9 Mistakes That Will Screw Up Your Blog

After months or even years of thinking about it, you finally decided to start your own blog. You sat down at your desk, maybe planned for a few hours, gathered your thoughts, and punched the damn keys.

Feeling a bit nervous, a bit excited (you weren’t sure what you were feeling) you eagerly waited for stuff to happen. After all, it’s all about writing and clicking on that blueish little Publish button, is it not?

Well… the feedback you receive is the kind that makes 95% of bloggers quit. Soul-crushing silence. That’s enough to break even the toughest warriors.

What happened? Where did you go wrong? Where are all the readers?

Mistakes. That’s what happened. I know, because I’ve been there. I made my fair share of mistakes. Some of them I even fixed. Now I am working on making new ones.

But let’s just focus on the ones that can, should, and must be fixed.

In this day and age, anyone can start a blog. But without readers, it’s not a blog. 

I know, I know. Some of you are itching to hit that comment box with something like, “I write for myself, I do not care if I get readers or not.

If you were only writing for yourself you’d be doing it in a journal. You write in a public blog, on the Internet, because you want to be read. Admit it. It’s going to work out so much better for you in the long run.

You might even consider this as the first mistake: not admitting that you want readers.

Yes, getting readers is complicated. And yes, it’s hard. And yes, most of you will get frustrated and quit. Some of you will persevere, while others will want to figure out what’s wrong and how they can improve.

1. You’re all me, me, me

Talking about what happened to you. What you did yesterday. Or the day before that. Telling cute stories as if this were some sort of high school reunion.

You could do that. It doesn’t mean anyone will read it though.

Even though people do love stories, even though the human element is what connects almost anything to everything else, it’s not that simple.

It’s difficult to pull it off.

Why?

Because we vastly overestimate how interested people are when it comes to our lives. Hint: they’re not. In the real world, or in this virtual world, most mimic interest out of politeness.

Yes, you have a story. I get it. But we all do.

But think of it this way: if husbands rarely listen to their wives complaining about a crap day at work (I’m so going to get in trouble for this) then what makes you think some strangers living thousands of miles away would?

Storytelling is one of the most fascinating things you can do. It connects people on such a level that they almost become one. They mirror each other, even their hearts begin to sync. But it’s one hell of a skill, and it takes years and years to master.

How can you get away with it?

What we love more than anything are stories that teach us something. Not only that, but we love the underdog winning. That’s the only story worth mentioning.

How did you overcome the most difficult moments in your life? What did you learn from them? How did those experiences shape you?

A rags to riches story is interesting because most people can identify with the rag, and can dream about the riches. The rich part is what makes it so interesting, in fact. It’s the fact that it makes people think that they, too, can do it.

But telling people what you had for lunch yesterday or that you hurt your toe by stepping on some legos…

2. You obsess about everything (but the content)

You focus your time and energy on SEO. Keywords, backlinks, and all that jazz. You buy all sorts of tools, read all the resources you can find…

I believe SEO to be mostly a waste of time. Google’s ranking algorithms are not difficult to predict, but impossible. And they change. And any so-called SEO expert if he were being honest would tell you the same thing.

Next, you obsess about the way your blog looks. The design of your blog is important enough for you to spend money on a custom theme. You take the utmost care of what goes where. You just want it to look stunning, make people fall in love.

Does it matter?

Not at all. Most of the time, as long as they can somehow find their way around you blog, your readers don’t give a damn about your custom designed theme.

3. You do not network

I wrote about it here and here.

Building connections with fellow human beings is essential to the success of your blog. It’s probably the second most important thing you can do, behind providing great content.

What I mean by this?

Reply to comments. That’s a great way to start. Focus on creating true connections with those who read your blog. Find other bloggers. Read their stuff. Comment on their stuff. Ask them if they’d like to be interviewed by you, if they’d like you to guest blog for them…

It’s not magic, and it takes a lot of time and patience, but it does help your blog. A lot.

4. You are hoping to “go viral”

This is a big misconception, one I have been guilty of in the past. Even though you are not seeing any results, then you must persevere and keep going and one day it will happen that this one post you wrote will go viral and turn you into an Internet sensation.

Look, I’m all about perseverance. And even I am guilty of being too perseverant, and forgetting about the other aspect: changing one’s strategy.

