It can happen, you know.
One day, you become enthralled with a new idea for a post, so you whip it up and publish it to your blog, sure it’s going to get people buzzing all around the blogosphere.
But that’s not what happens. Instead, your world explodes in an inferno of criticism.
Angry comments. Hate email. Losing hundreds of friends on Facebook or Twitter.
Or even worse?
People just write you off. They see your post and think, “This person is an idiot,” and they resolve to ignore anything you say until the day you die.
Of course, that’ll never happen to you, right?
Well, you might be surprised. Here are 12 warning signs to watch for, just to make sure you never get blindsided:
1. Holding back the good stuff
Ever feel like some of your ideas are just too valuable to give away for free on your blog? You’d rather package them up into an e-book or audio course and transform them into your flagship product.
If you don’t offer real value from the get go, no one will ever talk about your blog, and it’ll never grow. You’ll be holding onto those ideas forever.
The better approach?
Pretend like everyone is paying you to write, and make every blog post worth at least $100. Make it so astonishingly valuable they can’t help but talk about it.
And then think up something else to sell later.
2. All you’re thinking about is making money
Just as the predator cartoon character visualizes its cute, furry prey as a piece of steak, you see your reader as a source of money.
Your blog is nothing more than an ongoing pitch fest. You want to sell your “great” content, not give it away for free. And you’re constantly pitching your latest e-course or e-book.
Not a good idea! Here’s why:
Selling anything, online or offline, is about trust. If all you’re doing is pitching stuff, people won’t trust you, and they’ll write you off as just another sleazy Internet marketer.
First offer advice, insight and solutions. Make a difference. Entertain.
People will want to buy from you later, without you having to do much selling.
3. Making empty promises
Is your blog post promising to help the reader make an extra $5,000? Lose 50 pounds? Reignite the passion with their spouse?
Well, you better back it up. Not just with a story and a few platitudes, but a real step-by-step guide to making it happen.
During the early days of the Internet you might have gotten away with starting a blog that only provides cotton candy content. Now though, people expect real meat and potatoes.
So, be careful of what you promise. If you make a big promise, back it up with advice people can take action on immediately.
Otherwise, people will just unsubscribe from your blog. They might even stop by your comments section and leave you a few choice words.
4. Not being worthy of the crowd
Imagine you’re about to deliver your next post in person to a packed conference hall of 5,000 people.
You wait nervously behind the massive, heavy curtains with the stage manager whispering last-minute instructions in your ear. Your palms are sweaty, your heart is pounding and your mouth is dry.
Your name is announced and you step out from the curtains, like a scared rabbit, into the bright lights to rousing music and deafening applause.
The crowd falls silent as you stand behind the microphone, center-stage.
Everyone’s watching you. Expectant.
If this was your arena — if you were no longer invisible — how much more effort would you put in? How much harder would you prepare, research, write and edit your posts? What would you do to craft the sentence structure, punctuation and pauses to get the right tone, flow, rhythm and emotion?
That’s what you should be doing now with every post you write. Then you’ll get the results you so desperately crave.
5. Being bored
If you’re bored with your writing, your audience will be bored by it too.
If you no longer feel passionate and excited about your topic, you might be running low on creative energy. And the only way to fix that is to allow that energy to recharge.
You have to take a break.
Yes, I know you want to get to the finish line early. But you need to take a break to get excited again. Otherwise your readers will sense your boredom, and be bored too.
And we can’t be having that now, can we?
6. Waffling on and on and on and on…
Why say something in 10 words when you can impress with 50?
You love the sound of your own voice and so you end up repeating yourself by saying pretty much the same thing, over and over, but in a slightly different way. You add unnecessary details into your writing.
You lose focus and don’t take enough time, care and attention to really trim your writing down to the essential message.
Be economical. Trim the fat. Make your writing lean and use power words.
7. The Ego has landed
Don’t fall into the trap of making your posts all about you.
I hate to break it to you, but it’s not about you at all.
Your readers aren’t interested in you! They’re interested in helpful, timely advice, innovative solutions and entertaining stories… with some extra inspiration and motivation for good measure.
Your blog doesn’t exist so you can share pointless, personal stories about your cat.
You had pasta for dinner? Who cares?
You’ve had a migraine all week and your partner/kid/mom is driving you crazy. Whatever…
If your story doesn’t have a point directly related to the message you are trying to deliver, please save us the detail.
Cater to your readers, or you won’t have any.
Work hard to understand them. Know them. Know what keeps them awake at night. Now go and write for them…
8. Not infusing your personality into the content
There’s a flip side to the advice in the previous point…
You can’t remove all of your personality from your posts, or it will be bland. It still needs some relevant stories, funny remarks, and other personal touches.
So, sprinkle it in. Talk about what your audience is interested in, but do it your way.
Yes, there’s a fine balance, since it can’t be all about you, but don’t disappear completely. You can share your stories and experiences while still focusing thoroughly on your readers’ needs.
