The internet is full of advice on how to be the best blogger. While all that advice is good, it can sometimes fail to emphasize some of the things you shouldn’t do. That’s what this post is for, to point out the worst things you can do if you’re trying to succeed as a blogger – the seven deadly sins of blogging, if you will.
1. Don’t Proofread
This is one of the worst and most common blogging sins. Your writing may be fantastic, but the fact is that even the best writers mess up. An extra “and” here, a misspelled word there, and suddenly you’re finely crafted work is starting to get in its own way. Little errors can be a big distraction to the reader, and the more errors there are, the more distracting they get. That’s why you have to proofread your content before you click “Publish.”
Some writers, though, have trouble proofreading their own work. If you’re one of those, you might want to check out a plugin called After the Deadline, which offers some automatic proofreading services. Additionally, you might want to think about writing a post and then sleeping on it, so you can look it over with fresh eyes before you publish.
2. Go It Alone
While writing great content is crucial to your blog’s success it’s only part of the story. The fact is that it doesn’t matter how great your content is if there’s no one around to read it. That’s where networking comes in. In blogging, just as in business, networking is crucial to success. You need to get your blog out there, so it can be noticed. The best way to do that is by making connections with other bloggers who can help promote it.
3. Only Writing Online
Writing a blog is an awful lot like a job. You can’t just write when the mood strikes you. You have to keep a schedule. Sometimes that means blogging when you don’t have internet access. There are all sorts of tools out there – some free, some a little pricey – that can help you do that. One great example is called Windows Live Writer. But whether you use a dedicated blogging tool or a just an ordinary word processor, you have to learn to blog even when you’re offline.
4. Wandering Off Topic
One of the many keys to good writing is staying on topic. Whether you’re writing for a blog or a newspaper, or anything else, if you wander off your point and find yourself hopping down a rabbit trail that has nothing to do with your original topic, you’ve messed up. With the exception of the readers who read every single post you publish, regardless of content, most people come to your blog for a specific purpose. Wandering off the original point of your post means that you aren’t fulfilling that purpose, and they’re likely to leave.
5. Not Promoting Your Content
This goes with sin number 2. Just as you can’t gain readers without networking, you also can’t gain readers without promoting your content. That doesn’t mean posting ads for your blog around the internet. It means having a social media presence, and using that to promote your blog.
6. Not Guest-Posting
This is another one that goes along with networking. Making connections with other bloggers can land you the opportunity to guest-post on their blog. When you do that, you increase the exposure of your blog dramatically, and can gain a significant boost in your readership.
7. Ignoring SEO
While Google’s recent algorithm update – Penguin – threw a spanner in the SEO works for many bloggers, that doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore it. While the new algorithms mean you have to focus on quality content and can’t simply load up on keywords and backlinks, the fact is that SEO will exist as long as search engines exist. Of course you have to focus on creating quality content, but you also have to take every measure you can to make sure that content gets placed where it belongs in Google’s page rankings.
Which Sins Are You Guilty Of?
It’s rare to find a blogger – even a very successful one – who isn’t at least a little guilty of some of these deadly sins. Which ones are you guilty of? Which are the most severe?