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Are you guilty of any of these bad blogging habits? I really hope you aren’t. But, maybe you are and you don’t know it. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or brand new learning how to start a blog, today’s post is all about kicking the bad habits that can hold you back from success. We all love our blogs, but little do we know it, are causing more harm than good. Let’s get started.
1. Constantly checking your blog stats
I’m guilty of this one, folks. Having a bit of OCD doesn’t make this one any easier to avoid for me. I check my blog stats many times every day. It’s a good thing to want to see how your blog is performing and checking stats seems to be one good way to do that. By focusing on the daily stats, we are cutting ourselves off from doing other important blogging activities.
Blog stats are very important to me. They tell me what posts are getting views, what affiliate links are being clicked and where my traffic is coming from. While this data is important, try focusing on this data monthly/quarterly/yearly versus daily. It’s easier to see the bigger picture than to try to get down to the day-to-day activity.
2. Too many ads
I get it. You want to monetize your blog to keep your blogging hobby going on for a long time. Any blogger would agree this is a great way to do that. But, there’s a fine line between recommending a product your audience may love versus slamming ads and links in their faces.
My rule of thumb is one ad/affiliate link per 1,000 words. Any more than that opens up the risk that search engines, such as Google, will flag your site as spammy. I absolutely can’t stand to go to another blog’s site, only to be welcomed by a pop up that covers the post I’m trying to read.
Never force your readers to have to close an ad or popup to get to the post you worked so hard on to give them. They want to read the valuable content you have to offer – not view a bunch of popup ads. If you are going to use ads on your page, position them out of the way of your content, such as above or below it, or in the sidebar.
3. Talking about yourself too much
What? It’s MY blog! Aren’t I supposed to talk about my life and what’s going on? Well, yes, to a point, but if you are writing content to provide value and information to your readers, talking about yourself all the time is a good way to turn readers off from what you have to say.
To be a successful blogger, you have to be able to relate to your readers and come across as an expert in your niche. Posting your random happenings several times a day doesn’t help. It doesn’t provide value. You can, of course, use your daily life as examples in a bigger post if you are trying to make a point.
I’m not saying by any means never to talk about yourself. You created a blog because you have your own perspective on any give subject. Let your personality shine in your content. Don’t be afraid to hold back or be someone you’re not. But, limit the amount of times you write only about yourself. If you’re a food blogger and I’m looking for a great recipe for dinner, I want to be able to come to your site to find that recipe – and not 100 posts about what your dog did last night.
Some bloggers run a blog as a business and have a separate personal blog. It’s more challenging and time consuming to run multiple blogs, but it can be a great way to separate your daily life from your business. Consider this as an alternative if you are struggling to separate things out.
4. You don’t stick to a schedule
I get tons of emails from other bloggers every day asking to provide guest posts to my site. I also get sponsored post requests and product review invites from countless companies. It can be easy to go from nothing to do to overwhelmed in a matter of minutes. I use my phone’s reminder feature and calendar app to track incoming requests.
If you don’t stick to a schedule, it can be very easy to miss an important task or forget to hit a deadline. One of my main goals as a blogger is to respond to all emails within 6-12 hours. I flag emails where action on my part is required and set custom colors/text size to call out regular customer emails.
5. You are inconsistent
Some bloggers post 2-3 times a day, others 2-3 times a week and still others 2-3 times a month. Whatever your posting habits are, be consistent. I strive to write 2-3 high quality posts per week. Sometimes I hit it, sometimes I don’t.
The reason consistency is so important is that it shows search engines that you constantly put out fresh content. If I’m trying to boost my traffic, I’m paying close attention to my posting frequency. I read somewhere last week, and I’m sorry, but I forgot where, that some bloggers strive to post a minimum of 4,000 words per post. Wow! That’s a lot of content. Guess what? I wrote my first 4,000+ word post last week. It was easier than I thought it would be!
Search engines like detailed posts. Writing 500 words or less probably won’t get your content moved higher up in the Google blog search results. Focus on writing quality first then quantity. My personal goal is a minimum 2,000 words per post, but as I continue to grow my blogging business, I’m pushing that goal higher as I gain more experience.
Are you being consistent in your blog topics? Along with posting frequency is the types of posts you are writing. Experts in the blogging world say never to only write about one thing. Mix it up. Being a parent gives me so many different things I can write about at any given point in time. I can also mix up the blogging tips posts I write about because they are practically endless.
6. You are copying other bloggers
I can’t stand going out to Pinterest only to see the same exact types of blog posts. The way you stand out is by writing new and exciting content. If you are going to write on a topic that many other bloggers have written about before, mix it up, making it interesting and put a new spin on it.
I hope I don’t have to say to you never plagiarize other bloggers. Not only is this copyright infringement, it’s pathetic. If you don’t have the skills and know-how to come up with content on your own, blogging is probably not a hobby you should choose.
