Congratulations on starting a blog! I bet you want your blog to be successful. I’ve made all these mistakes in the beginning and I’m sharing what I learned so that you don’t make the same ones. Learn the 9 blogging mistakes to avoid when starting your site.
1. Using the Free Domain Name
Blogging can be a fun little hobby, a great side hustle, or a profitable small business. If you are hoping to monetize your blog (and be taken seriously) you’ll want to upgrade and pay for a registered domain name. Keeping the free sub-domain comes across as unpolished, especially if you hope to make a little money.
Domain Names are the address you type in your browser to get to a site. For example, it’s a lot easier to remember geekgirlslife.com (paid name) vs. geekgirlslifecom.wpcomstaging.com (free name).
I highly recommend using WordPress to set up your blog and domain. It’s very easy for new users and the reps are very helpful if you get stuck.
Generally, the free domain or sub-domain are limited in what you can control. You may not be able to monetize or chose the advertising platforms, which will cost you money in the long run. My advice is to spend a few dollars and register your domain, and if you can go for a .com (or .org if warranted) for more credibility.
2. Sloppy Themes
Picking a user-friendly theme goes a long way. Yes, you can pick one with graphics and a dark background and purple font but readers don’t want to read an old school Angelfire type blog, it looks unprofessional. Of course, you can have a fun and creative site without it looking messy.
Readers prefer white or light backgrounds with dark letters, why, because it’s easy to read. We’ll talk more about being creative without losing your edge below.
3. Hard to Read Fonts
Have you ever been on a site and it had fancy cursive writing in a small font? What did you do? Probably jumped ship immediately because it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing to your eye.
Reading and learning about your blog analytics will help you avoid blogging mistakes. 70% of my readers view my blog on their cell phone, so picking a swirly or comical font doesn’t translate well to phone readers. Let’s face it, it doesn’t look that great on a laptop screen either.
Stick to a black font on a light background if you are just starting your blog. Make sure the font isn’t too small either. I wouldn’t go any smaller than 12 points. Keep in mind the goal is to get readers to stay on your blog longer, it’s great for SEO. You’ll want to make readability as high as possible to keep readers engaged.
4. Dull Writing
Writing should be fun! Your blog should tell a story your readers want to read, after all, that’s who you are blogging for. If you want your readers to have a good time and be informed, check your tone. If you lack confidence on how to spice up your writing style, I highly recommend using Grammarly. You can set your writing goals to the type of tone you want the piece to have and Grammarly makes brilliant suggestions along the way.
Technical and Medical blogs are kind of exempt from this rule. But engagement with compelling posts also goes a long way.
5. Not Editing
Draft a blog post, work on it, and then give it time to breathe. Revisit and edit your work again. It’s my least favorite part of blogging, but it’s crucial your work isn’t filled with typos.
Again, I can’t recommend Grammarly enough in order to avoid blogging mistakes for your new posts.
As a wise blogger once said, if you blog drunk, edit sober.
Are you going to publish mistakes by accident? Absolutely, when you catch a typo edit the post and update it. If you make a major mistake, add a section stating you corrected the error. Fix it and keep it moving.
6. Not Giving Credit
If you researched with a page or got your information and idea from another source, give them credit somewhere in your piece. Linking back to those sites is beneficial to your SEO. The biggest rule to follow—never plagiarize. It wasn’t cool in school and it isn’t cool online.
7. Adding too Much Color
Like we talked about in the Font section, white background with black fonts are the gold standard for good reason, it’s easy to read. It’s outdated to have dark or colorful backgrounds, bright color fonts, it looks awful and kind of tacky if you don’t do it right. You may love it, but you’ll be turning a lot of readers away because it looks like a child did it.
Are there exceptions to this rule? Absolutely. If you are new to blogging you need to work on the basics before you learn to go against the grain. There are some wonderful and artistic websites with black backgrounds. If you aren’t confident on how to do it professionally, then don’t do it.
That doesn’t mean you can’t add a little pizzazz (do people still say that?). Use a little color in your photos, links, sidebars in menus. Check out professional themes on WordPress that do all the hard work for you.
8. Following High School Writing Rules
Blog writing isn’t your AP English class. Long paragraphs are a huge deterrent for new readers. Maybe you were taught to start a new paragraph when you switch topics, in Blogland it’s a little different. Short choppy paragraphs are preferred to online readers.
Using headers to break up a long post help the reader’s eye flow through your post without getting overwhelmed. Listicles are popular because it gives the reader the answers to the questions without a lot of lengthy reading.
My biggest pet peeve is looking up a recipe only to have to scroll through paragraph after paragraph about how their great aunt’s husband’s stepdaughter passed this down to the poster.
No one really cares about fluff any more.
Sure, the writer did this to keep readers on the page longer, which help SEO, but I for one head back to google to look for a better site.
9. Quitting too Soon
Writing a few posts and quitting because a post hasn’t gone viral is a little hasty. Yet it happens every day. Search Engines reward you for sticking with it. I’ll be honest it took me 7 months of blog writing to get proper recognition for my blogs on search engines. Giving up before you get started is definitely the biggest of blogging mistakes.
There’s an algorithm where a lot of things go into play for search engines and time is one of them. The better I got with structure, SEO, and marketing the more Google picked up my site, so don’t give up. When I started, I had no clue what I was doing, but I researched and learned best practices and my readership goes up every month.
Don’t give up, it takes a lot of grassroots promoting and hard work to grow your readers. To be cliché for a moment it really is a marathon and not a quick sprint.
The most successful bloggers and entrepreneurs failed a lot in the beginning. You have to fail in order to succeed. Great content, hard work, and dedication go a long way. If you gave it time and things aren’t working, course correct and make it work the next.
Do you have any tips to avoid blogging mistakes? Let us know in the comments or follow us on social media to discuss.
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Thanks for these tips! Sometimes its easy to get discouraged when we don’t get the traffic we want. Thanks for the reminder that consistency is key!
Very great tips for a new bloggers. I found it very helpful. Thanks for sharing them!
These are great tips for new bloggers! I agree about quitting too soon. It’s worth it to stick with it!
Long paragraphs and sentences are definitely a no-no, and that’s been hard for me. I continually have to go back and edit to make them shorter. I also have to edit for passive voice. Writing for readability is very different than writing for an academic audience.
Great tips, especially the one about quitting too early!
I’ve been blogging for about 2 years but I’ve just started taking it more seriously! I love these 9 tips! Thank you 🙂
So much great advice here! I pinned this for future reference. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!
Thank you, glad you enjoyed!
These are great tips. I struggled with the short choppy paragraphs. During my undergrad, I wrote papers so often. Blog writing is so different and it definitely did not come naturally to me!
Here’s another mistake: focusing on perfection. Also, making comparisons. Both of those things have definitely hurt me more than they’ve helped as a new blogger. Great tips!
Very good point Rebecca. I did a lot of that in the beginning