At times when I first started blogging and then later began to make money blogging, I wish I’d had a little gremlin sitting on my shoulder shouting in my ear, “No you fool, don’t do that!”
I’ve had my share of flubs, failures, and misguided decisions in my blogging career, but fortunately I’ve learned from them and continue to learn where and how I should best focus my time and energy.
If you are like most bloggers, I’m sure there are times when you wonder if you are going in the right direction, if all of your hard work will pay off, or maybe even if you should just bag it all and go back to your day job.
You can be successful at making money on your blog. If you stay on track with the activities that are proven to help your blog grow and thrive, and you avoid some of the common pitfalls and blog mistakes, your efforts will be rewarded with those notices from Paypal saying, “You’ve got money!”
Today, I’ll be the gremlin on your shoulder and remind you of 20 common blogging mistakes you want to avoid so you can make money blogging:
1. You neglect to capture email addresses. Your email list is the meat and potatoes of your blog marketing efforts. Ultimately, you will bring in the most income by marketing to people on this list (rather than directly from your blog). You need to set up an email program like AWeber from day one with a free opt-in gift for subscribers.
2. You ignore your email list. Just capturing emails isn’t enough. You need to create an email campaign to connect personally with your readers (beyond your blog posts) and begin offering your products, affiliate products, or services to them at some point.
3. You refuse to spend marketing money. As with any small business, you have to invest some money to make money blogging online. Blogging is one of the least expensive small businesses to start, but you still need to invest in the necessary tools of marketing and growing your blog so you can compete.
4. You don’t engage with your blog readers. Profitable blogging is all about creating relationships, and the relationship with your readers is the most important one. Every day you need to think of ways to solve their problems, connect with them personally, ask for their input, meet their needs. That’s the way to build loyal followers and customers.
5. You neglect social media. Social media is here to stay and is a critical element of making connections, building blog traffic, and making sales. If you don’t feel comfortable with it and you aren’t using it daily, you are going to get left in the dust in your blog marketing.
6. You lose focus. I know how easy it is to feel scattered and pulled in many directions with your blog. It can be overwhelming. If you have 10 equally important tasks for your blog, just pick one and focus on it until it’s completed. Then move on to the next one.
7. You don’t create a product. There are many ways to make money with your blog, but having at least one product of your own will establish your credibility, help you connect with your followers, and allow you to make blogging income for years.
8. You avoid creating partnerships. Creating partnerships with other bloggers for courses, products, or other joint ventures, is a great way to expand your audience, build a better product, and share the load of responsibilities.
9. You forget about SEO. Search engine optimization can seem at best boring and at worst downright scary. But it doesn’t have to be. Learning to use keywords and phrases to raise your rank in Google and attract more readers isn’t hard. Even employing a few basic SEO techniques can make a big difference to your blog marketing.
10. You neglect a call to action. This is a basic blog marketing activity, but don’t forget to add some kind of call to action at the end of your posts and emails. It could be an invitation to subscriber, share on social media, answer a question, or make a purchase.
11. You step out of your integrity. When you are trying to “make money,” it’s easy to disengage from your personal integrity, even in small ways. Maybe it’s neglecting a question from a reader; maybe it’s going back on a promise; maybe it’s over-selling a product or service. Remember, your reputation is everything.
12. You stop learning. Even if you are advanced in blog marketing, remember that the blog marketing world is forever changing. What works today may not work tomorrow. You have to stay on top of trends, new ideas, and evolving techniques. Research and learning should be part of your weekly marketing activities.
13. You only write articles and avoid other media. Articles are fine and should be a big part of your blog content. But you absolutely must incorporate video and podcasts into the mix. In fact, many people find video the medium of choice as evidenced by the growing popularity of YouTube as a marketing tool for bloggers. Pinterest is another medium that has exploded and should be incorporated in your blog marketing blueprint.
14. You don’t share. The bloggers who make money blogging don’t isolate themselves and hoard information. Profitable bloggers share ideas, information, and resources with your readers and with other bloggers. Blogging for profit requires mutual support and many strong connections. You want to be viewed as a “go-to” resource.
15. You ignore the competition. Even though blogging is mutually supportive, there is still competition out there, and you should pay attention to what other bloggers are doing. Find the “holes” that aren’t being filled by your competition, and then fill them. Emulate what seems to be working well, using your own style.
16. You don’t update your blog. After you’ve been blogging for a while, it’s easy to forget about the pages of your blog that you don’t see regularly. Keep your blog fresh by updating your about page and other less-frequented pages. Put a call to action on those pages and make sure the information is timely and useful.
17. You drop traffic-generating basics. Always go back to the basics of getting people to your blog — posting regularly, making comments on other blogs; writing guest posts; using Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.
18. You publish ads on your blog too soon. Advertising with Google Adsense or other similar advertising programs are most profitable for blogs with a lot of traffic. Cluttering your blog with ads that only bring in a few dollars a month isn’t a good use of your space in blog marketing. If you do want to have ads on your blog, advertise affiliate products that will pay you more than Adsense ads.If you do have enough subscribers to merit using Adsense, be sure you use it in a way that won’t annoy your subscribers.
19. Your writing stinks. Don’t lose sight of the trees for the forest. Yes, you want to make an income, but you must pay attention to your content — your writing. You need to know how to write great posts marketing your blog that are useful, readable, and engaging. You need to know how to write headlines that capture readers’ interest. You need to know how to design blog pages and sales letter pages with engaging sales copy. There is an art to all of these, and you can’t ignore it.
20. You give up too soon. Making an income from your blog takes time, diligence, and patience. You can’t expect immediate results. Consider the first year of your blog the “start-up” phase of the business. It might be year two or three before you generate any significant blogging income. But that’s true with any new business. It is possible to make a substantial five or six figure blogging income through related efforts, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient, and you will be rewarded with your own profitable blog