7. You aren’t active on social media
Bloggers who are successful at any level are active on social media. Your readers are talking, and they are talking on their social media accounts constantly. So, be present with them. If you see them asking questions about a topic you know a lot about, answer it.
Do you have your blog set up to automatically share to your social media accounts? If you are using WordPress, it’s easy to do. Be ready to get critical comments, though. Just because you think your post is golden doesn’t mean your readers will. I’ve been criticized many times about things I’ve said on my blog, but this is all part of the job. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – creating controversy is a great way to generate interest.
8. You don’t create a call to action
What’s a call to action? It’s a short paragraph usually at the end of the post where you ask your readers to do something such as:
- Provide feedback in comments
- Read related posts
- Follow you on social media
- Subscribe to your blog
If you aren’t telling your readers specific actions to take after reading your post, chances are they won’t do anything beyond the reading part. If you have an email course or eBook, here’s a great opportunity to promote it. Sharing percentages drastically go up if you specifically ask your readers to share the post. Why not take advantage of the numbers?
9. You don’t network
It can be very easy to get distracted by your daily blogging tasks and forget all about networking with other bloggers. Nearly half of my blog traffic comes from bloggers I’ve networked with at some point in the past.
One of the best ways to get your name out there with other bloggers is to simply visit their blogs and leave great comments on a regular basis. It’s so easy to forget how powerful it can be to swap ideas, meet new bloggers and share their content. The more you do this, the more traffic you will see.
10. Your blog design is confusing
Have you ever visited a blog only to be totally confused by its design and layout? I don’t think many bloggers realize how detrimental their blogs design is to their blog’s success. Many choose a simple theme and move on to producing content. Others use the default WordPress theme (what??!!).
When you are thinking about how to design your blog, take the point of view of one of your readers. What things would they want to see? What things irritate them? What types of menu items would they be looking for?
If your site isn’t set up to make it simple for your readers, you are actually hurting your blog. Design your blog so that readers don’t have to search far to find easy information.
Many bloggers tend to load up their sidebars with pointless information and widgets. While it’s a good place to put your sign up form, contact info, etc., it shouldn’t serve as a place to stuff everything from badges to endless ads. Keep in mind that the more you load into your sidebar, the slower load time your site will have (and the more cluttered it will look!).
11. You’re not using images
Studies have shown that readers love blog posts that include images. If you are writing a lengthy post, such as this one, you’ll want to break up the large amount of text with useful and relevant images.
There are so many ways to incorporate images other than just going to a free site and uploading it to your blog. Get creative! Create infographics, charts, graphs, freebies, etc. to spice up your blog post.
The one thing I will say about images is not to steal someone else’s work unless you have been given permission. Free sites, such as Pixabay or Pexels do not require attribution. A big no-no is going to Google, searching for a relevant image and downloading it for your site without permission from its creator. It’s a great way to get slapped with a lawsuit.
If you are creating your own images, make sure to include a watermark on the image to prevent unauthorized usage of that image on other websites. It’s happened to me before and it is infuriating! Don’t fall victim to this common practice. Protect yourself and your hard work!
12. You don’t proofread before publishing
This is one of my biggest pet peeves when reading other blog posts. WordPress was built with a great spell checker. Please use it. There is no excuse for posting a potentially great piece of work for it to only be ruined by poor spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Error-free work is especially critical if you are making your blog your source of income. No one will want to work with you if you are spitting out errors. I love to write my posts in a word processor first, run the spell check then post it to WordPress.
If grammar isn’t your strong point (it should be if you are choosing writing as a career!), I highly recommend a website called Grammarly. Not only does Grammarly help you write perfect English, but it also can run a plagiarism check. This is especially useful if you accept guest posts on your blog and you want to be sure the content is the submitter’s original work.
13. You don’t use your mailing list
One of the biggest downfalls of many bloggers is that they fail to use their email newsletter (and if they do use it, they don’t use it effectively). Growing your email list and your followers should be one of the main goals you set every year as a blogger.
A goal of mine for 2018 is to include a sign up form in every one of my blog posts so that it’s incredibly easy for you to sign up. Collecting email addresses, though, is only half the equation. Good bloggers know how and when to send emails to their subscribers. Check out this fantastic post that tells you exactly how to do just that.
One good rule I follow is that whenever I have a new blog post, I copy the entire post into my MailChimp campaign and email it to my subscribers. Many bloggers simply send out a quick email with the link to the post. Why not send them the whole post so that they can read it then and there? My goal is to get my content out to as many people as possible and as quickly as possible.
14. You aren’t responding to comments
This is one of the biggest mistakes a blogger can make. Failure to respond to your readers shows a lack of respect for them. If you don’t do anything else on your blog for the rest of the week, respond to each and every comment that’s left on your site.
Respond to the short comments, such as, “Nice post” the same as you’d respond to a 2 paragraph response. Show every reader you truly value their feedback and appreciate them stopping by your site. This is a phenomenal way to connect with your readers and network with them.
