I’ve made a few.
As a teenager, I failed my driving exam because I didn’t tell the instructor to buckle his seat belt.
In college, I once stayed awake 48 straight hours so I could study for finals. This was back before I discovered the magic elixir known as coffee.
As an adult, I paid good money to watch “The Glass House” starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock.
And as a blogger I’ve made more mistakes than I can count.
I’m in good company, though. All bloggers have made their fair share of mistakes.
What separates good bloggers from complacent ones are minimizing those mistakes and learning from them.
Here are 7 blogging mistakes to avoid (or to stop doing if you are doing them).
1. You Make It All About You
Yes, it’s your blog. So of course your posts should have an element of “you” in them.
Your blog should have your personality. It should have your voice. It should have whatever makes you you.
But it can’t be all about you.
If you are writing only for you, or only about you, you’re not writing for your audience.
And if you’re not writing for your audience, your blog’s ceiling is limited to how many people find you interesting.
If you are extremely interesting (think Jim Gaffigan after someone has said the word “bacon”), your ceiling could be quite high.
For the rest of us, our ceiling is going to be limited.
2. You Don’t Know Your Audience
“Who is my audience” is one of the first questions a blogger should ask.
(By the way: If your audience is close friends or family, you can forget what I wrote in mistake #1 above. If they are your audience, your posts should be 100% you. Make them all you, all the time.)
For example, bloggers are my audience.
People who have never blogged before, people who are new to blogging, and people who have been blogging for years are all members of my audience.
Knowing my audience helps me know what topics make sense to write about. Just as importantly, knowing my audience helps me know what topics not to write about.
A post on WordPress security would interest most of my audience.
A post on some buddy-cop movie starring Nicolas Cage, Dane Cook and a monkey sidekick would not interest my audience. (Or any audience, for that matter.)
If you are writing without knowing who you are writing for, you’re essentially trying to hit a target while blindfolded.
3. You Don’t Check Your Posts For Grammatical Errors
For starters, learn when to use there, their and they’re.
Learn when to use your and you’re.
Learn the differences between lose and loose, its and it’s, and literally and figuratively.
Once you have those sorted, just get in the habit of proofreading your posts before publishing.
The more you proofread, the better your posts will be for your readers.
4. You Aren’t Consistent With Your Posting Schedule
There are blogs posting daily.
There are blogs posting weekly.
There are blogs posting monthly.
There might be a blog out there posting every four years on February 29.
Whatever your posting schedule, you need to be consistent with it.
Way, way too many blogs start out posting daily or several times a week, only to eventually go weeks or months without posting.
But what happens is their readership falters. And, oftentimes, the readership never returns.
This isn’t to say if you started out posting daily you must always post daily or risk losing all your readers.
But if you were in the habit of posting daily and you want to scale back, scale back to 2-3 days a week. If you were in the habit of posting 2-3 days a week, scale back to posting weekly. And so on.
Never put your audience in a position where they don’t know if your blog has been abandoned.
5. Your Blog Is A Hacker’s Dream
I used to be a teacher. I was also the school’s resident, all-knowing, “computer guy.” If a fellow teacher had a computer issue, they called me.
Once, while working on another teacher’s computer, I noticed a sticky note on their monitor.
It said: “Password is password.”
Now, having “password” as your password is bad enough. But having it written down and visibly displayed is an act of madness.
Many bloggers are just as careless when it comes to protecting their blogs.
Maybe they use the default “admin” as their username. Maybe their password is easy to guess. Maybe they haven’t updated their version of WordPress since 2008.
The point is: be mindful of your blog’s security.
If you wait until there is an issue, it could be too late.
6. You Aren’t Building Email Subscribers
Blogging veterans know all about the importance of building your email list. So, let me address those new to blogging and/or the concept.
When someone subscribes to your mailing list, they are far more likely to engage and interact with your blog than someone who simply follows you on Twitter or “likes” you on Facebook.
Derek Halpern of Social Triggers says the difference is remarkable.
A link he sent to his Twitter followers produced 300 clicks to his website. The same link sent to his email subscribers produced 4,200 clicks to his website.
Admittedly, his email subscribers (around 140,000) outnumber his Twitter followers (53,300 as of this writing). But this gap doesn’t account for the severe difference in website clicks.
The reason for the difference should be obvious.
Most of us have far, far more “Tweets” to sift through each day than we do emails.
I know I do.
One of the people I follow on Twitter is the comedic genius Norm Macdonald.
In a given evening, Norm will Tweet or ReTweet several dozen times. He’ll spend two hours tweeting play-by-play of golf tournaments. He’ll spend an hour talking about Russian literature.
In other words, in a given night my Twitter timeline gets full even if no one besides Norm Macdonald wrote anything.
Now add in the other 100 people I follow on Twitter and their Tweets.
So, of course a link on Twitter is going to go unnoticed by many of your followers. How could it not?
With email there’s less competition. Sometimes much less.
7. You’re Concentrating On Too Many Social Media Platforms
Of all the mistakes I’ve made in my 9+ years of blogging, this is my worst.
Believe it or not, it’s possible to have a successful blog while forgoing social media.
Jon Morrow of Boost Blog Traffic actually advises new bloggers to ignore all social media until they have 1,000 email subscribers.
What most bloggers do is the complete opposite: they try to be on all the social media platforms.
They try to “be everywhere.”
They try to build up their Twitter following. And their Facebook following. And their Pinterest following. And Google Plus. And Instagram. And LinkedIn. And… you get the idea.
They are mediocre on several social media platforms.
The better plan?
Take Jon’s advice, or do what I did: concentrate on one social media platform at first.
When I started Be A Better Blogger, I chose to concentrate on Google Plus. You could choose Twitter, Facebook, or any of the others.
Whichever you choose, focus on it and it alone.
Build up your following on it, grow relationships, be as good as you can be on this one platform.
And, later, if you decide to delve into other social media platforms, you’ll already have a built-in audience ready to follow you.
That’s what I did.
Once I reached 5,000 followers on Google Plus, I decided to shift my focus over to Twitter — where I was getting far more referral traffic, despite the fact I wasn’t actively using it.
In short, don’t divide your time.
You can be everywhere later.