Getting started with your first blog is an intimidating process. It’s hard enough to be putting your words out for the world to see, but when you add in concerns about when and how often to post, finding your audience, and building a platform it gets even trickier. It’s natural to make a lot of mistakes as newbie bloggers, but these tips will help avoid the worst of them.
Posting too frequently–or infrequently
Like Goldilocks, the average blog reader wants a new post not too often or too rarely, but just right. On their end, new bloggers are excited and enthusiastic in the beginning, and that makes it easy to write post after post after post. But readers don’t like clogged inboxes or RSS feeds, and once your initial enthusiasm fades you probably won’t be writing as frequently either. On the other hand, if you wait too long between posts readers may forget who you are and you’ll lose relevance.
The best way newbie bloggers can avoid this mistake is to decide on a schedule ahead of time. Every blog is different, but generally most experts recommend posting no more than once or twice a week and no less than once a month. You can still take advantage of that initial enthusiasm, though: go ahead and draft out all those posts bouncing around your head! Save them as drafts so you’ll never have to worry about missing a post when you just can’t find the time to write.
Forgetting to focus on what your audience wants
Building an audience takes time and effort, so before you get started it’s a good idea to sit down and think about the audience you’re trying to attract and what they want. Let’s say you’re starting a travel blog. Do you want an audience that is mostly people who travel a lot the way you do, or do you want folks who don’t travel as much? Answering this simple question in the beginning can help you build a content plan and frame how you share your own travel stories.
Writing long, complex posts on broad topics
Most bloggers write on topics they’re very familiar with, so it can be easy to forget that your audience probably isn’t as familiar with it as you are. Posts that are too long or complex frequently lose readers’ interest, and a topic that’s too broad usually leads to posts that are too long or complex.
For any broad, complex topic, try breaking it down into multiple posts with more targeted subjects. Focus on using common language (not too many acronyms or industry-specific terms!) so that readers from all walks of life can follow along.
Using stiff or too formal language
That brings us to language use in general. Simple, conversational language is much better for blogs than stiff, formal, or industry-specific language. Try to write in your own, natural voice as if you were explaining your subject to someone who was completely new to it. You could even talk through the blog post and record it to give you ideas.
Thinking too much about SEO instead of overall presentation
It can be very easy as a newbie blogger to focus on specific ways of building your audience instead of the overall goal. While SEO is one important tool, focusing too much on keywords can make your language sound stiff and unnatural. Keywords are also not the only way to optimize your content. Having at least one image attached to your post is at least as important as your keywords.
Other aspects of presentation will help too: using whitespace, good titles and headlines, and taking the time to thoroughly edit your posts will make a big difference in turning a first-time reader into a subscriber.
You’ll probably still make mistakes, and that’s okay
Remember, even if you avoid these common mistakes you’re still going to make some. Any new endeavor is a learning process and mistakes are inevitable. New bloggers can put a lot of pressure on themselves to make everything perfect, but at the end of the day the most important thing is just to get your words out there.