Perhaps you’re thinking it’s a place where moms share stuff about their kids, or a place where people write about their travels or maybe it a place where people keep a diary of their day-to-day lives.
If these are the thoughts that come to mind then you’re probably living in the past.
You see today’s bloggers are so much more.
A blogger today is a teacher, a mentor, a coach, a networker and a friend. Yes, most bloggers have one or many or these traits. Why? Because today’s bloggers treat their blogs like a business, not a hobby.
Let’s look at some typical a business blogger traits.
A blogger understands people are searching for things on the Internet are looking for answers and not questions.
A blogger can be a mentor to other bloggers or to their readers.
A blogger may offer a coaching service to their readers in either a one-on-one format or as part of a larger group
A blogger can facilitate connections of like minded people, by creating niche content and attracting a specific crowd.
A blogger who openly shares their life can become a friend. Maybe it’s a one-way friendship at first, but bloggers often form friendships through blogging. Friendships ultimately lead to trust which makes referrals and selling easier.
So do you focus on any of these traits for your blog?
If you want to treat your blog like a business then you’ll need to focus on one or many of these traits.
If you’re happy to just keep an online diary then that’s ok too, but you’ll need to be realistic about the sort of traffic you’ll get. A business blogger will out-rank you every time, and there are more business bloggers coming online daily.
One such professional blogger is Sherman Smith and he recently shared some common mistakes fellow bloggers made. Most resonate with me, so I’ve condensed it down and share my thoughts here.
Common Mistakes Bloggers Make
1) Not spending enough time visiting other blogs in your niche
Blogging is a community and most bloggers encourage social interaction through commenting. Visit your competitors and say ‘hi’. You might learn a few things from them or can gain insights from their audience comments.
2) Not challenging yourself enough
It’s easy to buy a course or training product but what are you going to do with that knowledge. You’ve paid good money to learn what someone else knows so now is your time to run with it. Don’t let good opportunities go to waste because you aren’t ready yet.
3) Believe everything they read or hear
If you’re treating your blog like a business, you’ll no doubt discover a lot of new opinions as you accelerate your learning in this space. Don’t take everyone’s opinion for granted. Do more research and test out the theories yourself, then run with the one which works best for you.
4) Not finding a mentor or a coach
The quickest way to success is to learn from the mistakes of others. If you want to get serious about your blog, learn as much as you can from others with more authority in your niche. You might need to purchase some coaching or be lucky enough to be mentored and taken under their wing. It never hurts to ask so what have you got to loose.
5) Writing posts and not promoting them
Writing your blog posts are just the first step. Promoting those blog posts over a number of months will result in more traffic than publishing them and not telling anyone. Until you’re getting Organic Traffic, self-promotion is your only real way to get traffic. An alternative is to cross promote each other blogs in a blogging network.
6) Writing about a topic they aren’t passionate about
Building a blog is hard enough, but if you’re blogging on a topic that you don’t love, it’ll show through your writing. Even if you’ve found a niche that is a real gold mine, it’ll be hard maintaining the blog after several months. You’ll likely be distracted by another idea and neglect that gold mine anyway.
7) Not starting their email list soon enough
They say ‘The money is in the list’ but I prefer to think as your list as a way to build trust with your readers. Your readers will trust you with their email address so don’t abuse it. People who trust you are more likely to be open to what you are selling.
8) Expectations are set too high
The later you leave starting a blog, the lower your expectations should be. Some bloggers already have a 5+ year headstart but can be caught if you’re more consistent and have a greater passion for the things you blog about. People reward authenticity so the more authentic you are the more successful you’ll become.
9) Writing too few words
If you are only writing 300-400 words per blog post then this isn’t enough, to engage your readers. A 300-400 word post will only take a few minutes to read and if that’s all you’ve got then expect your readers to get busy reading other blogs. Keep them engaged and try to write around 1000 word posts. Some bloggers go over the top and write 10000+ word monster posts, but this is only good if you have really engaged readers.
10) Ignoring Social Media opportunities
Social media is your best source of traffic when you are just starting out with your blog. Organic traffic is unlikely to appear for at least 6 months unless you are doing extensive keyword research.
Choose a couple of social media platforms that suit your lifestyle and use them to promote your blog every chance you get. Don’t forget to do a little hashtag research and use these in your communications too.
11) Not linking to authority sites
If you’ve done some research then link to the most authoritative sites you can as this will help your reader qualify your credibility. As a bonus, linking to high ranking authoritative sites will help your SEO ranking.
12) Not blogging enough
When you’re trying to hold down a full-time job, look after a family and maintain a relationship, you’ll find very little time for blogging. However, the only way you can break free from this cycle is to push through the discomfort and fear.
Start your blog as soon as you can and try for at least one blog post per week as a minimum. This is enough to get you started, but you’ll need to be smart with your time. Check out my resources page regularly as I frequently add time-saving product links and resources that’ll make you a better blogger.
13) Not treating your blog like a real business
Do you turn up to your job when you feel like it? Surf the Internet all day, write poor quality reports or put in a substandard effort. I suspect you wouldn’t dare. So why treat your blog like this.
