These days every Tom, Dick, Harry or Ekaette has a blog (or wants to start one).
Think I’m lying?
Well, if you’re reading this, I can confidently say one thing about you – You either have a blog or you intend on starting one.
That’s the reason why “top 10 blogging mistakes” caught your eye and you just had to click through.
No, I’m not psychic. I just know my audience and if you’re a blogger, you’ll do well to know yours too. But more on that later.
Since the early days of Perez Hilton, and Linda Ikeji till now, blogging has become a very attractive online business.
It costs little to start, and anyone can throw up a blog and call themselves a blogger.
But… there are a couple things that set the Linda Ikejis, Pat Flynns, Bamidele Onibalusis and Jon Morrows of this blogosphere apart from the Ekaettes, Emekas and Yinkas in blogging.
Yes, they work harder and without a doubt, they’re doing more than a few things right.
But this post is not about that.
We’re here to talk about you and what you may be doing wrong.
Now, let’s begin…
The Top 10 Blogging Mistakes You’re Probably or Most Likely Making
I don’t profess to be some super-expert in blogging with multiple degrees and MBAs from Harvard’s School for Bloggers.
Far from it.
My first blog sucked… monkey nuts.
That’s why I’m qualified to tell you what blogging mistakes you’re making with your blog.
After all, nothing teaches a person better than personal experience.
Mistake #1: Making Your Blog About You
When I started out as a blogger, I was in a really dark place. I was drowning in a cesspool of depression, and writing was my way of climbing out.
I called my first blog “Ginjah- The Blog for Goal Getters” and now you’re probably thinking: “With a tagline like that, nothing can go wrong.”
But you’d be wrong.
My topics covered my daily struggles, things (and people) that pissed me off and enough expletives to corrupt every susceptible person from Lagos to Soweto.
Sure, I also wrote about how I was dealing with the struggles, and lessons I learned. I thought I was helping, but looking back, it was more venting than actually helping.
I realize that now, and if any of you read my previous blog, let me take this moment to apologize for that.
The first thing you need to realize is that your blog is not about you (unless you’re some pseudo- or not so pseudo-celebrity).
I’m not saying don’t write about yourself at all. Just realize that your focus should never be on you.
For a couple reasons:
One, most people don’t care about you (unless you’re a celebrity or superstar or just a crazy mother… ahem).
And two, because of reason one, people won’t keep coming back to read your blog if it’s all about you.
This coming from a guy whose Instagram handle is
@the_tomijoshuashow… Shhh, let’s move on.
Mistake #2: You Don’t Have A Defined Goal for Blogging
This is also known as “Blogging Without A Cause”.
It’s easy to start a blog. What’s not easy is creating a meaningful blog. And that starts with a defined goal, or message.
When you write a blog post, it needs to fit in with the overall message behind your blog.
Simply put, NO message = Pointless blog = Failing before you start.
Anyone can start a blog, but not everyone should.
If you don’t have a clearly defined goal, a message, or something to say, you might be better off putting a pause on the blog till you have something to say.
Either do that, or find a message.
Mistake #3: You Don’t Know Your Audience
We’ve already established in #1, that your blog is not about you.
Now, you’re thinking: “But Tomi, writers are supposed to write about what they know.”
That’s why you need to get to know your target audience (or become one of them, if possible).
Shoot. I should have mentioned that you’d need to have a target audience first.
My bad, I apologize.
You need to have a target audience in mind when you write. You need to know what age groups you’re writing for, gender(s), their interests, desires, what they do for work, and what problems/ challenges they face.
When you know your audience, you’ve won half the Battle of “Looking for what to write about”.
A battle I lost woefully with my first blog. But that’s another story.
Mistake #4: You Don’t Provide Value
This is another great reason why your blog should not focus on you.
Every blog post you write should provide some form of value to whoever is reading it.
If it doesn’t and you develop a rep for posts that do nothing for your audience, your readers will slowly disappear like darkness when the sun comes up.
There’s a fine line between writing a post about you that provides value to your audience and writing a post that just talks about you.
I should know. I crossed it one too many times and ended up with a lot of drivel about myself and little to no value for my readers.
Don’t make my mistake. Before you hit “Publish” on a post, read through and think like your target audience.
Be like: “Does this post provide any value to me?” If it doesn’t, delete it.
Mistake #5: You Don’t Write In Your Own Unique Voice
This one is tricky.
Let me explain.
When I started my “Ginjah” blog, I’d been following a blog called “Bold & Determined” by Victor Pride. It’s a great blog and the writer had this “no-none-sense-tolerated-here”, “I don’t care” style of writing that I loved… a bit too much.
I’d be writing, and find myself creating posts that mirrored his writing. Sure, I felt like his style of writing resonated with me because I was like him.
But that was horseshit.
Someone once said “Imitation is the ultimate form of flattery”. While flattery is a wonderful thing when it comes to matters of the heart, it’s like cancer to a blog.
