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Blogging Mistakes – Even Experts Make Mistakes

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It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.

If you've missed past Expert Briefs, you can click on the undies to see them all –>

I feel that being transparent is really important and shows the “real” person behind the business. So, on that note, this week I asked our panel of experts …

What's one mistake you've made with your blog?
And, what did you learn from it?

I think you'll find the answers this week helpful in developing your blogging strategy over the course of the year.


Connie Ragen Green of ConnieGreen.com says:

I started blogging in 2006, when I was brand new to the Internet. Even though I started taking classes and learning as much as I could, I made lots of mistakes. The biggest mistake I made with my blog was not planning out the categories ahead of time. Instead, I just started posting, and soon I had more categories than you can imagine. In fact, my list of categories looked like an Internet marketing dictionary!

The result was that I had very little search engine ranking for my main topic. As I learned more and more about SEO (search engine optimization) I began to change my ways, and soon people were finding me simply by searching on Google and the other search engines.

What I learned from this experience was that you must take action right away, but always be flexible enough to ‘course correct' along the way. Even though I made mistakes with my first blog, it was still the best way for me to get started online. As I continued to learn, I made small changes here and there to improve what I was doing. Over time, I was able to build my list and increase my income steadily each month.

I encourage you to get started blogging now, and not to wait until you think you know everything before getting started. This is an industry that changes on a regular basis, so even when we think we know everything there is to know, it is very likely that something new is right around the corner.


Shannon Cherry of The Business Building Live Intensive says:

I was one of those ‘early adopters' in blogging. Those were the days when blogging was more about journalling and less about business, so I wrote a lot of different stuff. It was a good time – and I even got media coverage in Entrepreneur Magazine as a result of my blogging.

However, I wasn't seeing any kind of conversion: no growth in my list, let alone sales. And at first, I couldn't figure it out. I knew the content I was sharing was good stuff. But why weren't people even commenting?

Turns out, I hadn't asked them to. You see, I never included a call to action on the blog at all. I made a terrible assumption that if my target market liked the content, they would figure it out. Essentially I was giving them good ideas and tips, but then they were left with a question “Now what?” vs a direction “Here's what I need to do next.”

Some calls to action on a blog can include:

  • leave a comment
  • share the link on social media
  • check it out
  • sign up now
  • subscribe to the RSS feed
  • buy now

What I also learned was to step up the calls to action gradually if you've never included them before. Basically you are training your audience to take action. So first, I asked them to leave comments. After watching the amount of comments I was getting, I stepped it up to ask for them to sign up for something for free (a report, audio, etc), until I felt confident that when I asked for a sale on my blog, I would convert. This strategy worked effectively for me.

Today, I offer a mix of calls to action, but on every post you will see one, no matter what.


Jeanette S. Cates, PhD of JeanetteCates.com says:

I started online in a different time when business was much more formal, and I've had a hard time adjusting to the “transparent” approach. So two mistakes I've made really stand out.

First I put off blogging and social media too long. I was sure it was a passing fad, but now that I've realized this is a whole movement in society, not just online, I'm having to play catch-up. So if you aren't blogging and you aren't actively working social media – get over it! And get on board.

Second is that I sometimes forget to post to my blog regularly. I tend to communicate with my list because they are MY people. But then I'm leaving out new people who I might get to know by not being more visible publicly on the blog. My most consistent blog posts have been when I prescheduled PLR articles (thank you Nicole!) mixed with my original articles, so that there was new content coming out as I worked on the rest of my business.

An observation: Just participating in Expert Briefs provides the opportunity for more transparency, especially when you ask us to reveal our mistakes. Scary!


NicoleNicole Dean of .. here! .. says:

Let's see… so many mistakes… so little time to write them all. 🙂

Two big mistakes stand out that I've personally made.

1. Talking to the Crowd & Trying to Please Everyone.

The first one was not knowing who the heck I was talking to – or what the goal of my blog was.  When I first started blogging, it was PAINFUL to me. I didn't know what the heck I was doing, who I was writing to, or what they wanted to know about. At the time, my main site was ShowMomtheMoney.com – so I was alternating between articles about working from home, Direct Sales tips, business ideas, home organization, and internet marketing.

What a nightmare. I had no purpose and didn't know if my readers were interested in working from home, network marketing, internet marketing, or starting an offline business from home, like Tutoring. EH GADS!

