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5 Blogging Mistakes

5 Blogging MistakesThere are 5 blogging mistakes I see all the time.

These are mistakes that new bloggers are particularly prone to, but all bloggers should remind themselves of these on a  regular basis.

As you read through the mistakes I’ve put on this list, ask yourself how you might improve your blog by paying even closer attention to these things.

Mistake #1: Assuming You Know What Your Readers Want

Don’t write things you “think” or “assume” are interesting or valuable to your readers. Write things that your research shows actually are what they are looking for.

That means, you shouldn’t just guess about the things you will write about.

Your readers are active on forums, Facebook groups, YouTube, within blogging communities and elsewhere.

You need to be involved in some of these in order to converse with the readers who populate your target audience.

Ask them questions, offer them solutions and see what their challenges and dreams are.  That’s the best ways to see what sort of blog posts will resonate with your audience.

You can also do a quicker survey of your audience’s preferences by surveying what the best selling topics are on major retail sites like Amazon, Dummies and ClickBank.  The things that are the hottest sellers in your niche will be a clear indicator of what your audience finds valuable.

Once you’ve determined the major interests and challenges of your target audience, you can feel pretty confident that they make great blog topics.

Do quality research, dig up good solutions to the problems that haunt your readers every day, and you’ll be developing valuable content on your blog.

Mistake #2: Greeting Your Readers With Clutter And Confusion

When people visit your blog, they want solutions to their problems.

They don’t care about your blog, they just want the information they’re looking for.

They don’t want to dig for it.

They don’t want to be greeted with a splash page that obscures entry to your blog.

They don’t want pop-ups, slide-ins and light boxes that come from the left, the right and everywhere else.

They don’t want to be distracted by a cluttered sidebar, and they certainly don’t want to have videos running on autoplay and banners shimmering and quaking.

If you greet your readers with all this glitz and glitter, and make it difficult to even find your blog post in the midst of it all… your readers will very likely click away and never return.

Throw in a bunch of random and irrelevant ads from some advertising service, and you’re really skating on thin ice.

Think for a moment.

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Do you like to be greeted with this clutter and confusion when you visit a blog?

Treat your visitors the way you’d like to be treated.

Mistake #3: Blogging To Twist Arms

Is you blog’s main focus to sell affiliate products, get folks to sign up for your great coaching program, have people hire you to do their graphic design, or convince people to join your wonderful network marketing business?

You can use your blog for all those purposes, but it’s a big mistake to give your readers the impression that your only blogging to get them to take action on your offers.

Making offers is not the problem, here. Twisting people’s arms to accept them is.

Your readers can clearly sense the difference between you offering great information and embedding valuable offers that can improve their lives… as opposed to relentlessly badgering them to “sign up,” “opt-in” or “buy now.”

Your blog does not exist to get you buyers, clients and sign-ups. It’s main function should be to improve your readers’ lives, not yours. If it is blatantly and aggressively self-serving, you’ll have a difficult time keeping people’s interest.

Only ask for a sale or opt-in after you’ve earned it with great value and solutions based content.

Mistake #4: Inconsistency

People like familiarity and dependability.

Don’t blog too often, because you’ll almost certainly burn out.

But also…

Don’t blog too seldom, because people won’t get in the habit of looking forward to your next post.

Strike some kind of a balance. Blog maybe once or twice a week. Just make sure that the schedule you set for yourself is one you can keep up on. Make sure you have the time to stick to the schedule you set for yourself, and also make sure you are able to come up with good and meaningful content often enough to keep you posts crisp and noteworthy.

I’ve known many bloggers who start out with a very aggressive schedule.

Then they get tired. They can’t come up with enough good content to keep pace with their production schedule.

So they back off and start blogging less often. That confuses their readers who had become accustomed to seeing posts more frequently.

Worse yet, they keep up with their grueling schedule by compromising their standards.

To keep up the hectic pace they’ve set for themselves, these bloggers start writing substandard articles, slapped together in a hurry, with only thin research, if any.

They don’t take the time to put together interesting images or videos like they did when they first started, and their whole blog starts looking like it’s pretty much given up on producing high quality content… and it has.

They might also compromise their efforts by simply reducing the length of their articles.

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Maybe they were writing 2,000 word articles with images, screen captures and infographics.

Then they cut back to 1200 words, fewer graphics.

Then it becomes 500 words and no graphics.

They realize their blog is starting to look bleak, so they do a 3,000 word article with lots of pretty pics.

But that took a lot out of them.

They don’t post anything for two weeks, then return to their 500 word essays.

You see, all this uncertainty, jumping around, switching gears… it causes your readers to get uncomfortable because they just don’t see a flow to what you’re doing. There’s no consistency in length, quality or value.

Some posts are great, others worthless.

Some are long, some short.

Some weeks you post twice, then you post once, then take two weeks off.  Then you’ve got two new articles the following week.

Readers just won’t follow your blog because they can’t depend on it at any level.

The search engines get just as confused and start ranking your blog lower and lower.

You can make changes, but try to make them gradual.

And never compromise on the quality of what you publish, or your blog could be heading for real trouble.

Mistake #5: Failing To Build Engagement

If you don’t build engagement on your blog, you are missing the most important thing you can do.

Some bloggers don’t accept comments.

Others don’t allow commenters to link back to their own site.

You could avoid this huge opportunity to build engagement by allowing comments and links, and you could even use a plugin like CommentLuv that makes it easy for your readers to link back to their own blogs.

Another way you fail to build engagement on your blog is to not reciprocate to your commenters, or even reply to their comments.

If someone is kind enough to leave a comment on your blog, the first rule of engagement is to reply to it. Many times, bloggers get so busy with other aspects of their business, that they put off replying to their comments until they get around to it.

That’s not good enough.

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You need to strive to give your reply to each comment as soon as possible, preferably the same day as the comment.

By delaying, you break the sense of conversation and immediacy that is key to building real engagement with people.

Reciprocity is also key to building the engagement.

When anybody leaves a comment on your blog, you need to reciprocate by going to her blog and leaving your own comment.

And even though you’re plenty busy, take your time and leave a good, thoughtful comment. Be part of the conversation, not just a hit and run visitor.

This is a key component of the rules of engagement, and one you don’t want to get it wrong.

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These are 5 blogging mistakes I see all the time.

They are 5 blogging mistakes that you need to avoid in order to build a serious and successful blog.

How do you score yourself against these standards?

Please leave your comments below.

Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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82 Responses to 5 Blogging Mistakes

  1. Harleena Singh
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 4:46 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Wonderful post indeed 🙂

    I think all of us can relate to these mistakes as we have either made them sometime or the other or see other bloggers make them most of the time.

    You are so right about all that you mentioned, especially points 2, 4 and 5. I guess certain bloggers have their own reasons for those pop-ups, but it certainly annoys me and causes one to get distracted from the main content. Unless you have something of value to add, just don’t put up those pop ups!

    Inconsistency is another major mistake, and as you mentioned, some bloggers just put up posts as and when it suits them, and yes, the lengths would vary each time. While that doesn’t matter much, but being consistent is essential as you are committed to the readers and subscribers of your blog, and they look forward to your posting schedule, so make one! We’re trying to set a fixed time also now, though may take a while till we get our projects up.

    Building engagement through comments is what we know best, and I think the relationships and connections are best build that way, isn’t it? I remember your graveyard post, where there are no comments! I do get a little late in replying to the comments at times as I prefer to promote the post on various social networks and then take up the comments altogether, but I do get to them sooner or later.

    Thanks for sharing this with us, as it would help a lot of other bloggers too. Have a nice week ahead 🙂
    Harleena Singh recently posted..Top 10 Inspiring Men Bloggers Of Aha!NOW – A TributeMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 25, 2015 at 10:42 pm #

      Harleena,

      You sure got the essence of this article.

