Following on from my “Why I Started Blogging” post, I’m sharing the first in my series of blog tips. I don’t mean to start off on a negative foot but I read so many blogs (every day) for both work and fun, and I can’t help but spot some mistakes bloggers constantly make.
More often than not it’s usually blogs I read for myself or for fun that I spot these mistakes on. These are usually personal fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogs. The blogs I read for work are so damn good they wrote (and still write) the handbook on blogging. The funny thing is I’ve made every single one of these mistakes myself (and occasionally still make one or two of them) but it took a lot of trial and error to notice my mistakes and work towards changing them. So to save you time and energy, I’ve rounded up some of the biggest blog mistakes bloggers always make.
1. Hitting The Publish Button Too Soon
You won’t believe the amount of blogs I read (by both seasoned pros and newbies) that are riddled with basic spelling mistakes. Believe me, after spending 4 years writing and rewriting my Ph.D. (again and again!!) I know more than anyone that when you spend too long looking at something, you literally cannot see the wood from the trees. So what’s a blogger to do? This is where your friends and family can come in.
Share a draft with someone you can rely on to read your content and spot mistakes. If you have WordPress you can download the Share A Draft plugin (it’s so handy!). If, like me, you don’t have anyone you can always rely on to do this, you need to take time to proofread your own work before you hit the publish button. I always read my posts at least 3 times (I think I’ve read this one 33 times). Sometimes taking a break and coming back to your work with fresh eyes is the best way to do this.
It is hard to always have every post perfect.
You won’t believe the amount of times I have proofread posts and still spotted mistakes after I had published it (CRINGE – I HATE THIS). Or had my sisters send me Snapchats pointing out my mistakes (thanks sistas – insert kissy face emoji)! I hope to god I don’t miss any mistakes in this post… that would be awwwwkward!!!
2. Bad Writing
Tying in with number 1, a mistake I always see and that really gets to me is bad writing. Now I know I’m no Shakespeare myself, but if you have a blog you have to be able to string a few sentences together.
You have no idea how many blog posts I read that have bad grammar, formatting errors, bad sentence structure or sentences that make absolutely no sense, spelling mistakes (as I said above), paragraphs that are WAY too long, and no flow (even professional writers I work with make these!). All of these errors will make your post difficult and annoying to read, and will make your blog less-than-desirable to your reader.
I always say “online you are competing with life.” Your readers are busy and their time is limited, so don’t make reading your content unnecessarily hard.
These errors are all bad for your blog, but without sounding too negative, one thing that really bothers me is the use of inappropriate words.
Let me give you an example. A few months ago I read a post on a fashion blog that used the word ‘plethora.’ I knew what this word meant because I used it in my Ph.D., but many other people have stared at me blankly when I casually asked them.
So what’s wrong with using this word? It’s not appropriate for a blog, especially a fashion blog. Academic writing is completely different to blog writing. Blogs are supposed to be conversational and an academic word definitely is not. This really reminded me of the episode of Friends where Joey wanted to sound smarter so he used a thesaurus to find different words with similar meanings.
Your blog is supposed to have some personality and be light and fun, the last thing you want to do is confuse your reader by using words in the wrong context. Or even worse, making them have to leave your blog to find out what a word means.
3. Not Having Images
It amazes me when I see a blog post with no images.
Blogposts with images get WAY more engagement than those that don’t. You should always have images in your posts. When I’m talking to people about the popularity of Instagram or Snapchat (my usernames are @lcscloset), I always explain that people love them because we are visual beings and we like to see things.
Make sure you have images throughout your blog posts. They break up text, make your posts more visually appealing and make them easier to read. They can also help tell a story.
4. Poor Quality Images
Having poor quality/blurry images is almost as bad as not having any images at all. If you have a fashion, beauty, lifestyle, or food blog, your images are one of the most important elements.
Getting good images doesn’t mean you have to have an expensive camera. It definitely helps, but just making sure your images aren’t blurry can make such a difference.
