Blogging is an amazing option for writers to express their creativity over the internet. But what makes an amateur blogger different than a professional one? And how does one make the transition? In this article, we’ll be exploring 12 of the most common mistakes new bloggers make that should be avoided if they wish to become professionals.
Mistake #0: You do not invest time and money in learning from people who have the experience!
I call this Mistake 0 as it is the most fundamental mistake amateur bloggers make.
A lot of people start blogging without understanding the fundamentals. If you want to make money with your blog, like plenty of other people do, it is worth spending a small amount of money to learn the fundamentals from an experienced digital mentor.
Why? Because you will avoid costly mistakes. Not only that, you will also make more money faster with the right fundamentals.
So the lesson is: we suggest that you invest a little sum of money in knowledge that will empower you and help you jumpstart. Buy a course, an eBook or a coaching session from and with an expert! Amateur bloggers make a lot of… amateur mistakes!
I have seen so many people start blogging without understanding the basic concepts of blogging: the first one being keywords research. SEO seems like a scary topic, but why not spend 2 hours to read our free DIY SEO post?
You can also reach out to me via Facebook or the Contact page if you are interested in a coaching session. Feel free to drop me an email if you have any questions!
Mistake #1: You’re not focusing on a niche
Personal blogs are great for sharing your thoughts, experiences, and stories with your friends and family. But if you’re an amateur blogger who wants to gain an audience for your content, you need to focus your efforts on a specific niche.
Focusing on a niche helps to establish an identity for your blog. People will visit your blog because they are interested in what you to have to say on a given subject.
Make sure you keep consistent with this subject matter to build that loyalty. Trying to appease the masses will have an opposite effect on your blog. You want to be known as a leading source of information in a given area. This is what will keep people coming back.
But a niche doesn’t mean you need to be so super laser-focused that you alienate others who may benefit from your content.
So what I mean is, if you’re a foodie, pick a niche that you can be specialized in, like desserts. But don’t try to get too specialized and focus all your contention chocolate ice cream, for example. We call this over-niching or niching down too much!
Mistake #2: You write like a robot
Plain and robotic writing styles are very common for amateur bloggers just starting out. It’s normal given the years of school we’ve gone through learning how to write ‘properly’ and all the research papers we’ve had to write.
So unless you’ve studied creative writing or journalism, chances are your writing may sound stiff. The problem is that people reading an article on your blog don’t want to feel like they’re reading a textbook from the economics course they took in their senior year. They need something that contains all the relevant information they’re looking for, in an easy to read format.
A quick tip for new bloggers is to always approach your writing as a conversation.
Imagine you are sharing information about a subject with a friend or family member - how would you talk to them so that they understand what you’re trying to say.
It may feel like you’re breaking a lot of the writing rules you learned in school - and to an extent, it should - but it makes a huge difference to how your readers relate to your content.
Mistake #3: Your post titles are weak
Whether it be on a search engine, social media, or advertisement, the title of your article will be the first thing that a prospective reader will see. In a split second, they will make a decision on whether or not they want to click on your article or move on to something else.
An amateur blogger is more likely to squander this opportunity by not investing enough time to create captivating titles for their blog posts. They get lazy and use plain, generic titles that may give you an indication of what the article is about, but no incentive to click it.
Consider the two examples:
- How green tea can make you lose weight
- How you can use green tea to boost your metabolism and lose weight faster
You can tell that both articles talk about using green tea to lose weight - but which title captures your attention better?
The second one, right?
It better captures your attention by immediately communicating what value you can expect from reading - to boost your metabolism and lose weight faster.
Later in this article, we’ll talk about the importance of keywords and how utilizing those in your titles will also improve your blog.
Mistake #4: Your paragraphs are too long
Modern English classes teach writing like this: You introduce a point, add statements that support your point, and conclude on why you believe you’re right. Then repeat.
What ends up happening is that you have these long convoluted paragraphs and by the time your reader reaches the end, they’ve forgotten what the original topic was.
A good way to keep the attention of your reader is to use shorter paragraphs. Break up the monotony and give your readers a breather between your thoughts.
Try keeping your paragraphs to a maximum of three sentences. You can go as much as five sentences in a paragraph but best to only do that 1-2 times in your whole article.
It also helps to have more headings than not enough. Every time you break into a new paragraph, consider if there is an overarching theme or topic that ecompasses your next passage. If yes, add a new heading. Your readers will appreciate it as a good heads up of what they can expect or what they should be thinking of as they continue reading.
And don’t be afraid to use one-sentence paragraphs.
It works amazingly to help emphasize a point you want the reader to think about.
Mistake #5: Your opening paragraph is weak
We talked earlier about creating interesting titles for your blog posts - but that’s only part of the equation. Once you’ve convinced a reader to click on your article, you now have to make sure they don’t click away.
Most readers will only read your opening paragraph before deciding if they want to commit to reading the rest. An amateur blogger tends to overlook this fact and focus all of their attention on the body and details for their article.
A study conducted by Sumo concluded that readers are more likely to continue reading your article if your opening paragraphs is strong and captures their interest. The inverse is also true. If the reader becomes disinterested after reading a portion of the opening paragraph there is strong likelihood they will leave your site.
The details in the body of your content are important, there’s no doubt about that. But we need to recognize the typical behavior of users on the internet and make sure blog posts are structured as such. Invest time in crafting an enticing opening paragraph and improve your readers’ willingness to read the rest.
Mistake #6: You don’t edit before publishing
You’ve just finished a great article and are about to publish. Before you do, make sure to proofread your work and address any mistakes. This one might seem obvious but it’s baffling how an amateur blogger will often skip this step.