About that same time, I started doing some work for Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero as her Affiliate Manager. She's one of the best copywriters on the planet (in my not so humble opinion) and I started to learn from her. The biggest lesson I picked up was a term she coined “Tarket” – which means your one person who is your target market. So, I forced myself to figure out and narrow down exactly WHO the heck that person was.

Now, it's easy as pie for me to blog. I get on here, and I know exactly who that person is. (Actually, I have two. One male coaching client of mine and one is a female coaching client of mine. I know their problems, their concerns, and their wishes and dreams.) And, now blogging is a breeze. I just think of things that they'd benefit from and voila! Done.

You may remember this blog post: Please All, and You Will Please None.

The same lesson applies.

2. Spending too much Time ON my blog instead of OFF of It.

This is one thing that I lecture my coaching clients about now. Get OFF your blog! Go steal someone else's audience. It's much easier to get people to read your blog that way.

What exactly do I mean by that?

Yes, it's important to focus energy on your own blog. But, it won't do you any good if no one sees it. That's why you need to dedicate time every day to getting exposure on other websites.

This can be accomplished in any number of ways, including…

Here's a blog post with more information on this topic:  How to Get One-Way Incoming Links

I hope it helps!


It’s Your Turn.

So, now, I’ll pose this question to you. What has been your biggest blogging mistake? Do you have any questions about the answers above that you’d like to ask? Go for it!

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Warmly,
Nicole Dean

PS. Here are a few of my favorite Expert Briefs:

0 Comments

  • Denise Wakeman
    Reply

    Excellent tips from the pros! I’ve made all these mistakes. I started in 2004 and didn’t know what the heck I was doing…too many categories, no calls to action, no focus on SEO. We live and learn and improve…blog on!

  • Loretta
    Reply

    I so need to get off my blog and go steal some audiences 😉 Thanks for the reminder, Nicole!

  • Shannon
    Reply

    Wow! I love the variety of mistakes we have made. It’s great to see this from other perspectives. And yes, I need to get off my blog too, Nicole. Thankfully, you gave me one outlet to do so!

  • Linda
    Reply

    Some interesting insights… think I’ve made maybe even still making those same mistakes! LOL… actually, my biggest ones were not posting enough/regularly and not being personal enough… I’m in the process of changing that… 😉

    Great stuff as usual Nicole!
    Thanx =}

  • Kelly Land
    Reply

    Great article.
    My mistakes….
    Not being ME. I guess that falls under “trying to please everyone”. I was worried about offending someone, or not saying the “right” thing, the “right” way. Now – I blog about whatever I want….in my OWN voice. Unfortunately, my poor blog gets put on the back burner way too much. So my second mistake….time management. Running 12 websites by myself is getting old. LOL I need to figure out how to manage it all better.

    Kelly

  • Richard Goutal
    Reply

    One big mistake I made at first was to have a blog that was not “comment-friendly.”

    Having lots of comments tells the visitor that the site is busy, presumably because you –or what you have to say– is pretty interesting. It is a form of social proof. Conversely, no comments repels visitors.

    One definition of “successful” is that you generate a certain amount of social buzz. And if you have a large list, inviting people to comment on a post will quickly generate “buzz” about that post as people comment and then share the post with others.

    But if you do not have a large list yet, if you do not yet have 1500 articles on Ezine Articles all pointing to your blog, if you do not yet have a large social media following, what then? You can participate in a content syndication group like TSA Mastery. Members of such groups commit themselves to promote one another’s blog posts (among other things) by leaving comments and much more.

    But one surefire way to discourage others is to have a blog that is NOT comment-friendly. For example, on many blogs it is hard to find the comments place (especially on “Blogger” blogs). Some blogs make you go through too many hoops before your comment is accepted. Many blogs give little to no benefit to the commenter.

    On the other hand, offering the benefit of CommentLuv (a WP plug-in) helps to make the blog comment-friendly. (There are many other things.) Again, blogs that have eventually created a large following may not need to be “comment-friendly” in order to get comments. But if you are starting out I believe that this is a must.

  • Anne Sales
    Reply

    Interesting, I had this in mind today. Making mistakes is important because they make us stronger and smarter.

    I’m a new pro blogger and I find that designing my website is taking a huge piece of my time. Because I didn’t plan the design before setting up the blog. So far this is my first major mistake.