The biggest sin on the Internet is to be boring. Don’t be guilty of this, or you’ll soon be forgotten!
9. Preaching from the pulpit
You’re clever right?
Maybe using complicated sentence structure and generally showing off your God-given writing talents makes you feel fabulously important and superior? You pompously deliver your 10 Commandments from on High to your lowly, unworthy followers.
Err… How can I put this…?
People hate that!
If you want your audience to like and trust you, you need to understand that you are the servant, not the master. Write with a little humility, and people will love you for it.
10. So you think you’re funny, eh?
Yep, and everyone needs to know about it!
But chances are your readers have a different sense of humor to yours. Or maybe they’re in a serious mood today… Maybe they’re even a little worried or anxious.
It takes a great writer to express sarcasm and wit. If you try too hard, you might just come across as insensitive or downright rude.
If you’re unsure, don’t use humor.
11. Ignoring the Opposite Sex
Are you speaking to both sexes?
My name’s Chris. Could be a guy. Could be a gal. Can you tell?
If you’re a guy, you might be coming across as a red-blooded, burger-eating, beer-swilling blogger.
Or you’re a gal and, when you write, boy do you love talking about your incredible multi-tasking skills, your darling, but time-consuming kids and your oh-so-busy-and-hardly-ever-there husband…
Chances are you’re alienating half your audience.
Be sure to accommodate all of your audience. Include, don’t exclude.
12. Getting defensive
You publish your latest post, and then it happens…
Some fool dares add her own thoughts and advice. And she doesn’t agree with what you wrote.
This makes you feel inadequate. You think…
“How dare she show me up in public?”
So you respond:
“Thanks for your great comments Sam. You clearly have a great point here, BUT…”
In reclaiming the high ground, you’ve you’ve made Sam feel silly. Even worse, now the rest of your audience is feeling sorry for her and looking at you like you’re a great, big meanie.
The better approach?
Before you write the word ‘but’… stop.
Be accommodating. Replace ‘but’ with ‘and’.
Or start a new sentence and add to their comments just as they added to your ideas.
Yes defend your thoughts and ideas, but don’t be rude and try scoring points. And don’t be so sensitive! Everyone’s entitled to an opinion.
When your readers offer help and advice, thank and encourage them.
This interaction will breathe new life and energy into your blog. And those watching will feel comfortable to come out of the shadows and make a contribution of their own.
Your great post now becomes even more memorable.
So… how do you plead?
And it’s best to be honest here.
If you’ve made a few of these mistakes, take responsibility. All is not lost.
Do you realize the beauty of the opportunity right in front of you? You can make the decision to start doing things differently, right here and now.
You have the opportunity to stop being mediocre.
You have the opportunity to finally build a successful blog.
You have the opportunity to turn your blog into a prolific online business that frees you from your day job, and allows you to work wherever you want, whenever you want, on your own terms.
But you have to want it bad enough… And too few bloggers do.
You have to be truly sick and tired of being mediocre!
Are you going to be just another half-asleep post reader today, or are you ready to commit to a brighter, bigger future? Are you ready to do what’s necessary to become truly independent?
Easy choice, right?
Start doing things differently today. Start approaching your blog and your audience as if the stakes are enormously high.
Because they are! And it’s your future that’s on the line here…
134 thoughts on “12 Blogging Mistakes That Make You Look like a World-Class Idiot”
Good afternoon, Chris.
I’ve probably been guilty of most of them at some time or another – especially the humour one. I’ve been told that the way I think is ‘odd’, so maybe my humour is too. But I’m working on it!
And I am sooo wanting a successful blog that does the job it’s supposed to do – get bums in beds in my chalet – pronto.
So I’m off to work on my humour, writing style, sexism, ego……
I´ve just send this post directly to my kindle collection of posts worth 100$!
It´s not easy to deliver real value and stand out from the crowd (in fact, I´ve been awake for a few nights thinking about it) but these are the kinds of advice that make a difference.
By the way, the tip of imagining yourself in front of 5.000 people is superb!
I’m pleased you found the advice useful.
Chances are you’re not the only one kept awake at night thinking about giving value and standing out from the crowd. But the fact that you are is a good sign. It shows you care. A suggestion would be to think about what’s keeping the readers of your blog awake at night and how you can help them.
You have a great point but, . . .
I have committed a few of these. Thanks for the reminder and the advice.
That’s funny – I was just going to mention the same point that Tomas did and I hadn’t read his yet. The image of being in front of 5000 people made me also want to be sure I am writing great stuff. I spend a LOT of time on my talks when I am speaking in public – need to do the same for my posts. Thanks, Chris.
We have heard this advice previously but you have put it together in one concise post. Writing such a post takes skill, time, research and thoughtfulness. You have demonstrated those attributes. Thanks!
Great stuff, Chris.
Especially the last point about getting defensive. It just reminds me of how big of an impact a single word can have.
When writing, don’t just think of yourself, but also the impact you have on others and the consequences.
