On a cold New Year’s morning, an obscure music group auditioned at one of the world’s leading record companies, Decca Records. After several years of playing at local clubs, this band, looking for its big break, braved a 10-hour ride through a blinding snowstorm. The band’s equipment was so old that the studio had to supply amplifiers. Many hardships and a poor first impression later, they were rejected.
A few short months later, they were signed by a subsidiary company called Parlophone Records. However, Parlophone’s new manager George Martin was criticised for signing the band, some calling it a “terrible mistake.” The band was none other than the Beatles, one of the most successful music groups of all time, selling over a billion records internationally.
“We don’t like their sound; guitar groups are on their way out", said Dick Rowe, the manager of Decca, while turning them down. Little did he know these words were to become one of the most infamous quotes in the history of show business. Decca spent their remaining years regretting the misjudgement.
There is a similar struggle that new writers and seasoned writers face. They wish they could go back in time to reverse the mistakes they made throughout the process of starting and growing a blog. Every blogger wishes he or she had done things a bit differently.
The following post lifts the lid on some basic and critical blogging mistakes that one may make in one’s blogging journey. It also suggests ways to navigate this precarious path successfully.
1. Choosing the wrong blogging platform
In the present time, there are tons of blogging platforms available for bloggers depending on both their budget and needs. WordPress, Wix, Squarespace and Webflow are some of the popular ones. Every platform has a very distinct advantage over the other in terms of the amount of fluidity, external integrations, pricing, aesthetics and customisations. Many bloggers fail to weigh the limitations and drawbacks before settling on one. Bloggers must consider how efficient a particular platform is in the long run if they are serious about turning the blog into a business in the future.
2. Choosing the wrong hosting company
There are good, bad and great hosting companies present in the market today, offering discounted plans. However, not all of them provide the same features, reliability, or security that bloggers might need. Some factors to be considered while choosing the right hosting partner are speed, security, support and track record.
3.Choosing an irrelevant blog name
Choosing a good blog name is difficult and somewhat tricky, as it is the very identity of the blog. Readers find it hard to retain titles that are extremely difficult or have no correlation with the blog niche. A blog name should essentially be easy to remember, interesting and relevant to the content creator or the content relatable with the target readers. Unique names forge a lasting impression in the minds of the readers.
4. Picking a complicated domain name
Selecting a domain name is one of the many early decisions a blogger has to make. The blog name and the domain name share the same qualities; keeping them the same helps create a cohesive brand experience.
Though the domain names can be changed in the future, it does cause the loss of access to all the previous links shared by readers. Two essential factors to consider while choosing domain names are: is the name easy to remember and easy to write. A rule of thumb is to select a domain name that is not very similar to an existing brand to avoid any legal implications. The best practice is to search for the availability of the respective domain while exploring the blog names.
5. Picking the wrong blog niche
Choosing a niche is often the difference between winning and losing. Bloggers must consider their area of expertise instead of choosing a niche that is more lucrative than others. Producing mediocre content about something that a creator is not passionate about will affect consistency in the future.
One does not have to be an absolute expert in a given field to blog about it. However, it is vital to have a deep interest in the chosen niche and a desire to research and educate oneself along the way.
6. Not paying heed to inaccuracies and errors
After establishing the blog, the most enjoyable part is writing the actual content for the readers. It is good to set a tone that comes more naturally to the creator and serves the purpose of engaging with the readers. Regardless of a person being a professional writer, he or she must check the content for spelling and grammar inaccuracies through writing or editing tools.
7. Choosing topics not relevant to readers
A common mistake that bloggers make is selecting topics based on their interests, forgetting what their readers prefer. Learning who the readers are and what they prefer is not such an easy process. It takes time and experimentation to understand what they like. Until then, it is wise to observe blog topics that have performed better than others and to analyse along the way.
8. Writing and publishing inconsistently
One of the biggest reasons most good blogs fizzle out is that the content is not published as frequently as the content creators initially planned. This causes the readers to lose interest in the blog as they quickly move on to another creator they can cheer on. Consistency is a matter of discipline. Setting apart a short yet dedicated time to create content and interact with the readers will go a long way.
