make yourself a part of something: Not only will you enjoy free publicity from other, like-minded blogs, but you’ll also build
a professional network to call upon in the future if you decide to take your blog into the big leagues.
5. Standard-Issue Slugs
“Post slugs” are the nifty little creatures that appear after your domain name in permalinks. If you don’t create your own,
they’ll be created for you, robbing you of the chance to promote your content in a relevant and meaningful way.
When designing post slugs, try to keep them short, sweet and optimized for efficiency and memorability.
don’t pass around a link that looks like this:
Instead, try to incorporate your keywords in something simple:
6. Self-Indulgent Updates
You aren’t Steve Jobs. You aren’t Abraham Lincoln. No one cares about how much your server costs, of if your girlfriend
dumped you, or if you really hate the play. Unless your personal woes will segue directly into an important, germane
update, leave the whining for your offline drinking parties.
7. A Lack of Direction
Good blogs can be summarized in one sentence or less. “We help entrepreneurs learn how to advertise their online
businesses.” “We track industry trends across social media.” “I’m really interested in cheeses.”
What’s the point of your blog? Why does it exist? Before you publish anything new, ask yourself if it’s relevant to your
niche, if it helps establish you as an expert of X. Don’t make the common blogging mistake of not knowing what your
website is really about.
8. Dude, Where’s My SEO?
Search engine optimization is what separates the boys from the men. If you’re serious about improving traffic to your blog
and/or making money off your ads, it’s important that you understand things like keyword variations, alt tags, pingbacks,
Give yourself a crash course on the basics and what they can do for your blog. Researchcommon errors and
then do the exact opposite. Educate yourself on the lingo until you can throw around SERP and CRM like a pro.
9. Visually Uninteresting Content
Do your pages pop? Are they filled with easy-to-read subheadings and interesting infographics? If you can’t give a whole-
hearted “yes” to these questions, it’s time to bring Extreme Makeover to your blog.
Start with your text: Break it up into manageable chunks filled with numbers and bullet points so the eye won’t be
tempted to skip over long paragraphs. Then add images, infographics and even video thumbnails to breathe life into all
those words. You can even work some color psychology into your layout if you know exactly what message you’re trying
The bottom line? Appearances matter. It isn’t at all uncommon for great content to be lost in mediocre design. Rethink
that orange font on your green background.
10. Unedited Posts
It’s actually a well-documented phenomenom that you can switch words around and people most won’t notice. Our brains
tend to take sentances in “chunks” and automatically re-arrange anything strange, mispelled or the in wrong order.
If that paragraph sounded good to you, go back and re-read. There were five mistakes. Did you catch them all?
11. Ignoring Your Readers
“I have to engage with my clients. I have to be in touch with them. I have to find out […] if they want to change anything,
if they want to add anything, if they want to put in links, if they want events. You can’t just do nothing and expect results.”
– Jay Nalette, Stop selling and start engaging with your audience on Facebook, Google, YouTube, and blogs
No one likes shouting into a void, but if you refuse to engage with your audience, that’s exactly how they’re going to feel.
Eventually, if they feel neglected enough, they might just take their loyalty to another blogger. To avoid losing valuable
readers, make it a habit of responding to their comments, answering their questions, asking for their input on site design,
12. Little Or No Advertising
It doesn’t matter if you have the world’s most amazing, groundbreaking content: If you don’t promote it, who’s going to
find it? Too many writers think of themselves as God’s gift to blogging, secure but absolutely mistaken in the belief that
their site will somehow be intelligent and revolutionary enough to sell itself.
It should go without saying that these pretentious losers are the ones who wind up moving back in with mom.
If you want your blog to succeed, it’s going to take time, effort and lots of shameless self-promotion. Get over the
awkwardness. Embrace your shamelessness. The future of your blog depends on it.
These are just a few of the most common blogging mistakes I’ve seen around the web. I don’t claim to be a flawless
author myself, but nothing is more frustrating than seeing original, high-quality content littered with basic and avoidable
What do you think? Did I miss anything? What are your pet peeves in the blogging business?