Most bloggers would agree that blogging is a terrific avenue for self-expression. It is also a great way to make income if that is one of your blogging objectives. There are some 152 million blogs on the internet and a new blog is created every half of a second! This indicates the popularity of blogging and the growing number of opportunities that blogging presents. Despite the popularity, the fact is that many bloggers quit after only 3 months and their blogs become dormant when the passion dies. The reasons for this are many and varied but there are some common traps that new bloggers fall into that hinder their progress. Here are 10 common traps that new bloggers fall into.
1. The Niche Trap – This trap catches quite a few bloggers. It is the trap that entices new bloggers to choose a niche that they know very little about or that they are not passionate about. Some new bloggers choose a niche simply because it is a popular niche that other successful bloggers seem to be making a great income from. The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t work because it isn’t sustainable. How long can you continue to write about something that you have very little interest in or that you know close to nothing about? It is only a matter of time before the novelty of blogging wears off and the reality of being a blogger becomes clear. To succeed at this blogging profession, the blogger must select an appropriate niche. If you have worked all your life in the catering industry, it is a better idea to start a food blog rather than a fashion blog.
2. The Market Trap – There are several new bloggers and small business persons who are of the mistaken view that if they make or create something, the market will come and buy what they have created. New bloggers should bear in mind that not every niche has the potential to help you become the next Arianna Huffington. In other words, it must be clearly demonstrated that the niche that is selected can generate enough interest for you to earn an income from it before you launch out into it head first. Not because you have interest in a subject means that there is a ‘market’ surrounding that subject. This means that keyword research is necessary to ascertain if the niche has earning potential and whether there is sufficient interest in it . The Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that may be used to determine the potential of any select niche topic. This may be done by doing a search to determine the number of monthly searches that a keyword generates on Google on a monthly basis and the level of competition involved. Ideally, you should select a keyword topic that generates lots of monthly searches but that has low to medium competition.
3. The Money Trap – This is the same as the ‘get rich quick’ trap. It is wrong to believe that blogging is a get rich quick scheme. On the contrary, many successful bloggers don’t become successful until they have completed at least 2 years in the career; blogging on a consistent basis. So while there are people who will use the potential to make money blogging as a dangling carrot; do not fall into the trap of thinking that you will earn money within a few days of making your blog live.
4. The ‘Know It All’ Trap – Blogging is a multi-faceted undertaking. There is so much to learn about blogging that even after years in the career, there are still new things to learn. Blogging is much more than writing blog posts and publishing them. If you hope to become a successful blogger, you will need to conduct lots of research to acquire new information, to find out about new developments in your niche and to acquire new skills such as sales and marketing, negotiation and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you know everything about blogging after blogging for one month. Learning is ongoing and you must be prepared to learn something new everyday. Since people look to you for advice or for information, you need to keep yourself updated. If you take the ‘know it all’ approach, you are certain to make it so far and no further.
5. The Lack of Direction Trap – Blogging is a journey. But every journey has a destination. From early in the process, you must determine what you want to accomplish through your blogging. Do you want to become an authority in a certain field, do you want to teach others something, do you want to earn a full time or a part time income? In order to succeed, you must have clear blog objectives and clear destinations for your blog. This will serve as a guide for every decision that you will make during your journey as a blogger. Just writing for writing sake is unlikely to yield any significant results. You must establish your ‘why’ and use it to help you focus along the way.
I see many bloggers make the mistake of blogging about any and everything that comes to mind. One day they are talking about recipes, the next day they are talking about social media, the next week they are writing about health and fitness and the next day they are giving book reviews. It is important to focus and not to confuse readers. I have personally unsubscribed from blogs that stray all over the place instead of focusing on a particular niche and sticking to it. Don’t fall into the lack of direction trap.
6. The Casual Attitude Trap – The best and most successful bloggers take blogging seriously. It is something that they have a great amount of respect for and they take pride in doing it. I see too many new bloggers just publish blog posts for the sake of publishing something without approaching it with a professional attitude. A blog post should be more than just a few thoughts thrown together and published. Ideas and thoughts must be properly fleshed out and effort should be made to produce top quality work. Not respecting the profession is a trap that you should avoid. While it is okay to write a 150 word post for Facebook, full-fledged blogging requires at least 300 words. In fact, studies show that longer blog posts have higher levels of engagement and are better received. There is some debate on this topic but I am going with the view that longer blogs do better in general.
7. The Great Expectations Trap – New bloggers should get rid of the notion that blogging is a panacea for all their financial troubles. While many successful bloggers have managed to earn good incomes from blogging, they put in the work necessary to get the results that they achieve. If you aren’t prepared to put in the work into blogging, don’t expect to get great results either.
8. The ‘Set it and Forget It’ Trap – Blogging is a good way to generate both passive and active income. Blogging as a profession, however, is anything but passive. While it may be true that you can earn passive income from posts that you wrote in the past and from systems that you set on autopilot, you must continuously put out new blog posts to keep your blog fresh and engaging. Unlike a website, a blog should always be changing and it should always have up to date information. Don’t believe for a minute that you can just ‘set it and forget it’. That is just not how it works. And yes, you can hire writers to write your posts for you as you grow but the fact is that your blog must be active, regardless of who is doing the writing.
9. The Solopreneur Trap – There is a saying in network marketing that ‘you are in business for yourself but not by yourself.’ The same thing applies to blogging. In order to succeed, you have to be willing to reach out to other bloggers for advice, feedback and support. You may be working for yourself but you can’t make it by yourself. Blogging is about community and relationships and the better you are at building relationships, the more likely you are to succeed as a blogger. I can do this by myself – that approach will get you nowhere. Bear in mind that guest posting, commenting on other blogs and following other bloggers are great ways of building your own following. Don’t neglect this important aspect of blogging.
10. The Impatience Trap – Finally, be prepared to stick to blogging for the long run. Success takes time. There is no such thing as an overnight success in the blogosphere. Give yourself time to learn and time to grow as a blogger. If blogging is something that you really want to do, exercise patience. You won’t get a thousand subscribers overnight, you won’t get a hundred comments or 20 likes on each and every blog post. Sometimes it may feel like you are talking into the air and you may even receive an echo when you hit the ‘publish’ button. Don’t despair, have patience, the results will come.