As I go around doing blog audits and analyzing blogs every day, I’m finding that more and more bloggers could use this post on blog optimization.
I’m hoping to help you avoid some of these common mistakes bloggers make.
These are some very simple fixes that could launch your blog into a higher level of traffic, engagement and money.
While these are blogging tips for beginners, really everyone should scan this list and check to see if you’re leaving money on the table.
In this post you will find
- Mistake 1: Not Being Self-Hosted
- Mistake 2: Not Installing Google Analytics and Search Console
- Mistake 3: Not Writing For Your Audience
- Mistake 4: Not Getting into the Technical Stuff
- Mistake 5: Limited Shareability
- Mistake 6: No Bio/About Page
- Mistake 7: No Email List
- Mistake 8: Not Promoting Your Posts Consistently
- Mistake 9: A Crazy Blog Design
- Mistake 10: No SEOing
- Develop a Blog Plan
Mistake 1: Not Being Self-Hosted
The first mistake new bloggers make is trying to monetise a free blog hosted on blogger or wordpress.com. I spoke on this at length before so I won’t go into it in-depth here but if you want to monetise then please self-host.
It’s like starting a business on borrowed land, not even rented land, borrowed land. You’re over there cultivating this land, making money for someone else.
Plus eventually, the owner could come and claim it all and you would have lost everything. You’re often so restricted on a free site that monetizing to your full potential will be hard. Siteground is my blog host and has been for the past 7 years.
Mistake 2: Not Installing Google Analytics and Search Console
Immediately after you start your blog, you will want to begin tracking your efforts so you can see how much traffic you’re receiving and where it’s coming from. Otherwise, you’re just shooting in the breeze hoping something hits.
Google analytics will tell you your most popular content and where exactly you’re getting traffic from so you can know what types of posts work better for you and where you should concentrate your marketing efforts. My free 5-day blog traffic challenge includes video on setting up and getting the most out of these tools to gain blog traffic.
Mistake 3: Not Writing For Your Audience
I am not a believer in needing to niche down and then niche some more. You can write about anything you want on your blog. Niche blogs make money, general blogs make money.
The blogs that make money know who their audience is and their content is specifically aimed at them. If you’re writing things for yourself and not trying to help your audience in some way, chances are your blog posts aren’t going to get very far.
For every post you write, ask yourself some simple questions:
- Who will this blog post help?
- What problem of theirs will it solve?
- Will it answer their questions fully?
I write more about creating good, no, outstanding blog content here.
Mistake 4: Not Getting into the Technical Stuff
Many of us don’t start out techy but as we realise we may actually make some money with this blogging thing, we learn more about it or at least hire out some help. You want to think about things like caching plugins, site speed, security plugins and your permalink structure right away.
Your permalink is the link to your post. WordPress gives you several options under the settings > writing section of your blog.
You can see that I have chosen the post name option. You never want to use plain or numeric because the words in your permalink help with SEO. Google will read the words in your link to help to determine what the post is about.
The suggestion here is to clean up your permalink structure to remove things like the date and any unnecessary words. For instance, you could have some really great evergreen content that you carefully update ever-so-often so that it is always shareable and relevant.
But the fact that the date in the permalink says 2014 might be a huge turnoff to someone looking for exactly what you wrote about. They may think the information will be outdated just by looking at your link.
You also want to leave numbers out of your permalink. For instance, this post starts out with 10 mistakes but as I update it, the number may get longer or I may choose to omit some mistakes over time. I wouldn’t want the link to say 10 mistakes when it eventually becomes 15 which could be much more convincing to someone, helping me to get that click.
The only time I advocate for leaving in the number is, for instance, a post that says Black Friday 2017 biggest sales. These type of timed posts tend to do really well with the dates in and can get loads of traffic for that time period. You will have to get a whole new one going for 2018 to ride the train though.
As a side-note and fair warning, there’s some controversy around changing your permalink structure if you’re already blogging. If you change your permalink structure, you’re pretty much starting all over in Google as these are now brand new links that will have to rank.
