If you have a passion for writing and learning, then there is no more perfect career than blogging. But, like all professions, there is a learning curve. In the beginning, you will make mistakes that are typical of all new bloggers. Fortunately, they are easily corrected with commitment and effort. Here are 10 of those typical mistakes and how you can avoid them.
1. Writing in an Academic Style
A lot of bloggers major in English or communications. And during their college years, they wrote a huge number of academic essays and papers. Forget all of that now. Blogging is informal and conversational. Write as if you are talking or writing a letter to a friend.
2. Reading Level is too High
Write for a 7th grader. This means short simple sentences and a middle school vocabulary. Review every post you write, chuck the big words, and break up those complex and compound sentences. There are tools you can use to check the reading level, and they’re free. Try http://read-able.com. You copy and paste your post and it will generate the reading level – you want content that is appropriate for a 12 year old.
3. Too Much Text
Again, you are not writing an essay. How you format your text will either attract or dissuade visitors. Paragraphs should be very short with sub-headings so a reader can scan down the post (most people look for points of interest and read those). Using bullet points or numbering items (like this post, for example) makes scanning easy. When a reader sees a bunch of text all scrunched up, s/he will have not motivation to read your words of wisdom.
4. No Images or Other Media
Visuals are a necessity in blog posts. Find photos or other images to attract attention. Viewers are 53X more likely to read your stuff when there are images. Posts with great images, photos, infographics, and videos are far more likely to be shared too. Readers also love to interact with content and invite their friends to interact too. If you can come up with quizzes (you’ve seen them all over Facebook) or surveys/polls. There are plenty of tools you can use to create these.
5. Not Showing Expertise
Whether you have your own blog with a specific niche or you are a freelancer blogging on a variety of topics, you have to become an expert. This means that you must research the topics about which your write, and that can take some time. But if you’re in this to make good money with the content you create, you take the time. If you are in a particular niche, then becoming a revered and “go-to” expert will mean you get some online self-education that is of much greater depth. Taking some online coursework either in your niche or even on blogging/content marketing itself will go a long way. You will avoid many of the mistakes in this post and/or become the “guru” you need to be.
6. Boring Headlines
Think like a journalist. The first thing that attracts a reader is a truly catchy headline. If you want some good examples of headlines that engage, take a look at those that Upworthy uses for its Facebook posts. The have a huge click-through rate because of those headlines, and every blogger would love to steal their creatives who do these. But, there is hope and help. There are several headline generator tools you can use. Even if you don’t love the ones they generate, there are enough options that you will get some great ideas.
7. No “Killer” Opening
What motivates you to read an article you pull up? Besides, the headline that is. It’s the opening sentence or two. When you can open with some startling statistic, a joke, an inspirational quote, or an anecdote, you can capture your reader. If that reader does not engage in that first sentence or two, he bounces. Spend as much time on your opening as you do on the rest of your post.
8. No Clear Purpose
A lot of beginning bloggers know they have to meet a deadline or a publishing schedule. So they search for a topic idea, find one, and even give the post a decent headline and opening. From there, though, it all kind of crashes and burns. Every post has to have a purpose. Are you educating your reader and solving some sort of problem? Are you writing to entertain and make that reader’s day a bit brighter? Are you trying to inspire your reader? Don’t waste your time writing a post if you can’t define a purpose.
9. Not Telling Stories (at least some of the time)
Readers love stories. Any time that you can make a point or give an example by telling a story, you will endear yourself to your readers. The stories can be humorous, sad, scary, or poignant – it doesn’t matter.
10. No Invitation to Engage and/or Share
Readers also love to comment and express opinions. At the end of each post, readers should have the opportunity right then and there to ask a question, make a comment or give you feedback. And you must respond. That’s how you keep a following.
All seasoned bloggers have horror stories to tell about their “newbie” times and the mistakes they made. Many of those mistakes are on this list. You can avoid some of your own horror stories if you take heed.
About the author
Ben Brychta - MBA student from San Jose, CA. He is big movie classics fan and love to share his opinion on different thing happening in the spheres of the film industry, blogging and lifestyle. You can contact him through his Twitter!.