Off the back of the blog audit I’ve been completing over the last few weeks I thought it might be a good idea to review some of my behaviour too – especially as lately I’ve not been the good little blogger I used to be!
Running a blog is a big juggling act and sometimes we (well, me especially) can get side-tracked by pressing demands and forget the small tasks that are just as important to the big picture.
So, here I am confessing to all the bad blogging habits and biggest blogging mistakes I’ve made, as well as the plans I have to correct them. Are you guilty of any of these bad blogging habits?
My 6 worst blogging mistakes
1. Broadcasting instead of communicating
I feel like such a hypocrite over this one as the number one rule I’m always telling my freelance social media clients to remember is that social media should be social. Sure, share your hard work but don’t use your platforms solely for promotion. I’ve written a cringe poem in the past about how Twitter went downhill because bloggers were broadcasting rather than conversing, and then I signed up to buffer and did this exact thing.
The fix: I’m trying to balance my time on the various social media sites a little more evenly – ie stop mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed – and have started chatting to randoms on Twitter like we used to in 2010. The funny thing is I’m enjoying it a lot more too.
2. Mistaking Pinterest for a social media platform
This is probably one of my most epic fails on this list. I’ve always seen Pinterest as a (poor) social media platform that just wasn’t fun for me and thus I ignored its power completely. The rest of the bloggersphere, however, have been embracing Pinterest’s power as a search engine in order to drive (reportedly) huge amounts of traffic. I’ve been very lucky to have been featured by Pinterest in the past so had a decent amount of followers repinning my random pics. However, I’ve never adopted a serious Pinterest strategy and, from what I’ve read, have consequently put myself at a huge disadvantage.
The fix: Goodness me I’ve got a lot of ground to make up here. Firstly, I’ve been using Canva to create pinnable images to embed in my posts. (See exhibits A in this post.) I’ve also joined Tailwind to make it easier to schedule pins at popular times and to post to multiple boards in one click. I’m also making sure that all my pins (old and new) have clear descriptions that contain key words so users searching for info can find them!
I’ve also tidied up all my boards and my profile, making sure they too contain key words and useful information. This post was a great help in terms of upping my Pinterest game. You can check out how I’m going with that here.
3. Making basic SEO fails including not labelling images properly
Actually maybe this is the worst fail! I mentioned in my audit post that I was going back and improving the SEO in old blog posts but a chapter in The Blogger Course made me realise that there was a whole area of my posts that were huge SEO fails – the images! The 2 big boo boos I’d made were:
- Not changing the file name of my images before uploading them. This means my image URLS are not recognisable by Google. Unless someone happens to be searching for IMG_7207… Yeah, exactly!
- Not adding alt text to the images or adding an alt text that didn’t contain the post key words.
*Hangs head in shame*
The fix: I’ve got my work cut out trying to fix 5000 odd images in 600+ posts (1 day at a time as they say) but am very grateful to Monica for making sure I don’t make these mistakes going forward. I’ve also found Digital Nomad Wannabe’s site an extremely helpful resource in terms of improving SEO on old posts.
4. Not replying to comments
As I’ve been going back and improving old posts I’ve been really embarrassed to find comments from readers that have been left unanswered by me. Don’t get me wrong, if someone asked a specific question I’ve definitely answered them but I think at some point over the last couple of years I decided it was uncool to say thanks to everyone who comments on a post. When I look back at these posts now that seems very rude.
The fix: I do believe that in some cases it looks silly to reply to every single comment – especially if it’s just a ‘great post’ type of thing – but going forward I’ll be making a concerted effort to engage with each and every person who takes the time to not only read my words but respond to them too. You have my word!
5. Being lazy about affiliate marketing
How lazy I am at affiliate marketing was another revelation that came off the back of The Blogger Course. (There’s an advanced section on making money from affiliate sales by Becky Moore that blew my mind a little.) Despite my SEO fails I have several hotel reviews that feature on page 1 of Google and I’ve been driving heaps of traffic to these hotels without an affiliate link. (Durrr.) I simply installed Skimlinks a few years ago and if a brand wasn’t with them I didn’t really worry about. I’ve also never specifically written posts with an affiliate angle and the few Amazon Associates links I had bothered to put in posts were only paying out on traffic that came from the UK.
The fix: Thanks to heads up from Bitten By The Travel Bug I am now using genius link to redirect readers to the correct Amazon store for their location and make sure I earn affiliate commission wherever they go. I’m also split testing booking.com and Agoda’s affiliate programmes for hotels and will be actively looking up the affiliate programmes for brands I’ve mentioned heaps of times over the years.
6. I stopped learning
Many of the above mistakes can be attributed to this one point – I forgot to keep learning. In an industry that’s constantly evolving we’ll never be aware of where we’re going wrong unless we look up and keep swotting.
The fix: I did The Blogger Course as a refresher! The Blogger Course not only taught me a few new tricks but was a massive wake up call for me. It made me realise what all the young guns were doing to build their blog followings and that I’d be in risk of being left behind if I didn’t adopt some of those practises. There’s also an exercise in the course on analysing what other bloggers in your niche are doing on a regular basis and I think it’s a great idea. Of course, we’ve all got to ‘do you’ but you’re less likely to get left behind if you’re on top of what’s happening in your industry!
So that’s my big bad blogger confessions. Are you guilty of any of these bad habits?
Note: I am an associate for Monica’s course but every word I say here is true. It was the figurative slap in the face I needed.
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