5. Posting the Same Image Again and Again!
If you go back to some of my earliest blog posts (please don’t!) you will see I am WAY too guilty of posting a lot of very similar images in every post. Variety is the spice of life, and this is just as true for blogging as it is for everything else.
Blog posts that have 20 of the same or very similar images are boring (guilty again!). I know it can be hard to whittle down 60+ photos to just a few you want to use, but it’s worth it. Your readers time is precious, so make sure you mix it up, make your images interesting and give your readers a reason to keep coming back.
This is a big one, so I’ll break it into three parts:
I really can’t talk when it comes to posting consistently but it is something I beat myself up about every single day! If you want your blog to grow, you have to post consistently. I know this is far easier said than done, but if you don’t try to post regularly you are not giving people a reason to come back to your blog.
Since I moved to New York and started working, I haven’t exactly been the most consistent with my blog posts, but I am really working on getting back into a good consistent posting schedule. It’s key.
There can also be inconsistency in the quality of your posts and in the type of content you create. Make sure all of your posts are the same quality and that you are creating content that stays true to both you and your blog. I always think a good question to ask yourself is “Do I love this post” or “Am I proud of this work?” if the answer is no… maybe you shouldn’t publish it.
Inconsistency With Images
Blog images seem to be getting an awful doing here, but try to make sure your images are a consistent size. Images that aren’t look messy. If you go back to my earlier posts, you’ll see I totally did this (I really wasn’t lying when I said I’ve made all of these mistakes). I hadn’t quite mastered WordPress at the time or figured out how to (re)size my images, so they are a bit all over the place. If you’re unsure, Google it.
7. Trying To Be On Every Social Platform
Most people do not realise how time consuming blogging actually is. It takes a lot of time to create great content, and sharing it takes even more time. Then you have social media, and god knows there are a lot social platforms. It can get so overwhelming!
It is important that you pick the social platforms most suitable for you.
If you are a beauty blogger who reviews make up and likes to show people how to achieve different make up looks, then YouTube will be a great platform to do this. If you are a food blogger, Instagram and Pinterest are perfect places to share your content (food pictures are some of the most popular images on Instagram and the most pinned on Pinterest).
Developing and growing a strong social media presence takes A LOT of work. It takes years and you have to work hard at it.
When it comes to blogging, and fashion blogging especially, there are so many platforms you can use to share your content. But there is no way you can expect to give every platform the attention it deserves to nurture it and develop a strong following (unless you have a team behind you – if only!). Throughout my time blogging I have shared my content on so many websites but it is SO time consuming. I tried to spread myself too thin and found that I wasn’t giving enough love to the platforms that drive the most traffic to my blog.
At the moment, I always share my content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat (username – lcscloset), Google+ (I’m not as good on this as I should be), Tumblr, and Bloglovin (some of these are automatically linked to my blog). I used to share my looks on other sites including Pose, Lolobu, Look Magazine, Today I’m Wearing, ASOS Fashion Finder, and Lookbook. While they did (and still do) drive traffic, I found that I couldn’t work full time and give these websites the time they deserved to post consistently. So I focused on those sites that I enjoy the most and knew I could devote time to.
Every now and again I still post to some of these sites, but I had to make a conscious decision to focus on developing good content for the platforms I use most frequently.
8. No Social Presence
At the other end of the scale, you have some bloggers who try to grow a following without using social media. This is crazy! Social media and blogging are two different things, but they are so interlinked.
Social media is one of the best and most effective ways you can reach your target audience, generate engagement and develop a following.
If you don’t have any social pages, get them… NOW!
9. Broken Social Links
Hands up who thinks broken social links are SO ANNOYING! If I go onto a blog, like it and want to check out the blogs social pages, I am always so disappointed when the icon leads nowhere. If I have clicked on it you can be sure I am not the only one.
You could be losing out on the chance to get new followers, so make sure all of your links are working and lead to the right pages.
