15 Blogging Mistakes That Cost You Traffic and Sales
Have you tried many things without much success? Did you ever wonder why a strategy fail to work for you while it always produces wonder for others?
Sometimes you can achieve success faster if you stop focusing on doing more of what you do right now. Sounds counter intuitive, but it can be more effective if you assess and get rid of the repeated mistakes.
Those blunders may cost you time and energy. It’s like carrying a 100-pound rock with you while running a marathon. You could have run faster, perhaps a few times more effective, without it.
What if you can do the same for your blogging business? What if the business is also a marathon? You may as well getting ahead of other bloggers in the same niche by offload those rocks, a few pounds at a time.
With that said, the following is 15 blogging mistakes that will certainly cost you traffic and sales:
1. Wrong Target Audience
I could go on for hours about this. Market research is critical to the success of every blog. Got this right and you already win half of the battle.
You should have heard about it before. You need to produce quality content. That’s 100 percent true, but still content is not everything.
First you have to make sure that your target audience spends money. Without it, you won’t be able to sell products. Look for hints, of which include bloggers who sell ad space. Ads, particularly those that are there for quite some time, mean profitable businesses.
Next you want to find products. This is easy. You can do it at the comfort of your chair. Just go to Amazon, eBay or ClickBank. Any online marketplace will do. Go for a walk to a mall if you feel like avoiding the computer for the moment. (Print out this article first if you are!)
Last, but not least, start thinking about the kind of audience you want to attract. Superb content gets you traffic, assuming that you promote it right. If you want to sell ad spaces — that’s your product — then make use of a professional web designer.
Without a good design, brands will avoid getting associated with your blog. Prepare for the audience you want to attract.
2. Lack of Strategic Business Model
Strategy is everything when it comes to building a successful blogging business. If you could reach more people than the other bloggers, you win. If you can strategically sell more stuff than your competitions, you will be doing well.
You can spend less time on content if you know how to (in other word, strategy) produce content quickly. Knowing upfront which things to focus on helps you get there faster.
Having a better monetization strategy and model gives you more power to purchase ads. That allows you to make even more money and grow even faster.
Your strategy determines which group of audience you attract, which products you create or promote next, who you partner with, how you promote your content, and so on.
You see, strategy is everything. But only a handful of bloggers spend enough time with it.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, it is time to abandon the “me too” mentality. Create a unique value proposition for your blog. Produce content effectively. Create actionable plans for promotion and monetization.
3. Picking Hosting Server That Fails to Scale
Shared hosting is cheap but it also fail to scale as your blog grows. Once you reach a certain level, either you need to pay more (and keep doing that) or migrate to a better host.
If budget is tight, starting with shared hosting perhaps is the only way to go. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you must take this path, pick a reputable hosting company that allows you to grow.
I personally experienced cheap hosting that disabled any busy account instead of suggesting an upgrade. They’d rather kick you off because you waste their most valuable resources, i.e. server utilization and bandwidth.
Avoid such company. They often delete your account without prior notification. Unless you have a backup, you may lose data. I haven’t even mentioned about the lost revenue during the down time. Just trust me, there are tons of issues and frustrations that you should have avoided with a reputable hosting company.
4. Inappropriate (Dull) Blog Design
First impression counts. You want to look credible. Your blog design helps you with that.
Crowded design may prevent your visitors from finding their way into your content. That hurts your sales.
Although I am fond of great blog design, as a marketer, I tend to concentrate on the message. (Remember, effective copy sells.)
When I design a blog (for myself and clients), I’d like to emphasize on functionalities, values and how to reach the end goal.
Others may disagree, but that works very well for me.
First and foremost I could save time tweaking minor details. Rather than using every latest technology and end up creating a web site or blog that looks pretty much like a circus, I stick with simplicity.
In my opinion, design is there to give a good impression and help accomplish a goal. You’d rather have your visitors find your information and click the right button, not wandering around like an excited child playing outdoors.
Overall good design yields higher return on investment. A designer should help you increase bottom line. Let her use other people’s web site or blog as a way to express herself.
5. Lack of Content Architecture
A blog is a superb way to publish content. Out of the box, many bloggers have used it successfully to get tons of search engine traffic.
Without a doubt, the way blog software organizes content is effective. It makes your posts found by search engine crawlers, which is important to get them ranked.
People who learn search engine optimization would agree though that without tweaking, most blog themes are not optimized properly. There are things you could do to improve site’s crawlability.
When it comes to page authority, links let it flow from one page to another, internally or externally. With an optimal content architecture / structure, you will pass around more authority value with less inbound links.
If that sounds too complicated for you, just ignore it. But if you are in a competitive niche and want to get the most out of your blog, you should optimize when possible. The result may or may not be worth the effort though. You need to do complete assessment before you can make a reasserted decision.
6. Improper Keyword Targeting Strategy
While you should create your flagship content first, the chance is quite slim that you will rank well for those keywords overnight. A better strategy would be to pick very relevant long tail keywords.