My goal in 2018 is to respond to comments left on my site within 24 hours. This lets my readers know I’m engaged with them and value what they have to say. You aren’t always going to agree with the feedback left, but it’s feedback nonetheless.
15. You don’t update old blog posts
I’m sure we’ve all written posts in the past where the information has changed. Rather than write a brand new post about the same thing, the best thing to do is update the original post with the current information.
A good reason to update old blog posts beyond making sure your site stays current is that it shows your readers you are committed to providing the most up-to-date information as possible.
There are so many ways to update your old blog posts. You can turn it into another form of communication, such as as printable or video. Or, you can turn it into an eBook or use it as an opportunity to host a Q&A session. The options are practically endless.
16. You don’t write enticing headlines
If you aren’t writing compelling headlines enticing your readers to read on, you’re missing out on connecting with them and drawing them in as a permanent reader. I really love this article from HubSpot. It gives great suggestions on how to end up with a title/headline that your readers will love.
When I’m thinking about my next headline/title, I think about what I would click on if I were searching for the information. Would I be compelled to click on the link? The closer your title/headline is to the actual content the better. It also works to your advantage in the whole SEO game.
17. You don’t offer any incentives to your readers
I will admit that this one can be difficult if you don’t have a physical product to sell or offer for free, but there are ways around this. Take for example, my 7-day email course on how to make money blogging. It’s starting to draw in more readers for me and is an easy way to give back to them. The great thing about this free email course is that after creating the actual course, it runs on autopilot for me. I can see all the great statistics for it in my MailChimp dashboard.
A goal for me this year is to write an eBook and offer it to my readers as an incentive for joining my mailing list. Down the road, as I build more and more eBooks, I’ll eventually sell them on my website.
Incentives don’t have to be as elaborate as an eBook or a physical product. You can also provide them exclusive access to a list of resources, products, tips, etc. in email form.
I’ve seen some bloggers enter subscribers into a giveaway for free services, products, materials, etc as an incentive for signing up for their newsletter. Whatever you decide to offer, make it worthwhile for your readers and ask for feedback.
18. You aren’t disclosing relationships/affiliate links
Most bloggers I know regularly receive free products or services in exchange for an honest review post. Most bloggers also participate in affiliate programs to try to earn additional income. There is nothing wrong with either of these activities as long as you are properly disclosing your relationship.
It can be very easy to miss disclosing the presence of affiliate links or a relationship with a merchant. Did you know that just one miss can cause the FTC to shut down your blog? Don’t fall victim to the FTC. Be sure to disclose every time. If a company or individual tries to persuade you to not disclose in the post, which has happened to me before, decline their request right away. Even if you are getting paid for the post, it’s not worth losing your blog!
If you look at the top of most of my blog posts, you’ll see my standard affiliate link disclosure. You are welcome to take this and modify it to suit your needs. If you are using Amazon Affiliate links, you must use their disclosure.
19. Your site is full of broken links
If you’ve ever started to read an intriguing article only to click on a link within the post that leads to nowhere, you can get frustrated enough to scream. With technology today and the available tools for bloggers, there really is no excuse to have even one broken link on your site.
Broken links are easy to find and easy to fix. I use a free tool called Broken Link Check. It’ll take a few minutes to scan your website, but soon you will have a list of every URL that leads to a black hole. I spent a few hours last week removing and/or updating all broken links on my site.
Why is this important? One, your bounce rate will be higher. Your goal is for readers to be able to navigate through your site by the links nestled within your post. If those links are broken, they are less likely to stay around. Two, it decreases the chance you’ll rank high in SEO results. Search engines like Google crawl your site to check for broken links. The sites with no broken links will get ranked higher than other sites.
I regularly review my blog stats in WordPress to see if any of my posts are poor-performers. If I see posts with less than 10 views, I delete them. Be careful if you do decide to delete a post. Any other post linked to that post will now direct readers to broken links. The Broken Link Check tool comes in handy for this very reason.
20. You’re unwilling to make changes
I know, I know. Most of us are creatures of habit. If it works, why fix it? Well, there are good reasons to make changes. Regular updates and changes to your site mean your readers are seeing you grow and evolve as a blogger.
Anything is open for grabs when you are looking to make changes. I regularly review my navigation structure, tags, categories, images, etc. to make sure they are functioning properly and are set up in the best way to make visiting my blog easy and fun.
Bloggers who refuse to make changes are actually holding themselves back for bigger and better things. In anything we do in life, finding better ways to do things is the name of the game. Our blogs are no different. What once worked for me 2 years ago may not work for me today.
Be willing to try. Be willing to fail. Be willing to take advice. Be willing to make changes. If you can do all of these things, you’ll find your blog will grow and your readers will stay with you.
Guilty of any or all of these bad habits? Make a change in 2018. I’m here to help!
Comment below to share your thoughts on today’s post and be sure to sign up for my mailing list below! Have an AWESOME DAY and an AMAZING 2018!