034: Mistakes Bloggers Make- 5 Ways to Avoid Common Pitfalls

I love blogs! I follow a lot of them. My inbox is filled each morning with posts from some of my favorite bloggers: Michael Hyatt, Ray Edwards, Cliff Ravenscraft, Pat Flynn and the list goes on. Because my day is typically busy, I can’t afford to read bad blogs. I’ll pass them by, and I bet you do as well.

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In today’s episode, I want to walk you through mistakes most bloggers make and how to stand out from the crowded blogosphere. I also have a great tip of the week to help you take your blogging to the next level.

Inside today’s episode:

1. Make your headlines pop. Our goal as bloggers is to attract readers. This is why we write to begin with. If you’re blogging as a journal and don’t care if people read, stop listening now. But if you care who your readers are, you need headlines that will cause people to take a peak at your blog.

Boring and vague headlines will make people pass you over and move on. Think of a newspaper. If the front page doesn’t grab your attention, you skip that week’s issue. The same is true in blogging. Take more time to craft a great headline–the stronger the emotion, the greater chance of people clicking into your page–and make it pop!

I use an online app to help me know if my headline is strong or weak. Try using CoSchedule’s free headline analyzer

2. Make your posts scannable. I cannot tell you how many blogs I’ve read that go on and on and on and on. It’s kind of ridiculous. People don’t care how much you write or know. In-fact, the shorter the post, the more chance you have of returning guests.

Just as your headline is important, make your content scannable. Make the content easy to find. I personally love lists. They make it more interesting. Use short paragraphs, lists and bullet points. Because if your prose is thick and heavy handed, people won’t stick around to read.

  • Make lists by using bullets/numbers.
  • Use headlines.
  • Keep paragraphs short.
  • Keep sentences short.

3. Be seriously consistent. The question you must answer is this; are you a hobby blogger or a serious blogger? Are you someone who wants to be noticed in a noisy world? If your answer is ’yes’ then you must become consistent.

The goal is to make people come back to your site. But if they don’t know when you’re going to be posting next, they won’t return. What if you can’t be consistent?

  • Make a date with your computer each night before going to bed.
  • Use your day off to do some writing, then schedule your post.
  • Write during your lunch break using Evernote on your phone, tablet or computer.

Follow this advice and you’ll be a content creating machine in no time.

4. Use strong images. There are so many bloggers who don’t know that they should be using imagery to convey their message. I liken blogging to magazines or newspapers. They are pretty boring if images are missing.

You know the saying, ’an image is like a thousand words’. It’s even more important in blogging. Readers are naturally drawn to imagery. Don’t choose just any image, choose one that strikes emotion from what you’ve written.

I personally have used three different sources:

  • Getty Images. They allow you to use their images for free – just grab the code and past it into your post. Note: The image must remain on Getty Images’ site and may not be used for commercial purposes.
  • Flickr. Images are free to use, just search for Creative Commons right to use and for commercial use.
  • My favorite, iStock Photo. The pricing is inexpensive and often you can use 1-credit per image.

5. Know who your audience is. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing we should know who we’re writing for. Think of your perfect avatar. Who is that person and what do they want?

Find out who’s reading your posts. Who’s commenting? Who’s sharing? Write for these people. When you know who your target audience is, the easier it is to write compelling material for them to digest. If you haven’t yet, conduct a reader survey. I use Survey Monkey

Let’s Talk About It?

Each week, I ask one question to get us to think about the topic. Take some time, share your thoughts.

Question: Which point resonated with you? Share your thoughts below on Facebook or Twitter.

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