      There are so many mistakes we’ve made and you’ve hit some of the big ones.

      It’s not so much a matter of making the mistakes as it is recognizing them in time to correct them before they do too much damage to your blog.

      You’ve done such a wonderful job with your blog, and I think anyone who’s visited it thinks it looks like a model of a great blog. Yet, I’m sure you’ve made mistakes along the way. Correcting them as they occur, though, is what makes a blog great.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..5 Blogging MistakesMy Profile

  2. Lisa Sicard
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 6:12 am #

    Hi Donna, I failed on one – I haven’t been consistant this past 2 years. I don’t blog the same day of the week or each week, I do try to blog at least 1-2 x per month. It is something I hope to do better for the new year. I really did work on #2 this year though and my site is much cleaner for it. #1 I think I’m doing okay and engagement I’m doing okay I think. I do get a little late sometimes in responding but I try to within 24 hours. That’s my rule!
    Excellent tips and reminders Donna, thank you! Have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving.
    Lisa Sicard recently posted..10 Awesome Valuable Social Media Tips For YouMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 25, 2015 at 10:47 pm #

      Hi Lisa,

      As for the consistency of your blogging, don’t confuse it with the frequency. I know people who blog only once a month, but they do it consistently. So people come to expect a monthly article, and they get it. I’m not saying this is great for SEO or other purposes, but some bloggers don’t need tons of traffic or even search results. They only use their blog to keep in touch with their team or followers.

      As for getting your replies in promptly, while it’s the ideal situation, it doesn’t always happen. I’m actually running a bit late with my replies to people on this post because I’m recovering rather slowly from a concussion.

      Things happen, girl. I know everybody understands that one.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..5 Blogging MistakesMy Profile

  3. Marquita Herald
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 6:39 am #

    Awesome as usual Donna! I especially agree with the importance of connecting with your audience’s wants and needs and a necessary part of this process is becoming very intentional about your target audience because – and this has been said SO many times – it just isn’t possible to please everyone.

    Some of my favorite research sources are the top bloggers in my niche, forums, topic related groups, blog comments and book reviews. Many writers focus on the good reviews, but I find the greatest value in the negative ones because (let’s be honest) so many of the positive reviews are from friends and fans, while the negative reviews are more likely to be from real readers talking about what was missing or what they want more of. This is like a mini gold mine!

    Another point that resonates with me is the issue of posting consistency. I have a couple of bloggers on my Feedly that post so seldom it’s always a bit of a surprise to see a new post appear in the feed!

    Thanks for these great tips and for the inspiration!
    Marquita Herald recently posted..Alone Doesn’t Have to Mean Lonely This Holiday SeasonMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 25, 2015 at 11:05 pm #

      Hi Marquita,

      It’s so true that you can’t please everyone.

      It’s not really a great idea to even try.

      If you spread yourself out in too many different directions, trying to please the world, your whole message gets watered down. Then you don’t even please your most important, targeted readers. Also, it’s really hard to build a clear brand when you’re just trying to please everyone.

      I think people are definitely attracted to people who have their own, strong voice. They don’t just want someone who gives them “valuable information,” but they like a little uniqueness, boldness and personality.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  4. Tom Southern
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 6:46 am #

    Hi Donna,

    You’re right on track with these 5 mistakes because, like you, they are the most frequently made.

    I do blog critiques for my readers from time to time and your Mistake #2 – Greeting readers with clutter and confusion is often the main reason they’re struggling to get traffic to turn into readers.

    One of my popular email message to my list was a email in which I highlighted some of the reasons why confusion and clutter was causing traffic frustration for a lot of people. I gave this popular email the subject line: “Horrible Home Pages”. And the #1 reason I highlighted for this was bloggers trying to push everything they do onto visitors – even if these things are not connected or mis-matched. This is a real turn-off for first time visitors.

    Another reason for Mistake #2 is the Mistake #1 you’ve highlighted here. Not knowing what your readers want is a big mistake bloggers make. Not just because you won’t get them to turn into readers – But because it also shows you don’t really know Who your readers are, or what it is they want from you.

    Excellent post, Donna and one that a lot of bloggers will learn valuable lessons from. Thanks.

    -Tom
    Tom Southern recently posted..How To Start Getting Traffic To Your BlogMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 25, 2015 at 11:15 pm #

      Hi Tom,

      I like that email you sent out. “Horrible Home Pages” ha ha.

      It does tell a story though, for many bloggers. The story is, that a lot of bloggers just don’t want to let a visitor come and go without signing up for their email list.

      It’s such a turn off to readers though, isn’t it?

      I think of walking past a food court in the mall, and I’m getting hungry. I approach some of the vendor booths to see what they have, see what the food and menu look like so I can decide it I’d like to get something there. When people start shouting at me, “Hey, try this” as they hand me a sample plate, I just run away. It confuses and annoys me and prevents me from even considering getting something there.

      I think we can turn off our readers in the same way when it looks like, we’re not so interested that they read our articles, we just want them on our email list. It makes you look desperate when you do that with pops, slide-ins and all the rest, before the poor visitor can even read the first sentence of your blog post!

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  5. Cararta
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 9:06 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Guilty as charged! Think the worst one is not maintaining a consistent posting schedule. Tend to post when I find something super interesting …to me. Uh oh, another guilty.

    Haven’t been blogging much lately so all the changes here are a nice surprise! Two heads are better than one!
    Cararta recently posted..What is Raspberry Ketone? Can It Help Diabetics?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 25, 2015 at 11:20 pm #

      Hi Cararta,

      I know it’s easy to get off schedule, especially when life things happen to derail us.

      Sometimes, too, people are just doing other things online in addition to blogging and they tend to put off their posting for prolonged periods of time.

      That’s why I think it’s important to create a schedule you can comfortably maintain. Don’t try to blog once a week if you have so many other obligations that you know it will be tough to keep up with.

      That said, it’s best to blog as frequently as you can comfortably handle, because the more value you’re giving people, the more they’ll want more.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  6. Kerry
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 11:28 am #

    Hello Donna,
    Excellent tips.
    I have always posted at least once a week. I am consistent with that, at any rate.
    I’ve never understood people who do not respond to comments. Why would you not want that?
    That does seem obvious, but I guess it’s not, to all people.
    Happy Thanksgiving
    Kerry recently posted..TToT: Vanilla and Peppermint – Ringing in the Season, #10ThankfulMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 7:58 am #

      Hi Kerry,

      There are many people that don’t respond to comments. Usually you will find them on mega blogs and if it is a mega blog, why not hire someone to do so? Yes, it boggles my mind too lol.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  7. Don Purdum
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 11:59 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Each point is so critical I don’t even know where to start, lol… 🙂

    I can’t agree with you more.

    I see so many new bloggers hungry for new income streams that the pop-ups and ads are annoying.

    I hate being in the middle of an article when I’m focused and then suddenly a disruptive ad hits me. I had a client recently say because she believes it works she is sticking with it… but her time on site is terrible and I asked her to just take it down for one week as an experiment.

    Boom, her time on site increased one thousand fold. Funny how that happens.

    And, I convinced her that if she has a great CTA at the end of her articles when she delivers great content they will not only consider joining – because they joined the list for the right reasons they stay on the list at a higher rate.

    Of course, you know about #1 – it’s the MOST important issue. I always quote the 2015 B2B Web Usability report that says the #1 reason 50% of an audience leaves a website immediately is because of a lack of a message.

    A recent IBM study backed this up by stating 80% of any audience feels more and more that brands don’t identify with them online.

    Assumptions are okay initially but at some point we have to turn to data to inform us of what then need, want and desire and give it to them with over-the-top value that solves one problem, meets one need or fulfills one desire per article.

