Don’t Be the Blogger That Makes These Critical Content Mistakes

This is a guest post by Elizabeth McGee.

The best bloggers on the web do 6 things very well.

They start by keeping their focus on their reader and engaging the reader. These things are actually fairly easy once you understand what it is that appeals to your reader.

Secondly, write great content. This is what will set you apart from all the other, let’s say, ordinary bloggers.

But what does it take to write great content?

There’s lots of advice out there, but it starts with avoiding the content mistakes that many blog writers commonly make.

Here are 6 critical content mistakes you’ll want to avoid.

Mistake #1. Focusing more on You and less on Your Reader

Most of us that blog for a living do it to make money. Naturally; that’s the goal, but if you put a greater focus on making money with less focus on your reader and how you can benefit them, you’re not likely to make any money at all.

Why not?

Because your focus is on you and not on your visitor.

When someone comes to your blog or website, they’re looking for information, ideas or help. If you can’t give them what they want, provide useful answers to their questions or demonstrate how a product or service is capable of offering the the benefits they require, they’ll leave.

People look for value first, whether it’s in the form of information, products or services, and you can’t provide value if your primary goal is your own personal gain.

Keep your eye on what benefits your visitor, and they’ll keep their eye on you ;-)

Mistake #2. Not Creating Your Blogging Voice

You’ll naturally be able to create your blogging voice by understanding yourself and your blog visitors.

For example, who are your visitors? Where do they come from? What are their likes and dislikes. Understanding those things will help you relate and connect with your visitors on a level they can appreciate.

But even more importantly you need to understand who you are.

Who are you as a blogger? What is your competitive edge? What do you want to be known for? Is there a hole your trying to fill?

Understanding yourself, your talents and your skill set will help you know where to concentrate your focus.

Certainly don’t be someone you’re not, but do let your true personality surface. But above all be caring, honest and friendly. Capture your reader’s interest by connecting and sharing with them on a level they can appreciate while also helping them truly feel that they are the focus of your interest.

Mistake #3. Crafting Poorly Written Headlines

A well crafted headline has to do more than simply make a statement.

Great headlines have three ingredients, they…

  • Pique interest or create curiosity
  • Deliver on a promise
  • Are Easy to understand

Once you know your audience well enough to know what will interest them you’ll need to expand on that with a headline that piques interest or creates curiosity.

A headline like:

“How to lose weight” isn’t going to create much interest or generate much curiosity but

“How to lose 10 pounds without dieting or exercise” will definitely get some immediate attention.

Secondly, a successful headline will offer a promise, and a successful piece of content will deliver on that promise. Don’t make the mistake of making a promise in your headline and then disappointing your reader by not following through on your promise.

Finally, a good headline will be easy to understand and direct to the point. Read your headline for clarity and weed out the words that are vague or add confusion.

Mistake #4. Delivering Content That Focuses on Quantity and Not Quality.

Is it important to Post Every day? Not at all!

Maybe this was the trend a few years ago, but not now. Back then, content, and lots of it, was what you needed to rank well in the search engines.

Today, quality trumps quantity. Your content has to be much more focused, relevant and useful. That means your blog posts must offer value and need to appeal to your reader first.

If your focus is primarily on the search engines, that will reflect in your writing. Your readers can tell where your focus is. Incidentally, so can the search engines. Not sure about that? Just ask anyone who’s lost search engine ranking after Google algorithm changes, especially the more recent updates.

Mistake #5. Neglecting Social Encouragement

Love it or hate it, social media is a necessary resource for creating interaction and spreading your valued content to others that will value from reading it.

Post social medial buttons on your blog and encourage your readers to share your content on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

But remember, the key to getting readers to share your content is by publishing content worth sharing.

Mistake #6. Neglecting Your Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact the simpler and more natural your optimization is, the better. But your SEO should be consistent and practical.

Use this basic SEO checklist when writing your blog posts:

One you know what your post focus keywords are, use this checklist to make sure your keywords are included in the appropriate areas of your web page:

  • As part of the URL, for example www.yoursitename.com/keywordphrase.html
  • In the page Title Tag
  • In the page Description tag
  • In the first paragraph
  • In at least one Header tag (<h1>)
  • In the alt text of the graphic if there is one
  • In the body of the copy
  • In the summary or last paragraph of the page

So what’s left to do now?

