I said I would focus on some personal projects this weekend.
Yet, there I was, on Saturday morning, trying to decide what show to binge-watch. It wasn’t until I was five episodes into the new House of Cards season that I realized my oversight.
I tried to justify it.
“I’ve been working all week. It’s Saturday. I’ll work on my projects next weekend.”
The truth, though, is that I’ll probably do the same thing next weekend. Old habits die hard. Unfortunately, these habits can stunt your blog’s growth if they aren’t identified and changed. The good news is that, unlike my affinity for TV series, you can control your bad blogging habits.
- You Focus Too Much on SEO
In the past, keyword research was held as a surefire way to boost your rankings. You could create low-quality content, stuff it with keywords, and it would have been enough to fool search engine algorithms. But, in the aftermath of both Panda and Penguin algorithm changes, Google has completely rewritten the Quality Ratings Guideline.
How to Break the Habit: Instead of overusing keywords, use TF-IDF to ensure a high page rank. TF-IDF (term frequency-inverse document frequency) is a concept that is intended to show content writers that some keywords are more important than other and thus they should be used more frequently. For instance, if you write an article about “best wedding venues in New York,” this keyword should appear more often in your content than “wedding location” and “wedding ideas”, but these two should be included in your article, too, because they are related to the topic.
- Adding Images without a Goal Is Just Moving Pictures
By now, you should know that the written word isn’t the only type of content that engages readers. But, there’s a catch. Visual content should help you reach your business goals. If you are just using images chaotically, without any purpose, you’re just moving pictures around, without any real impact on your bottom line.
How to Break This Habit: Ask yourself the following questions before adding images to your content:
- Do my images tell a story?
- Are they relevant to the topic?
- Do they add value to the content?
Don’t use low-quality photos or generic stock images. There are so many ways you can be creative with your visual content – you can create infographics, memes, videos, or even screenshots.
- You Waste Time
Oh, boy! Wasting time is one of my biggest flaws. I start every week that this time I will burn through my to-do list like a champion. I plan my whole week ahead, down to my meals. But, every Friday, I realize I need to put in a few hours of work over the weekend to catch up.
How to Break This Habit: There are countless tricks and tools you can use to boost productivity. Here are some of the things that help me stop wasting time on my content writing process:
- Batching: The secret is to focus on one task at a time and stick to with until you are finished. For instance, if you’re writing, don’t stop to edit as you go;
- Eliminate distractions: Turn off email notifications, put your phone on silence and install an app that will block out distractions for a set amount of time.
- Write in Chunks: Set your timer for 25 minutes, eliminate distractions, and focus on writing. When the timer goes off, take a short five minutes break.
- You Don’t Have an Editorial Calendar
When I first started writing, my posting habit was hectic. I would open a new document, with no idea what to write about, and I would spend hours reading other blogs in hopes of finding some inspiration.
Some days it worked while others were a complete waste of time. It wasn’t until later that I realized that this hectic schedule is stunting my blog’s growth.
How to Break This Habit: It doesn’t take that long to plan your content one month in advance, for instance. And, you will notice that once you know what you’re supposed to write about, you’ll get more done and waste less time with a copywriting service.
I challenge you to brainstorm 12 post ideas now – that way you will have at least one thing to write about per month for the next year.
- You Don’t Build an Email List
Wait a minute! Wasn’t email marketing dead?
Of course not! If the email was dead, why do so many people still use it as a main channel of communication? And why do every e-commerce website or social media platform ask for your email address when you create an account?
How to Break This Habit: Email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing tactics. How can you use it for your benefit? Here are some tricks that helped me:
- Give visitors a reason to subscribe – offer them access to new features, free eBook, coupons, etc.
- Make it easy for people to subscribe – install opt-ins forms that come pre-filled with instructions;
- Ask for signups – give people the opportunity to subscribe at any given moment.
I’ll be the first to admit: kicking bad habits is hard. But, if you truly want to improve your productivity, grow your blog, and become successful, you’ll need to try harder.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, there are five more House of Cards episodes waiting for me.