  • Patrick G Howard
    Reply

    My biggest blogging mistake? It’s probably the same mistake that most people make – procrastination.

    Now, I don’t mean procrastination when it comes to writing articles, but rather procrastination when it comes to just STARTING your blog. I started “researching” my blog almost two years ago, but just recently took the plunge. I know that I was just rationalizing, and my “research” was really procrastination. When I think about how much I could have accomplished in two years, it makes me cringe. Of course, if “ifs” and “buts” were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas.

    The point I’m trying to make is to JUST GET STARTED. Whatever you do the first time will be wrong, so JUST GET STARTED. My friend, Mike Hobbs once said, “Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.” I think that applies to almost anything we do, and especially when it comes to blogging.

    What’s the worst that can happen? You might have to fix something later.

    If I had a “Do-Over” for the past two years, I would JUST GET STARTED and I would be fixing it now. In the mean time, I would have built a list. And created some sales … And … (Hmmm … I think there is a blog article in there somewhere.)

  • Ian Greenwood
    Reply

    Love this post:-) In the early days I totally missed the fact that your blog is much more about relationships. It’s not just about information or what you think – it’s about dialogue! Blogging is a two way street! Love it Nicole.

    Ian

  • Sydney
    Reply

    I, too, made the mistake of trying to please everyone. I realize that my past blog posts have actually been pretty bland because I’ve kept my own personality and opinions out of my work. No more! Reader loyalty depends on a strong voice – even if it annoys them. When you think about it, if someone disagrees with your point of view they’re unlikely to be a customer, anyway, so why should we be timid just because we might ‘offend’ someone? There are always going to be people who don’t like what we have to say, no matter what we do.

  • Patricia
    Reply

    My biggest mistake? Not to have discovered blogging before and started it!
    On the other hand English is not my mother language so it discourages me to begin writing. I got over this a couple of weeks ago when I had the great idea of writing first in Spanish and then translating it to English. It came out a pretty nice piece of blog (my very first one). After all I am a writer. I do short stories and I got a prize with one of them. Now with all these wonderful tips I have read it will make it much easier. I will finally start doing it. Blogging is different than literature but the commonality they have is they must “catch” the reader.

    If anyone wants to blog in Spanish I can help translating it if you help me reviewing mine in English and correcting my “accent” 🙂

  • Marty Herald
    Reply

    I don’t think all delay tactics are due to outright procrastination – sometimes it’s simply lack of confidence. I made myself crazy trying to follow the advice of every “expert” I came across. The problem is experts don’t always agree – one says the only way to succeed is post daily, the next swears that you’ll drive what readers you do have away if you post daily, and on it goes. At some point you have to just stop listening to the noise and start doing. Then, as has been said here already, you can go back and course correct.

  • The Mom
    Reply

    Okay, I read the Experts and the Comments (from more experts, in my opinion) and I’m ready to add my 2 cents.

    I am a humble blogger. I started blogging because my daughter Nicole said to me one day, “Hey Mom, you should be blogging.” And I replied “What’s blogging?” From that moment on, Nicole had her hands full. Sorry, honey.

    So, I blog. I love to write, so the first few years I blogged because it made me happy. Now, I’ve gotten on the ‘traffic’ wagon – I love to watch my stats. It’s become (finally) important to me to get people to see my blog! The problem is HOW do I get people to see my blog.

    I am not a blogger who writes about how to make money on the internet, so I always feel at a slight disadvantage. This is something I know I need to get over. So……

    This particular Expert Briefs has been priceless for me – the humble blogger. Here’s my take-away:
    1) blog more frequently
    2) ask for comments
    3) ask readers to sign up
    4) clean up those tedious categories
    5) get personal
    6) blog for one person
    7) go steal some audiences

    One last thought – I have a bone to pick with fellow bloggers…

    PLEASE don’t let my comments rot away in moderation limbo! I take a lot of time finding cool blogs to comment on, then I take a lot of time to write a kick-butt comment, and there are times I NEVER SEE IT APPROVED! (My pet peeve as evidenced by the uppercase letters.) I always Facebook, Twitter, and StumbleUpon, a blog post I like but only after my comment is approved. I mean, you scratch my back, I scratch yours. So PLEASE approve those comments daily. If you don’t have the time, have somebody do it for you.