    Well, I could go on but you really covered the basis. Thanks for the reminders because you’re right – we all need them!!!!

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving Donna!!!

    ~ Don Purdum
    Don Purdum recently posted..The Good and Bad: Why Artificial Intelligence is About to Transform Your Business and What You Can Do about It!My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 25, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

      Hi Don,

      I’m glad you pointed out the importance of getting the right people to sign up for you list. It’s not critical to get as many people as possible to sign up for your list. It’s way more important that the people who are really interested in what you’re doing are joining your list.

      The best way to do that is to encourage people to actually read your blog posts. If they’re interested in what you’re writing about, and click on a link you give them to join your list, they will be great subscribers.

      They’ll open your emails more, will click through more frequently on your CTA’s and will be great prospects for becoming clients and customers.

      What I really find crazy is when a blogger puts up so many roadblocks for engagement on their blog (pop-ups, not replying to comments, etc.), and it’s all because they’re obsessed with getting the opt-in to build their list. THEN, they don’t have a clue what to do with the list. They send the wrong types of emails, erratically spaced, etc etc.

      Anyway, like you… I could go on and on. But I’ll save it for another article… lol.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  8. Renard Moreau
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    [ Smiles ] Great pointers, Donna.

    For some unknown reason, a lot of the newcomers to blogging are inconsistent when it comes to updating their blogs.

    Also, if we want to be influential bloggers, engagement with others is a must!

    May you have a fabulous week, my friend!
    Renard Moreau recently posted..How To Enjoy Being A BloggerMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 25, 2015 at 11:35 pm #

      Hi Renard,

      I think new bloggers are inconsistent because they’re not really clear on how to build a loyal readership. Many times, they’re not even clear on what they’re niche is, so they don’t even really know who their readers are.

      It’s certainly a work in progress.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  9. Sarah Arrow
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    Love this Donna, so much in 5 points! Consistency, and managing the time expectations are the main points that I see bloggers struggle with on a daily basis. I’ve just popped over from Adrienne’s epic commenting post, and again there’s the consistency issue; people not commenting with any consistency!
    At what point do we stop educating people and just spank them around the ear holes with a frying pan? 😉

    And just a quick note to Don, I was a conference last week where Anne Lisle Kjaer (global futurist) shared that 94% of people would not care at all if their favorite brand disappeared tomorrow. Just imagine how high that stat is in relation to bloggers who are inconsistent, who don’t comment and who don’t engage? It’s as almost as if they never existed.
    Sarah Arrow recently posted..How To Make Big Profits From A Small List [Downloadable]My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 25, 2015 at 11:41 pm #

      Hi Sarah,

      It does get frustrating some times, trying to educate people as you say, when they so often fail to implement the things we teach them.

      But as far as I can see, I blog to give people the best information I can, knowing full well that not everyone will put it to use.

      I like the frying pan technique you’ve suggested, though … lol

      Sounds like it just might work better than great advice and top notch information, hehe. At least with some people.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  10. Kay Somji
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

    These are excellent points Donna. I struggled with consistency and knowing what my audience wanted for a while. I’ve learned a lot from your article and will be implementing right away. Thanks!
    Kay Somji recently posted..The Best Places to Find High Quality Biz Opp LeadsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 25, 2015 at 11:46 pm #

      Hi Kay,

      It’s not always so easy knowing what your audience wants. People think that should be obvious, but in fact, you really need to drill deeply into your niche to understand the challenges and needs of your readers. And… that changes all the time, too. So you have to make it an ongoing task, to keep up on changes and developments in your niche. In many professions, this is what they call “continuing education.”

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  11. Barrie Evans
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

    Hi Donna,
    Great post. I was particularly drawn to #2. Clutter is very off putting and some blogs with endless pop ups don’t get my attention at all. I certainly run away. There is a place for a pop up form or other, but I think you need to engage your readers first and maybe call their attention to something else you have that can help them when they go to leave.
    Thanks for this. I’ll bear these thiings in mind.
    Barrie
    Barrie Evans recently posted..The Importance And Power Of Imagination.My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 25, 2015 at 11:52 pm #

      Hi Barrie,

      I’m with you on this. When I see all the clutter and pop ups, I run away too. I have no patience for all that.

      Now, I do a lot of list building on my blog and I actually get a pretty steady stream of subscribers. I don’t have any pop-ups at all. I get just about all my subscribers from native links embedded within my posts, like the ones you see in this one. It gives people a chance to actually read my articles before they get calls to action, like opting in to my list.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  12. Stella Chiu
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Excellent post!

    I can relate to these mistakes. I also see other bloggers make them most of the time.

    I don’t like pop-ups. They irritate me and make distractions to readers. Other bloggers may have their own reasons to use them, but I certainly was irritated by them.

    I may be run into the Inconsistency problem. Just two weeks ago, the schedule of my blog was changed from weekly to monthly because I need time to implement something to my site and to work on few projects. When all things settle, I will sure to set a fixed time. Meanwhile, I will do my best to keep the quality of the blog as good as before.

    How to acquire the skill of understand what the customers desire is one of my ongoing projects. It is a important one for every blogger because the future business is depend on it.

    Thanks for sharing this with us, as it would help me a lot.
    Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    Stella
    Stella Chiu recently posted..12 Things I Wish I Know before Having KidsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 25, 2015 at 11:56 pm #

      Hi Stella,

      Isn’t it funny that almost nobody seems to be in favor of all the pop-up confusion, yet I see it on a vast majority of the blogs I visit. Funny stuff, huh?

      As for you consistency issue, if you’re going through a transition period and are changing things up in your business, you’ll have to sacrifice some consistency in your blogging. What you want to do, though, is try to get back on track as soon as you can. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, try to establish a regular pattern of publishing posts to your blog.

      Readers really do respond better when you post consistently.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  13. Mark
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

    It simply doesn’t get any better Donna!

    And just applying any one of your five extremely solid tips, will
    definitely help move any serious blogger forward, in a substantial way!

    And while I can certainly appreciate all five tips!

    I must say numbers 2-5 really seem to just flat out cut to the chase
    for me!

    And there is nothing worst than witnessing and experiencing the
    watering down of a bloggers content and posting consistency!

    It just seems to play out, pretty much exactly the same way, over & over!

    They come out of the gates, those first few months, totally
    on fire!

    And just as you warn in “mistake # 4!” Slowly and ever so gradually,
    they start to fade!

    Until, you can’t find them with a flashlight!LOL!

    And the really sad part is, once they fall off, they almost never recover!

    Thanks for sharing another extremely solid & helpful post!
    Mark recently posted..How Extremely Savvy Marketers Consistently Create 25% More Business With Less Money!My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 12:05 am #

      Hi Mark,

      You know, you’ve made an interesting point here. When bloggers start spinning out of control with the consistency and purpose of their content posting, they so often “never recover.”

      I think that’s because they get demoralized.

      They do, as you say, “come out of the gates… totally on fire.” They get all excited and hyped up to do some great things on their blogs. Then when they’re not getting the results they want, big enough or fast enough, they back off their game plan and decide to change things.

      But the change is not so much to modify things, but more out of frustration that things aren’t going as they hoped. They get scared, sometimes depressed, that things won’t be as easy as they thought.

      So, yes, they very often “never recover” from this, and all their planned changes just kind of end up in disappearing altogether.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  14. Reji Stephenson
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I landed here from the link in PAC. Regarding the post, I can say that I use to make all of those mistakes at some point or the other. The most important reminder I got from this wonderful post
    is about the length and consistency of posing. Although, I was somewhat successful in posting within a regular interval, I never concerned about the length of the post. This post made me think about making some changes in the length of the post that I publish and keep it constant for most posts.

    Have a great time.

