While it’s true that you can make a living from blogging, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen overnight.
You have to be more than a good writer to succeed as a blogger.
You also need to keep your finger on the pulse of audience trends and understand the underlying principles of the business.
If you’re starting your first blog or trying to boost the visibility of your existing blog, here are some pitfalls to avoid.
Not Identifying a Distinct Niche
The market for blogging is very crowded, and that means that you have to work very hard to find your audience.
Coming up with the intent of your blog can help you better focus your content, but it also serves as a pitch for your audience.
You should think long and hard about what you want your blog to be about.
A subject that’s too specific will have trouble finding a large audience, but one that’s too broad will have trouble selling a proof of concept.
There are a lot of concepts that are overcrowded — makeup and cooking, for instance — so it’s important to figure out what distinguishes your blog from the competitors.
Keyword searches can help with this.
You don’t need to drive your content completely by keywords (as you do want your content to be something you’re passionate about), but they can serve as a great source of inspiration that’s also more likely to target exactly what your prospective audience is looking for.
Dropping the Ball on Audience Outreach
You can’t just write your blog and hope the people will come.
The best content in the world won’t mean much to your credibility if you can’t find anyone to read it, but social media platforms can serve as one of the most effective means for reaching out to your audience.
It’s important to make your content short but compelling.
You can think of social media outreach as a free sample that will draw the interest of your audience, so it should be designed to grab the attention of people as they scroll through their news feeds.
But good social media outreach can be just as important for maintaining an audience.
Reaching out to other influencers in your field and building more personalized relationships with your followers can minimize the work you have to do to find new fans by delegating the responsibility out.
Word of mouth can be one of the most powerful means of expansion around.
By the same token, make sure that your blog includes relevant sharing buttons so that your followers can boost your content as easily as possible, and be sure to take the time to maintain an email list so you can mobilize your de facto army.
Lagging Behind on Your Blogging Schedule
While drawing in new readers is important, the best bloggers manage to succeed because they have a loyal group of followers who regularly read and share content.
But to maintain your audience, you’re going to have to make sure that you keep them hooked.
Experiment with the length of blogs to figure out what draws the most attention, but whatever you do, you want to make sure that quality content is turned out in a regular fashion.
Finding a pace that works for you is important, and it may help to try to build a backlog of articles and keep a notebook of article ideas if you find yourself having trouble offering consistent output.
Letting Your Tools Get Rusty
Any successful artist has tools that they have to rely on to get the job done. For the blogger, that’s your computer and your internet connection.
Inconsistent internet or a slow running computer can quickly slow your progress as a blogger to a halt, so it’s important to keep your computer in peak condition.
Make sure that you have quality anti-virus software in place, and be sure to regularly perform maintenance checks on your computer to make sure it’s running as it should.
Avoid the headache of losing a written post because you ignored issues with your computer. A well-maintained PC goes a long way!
Not Optimizing Your Content
Google is an incredibly sophisticated search engine, and the algorithms powering it become more sophisticated with each passing day.
Unfortunately, just writing quality content still isn’t enough to keep your blog floating at the top of the search results.
Any blogger worth their salt is going to pay at least a little attention to search engine optimization. That means keeping an eye towards length, grammar, and SEO keywords when putting together an article.
But that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice the integrity of your blog for the sake of SEO optimization.
While SEO can help the main search engines index your content, your writing needs to be compelling in its own right. You must write for readers and search engines alike.
Finding the right balance between appealing to the search engines and appealing to your core audience is one of the most important things for young and hungry bloggers to figure out.
Missing the Mark with Your Blog Design
The layout of your blog is going to affect the attitudes of your prospective readers before they even have a chance to read the full article, so it’s important to make sure that the design here is solid.
You need to make sure that your site is easy to navigate, but you also want to be sure that the color scheme is easy to read.
You don’t have to be a UX or UI pro to put together a good looking website (though it certainly doesn’t hurt). Most internet hosts will offer a variety of templates you can use for your blog, so you should probably start there.
Unless you’re a professional, simpler is usually better than complex. If you start with a relatively simplistic template, you can experiment with your design sensibilities more as your audience (and confidence) grows.
Just like any job, blogging requires dedication, consistency, and an understanding of a lot of technical management issues.
Choose a good niche and subjects you’ll talk about and build your audience from there.
Make sure the search engines like your writing too and keep your PC and software tools up to date so you can produce all content efficiently.