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Did you ever think that instead of making your blog sizzle that you are actually hurting it???
Yes, it’s possible. And too many bloggers are guilty of this than you’d think. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Blogging is a huge investment of time, focus, energy, and money. Just like any other business, the more you put into it, the better the output.
Are you guilty of hurting your blog? You may be and not even realize it. Take a look at 10 big ones I’ve identified below and see if you fell victim to any (or all) of them.
1. You picked the wrong niche
If you don’t pick the right niche, you’re in for loads of trouble. Picking a niche where you can be successful is important to do right away. If you start off blogging in a niche you know nothing about, you are going to have a hard time selling confidence to your readers. Trust me when I say you should pin down the right niche well before posting your first piece. It’s so much easier to switch your niche before you’ve purchased a domain name, designed your blog, and written 10+ posts.
When I was thinking about what my niche was going to be, I wrote down topics that interested me. I’m a dad, so naturally writing about my parenting experiences made sense. I also enjoy helping others learn how to blog, so that was another opportunity. If you are a basketball player, does it make sense to start a baseball sports blog? Probably not. Same holds true with any other niche. Don’t dive into a world of unfamiliarity. Stick with what you know and what you are good at. Remember, you are writing for your readers. If you sound like you have no clue what you are talking about, you are going to lose your readers’ trust (and probably see a spike in unsubscribe emails!).
2. You’re too focused on making money
Far too many bloggers only start a blog to make money, but fail to realize that connecting with their readers and instilling value in what they write is what drives more affiliate sales. If you are too focused on banner ads, affiliate links and other monetization tactics, you become less focused on creating high quality content. The advice I always give other bloggers is to establish a readership first, then jump into monetizing.
I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to want to try to earn money from your blog. Monetizing a blog can be a great way of earning extra income. As a daddy of 4 kids, and a household of 6 people, I’ll take any extra side income I can get. Don’t let the idea of earning money take over. Yes, you should try to monetize with affiliate links, but it should be a background to your main content.
3. You aren’t self-hosted
If you are serious about blogging, and I mean serious enough to want thousands of followers, you must go the self-hosted route. When you don’t have a professional domain name and stick with a free blog URL, you limit yourself and you tarnish your reputation from the start. To be taken seriously, you have to look serious.
Which blog are you going to visit first? www.makemillionsofdollars.com or www.makemillionsofdollars.wordpress.com? Probably the first one, right? Some bloggers have actually argued with me that it doesn’t matter as long as the content is superb. I politely disagree with them that your blog is like your marketing material. Spend the time and money necessary to make it WORK FOR YOU not AGAINST YOU!
4. Your blog’s design sucks
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – the overall design of your blog is crucial to its success. If everything isn’t displayed and organized wisely, your readers will become confused. Make sure you have a theme that’s mobile-friendly, and a layout that puts your best foot forward.
Do not use the default WordPress theme. I know it’s simple and already ready for you, but resist the temptation! If you do, you are going to shout to the blogging world that you didn’t take the time to make your blog unique. Need a theme? I highly recommend ThemeIsle.
5. You don’t plan ahead
Are you guilty of this one? I think all bloggers can say that we have sometimes felt rushed to get a post published versus planning ahead to make sure the post will perform well. One way I stopped myself from doing this is by creating an outline for every post. An outline forces me to stop, organize all of those potentially great thoughts in my head, and make my post flow with a great introduction, a sizzling body, and a well-planned call-to-action. If you do this every time, your blog posts will look more organized.
6. You don’t provide any value to your readers
I can sit here and write all day until my hands are numb, but if the content I’m spitting out isn’t helpful or valuable, I’m just wasting everyone’s time. My rule of thumb is that if my post doesn’t teach someone something, or provide valuable information to help them, I don’t post it. I see so many other bloggers just writing to write. That’s fine that you chronicle every freaking marathon you run, but how does that help me?
7. You aren’t using social media to your advantage
Social media is so important to my blog. I depend on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to help spread the word about my posts, as well as give my readers an insight to who I am when I’m not blogging. If you aren’t already connecting all of your blog posts to social media, now’s a great time to start. If you are using WordPress, you can connect most of them through your sharing settings.
8. You focus on yourself first
I want to elude back to the blogger that only writes about running marathons. Every time I read one of these posts, I wonder when he/she is going to focus on what their readers want and need. Focusing on yourself makes it very difficult for your readers to become engaged and see value in following you.
You may argue that your blog’s content should be about you, because you are the blogger after all, right? Wrong. If you are trying to gain followers and their trust, you have to focus on their needs. Does this mean you can’t ever write a post about yourself? Of course not, but not every post should focus on you. This post I wrote today focuses on my own experience as a blogger and how that experience can help other bloggers succeed.
9. Your images are low quality
If you aren’t using high quality images on your site today, you are damaging your reputation. Images add so much engagement and value to your site. While there are multiple free stock image sites available, try taking your own pictures to make your site more personal. Images do a great job of driving SEO and also are good ways to break up your content. I’m a visual learner, so if I see a picture that goes along with an idea, I do a better job of making connections and understanding what I’m reading.
10. Your email marketing strategy isn’t working
How many of us can say we are actively emailing our subscribers? If you can’t say it, you are missing out on talking directly to your readers. Use your content marketing system already in place to reach out to your readers and gauge their wants and needs. Selling affiliate products? Email marketing is a great forum to announce a great product you support and use. DON’T use this as an opportunity to spam your readers. Not only will you look spammy, but you’ll lose readers in the process.
What other ways have you found that have been detrimental to your blog? I’d love to add them to this list. Let me know in the comments!