    Reji Stephenson
    Reji Stephenson recently posted..Few tips for a good looking professional blogMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 12:14 am #

      Hi Reji,

      I do think it’s a good plan to have a generally consistent posting length on your blog.

      I also think, though, that a little variety in that is also interesting to your readers.

      In particular, if you can have a standard length post for the most part… then add a pillar post every so often.

      A pillar post is a very thorough, usually quite lengthy article. When I say lengthy, I mean in comparison to your average article. So if you usually publish 1,000 word articles, you might, 3 or 4 times a year, post a 5,000 word pillar post.

      You can then promote those posts more heavily than usual, and they’ll probably rank better in the search engines, too. Promote them over a sustained period of time and you’ll probably find they attract an awfully lot of new readers to your blog. Many of them will become loyal readers, subscribers and even customers.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  15. Brenda Pace
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 6:27 pm #

    Hi Donna!

    What a great post! I have to admit, I fail on being consistent but not because I don’t want to. I do want to be consistent and try however, life gets in the way. I am trying to be better at it though. As far as I know, I’m doing well other than that.

    You know I’ll be passing this along in hopes that others will learn to not make these mistakes.

    Thanks for sharing, Donna. Happy Monday!

    Brenda
    Brenda Pace recently posted..The Importance of a Mobile Responsive WebsiteMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 12:19 am #

      Hi Brenda,

      I very commonly hear that consistency is a problem But I find it’s not usually a “blogging” issue as much as it is a recurring pattern for people.

      If someone doesn’t blog consistently, they are likely inconsistent posting videos, writing emails to their list, updating their Facebook page and so on and so on.

      Blogging is a great place to make a commitment for consistency, and then make it happen. You’ll probably find that will start helping you get more consistent with other thing, too.

      All that said, I certainly understand how “life gets in the way:.” It does for all us, my friend. It certainly tests us, doesn’ it?

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  16. Adrienne
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 6:55 pm #

    Hey Donna,

    Yes, yes, yes and yes. lol… Spot on my friend and I totally agree with everything you shared.

    I think a lot of people have to learn the hard way. No matter how many times I try to talk with them they are hell bent on writing about what they want because everyone else is and it’s what people want to know. Did they research that themselves? No, they’ve just assumed.

    The confusion part gets me every time. It really infuriates me when I can’t find the name of the blog owner anywhere still. I can’t believe people still do that today. Stop with all the popups already. Research says they help people sign up but still to this day NO ONE has shared with me how successful their open rate and increase in customers has been with having implemented them. Wonder why!

    I have a few blogs I visit that are SO annoying trying to get me to buy this, opt into that. Every single time I drop by. I want it to be my choice but entice me with your awesome content and I might just do that very thing. Continue to hound me in this way and it will be the last thing I ever do.

    The inconsistency still boggles my mind. I know that some people want to write posts when they “feel inspired”. Really! That’s how you build a successful business? You show up when you “feel inspired”. My question to them is how is that working for ya. If you’re new I can imagine not at all. Unless you have a huge following already then I wouldn’t recommend taking the inspiration route.

    Now you KNOW I’m all about the engagement part. I personally use CommentLuv Premium for this reason, I love following people back to their posts. It’s not a necessity but it sure is helpful but just replying and responding to all comments, well that’s a biggie in my book.

    Another wonderful post and great suggestions Donna. I’ll be sure to share it as well. Enjoy your week and Happy Thanksgiving.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted..What You Need to Know About Blog CommentingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 12:28 am #

      Hi Adrienne,

      Thanks for the Happy Thanksgiving.

      I’m a bit off this week, and it’s actually Thanksgiving as I write my reply to your comment… lol.

      Oh yea, life gets in the way all the time.

      Anyway, glad you enjoyed my article.

      I didn’t even mention the part about people not coming out of hiding on their blogs.

      I don’t know about you, but I almost always read the “About Me” page first of all when I visit a blog for the first time. I want to know a little bit about WHO is behind the blog. Hopefully I get some pics and even videos, too.

      I like people.

      I read a blog, I want to know and engage with the person.

      If I can’t find a human being behind it all, I almost never go any further, nor do I visit again.

      I don’t think I’m too unusual in this either, because the “About Me” page is almost always the most visited page on a blog.

      People sometimes forget that blogging is a form of “social media.” Yes it’s information, but it’s information developed within a social atmosphere.

      So come out, come out… wherever you are 🙂

      Enjoy your Thanksgiving, Adrienne.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  17. Ryan Biddulph
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

    For me Donna, 1 mistake I’d add is blogging for any other reason than having a blast. All resistance arises when you stop having fun, and that inner resistance – created by the individual blogger – manifests as all these errors and 40 billion others LOL. I struggled for years with countless mistakes because the resistance I created, created those mistakes. Self-fulfilling prophecy.

    My turning point came when I found the error of my ways; my energy. Chilling out and doing things from a relaxed space helped me address SO many errors, both the ones above and many others. Most bloggers want practical tips but care not to embrace their inner demons, their fears, which prevent them from seeing and using good advice consistently. The solid bloggers out there get after it, embracing their mistakes then finding the root cause as they head onward and upward. Awesome tips here Donna….gotta clear these out to rock it out, blogging-wise 😉

    Ryan
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted..11 Fundamentals of Successful Blogging Audio Course (Plus a Bonus Audio Course)My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 12:33 am #

      Hi Ryan,

      That’s a good one… have a blast, bloggers 🙂

      I think that’s one of the thing’s that’s behind what I almost always tell new bloggers… start with your passion.

      I’m not the first to say that, of course. I think EVERY blogger that’s gotten anywhere in this industry would make that a key to being successful.

      When you’re really doing something you love, when you’re blogging about a niche that you’re truly passionate about… it will always be fun! You will have a blast.

      And that’s as it should be, for sure.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  18. Dana
    Twitter:
    November 23, 2015 at 7:48 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I know I’ve been guilty of a few of these – whether with my current blog, or my old one.
    I’m giving myself a (tiny) break though because I’m on a learning curve and trying some things out.

    When you wrote about bloggers who start with an aggressive posting schedule and then burn out, this is what I did with my former blog – at least to some degree. I started to post three times per week, and then felt obligated to stick with it, even though it wasn’t a business for me.

    I’ll also admit that my posts may vary in length – not because I’m in a hurry, but because some may have a simpler message than others.

    Those opt in forms you mentioned drive me nuts though. I’ve read that this method actually results in more people signing up than in other methods – but not for me. I don’t want to insult anyone reading this post or my comment if they happen to use this sign up method…as I know that people have different ways of finding success.
    It’s just that as a reader, they interrupt me and the only thing I’m focused on is getting rid of it so I can continue reading.

    I think these are five things anyone can learn from, even if they aren’t new to blogging. Thanks for another informative, but simple message Donna.
    I wish you and your family (and anyone else reading these words) a very Happy Thanksgiving 🙂
    Dana recently posted..Need Help Choosing the Right Fitness Program?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 12:38 am #

      Hi Dana,

      I think the problem, or at least one of the big problems with pop-ups everywhere, is that we don’t just want to attract opt-in to our email list… we want to attract high quality opt-ins.

      High quality opt-ins are almost always the ones that join out list because they’ve read a lot of our articles, or at least gave a thorough reading to one of our blog post… an decided that YES, this is where they want to be and YES, they really want to develop a stronger relationship with us.

      People who opt-in to your list simply because they get tired of seeing a million pop-ups on our blog will probably almost never be loyal subscribers who actually open our emails and follow what we’re doing.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  19. Andrew
    Twitter:
    November 24, 2015 at 12:04 am #

    Hmmmm,

    I know I’m guilty of at least two here Donna.

