Common Blogging Mistakes

Blogging is great for positioning yourself as an expert, boosting your profile and, of course, search engine optimisation.

It’s really easy to get started – all you need is a blog (preferably self hosted with your own unique URL), some ideas and a bit of time.

But despite it being that simple many people are getting it horribly wrong.

Here are a few of the most common mistakes made by would-be bloggers:

1. Not understanding your audience

This is a fundamental requirement if your blog is to be successful.

How can you write stuff your audience will want to read if you don’t know who they are? Granted, anyone could find your blog but you have to keep in mind the people you are writing for and trying to attract.

What is important to them?

In this blog I write about all things copywriting, marketing and social media because the audience I’m writing for are (in general) small businesses looking for some advice when it comes to marketing their businesses. If I suddenly started blogging about my favourite recipes or what my dog did at the weekend, my readers would get fed up and look elsewhere for the information they want.

2. Ignoring your niche

A lot of bloggers want to be all things to all people.

That’s not going to work.

As I mentioned earlier, a powerful blog is one that knows its market and what they want. Writing about something you understand will result in informative blog posts that are relevant to your readers.

Find your niche and stick to it.

3. Blanket writing

This is what happens if you don’t stick to your niche.

Suddenly your blog becomes awash with posts about all manner of topics, none of which gel. You might think you’re doing your readership a great service by taking this ‘all encompassing’ approach but all you’re doing is confusing them.

If you start out writing a blog about photography and start to build a regular readership, those loyal readers will come back time and again because they know they are going to get great information on photography. But if you suddenly start adding posts about cats, cars, insurance etc., the continuity is lost. Because they don’t know if your next post is going to be relevant to them they won’t bother coming back.

If you want to write about 2 very different subjects, get 2 blogs.

4. Being inconsistent

Every post you write has to be written well. The quality of your work can’t slip.

When you start out, fired up with enthusiasm, your posts will be top notch. But as time goes on and you squeeze your blog writing between other things, you might become a little careless; errors will start to creep in and the general standard of your writing might slip.

That is the first sign of a dying blog. Quality is everything so you have to keep your standards high.

But as well as quality, you also have to be consistent with your frequency.  Your readers are creatures of habit. If you blog 3 times a week, they’ll grow to expect a new post from you at that frequency. If you suddenly change it or miss a week they’ll be left wondering what’s going on and, ultimately, go and find a different blog that will meet their expectations.

5. No commitment

Just like a dog is for life, not for Christmas, your blog is for life and shouldn’t be started on a misguided whim.

When you’re sat in front of your computer writing your blogs you probably see each post as an unrelated entity. But your readers see them as a series of factual and interesting posts. They expect great things from you and on a regular basis which requires commitment on your part.

If you make the decision to blog, you must be 100% committed otherwise it won’t work.

6. Focus on quality

As I mentioned in number 4, the quality of your posts must be consistent.

To make your blog work well you should ideally be posting at least 3 times a week. Every one of those posts has to add value to your reader and must be thought through and written well.

The mistake many bloggers make is they are so conscious that they have to keep generating posts, it’s not long before quantity becomes more important than quality.

If the quality of your work slips you’ll get known for your bad writing rather than your great information and you really don’t want that to happen.

7. Writing for yourself

You are bound to blog on a topic you know well but you mustn’t lose sight of what’s important to your readers.

Writing about stuff you find interesting is OK but not if no one else is interested in it. If you want your blog to be successful, identify your audience, discover what they want to know and write about that.

8. Poor headlines

No matter how great your writing, if you come up with a lame headline for your blog no one’s going to read it.

Most people will just look at your post’s title. If it doesn’t immediately grab them they won’t read on. So make sure you come up with strong headlines for every post; something that will draw your reader in and make them what to find out more.

9. Blatant self-promotion

The whole point of a blog is to add value to your relationship with your reader.

If every single post you write is a thinly disguised advert for you and your products, your readers will see through you and walk away. So don’t write about your products and services; provide information that your readers can use to their benefit.

Sure, you can link out to your main website from your posts but only if it adds value.

At the end of the post you can always add an author bio with a link to your site.

10. No engagement

Every post you write must engage your reader and make a connection.

Don’t worry that’s easier to do that it sounds. All you have to do is write conversationally and in the second person (using you and your – just like I have done in this post). Your post will then be ‘talking’ directly to your reader, making it personal.

11. Unresponsive

When you start getting traffic to your blog you’ll start to get a few comments coming through.

You have a choice; you could ignore them and come across as someone who couldn’t care less about their readers. Or you could respond and interact with your readers.

It doesn’t take Einstein to work out which is the best option.

12. No promotion

How is someone going to read your blog if they don’t know it exists?

If you want your blog to succeed you have to promote it. Push an RSS feed through to your website, promote your blogs through Twitter and forums.

Basically shout very loudly to anyone and everyone about your blog and they’ll start to take notice.


There you go – 12 of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make. If you manage to avoid them you’ll be well on your way to being the owner of a successful blog.

Have I missed anything?

If you can think of anything else that could prevent a blogger making it big? If so please leave a comment below.

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#1 Racquel Francis on 07.28.11 at 11:13 pm

Your post has been a real eye opener for me. I am new to the world of blogging, started in April, and I’ve made at least four of these mistakes (#4, 10, 11, 12). I really want my blog to succeed so this advice will go a long way.

#2 admin on 07.29.11 at 8:55 am

Glad you found it useful Racquel – good luck with your blog.


#3 Ariel on 07.31.11 at 8:03 am

Wow! I have made many of these mistakes. I guess my biggest problem is finding my niche and just sticking to it. I like to write about anything and everything but apparently that’s not a good way to run a blog. Thanks for the advice!

#4 Freelance copywriter Johannesburg on 08.03.11 at 10:30 am

Thanks for the advice. Am thinking about writing a blog for copywriters in Johannesburg. The ad industry here is mad!

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