10. Not Having Social Sharing Buttons
If you don’t have easily accessible social sharing buttons on your website, how do you expect people to share you content? Don’t we all want our posts to be shared so even more people can see the content we have painstakingly created?
Having people share your content is one of the best things for your blog. It’s good for driving traffic, reaching new readers and Google loves it.
If you don’t have social sharing buttons you are instantly making it harder for people to share your blog posts. Remember what I said earlier, online you compete with life so if you don’t make things (i.e. sharing) easy for people, they are not going to do it.
Tip: Having your sharing buttons at the top is better for getting shares than at the bottom of your posts. Aesthetically, I personally prefer my sharing links at the bottom of my posts, so I have mine there. It’s also how my website happened to be set up. They are on my homepage too, under every post.
11. Not Promoting Your Content
I don’t know about you but I am 150% guilty of this. I need to promote and share the content I create more, and you should too. We need to make our best content work more for us.
Blogging is hard work and it takes a lot of time to create good content.
Make sure you’re promoting and sharing your content so you can get as many eyeballs on it as possible.
12. Not Buying Your Domain Name
lcscloset.wordpress.com was never an option for me. Why? Firstly, it looks unprofessional. Secondly, having a domain name with .wordpress.com or .blogger.com at the end of it gives an impression that you are not willing to invest into your blog.
It only works out at about $20 a year for me to have my own domain name. I can spare that, and if I think I can’t I’ll have one less cocktail at the weekend and that’ll cover it.
If you have yet to buy your domain name, do it now before someone else beats you to it.
13. Not Being Original
Many new (and even established) bloggers struggle to be original. I mean this in a number of different ways.
Firstly, by copying and pasting other people’s content. This is a major NO NO!!! You can take inspiration from other people’s content, but you should never copy and paste a blogpost or even chunks of text. Google hates duplicate content. If you copy and paste someone else’s work, not only is it plagiarism in an online sense, but Google will also punish you.
Next is lack of originality in your blog. I know outfit and beauty posts will generally all be the same standard format, but you need to have some personality or offer something that will make you stand out from the crowd and online clutter. What makes you different? Does your personality shine through your blog? These will help you stand out.
Lastly, you can’t just use other people’s images on your blog. They’re not your property. I always try use my own unique images. If I don’t (which is very rare), there is a good reason (it’s probably related to the post in some way) and I always link the owners name.
The best thing for you to do is always use your own content. It takes more time, but in the long run it will be better for you and your blog, and you won’t make any enemies along the way.
14. Not Replying To Blog Comments
If someone takes the time to comment on your blog post, YAY! That’s amazing!! Don’t ignore the comment. Reply to them and thank them for taking some of their precious time to let you know their thoughts on your work.
If possible, make sure you add a personal touch. Don’t just say ‘thank you’ over and over. If the comment addresses something specific like, for example ‘I love that skirt, it’s perfect for summer’, you could reply by saying ‘Hi xxxxxx, Thank you so much for your comment. You’re so right. This skirt is so perfect summer and I think it’ll be great with tights in winter too.’
Just add something that makes the reader know it’s not a generic response and their comment is appreciated.
Every blogger wants to be successful. Whether it’s securing your dream job thanks to your blog or turning your blog in your full-time job, you determine what your blog success is.
But you can’t expect this success to come over night.
Blogging takes a lot of hard work and dedication.
You have to cultivate a following and create content that keeps them coming back time and time again.
Don’t expect to get thousands of readers within your first day, week or even month of blogging. Your audience will grow gradually (it will probably feel like it’s taking forever!). You shouldn’t be disheartened by this. You have no idea how many times I’ve felt like giving up, but I know that ultimately having my blog is far more beneficial to me than not having one.
Just keep at it, even when you feel like packing it all in. Work hard, create great quality content and post consistently. You have no idea how much you will learn and how much it will pay off in the long run.
I hope some of you find these tips helpful. Please let me know in the comments below. If you spotted any typos, you can let me know there too. 🙂
p.s. Check out my recent feature on Tombola Times in a post about how to celebrate National Best Friend Day.