I've been blogging for quite a while now, both for my own blogs, (personal and business), as well as here at Search Engine Watch.
In the past few years, I've made a lot of mistakes blogging, and I've seen others make a lot of mistakes. As we all know, we can learn from mistakes!
Here are some lessons we can learn from some common mistakes many bloggers have made, and are still making today.
A Post Isn't Just for the Home Page
A common mistake many bloggers make is that they think only in terms of the home page. On group blogs, some contributing bloggers will complain that their blog post was "only on top for a few hours." Yes, the top position will get you the most traffic, but only within the first few hours.
But a blog post doesn't vanish once it leaves the home page! The blog post lives on!
A blog post can very well be part of the long tail. Once its gone from the home page you can get a lot of attention for a specific post.
Of course, there is the way we all specialize in: making it visible in search engines. But there's more.
It isn't a crime, for example, to promote older blog posts, especially when the topic all of a sudden is "hot" again. Tweet out older posts, connect them to current news events, and if you do it right you can even get them to show up in Google News (again) when a related topic is in the news by using 301 redirects.
The crux is to keep the post "alive." Use the different methods (social media, search, and links within the website) to bring older posts back into the attention.
Blogging Should be Fun
Once a blog starts getting visitors a strange thing happens. The blog owners start believing they have to write content to keep the visitors coming. That usually turns out in a lot of posts about nothing. The fun of blogging disappears, and so will the visitors.
Once you start writing because you have to write and the fun is gone, the quality of your posts will drop. Readers will notice.
We all know that people want posts they can relate to and that quality matters. It's better to write a little bit less than write crappy content.
Don't Think Your Readers are Stupid
You're probably the most knowledgeable person in your industry, right? Nobody knows better than you how to get things done and how to be successful?
No? You're not? So why are you acting as if you are?
Many bloggers make the mistake of claiming too much fame without having earned that fame. That is very dangerous. There is always someone who knows more than you.
Thinking you know it all means that one person who knows more is going to find you and will most probably take you down. Which means you will lose your credibility. And once you've lost that, no matter what you write, people will no longer trust your writings.
Make sure you're always open for comments, tips, changes, and for those who know a (even if its only a little bit) more than you.
Your Readers Don't Know it All!
What? Wait, didn't I just say you don't know it all and that you shouldn't shout out to loud that your way is the only way because your readers might know more on a topic than you do? Yes I did. But that doesn't mean you should think your readers know it all.
Yes, there are some very knowledgeable readers among your visitors, I'm sure. Just like you're a very knowledgeable reader of Search Engine Watch.
But many of them might also need some extra help in some matters. If you start throwing around only advanced terms, your audience will become very small. If that's your goal, getting only the attention of the very advanced, that's OK, but you probably want a bit more than that. Make sure you explain some elements and don't use too much advanced language.
What the Others do Isn't Always Right
Finally, you've probably noticed the amount of copycats on the web. Do a search for a simple phrase in your niche and you'll probably find a lot of similar sites. Even the "big ones" in the tech industry (e.g., TechCrunch, Mashable) and the different leading sites in different countries look the same.
One the one hand, that's good. Take the best from the best and put it on your blog makes sure people will feel right at home and some things actually work because the big ones have tested them out.
But be careful: not everything the others do is right. Sometimes you see other sites do things you might like, but which might not be that nice for the readers of your blog.
Don't copy the bad things. It's like when you were in high school: if you didn't study, you had to be careful copying from your neighbors, because they might be writing down the wrong answers!
Another danger of copying what others do is that you don't stand out. If there are 10 sites people can pick from in the SERPs, they'll either pick out the ones they know or the ones that stand out.
Conclusion: Think From a User Perspective
These are just a few mistake some bloggers make. Be careful you don't make the same mistakes.
But also, you can look at this post in a different way. Even I'm not always right, so some things might work out for you anyway.
Regardless, always ask yourself one question every time you change something on your blog: does this benefit my readers?
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