5 blogging mistakes I made last year

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I’ve been blogging regularly for a little over a year now (I’m not counting the sporadic posts I shared for the five or six previous years) and I realised recently that things around these parts have come a long way.

(All you need to do is have a little hunt through the archives to find some old, cringey posts and you’ll see what I mean. Funnily enough I’m not linking them here.)

I always enjoy this kind of post from other bloggers because learning from other people’s mistakes can be very handy. So here’s five blogging mistakes I made last year, in the hope that you can avoid making them too.

Not caring enough about SEO

Despite previously working in digital marketing, for some reason I never paid that much attention to SEO when it came to my own blog. Unforgiveable really, when WordPress makes it so easy with the Yoast plugin.

Simple principles I make sure to follow now are: choosing a keyword, ensuring that keyword is in the alt tags for my images, including a meta description with said keyword, and of course, always including both internal and external links.

Lucy Lucraft wrote a very helpful, simple guide to SEO which I’ve linked here.

Vague titles

Back in the day, I was coming out with titles like ‘February Greens’ (I kid you not) that didn’t mean anything to someone flicking past my link. Although by this point last year, I’d got a lot better (it couldn’t get worse), I was still using some titles that didn’t mean very much.

For example, I knew when I called a post ‘Moisturising my way to better skin’ that it was about how my skin had got better after a Liz Earle facial, thanks to one of their products. But the title didn’t even mention Liz Earle or the facial, which was kind of the main point, so I’ve since changed it to “What a Liz Earle facial did for my skin“, making it much more relevant.

Not theming my imagery

I can’t pretend I’ve got any better at photography because it’s definitely one of my weaker points when it comes to blogging. It’s not lost on me that I haven’t even used a photo for this post…

However I invested in a short photo shoot with a local photographer to get some decent quality pictures of myself, and have also started to pay more attention to how my images all sit together rather than throwing together a complete mish mash. I’ve got quite a strong theme on my Instagram so wanted to start reflecting that in the blog too, incorporating some more of my own illustrations and using a little stock imagery too – I find Unsplash to be great for this.

I know some people warn off using stock photos but personally, I think there’s no harm with some being sprinkled into the mix if it helps maintain a consistent theme and colour palette (sorry, I’ve definitely been reading too many home interiors magazines). It also means that you have good quality images – my iphone SE camera is not the best.

Essay-style paragraphs

My posts used to be very rambly and sprawling; for some reason I wasn’t a big fan of cutting up paragraphs or using subheadings. Now I try to make them a bit snappier, knowing that when I read other people’s posts it certainly makes them easier to navigate.

What’s more, the vast majority of us are now reading blogs and articles on our phones rather than on desktop – meaning a much smaller screen – so what might’ve been 5 lines on a laptop could be double that on our iPhone.

Ignoring Pinterest

For a long time I’d heard other bloggers lauding Pinterest as a brilliant tool for driving traffic but I was never really sure how to use it. I started creating some pins in Canva but most of the time, didn’t even include the pins within my blog posts. It’s safe to say I was pretty clueless.

I’ve since done a lot more reading up and at the end of last year, did Victoria Jackson‘s Pin to Win e-course. The steps I’ve taken on Pinterest as a result have increased blog traffic from the platform several times over so Victoria definitely knows what she’s talking about! You can find the course here and she also offers plenty of insights in her blog posts; this particular one (in conjunction with Vix Meldrew) contains lots of helpful pointers.

There’s 5 blogging mistakes I made in 2018. I so hope this post was helpful and if you have any questions, let me know in the comments.

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