9. Not doing enough research
A content creator may know quite a lot about his or her niche, but he or she should never underestimate the power of research. Well-researched articles may set the blog apart from the competing blogs, while neglecting research may give the impression of an outdated blog.
10. Avoiding best SEO practices
Engaging in intelligent search engine optimisation is a core way to generate traffic to the blog. Every second, there are 67,000 searches performed on Google. Without the right SEO practices, the content will be quickly pushed behind by the search engines.
Some of the basic SEO practices include conducting smart keyword research, understanding internet queries, creating SEO-friendly guidelines, using good internal and external links, writing compelling meta descriptions and optimising the page URL.
11. Forgetting about social media promotion
Social media may be a hit-or-miss traffic source. Yet, an established social media presence will increase the credibility of the blogger. Social media also gives the readers an easy way to reach out to the content creators by liking, commenting or sending messages. Social media engagement helps to discern which content is more popular than others and may help to know the readers’ interests.
12. Neglecting to network early
Networking is one of the best decisions one may make for the long-term success of one’s blog. It not only helps to learn from other successful bloggers but also allows connecting with similar readership.
Some good ways to network are speaking at conferences or events in the same niche, hosting meets for interacting with people in the community, building social media connections, finding niche online communities and trying guest posting.
13. Forgetting to track progress from the start
New bloggers might not consider tracking their progress from the start as it may not seem all that important with a handful of visitors. However, collecting these initial stats will create a strong foundation for future decisions. This is mainly because this is the best way to know what is and isn’t working for the blog. Many free or paid analytical tools can help in this endeavour.
14. Not having a subscriber list
Email marketing is an incredible tool for bloggers, and focusing on it from the start cannot be overemphasised. Having a consistent list of subscribers ensures that readers are not missing out on any new content.
Apart from the blogs, a mailing list helps update readers about any special giveaways or events. No matter the exact nature of the content in the newsletter, the point is to have a group of people who are committed to the content. This is the type of reader a blogger must value as these readers are following the blog by their own free will. With a plethora of automated email services, it is very easy to send and track emails without any hassle.
15. Not responding or connecting with readers
It may not seem practically possible to respond to every message, comment or mail, but taking some time out for this purpose shows how much one cares for the readers. This fosters a long-term relationship and encourages them to engage and interact more often.
16. Not planning to monetise early
Many bloggers believe that they have to wait until they have a ton of traffic to start monetising a blog. Even with a few initial visitors, there is still a chance that someone may make a purchase. The internet is an unpredictable world, and one never knows when one’s content may go viral. Bloggers should be able to reap some profits from the sudden surge in visitors.
17. Not learning the more technical aspects of blogging
A blogger does not need to be a tech wiz, but it is incredibly beneficial to learn some of the deeper technical nuances of blogging to troubleshoot issues and fix problems that pop up from time to time.
The more one is willing to invest in learning about the technical platform, the easier it gets to customise the blog and solve any unexpected issues on one’s own. Nowadays, there are many resources available for beginners to expand their skills and expertise in new areas.
18. Getting discouraged and giving up
A blogging journey will look different for everyone. For some, it may bring immediate success, and for others, it may be a long road. It is always tempting for a blogger to compare his or her blog with others in their niche and wonder if they will ever be as successful as others. These feelings of doubt and discouragement derail many bloggers from continuing to pour hard work and dedication into their blogs.
The truth is not everyone is going to be an overnight success with blogging. Most new bloggers take three to six months of consistent effort before getting a meaningful amount of readers and generate any form of revenue. If something is not working with the blog, one should be prepared to be flexible, to learn, experiment, and to fail and try again.
The harsh truth about blogging
Blogging needs dedication and time. Some bloggers might be passionate about writing and do not want to touch SEO; others may be more comfortable doing research and learning the technicalities instead of handling social media. The truth is that successful bloggers focus not only on the part they enjoy but also on the other essential parts for their blog’s growth. To keep going even when things are a blur, one must never forget why one started in the first place.