biggest blogging mistakes

23 Common Blogging Mistakes in 2020 (+Solutions!)

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!

ideal blog post length

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:

permalinks - biggest blogging mistakes

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  • After a couple of years have passed, the old date will make your content look outdated;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

basic marketing terms - bounce rate

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

biggest blogging mistakes

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.

4. Inconsistency

common blogging mistakes

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

common blogging mistakes - time

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:

common blogging mistakes - not uploading frequently

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

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

wrong formatting - common blogging mistakes

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

biggest blogging mistakes - not backing up

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

11. Underestimating the power of your title

Whether a user has found you via Google, social media, or any other channel, the first thing that he is going to see is your headline. Aka the title of your blog post.

The title is practically the most important element that will make the user decide whether your blog post is worth clicking on, or not. It is basically your few-word summary of what people should expect to find once they click.

So, you need to put some time in crafting a compelling headline. Try to think about it from the user’s perspective. Would I click on this headline if I was the audience? If you wouldn’t, don’t expect for others to do so.

If you are not sure on how to do that, I can recommend you the following sources:

12. Making your blog post about you

biggest blogging mistakes - making it about you

We already mentioned this briefly in one of the previous points. However, it is well-worth devoting an entire section to it just because it’s so important.

One of the biggest blogging mistakes I see many people do is making the article about yourself. This is a quite common mistake, and I think we can “blame” it on YouTube and Instagram influencers. Because they are building a community around themselves as the key protagonist, people want to see content about them specifically.

Please, tell me that you haven’t seen at least one video with one of the following titles;

  • My Morning Routine;
  • What I eat in a day;
  • My recent trip to Hawaii;
  • My make up favourites this year ;

And so on. You get the idea. They are something like social media celebrities, and the content is about them.

Understanding how Google search works

However, with blogging, it is a bit different. Even if you are trying to build a community around yourself, if you truly want to harness the advantages of Google search, you need to understand how people search for content.

And you will agree with me that they don’t go on Google typing “my morning routine” or “what I eat in a day”. Doesn’t make sense, right? YouTube search is really, really different from Google search.

On Google, people might still want to hear your recent trip story. Or what you eat in a day. But, instead of typing “my morning routine”, they will search for “habits for a healthy morning routine”. Or “how to have a morning routine”. Instead of “what I eat in a day”, they will look for “healthy breakfast recipes“.

So, instead of puting the focus on yourself, switch the content to something like:

  • My Morning Routine -> “5 tips for a healthy morning routine”
  • What I eat in a day – > “3 breakfast recipes for busy people”
  • My recent trip to Hawaii -> “10 awesome things to do in Hawaii”
  • My make up favourites this year -> “The best make up brands in 2020”

Did you see what we did there? Now, you will be able to reach your audience mimicking the way they are searching for your topic.

13. Not caring about your audience / be all about the selling

linkedin text ads segmentation

Next on our list of common blogging mistakes is not caring about your audience.

Many people get tempted to write content only with the purpose of selling something to their audience. And not actually trying to solve a problem they have.

Well, this tactic isn’t really going to take you anywhere. Yes, you might get the user to click on your article, but if all he gets to read is how awesome your product is, and how they should buy it asap, they are probably going to leave right away. And, the joke is on you; the next article is just a couple of clicks away.

14. Lacking Call to Action

ad extension

Every blogger has a specific goal with their blog. Whether it’s monetization via ads, capturing leads, getting more subscriptions, selling your own products, or even selling third-party products via affiliate links, you are writing with a goal in mind.

However, we often forget that our readers don’t exactly what our goal is. They have arrived with their own goal in mind, and they are not thinking about what you are trying to achieve with the blog post. So, I would say that one of the most common blogging mistakes is not including a Call to Action.

If your objective is capturing leads, you can include a pop-up window, or a banner within the post. Or maybe just a single button to take people to your landing page. Some people include it in the end, others in the middle, it is really up to you.

If you are trying to sell product with affiliate links, include them in all the relevant places. Of course, don’t forget to disclose that they are an affiliate, and don’t stuff your blog post unnecessarily.

Just remember that your reader isn’t going to guess on his own (nor he wants to put effort in it, for that matter) what should his next step be. This is definitely up to you.

15. Bad writing / grammar

conversion tracking cost per lead

Nothing will make your blog post look more unprofessional than bad grammar or spelling. Even typos are something that will quickly grab the reader’s attention. Of course, not in a positive way. Before you publish your article, read it once again to ensure that you didn’t do any obvious typos or grammar mistakes.