    The first one, I was making that mistake all up until maybe a month or two ago . I was writing what I wanted to cover but that wasn’t good enough and wasn’t getting me anywhere.

    The last one I’m guilty of…specifically responding to comments. I really do try my best but you’re right, people took time to leave a comment, I should respect them fully by replying and checking out their site and leaving a comment. This and being more active on social media are things I really plan to Improve on.

    Thanks for this great post.

    – Andrew
    Andrew recently posted..How To Boost Your Blog Performance With Google AnalyticsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 12:44 am #

      Hi Andrew,

      I’m glad to see you really putting yourself to the test, here.

      And I love your determination to improve your blogging. That’s what it takes to turn a poor blog into a decent one, a decent one into a really great one.

      Nobody ever did everything right, straight out of the gate.

      And none of us ever get it right all the time, I don’t care how long we’ve been doing this or how good are at it.

      Excellence results from constantly seeing what we’re screwing up, and committing to doing it better.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  20. Rachel
    Twitter:
    November 24, 2015 at 12:28 am #

    Hey Donna,

    Thanks for the reminder. I am thinking about taking my pop up down, because they drive me crazy on other blogs. I have a week to consider it. As I was reading that section of your post I was checking your side bar and I think I am going to follow your advice. If people want to subscribe there are other ways they can sign up.

    I heard about the reciprocation rule when I first started blogging. At first I thought it would be a real hassle. I kid you not, I did not like the sound of it at all. The first week in and I am going to blogs, reading, responding and loving it. I was learning from day dot. It also benefits us – not just in connecting (which has been the best treat in blogging), it is a different writing style to content writing. The benefits of reciprocating for me have been in my own development not just connections and numbers.

    I agree with the consistency you talk about. There are some blogs I just adore and can’t wait for their weekly post. I get used to popping over and reading and sometimes they have not come through with a post.

    Great post Donna.

    Rachel

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 1:19 am #

      HI Rachel,

      Sounds like you’re doing a great job blogging your heart out 🙂

      It really is a wonderful world, isn’t it?

      I agree with you, the engagement is the best part of blogging.

      Of course, I’m a real “people person”, so I really like connecting with people. Not everybody is so big on it, though, and they worry more about the numbers of followers, conversion rates and such things. I know all that’s important, but like I’ve said so many times… the most important thing in blogging is be passionate about it, and to really love it.

      I think that kind of passion comes mostly through the engagement part of it.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  21. Jane
    Twitter:
    November 24, 2015 at 1:29 am #

    Hey Donna,

    You’ve touched some really nasty mistakes here! And I’ve committed them all in my early days of blogging. I don’t feel ashamed though, because I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes. And it is not strange to make such mistakes when one is just starting out.

    As to mistake #1, I went a step ahead and even assumed who my target audience was! How clever 😉

    My website used to be very very cluttered that I couldn’t myself focus on the content. It didn’t look strange to me at that time. But when I got to see some professional websites, I realized my mistake 🙂

    As to blogging consistently, I do agree. But recently I’ve switched to a rather casual model where I publish only when I have something to say. I don’t follow a strict schedule. Initially I thought this could damage the site’s organic status. But to my surprise, this works really well. I have more time to engage with my readers. And such posts do really well among the readers.

    Thanks for sharing this Donna. Have a wonderful week!

    Cheers,
    Jane.
    Jane recently posted..What is a Sitemap and how to create a sitemap in WordPress?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 1:28 am #

      Hi Jane,

      Blogging sure is a journey.

      You always learn new things, not just about your niche, but about blogging technique and strategy as well.

      And like you said, it’s nothing to be getting down about, just because you don’t do everything perfectly. You just pick up better and better methods as you carefully observe and learn from others.

      And it’s not always a one size fits all” solution to everyone’s problems. What works on some blogs may not on others.

      So it’s not just a matter of figuring out what’s best, but what’s best for our own blog and our own business model.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  22. Sonal Talwar
    Twitter:
    November 24, 2015 at 4:27 am #

    Hi Donna

    A wonderful post! It will help me a lot. As am new into the field of blogging, the post tells me what are the mistakes that I should avoid doing.

    Consistency is very important . Setting a schedule for oneself does help.

    I totally agree with you that , reciprocation does help in building engagement. It not only in increasing connections but also helps you learn. By reading you get to know so many things you were unaware of ust as this post will help me.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Sonal Talwar recently posted..A Dose of Gratitude – Magical formula to stay HealthyMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 8:57 am #

      Hi Sonal,

      Being new to the blogging world can be difficult. Setting a schedule and being consistent are important.

      Reciprocity will bring you more readership than anything else you can think of. Glad this helped.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  23. Susan cooper
    Twitter:
    November 24, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

    Boy Donna, you really hit the nail on the head with this post. I recognize all these mistakes as either something I learned through my own trial and errors. But mainly through the things that are did of my pet peeves that other bloggers do. The hard selling without caring one iota sbout the audience drives me nuts and is s total turn off from a site. The other things like a site that is not pleasing to the eye it difficult to navigate also may make me just close it down immediately. And the bloggers who fall to engage with their readers and respond to their comments are just really missing out in the best way to build their audience.

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 1:38 am #

      Hi Susan,

      We all have to walk the road of “trial and error”… that’s for sure.

      But learning from other bloggers, getting involved in discussions like these, and implementing the things we learn as we learn them… all these things are the way to blogging excellence over time.

      I know you’ve learned as you’ve moved forward with your own blog, and everyone has to do the same for themselves.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  24. Rob McDonald
    Twitter:
    November 24, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

    Hey Donna,

    You are spot on with these 5 blogging mistakes.

    I know I am guilty of at least one of these, and I ashamed to admit which one, but I am trying to overcome.

    I am with you on the clutter and confusion. I hate popups. If I go to your site, and you have a lot of popups wanting me to sign up for your list, then I will probably just leave you site. Let me decide if I want to sign up or not.

    I know alot of people swear by these methods, but they are just annoying to me so I won’t put them on my site.

    If you really want to put the email signup, put it somewhere that is less evasive, like in the blog post body.

    Inconsistency is a big thing. Your audience gets used to seeing a post from you, and if you don’t deliver on a regular basis, they may get confused and not come back.

    I try to post out a post at least weekly, unless something major is going on in my life. What can I say, sometime life happens.

    The biggie for me Donna is engagement. Why would you have a blog, and not let people comment it on it? Seems to me like that defeats the purpose. I know some people will have comments, but will turn them off after a certain amount of time. Why would you do that?

    Oh well, just had to get my two-cents in.

    Thanks Donna for this great post and it should be a reminder for all of us. I will definitely be sharing it as well.

    I hope you have a wonder week and a Happy Thanksgiving!
    Rob McDonald recently posted..How To Increase Your Traffic And Build Relationships Using TriberrMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 9:08 am #

      Hi Rob,

      Oh that clutter and confusion drives me crazy too! I like to go to a blog without jumping through hoops lol.

      I with you on that biggie which is engagement. Yes, why the heck would one have a blog, not let people comment on it? That is what I call a website…not a blog. A blog is all about engagement.

      I loved your two cents!

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  25. Mi Muba
    Twitter:
    November 24, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

    Hi Donna

    Very thoughtful post indeed. Almost all of them are very conceptual mistakes and people can’t realize them initially because they are mostly felt once their impact appears.

    Doing everything for money can work in banking business but not in other types of business where basic purpose is usually to serve the needs of customers professionally.

    You are right people arrive on our blog not to entertain or to enjoy its scenic beauty their do just to get the solution of a given problem and for that they don’t like to explore the whole of blog and just want to see it very prominently displayed and clearly described.

    I think these mistakes are not the ones that newbies commit and many very mature bloggers commit them and very innocently complain of not achieving blogging success.

