Posts

7 Biggest blogging mistakes and how to fix them

When most people think of blogging, they think it’s just something people do as a hobby. But blogging can also  become a lucrative business in itself, if you’re doing it right! Starting a blog can be a great way to promote your business and share your expertise with your audience, while earning money in the process. However, creating a successful blog takes a bit more work than  simply writing blog posts and you might just be making some of the biggest blogging mistakes without even knowing it! 

Read on to learn top 7 biggest blogging mistakes newbies (and even seasoned bloggers) often make and how to fix them!  

You might be interested: 5 Steps to increase your blog traffic through Pinterest

Top 7 biggest blogging mistakes and how to fix them 

1. Failing to collect emails 

When many first-time bloggers start out, they don’t think to collect emails from their readers. You might not have anything to sell at the time and may think “What’s the point?” However if you later end up starting a business through your blog or want to sell or promote a product, having a mailing list of potential customers to market to will be invaluable. 

Collecting emails from readers is also a great way to keep your blog traffic flow consistent. When you make a new post, readers can be notified via email and be pushed toward your content instead of waiting for them to remember to check your blog. 

Setting up a mailing list will also help you track how your readers interact with your content so you can better gauge what resonates with them. 

Solution: One tactic to get people to sign up for your mailing list is  to offer something in return for free, usually some type of digital content relevant to your blog’s area of focus. So for instance if you’re a healthy food blog you may offer a free meal plan schedule in a PDF when readers sign up for your mailing list. 

2. Writing too formally 

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Another one of the biggest blogging mistakes writers make is writing too formally in your posts. Using complicated language and jargon can easily turn off potential readers, especially if the language you use doesn’t match the content of your blog. For instance, you’d probably expect some complicated words if you were reading a science or tech blog, but you probably don’t want to over-complicate things if you’re blogging about lifestyle. 

As someone with a background in academic writing, I so get this one! You may have been taught in school that formal writing is the only “acceptable” way to write, but the online world is much different from academics. You’re allowed to use contractions. You’re allowed to have a sense of humor! 

Solution: Just don’t overthink it. Try to keep your posts fun and casual. Write as if you’re speaking to a good friend. It’ll make your tone feel more authentic and engaging to readers. 

3. Not posting consistently 

Building a successful blog takes time. You need to build up a loyal audience and part of that process requires posting consistently. If you only post a few blog posts and then nothing for months, many readers will tune out and forget about you. The key is to keep them coming back! 

Solution: Set up some type of schedule or calendar where you can keep track of your past and upcoming posts and keep it consistent. There are many programs you can use to help you set up a calendar such as Coschedule, or you can even use a regular old calendar or make a spreadsheet. 

4. Writing with no clear direction

Every blog post needs a focus. Another biggest blogging mistake is bouncing from topic to topic in your posts. Blog posts that ramble on and on with no clear focus are sure to have readers clicking away. Having a focus topic for each post is especially important if you’re trying to rank on search engines through the use of SEO.

Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

Solution: Setting a keyword is one easy way to draw in your focus so you’re not just writing aimlessly about whatever pops into your head. Another tip to keep your blog post on track is to make an outline and use subheadings to keep everything flowing in order.  

5. Relying solely on personal anecdote

Personal anecdotes are incredibly common in the blogging world and many first time bloggers are prone to make their blog posts all about themselves and their personal experiences. This is fine for a personal blog, but if you’re blogging as a business it can be a turn off readers. 

Solution: By all means don’t completely cut out the personal anecdotes, but try to scale them back and back your thoughts and opinions with reliable research and data. 

6.  Using duplicate Google analytics plugins

New bloggers might be tempted to download tons of plugins, thinking they’ll help your blog. However this can actually cause the opposite. Having too many plugins can bog down your site, causing it to slow down. Plus, a lot of plugin functions are redundant, especially blog analytic plugins.

Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

When you have more than one Google Analytics plugin, you end up with inaccurate analytics. This can be especially harmful when working with networks or brands, who will often ask for your analytics to know your audience reach. 

Solution: Keep it simple when it comes to plugins. Only use what you really need, and make sure to check for duplicates and plugins that share the same function. 

7. Writing short articles 

Lastly, one of the biggest blogging mistakes is writing articles that are too short. Many bloggers think shorter articles will be more successful since a reader will likely read through the entire post. Many SEO plugins also will say that a 300-word blog post is enough to rank in search engines. However research has found that the optimal blog post length is closer to 1,600 words–quite a bit more than 300! 

Solution: When writing blog posts, try to pick topics that you can really delve into. Add subheadings and related keywords to lengthen your posts and dive deeper into the subject. You can also include quotes and excerpts from others, research and data, or anecdotes and testimonials depending on your post’s topic! 

