Whether you're a total noob or an experienced blogger, we all fall victim to these mistakes at some point. Read on to find quick fixes for each blunder.
1. Creating a Blogging Persona
At their best, blogs are the perfect vehicles for self expression. But, oftentimes bloggers prioritize their public persona over authenticity. Maybe it's trying too hard to be witty, pretending to hold a politically correct position you don't hold, or avoiding topics that make you insecure.
Quick Fix: Over time, you learn that readers connect to your vulnerability even more than your strength. Don't be afraid to let them see the real you. Better yet, enlist an "authenticity editor," a trusted friend who likes the real you and can act as a filter against any pretense or posturing.
2. Competing Instead of Collaborating
One of the big breakthroughs for a blogger is when they realize they are part of a bigger ecosystem of bloggers and thought leaders, and begin to consciously engage the entire network. It's very hard to gain traction for a blog any other way.
Quick Fix: Look for opportunities to "egobait" other bloggers into promoting your blog. When done correctly, you can even compel direct competitors to link to you. The easiest way to do this is to write a "10 Bloggers That Inspire Me" post, provide links to each of the blogs, and shoot each of the bloggers an email with the link to the post. Many of them will repost, tweet, and even respond to your article. Sit back and watch the traffic and subscribers pour in.
3. Shiny Object Syndrome
You write a blog about top fashion developments within the shoe industry...but you really have something important to say about the Ferguson riots. All of the sudden, you're writing about something that confuses and polarizes your audience instead of drawing them closer to your core cause.
Quick Fix: To avoid this trap, create a mission statement for your blog and review it before selecting any topic. You'll be able to easily dismiss any topic that doesn't fit with your predefined mission.
4. The Vacation Vortex
No matter how determined you are to keep up a regular blogging cadence, at some point, you're going to go on a vacation and decide, "meh, I think I'd rather sip mai tais than sit in my hotel and write a blog post." You deserve a break every once in a while, but when readers think you've checked out, they quickly do the same.
Quick Fix: To avoid these black holes in your blog, create a bank of "evergreen" content (content that is relevant whenever it is posted) that can be quickly posted whenever your attention is diverted. Deposit new articles into this content bank regularly, so you're never left empty handed.
5. Template Blogging
Every blogger has a format that is their go-to format. Maybe you write every article as a 5-paragraph essay. Maybe all of your blogs start by describing an emerging trend, then take three paragraphs to explain practical applications. I'm particularly susceptible to the "listicle--" articles like "Quick Fixes for Six Common Blogging Blunders."
Quick Fix: Having a basic template for most of your blogs is not necessarily a bad thing, but you never want to become a one-trick pony. Make a conscious effort to break your pattern every few posts. If you usually write long posts, write a five-sentence post. If you usually include three images per post, include twelve or one in your next post. You get the idea.
6. Getting Dragged Into a Flame War
If you blog long enough, you will eventually attract a flamer--someone who blows up your comments with insulting assaults on your perspective, your intelligence, or even your basic humanity. You can get a hundred positive comments, but it will be the one negative one you can't ignore or forget. Of course, this is just what they want--to disrupt your day and drag you into a fight you can't win.
Quick Fix: Instead of engaging flamers, ignore them, forget what they said, and move on with your life. If you succeed at doing this, please tell me how.