It’s mostly about the incremental. You need to grow. Otherwise, it’s all just wishful thinking, and it won’t help you reach the audience you deserve.

5. You are obsessed with stats

It’s not all about stats. Traffic. Numbers. This isn’t Accounting 101.

Stop checking those damn stats every minute of every day. It’s a complete waste of time.

 

6. You are not consistent

Yes, consistency is key to building a great blog. People need to know what to expect, when to expect it.

No one cares when you write an apology for not posting for six months. As a matter of fact, few will even remember who you are.

7. You already quit in your mind

This one of the most common mistakes. That’s why people tell themselves they’re only blogging as a means to save their souls from damnation. Or that they’re not popular because they’re not lucky. They have such a particular niche that there are only six other people in the world who can understand them. And five of them don’t have Internet access.

Okay, I get it. When you have 200 followers and you get 20 view every time you post something, it’s easy to get discouraged. To lose hope. But writing whatever comes to mind and not giving a damn is not going to help you increase your audience. It’s not.

Granted, popular blogs tend to become popular fast. I grew mine from 0 to 20,000 followers in little over seven months. But… there’s a but, yes… you must not take into consideration your current situation, but rather the possibility for growth.

What I mean by that is that you need to keep your feet on the ground and your eyes on the stars. Work hard on becoming a better blogger, and don’t get sidetracked by the lack of results.

Results always, always follow personal development. Or, in this case, blogging development.

You can always become better.

Thank you for reading today’s pep talk! Now on to the next mistake.

8. You post too often

Guilty as charged. But, I have a pretty good excuse. I have been doing this for so long that people have come to understand this (somehow). What I mean by this is that I have a lot of repeat readers. People who actually read every single post, which makes it okay to post this often.

As a beginner though, it’s not sustainable, and unless you provide great content, absolutely fantastic content, odds are you’re going to piss people off a lot more often than making them appreciate your time and effort.

9. You do not spend enough time writing the best content possible

Your primary focus should be content. The better it is, the faster you’ll grow your blog. It shouldn’t, however, be your only focus.

This is what makes blogging so tricky. Because it’s quite a paradox. Yes, you need to provide value, to over-deliver, to give people what they want. But it’s also important to promote, to network, to learn, to expand…

And you have to make people care. That’s what makes the difference between boring and interesting. It’s not the information, but how it’s presented.

So, ask yourself… do people care about your blog? What have you done to make them care?

So, what should you do?

The answer is kind of simple. You figure out what people want to read. What they’d love to read from YOU. That’s the idea.

I always think of blogging as a man trying to seduce a woman, so to speak. And he’s talking and talking, and bragging, and you know, explaining stuff, and how much he can bench press and how much money he makes, and she’s constantly looking away, looking down, doing all sort of things to keep her distracted.

Why is that? Why do you think something like that happens?

Because he wasn’t paying attention to her. He wasn’t talking about what she wanted to be talking about.

Blogs usually fail not because their content is bad or they didn’t add enough backlinks or because it’s all a scam and it’s all about luck and no one cares or understands what they’re all about.

That guy would be having the time of his life talking about how much he can bench press and how much money he makes if only he talked about it with the right people. The kind of people who care about those sort of things.

Women love to talk about art, romance, social dynamics, they want to hear interesting stories, made to laugh.

Getting sidetracked there a bit.

Anyway. Blogs fail because their authors never stop to think what it is that their readers truly want to read about. Because the truth is that if you write about the stuff that matters to a lot of people, then your blog will grow. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing it “wrong” by most experts’ standards.

 

Listen to your readers. Ask them what is it that they’d like to read more about.

And if you don’t have any readers yet, don’t wait for them to come to you. Go after them. Network. But do it with a bit of grace and diplomacy.


 

I’d like to know what are some of the mistakes you’ve made and how you fixed them.

Also, I do want to know about some of the issues you’re having, and maybe I can help you fix them.

Lastly, if there’s any topic you’d like me to write about, do share that with me in the comments section below.

 

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82 thoughts on “9 Mistakes That Will Screw Up Your Blog

  1. after reading 1, I immediately checked my blog to see if it’s always about me me me me (oh damn, yeah) before I read the whole thing :D

    I’m writing SEO articles for clients but I don’t really use the techniques in my own blog Idk I hate the keyword structure.

