Like with any endeavor, I usually learn things through trial and error. Even with countless articles on what to do and step by step instructions, sometimes you simply need to strike out and try something on your own. And that’s how blogging went for me.
I’ve been blogging since 1996. First for my undergrad, then for my daily musings on life, then on traveling internationally, then on fitness and you get the picture. With each iteration, I made a handful of mistakes and with each new blog, I made a few less mistakes, along with some new ones. You win some, you lose some.
But I wanted to share with you my Top 7 Mistakes that I would re-do if I had a time machine:
- Done Is Better Than Perfect
If you google advice on the perfect blogging tool, blogging niche, blog headers, blog images, blog branding, blog sidebar, blog opt-in, etc, you’d find a million different articles. And they’re all great but you could be in early retirement by the time you make it through all of that material and implement it.
- A Blog Is Not An Encyclopedia
Facts are great to back up your arguments and even a couple stats peppered in here and there help drive your point but this is a blog, it’s supposed to be fun. And facts aren’t that fun. Instead, spin a story around it, make it relatable to something in real life.
- Treat your blog headline like your book cover
It’s all about the sizzle. If no one is interested in the subject line, no one is going to click on it and no one is going to read it. Spend 90% of your time on the headline and 10% on the post.
- Grammar Ain’t Welcome Here
This isn’t your college essay nor your next NY Times bestseller. This is supposed to be real talk with real people on hopefully some really interesting shizzle. Write like you talk. Not like your 10th grade English teacher would grade you on.
- Your Sidebar Is Not A Garage Sale from Hoarders, International
What is your article about? What is your audience looking for? What is most relevant to them today? If your sidebar item fits all of these criteria, then it’s a good candidate to add. If it’s something that may or may not be a fit and just something random. Then it’s better left out.
- Overcommitting To An Overly Aggressive Publishing Schedule Leads To Burnout + Failure
Have you have underestimated the amount of time it will take you to write something. Well, blogging is exactly the same. When you think about it, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. But when you add in your regular writing schedule, marketing, promotions, learning WordPress if you’re to it, finding graphics, researching keywords and headlines and oh, yah regular everyday life like cooking, shopping, driving, etc. Then there’s not a lot of time to fit in one more thing. Especially if you think you can post 2-3 times a week.
- You Fail To Attract Regular Readers
Make sure to create an enticing opt-in to garner more regular subscribers. If they liked one post, it’s highly likely they’ll like another one. So why not give them a chance to sign up for your mailing list so you can let them know when the next one is coming out.
No blog is perfect and for sure you’re going to make a lot of mistakes when you’re first starting out but with a little help and direction, you can minimize those mistakes to nil and maximize your blogging effectiveness by learning best practices.
Next week’s Blogging for Authors will walk you through how to set up your blog and how to gain more readers from it. We’ll walk you through setting up your first WordPress site to drafting your first blog.
I’m VP for the Contemporary Romance Writers online chapter of RWA and a certified personal trainer and weight-loss coach. In addition to writing contemporary romance about con artists and the women who love them, I also give romance writers and bloggers their happily ever fit body and bestseller lifestyle. For my Top 10 Fitness Tools for Writers, please visit lisasiefert.com