    Thanks a lot for sharing and have a wonderful Wednesday
    Mi Muba recently posted..11 Months’ Bombproof Formula To Be A Money Blogging GeniusMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 1:44 am #

      Hi Mi Muba,

      You’re certainly right that blogging mistakes are not made just by newbies. Everyone makes them to some degree at least now and then.

      I know I do.

      But as you start to understand the core practices and principles that work best for most bloggers, you begin to get yourself on the right path.

      Of course, you can always change up some of the rules and “laws” as you go along, but you’ve got to know them and have tried them out before you can change them successfully.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  26. Naman
    Twitter:
    November 25, 2015 at 1:23 am #

    Hello,
    I like your blog very much. Great post!

    All the things you listed down must be kept in mind and are really important to focus on. What do you think about my blog? I’m blogging from few years but am a beginner in the writing niche, hope to receive some tips from you.

    Thanks for sharing the amazing content.

    Happy Blogging!
    Naman Kumar
    http://www.namanboard.com
    Naman recently posted..A View Of The Childhood Of Abdul KalamMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 9:35 am #

      Hi Naman,

      I love your blog! I just read your incredible post about a view of the childhood of Abdul Kalam. He is one of my favorites.

      I liked the way you put in that video about his teacher! So much so, I had to share that with my nieces and nephews. Keep on going!

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  27. Christine Adindu
    Twitter:
    November 25, 2015 at 2:02 am #

    Mistakes yap! we do it is. It is always good to be open to learn and makes correction. Most of us learn from our mistake my self-included. Putting this post will help everyone to know when they are heading the wrong way and make correction right away. Thank you

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 1:45 am #

      Hi Christine,

      I wrote this post to give people warnings of what to do and what to avoid.

      Hopefully it will help people stay on the right course, and steer clear of trouble.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  28. Jan Shaw
    Twitter:
    November 25, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Great post and great lessons! Just this week, I’ve written blog posts about consistency and sources of content for your blog. It’s a challenge and one point that you make is so true…help people where they need help and not for self promotion.

    Keep up the great work!

    Jan
    Jan Shaw recently posted..10 Sources of Content for Your Home Business BlogMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 9:45 am #

      Hi Jan,

      Indeed…the essence is to help people where they need help and never for self promotion. And of course consistency is another key factor.

      Great to see you here.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  29. Sherman Smith November 25, 2015 at 11:33 am #

    Hey Donna,

    Now this is an epic post. It gets you to thinking if you’re blogging only for yourself or are you adjusting your blog for your audience as well as for yourself.

    I can definitely relate to #1 and #2. When I first started blogging I assumed I knew what people who were in home business in general wanted. My market was too wide and more importantly I didn’t have Google Analytics set up to give me some clues.

    For #2 there were plenty of times where I was forcing my blog to draw attention. We’ll it didn’t work so well LOL..people like simplicity and want to get right into the blog from the get go. I have come across so e blogs myself where they have every ad, every popups opt in come up that it just turned me off.

    But I will definitely keep a conscious effort when I go a little overboard with my blog. This was a great reminder! Thanks for sharing Donna! Have a great Thanksgiving!
    Sherman Smith recently posted..How You Can Easily Create SEO Friendly Blog PostsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 9:54 am #

      Hi Sherman,

      Indeed, people do like simplicity. When we load our blogs with ads and a very crowded sidebar, it only confuses the reader. What is worse is a pop up that you cannot find the little x to make it go away.

      We do have to know what our readers want to learn. If we write for ourselves, we will just go round in circles lol.

      We both came a long way didn’t we Sherman?

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

      • Sherman Smith November 26, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

        Hey Donna,

        I hate it when that happens. You’re trying to find the ‘x’ and it’s no where to be found. it’s worse when you’re trying to read a blog on a mobile phone and it’s not there.

        But yes, if we just write for ourselves we would be going in circles. That’s not cool at all LOL

        We surely have came a long, long, long way, but it was a great journey. Especially being on the same journey with you and others that’s experiencing the same things.
        Sherman Smith recently posted..How You Can Easily Create SEO Friendly Blog PostsMy Profile

  30. Chery Schmidt
    Twitter:
    November 25, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

    Hello Donna, You have done a great job with this post my friend, OH Yes Guilty As Charged! I imagine we all are at one point or another HUH?

    But the good news is we have friends like you where we can go to learn how to overcome these 5 blogging mistake and start to build a serious and successful blog.

    Great Share. Thanks..
    Have a Great Thanksgiving..
    Chery :))
    Chery Schmidt recently posted..Developing A Positive Mindset With CheryMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 9:55 am #

      Hi Chery,

      Yes, I think we were all guilty of one thing or another here in the beginning lol.

      But the good news is that we overcame our mistakes (hopefully lol) and if there are newbies reading this it will help jump start their blogging.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  31. James McAllister
    Twitter:
    November 25, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    Hi Donna!

    I have to say, while I suffered many of these mistakes I have gotten over almost all of them over time. However, I still 100% stand by the pop-ups I use as my pop-up accounts for around half of my total opt-ins, and this number has increased as the percentage of my traffic that comes from search engines has increased as well. I have to push for it because these people probably aren’t going to return for a while if I don’t do something to retain them.

    I have no doubt there is a right and a wrong way to handle pop-ups but I’m willing to bet a lot of the people here have never even tried one at all just because they don’t like them. The fact of the matter is, they can work very, very well.

    Entry pop-ups are annoying and probably aren’t read by most people. Pop-ups that pop up on every page, every single time you visit probably don’t do much except scare people off. Well-implemented pop-ups don’t scare people off, but they are great at retaining people by getting them on your email list. My bounce rate has actually dropped since implementing my pop-up, likely because I’m getting people who would previously arrive from a search engine and leave forever to come back and read multiple articles I’ve written.

    I am actually in the process of switching from Pippity to OptinMonster right now, and will use much of the same options I used previously – setting the pop-up only to appear at the end of the article, once every 30 days, along with the exit-intent feature I’m sure you’ve seen on many websites. I would be shooting myself in the foot if I removed it completely.

    Just my two cents. I know they’re not for everyone, but I know many people are giving up a lot of potential subscribers by disregarding them without trying them.

    – James McAllister
    James McAllister recently posted..5 Side Hustles To Consider Alongside BloggingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 10:43 am #

      Hi James,

      Yayy. I’m so glad you offered some push back on the pop-up topic.

      I am not actually opposed to using pop-ups and I probably could have been a lot clearer on that point.

      I don’t like confusion. That’s why I talked about pop-ups. But I’m not saying I don’t like ANY pop-ups, just those that are annoying, in your face, and totally distracting when you’re trying to read an article. That’s what I call confusion.

      And I know the confusion is deliberate. “Savvy marketers” use what they call “pattern interrupts” to snap people to attention on a specific call to action. That’s the psychology behind the pop-up. Interrupt somebody who is in the middle of reading, for instance, and demand that they take action, and they’ll take notice because it’s something that doesn’t fit into the pattern of what they were doing.

      It’s like driving down the street and seeing all blue signs, and suddenly there’s a red one. It interrupts your pattern of seeing only blue, and you’ll probably actually read the red sign, whereas the sea of blue ones go unnoticed.

      That’s okay… a little. But people get totally abusive with this. That’s what I think turns people away from you, instead of pulls them in.

      BUT… I think you can use pop-ups in a way that is not so intrusive.

      Funny you say you just got OptinMonster because, while I have NO pop-ups anywhere on this blog, I do own OptinMonster and plan to use it one day when I have the patience to “open the box” and “assemble it.”

      But my intention is to use only the exit-intent pop-up that basically says “Hey, I see you’re about to exit my blog. Before you go… CTA.”