And of course, there are plenty of tools that can help you with that as well, such as Grammarly. Grammarly is a free online writing assistant that uses artificial intelligence to detect mistakes in real-time.

Here are some other tools that I use to enrich my vocabulary and avoid repetitions:

  • Thesaurus.com – you might already know this one, but it is a golden mine for searching for synonyms, and ensuring that you aren’t repeating yourself too much;
  • Dictionary.cambridge.org – as a non-native, I sometimes don’t know in what context I should use a word or a phrase, so I check it up beforehand.

And last but not least, concepts. Even if you are a native speaker, it is always better to check up a technical concept that you are not confident in than to look unprofessional.

16. Your headlines are too long

most common blogging mistakes

Another blogging mistake that is really common, especially among new bloggers, is making your headlines way too long. Often, we get excited about this creative title that we spent so much time thinking of. Or we just want to include as much information as possible within it.

However, the title is not the place to get too detailed, so try to make it short and sweet.

In fact, Yoast recommends that your blog post title doesn’t exceed 60 characters. The reason why is because if it’s over 60 characters, it will get cropped like this:

biggest blogging mistakes - long title

On mobile phones and other smaller devices, it will probably get cropped even more. Which will decrease the Click through rate of your title. I use wordcounter to ensure that my titles are below 60 characters.

17. You wait too long to publish

We often get caught in the obsession that our blog post must be absolutely perfect to be ready for publishing. More often than not, it will waste you valuable time which the perfect details of your post won’t be able to compensate.

Don’t waste too much time on that! You can always come back and fix it later. But, considering that a post might take up to 8 months to position on Google, you don’t want to postpone it too much.

18. You are not building brand awareness

Blogging is a great way to develop your brand and spread brand awareness. And I think that a lot of blog posts lack something that doesn’t take much time to implement, but is very valuable. And that is, the signature of the author! Or company, depending on the context, of course.

bibliography - biggets blogging mistakes

You can add it at the end of your post, or in the beginning.

19. Not interacting with your readers

Among the most underrated blogging mistakes is the lack of interaction with the readers. Make sure that you respond to their comments, questions, and suggestions. Spend some time to write a meaningful and thoughtful response to each one of them.

After all, they are going to be your biggest ambassadors once you’ve gained their trust. You want to make sure that you establish a two-sided connection with them.

20. Focusing too much on link building

A lot of new bloggers who want to boost their SEO strategy will spend too much time link building, and not enough writing content. If you are not familiar with the term, link building is the action of getting other websites to link to your website or blog posts within their own content.

It is highly valuated by search engines because it gives you more trustworthiness, and helps to increase your domain authority.

However, the time it takes to actually build valuable, non-spammy links will not compensate the time you could have been writing. And trust me, getting a link from a non-authoritative website after a full day of texting companies will not have better effect on your SEO than writing a great article.

If you write blog posts that actually help the user, the number of links will increase organically as people start to share your content because they found it awesome.

21. Letting spam comments go out of control

Another one on our list of common blogging mistakes is not taking good care of your comments. A lot of companies or people will write comments that have absolutely nothing to do with the post. They do that so that they can include a spammy link to their website.

Which will not only look terrible to the actual readers, but will also be looked down by Google as your website will start looking spammy as well.

So, do me a favor, okay? Go to Settings -> Discussion, and check the box “Comment must be manually approved”:

And don’t approve comments that obviously have nothing to do with your post! Or are generic and written to be pasted on multiple websites, like this one:

22. Not growing your email list

One of the biggest blogging mistakes that I made when I started with my blog was not growing my email list. I didn’t have any contact form, nor pop-up window to encourage readers to subscribe. Don’t be like me; this is a huge missed opportunity to grow your community, and send them regular updates with your content.

So, if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to set up your email list! There are many companies that offer these services. I am personally quite fond of Mailchimp, but this is definitely not the only one.

23. Not having a checklist of blog ideas

And last but not least, we all get the writer’s block sometimes. You know, theses moments when you just can’t think of any ideas no matter how hard you try.

To avoid getting stuck in these moments, take a couple of hours per week to research and brainstorm ideas. What I like to do is click on “Add new post” on my blog, and simply have a draft with all the ideas and keywords that come to my mind.

To make my future work easier, I also like to write down the keyword and its volume. This way, I can know which keywords to prioritize when I choose my next title.

Did you like my article on the most common blogging mistakes? Let me know your opinion in the comments below! As always, thank you for taking the time to read my article, and I will see you in the next one! 


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animitevabg
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