    Definitely the #5 and #6. Guilty as charged.

    Still questioning myself about #9.

    This is very helpful. It made me reflect. Thanks for always posting quality content blogs :)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Vienna,
      Thank you for your comment. And compliment.
      I believe that consistently is key. In all areas of life. And that being consistent provides one with small progress each day.
      About #5: Don’t know. Pretend the Stats page is broken? Might work.
      Number 9 is tricky, I guess. I mean, if you were 100% certain that you are, in fact, writing your best content, then odds are you’ve grown complacent. There’s always room for improvement, so maybe the trick is to always feel as if you’re not writing your best content, but are actively working on doing that. Not sure if it makes sense.

      Like

    • It truly does. And I believe that most people overlook that, as if simply by having one of 21 million WordPress blogs is going to get them a lot of readers. And then they tend to get discouraged by the fact that no one actually knows they even exist.
      As if door to door salesmen just sit around waiting for people to come to them.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. A great article. After tearing down all my past blog sites I come to realise what you said is true. Again there some whom like to write in public about their life thinking that someone will read but not really interested in audience.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Some nice points there, Christian. 😊 Content is a really big one for personal fulfilment also, I’ve found. My latest blog is just a baby yet but, in its precious carnations, I’ve learnt that the more time and effort I put in to think up a creative approach, the happier I’ve come away from the post as a whole. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Victor, all you have to do is experiment. Figure out how you affect the audience.

      It’s not just about views, it’s also about allowing people enough time to read a post, share it, and thus bringing new readers to your blog.

      There’s a difference between getting more views because you post more often and increasing your readership as a result of doing that. Case in point, the metric is how many new followers you get whenever you publish a new post, not how many views you get.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for the post. I struggle a lot with the mistake of writing about my life, telling my stories, being all me-me-me. It is a difficult habit to shake off. I tend to think that I don’t know enough about the lives of other people or anything general enough to attract readers by posting about those things.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Eeva,

      I believe we all know something. There’s got to be something you’re passionate about. Truly passionate about. The readers will come. They are attracted to passion, to everything that is alive and makes them feel alive as well. That’s the idea, anyhow.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m guilty of some of these mistakes . . . Especially stat obsession. I asked advice from literally anyone and everyone, and that was a double fail. People said, ‘If you love writing then why aren’t you blogging for myself?’ If I was writing for myself I’d have been writing in my diary, you idiot (that’s what I screamed mentally).
    But somehow it turned out okay, and I didn’t completely butcher my blog. My followers were 18 for a year, then this feb I gained over a hundred!! : D Currently I have 200-something followers which isn’t that great but a hundred follows a month is progress.
    Great post! : )

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Shreya,

      Thank you for your compliment.

      I think this whole “writing for yourself” thing is a bit of a paradox in many ways. Yes, you should write for yourself, and it has to be about something that you’d still write even if no one read your words. Something you’re passionate about. At the same time though, you need to figure out the kinds of things within that topic that trigger people’s emotions and that they genuinely want to read about.

      I think that the idea is to always learn, to study as much as you can in terms of writing and blogging, and then experiment, change your approach, try out different things. See what works, what doesn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great points Christian – as usual from your posts.
    It is incredibly hard for humans to consider life from another’s perspective, so they end up talking about themselves. Which, as you rightly point out, almost no-one is interested in hearing about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, James.

      Unless your someone famous, I’d say it’s not worth writing about your life. At least the day to day aspects of it.

      At the same time, I do believe that we all have at least one genuinely inspiring story about ourselves. When we overcame certain impossible odds, when we fought against self-doubt and fear and won. Those can make for a great blog post.

      But most of the times, that’s not the case.

      Like

  7. Thank you for another great post full of useful advise, and you made me laugh so much !!😂 Perhaps the most important is to focus on what people like to read from me and engage with others, which I hardly find the time to do these days, but it is necessary. This is how it works on Instagram but there is easier and faster then reading a whole post.!! Have a lovely day!💖💖🌸😁

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As you pointed out, the one thing that matters the most is content and that’s where the challenge lies, to come up with interesting content at frequent intervals of time. The problem arises when either in order to be timely we compromise with the quality of the content or while waiting for a satisfactory idea we let the time gap widen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ekta,

      It does seem as a compromise, but the thing is that you have to be consistent, not post daily. You don’t even have to post every week.