We all know- An original is worth more than a copy. I was a photocopy.
“Photocopy ko easy.” – 9ice
If you look around online, you’ll see most bloggers in Nigeria follow what I call the “Linda Ikeji Model of Blogging”. And I’m sure anytime someone tells you they’re bloggers, you picture a blog like Linda’s.
Not good. At all.
A blog is a conversation started by the blogger.
If you sound like a blogger the reader follows, over time, you’ll only remind them of that blogger and at some point, they’ll go back to that blogger.
An often overlooked reason why people will keep reading your blog is because your writing is unique. Because you have a unique writing voice.
Almost every single thing you’re writing about has probably been written about by someone else before. What will make your blog stand out is how you connect it to your experiences, your point of view and style of writing.
And it’s hard to do that when you write like somebody else.
Mistake #6: You Don’t Have A Content Strategy
This can be best described as the “Throw content on your blog and hope something sticks” blogging plan.
This involves just writing anything, throwing it up on your blog and hoping people read it. That is a losing plan.
If you can’t imagine anybody reading your blog, and have to hope somebody will, then you’re doing something wrong, namely, not having a content strategy.
I already talked about the Buyer’s journey here, so I’m just going to go straight to the point. Your content strategy should either reveal a problem to the reader (like this post you’re reading), show a solution to a problem (like this post) or show them you can solve their problem.
Your reader has come to your blog to solve a problem she may or may not know about. Your blog should lead her through the process of becoming aware of the problem to solving that problem.
Mistake #7: You Don’t Do SEO
“SEO… What is that again? Does it have to do with management?”
I’m not going to go into full details on SEO here (see the long story here).
SEO = making pages of your site rank higher in search engines.
Blogging without SEO or keyword research is like trying to shoot a target with a blindfold on.
Sure, you may know your target audience, but without SEO, you may create content they’ll be interested in but they won’t find your content when they do a Google search.
And we all know how important Google is that it’s even used as a word in random conversation.
At least I know I do.
When your readers need to find a solution to a problem they’re facing, they usually go to Google first. So it’s a huge mistake not trying to rank higher in search engine result pages with your content.
That being said, you can probably build an audience without SEO. But as a blogger, you ignore SEO at your own risk.
Mistake #8: You Don’t Promote Your Blog
Just like they say at Hubspot, a piece of content is only as good as its distribution.
What is a blog if nobody knows it exists?
What is a preacher without a congregation?
If a lion roars in the jungle, but there’s no one there to hear it, is it still a sound?
Okay, Tomi, enough with the pseudo-existential questions.
The point is this- you can create all the great content in the world, but if nobody knows it exists, it’s as pointless as watching paint dry.
A huge (and often overlooked) part of blogging is content promotion. You need to create content to have a blog, but you need to promote your content to build an audience.
Because without an audience, you’re keeping a journal, not a blog.
Mistake #9: You Don’t Engage With Your Audience
Like I wrote earlier, a blog is like a conversation. Blog starts a conversation, other people join in.
Now, when your audience responds to your content in the form of a comment, you owe it to your blog and to your audience to engage with them.
Why? Two main reasons:
One, it shows you are approachable and you automatically become relatable.
Plus, it could lead to interesting conversations with your audience who, believe it or not, actually read the comments on blogs.
A funny line or two (or more) and you could have people telling other people who tell other people about your blog.
I mean, who doesn’t like free promotion?
Two, if you don’t engage with your audience, they’ll get the wrong impression (that you’re arrogant) and stop talking to you or reading your content after that.
Even if you’re arrogant, you still want to engage your audience so they keep coming back to you. When someone takes the time out to write a comment or an email to you, trust me, they expect a reply.
When you don’t reply, you “kill the vibe”. When you do that, you reduce the chances that that person would read your blog any more.
Stop trying to be like Andy Warhol. Be like Gary Vaynerchuk instead.
Mistake #10: You’re Not Consistent
This is a BIG one. One that I… ahem… still struggle with.
When you don’t write consistently, your audience doesn’t know when to expect a new post. Or if they should expect a new post any time soon.
When that happens, they begin to come back to check your blog less often. And less often, till they eventually forget about your blog.
Repeat readers is where the money in blogging really is!
Building an audience involves blogging consistently. Decide on a particular day/days, and no matter what, show up!
This is one big difference between the Ekaettes and the Ikejis of Blogging.
Now, over to you. Are there any blogging mistakes you’ve made/ noticed that aren’t mentioned here? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
And with that, we’re done.
Keeping it 500,
Author: Tomi Joshua
Tomi is a case.
A bit brash, at first blush. But ultimately, he means well. There are very few things he won’t say or do in the presence of tolerant company (especially when it could make for a good story later).
Tomi is a Doctor, writer, certified inbound marketer (Shout Out to HubSpot), Digital Hustler, and online business addict.
He is most likely to be found dancing to the beat of his own drum, even in accapella.