      I don’t find that annoying because the person about to exit my blog is not in the middle of reading something. They’ve already interrupted that activity voluntarily. The exit pop only reminds them of the CTA as they’re on their way out the door anyway.

      So, yes. You are right. Pop-ups can definitely help you build your list in a nice way. That’s what I see from many of my students’ experiences with them, although, like I said, I have yet to give it a first hand run.

      Thanks again, James, for pointing this out because I don’t want everyone to just think all pop-ups are “bad.” PS: I do like the Hello Bar a lot, too, although it’s not technically a pop-up, but a similar strategy for list building.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  32. Rob McDonald
    Twitter:
    November 25, 2015 at 9:28 pm #

    Hi Donna, I know I have been guilty of a few of these myself as well, and I am ashamed to admit which one.

    Its hard, when you assume what your readers want to read about. Sometimes, I think, it is trial and error. Sometime you choose correctly and sometimes not. But the best way, is to just ask them. Once they tell you, then answer their question in a blog post.

    One of my pet peeves is the pop up boxes for opting into a site. They just become annoying after a while and make me want to leave. Sure, I guess they work for some, but at what cost?

    I would rather see a static opt-in, so that I have the choice to opt-in or not. You want see the annoying devices on my site. What you might see, is an opt-in box within a blog post. I think this is more effective.

    Inconsistency, this is a good one. I try to blog at least once a week, but sometimes life happens, and I just can’t do it. But, I try not to go more than two weeks.

    Engagement, this is the one that baffles me. Why would you turn off comments on your blog? Blogging, in itself, is about engagement. That’s how relationships are built. That how you network with people. This is how you get loyal followers.

    I also don’t understand why you would not reply to the reader’s comments. This is your audience, they are providing feedback and sometimes questions. Comments are invaluable to a blog.

    Thanks Donna for listing these mistakes. They are a reminder for us to know what we dare not do if we want our blogs to succeed.

    I hope you have a wonderful week!
    Rob McDonald recently posted..How To Increase Your Traffic And Build Relationships Using TriberrMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 10:59 am #

      Hi Rob,

      Well, I guess we all agree that “annoying” pop-ups are counterproductive, although a lot of good marketers have success with them. I just left James a long reply to his comment about pop-ups, so check it out on that topic.

      As for knowing what your readers want, you should do the research and socializing that gets you to understand them. Beyond that, though, understand that you can never really know what they’ll be interested in any better than by just trying some things out. Write different types of posts on various topics you “think” should get their attention and engagement, and then assess your results. Also, as you said, see from their comments what things they’re talking about that can guide you to more topics and conversations they’ll find interesting and valuable.

      Speaking of comments, there are some people who do not allow comments. The thinking behind that is to position yourself as “too important” to take people’s questions. It’s like the movie star mentality that you need body guards to keep the common folk away from you. Now, some bloggers, like Seth Godin, are really and truly so overwhelmed by comments when they allow them, that they prefer to disallow them rather than not reply to them. Other bloggers just play the part to elevate their image (or so they think) of being really important.

      Bloggers disallow comments sporadically sometimes. They allow them for some posts, but then not for others. This is supposed to make you rush to comment when the comments are allowed because you know they’re not always allowed. This is a variation of the “rock star” thing some bloggers try to create.

      Then, there are bloggers who allow comments but never, or hardly ever, send replies. That, again, is obviously what I call a “rock star” strategy of “I’m too important to answer all you folks, but I’ll keep blogging because I have such incredible information for you.”

      So, take your pick.

      I like people. I like engagement. That’s what I’m about and it’s why commenting and replying to comments is such an important part of what I do.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  33. Peter Beckenham
    Twitter:
    November 26, 2015 at 10:01 am #

    Hello Donna and thanks for this dose of “self inspection”.

    I have been guilty of all 5 of these mistakes and maybe still guilty of point 2 re “clutter and confusion”

    Initially I assumed that in my niche (internet marketing) everyone who was starting their online business were having the same challenges as me. Consequently I blogged about the problems/fears and frustrations I was having in getting started online.

    Yes there were a few folks with the same issues as me but my blindly assuming everyone had the same issues was almost a “game-ending” position for me.

    Actually this whole issue of assuming what my readers want was highlighted when I discovered the simple and free little site called FAQFOX – easy to find on Google search.

    This clever little site enabled me to discover all the pains, frustrations, challenges, fears etc being faced my people in my niche as it quickly amassed info from all the relevant forums.

    This information not only showed me how wrong my assumptions had been about what my readers wanted but it also provided me with an unending supply of highly relevant blog post potential content.

    Re your point about “engagement” people who refuse to accept comments on their posts are a complete mystery to me. After all the key to success in blogging is to build a vibrant and support blogging community and commenting is the very start of that journey.

    Donna my biggest take from your excellent post was your comment about the main function of a blog – that being “to improve the reader’s lives, not yours”.

    That little sentence says it all to me and if you followed this mantra you would also probably avoid making the 5 mistakes you pointed out!

    Thank you again for such a valuable post

    Best wishes from a very hot and wet Thai village

    Peter
    Peter Beckenham recently posted..You Don’t Have To Do It AloneMy Profile

  34. Donna Merrill
    Twitter:
    November 26, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

    Hi Peter,

    Truly, the most important thing to do is focus on improving the lives of all those who visit your blog. Like you point out, if you do that then you probably won’t be making any of the other 5 common mistakes. Or it would be pretty hard to, anyway.

    Just to take your example of not quite knowing what kinds of topics to write about, if you’re really understanding what it would take to improve your readers’ lives, then you already know what to write about. Write about those things!

    We’re not talking about changing everything in their lives, just helping them get to the next step. If your readers are mostly focused on YouTube marketing, for instance, you could write an article about how Periscope is an excellent format for developing videos. You could show them how that gets done.

    That will really improve their lives insofar as they want to improve their YT game.

    If you have a mom’s blog, you might write a story about how much easier it is for you to do your morning exercises by propping up your baby monitor while you’re doing them, so you can keep an eye on the little one. You might even suggest some of the better monitors to buy, and even put your Amazon link in the article. Sure, you’d be making a commission if they buy it, but you’d also be improving their lives by (1) pointing out what a great idea it is to buy a baby monitor, and (2) what some of the best ones to buy are, and (3) by giving them an Amazon link right on your blog so they don’t even have to waste a lot of time shopping around.

    When you improve people’s lives, and you do it right… blogging becomes a real win-win!

    -Donna
    Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  35. lisa thomson
    Twitter:
    November 26, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    Hi Donna, it looks like I’m a little late to the party—sorry I missed this. The good thing about being late though is I can read all the comments 🙂

    I agree with all of these. Pop ups especially annoy me. They pop up even after you’ve signed up to get the blog to your email and that’s terribly annoying esp on the mobile. Ads everywhere and in the middle of content, even in the comments section make it very confusing and cluttered. I’m not sure they earn very much money considering the annoyance they cause the site visitor.

    So, I’m guilty of some of these mistakes. I’m consistently posting on Tuesdays (except this week) but my posts are all very different from one another. I do that on purpose though to maintain variety. The message is always the same though—helping my reader through divorce or life change. I like to mix up serious topics with fun ones but perhaps I’m confusing some of my visitors.

    Great suggestion to visit forums and other sites where our target audience is and find out what they want to talk/read about. Adrienne also recommends that and what a great idea!! Thank you Donna for such a helpful post. Happy Thanksgiving, too!!
    lisa thomson recently posted..Divorce With StyleMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 9:14 pm #

      Hi Lisa,

      First of all, Happy Thanksgiving back to you 🙂

      I don’t think switching the tone of your blog posts is particularly confusing since you have a consistent them that underlies them all.

