1 | BUYING FOLLOWERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
This is one of the biggest shortcuts you can take in the blogosphere. Want 10,000 twitter followers? You could have that by this afternoon. But here’s why you shouldn’t: It’s pretty obvious and these aren’t the followers you want.
I’ve seen other bloggers do this, heck, even famous people do this. Unfortunately with bloggers, it’s even more obvious. It used to blow my mind occasionally – how did this relatively new blogger have 10,000 twitter followers? Is she really funny? Is everything she says re-tweetable? If that’s not the case, they probably bought followers.
You might even think it might give you some pull with companies for sponsored posts. Spoiler alert: they know that people can buy followers. These followers or fans aren’t usually real and therefore aren’t going to engage with you or your content – which is what you really want. It’s also what companies want. Plus, doesn’t buying followers just feel a little icky and dishonest?
2 | LETTING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA BE AUTO-UPDATED
If you’re a WordPress user (like me – here are 8 reasons I love WordPress) you can let WordPress do all the work for you in terms of updating social media. When I click “publish” on WordPress, my post updates are automatically published to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Truth time – this is pretty much all I do with Facebook. And it shows! My engagement on Facebook is the lowest of all of my social media.
If you are going to use auto-update (as I do), make sure you are adding real-time content as well. If it’s just impossible for you to be super engaged on all social media platforms (which is hard to do if you’re balancing a full-time job or kids or both), pick one or two and really focus on those. I love Instagram and Twitter and I are pretty hot and cold. So yes, use the auto-update tools. But don’t exclusively use them.
3 | NOT PROOFREADING YOUR POSTS
While the average reader may not be turned off by the occasional spelling or grammatical error, brands will be. It’s the internet. You never know who might be looking at your site. If it’s someone who is considering working with you, you want to put your best foot forward. I re-read every post multiple times (I preview it and check out how it will actually look once it’s published) before I hit publish. It might be a personal blog, but that doesn’t mean my writing can’t be professional. That said, I do use a casual writing style which is not technically proper English, but is more how I actually speak. That you can get away with in blog world.
Because I’ve included this in this list, my mother will inevitably text me pointing out a spelling or grammatical error in this post. I promise.
4 | DOING AN OUTFIT POST EVEN THOUGH IT ISN’T YOUR THING
For a long time as a blogger, I was under the assumption that everyone did outfit posts. I did them too! But they weren’t my thing and it showed. Just because you fall under the giant umbrella that is “lifestyle blogging” does not mean that you have to do outfit posts. In fact, it doesn’t mean that you have to do anything that everyone else is doing. So really this goes for any type of post that everyone else is doing – link ups, round ups, etc.
For those days that you’re having writers block, yes taking pictures of your cute outfit or participating in a link up might seem faster and easier. But if fashion blogging isn’t your passion, it will show. If the link up doesn’t fit in with your content, it will feel out of place. You’re better off to write about what you care about, what you are passionate about, or skip a day.
5 | ALL PERSONAL POSTS, ALL THE TIME
It’s also really easy to ramble about your own life. If that’s what your blog is about, great! But if you search Bloglovin’s popular posts page, I think you’ll find that most of the posts that are highly sharable (and well-liked) are those that help the reader. If you want to grow your blog, you’ve got to mix in some shareable content.
Those types of posts are awesome to read but much harder to brainstorm and then write. So yeah, ramble about your life on occasion. I do. But try to bring something to the table too. Your readers will appreciate it (and probably share it more too)!
6 | NOT INCLUDING AN IMAGE
I love words. Words are the reason I read your blog. But words aren’t always enough. Finding images you can use for free is easy! Here are 7 places to find free images to use for your blog or website. Find one that fits the mood of your post, download it, and add it. In fact, your image doesn’t even really have to have much to do with your subject matter. I guarantee adding an image will improve your click-through rate from Bloglovin’ and well, it looks a lot nicer. If you want to go one step further, adding words to the image using a tool like PicMonkey can make your post perfectly pinable.
7 | INCLUDING AN IMAGE THAT ISN’T YOURS
Now I know that you know that stealing someone’s content is stealing. I don’t even need to list that, because you aren’t a dummy. But one no-no I see constantly in the blog world is people using images that aren’t theirs. The easiest way to find an image is to google search and grab the best one. It’s fast and you can often find good quality images. It’s stealing. It’s stealing and then putting it out in public saying “look what I did!” It’s an easy shortcut but resist the temptation and check out some of the legal ways to find images above.
One notable exception to this rule is if you are sharing a photo of something that is for sale. I have no qualms about sharing a photo of something from Etsy if I’m including a link to that product. It’s free advertising for the seller and I can’t imagine that any Etsy business would dislike that. I’ve done it a few times, like my Etsy round-up posts for the Harry Potter fan or the Doctor Who lover, and both times I’ve received thank you’s from a couple of those businesses.
So those are the blogging shortcuts I try to avoid, but with blogging, you do what you want to do. That’s the joy of this thing. What blogging shortcuts do you refuse to take?