Same with me Henri, I enjoy the last point about getting defensive. And would really learn to replace “but” with ‘and’.
Great tips you have here in your blog Chris.
@Mark – very, very funny! The word ‘But’ is the eraser to the compliment.
@Amy – Yes use it! I spoke at a conference in front of those 5000 people. My 10 minute presentation took hours of preparation to get it right. And I was absolutely terrified! I now see it’s a good thing to take that terror and vulnerability into my writing to help me give my best. Feel those nerves Amy!
@Jeanette – Thank you for your kind words and it’s my pleasure!
@Henri – so true. You hit the nail on the head. Every word is important. When we speak we use body language and intonation to get the tone and meaning across. With the written word we have to be so much more careful. And yes completely forget about ourselves.
I really enjoyed this and have definitely been guilty at times of #11. I’ll pay more attention to Mary, Louise and Jane next time. (Funny enough, I thought you were a guy at first until I saw your picture)
I hope you take this in the right light but when this email came in from Jon Morrow, I read it without looking at the author and thought he had written it. Since we both know how good a writer Jon is I mean that only as a high compliment to you. This was really well written, kept my attention, made all good points and trimmed all the fat for a meaty, nutritious and tasty post. Bravo!
Hi Mark. Wow praise indeed, thank you so much! Having read your work I know how well you’ve learnt from Jon!
Good to know you’ll think of us ladies when you’re writing! It’s a great lesson for me as, although my blog can help men too, it’s focused on women so when I write guest posts I have to work hard to remember the males in the audience.
You seem to be a well-kept secret from me and my machine – just tried to locate your blog, with no joy!!
Please direct me.
Hello Chris, I enjoyed reading this, and to be honest I’m probably guilty of all the above mistakes! 🙂 We live and learn!!!
Pssst Sean – just between you and me, I wasn’t only guilty of some of these myself (that’s why I was able to write this!) but there were another four mistakes in my list. They were so repetitive and worthless that I had to take out my editing scalpel! So Amen to living and learning 🙂
Hey Chris! I have to piggy-back on what Mark H said….at first I thought Jon wrote this post. Meant as a HUGE compliment to you because Jon is such a prolific writer! Kudos and well done!
I really enjoyed #8 due to a terrific copywriting course I recently took that really focused on how to use YOUR VOICE properly. Hands down the best advice I ever received.
And as others have already commented – I want to add that I loved the analogy of preparing for a speech in front of a group of 5,000 – fantabulous advice that I need to remember more often (as in with each and every one of my posts!).
Thanks again for sharing this list with us – I just signed up for your E-course!
Look forward to interacting with you again,
Wow thank you Lisa and I look forward to hearing from you on my blog and helping you in the E-course!
Yes get those nerves jangling, it really helps.
I’m pretty sure I’ve struggled with most, if not all of these!
Thanks for the reminder of the obvious!
Agreed Patricia – sometimes we overlook the obvious and it’s good to get back to basics 🙂
Good afternoon Linda and I’m pleased it’s given you some food for thought.
I see you’re in the UK? I honestly feel that us Brits have a lot to learn from the Americans in terms of blogging so I follow a lot of popular U.S. blogs to learn and improve.
Good luck with filling those beds!
Too true about the Brits not having much idea about blogging – my other business involves trying to get small businesses to use blogging to promote their wares. Many of them don’t seem to know how to switch on the computer, let alone go technical and use it! (oh, there I go again, me and my sense of humour…)
We will champion the cause – onwards McDuff!
I think companies in the UK are now catching on to the fact that blogging and social media is crucial to their company.
And yes onwards. And upwards.
Great post, especially point #11. My blogmate and I are both mothers and wives, so while we shoot for a well-rounded blog with a little something for everyone, I know we’re often Y-chromosome deficient. 🙂
We will certainly keep this as a reference!
‘Y-chromosome deficient’. Thanks, I’m pinching that expression Lynn!
It’s all yours! LOL 🙂
All very good points.
I might add that as a reader of blogs, I also find it annoying to see each sentence or two formatted into a separate paragraph. It’s the constant scrolling that will often move me away from a post before finishing if the subjects aren’t compelling.
Thanks for your comment Connie. I think it’s a question of getting the balance. When I read blog posts now, if I see a ‘wall’ of text with very little white space I click away as it seems like hard work to read.
And, as you say, no matter how fabulous the presentation is the content needs to be compelling.
Yeah, it takes some getting used to. When I was in school, a “normal” paragraph was five sentences or more.
Nowadays though, it’s changing, partly because writing is more informal, but also partly because of science. Research has shown short paragraphs are better at getting people to read to the end. It looks like less work.
So, it might feel a little funny, but as bloggers we need every technique we can to get readers to finish the post. Short sentences is an important one.
Chris, EXCELLENT post! I tread a fine line constantly. And yes, you are right. If you get bored, take a break. The net isn’t going anywhere.
And Jon, I have you to thank for the “formula” of re-introducing the value of white space. Large blocks of text are a huge turn off for so many readers.