Take action by knowing what your visitors care about, and what they want to know along with avoiding the content mistakes that will hamper your creative, SEO and social execution. This is how you will create content that is useful, valuable, and will be a lot more likely to inspire your specific outcome.

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Comments

  1. says

    We’ve found that many bloggers make mistake #4 because they are trying to avoid #6. I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve seen that are incoherent and don’t make a lot of sense, but are stuffed with keywords and anchor text. You need to write strong, quality content for your audience first, then go back and optimize for SEO.

  2. says

    Hi Elizabeth,

    This is very useful information especially for me, I’ve just started my blog and I kinda tend to make mistakes when it comes to SEO, some times I forget to do a keyword research before coming up with the title for my post.

    But after doing keyword research every time I write a new post I found that my site gets more hits from search engines. Thank you for sharing these tips.

    Enjoy your week.

    ~Philip
    Philip A. just posted How to drive traffic to your blog without Google?

  3. says

    Elizabeth

    All very important but the one that jumps out is the headline. I use ‘AllTop’ to list my most read blogs and if the title of the post doesn’t entice me to read, I don’t!

    Yours obviously did!

    Re: SEO and Heading tags

    You say use your keyword phrase “In at least one Header tag ()”.

    We should only have one H1 tag per page and that often is the title of the post (depends upon the theme).

    Use as many H2, H3 tags with you keyword phrase but stick to one H1 tag.

    Andrew
    Andrew just posted How To Inject Fun Into Your Work

  4. says

    I don’t have a problem with people or sites that post something every day. I just don’t know how they find the time. It seems like some sites that post daily have articles that are kind of short. Nothing wrong with short and to the point sometimes, but not all the time. When it comes to a headline I never know exactly how I am going to title it. I am not one to spend a lot of time researching titles. Some people say catchy is better, others tell you to think about search engines. I usually try to think of a title that I would search for myself. Then, I might try to add a little more to it. I know I could do a better job though.
    Ray just posted How to Optimize a WordPress Database

    • says

      Hi Ray.

      Personally I don’t think you should be thinking of the search engines too much. Google’s making it near impossible to rank well no matter what you do.

      What’s going to help you get more traffic and make sales is connecting with people socially, through guest posting and email. So I like your thinking when you say, think of a title that you would search for yourself. If it gets your attention, it will probably get the attention of your reader as well :-)
      Elizabeth just posted The 10 Mantras of Writing Web Copy That Sells

  5. Alex says

    I have to agree to disagree. Whilst all your points are spot on I feel that mistake #1 should not be there.
    If a (newbie) blogger does NOT focus on themselves then how they will find their ‘place’
    I think it is in a bloggers very nature to be selfish, and it is only through experience and patience that we find our place in the blogosphere. From here we as bloggers can focus on not making any of the mistakes you listed above.

    I started blogging for me and only me. If I had started with my (non existent) readers in mind then I would never have found my niche, excuse the pun :)
    Alex just posted The Video Marketing Handbook. Why Vid.E.O is the New S.E.O.

  6. says

    A lot of bloggers out there miss out on point # 6, simply because they do not have any SEO nous or knowledge whatsoever. I believe that it is important, nay, essential for bloggers to know the basics of SEO – even if they outsource optimization to someone else. Secondly, pt # 7: Build Email Lists. A large amount of bloggers simply do not understand the importance of email lists, and while many out there might argue that list-building is a redundant activity, it remains one of the best (and Google-independent) tools to get traffic on your blog.
    Aaron H. just posted A Breakdown of the Costs of Starting a Blog

  7. says

    Hey,
    Excellent post, I do agree with all your points but this is true that we should focus more on readers as readers are every thing for our blog.

    Thank you

    Saif

  8. says

    thanks Elizabeth for this, yes sometime I have seen many bloggers doing this. One major week point for this that they don’t have much ideas or deep research to create quality content and the same they don’t care other points you talking ..excellent jobs!

  9. says

    Nice by Elizabeth,
    You mention very common mistake which new Blogger makes, even I also did it, the most important point is “Crafting Poorly Written Headlines”, Headlines explain what the whole post want to communicate if we’ll select wrong that may convey wrong massage.
    Thanks for sharing
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