Did you know that more than 2 billion blog posts are published every year? That’s about 4,000 every single minute! With these mind-blowing numbers in mind, it is no surprise that the content marketing industry is really taking off. Today, we will see some of the most common blogging mistakes that people still do, and how to prevent them – or fix them – to ensure that you are really taking advantage of this incredible sector.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right into the biggest blogging mistakes that beginner (and even some advanced) bloggers do!
1. Not setting up permalinks correctly
One of the biggest blogging mistakes that I see people doing is not setting up their permalinks properly. A permalink is simply the default structure of your URL, and it is really important to set it up as early as possible when you start blogging.
The reason why is because once you’ve used the wrong permalink structure for a while, changing it requires a lot of hassle and redirections. Which is not only fun-crushing, but also worsen the experience for your users.
In fact, I see a lot of bloggers including “perishable” data such as year, day and month within the URL of their post:
There are a few problems with that:
- It makes your URL unnecessarily longer, which is not the great if you care about SEO;
- After a couple of years have passed, the old date will make your content look outdated;
- Maybe it’s only my personal opinion, but I find this structure to look less professional.
Other bloggers like to include the category of their blog post within their permalink. However, it doesn’t really contribute much to anything, and again, it only makes your URL look longer. Personally, I have found that the best structure seems to be including the Post name only, in which you only keep the relevant keywords of your post title.
There’s also the Plain / Numeric one. However, it not only doesn’t have any benefits whatsoever, but is also terribly non-user-friendly.
So, go to your WordPress blog, click on Settings, and then Permalinks to start setting up your structure today. The configuration itself takes less than a minute, but it makes so much difference!
2. Writing posts that are way too short
For a long time, there has been this popular recommendation that an article should be around 500-600 words to rank well in search engines. In 2020, the competition is so fierce that this is simply not the case.
In fact, and this is true for the majority of keywords and topics, an article should have an absolute minimum of 1,000 words. What’s more, according to Backlinko, a company that analyzed over 1 million Google search results, the average post on Google’s first page has about 1,890 words.
And of course, I don’t mean mindless stuffing of words just to reach a certain quantity. Instead, try to answer the users’ question quickly, but then do a bit more work and research on how you could get deeper into the topic. Try to think of what else would the user want to know after you’ve resolved their initial quesion.
By the way, I just finished an article on the ideal blog post length for SEO, so you might want to check it out.
3. Not optimizing for SEO
Speaking of SEO, one of the biggest blogging mistakes that you can make is not optimizing your blog post for search engines. Google now processes over 40,000 searches every second, or over 3.5 billion every single day! These mind-blowing statistics make it one of the most powerful potential sources of traffic on the Internet.
And, as a blogger, if you are just writing to “get things off your chest” instead of actually addressing a query or an issue that your audience has, you will be missing out on a lot.
So, make sure that you are writing your content in an SEO-friendly manner. Instead of writing whatever you want and then sharing it with your audience to see if they like it, do the opposite. Find out what your audience wants to learn about, and then write the content to help them.
Ensure that you are following the best Search Engine Optimization practices. For more information on how to do that, you can check my article Introduction to SEO for Beginners.
Lack of consistency is not a problem exclusively to blogging. However, it is a huge one. Nobody ever achieves their goals if they are not being consistent with what they are doing.
So, one of the most common blogging mistakes is that people get excited about it, but never really end up making it a habit. They will publish 3 times one week, and then only 2 posts in the next whole month because they don’t have the time. But, if you really want to be serious with blogging, you have to make it a priority.
Set specific goals for yourself. For example, posting 2-3 times a week. It is not necessary to always make it during the same days – for example, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. A lot of people recommend it because your subscribers’ list will get used to your schedule and be attentive to it.
However, I think that people are way too busy with their lives to be worrying that you didn’t post this Wednesday. So don’t worry about it either! And my goal isn’t to be mean, just to avoid you the unnecessary stressing. Of course, it will help with your discipline, go for it!
5. Low frequency
Another common mistakes that many bloggers make is not writing frequently enough. And trust me, I have been guilty of that too. For me, when I first started, because I was combining my blog with two other jobs, I barely ever had the time to write once a week.
However, as I like to say (although it sounds better in my native language), Things should be done well or not done at all. In other words, if you are serious with creating a blog and growing your organic traffic with it, you have to write a bit more frequently than just once a week. At least in the beginning, until your traffic starts gaining traction.
According to Hubspot, small blog should write 3 to 4 times a week to maximize organic traffic:
So, try to stick to a minimum frequency of at least 3 articles until your traffic starts to take off.
6. Not giving credit when credit is due
One of the most common blogging mistakes that I’ve noticed is that many people don’t give credit to information that they have collected from other sources.
When I was younger, I remember that they always made us cite all of the sources we used in essays. In fact, we had to write a page specifically dedicated to that, and I hated it because it felt so unnecessary to me.
However, now that I am blogging myself, I have come to realize the importance of giving credit. Other users or companies have dedicated a lot of time, efforts and sources to produce the information that you are using in your posts. You can’t just use it like it’s yours. Besides, it is inprofessional and makes you look like an untrustworthy and unreliable source.