I’ll be starting my first blog in the coming weeks, so this is right on time.. thanks.
Hi Mardy – wonderful to hear that this will help you. Drop me an email when your blog’s live.
I’m guilty of plenty of these (if not all) however I also think it was part of my learning curve when I was getting started with blogging and had absolutely no idea of what I was doing.
The biggest issue I had was understanding I’m not writing for myself but for others.
I believe I started treating my blog as a personal diary when somebody told me to inject personal posts on it too.
Great article, really enjoyed it and still a great reminder to avoid a few ones that still will come up from time to time. 😉
Hi Sergio. As you’ve pointed out, again it’s about the balance. It’s a case of avoiding the personal diary whilst giving something of yourself so your readers connect with you. How much personality depends on the blog as everyone’s different so it’s what works best for you, your blog but most importantly your audience.
Thanks for your comment it’s given me an idea for a post!!
I wholeheartedly agree with you’re first two points. I believe that quality posts are a must when blogging and will prove the integrity of both yourself and your site.
As for setting out purely to make money from blogging, then this too is a misguided way to achieve the goal, and will only lead to frustration and the eventual diluting of quality of the site.
As for the other points I think they are all valid and should be taken into account when writing although I do think there is room enough to have a little of some or each in your writing and within your site. You can never be all things to all men, so if you have something that sets you apart then use it. This stands for if you write purely from a male or female standpoint or if you have a particular sense of humour.
You make some great points Blogger24 and there’s certainly room for spin-off posts from this one.
You are absolutely right about not being all things to all people (as opposed to ‘all men’ – sorry I couldn’t resist 🙂 )Totally agree with you regarding the male/female standpoint and the humour. Some blogs are successful because of that.
Thanks for taking the discussion further.
You raise some thoughtful points, which we should all bear in mind before we hit the publish button. At the end of the day, I guess we would be less likely to make blogging mistakes if we kept in mind the need to write compelling content that people might want to talk about to their friends, or over dinner maybe?
Too true Joanna.
P.S. And how scary is it when you’re hovering over that ‘publish’ button?!
Oh dear guilty on more than just one point here too. Especially guilty of the humour and all about me ones, possibly why i’m not rich and famous i think!!
Amanda what I learnt from my coaching studies is that once you’re aware of something, you’re well on your way to challenging it and then changing it. So you’re on your way!
Yes, made a few too…not the writing for money though…since google disqualified me after my first few posts and I haven’t found a comprehensible way to replace that. But I love writing my blog…bad humour an’all probably :-))
As a self-confessed technophobe I haven’t even looked into Google and SEO Inge. The fact that you love writing your blog is the most important thing. We all do it for different reasons.
“make every blog post worth at least $100….” love the focus on delivering value.
At the end of the day, isn’t that the purpose of business? To give someone a greater benefit or advantage for having known you…
Thanks for the lovely comment Charlie and what a wonderful sentiment.
I like to think that we can make a difference to others by blogging.
I stumbled when I first started blogging in 2008. I think it’s important to interject your personality into your blog and posts. Create a persona that draws people to you, no matter if they agree or disagree with you. Remember, it’s not about you. It’s about your audience. 🙂
Thanks Amandah. Yes it’s getting #7 and #8 to work with each other.
I’m still stumbling! 🙂
Hi Chris! Enjoying your thoughtful comments on readers’ comments. THANK YOU for these tips so we don’t have to blunder our way through from now on. Every bit of helpful advice makes our job so much easier.
And merci, CHARLES, for underscoring our motives when we connect with others we can’t see, but may strongly influence. I’m sure you do that, I can see by her comments that Chris does, and we know that Jon does.
This guest post obviously struck any number of readers well. Thanks Jon for introducing Chris to us. She’s a keeper.
Thank you so much Hannah. I love the comments section of a blog post and the interaction. It creates a new life and energy and there are always some fabulous nuggets of gold from everyone. Blogging and working from home can be a lonely business so this is the fun part and it makes the process even more worthwhile!
Thank you for a most excellent post pointing out all my issues with my writing.
Sometimes I just get so caught up in needing to put every single detail into my post and when I am done, it is so long that even I don’t want to read it.
I used to teach a communications course and one of the points I would focus on in the beginning of the course was the “comma but” sentence. And my example I used to was “I’d really like to give you an A for this course, but . . .
I so appreciate you making that one of your points today. Thanks again for a great post.
Happy to have helped Michael!
I too suffer from wanting to put in too much detail. What I try and do is see how I can break a particularly long post into perhaps several smaller ones if I’ve tried to cover a large topic.
Also I have a tendency to repeat myself. A post that helped me was another of Jon’s. You can read it here http://www.copyblogger.com/art-of-the-paragraph/
Thank you Chris. I will give the other post a read. I guess there’s nothing wrong with having more posts if I have a lot of related topics to cover in one area.
I don’t really need a 5000 word post, that’s for sure. 🙂
I find myself going back and deleting whole paragraphs during the editing process. It’s very painful! But necessary. My posts still tend to average 1500 words, which some would think is too much, but I don’t. For the most part, if I am reading for information, I don’t mind if an article/post is long, as long as it isn’t “wordy” and is grammatically correct, etc. I mean, good writing is good writing. Lean and mean doesn’t necessarily mean “short,” though it might at times.
If you think about it #6 and #7 often go together. It’s hard to cut out stuff if your ego is all wrapped up in your writing. If you remember that it’s about providing good content for your reader, the editing comes (a little bit) easier.
I’m also interested in your e-book and appreciate that it’s free. I’ve been a full-time mom for 28 years and I’m in the midst of ending a 30-year marriage, so right now “free help” is very appreciated.
Love these- except the whole “opposite sex” thing.
I’m not trying to be the PC police or anything, I just wanted to leave the feedback that while trying to make a point about being inclusive, you made me feel excluded by talking about people like they fit into one of two categories (and I identify with neither). Maybe a better phrasing would be to write for people, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, etc., instead of “If you’re one of two, write for the other half”.
I critique because I love. Great article overall. 🙂
Thanks Valerie. Sorry if you felt excluded.
Great post Chris. I’ve been guilt of #8 injecting personality and #1 the “good stuff”. For 8, I think this is a gradual process. I think if you did this from day 1, you might end up talking about your latte or dog too much so I think it takes time to figure out “how” to inject your personality without turning into a personal blog! As for #1, I think it was more about figuring out “what” was the good stuff that people really needed (versus trying to hide it). Thanks for posting!
Great insight Tom. We are all Works In Progress so our blogs are too!
I appreciate all of your FABulous tips, but my favorite is “Do not hold back the good stuff.”
I try to remember that my reader is BRILLIANT, smart, & educated…so they know immediately if I hold back.
So, I don’t! Why would I?
Loved this Post.
Hey Inner Chick that would be a great little sign to put on a post-it note to stick to my laptop. ‘My reader is brilliant, smart and educated.’ Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thoughtful and insightful advice for both long-time bloggers and those just entering the blogosphere (like myself). I doubt there is a blogger out there who hasn’t committed at least one of these blogging infractions.
I can already see that I am going to struggle terribly with points 6, 7, 8, and 10. Finding a good balance, especially for a blog with no products or services to sell, will be the key. I will definitely try to keep these point in mind. Thank you for sharing these excellent pointers!
Welcome to the blogosphere Timber. I’ll be passing your website on to a friend!
Guilty as charged on the counts of 4, 6 and 9. Here is the thing, you can get carried away when writing and overstep on any number of these points, or you can not get carried away at all and bore yourself and your audience to tears.
Finding a happy medium is the work of a lifetime.
Thanks Chris for this reminder.
I’ll have to think of a suitable punishment J!
As I said to Amanda. Once you’re aware you can make changes. Here’s to your Happy Medium.
I agree with the point about not being defensive. I do, however, want to hear your experiences about creating some sort of debate or controversy.
Does that drive readers to a blog? It sure seems to work for people in the public eye.
BTW, how do I add my picture to this comment?
Controversy is kind of a two-edged sword. It can get you a lot of traffic, but if you’re too aggressive, it can also create an uncomfortable atmosphere for your readers and drive them away. So, if you use it, use it gently.
Bloice regarding a picture register with gravatar and then use the same email address when you comment.
If this isn’t correct someone else can let me know. As a tech dinosaur I get technical help from my technical advisor (aka my teenage son!)
I love “Not being worthy of the crowd.”
We should always put in our greatest effort, not only when the time calls for it.
Overall, great points in the article. Well done!
Thank you Melissa. It’s so easy to hide behind our blog and to forget about the audience. The ‘behind the curtains’ image always works to put me under some pressure.
Chris – thanks for the great advise. I’m about to start a blog, and will try hard to not make more than half of these mistakes out of the box!
Good Luck with your new blog. When it’s live email me a link.
And accept that you’ll make lots of mistakes! I recently borrowed a phrase from a fellow Bootstrap Bootcamp student ‘Progress, not perfection.’
Hi MW. Thanks for highlighting how NOT to make your readers feel valued. I love the expression of investing in our audience.
Thanks for keeping us in check with a virtual kick in the ass. Number 1 rings so true for me right now. I actually had a conversation about content today and why I don’t have a monthly paid program. Simple, I want to share the good stuff for free. If I had a paid program what would I share? Poor half done content?
Thanks for sharing Chris.
I’m happy to virtually kick you in the ass anytime Dan!
Once again it’s balance and I believe that as bloggers we can give incredible free stuff away and also sell amazing help and support to those who want and need it.
If you’re reading this I’m guessing you want to drive traffic in order to have a business. So it’s giving away fabulous information, help, support and resources whilst creating an engaged community where some of your audience will be happy to pay for your expertise and problem-solving. And, to sleep soundly at night, it’s knowing deep down that when people pay for your services you are giving then more than value for money.
@ Michael Shook. Post length, just like post frequency, //smartblogger.com/posting-every-day/ is always a lively debate.
For some more than 1000 words is considered bad practice. Personally I like long posts. If the content is great why short-change people?
I follow Glen Allsop’s blog at http://www.viperchill.com and some of his posts are incredibly long but I would say he’s the exception rather than the rule.
I’ve already put a post on my blog that I now realise I could have dissected into more specific posts. #learningcurve
I think this shows that you care so much, you want to give your readers everything. So maybe it’s better to give them smaller, bite-size chunks. If you’re bored with it that’s a good indicator.
Right on, Chris, about using humor CAREFULLY. It’s tricky because your sense of humor can be one the most defining elements of your personality, but it takes skill and practice to convey that in writing.
Hi fellow student! And yep I couldn’t agree more.
The first point about keeping the “good”
material for an E-book or for a later date…
My pleasure J! The only reason I can speak with authority about these mistakes is I’ve committed every single one of them …
Great post and advice Chris. I found the information to be very informative and encouraging. I, like Kerry Rose, am working on launching a new blog and I am so glad I came across your blog.It’s really scary getting everything together and ready to present to the world, but great information like this really helps put mind at ease (somewhat) 🙂 Thanks again for such value!
Give it time Anthony. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that running a blog well doesn’t take time and hard work! It does. But if you believe in what you are doing, then go for it. And try not to sweat out everything…it takes a long time to get your ducks in a row, so to speak, and you will continue to learn along the way. There are always new plug-ins coming out, some are great and some you try and go “huh?” There are some blogs, like this one, that are helpful to new (and not-so-new) bloggers and some that you find out, over time, aren’t so much.
I’ve been blogging over 2 years and still get frustrated with technology at times. And I particularly hate when I pay for a service (a plug-in, theme, or whatever) and then I am told that the only “customer service” is in a community forum. That’s just one of the many frustrations I have encountered as a blogger. But I continue to blog. Why? Because when it comes down to it I believe that I am truly helping people, and that’s why I started in the first place!
Thanks for all your comments, help and insight Anne. Well put. It’s clear that your goal’s to help people. 🙂
You’re right it is scary Anthony!
I was on a course that Jon and Johnny B Truant put together about running an online business and we learnt about Ready, Fire, Aim. In other words just get it out there and then polish and refine it later. That’s when we learn most.
I think most people are forgiving and feel comforted that everyone else is like them: human and capable of making lots of mistakes!
If all the bloggers out there followed your advice, probably 90% of them would need to stop blogging altogether, which frankly would probably not be a bad thing.
For the most part I am glad to say I have not made the mistakes you outline above. However, I will admit that I have gone back at times to previous posts and felt there was a little too much “ego” there – and as a result ended up editing them. That might be something the readers here want to consider. There’s no reason you can’t go back to a previously published post, especially if it’s “pillar content” and edit it to better reflect your blogging maturity.
As far as comments go, if someone truly offers something helpful, I will certainly thank them profusely. On the other hand if someone is simply being critical (and I sometimes wonder if they even read the post because of the comments they make) I have no problem with pointing out the illogic of their argument. It is my blog and I am not going to sit back and refuse to correct someone…doing so implies a weakness of conviction on my part, in my opinion.
That doesn’t mean I resort to name-calling or being rude. There’s no need for that. But there’s also no need to simply sit back and let someone hijack the conversation that I started. Again, if someone makes a good point, perhaps even something I agree with but didn’t think to point out – hooray! If they are coming along with their own ego and own agenda…then frankly, let them start their own blog. This is my blog (that I work very hard on, I might add) and if I have expressed a well-reasoned opinion you can believe I am going to back it up, every time.
Yep, sometimes commenters do need a talking to, to use a southern term. The trick is reprimanding them without having everyone else feel sorry for them. If you can do that, folks usually learn pretty quick. Also, once you have more readers, the community will usually come to your defense. That way, you don’t have to say anything at all. 🙂
Thanks for the reply Jon! I think when we take the high ground and keep our replies polite, even if we are expressing disagreement, it goes a long way. At the same time, there are some people we are simply not going to make happy no matter what, and we need to just learn to let that slide, like water off a duck’s back.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you a thousand times for your “Headline Hacks.” Every time I come to your site to read a post and see the ad at the top I think, “I need to thank Jon for that!”
I have used the Headline Hacks over and over…and over! I often refer to it after I’ve written a post to see if I should tweak my title at all. It is possibly the BEST blogging help I have ever read or used. Thanks again SO much.
Oh gosh! So much room for improvement. Thanks for this list. 🙂
Join my Works In Progress Group Stacie 🙂
Like others I assumed you were a Christopher rather than a Christine, so please accept my apologies.
Lots of good solid advice here, if you don’t have anything good to write or share then blogging may not be the best use of your time. Personally I blame all the books that make it out to be easy, and that with a couple of good articles you’ll be making money.