However, if you’re a fairly new blogger you can simply redirect your old links to your new or perhaps you’re not even ranking high yet anyway and will take the small hit now for bigger traffic advantages later. Seven years and over 400 posts in, I changed my permalink structure this year on my lifestyle blog and I have no regrets. Many of the posts are doing much better now than they were before.
If your post isn’t easily shareable to social media then readers may not bother to share it. This means that if I click to share on Twitter and the tweet isn’t auto-populated with your post’s headline and link then I probably won’t follow through with the share unless I really want my readers to see it. Really, really.
I would have to manually type in some information and that’s too much work in this digital world we live in. You have to make it stupidly easy to share your posts far and wide.
The tweet should also have you handle appended to it so other people can find and follow you and so you can see who’s sharing your tweets and engage with them.
The same goes for Pinterest. Sometimes I will want to share a post and find that there’s no Pin button. You are definitely missing out on traffic if you have no Pin button installed on your blog.
If I do click on a Pin It button and see no long attractive pins, I’m not following through on my share. Vertical pins do the best on Pinterest and I want very attractive pins only on my boards so if yours doesn’t fit the cut, it’s not getting pinned. #kanyeshrug
Mistake 6: No Bio/About Page
This one is crucial for bloggers who essentially want to become influencers and land sponsored posts and work with brands. This is one of the top 4 methods of monetization for bloggers.
A brand rep will check out your home page and your about page (plus your social media handles) to make sure you’re a good fit for them before they engage with you. Fill out your about page and include a picture of yourself if relevant to your niche.
Make sure to talk about what type of content one can expect to find on your blog and you can include the types of partnerships you’re open to.
Mistake 7: No Email List
This one is a biggy and it applies to everybody. I wrote about why you need email marketing from day one and I even have a free list-building course you can take if you sign up below. It’s a huge mistake not to begin building your email list and having a plan for it right away.
Mistake 8: Not Promoting Your Posts Consistently
Your blog posts need to be promoted over and over again. Promoting a post only during the week it was published won’t get you the traction you’re looking for.
A good way to do this is to go back and insert relevant keywords in your posts, include some internal links in them as you continue to publish content and then pin them on your Pinterest group boards again and share them in different Facebook group share threads. There are many other ways to get traffic to your blog, there are 21 blog traffic methods listed here.
Mistake 9: A Crazy Blog Design
I have definitely performed blog audits on blogs with themes that were doing all-the-way too much. Flashing banners, popups up the wahoo, inconsistent branding and just plain old eye-sores. Yes, the trend right now is to have a nice, clean, fresh blog design and you may be more of a colourful, flashy kind of gal but don’t try to do this yourself.
A graphic designer can help you to bring your vision to life in a little more palatable manner if you can’t find a theme that displays your dashing personality to your taste. In fact, I’m willing to bet you can find a graphic designer on Fiverr who will do it for you for just a few bucks.
Mistake 10: No SEOing
SEO is a scary topic for many new bloggers. At the very least though, you should try to insert relevant keywords into your posts at the obvious places, including your title, subheadings and image descriptions. A tool like LongTailPro or KeySearch can go a far way in helping you out.
These tools will help you to find keywords that aren’t as difficult to rank for as the most generic ones and will also suggest some alternatives. Here are my best blog SEO tips to help you out.
Develop a Blog Plan
Even in blogging, if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. What is your overall goal for your blog? Making money? Helping people? Sharing your story? Writing consistently?
You need a plan and now is a great time to write one out and break it up into bits so you’ll actually achieve your plan. I wrote about goal planning on my lifestyle blog and it’s worth a read if you have no clue how to get going on your blog goals.
I really hope I am able to help you avoid these mistakes bloggers make! These simple blogging tips and tricks are quick little things that you can implement if you’re already blogging or will definitely set you on the right path if you’re researching before starting your blog.
Let me know if this helped in the comments and please share this post to help me out! Thanks so much 🙂
Bonus blogging tip: take a look at all the links in this post, notice how none of them say “click here” to read so-and-so post? That’s an SEO tip for you. You want your link anchor to be keywords as well so that Google knows why you’re linking to this content. It helps with relevancy and authority. 😉