      Some of the most popular bloggers post 2-3 times a month. But when they do, they over-deliver. They provide some of the best content available on the web.

      I do not believe in waiting for ideas. Or waiting, in general. You need to go out there and find the ideas you want. It takes a lot less time if you do that. And there are plenty of ideas to be found, if only you are willing to look for them.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m guilty of so many of these!! I’m constantly looking at my stats and up until a while ago I was too shy to comment on others’ blogs/tweets in fear of ‘sounding stupid’. Currently I have 63 followers and I’m over the moon if I get 20 views per post… Trying to make it grow but this seems a near impossible task (having a full-time day job and all).
    Thank you for sharing these – definitely going to fix my mistakes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, you shouldn’t be afraid to comment on other people’s blogs. They’ll probably appreciate the fact that you took the time to read and comment.

      About growing your blog. 63 followers in how much time? Do you properly tag your posts? That does make a huge difference, as it allows others to find your posts easily. Also, do you give proper care to your headlines and introductions? Those can have a big impact too.

      And, yes, I understand the lack of time while having a full-time job, but having the right strategy ensures that you can get more done in less time, which is 8 words for being more efficient.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been blogging for 7 months now. At first I was guilty of writing me-me-me (probably still do). In my recent posts I’ve tried (to the best of my knowledge) to tag properly, but the headlines and introductions needed a lot of work – hopefully I’m on the right track now!!

        Thank you for taking the time to respond – it is much appreciated!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Great advice! I’m new, not followed by many but still digging deep to continue to improve. I’ve found that connecting with others is key. I love your advice and the advice I’ve seen frequently to write for others. I am trying to learn to tailor my posts for others to enjoy, or feel reminded of a situation they too experienced. Anyway, thank you for reminding us to always strive to be better.

    Like

    • Hi,

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Connecting with others is extremely important. And, yes, always learning and striving to be better is an essential part of life, or should I say, truly staying alive.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Greatly helpful (is dt even grammatically correct? Well dts Hw I feelright abt nw). Learnt a lot. Thnx as always, Cristian.
    I’m guilty of #6 – Inconsistent but I’m working on it. And #9 kinda. For #6, I hv decided to follow d chat I made on the days I must write & on what. I hope it works.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I need help with getting past the 2 followers that I have, getting traffic and engagement. I’m a month old, I know it won’t happen overnight but I could use your input. I’m only able to put out weekly posts because life can be quite unpredictable when you’re in the military and I’m a student too, so what tips can you give me. I’d appreciate it so much if you’d pop into my home before giving your advice. What is it that I can improve on. Thank you in advance.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Nat,

      I understand the time constraints, and a post a week is great if you can do that. Pick a day and an hours each week when you know FOR SURE you can post. Well, the idea would be to write your post well in advance, but the thing is you must post your weekly post at the same hour at the same day.

      I’d also like to you to truly ask yourself what is it that sets your soul on fire. This is just about your right now. Not the mundane, the day to day stuff. The big stuff. What is it? Your greatest passion?

      Then try to spin it around in a way that readers want to read it. And the best way to make them want to read your content, is to make them feel. So ask yourself: what is it that you want to make them feel? Every time you write your posts, you first think about the emotions you want them to experience. And you write your posts accordingly.

      Readers are constantly asking themselves “What’s in it for me?” This means that you need to hint in your titles what’s in it for them. Make them sound enticing. Also, you could do with writing introductions to your posts that set up the mood and… For instance your post, The Beauty of Life, is so abrupt, the way it starts.

      So titles and introductions. Extremely important.

      Now, I’d like you to do two things more than anything: write as much as you can, no matter what it is, on what it is, where you can do so. The second thing: read anything you can on tips and advice on blogging, on how to write a blog, and how to grow your audience. I am not telling you to this second part because I am lazy, but because there’s a lot of content. You can find some advice on my blog, you can find a lot more on the web. The idea is for you to read and study and then figure out for yourself, according to what you believe and what your own expectations and desires are, what works and what doesn’t.