So, please, make sure that:
- Put links to cite information such as statistics, data, facts, studies, etc. Anything that you didn’t conclude yourself. For example, in the previous section, I wrote “According to Hubspot”, and cited it. This will not only give the necessary credit but will also make you look professional and reliable.
- Be careful with images that you are using. If you don’t have the necessary permission, don’t use them. If you do, it is always a good move to cite the author even if you are not obligated to.
- Infographics and other graphics – the same with infographics. I see a lot of infographic being thrown around and shared without giving credit to the author. Don’t be one of those people!
7. Thinking that quantity is better than quality
Next on our list of common blogging mistakes is thinking that quantity is better than quality.
We already discussed the points of blog post frequency and consistency. And yes, although it’s really important that you post frequently, don’t just pump articles to meet the volume. If you are really sure that you are not going to be able to publish quality content 3 times a week, reduce it to 2.
But don’t publish 3 just for the sake of publishing 3. After all, if readers can’t resonate with your content, you will just waste your time doing it.
What means that an article has a high quality? Well, this question deserves a separate post dedicated to it, but I guess I can give you a couple of key tips:
Select a topic that solves a problem for your audience.
Or answers a question that they have. Don’t make your blog post about you. For example, instead of writing an article “My awesome trip to San Francisco this summer”, write about “10 things to do in San Francisco”. Or “The best restaurants in San Francisco”.
Actually propose a solution to this problem.
I see so many blog posts that go on and on about the topic, but never actually come to offer a practical solution. For example, I saw this one article called “The number 1 thing to do to rank 1st on Google”.
The article consisted of 3,000 words on how awesome this number 1 thing was, and ended with “Contact my Sales team and I can explain how we can do thing for your business”. They never really told me what this magical thing was, and I wasted my time reading an article designed only for selling purposes.
8. Bad blog post formatting
Writing long, heavy paragraphs is among the most common blogging mistakes that new bloggers make.
When in reality, having a clear and user-friendly structure is crucial for making users stay on your page. You see, if the user arrives on your blog post and see a huge chunk of paragraph that’s practically unreadable, he is probably not going to stay for long.
Here are some tips to make sure that your structure is neat and easy to follow:
- Avoid paragraphs that are too long – try to keep them under 4 lines – this way, they are more easy to read and process. In fact, if the majority of your readers are coming from mobile, you might want to stick to 2-3 lines at most. Texts look bigger on mobile.
- Use subheadings to break down your texts – I always follow Yoast’s recommendation to separate each 300-word chunks of texts with subheadings. If you download their plugin, they will automatically let you know if a piece of your text exceeds the 300-word recommendation.
- Distribute your subheadings wisely – use Heading 2 (H2) for the bigger points of your topic, and, as you break each one of them down into smaller points, begin using Heading 3 & 4. This way, users can easily distinguish which are the key topics of the article.
- Avoid sentences that are too long – when I first started blogging, I used to write these long, saturated sentences that were impossible to read. Try to keep most of your sentences under 20 words for better readability.
- Use bullet points – to enumerate the key points of your text. This way, you break the monotony of having only paragraphs, and it’s easier on the users.
9. Using bad visuals / not using any
As humans, we are very visual creatures, and not taking this into account is definitely one of the biggest blogging mistakes for many.
Make sure that you enrich your articles with relevant images, infographics, icons or photos. This will not only make them more user-friendly, but will also help you express your point better. Additionally, it will be more fun to read, and easier to process for the reader. After all, seeing just a bunch of text on a page isn’t precisely entertaining for the majority of your audience.
Of course, there are some best practices that you will need to follow:
- Do not overstuff your article with images every two lines. Especially if they are not relevant.
- Avoid bad quality, low-resolution images. They might do you more harm than good.
- Professional images are not always better. In fact, in most cases they are worse. Let’s say that you are reviewing bicycles, and you want to put some photos. In most cases, photos done with your camera in a regular environment are much more authentic and relatable than highly professional, Shutterstock-y ones.
- Pay attention to the image size. Always resize and reduce the weight of your images to make sure that your blog post (and web) loads quickly. I avoid uploading images that are heavier than 100KB, with some exceptions, of course. You can resize them manually using BeFunky or download a paid plugin such as ShortPixel do the job for you automatically.
- And of course, don’t forget to give credit where credit is due!
Additionally, you can also use Canva to create your very own infographics. I do that sometimes, and they turn our beautifully with their amazing templates.
10. Not backing up your content
And of course, one of the worst blogging mistakes that could cost you…well, your whole blog, is not having a back up. Technology isn’t perfect, and if one day something happens, you want to be prepared for it. Otherwise, you whole work may be gone in the matter of seconds!
There are a couple of ways that you can back up your content.
The first one is manual:
- Go to Tools -> Export -> Export all of your site’s content. WordPress will download all of your posts, pages, comments, etc, in an XML file.
- To back up your theme and plugin files, log into your website via FTP to find them in the wp-content folder. This action is recommended if you have a lot of customizations.
The second one is automatic, via plugins. I recommend you the following articles for more information: