5 Awful Mistakes Bloggers Make

Blogging isn’t rocket science, but it can certainly start to feel like it, as you struggle to find the magic formula that takes you from a handful of subscribers to hundreds of thousands. The truth is: there is no magic formula. Building a blog takes a lot of time, effort, creativity, and even capital investment. It doesn’t just become a success overnight.

Even so, there are some awful mistakes many new bloggers make that can turn attracting and keeping followers into an ordeal. If you’re not guilty of these, then you’re likely already on the right track. If not, it might just be time for a change.

Disrespecting Readers

There will always be a handful of readers – or more – who disagree with the opinions you put forward on your blog. There will also be trolls who come along looking for anything to disagree with, just for the hell of it.

While it’s fine to debate with followers, and to handle trolls as effectively as possible, being disrespectful to readers looking to connect is a no-no. Learn to agree to disagree and move forward.

Otherwise, not only are you likely to lose that follower, but other followers who come by and notice the squabbling will either unfollow, or keep their comments to themselves.

You want to ensure that no matter what opinion people may have about your blog and social media posts, the comments are a safe haven to air those opinions.

No one is too high and mighty for criticism, and objective feedback can do wonders to help you improve, grow, and produce better content for your readers. Comments also help to boost SEO ranking.

No Paragraphs

Paragraphs were invented for the same reason the Lord of the Rings movies came in three parts, and not one. No matter how great your content is, it’s difficult to consume the whole thing in one breath. It’s also difficult to find your place again, when you look away for a moment to check a message or help someone nearby.

In essence, paragraphs help to break the text up into bite-sized pieces people can more easily digest and follow. As a rule, your paragraphs should also be as short as possible – with five lines being the maximum.

Keep in mind that many people read on smaller screens, like tablets and smartphones, and even three lines on a PC can translate into six on a smaller screen.

No Subheadings

Subheadings serve almost exactly the same purpose as paragraphs. Perhaps for this reason, many people use one without the other – as I did. This can seem especially tempting if you’re not writing an informative post. Maybe you’re just discussing your stance on a controversial topic, or telling the tale of your most recent travel adventure. So, why bother?

But subheadings are like little chapters in a book. They act as checkpoints for readers, while also conveying what specific information the reader can expect to see in that spot. This helps readers to skim through posts, and skip over parts they don’t need to read.

For instance, in this post, maybe you’ve never disrespected readers and you always edit your work. Since I’ve organised the text into sub-headings, you can easily skip over those and move on to what’s important to you. No offence taken!

No Editing

I mentioned this before in 10 Tips for New Bloggers, but this is such a common problem that it’s worth bringing up again. Blogging is fun and editing is often not, but to make the experience fun for readers, it’s important to clean up the formatting and text, and get rid of the typos.

Editing should also involve cleaning up the colloquial and ‘shorthand’ way we sometimes express ourselves in text messages, tweets, and journal entries. It’s understandable that people often type up blog posts on their phone, but that’s no excuse not to edit. In fact, all my final edits are done on my smartphone.

While editing, bloggers should also try to ensure they haven’t rambled on too much in the beginning and wasted words. I’ve seen many “10 ways to do this” and “5 ways to improve that” articles, only to have the actual list start 500 words in. By then, I have no desire to continue.

Ideally an introduction should be about 100 words – maybe 300 tops, depending on the topic and your writing style.

Crazy Text Colours

One suggestion I frequently make to new bloggers is to stick to regular text colours. It might seem creative to feature a black background with red and yellow text, but this is a bad idea for a number of reasons.

Firstly, neon-coloured fonts strain our eyes over time, and may cause pain and discomfort after prolonged reading. Thus, you may lose a lot of readers who would rather not strain their eyes to make out your words.

Secondly, WordPress reader and the mobile app shows all backgrounds as white. So if you got creative with white text on a black background, all we see is a blank page. What about yellow or baby blue font? All we see is a reason to squint and scroll quickly so we can get relief.

There’s a reason big websites like CNN, Facebook, and even Instagram use white backgrounds and dark-coloured fonts. Simply put, it works.

Blogging gives writers a direct line to readers, and as such, every action can either make or break that readership base. What’s important is identifying the errors of our ways, recovering quickly, and moving forward.

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I’m opening up a direct line of communication for dedicated readers who want specific answers to questions they may have about blogging and branding. Everyone who both likes and re-blogs this post receives one free query via email. Please make your question as specific as possible, as unfortunately I only have time to respond once to each.

If you’re looking for professional help with your brand or blog, check out Alexis Chateau PR to see how we can partner together in the near future.

Thanks again, guys. All feedback welcome!

99 thoughts on “5 Awful Mistakes Bloggers Make

  1. The one thing that turns me off are the bloggers that write several pieces in one day. I spend a couple hours a day reading the blogs I follow and sometimes adding comments but when the same blogger presents me with anywhere from 3-6 blogs in a day, I stop reading them and if it continues, following them. For me, one a day is sufficient.

      1. I just read your original post on this subject and I am glad that you pointed it out. Now if we could just get others to follow your expert advice and listen to my whining on the subject, we have it made…

      2. Haha. Thank you for reading it. I have no idea why people feel the need to post that often. That’s the domain of bigger blogs like Elite Daily and Buzz feed.

  2. I figured you subheadings were options but, it makes sense. I have been in a rut lately on how I want my blog to read which is why I haven’t posted in a while but, this giving me the energy I need. Thank you

    1. I’m glad to hear that this has encouraged you, and I hope you get out of your rut soon!

      Subheadings make readers’ lives a lot easier. We know exactly what parts to read if we can’t go through it all, and it makes the work easy to follow. It’s definitely still optional, but highly recommended.

  3. Loving your Lord of the Rings argument. I was recently proofreading an academic piece of writing that had no punctuation marks. At all. I imagine some writers just assume that the readers will follow their flow of thoughts. Thanks for writing with your readers in mind.

    1. Haha. Thank you Sonia! I was hoping the Lord of the Rings reference would get the point across.

      I think many writers do assume we’ll just follow their line of thought, while forgetting we’re not in their heads. We need directions.

  4. I am sooo glad I am not represented in this list 😀 Still trying to get on that other 10! You are the best thing that’s happened to me on WP yet! I still haven’t used up my one question. Gotta make sure it’s a good one. I have plenty!

    1. Haha. You made my day today for sure Eric. Share this one and that’s another question! And do, make it good. I’ll be glad to help out any way I can.

      And kudos to you for not making this list. I’m sure you’ll make it on the other one soon!

    1. Thanks for dropping by again Ella! I’m glad you’re enjoying the little wisdom I can pass on. Feel free to share so that others may benefit as well. Thanks again!

  5. Thank you for writing this all out. I started my blog over a year ago and I had to learn all the different in’s & out’s on my own. It also doesn’t help that between my phone, tablet, and computer, that the page is different.

    1. Hi Malinda. You’re right. The website is definitely different depending on what you view it on, and what app you use.

      I had to figure most things out on my own as well. Most of the advice online was pretty generic, but I did find some useful posts that helped. I’m hoping I can provide the same resource to other bloggers.

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