      Lastly, experiment, have fun. Try different ways of expressing yourself. Use your imagination. Try to be funny about the most terrible topic imaginable, and vice versa. See how much the graphics that you use influence the way your blog looks and all that.

      Lastly, read other people’s blog, comment on them, make friends with other bloggers, ask them for advice and whatnot. See what they’re doing, how they present their ideas, how they start and end their posts, and what kind of engagement they have: yes, you should both read the highly successful blogs, but also the ones who are not so successful, and compare them to see what are the differences.

      I hope this helps!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Wow Cris, thank you so much for taking the time. I will definitely use your advice. Now I know I have an assignment to find my greatest passion and take it from there. Thank you once more.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on blogging. I started my blog a little less than two months and my first 19 posts had no engagement or whatsoever, I am not quite sure why but in my last three posts I changed my strategy and is getting better read and engagement. I utilize my Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram.

    My problem now is I haven’t really networked with other bloggers! I need to start doing that now.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Undoubtedly it’s one of the wonderful blog for everyone to start up blogging.
    I’m also a beginner. Still, I have only 7 followers(In 2 months) and 8-10 views/post. I want to know from you that,….
    How could I know that what type of content people want from me ?..
    I receive comments just from my blogger friends. Any other blogger is not commenting on my posts….So how could I know that what type of content should I post ?

    Like

  15. Thanks for such an informative post. I agree with most of your headlines, but number one bugs me, only because I think there are exceptions to that rule (like almost everything in life!)
    Having a gratitude blog, I can’t avoid writing about my life experiences as I search for daily gratitude, so in this regard this is unavoidable in my blogging task!
    Yes, people may not like to read about the minor details of a stranger’s every day, but if they are trying to practice gratitude, reading about someone else trying to live it, and how they find it, may help. My two cents, anyway :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for being a fan. And for the compliment. And commenting. And reading. Thank you.

      Well, that’s a tricky question. What does inspire someone? Everything. Anything. It could be a phrase from a book, a quote found on the web, or maybe some lyrics. Something from a movie. Don’t know. When it comes to posts about blogging, I just think of the most serious issues, and then write about them. I come up with a list of reasons why something happens or doesn’t happen, and we are particularly good at making lists.

      Other than that… I do read a lot of stuff. Try to absorb as much information as possible, in all three mediums, meaning that every day I read something, I listen to audio, and I watch a seminar or a TED talk or something like that. It engages my brain, so I stay active.

      I read somewhere that for every hour of writing you must spend ten hours of thinking about what to write. Don’t know if that is the precise ratio in my case, but I do spend a lot of time thinking about topics, ideas, and all that.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. This is really true. It’s easy to make these mistakes especially to subconsciously be waiting for one of your posts to go viral. I’m definitely going to keep coming back to this to make sure i don’t make these mistakes. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Great article. I’ve been checking out all your articles on successful blogging and I guess I’m feeling incompetent, like I want to crawl into a hole and hide from the internet cause I have no idea what I’m doing.

    Like

    • Hi Eoin,

      Glad to have you here. Thank you for subscribing. And for your comment.

      I’d say that one post per day is being extremely productive. You can do more than that, but only if you have a large readership.

      How does that make sense? Well, you’re not allowing enough time to build social proof around your posts – that is to let other people like and comment and share. Thus, it discourages people to comment as they never seen anyone doing so.

      If you have a large readership, you usually receive comments within minutes of posting new content. That’s how it usually goes. So you can get away with posting more often.

      A simple answer, it’s once a day. The more complicated one is as often as it takes to build some social proof around each post – to build up a few comments on your most recent post. If you have the kind of following that comments a lot very fast, you could probably do 2-3 blogs per day, but then there are other things to consider, such as not having the time and energy to write that much in any given day.

      Like

  18. Hey Cristian,

    This is a fantastic – educational yet funny post!

    My first blogging mistake (that I know of) was a total lack of consistency… I started blogging a while ago, but was completely inconsistent and unpredictable until sometime last year… Another one – I’d post and run. Yep, I used to do that :( but then I discovered the amazing content by other super-talented bloggers. That’s changed my blogging experience, and helped with numbers a little though that’s still work in progress… :)

    Liked by 1 person

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