Keeping these mistakes in mind when crafting your blog posts will help you on your way to success!

Blogging for money Define your Product

Blogging for money: Find your product and who you are in social media

Blogging for money Define your Product

You have been blogging for 2-3 years now and you are starting to feel the itch: Is this ever going to happen for me? Are you the top social media influencer you want to be? Is your phone ringing off the hook –yeah, outdated expression – because brands want you to represent them? In the end, are you making the money that helps to build the life you dreamt for yourself –and those you care about?

If any of your answers to these questions is NO, then you can start reading. We spoke about having an approach to build a business with your blogging ability instead of just blogging as a hobby or a way to express your passion.

Are you blogging for money or as a hobby? Let us know how we can help!

You can read:  Your blog a hobby or a business: Action plan to blogging for money

 

Let’s be clear: The first ingredient to be successful in social media is to have and show the passion

Influencers vs brand ambassadors - Courtesy of Zuberance and Convince & Convert

Influencers vs brand ambassadors – Courtesy of Zuberance and Convince & Convert

for the “thing” you do. I started LatinasinBusiness.us for one main reason: to leave my legacy as a Latina business owner to thousands of Latinas who are just at the gate, or struggling with their businesses, and help them avoid the obstacles, barriers and problems I encountered during my 25 years of being in the USA.

When I talk to someone just starting their business, or someone who is thinking of a business idea, so many suggestions come to mind that then –and only then- I realize I have come a long way.

It is not necessary that your passion make you money; however, if you want your passion to become your full-time activity and, unless you have won the lottery or belong to a wealthy family –yeah, I didn’t think so–, then you would like to have that income that rewards your passion coming in steadily. After all, we live in a society that leverages success with economic value. It is up to you to define what that equation means to you… but that is another story.

For now, let’s keep the focus on the topic today: defining who you are by defining your product.

If you are writing a blog, your first idea of product is your writing, right?

Well, let think a little: a product is, by definition, a tangible or intangible “thing” manufactured or refined for sale, meaning, someone has a need you are fulfilling with that “product.” So here are your options:

  1. What do you write about?

Writing about your morning, your dog, or the way rain is making you feel can be your passion but… yes, there’s always a but: if you want to make money out of it, then you need to “refine” the product. Maybe your “thing” is to write fiction –a novel, an essay, poetry or any other intangible that fulfills the intellectual or artistic pulse of your audience. Your task it then not only to become the best at what you do but also find someone who believes your product will make them money, and become your publisher. And voila, now you are a fiction writer and you defined your product.

  1. Is your knowledge your product?

You have been writing about a bunch of topics: lifestyle, fashion, education, Latino culture, makeup, a little here, a little there, bringing in followers, maybe local people who know you or your writing, but you are really aiming at having brands contact and hire you to represent them or speak on their behalf. However, is your writing really catering to someone’s need? The only way to find your niche is to become an expert at certain products you love and write about.
Stick to your point but… yes, again… with a strategy. Your expertise is your passion and your passion becomes your expertise. Is it makeup? Then aim at the products you really, really like! That eye shadow, or this moisturizer. Concentrate on a line of products, become a true expert and tell it like it is –followers or fans do not want to be lied to, they prefer the truth as the rest of us, mortals. Even brands like to hear about things they want to improve –if said in a friendly, expertly way.

Ted Rubin

Ted Rubin, social media guru, father of the concept Return on Relationships

Product reviewers can make a nice living by concentrating on a line of product or a series of related products. Cars, technology, shoes, knock-off purses, the devil is in the details: the more you know, the more you will become the sought-after expert in that particular type of product line. You have now become an “influencer,” as your opinion counts towards that knowledge people are looking for.
Build a relationship between the products you prefer and the brands that manufacture them, while building trust among your customers. Open yourself to questions and pledge to always tell the truth –even if that is not glamorous; become their best adviser/social media friend. As Ted Rubin says, success is now all about Return on Relationships (ROR).

  1. What is a brand you cannot live without?

You are a recent mom and you have discovered that only certain brand of products work for your baby’s sensitive skin; or your child has special needs and you want to tell the world about an organization that has helped you through these tough times. Any place you go, any person you talk to knows about your passion for that particular brand. You have now become a “brand ambassador” without even knowing it.
While influencers are people whose opinion count towards the knowledge or expertise they have about a certain product, service or line of products, brand ambassadors are those who engage customers and turn them into potential customers. Some people are both influencers and brand ambassadors, or go from one to the other, however, you can have influence over your target audience who follow you for your opinion but not necessarily buy the brands you suggest. Keep that in mind when you approach a brand.

