Blogging is one of those things that are easy and hard at the same time. For this reason, the chances of failing at it as a career are quite high.
The reasons why many bloggers fail are the little habits or things that happen every so often—they are quite subtle but incrementally end up hampering or stalling your work. I’m going to cover some of these habits and how they’ll hurt you as a blogger, content creator, or in any other form of self-employment gig.
As a blogger, you’re your own boss and this comes with the challenge of having to set deadlines for yourself. The problem is, that we tend to be lenient on ourselves if we fail to deliver or don’t feel like delivering at the set time.
As a result, you end up postponing doing your tasks. It happens to me almost every other day. For instance, I was supposed to finish this post about a month ago!
I also set a goal of publishing one post per week and ended up with just one post in the last month. Do you see how bad things can get with procrastination? This is no way of running a successful blogging business.
So how do you deal with procrastination? Many guides and experts will tell you to remove distractions around you and all but I disagree with such an approach.
The best way to deal with procrastination is by training yourself to meet your goals despite the distractions around you. Distractions will always be there and hiding them isn’t the ideal solution.
It’ll take time to build the habit of working with distractions around you as I’ve observed by trying this approach myself—but I’m seeing slight improvements with each passing day. The first step is to identify procrastination as the enemy and then commit to fighting it.
2. Not Having a Working Schedule
Planning is the first step towards any successful venture. Blogging has many moving parts, and working without a plan will always lead to failure at some point.
One of the mistakes I made when I started blogging was sitting in front of my keyboard and starting to think of what to write at that point.
To be successful, you need to research topics beforehand and have them on an editorial calendar. This simple act means you already have a plan for your content.
To make it even better, you can set specific days of the week for particular blogging tasks like:
- Keyword/topic research
- Technical tweaks
I have specific days for each of these tasks with writing taking up most days of the week. I haven’t perfected sticking to the schedule quite yet but I usually get more work done than when I was just winging it.
3. Copying Content Ideas
When I was getting started with my first blog, I wrote more than 20 posts without research. What I did was look at competitors and tackle the same topics that they had written about. There’s nothing wrong with doing this but I was doing it wrong.
I didn’t add anything unique to my posts or strive to make mine better. I had close to zero chance of ever ranking with those kinds of blog posts.
Upon realizing my mistake, I had to take down all the posts, started doing deep personal research, and even ended up coming up with unique ideas—some of which rank first on Google to this day!
Looking for inspiration from other bloggers is fine as long as your goal is to add value in case you decide to tackle similar topics. This approach usually works well when you have a unique take on a popular topic.
4. Obsessing the Numbers
There’s a 95 percent chance that you usually check your blog analytics on your phone almost every hour. I struggle with this too.
The problem with this habit is that it can make you feel like you’re not making progress if you’re a small blogger or just starting.
My advice on this problem is to try and increase the gap between the times you check your analytics. For example, you can check your analytics at the end of the day, week, or month, instead of doing it every time you look at your phone or computer.
The temptation to check the numbers is always there but checking too often will do you no good. Overcoming the feeling is hard but there’s no other way of avoiding it other than avoiding it!
5. Constantly Tweaking Aesthetics
Yet another habit that I’m guilty of partaking in. Do you ever feel like your site doesn’t look good, especially in comparison to competitors? If your answer is yes, that feeling never goes away even if you use the theme you think is the best-looking at any point in time.
You’ll frequently come across a beautiful site that you think is better than yours. But that doesn’t mean your site looks bad.
Also remember, all that matters when it comes to blog design, is whether the content is readable and easy to navigate around. Make it as easy as possible for your readers to read your content.
Constant tweaking of your theme not only takes away valuable time that would’ve been better spent creating content—but may also break your site if you’re not tech-savvy.
Set a specific day of the week or month to deal with the visual aspects of your site. Doing so will ensure you maximize your time where it matters the most—writing content.
In regards to design, always remember that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Here are some WordPress themes I’d recommend you try out for performance and looks.
6. Listening to the Gurus
Learning the basics of how to get started blogging from experienced bloggers is fine—but it should stop at just that.
Here’s why I recommend avoiding spending hours listening to the experts after learning the basics. The teachings from other bloggers are like training wheels for your new bike—after some time, you’ll have to get rid of them to get the whole riding experience.
Imagine sticking to training wheels for your bike as an adult. You can barely go far on the bike. That analogy pretty much sums it all up—you’ll never move forward if you don’t try to find your style of blogging or try to figure out some things for yourself.
What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. Take the little you can learn from others and try to forge your path from there.
In the spirit of avoiding gurus, you can read one of my radical posts about why you shouldn’t pay for blogging courses.
7. Writing Purely for the Algorithm
We’ve all come across blog posts and YouTube videos trying to teach us how to game the Google algorithm—but the matter of fact is that no one knows how the Google algorithm works!
You could spend many hours and money on all the available SEO tricks but fail to rank on Google. My stand is an unpopular opinion among the blogging community but I think my explanation will make you see what I’m getting at.
Blog content is meant for human consumption and Google isn’t a person. However, thanks to the ever-advancing machine learning technology, the Google algorithm is getting better at identifying actual quality content to recommend to readers.
For this reason, it’s only a matter of time before popular SEO practices used for trying to game Google are rendered useless.
Focus on writing content for people, simple keyword research is enough. If the content is good and helpful, it’s only a matter of time before you find yourself on the first page of popular search engine result pages.
8. Working Alone
Blogging is one of the loneliest jobs if we consider physical human interaction. However, this doesn’t mean collaboration isn’t needed.
To grow as a blogger, you need to reach out to other bloggers and readers. The most obvious way of doing this is through the comments section.
Talk to other bloggers by commenting on their posts. Engage with your readers by giving in-depth replies to their comments on your posts. You can take these interactions further on popular social media platforms.
Engaging other bloggers will not only make them see your work but also prompt them to share your work with their audience if necessary. Communicating with your readers will increase their chances of coming back to your site and accelerate your growth.
Answer questions from your readers as exhaustively as possible and ask questions on other blogs as often as you need to. Questions usually bring about constructive engagement.
I talked about working schedules on point #2—you can include outreach and engagement as one of the tasks on your schedule. Avoiding outreach and engagement is missing an opportunity to accelerate your blog’s growth.
Increase Your Chances of Success
Blogging is a business and like any other traditional business—everything should be done close to perfection. Failure to do so will result in financial losses in the long run.
I hope my summary of some of the habits that may hamper your blogging venture is going to help you run your blogging business better than before. It’s a work in progress on my part to have a flawless working system soon.