    That’s my 2 cents. Thanks, Nicole, for giving your Mom a place to rant. Talk about transparency! Yes, Nicole has a crazy Mother. 😀

  • Becky Hein
    Reply

    Dear Nicole,
    I am currently new to all of this. I have been studying all about affiliate marketing and sometimes find myself overwelmed with all the information. I am getting ready to get my site up and running but still have no idea on what i’m doing when it comes to blogging. Any help or advise would be deeply appreciated.

  • Stephanie
    Reply

    I’m definitely not social enough. Never have been all that social in real life either, so this is a real challenge for me. Online is easier in some ways, since I have more time to think of what to say, but it’s still tough.

  • Latrisha Jacobs
    Reply

    I think I’ve made these mistakes times 10. The most costly ones were not using SEO — the right way. And, the most important not moderating my blog comments. Whew! That was a pain. However, you live and you learn. Many blogs later I think I finally got it. However, I still make mistakes…it’s just in my nature.

  • Jessica Colon
    Reply

    One of my favorite segments of this blog is the expert briefs. I love to see the variety of experience from the experts. I too have made all the mistakes mentioned above but my BIGGEST mistake is givng up too soon. I have allowed myself to get discouraged by the lack of instant gratification and move on to the next thing. That’s a big no no if you want to see success.

  • Barry
    Reply

    Hi Nicole! I really enjoyed this post! It seems as though we are all perpetually trying to strike that right balance in the traffic-relationship contiuum, with success just on the other side!

    Your first point is an interesting challenge for new bloggers like me. To a certain extent, we all write for ourselves, but we can’t assume that our ultimate target audience will be like us. So, how do we find that direction – how to pick out our tarket in the crowd when we don’t yet have a crowd? Is it better to write to a figment of our imagination, or instead see who naturally gravitates to our website, then choose from among the chosen? I’m still thinking that one over. What are your thoughts?

  • Terje Sannarnes
    Reply

    Highly valuable information for bloggers. Even being an experienced blogger I have found a lot of useful things which I didn’t know before. Also, it was very interesting for me to hear the opinions of successful people and recommendations of blogging experts. Great article, it was pleasure to read it. Thanks.

  • Sandi Foster
    Reply

    All I can say is WOW! I have just in the last couple of days found you online from a PDF transcript that came as a bonus to a program I just purchased from Ronnie Nijmeh of PLR.me I am so glad that I came across you and your sites. Incredible content! Thanks

    I have been working on my blogging skills as well and am fairly new at the blogging game. I would have to say that my biggest mistake is just not getting to it sooner. I always like to make things perfect before getting it up there but someone once told me “just get it up there and perfect it later or you will never get it up there”

    I believe that is the truth…It is so important to just take ACTION NOW..and fix it later! We are always learning.
    Sandi

  • Edie Dykeman
    Reply

    Mistakes I’ve made blogging? Ah, how about all the above – at least one time or another. This is a great topic and points out the need to go back to my blog and make sure I’m doing everything I can. Thanks for the info!

  • Sophia
    Reply

    My problem is not blogging regularly and not focusing on SEO. I know the reason I do this is because it’s not a business blog. And just because it’s not a business blog, I still shouldn’t be making these mistakes. This is something I definitely need to work on.

    • The Mom
      Reply

      Hi Sophia,

      I hear ya! My blog is not an ‘internet marketing’ blog so I feel like I’m out of the loop sometimes.

      BUT…I do want my blog to get noticed and eventually make a little money through some of the items I promote.

      SO…I do listen when Nicole speaks! The SEO thingy, keyword phrases, blogging regularly, and commenting on blogs, have ALL brought me traffic. Without traffic, I was losing interest… without interest I was losing traffic. So, there’s that.

      Good luck to you and I wish you loads of traffic! 😉

      • Sophia
        Reply

        Thank you Patti! I started off well with it in the beginning and even getting it to a PR 4 which was a good incentive to blog regularly. As time went on and as I started adding more things to my plate, I started neglecting it and here I am today. I know i need to make some room on my plate so I can start blogging consistently and do all the other necessary things to get my blog hopping again.

        Thank you again for your encouragement.

  • Jeanie
    Reply

    I think my biggest mistake was slowing down on my posts. I started to have brain freeze and I could not think of much to say. Blogging is a lot of work and it takes time.

    Jeanie

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