Oh, and if I’m not mistaken you’ve borrowed one of Jon’s headline hacks, I really should go back and use another one as I find the right headline sets the tone for the post.
Yep, choosing a working headline before you write the post is almost always a good idea. It helps guide you going forward.
Hi Andrew – no need to apologise!
I never understand why false information is put out as the truth will out which is so damaging. I once heard someone say ‘lie to me once and I’ll forever put a question mark next to your name’.
And yes Headline Hacks every time! Stolen, rather than borrowed!
Great post Chris,
I have been guilty of a couple of those tips. Especially not introducing my personality and writing too much. I’ve learnt since to trim down sentences and make them shorter and more impacting.
I still have to work really, really hard on that Troy. What helps me is to leave my post for a few days and then go back to look at it again with fresh eyes. The repetition and the flab I find is quite shocking :0)
Oooooh Chris, you touched a nerve there. I am definitely guilty of a few of these. As a newbie to blogging I’m getting better at not waffling on too much. I now have a routine of writing a post then leaving it at least 24 hours then reading it again before I hit that Publish button.
Thanks lots for sharing these tips – very useful reminders.
Lauren I replied to Troy and then saw your comment so we’re on common ground here!
When I edit my posts I ask myself ‘Where’s the waffle?’ rather than ‘Is there any waffle’ because there always is!
Good luck with your blogging.
I have made no secret that I blog for money first and enjoyment second, I don’t think it has held me back anymore than my lack of motivation has. 🙂
You make a great point Dean. When your blog’s a business it can feel uncomfortable to let people know that, but it’s better than hiding it!
Love the name of your blog by the way.
I really enjoyed this post and as Mark said I assumed this was written by Jon until you said your name was Chris. I think this advice can be extended to all social media platforms, not just blogs. Thanks.
Agreed Donna 🙂
@Theresa Cahill: ‘If you get bored, take a break. The net isn’t going anywhere.’
Thanks for the reminder. I’m impatient so this one’s difficult for me and one I need to practice more!
Shame you feel that way Joseph. I can assure you I don’t pinch material. Not my style.
your content is always genuinely fresh and educational. You certainly have real knowledge on what it takes to be a successful author online. Cheers for this great post.
So pleased you enjoyed the post Nial.
Wow, what a great article! I am definitely guilty of number 1, unfortunately. I just finished the Jon Morrow class and after reading the headline hacks article I realized I was going about my blog ALL wrong. I was getting zero traffic, and would just post random design thoughts that I had. I am so excited to get after it and turn things around:)
Molly, after being on a couple of Jon’s courses, I had to go back and start again from scratch with my site because I had everything back to front and no-one had a clue where I was! At first I was dreading it but it felt really good to just wipe the slate clean and start afresh.
Great to hear you’re so excited! Good Luck!
Great post. I think I’ve followed most of the advice points on here, one major one being the “defensive” when challenged. Usually I’ll say “Thank you for sharing your view, this is all about engaging, so please continue sharing” and then respond to the point. I wasn’t always that way. Some I’ve clearly violated, I try to be funny at times and others I force myself to write to keep content fresh. Thank you for sharing this great advice I’ll take it to heart!
Thanks Angel. Happy to share and it’s great to know we’re all still learning 🙂
Thanks for a fresh look at improving our blogs. as a long-time book coach, I write how to’s on the same skills but aimed at writing,publishing and marketing eBooks.
I only hope you’ve got a tip for me to finish a big folder of half written blogs. After 5 years, I am revising blogs from my archives of 200 or so. It’s easier to add to already written material than to face the blank page.
Thanks again for your gems!
Judy do you mean you want to finish the unpublished posts and also rewrite some of your published ones?
I actually thought I would find mistakes that have been written about, but this is surprisingly fresh. Particularly point 4 on not being worthy of the crowd and how we should really prepare.
It is a good to have a new perspective.
Thanks for sharing.
Yep, some fear and fire in the belly can be good a good thing!
Great article. These are common sense tips but often over looked. I am tweeting this to my network. Thanks.
Thank you Kenn, appreciate it 🙂
Thanks for a wonderful post, Chris. Because I’m a writer, I always went on too long when I first started writing my Ship’s Log (aka Slog) for Gold Boat Journeys (Live. Write. Travel. Explore.) After writing several guest blogs, I’ve learned that if I cut the first paragraph or two, the post is much better. Many of the first posts also seemed to lend themselves to being cut in half. That’s fortunate, because now that I have more specific goals on the horizon, I’ve been able to edit and repost often by cutting old entries in half and adding new photos, quotes or topical information. It helps to have extra material when I’m traveling or feel like the Ship’s Log is living up to its nickname. I love your tips and want to add ageism to the list of don’ts. Happy sails from littlegoldboat!
You make some great points Ellen. Care to elaborate on your ageism don’t?
