14 Mistakes Every Beginner Blogger Should Avoid
Everyone’s a blogger nowadays but can you say your website is visited by anyone other than your friends and family? Most of us publishing content online, end up actually begging people to read it. This is because there’s more to blogging (or content writing) than just writing and a beginner blogger needs to realize this as soon as possible.
The terms blogging and content writing are used synonymously in a loose manner. Jyssica Schwartz in her article on medium gives the following distinction:
Content writing is much broader and is loosely defined as “writing about any topic given by a client to meet their specific goals” and covers a large range of topics – and includes writing copy to sell things.
Blogging is defined as “adding new material or regularly updating a blog.” With “blog” literally defined as “short for weblog, an online journal or informational website displayed in reverse chronological order.”
So, content writing is basically a more generalized term that includes blogging too and the only thing unique about blogging is it has a little bit of personal touch. Both the terms have been diluted over time so, whichever type you dabble in; the basics are almost the same.
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I have been writing blogs here and there, much like everyone, for the last five years. Quarantine presented me with more time than I expected. During those isolated moments in one random night, I decided to learn content writing and finally take blogging seriously. Did I just romanticize a decision taken out of boredom? Maybe but you got the picture.
The idea of blogging is also being romanticized in movies and stories for quite some time. ‘You got some opinion to put in front of the world, you write a blog- isn’t that the common reason to start a blog?
Well, there’s more to blogging meaning than what meets the eye. Blogging is more technical than you would expect. In reality, numerous products are being marketed every day with the help of blogging.
The following are some blogging statistics published by Hubspot in 2020:
80% of internet users interact with both social media sites and blogs. (DemandMetric)
Companies with blogs produce an average of 67% more leads monthly than n companies that don’t blog. (DemandMetric)
There are over 600 million active blogs globally in 2020. (Growth Badger)
Blogging is the third most common content marketing strategy, after video and eBooks. (HubSpot)
Half of the top 200 Fortune 500 companies had a corporate blog in 2018.
In 2019, bloggers spent 65% more time writing blog posts, with the average post taking three hours and 57 minutes to write. (Orbit Media)
What blogging is in 2020?
In 2020, we are out of that ‘blogging, how to start?’ phase
Blogging has become more than just a medium of expression. It’s a medium that highly focusing on the convenience and engagement of its readers and indicating a clear purpose through its content.
Blogging, where to start right now?
Start from wherever you are, yes it’s a bit crowded but filled with potential. To tap its full potential as a beginner blogger, the first and foremost need is to focus on the value of the content.
Along with value-adding, another very important basic of blogging is selecting a niche. Niche in blogging is your focused subject of writing blogs. Yes, you can definitely write on whatever you want but don’t we like to shop specific things from specific stores. The same thing works for blogging, your reader should have clarity on the subject of your blog. This will give them a purpose to follow.
Another reason for a beginner blogger to niche down is that credibility. You will be seen as an expert in a particular field only when you are specific about it. So, you can be the jack of all trades in real life but as a content writer, you have to be a master of one.
It will be helpful if you are interested in your niche because you are literally going to spend hours researching and writing about the subject (you will basically have a professional marriage with your niche!)
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Common beginner blogger mistakes:
As beginner bloggers, we often lack the element of experience and that could lead to several rookie mistakes. I made the mistakes and learned the hard way but you might not have to.
So, let’s be aware and refrain from making the following mistakes committed by most beginner bloggers:
Writing long sentences:
A lot of us have this issue. Writing, long, hefty sentences, gilled with conjunction might have work in a research paper but not in a blog. The main goal of any kind of content writing is to capture the attention of the reader.
Writing long sentences has exactly the opposite effect. Long lines might sound cool in your head but for a reader, it is confusing and inconvenient.
People read web content from a device( like a phone or laptop), so there are already several distractions present. Hence, the first moment your blog feels confusing or too much work, the reader will stop reading.
So, the first blogging guide for a beginner blogger would be, to write short and crisp sentences. It will keep the attention of your audience. If you are in a habit of writing long sentences, give yourself a word limit. (like, you’d have to end most sentences after 12-14 words)
Another trick for writing short sentences is, trying to replace every conjunction with a full stop. You won’t be able to replace every conjunction because that’s not realistically possible. Through this process, you will basically keep a check on your conjunction usage and cut it down wherever possible.
If you count the words in my sentences you will see that a number of them have above 14 words. They aren’t really inconvenient to read through.
