Wouldn’t that be nice, if we could all just learn from the mistakes of others. I really am new to blogging, after all I’ve only been seriously committed to it for just under three months now. It’s been a steep learning curve, that feels like it will never end (and that is probably a good thing). From the challenges of finding a niche (which I really am still working on), to the overwhelming task of building a brand and generating traffic. I hope I’ve already learned a few things along the way! I am one who tends to only learn from my own mistakes. How I wish I could learn from the mistakes of others. This week, I’ve taken note of what I think are some of the biggest mistakes I’ve made blogging thus far. I imagine that six months from now, I’ll have a whole new list to add to this.
1. Expecting people to agree with my opinions, and see things my way.
I’ve learned really quickly that not everyone is going to see things my way. And that’s got to be okay. I ignorantly went into blogging thinking somehow I would only attract individuals who agreed with my perspective, and wanted to leave agreeable and encouraging comments. Reality check! It’s just not like this, everyone is out there with every point of view, and many just won’t see things your way. I have quickly learned to accept criticism and the opinions of others. Taking it to the extent of including their thoughts in objective articles has proven a valuable response.
2. Rushing an article, and posting too quickly.
Early on I read a lot about the importance of posting, and somehow got sidetracked thinking quantity is better than quality. In my haste to post, I’ve rushed many an article that could have been written far better, with more details, and important information. Often I’ll have a central thought that I want to communicate, but it may not be enough to ‘fill a post’ to the point that I’m satisfied. I’m slowly learning to take my time, and not push out articles. My focus is shifting to quality, and away from quantity. Well thought out articles, that have more than one key point, and include the opinions and input of others are most well received and generate the most comments as well.
3. Self Promoting too much.
I became over zealous about promoting my blog, instead of allowing the quality of the material to do its job. It takes a long time for a blog to really get noticed. I have enjoyed a steady increase in traffic over the past three months, which I anticipate will continue, but I’m recently realizing I must find a balance between time spent promoting and time spent actually investing in my blog. Kiesha Easley from weblogbetter.com wrote an interesting article that I discovered recently entitled Social Media Can Kill Your Blog. In this article Kiesha explains how distracting social media can be, and suggests that “the very thing that can help your blog the most, can also be the very thing that harms it the most. Over-dosing on social media can keep you from completing the most important task, which is producing quality content.”
4. Comparing myself to other bloggers.
This can be discouraging quick. Obviously I look at other bloggers for inspiration and to learn, but comparing myself is a bad idea. I’m not them, and they are not me. What mold am I trying to fit into? I want my blog to be original and to contain original content. Any time in life that you start comparing yourself, you’re going to find someone who does things better than you. That’s just the way it is. Don’t get preoccupied with what everyone else is doing, or concerned with looking and sounding like others. I’ve had to learn (and am still learning) to just be myself on the web. Eventually this will attract people of like mind, who enjoy the way you write, and appreciate what you have to say.
5. Being preoccupied with stats and traffic, and ignoring my goals and vision.
Major distraction are web stats and traffic, and they have done a good job at distracting me from my goals and robbing me of vision. Sure it’s nice to see your site roll over 100 visits in a day for the first time, or the first time you hit 1000 visits, or attaining 100 twitter followers, (I found those were all happy milestones) but once I rolled past them I realized how much wasted time I’d spent looking at statistics, watching numbers, and then falling back into the self-promotion trap. Time I could have spent writing, researching, and investing myself into the growth and development of my blogs content. In the web we live in content is the bottom line, and good content can not be attained by staring at your analytics charts.
6. Not doing enough research.
It’s hard (but not impossible!) to write a totally original article with all new thought. So in most cases my posts include thoughts, opinions or ideas that have already been written about by someone else. In most cases, many other people have written similar articles. If I take my time, and write well my articles will be well thought, and provoke new thought, or bring to light new information that is not seen in other articles. But if I rush my posts, or ignore the information that others present my writing will be overlooked and ignored. For that reason, I’ve learned how important it is to look at and read other similar articles on the topics I like to write about. Computer Security is my primary niche, with social media and blogging tips slightly behind, as such I’ve found blogs and authors who I like up to and who inspire me. These are the guys I research and pay extra attention to when writing posts. I’ll definitely google some related search terms as well, but if another blogger has spent time writing a similar article perhaps I’ll even include a quote from them in my post!
There are A LOT of other blogging mistakes of course and I’m certain these are not the only mistakes I’ve made, they’re just the ones I’ve become aware of thus far. I wonder what mistakes I may be making right now, that I will only discover weeks or months from now? David Airey wrote an interesting article called “seven blog mistakes to avoid”, of the seven the one mistake he mentions which catches my attention and is a good reminder is his mistake #5, “neglecting article headlines”. A great point, as the title of a blog post must catch a readers eye, if it doesn’t they probably won’t read your article at all. With that said, I think I’ll go change the title of this post right now, and then hit publish. Was this post rushed? No, I took my time on this one.
What blogging mistakes have you made?