Blogging site Tumblr is home to more than 102 million blogs, and WordPress has more than 63 million—and that's just two of many platforms, according to snitchim.com. With that much competition, how can blogs stay afloat in a saturated medium? While blogging isn't an exact science, there are some common blogging mistakes you can avoid.
You Don't Capture Your Readers' Emails
Google reports there are more than 8 billion Google searches conducted every day. Hopefully, some of those searches will stumble past your blog. But how will you keep readers coming back? Create an email sign-up form embedded right onto your blog. Offer a small gift to sign up, such as a free e-book, videos or round-up of helpful tips in exchange.
Send out a short update to your email list every time you update your blog to remind readers to come back. Advertise your sign-up list on your blog, and let readers know those subscribed to your list get special updates, premium content and other offers.
You Neglect a USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
Even if you're not selling anything on your blog, you still need a USP to keep readers interested. Identify what sets you apart from the competition and why readers should care. If you're a food and drink blogger, chances are good you'll get lost in a crowded blogosphere. Instead, focus on blog reviews about local microbrews, hard-to-find recipes from infrequently visited countries such as Liechtenstein or gourmet food trucks.
Me, Me and More Me… Did I Mention Me?
Blogging is a delicate balance of sharing your life and providing readers value at the same time. An audience needs a reason to keep coming back to your blog. Offer tutorials, a contest or interviews with experts in your field. Bloggers can also send out a survey to their readers to find out what they’re struggling with or what they want to learn from your site.
But the audience also wants to know you're a real person. Steer clear of lots of endless statistics and recycled ideas from your competitors' blogs. Instead, tell your readers about your own struggles, how you overcame them and the insight you gained. Give them a takeaway of how they can apply your lessons to their own lives.
Writing in a Vacuum
If you don't know who you’re writing for, then it's unlikely anyone else is going to figure it out. People might sign up for your email list, and then quickly unsubscribe as your blog wanders from topic to topic. But audience aside, you're probably making a bigger but less obvious mistake: You're not collaborating.
Many highly successful bloggers collaborate with each other to launch their sites. Guest posting, interviewing other bloggers, asking bloggers to contribute to an e-book and offering a special offer are all great ways to stand out.
Failing to Interact With Your Audience
Ask your readers what they think at the end of each post and encourage comments. Keep a dialogue going. If a reader left a comment, and their name links back to their own blog, pay it a visit. Take a look around and engage in the conversation. Readers want to feel valued and have their opinions validated.
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About the author: Steven is a customer service rep for one of the big three wireless services, and he writes about news in the wireless industry.