So, the goal of placing these limits is not exactly reaching them. These limits are to keep you in check. Even when you cross these limits you won’t be too far away So it’s like having a baseline so that you don’t end up writing one sentence in a whole paragraph.
Not doing proper research:
As a beginner blogger, you might not give research that much importance but it is the backbone of your writing. Yes, if you are writing something out of your personal experience, the research may be a bit less.
If you are a beginner blogger then you are going to be writing a lot of content. Not every content is going to be from your experience and in those cases research is crucial.
Even at times, when you are writing personal content it’s advised to research for fact-checking and avoiding plagiarism.
So, what counts as proper research? Research is basically educating yourself on the subject of your article or blog post before you write it. It looks different for everyone but people do it in different ways.
Doing a lot of research could feel too much at times that’s why to try to choose topics you are comfortable with in the first place.
Without proper research, your content is in danger of being superficial and vague. Whatever you are writing on trust me, there will always be other sources providing similar content and readers will go for the better one. So, get the research going, to make your content stand out.
Depending solely on the blog:
‘If I am writing on a blog, of course, I will depend on it for getting my viewers’- No, as a beginner blogger do not depend on your blog to get you, new readers.
Whether you are writing on a blogging platform or your own blogging website you cannot just sit around waiting for your writing to go viral because it won’t.
If you are writing on your own blogging website, then it would take a certain amount of time before your website ranks on google, depending on your effort. If it’s on any other blogging platform then making it rank might be slightly easier.
Either way, in the beginning, your content wouldn’t be handled by people wherever they search for it. So share each piece of content you write on every social media platform. Also share it with people who you think might be interested in the subject.
We often have a tendency, to share our blogs with our friends and family but what you are writing about might not be a subject of interest for your friends and family. You will have to focus on sharing your content with people interested in that particular subject. So, once you have decided your niche, try to build your social media platforms based on the niche as well, so you already have a source to an audience interested in your niche.
Apart from this, sharing your content on various social media platforms will also help you in reaching that number of backlinks. So, whatever you have written till now, start sharing it on every possible platform today.
Too much fluff:
Fluff refers to the filler sentences in content that do not provide any value and are just for boosting the word count. Ultimately these sentences just dilute the whole content.
Every content has a certain amount of fluff but a beginner blogger might be prone to adding too much fluff. This could happen if you have a habit of going off-topic or if you struggle to reach a certain word count.
If you are struggling to reach a word count then researching and collecting more information could help you reduce the fluff. If you have a habit of going off-topic as I had, then you have to be strict while editing.
Strict editing can help you reduce the fluff irrespective of the reason for it. As a beginner blogger, you might be too attached to your content and therefore, might refrain from sharp editing.
You will have to let go of this. View editing as a part of your content creation. Editing polishes your content and makes it. So, don’t step back from cutting down on that excess line, para, or word.
Not focusing enough on SEO:
Search engine optimization is one of the most important parts of writing content online. The term Search engine optimization basically means optimizing your content for the search engines so that it’s easier for the search engine to pick up what your content is about.
SEO is the process of improving the quantity and quality of traffic on your website through organic searches instead of using paid searches (i.e paid traffic).
According to moz.com SEO includes the following:
Quality of traffic. You can attract all the visitors in the world, but if they’re coming to your site because Google tells them you’re a resource for Apple computers when really you’re a farmer selling apples, that is not quality traffic. Instead, you want to attract visitors who are genuinely interested in the products that you offer. Quantity of traffic. Once you have the right people clicking through from those search engine results pages (SERPs), more traffic is better.
Organic results. Ads make up a significant portion of many Search engine result pages (SERPs). Organic traffic is any traffic that you don’t have to pay for.”
SEO is a very detailed concept that includes everything from crawl accessibility, keyword optimization internal, linking to the website load speed & so on.
A beginner blogger might be more fixated on writing but SEO is equally important as writing. what would you do with all the content if no one is there to read it? SEO exactly serves this purpose; it will make sure that your content reaches more people.
So, if you are not fully aware of SEO, then start educating yourself about it from today and if you are someone who is already focusing on SEO, I will suggest a focus on it more. SEO is basically the protagonist of your content writing.
What is that decisive factor that makes us click on a particular search result on Google? Yes, it’s the headline.