The strategy is to build from the bottom up. Imagine those keywords as the building blocks for your site. Although you already have the top blocks in place, the way it works is that the foundational blocks have to support the upper blocks.
It’s true that bloggers are able to build traffic and loyal audience without knowing about search engines, but if you also want to dominate search rankings and drive boatload of traffic, you should have a keyword strategy.
I admit I don’t follow my own advice all the time. Sometimes when I contribute a guest post to another blog, I also use sub-optimal anchor text. That’s because I also try to satisfy the audience need for information about certain topics.
Once you have traffic, you should be monitoring the web analytics report to gain insight into which keywords to target next, further expanding your keyword repository.
7. Not Using Search Engine Copywriting Techniques
Every blogger should at least understand the basics of how search engines analyze pages. Chances are, those who overlook this don’t realize the missing opportunity and potential of those search engines.
For most bloggers, search engines still account for a large share of traffic. Best of all, you can learn a few basic stuff in a few hours.
Using search engine copywriting techniques such as integrating keyword in the title, use keyword stemming — synonyms, related keywords, etc. — will increase your chance of ranking in the search listings.
The biggest challenge is to optimize for both human visitors and search engines at the same time. Pay attention to the order of which I mentioned them. Human visitors always come first before search engines.
Usually you can include the keyword in the title and inside the content because search users could relate to the search result and your content page if they find the exact keyword they search appears there.
The basic details are just a bit deeper than that, but not much. Albeit simple, you can often rank for long tail keywords with just these simple tricks.
8. Ineffective Promotion Strategy
This topic by itself is a good topic for a blog so let me mention quickly two tips that may help you get more traffic and secure more sales.
Regarding traffic generation, depends on the amount of time and human resources that are available, you may want to really explore only a handful of tactics at the same time. You are going to get more traffic if you focus on one or two tactics thoroughly.
The fact that you become very good at one strategy produces snowball effect. If you are good at writing guest posts, soon some bloggers will approach you and you will have more blogs to contribute to than you have time.
By playing on the strategies you are familiar with, you also have an unfair advantage because you play at a different level.
The second tip is to pay attention to details as it is often worth it. Cloaking links may be of a hassle if you are in a hurry but that may save you from losing commissions, particularly if your niche audience is familiar with affiliate programs.
9. Fail in Keeping the Momentum
Like in most business and marketing strategies, you are expected to struggle a bit in the beginning.
That struggle is there for a reason. Life automatically reward those who never give up.
Take traffic generation. Unless you are already a well known blogger, or if you have pretty good business connections, chances are you have to start from scratch and work your way up.
Nothing seems to be easy. But at a certain point, suddenly traffic is unstoppable, even if you try to. Most bloggers that I’ve ever spoken to about this never know when this situation came. It just happened.
If there is a magic formula or reason behind this, I guess the most obvious and logical one is momentum. Blogging requires that you keep producing content, keep engaging with your audience, and keep doing whatever it takes to get yourself and your blog out there.
Inertia in physics is the tendency to maintain a state of rest or uniform motion. Moving a big rock is hard when it is not yet in motion, but once it rolls down the hill, you just can’t stop it. It takes far more external force to change the state of the rock.
This applies to everything in life so your goal is to work hard before you get to this point. I don’t mean that you should stop once you move the rock a bit. But perhaps knowing that your focus will change to another thing once you reach a level can be comfy.
10. Not Writing Like You Talk
The primary purpose of writing like you talk is to create virtual conversation among you (the blogger) and the readers. People are more likely to relate to what you have to say if, first, you have relevant story to tell and, of course, secondly, you need to tell it in a way that they feel you are part of the community.
If you are a rose gardener, you should know about the slang and other terms related to the niche. Using that as part of the conversation shows that you are in the know about the topic you are blogging about.
And when you write like you talk, they feel as if they are talking to a friend with shared interest. Nothing can build trust faster than that. And yes, that establishes the kind of bond for them. I will not be surprises if they start to visit your blog repeatedly.
Why building this kind of relationship? Because your business relies on it. Trust is key to closing sales.
Surely you don’t have to write the pause between sentences, translate the throat clearing thing into written words, etc. It is different things to different bloggers.
That’s why you should not try to be someone else. Let the writing flow naturally so your personality can sneak in.
11. Getting Distracted Easily
Perhaps the only one thing that “gurus” fail to teach is the fact that the key to success is not the next breakthrough e-book or home study course. It is not personal coaching. Neither it is about a new seminar or industry event.
Although they want to make you think it is.
You see, most marketers who focus on the number of sales often will hide a few tidbits so they could keep releasing new products.
If you already have a bunch of blogging e-books but haven’t yet earned a dime or at least a few hundred dollars per month, this may come as a surprise for you. More experienced bloggers should have realized it.