Find a block of time that you can use to regularly blog. Remove your distractions and research your topics to make your blog posts the best you can.
Your blog can become your full-time work if you are smart about the choices you make.
14) Not responding to comments
Your readers have taken the time to comment so why not take the time to reply. Replying to comments gives you further opportunity to refine your message. Or you might just like to say ‘hi’ and thank them for stopping by.
15) Focus too much on the metrics
There’s no need to consult the Google Analytics Gods daily because I know exactly how many visits you’ll have when you first start your blog. Zero.
Ok, that’s a little harsh and the real answer is more likely a handful, but that’s still not enough to beat yourself up of the traffic numbers.
Do yourself a favor and only check your blog traffic numbers once a week. The traffic will come in time so trust yourself and focus on writing good quality content instead.
16) Not having an editorial calendar
New bloggers often struggle with consistently coming up with good ideas for their blogs. An editorial calendar helps you to plan for the future so the idea well does run dry. If you have trouble populating your calendar with ideas then maybe you need to reconsider the niche you’re in.
17) Listening to voices inside their head
We all have voices in our heads don’t we? You know those voices that fill our heads with self-doubt and fear of failure. Try to channel your initial enthusiasm for starting a blog because I doubt those reasons have changed.
Push through the discomfort and you’ll eventually see results.
18) Fail to monetise their blog early enough
There are mixed thoughts on this because some suggest not doing it until you build traffic and others think it’s ok when you are a few months in.
Monetising your blog, will help you to believe in what you are doing. When you make your first dollar, you’ll discover a new energy that drives you forward. It’s surprising the difference a dollar makes.
Just don’t wait too long to earn that first dollar or you might find you’ve already given up.
19) Not using the right tools for their blog
Blogging isn’t just about installing WordPress and writing. The business blogger needs to find tools that’ll save them time. Sure this might cost them a few dollars but this is a long game and the upfront investment will pay off.
I use a keyword research tool daily and use professional WordPress themes to give my blog the flexibility I need. Plugins are also great tools for your blogs so make sure your blogging platform allows you to install them.
20) Using a free blog platform
If you are serious about blogging and want to treat your blog like a business then forget about using a free blogging service. They look unprofessional and are best suited to the hobby blogger.
Free blogging services rarely give you access to all the plugins you need and will constrain your creativity. Here’s what I think about free blogging platforms.
21) Choose a meaningful name
Hobby bloggers tend to gravitate to quirky names and sometimes they read like sentences. Think of your blog like a business and spend time coming up with a short catchy name.
I’ve seen too many bloggers wanting to change their blog name a few years later only to realise it’s not as easy as it seems. Do a little brainstorming to find that perfect name and use a Blog Name Generator if you need a little more inspiration.
22) Develop their own voice
When you spend too much time listening to others, you tend to start sounding like them. Remember your readers can usually find the information you write about on hundreds of other blogs, so you voice is the thing that’ll keep them coming back for more.
Develop your voice and the style of writing that suits you and don’t try to sound like someone else.
23) Not asking for feedback
Blogging isn’t a one-way conversation so be sure you listen what your readers have to say. Don’t think everyone will comment if they have questions. Some people are more private so make sure they can contact you via email or Personal Message.
Another way to facilitate feedback is via a survey. A quick survey can be created for free in Survey Monkey and either sent to your email list or added as a link on your blog.
24) To much fussing over perfection
Blogging isn’t like writing a book. Once you’ve published a post it’s easily corrected and re-published at the press of a button.
Use tools like Grammarly to help you with your grammar and editing.
Don’t fuss over the design either. I’ve seen people spend weeks trying to perfect the blog look and feel, only to change it a few months later. If you’re a blogger then you’re also a writer, so write.
If the look of your blog is important to you then just buy a Professional Theme and don’t be tempted to customise it. Professionals theme developers know what they are doing, so trust in their work.
25) Not defining their audience soon enough
If you don’t know who you are blogging for then, it’s possible your writing is going to waste. When starting your blog, try to get specific about the audience you are trying to attract.
Obviously you’ll start with a niche for your blog but should then spend alot of time trying to work out what people interested in that niche are like.
26) Gave up too soon
You should always remember that blogging is a long game and despite the shortcuts, it’ll never be a short one. Don’t let other people tell you otherwise.
That said, I’m not talking about a 10 year plan either, it’s more likely you’ll see some light after a year of steady blogging and quicker if you write long engaging posts a few times a week.
I’ve purposely left this common blogging mistake until last because it’s the one I want you to remember. If you feel like giving up then ask for help first, or take a break to recollect your thoughts.
The sure way of failing is to give up.
So now you know these common mistakes, will you try to avoid them? As mentioned earlier, you’ll want to treat your blog like a business rather than a hobby and learning from the mistakes of others is a step in the right direction.
It’s now your turn.
Are you a hobby blogger or do you see yourself as a Professional Blogger who wants to ultimately turn this passion in a full-time business.
I’d love to hear what stage your are at with your blog, and if you need any help moving to that next tier. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below and share if you know someone needing to hear this message.