Headlines could make and break your traffic volume and most beginner bloggers aren’t totally aware of this. So if you write a vague headline that does not clear what your content is about, readers are definitely not going to click on it. You need to write a precise and catchy headline.
Short headlines always do better than longer ones. If you are confused about what headlines are good and you can also use the various headline analyzers that are available.
Whatever way you go, avoid a vague, or dreamy headline at all cost!
Too generic or too specific:
Even though a niche has been selected, a beginner blogger might still write generic content. People are always searching for specific queries in search engines so specific content will do better than a generic one. Whenever we are searching for a problem, we expect a detailed solution for that, and generic content might not serve that purpose.
Then again if you choose something too specific to write on, chances are a lot of people won’t be searching for it. So it’s important to keep a balance between generic and specific content. If you still get confused, you can always look for blogging ideas on various websites online.
Not focusing on problem-solving:
For a beginner blogger, it could be enticing to write about what we feel is relevant. Whenever we choose a topic to write on we should make sure that it provides a solution to the problem. If content does not focus on problem-solving ways then it would not be shareable content.
Shareable content boosts SEO so we need to make sure that the content always focuses on problem-solving. Problem-solving doesn’t always mean that you have to put out educational content. For example, You can put out personal content that is entertaining in a storytelling format and it will work on solving the problem of boredom.
So whenever you are putting out content just ask yourself this question ‘how is it going to help people?’
Can you remember the last you read a whole blog? Exactly. Most of us just scour through the contents of a blog and read a specific part of our choice. After that, if we have time, then we skim through the whole article. In today’s time, most people have very little patience and time. We want results fast.
Subheads are very necessary for any content online. Subheads make the content manageable and navigating through it becomes easy for a reader. It also divides the content into parts and makes it seem less lengthy. Therefore, readers are by default more likely to read content with subheads.
So, if you have posted or are planning to post a hefty piece of write-up without breaks, go ahead and divide it with subheads.
Forgetting alt text:
Images are an essential part of online content, they provide the visual element. It’s probably quite obvious to every beginner blogger.
On the other hand, Alt or Alternative text (alt knows as alt tags or alt attributes or alt description) might not be that obvious to beginner bloggers. It is the description of the appearance and the function of blogging images on a web page.
Alt texts are an important part of SEO, they provide the image description to search engine crawlers and help the image to be indexed properly.
Alt tags are used by screen readers. So they help visually impaired people understand the image on your blog, by giving them the description.
Also, if an image fails to load all text will be displayed in that place. So, for all these purposes you cannot forget to give alt text to your image.
The introduction is the gateway to your whole content. Introductions create that first impression which helps the reader decide whether they will continue reading. Too long or vague or detail-oriented introductions will give an opposite outcome of the desired result. It is mandatory to make it interesting.
Casual introductions where the content is written almost in the form of a conversation are very attractive. As a beginner blogger, your introduction should be clear and needs to give an idea of the overall article, so the reader knows what to expect.
Ignoring meta description :
According to Yoast SEO,
The meta description is a snippet of up to about 155 characters – a tag in HTML – which summarizes a page’s content. Search engines show it in search results mostly when the searched-for phrase is within the description. Its purpose is simple: it needs to get someone searching on Google to click your link. In other words, meta descriptions are there to generate click-throughs from search engines.
A correct meta description will increase your click-through rates (CTR) and that will improve your ranking. Broadly defined, a good meta description would be around 155 characters, with actionable sentences, and should include a call to action button.
If a beginner blogger doesn’t write a meta description then, the search engine will automatically select a part of your text as a meta description. This might hurt click-through rates. So, try to give a meta description for each of your posts.
Not checking the search volume:
Once you decide the topic of your blog post, always check the search volume in a keyword research tool. Search volume refers to the number of searches in a month. If the search volume is too low, that means very few people are searching for your blog subject.
In this case, even if you do stellar SEO and write the perfect content, it will get no traffic. Content gets traffic depending on various factors only if there is a demand for it among people.
Low search volume basically means no demand, so even if the supply is good it won’t matter.
Even though you are reading about all these mistakes today, chances are, that you might still make them. Reading and knowing are not the same as executing. A beginner blogger doesn’t always stay a beginner and only execution changes it. In reality, blogging is a lot more than writing and the more you execute the more you would discover what works and whatnot. This process might take a while and you will have your share of confusion through it.
So, embrace the confusion and try not to lose patience too soon. If you are really passionate about this, it’s going to be worth it.