Lorraine C. Ladish at Hispana Leadership Institute Conference in Dallas, TX

Lorraine C. Ladish, top Latina influencer, at Hispana Leadership Institute Conference in Dallas, TX

  1. Do you have tangible products to sell?
    What about selling your own product? Do you have a talent for the arts and crafts? Do you manufacture something of your invention? Or can turn some product you buy wholesale into a retail business?
    Many small businesses have started on E-Bay and many people just make a nice extra income by re-selling products on the side. Blogging about your product, your art, your interest can help you tremendously to turn those followers into buyers. Blog about the use and duration of the product, how you found the product and decided to manufacture or sell it. Tell stories about your family, friends or acquaintances and their experiences using the products. People not only like to know who you are but also get ideas on the products you build or sell that might help them make a decision about their own needs.
    We used to go to the store for shoes and have someone fit our shoes, tell us about the quality of the leather, have a nice, personal conversation about the shoes and how that color or this shape will go with this or that outfit. Have this same type of conversation with your customers online. In a world where everything tends to be impersonal, having a friend talking frankly about their needs and how to cater to them can go a long way.

 

Kathy Cano Murillo_summer_2009_crafty_chica1

Kathy Cano-Murillo, Craftychica.com

Keep thinking how to define your product, the basic starting point to then delineate your elevator pitch, and the rest of your business. Tangible or intangible, knowledge or expertise, you product needs to take your potential customer’s pain away. Defining your product would also help you know your role in the social media world, and devise a strategy to get there. We’ll talk about writing your elevator pitch next time.

Let me know if this article was helpful! We will keep posting on the blogging for money topic, just let us know what your questions or concerns are!

Are you blogging for money or as a hobby? Let us know how we can help!

Your blog a hobby or a business: Action plan to blogging for money

 

Are you blogging for money or as a hobby? Let us know how we can help!

Are you blogging for money or as a hobby? Let us know how we can help!

Blogging has become an activity for thousands of Millennials and older people looking to make a buck or dreaming to quit their full-time job. However, talking to many bloggers at Hispanicize 2015, I learned that some are still running behind their dream, and even those with three or more year of blogging still have no real clue how to make some decent money. Moreover, those who have become entrepreneurs have done it hitting their heads to the wall many times.

I discovered blogging recently, when I launched LatinasinBusiness.us (LIBizus). Although I don’t have a formal education in journalism, most of my background has been in writing for newsy and trade publications. Blogging brings a new freedom, especially if you are doing “your own thing.” Even if you are writing content directed to certain people, product or brand, the fact that you can talk freely about your preferences and feelings is, to say the least, liberating and enjoyable.

In blogging, there are no rules other that great writing and incredible, unique content that would pick up readers and fans’ attention and take them to action. You want those readers to become your fans and comment on your blog, share the information you provided or tell you how they feel and what they did in such same situation.

However, converting those fans and followers into leads and customers might require a little bit of additional ingredients. Some marketing and business experience makes the framework from where you might plan, develop and nail your strategy. Here are some actions steps that might help:

  1. Know your elevator pitch:

In business, you are asked to be able to define your vision, product or service in a phrase or two or your elevator pitch; in fact, the time it takes for a person to talk to a stranger in an elevator lift. When I’m asked, for instance, I can easily and simply say that “LIBizus advocates for the economic empowerment of Latinas in the workplace by bringing their stories to the forefront and offering them resources and information.” What is your one line that defines your blog? If you can’t put it in a simple sentence, maybe you are not clear about what your vision is.

The famous and former Latina Mom Bloggers, Piera, Cristy and Angela now have launched their enterprise into DiMe Media Group.

The famous and former Latina Mom Bloggers, Piera, Cristy and Angela now have launched their enterprise into DiMe Media Group.

  1. Define your product:

What is your product? I repeatedly asked several bloggers I talked to, and many could not pin it. They kept telling me about the content they were writing about or the animation they were planning to do but in reality, they had little idea of what their “product” was all about.

Let’s see: unique content is what everybody writes to promote their style, ideas, even share some information and news. Fashion bloggers talk about how much they love their cats despite the little creatures ruin their stockings while business bloggers remember the tough times when they faced difficult decisions in their personal lives that affected their business. The magic of blogging is that people are fascinated by the “stories,” the persona behind the blog, who you are and where you come from. You are building trust and relationships with your potential customers.

However, that is NOT your product; that is your journey, what brought you here, where you come from and why people should trust you. You have “been there,” “done that,” and succeeded, or learned your lesson and moved on. Those are the peripheries of the real “product”: sharing your expertise, your knowledge, those ideas that will help your customers thrive.

For instance, I read many social media blogs that talk generalities or particularities about using social media but I only buy from those who show me real strategies that improve my social media reach, or tools that facilitate my job. Products, tangible or intangible, must achieve the same goal: to solve my customer problem or fulfill their need. In business, we say that a good product will take the customer’s “pain” away. Think your product in those terms. What are you offering that is catering to some need in their life or business and will want to buy from you?

