I’ve been running some form of this course for over three years now. In that time, this program has helped over 1,500 bloggers step up their game and improve their blog. After scrolling through the Facebook group, I wanted to address some common mistakes I see bloggers — new and old — make. These are more “soft skills” than anything else. They relate to being an entrepreneur and personality more than knowing how to install a plugin.
When I see these mistakes, I see myself nine years ago. I’ve committed every one of these mistakes. Sometimes I still do, so I know how hard they can be to fix.
1. Trying to build Rome in a day – Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. So many bloggers in the course rush through the content, thinking they already know everything. They don’t bother to take the time to really learn each aspect of the business. When I started, I felt like I knew it all and I wanted to get to the good stuff: traffic and money. But you can’t get there until you know the basics, and everything is built on that foundation. If you want to get the most out of this course, you need to take the time to learn everything thoroughly – how your blog works, how to write solid content, the marketing and social media, etc. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
2. Poor time management – Regardless of whether you’re a full-time or part-time blogger, your time is your most valuable resource — and it needs to be spent wisely! Embrace time-management strategies and take advantage of helpful apps to maximize your efficiency and effectiveness. (If you’re in the Business of Blogging course, check out our recent webinar on time management to get an idea on how to better manage your time!)
3. Tackling more than one objective at once – There is absolutely no way to do everything all at once, so stop trying! Developing a blog is something that takes patience and concentration. You need to focus your energy on each step of the way instead of everything all at once. To get the most out of your time you need to be specific with your goals and objectives. What do you need to focus on first? And after that? I know we all want it done right away, but when you try to rush, juggling everything at once, you burn out. You’ll lose your passion for this and you just give up. That’s why a lot of blogs fail. So don’t do that. Focus on one task at a time. The devil is in the details!
4. Being unoriginal – With so many travel blogs out there, there is a lot of the same material being repeated, so a lot of that content is no longer new or interesting. If you want to succeed in the current market, you need to find a niche and create new, interesting, and valuable content. That doesn’t mean inventing a whole new kind of wheel; sometimes that just means making a better wheel. Want to write about what to do in Paris? Google that phrase and look at the top search results. What is included there? What can you add to that to make it even better? More content? Charts? Graphics? These small things help you differentiate yourself.
5. Not branching out of the travel sphere – If you only share your content with those in the travel industry, your reach will be severely limited. Expand your audience by stepping out of the travel sphere. Go to non-travel conferences and seek out guest posts on non-travel blogs or podcasts. Part of the reason I have succeeded is because I always go to non-travel conferences and outlets — to make myself their travel guy. I want them to know me, so that when they need a travel expert, they think of me. Stepping outside the bubble is hugely important to your growth!
6. Creating bland writing – There are so many blogs out there with lackluster writing. Posts with grammatical errors that lack style and clarity are all too common. Make sure to always be honing your craft. Read about writing, edit your posts thoroughly, and have someone proofread your material. If necessary, hire an editor. Do this, and you’ll be miles above your competition.
7. Not adding value – “Today I did this. Tomorrow we are off to do that.” Blogs that serve as glorified journals are way too common. To paraphrase Bill Bryson, nobody cares! If you want to make it as a professional blogger you need to add value to your content. Otherwise, why should people read it? This means you only do you need to be original (as I mentioned in point #4) but you need to make sure readers have a reason to come back. Make sure your blog adds value to their lives, whether that is by providing useful information, engaging content, or great photography and videos. If your blog doesn’t give value, it won’t be able to attract an audience.
In the beginning, we all end up making some or all of these mistakes — I know I did! The key is to transition into more helpful behaviors by recognizing that they are harmful to your blog’s development. If you can avoid making these mistakes as you progress, your blog will be on solid ground!