Many thanks for the clear insights and reminders, Chris. Although new to blogging I speak professionally and deliver training courses and find your comments are relevant in those areas too…and sadly that I am still guilty of some of the errors you warn against. That’s why I welcome your timely message to stay alert to content and presentation and your positive references to taking responsibility and recognising the beauty of opportunity available. Good job!
Beautifully put Keith. 🙂
What you say is so true. I too deliver presentations in person and came to blogging recently. And yes the same principles apply. You’re speaking to serve and help your audience whether you can see them or not. What issues do they have and how can I help them rather than how can this help me.
OK, so I’ve been guilty of a little bit of condescension with my audience.
Seriously though, this is a brilliant post and will certainly take it all into account my next post in about five minutes.
You’re forgiven Karl!
Great post. I know I’ve been guilty of a few of these things from time to time. Some valuable reminders!
Thanks for the wake-up call, Chris! It shed some light on the mistakes I didn’t realize I was committing. At least I know better, and will be more vigilant about them.
Chris, I plead guilty as charged – still! so this is a great wake-up call and rocket up the arse for me.
I fear Mediocrity. So, am fighting to be anything but.
The best way to do this is to realise that it’s all about believing that what you’re writing about. That your ideas are worth something, not just to you, but to others too.
Mediocrity is an admission that you aren’t committed to your own message. Mediocrity shouts loudly about itself so everyone can hear.
So, if you want to change the world with your message,you have to believe in it. Without belief in your own ideas how can others engage with them, or you?
You have to write passionately about your passion, and embrace that engagement in whatever form it comes.
A powerful lesson I’ve learned from reaching out and embracing engagement is that, although I still stumble with confidence, I’m finding that letting my passion thrive has boosted my confidence.
I’ve discovered that being open (in an honest, interesting and genuine way) is more engaging to others because it’s being who I am. And that’s my u.s.p. – Me. More importantly, it’s the *why* I believe in what I’m writing about, and how others can benefit too.
In short, if you believe in your ideas, you can’t help but write passionately and engagingly about them.
Thanks Matt and Adeline. I’m pleased to have helped.
Tom you raise some interesting points. I completely agree with you “Without belief in your own ideas how can others engage with them, or you?”
How much of ‘you’ you bring to your blog and posts will vary from person to person and there’s no ‘one size fits all’. Look at the difference between Copyblogger and Johnny B Truant’s site. Both very successful, both very, very different.
Other comments in this blog have shown it’s that fine balancing act, so it’s writing with passion about others’ passions and challenges. Creating that empathy so you connect with the readers. For me, in life and so with my blog, it’s all about making a difference to others.
Great post Chris. Keeping prospective on what a blog is supposed to do and that we are providing a service to others is the paramount message here. Thanks for the insights.
And the verdict is guilty! Funny but Yes, I am guilty. The mistakes were pretty obvious, I just overlooked on it. Thanks for the wake up call. I never want to look like a “World Class Idiot”.
You are right I have seen many people who are doing blogging just and just for money and that’s only the reason that they are not getting the success.
Thank you for this. As a new blogger, I enjoyed the tips. Loved the idea of imagining yourself on stage. That really put things into perspective.
thanks for giving us useful information
the number one mistake I make and still make partially is holding back the ‘good stuff’. I always feel that if I giveaway too much quality content I’ll have nothing in reserve. But funnily enough I always come up with something new once I release my posts
Yes I think this one stops a lot of new bloggers putting anything out there at all or, what does get published, is worthless.
Having done a couple of courses with Jon and Johnny B Truant, I learnt how important it is to give away something that people would be prepared to pay for. Not just when you write a post, but also when you give something away for free. ‘Free’ does not mean ‘cheap’.
And also our readers are paying. They’re entrusting us with something incredibly valuable: their email address.
Great news that you’re giving something of value to your readers in your posts!
You are spot on about blogging mistakes.I see that most of the bloggers are interested in making money.Only a few has taken blogging as a passion and has become successful.Unless you have passion for your work, there is no point in persisting with that.Thank you so much for this post.
I stumbled unto this site and wow, how refreshing.
Thanks for reminding us of these errors we make so often. I particularly like the one that talks about “Ignoring the Opposite Sex.” This will be foremost on my mind now whenever I seat to write. 🙂
Wow! thanks for the well organized and structured Article.I agreed on all of your topics, i love the one that says:money is all you need.
An inspiring article. I confess, I made quite a few of these mistakes, especially the “You have a good point, BUT…” one, I guess it’s one of the most widespread. These are helpful tips, thanks for sharing them.
Wow… Okay so I’m not even a blogger nor do I ever even read blogs, I just kinda clicked the link to this post on a whim, and it just occurred to me as I was reading the last sentence of this article, that I just read an entire long ass post about something I don’t give a flying fuck about, all the way to the end. I don’t know how you made me do that, but you must know your stuff because normally I have the attention span of a goldfish.
Great post Chris. Keeping prospective on what a blog is supposed to do and that we are providing a service to others is the paramount message here. Thanks for the great and wonderful insights.