Enough. I can’t take this anymore.
This post might feel more like a rant than anything. Perhaps it will come across as too negative or whiny. And I will be judged accordingly. That’s fair.
I’m just tired of seeing blogging, one of the most powerful and effective tools to market your business, brutally abused and assaulted.
Amateur bloggers and online business owners are always telling me how they’re too intimidated to start their own blogs.
Not only do they have no idea how to start a blog, but they’re not even sure if they should bother starting one at all. And one of their biggest complaints rattles around in my head and keeps me awake at night.
“I hate reading blogs.” – Frustrated Blog Reader
And you know what? They’re 110% right.
The blog reading experience sucks. The majority of blogs are terrible. They ignore the needs and desires of their readers, force antiquated “marketing” strategies and obsess over nothing more than making a cheap buck.
“Marketers ruin everything.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
These so-called bloggers have tainted the art of blogging.
If you’re about to start a blog, or have started one recently, please learn from these people. More specifically, learn what not to do.
You have a massive opportunity to disrupt the blogosphere and gain tons of readers and followers simply by putting the readers’ experience above all else. (I know, what a novel idea right?)
These are the 10 biggest blogging mistakes that will make you look like an amateur:
Monetizing your blog with ads
Guys, it’s 2019. (and counting… #evergreencontent)
How in the world are you still trying to monetize your blog with ads?
Ads are bad. They trash your beautiful blog, annoy your visitors, torpedo your website’s performance and pay mere pennies.
Even Google is warning you that, if you don’t follow their very specific rules to the T, they’re going to drop the SEO hammer on you.
How many more reasons do you need?
I get it, you want to make money off your blog. We all do. But running ads is not the way to do it.
Using popups (of any kind)
Google’s next all-out assault is on the notorious popup. You know, those obnoxious little boxes that pressure you into giving them your email the second you land on their page.
Popups are right up there with ads. They completely destroy your blog’s user experience in exchange for a paltry 2% conversion rate. (In fact, 5% is considered wildly successful!)
On top of that, the majority of those people will end up unsubscribing within a few weeks anyway. And then an additional chunk of people will simply ignore what you send them or miss it because it ends up in their spam folder.
Yah, sounds like a super successful sales funnel right there…
Gating your best content
Raise your hand if you’ve given a blogger your email in exchange for a “super-duper incredible mind-blowing ebook that will explode your business and turn you into the most attractive human being on the planet” only to be incredibly underwhelmed once you received it.
I’m pretty confident that if you were all in front of me right now, I’d be able to crowd surf for days.
It is stunning to me how frequently bloggers under-deliver on over-hyped promises.
I wrote an ebook for my blog. I created a custom landing page for it. I integrated it into many of my blog posts. And then I gave it away.
I did not lock it behind an email opt-in. In fact, I didn’t ask for anything in return. I simply put a CTA at the end of my ebook with all of my contact info, and told people to get in touch with me if they need anything.
Do you know how many people reached out to me and thanked me for this simple little ebook? Many of these people ended up becoming some of my most loyal fans and subscribers.
Treating email “marketing” as the Holy Grail of the Blogdom
Heads up… email marketing is dying.
I am very much in the minority on this take. I’m well aware.
One of the most incorrect assumptions that continues to circulate around the blogosphere is that “email is the only marketing channel that you own”.
This is 100% false. You don’t own a dang thing.
Do you know how much email has changed over the years? It is a communication channel that continues to evolve and adapt, just like all of the social networks that bloggers love to compare it to.
Or do you not remember the days when SPAM filters were easy to bypass, all emails fell into your inbox instead of segregated tabs, and government regulations were loosey-goosey?
Copying other “successful” bloggers
I can learn about building a profitable blog from guys like Pat Flynn, Brian Dean, Neil Patel, or a gazillion other online entrepreneurs.
Do you know why I keep going back to Pete McPherson’s Do You Even Blog? Because I like his style.
I like his transparency, genuine quirkiness and rather frequent spelling errors. I find myself listening to his podcast even when I’m already well-acquainted with the info being presented because I find it entertaining. (and it’s how I met my boy Alex Felice!)
And this is uniquely Pete.
If he had tried to merely copy all of the other big blogger dudes out there, I would have no reason to come back to him. I could just leapfrog over him to the big guys.
So why do you keep insisting on making the same stuff that’s already out there?
Writing boring blog posts
This blogging mistake is just a direct result of laziness.
The old days of writing a 1,000-word post and stuffing it with targeted keywords are long gone guys. It’s time to get really good at storytelling.
And if I see you write one more lazy listicle and plaster it all over spammy Pinterest group boards I’m gonna need to buy a new laptop after all the table-flipping I’ll be doing.
Relentlessly sticking to a schedule when you have nothing to say
Content schedules are very helpful for creating a big picture view of your content strategy and providing daily motivation to write.
But this should never come at the detriment of your actual content.
If you don’t have anything to say, you don’t need to write. Writing a blog post because it’s Tuesday and you think people are waiting on bated breath for your post to drop is not a good reason to write. Especially if you have nothing to say.
I promise you, your followers will be fine if you take an extra day or two to publish something better.
Using too many generic stock photos
We constantly hear about how important visuals are to creating memorable blog posts. Our attention spans continue to shrink by the day and we need to be engaged fast if we’re going to stick around.
And yet, you click on an interesting headline about How to Use AI to Automate Your Personal Finances and are greeted with a stock photo of a pile of cash in front of a laptop with a side of espresso.
How many personal finance blogs exist? 1,000’s? 10,000’s?
If you own one of them, how exactly do you plan to stand out?
Pushing garbage online courses
*braces for flying tomatoes* *prays that it’s only tomatoes that come flying*
I have some serious issues with online courses. Nevertheless, they are clearly the latest trend in online business.
But as with any trend, you’re going to have people jumping on board to do nothing more than take advantage of people and make a quick buck.
And I have seen many bloggers creating subpar courses and overcharging for them.
Ignoring your user experience
Finally, we come to the worst blogging mistake of all. Ignoring your users’ experience.
The blogosphere is changing quick. A lot of these old school bloggers who profited off of black-hat SEO techniques and subpar content are in for a rude awakening.
The good news is, you have the opportunity to step up and replace them.
With each new algorithm update, Google is placing a higher priority on UX. They are heavily tracking how your visitors are interacting with your site. Metrics like Time on Page, Pages Visited, and Click Through Rate are the new goals.
On top of that, they are promoting websites that perform extremely well on mobile. Things like loading speeds, image optimization and text sizing play a much bigger role in getting your site to rank higher.
This is good news. Because all it means is that you simply need to put your visitors’ experience above all else.
What’s your take?
For all of my fellow bloggers out there who haven’t had the privilege of being on Pete’s podcast (yet), how would you answer his question?
At the end of every podcast episode, he asks his guests one simple question:
What is one thing you wish bloggers would stop doing?
I just gave 10 answers to his question, and I think I could come up with another 10, to be honest.