The fault is not in the e-book, although the marketers are responsible for part of it. But in my opinion, it is more about the lack of common sense (in this particular matter), perseverance and consistency. I’m talking the truth so don’t get mad at me. Let me elaborate.
Almost all e-books contain the same information but what you most likely need is a twist in how they deliver the information so that you can finally get it. I hear people complain every day about the lack of something new in an e-book.
New things are not what everyone needs. In fact, to build a business, you need to stick to the basics, i.e. supplying a demand.
Pick a good e-book (another challenging problem) and stick with it. Find how to actually put it to work. Just because you get it wrong and then fail in implementation doesn’t mean the whole system is a flaw.
For most people, it is about the mindset and work ethic.
There’s definitely money to be made in social media. But perhaps you should not jump ship and start an entire business around making money with social media.
You can always learn the method and then adapt it to your business. For instance, use a blog to gather your audience and tap into social media to drive traffic to your blog. Use Twitter to engage with your audience. Create a Facebook page to extend your blog presence.
12. Not Leveraging Traffic (Send the Money Away)
What you do with your traffic determines success or failure. Remember that your traffic is a group of people who are interested with your content. They have credit cards in hand.
The path to a sale from this point involves delivering the right content and looking for a way to keep in touch (follow up) with the prospects. Once you get past that point, you still need to follow up and establish the relationship and trust.
Finally, you need to create or pick the right product to offer. The process itself may sound complicated to most bloggers.
Perhaps that’s the reason why they prefer to stick with the simpler business model, i.e. selling ads.
However, more and more, you have to struggle to get your share of the advertising pie. Also basically with this model, you are sending people away. Yes, the money that should have been in your pocket.
If you don’t have a larger vision beyond generating revenue from ads, such as sponsorship, direct sales and affiliate marketing, believe me, sooner or later you will be eaten alive as lunch.
Integrate one or more revenue streams for the long haul. It is the only way you can compete. Well, it grows your revenue too (if you prefer positive motivation).
13. Underestimate the Time Commitment and Effort
You don’t have to trust me. Just browse around public forums if you can’t talk to someone right now. Find out his/her plan for the next year regarding making money online.
Soon you will get an answer similar to: create a blog, post quality content, grow traffic, and slap some ad codes on. Rinse and repeat 20 times.
By now you should agree that for your blog to be worth reading, and if you want to be in this business for long, you need to produce quality content. The question is, can people really create quality content in so many niches they are not even familiar with?
I don’t think so. At least it is impossible without hiring professional writers. The latter is very costly and not necessarily within the budget for most beginners. As if it is not complicated enough, by hiring writers, you need to expand your skills to include project management. So it’s not as easy as you think it is.
Most bloggers also underestimate the size of their niche market. They get to a few thousands of RSS subscribers and think that’s all, and consider starting a blog with another topic.
It probably takes 2 times as much to maintain two blogs, while it should be much easier to just grow the niche vertically. Note that if you are not careful, quality may be in jeopardy because you have to split your attention.
Blogging, like any business, requires time commitment. Don’t overlook this point when you are about to start a blog.
14. Building Everything but Most Important Asset
I mentioned above about the impact of traffic to the success of your blog. This is sort of an extension to it.
Nowadays even if you don’t have a product, you could help others find new customers and earn commission along the way through affiliate products.
Add to the fact that most people don’t buy the first time they are exposed to any kind of offer, suddenly it sounds like closing the sales is hard. It’s true, without the right strategy.
Bloggers should concentrate on turning first time visitors to subscribers. Let them choose between RSS feed and email list. Offer great content in either of them. Some would prefer pulling content when they have time to read. Others prefer content delivered to their inbox. (You may want to explore even more marketing channels, but RSS and email are a good start.)
Seize both opportunities. You are going to build your business asset faster this way. The asset is not your list though. It is the relationship you build over time with the list.
15. Throwing in the Towel
As simple as it could be, blogging is still a business. To make money in this real world, it takes time and effort. Some online users think someone really hands money to others so easily. They may live in an entirely different planet.
At least in my planet, people protect their hard earned money carefully. Unless I am able to prove value, they will not hand me a bill of any nominal.
If there’s one most disappointing mistake bloggers make, it is to give up so easily after a few weeks of trial. Invest some time on your business. At least you should be aware of the commitment right from the start.
Work on it. Perhaps you will never know when you are just this close to doubling your traffic, but unless you persist and keep on it, you will miss it.
The opposite of failure is NOT success. Failure is part of the journey to success. Everyone has to go through some of the failures — in one way or another — before they finally become successful.
If you think about it, many of the points above are obvious. However, a lot of bloggers make the same mistakes every day.
I was guilty for some of them. When I finally got rid of the mistakes one upon another, suddenly I approached blogging from a different perspective. I started zeroing in one a niche instead of eight, and progress has been very good ever since.
Try it. I think you will like this “other” approach. Try eliminating mistakes rather than doing more of everything for the next month. You will be surprised.
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