With Elianne Ramos, who defines herself as Hopelessly Undomestic | Globetrotter | Author | CEO @SpeakHispanic | Founder @BrderKidsRelief | The Universe's 1st & only GEEK GODDESS. Recently named Distinguished Women of the Year by Girl Scouts.

With Elianne Ramos, who defines herself as Hopelessly Undomestic, Globetrotter, Author, CEO @SpeakHispanic, Founder @BrderKidsRelief, and The Universe’s 1st and only GEEK GODDESS. Recently named Distinguished Women of the Year by Girl Scouts.

  1. Writing about brands or branding your writing

According to Entrepreneur, “your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.”

Now, if you are writing about brands or branded products, why would people trust you if they don’t know who you are? How do you use those products and what are the “real” results? Are you telling the truth if brands are paying for content? You might be telling the truth but your customers don’t know that.

However, if you brand yourself, you deliver “your promise to your customer,” by showing them who you really are and what you really believe in, then you might be able to sell a particular branded product. Being consistent with your choices and with the products you write about is instrumental in building relationships. Also be truthful about your choices and your defeats. Praise the brand but also tell it like it is. People want to know the truth –or at least what they perceive as the truth.

Warning about brands: Many brands just give product away for bloggers to review. It cost them very little and they have a number of micro-bloggers talking to thousands of fans about them. If 100 micro-bloggers Tweet about a product to their 3K to 5K followers, that is a good amount of impressions but engagement might be tough. They are only looking for cheap exposure of their brand, and do not expect that they will go much further. In Spanish, we ask, “¿Qué es mejor, ser cabeza de ratón o cola de león?” (What is best, to be a mouse’s head or the lion’s tail?) meaning, you decide if you want to build your own brand or keep branding for someone else.

Two of most influential Latina bloggers in the USA, Kathy Cano-Murillo and Lorraine C. Ladish have made their passion into a full-time income activity.

Two of most influential Latina bloggers in the USA, Kathy Cano-Murillo and Lorraine C. Ladish have made their passion into a full-time income activity by branding their products or their convictions.

  1. Look at your competition and learn from them:

Millions of bloggers write every day about products, news, politics, business, the environment, parenting and more. Even professional bloggers write for brands without disclosing their names –sometimes called ghost writing. Content writing and content strategy companies are building their services based on assignments from large, medium and small corporations looking to access the world of social media. So there is competition for your blog out there, even if you are writing about insects surviving in the dessert.

In business, “positioning” your brand or your product means to find that unique edge or angle, that particular feature that makes your brand or product special and different from the competition. In order to find those characteristics, you need to study your competitors, yes, study, observe, and spy what they do, how they do it, and why they are being successful. Find the most popular blogs in your topic and look at their strategies, topics, etc. What are they doing different that you could incorporate to your blog?

Now, positioning is related to learning from others but applying your own judgment to your brand or product, which in the end will make your content unique. If your competition became popular talking about their private life and you don’t feel that type of disclosure is for you, then move to another competitor and see if they have a similar approach to yours.

For instance, I looked at many business sites and Latina blogs and found that not many considered working Latinas as a whole. They either talked about business matters –banking, access to capital, insurance, promotions, HR and more- or they addressed the celebrity/fashion/makeup/lifestyle topics. So when I designed LIBizus sections, I devoted some of them to topics of business interest and some to the way we like to look and behave in the workplace. After all, we still put make up on and style our hair when we go to work every day!

With Lizza Monet Morales, actor, journalist, producer, connector, fashionista, gadget girl, and one of the most successful bloggers I met in Miami.

With Lizza Monet Morales, actor, journalist, producer, connector, fashionista, gadget girl, and one of the most successful bloggers I met in Miami.

  1. Last but not least, have a business plan:

You are not going to like this but if you want your blog to make you money, then you need to treat your blog as a business. If you prefer to wake up and just think about what you feel writing about today, then it is not a business, it is a hobby, a way to express yourself.

A business plan for your blog does not have to be a traditional business plan, those that startups put together to get funding with a bank or lender. Well, at least not in the beginning until you decide to take it up a notch. To start, you just need an action plan, a guide to follow every week. Set your goals for the next week, and see what you need to do in order to get there.

An action plan can be a series of lists –Kathy Cano-Murillo @craftychica, the very popular Mexican-American blogger, works with to-do lists every time she wants to achieve her goals– or it can be a more comprehensive action plan that would guide you into several months of activity.

Stay tuned because we’ll be talking about building an action plan very soon! If you like this content, please comment below and let me know if this article reflects your situation, how long you have been blogging and your topic. Do not forget to include you blog URL and @Twitter handle so we can look at your particular situation and help in any way we can!