      The popup business, along with tons of banner ads all over the place, or even those persistent link ads… that is really where the bigger confusion comes for someone who stops by just to read an article.

      Most important of course is that you do want to be sure you’re connecting well with your readers’ interests and problems. Visiting forums, FB groups and other blogs is always a good way to do that.

      Another way is to see what’s selling in your niche. If something is selling, you know your audience is interested in it. You can even look at the sales pages of those products and take note of the bullet points of benefits and features. This will tell you what these product creators think their buyers (who you’ve determined to be your target audience) also want.

      If the product is selling good, then they are connecting on those points. These are areas to focus on in developing your “value based content” on your blog, in your emails and anywhere else you’re connecting with folks.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  36. Atish Ranjan November 26, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

    Hello Donna,

    Liked where you have said that the readers don’t want anything except the solution to their problems which means they just want to look for the info they want. So we must focus on creating content that actually solves the purpose, and not annoy them.

    Inconsistency is the biggest blogging mistake because blogging needs consistency anyhow.

    Great write up, Donna. Thanks for sharing
    Atish Ranjan recently posted..15 Best Password Managers to Manage Passwords EfficientlyMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      November 26, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

      Hi Atish,

      You’re right, of course, that the most important thing to focus on is creating top notch content for our readers. That’s what they’re looking for.

      All the ads, popups and everything else are just roadblocks you set up between your reader and the content they’re seeking. As you point out, it’s totally annoying to them. Not the best way to build a loyal audience.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Less Is MoreMy Profile

  37. Akaahan Terungwa
    Twitter:
    November 26, 2015 at 10:03 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Awesome article as usual…

    Having coached many upcoming bloggers myself, I completely concur that this forms part of the challenges many bloggers face when starting out. It is rather avoidable, looking at my own blogging journey now – however, more and more newbies are making even bigger mistakes!

    Aside this obvious mistakes, monetization is one area again that I see too many things going wrong: Adsense on a non niche specific blog attracting traffic in the tens or hundreds etc. Where would the progress land?

    Then again, imagining that a blog is a ‘business’ in the strict sense of the word and treating it as such – when in essence, it is only a platform and should be respected in that capacity!

    Sincerely, you rock, Donna. Keep up the super awesome work!

    Always,
    Akaahan Terungwa
    Akaahan Terungwa recently posted..5 Extremely Awesome Ways of Making Money Online I’m Sure You’re Missing!My Profile

  38. Monna Ellithorpe
    Twitter:
    November 27, 2015 at 9:44 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Loved your periscope on this topic and great to read it in print. I think #4 Inconsistency is the one I have to work on the most.

    For the most part, I do post on my blog every week and intend to post it on Tuesdays or Wednesdays but that doesn’t always happen.

    Thank you for all of the other 4 points. It sure doesn’t hurt to look them over and check the blog out again, just in case.
    Monna Ellithorpe recently posted..NaNoWriMo 2015 Winding DownMy Profile

  39. Kim Willis
    Twitter:
    November 27, 2015 at 11:14 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    If engagement is any guide to the health of a blog you passed the test with flying colors!

    And what excellent information you’ve got here. You nailed this topic, just as you’ve done for your previous posts.

    While on the themes of engagement you are spot on – engagement is one of the keys to successful blogging. It amazes me how many bloggers either don’t allow comments or if they do, are not engaging with the few visitors who dare to add a comment. Sure it takes more time, but it does work and, therefore, should be integral to any blogger’s core regimen.

    Another good point you made was inconsistency. Some so-called pro bloggers don’t cut the mustard…….

    When I started blogging the right way three months ago, I compiled a list of 25 bloggers I was told to follow. Yours, of course, was one of them. Today, just three months later I see that 2 have quit the game altogether, and another 5 are now posting once every 4 to 8 weeks! Are they kidding?

    People need to make up their minds once and for all – are they pros or not? To me being professional is about paying your dues, doing the hard yards, and taking the long view, every time.

    Thanks again Donna – you rock!

    Kim
    Kim Willis recently posted..I Got Scalped in Phnom Penh Barber ShopMy Profile

  40. Joan M Harrington
    Twitter:
    November 28, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Really, really enjoyed this post as I know these very common blogging mistakes all too well lol 🙂

    Being “inconsistent” is the key to sure failure at blogging!

    Another blogging mistake that really stood out was not being engaging. How people who are bloggers do not engage with their readers and fans makes no sense, no sense at all.

    If you want to be a blogger, making it a point to be engaging and friendly with your readers by answering every single comment and helping them is so very important to maintain that long term relationship.

    Sharing value consistently and daily WITHOUT expecting anything in return is what makes a blogger great and a serious one at that, and of course having that passion is what makes you the best 🙂

    Thanks Donna for sharing your valuable tips and awesome post!

    As always, love your value, my friend, and your expert tips!

    Big hugs,
    Joan
    Joan M Harrington recently posted..4 Reasons Why You Should Publish More Curated ContentMy Profile

  41. Sue Bride
    Twitter:
    November 29, 2015 at 5:06 am #

    I’ve never used pop-ups although I’m sometimes tempted when I read that they work. Have you noticed the trend to full page pop-ups which are probably made for mobile but seem much more intrusive on desktop.

    I only post once every couple of weeks – with some lapses making it monthly. My posts are quite long and detailed. If not I’d post more frequently. I had almost year off about 5 years ago. I wasn’t trying to earn anything before then. I developed some close friendships with fellow bloggers, who like me were writing as a hobby, but one by one they gave up. I lost motivation. Strangely enough I didn’t lose any ranking during that time. I reckon it would be different these days.

    Learning about online marketing gave me something new tackle and meeting with like minded people gave me back my motivation.

    Thanks for another informative post, Donna.
    Sue Bride recently posted..Facebook Grid For Text On Ad ImagesMy Profile

  42. Edward Thorpe
    Twitter:
    November 29, 2015 at 8:09 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    As always, an informative post about common blogging mistakes.

    Good observations and smart suggestions.

    This week I’ve broken a sacred vow (one which you detailed quite nicely in this post): For the 1st time ever, I didn’t immediately reply to comments!

    Ah, the horror…

    I will rectify this shameful lapse before my head hits the pillow.

    Thanks,
    Edward
    Edward Thorpe recently posted..Sexually Transmitted Disease MG Is Not An Epidemic Nor Is It NewMy Profile

  43. David March 1, 2016 at 1:54 pm #

    Hi Donna

    Indeed a great post about blogging mistakes.

    I am glad that you have covered major blogging mistakes and It is a fact that these are those mistakes which almost every blogger do.

    But We can’t deny that these mistakes helped us a lot to learn something new. Imagine without doing any mistake, do we able to learn something new?

    Absolutely not, because doing mistakes create questions in our mind and when we have a new question in our mind then we always try to get answer of these question which help us to learn something new. 😀

    I had also did so many mistakes when I started my blogging carrier and still doing. I used to copy articles from other blogs which is very much common for almost every blogger.

    Every new blogger publish 1st article by copying it from other site and same thing I did.

    Later I learnt that Google never ranks duplicate articles and then this mistake helped me to write articles by own. It taught me that how to write articles by yourself and also improved my English a little bit.

    Sometimes doing mistake become turning point in our life so I love doing mistakes. 😀

    Thanks for sharing such a great piece of content. 😀
    David recently posted..Top 5 Best Acoustic Guitar under $200 [ MOST WANTED ]My Profile

  44. Muhammad Ahmad
    Twitter:
    April 14, 2016 at 4:27 am #

    Hi Donna,
    Valid points indeed!
    In blogging, we learn from our own mistakes and from the competitors that we get.
    Thanks for sharing these mistakes,
    Ahmad
    Muhammad Ahmad recently posted..How to Approve AdSense in 2016 – [Complete Guide]My Profile

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