This is important for two reasons:
First, your credibility is at stake. If your articles are always full of typos and grammatical errors, your readers are not going to be confident in you as a credible source of information. Poor writing is a reflection of the quality of your offering. If the quality of your writing is poor, why would readers spent time reading or supporting your blog?
Consider using a free tool like Grammarly. This offers real-time proofreading so you can quickie address errors as you write.
Second, it gives you a chance to re-work your content. Thoughts and ideas you may have written out yesterday, you might feel different about today. You may have come up with a new way to communicate a certain point so the proofreading step is a great opportunity to tighten up those areas and ensure you are delivering the most value to your readers.
Mistake #7: You’ve chosen an obscure name for your blog
The name of your blog should give people an indication of what your content is about. An amateur blogger may try to be too creative with their blog name.
Sure, creativity is important when you’re a writer. But you’ll be better served saving that energy for your content rather than your blog name.
Your blog name needs to resonate with your audience. They should be able to tell what your area of expertise is just by looking at it.
Of course, you can use your own name if you’re looking to build your personal brand. But if you’re looking to make a professional blog, one that you can operate as a business, look to be more direct with your blog name.
If you run a fitness blog, don’t go crazy and call it something overly creative like stronglikehulk.com (a play on the bulky Marvel superhero). While it may indicate that your site has something to do with fitness, it takes too long for people to make that connection, especially if they aren’t comic book fans.
Instead, make it obvious what niche you’re blog is catered towards, preferably even using a keyword that many people are likely to search for.
Try something like: optimalsportsfitness.com or trustedfitness.com
A quick glance at the site name immediately tells the reader that your site focuses on the fitness industry.
Mistake #8: You run your blog on a free platform
There’s nothing wrong with running your blog on a free platform like Wix or wordpress.com. It’s extremely cost effective and offer a number of great features and designs.
But if you are serious going from amateur blogger to professional, you should consider self-hosting. Many new bloggers make the mistake of not self-hosting their blogs from the beginning.
There’s a number of great advantages to self-hosting. Two big ones that are relevant for new bloggers:
First, it makes your site look professional. Sites that end with a dot wix.com or dot wordpress.com domain typically look unprofessional and amateur.
If you want to present your blog as a credible source on the internet, it’s much more advantageous to use your own domain.
There are some sites that have been successful on the free platforms. But those are few and far between so set yourself up for success in the beginning by making your site url as professional looking as possible.
Second, you get far better customization. We can dedicate an entire article on the amazing customizations you can do with a self-hosted blog. For now we’ll list out a few you should be aware of:
You have the ability to change your website code - this allows you to style your site beyond what you can get from generic themes.
You use access to custom plugins - this adds valuable functionality such as email marketing, image optimization, and page analytics.
More monetization opportunities - Most free sites don’t allow third-party advertising, so you may end up leaving a lot of money on the table when your blog grows in popularity. A self-hosted site allows you to capitalize on a number of monetization opportunities - advertising, and beyond.
Mistake #9: You don’t use photos in every post
A picture is worth a thousand words. This may be an overused cliche but it’s very relevant for bloggers. Studies have found that content that contains relevant images get 94% more views than content that doesn’t.
Now you don’t need to hire a professional photographer to take fancy photos for each of your blog articles. There are great sites like Unsplash and Pixabay where you can download free stock photos. Find interesting photos that capture the content of your blog post and make it a habit of including at least one photo for evey post - just be sure to credit the photographer. It’s not required but it’s good etiquette.
If you prefer to make your own images, you can use free platforms like Canva that offer amazing templates and designs that you can customize to fit the context of your content.
A word of caution when it comes to images. DO NOT take images from other sites (that aren’t free stock photos) and use them on your own without receiving consent. This practice puts you in violation of copyright and you would be potentially putting your site ranking in search results at risk.
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Mistake #10: You ignore SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a vast subject that no amateur blogger should be expected to master when they start off.
But with the pivotal role that search engines play in driving traffic to websites, new bloggers should be aware of some of the core aspects that contribute to how search engines like Google rank sites.
One of the most fundamental areas that new bloggers need to be aware of is keywords, relevant keywords.
This is a key metric used in determining how well your posts will rank in search results. Imagine for a moment that you’ve turned to Google in search of the best shepherds pie recipe for your next family gathering.
Search engines like Google provide users value by returning the most relevant results that match their query. One the ways they do that is analyzing keywords users are entering into search and cross-refencing against internet sources that match the criteria.
As a new blogger, make sure to consistently research the relevant keywords in your given niche and then incorporate those keywords throughout your content in a smooth and readable manner. Adding 1 or 2 keywords in your article titles will also help your search engine results pages (SERP).
If there is one area of SEO that new bloggers should start with, it’s researching and applying keywords for all of their posts.
Mistake #12: You do everything yourself and do not leverage the power of outsourcing and VAs
Nobody, including myself (remember, I worked with the biggest brands on the planet, brands like Nike, Mercedes, Disney, Beats by Dre, etc.) masters all the aspects of blogging.
There are many pillars when it comes to blogging and niches websites:
- keywords research
- assets production
- technical SEO
Everybody has 24 hours in a day… including the most successful people on the planet. We strongly recommend that you outsource parts of the process, whether it is keywords research, editing and publishing, link building and promotion.
Blogging is an exciting and fulfilling profession. It’s not easy, though, as there are a number of different areas you will need to become adept in to succeed. Don’t fall for the same mistakes that plague so many writers trying to build a blog. Avoid them at all costs and you’ll have better success transitioning from an amateur blogger to a professional blogger.