Years ago I read an article that said it only takes 21 days to drop a bad habit. I don’t know about you, but if I spent the next 21 years working at it I’m sure I’d still have a few bad habits left. But, just to kick things off, here are five bad blogger habits you need to break. You’re welcome to leave a few of your own in the comments.
Checking Your Email
This is my worst habit, and the hardest for me to break. I have an open email tab all day long and even when it’s not flashing I click over to see if anything new has arrived in my inbox. I even check on Saturday, and that’s the one day of the week I know I’m not going to get any emails.
How to break it? I just force myself to check once in the morning, once in the afternoon and one more time at the end of the day. If I don’t open a tab, I’m fine. But if I keep that tab open…
Checking Your Stats
OK. I’ll admit it. I do still have days where I obsess over stats. But it’s usually for good reason. I might be watching a new product launch or tracking a particularly high-profile guest blog post. It’s a horrible habit to get into and another one that’s difficult to break.
Again, put yourself on a schedule. Allow yourself to check your stats only once or twice a day, and then start tapering off. Watching your stats on a daily basis can be exciting but it’s also a huge time suck. Time that would be much better spent on doing what it takes to improve those stats – instead of just watching them.
Publishing Without Proofreading
I’ve published something without proofreading quite a few times and each time I do I want to kick myself. I rarely do it anymore, and when I do it’s usually because I clicked the wrong button. How to stop? Imagine what your readers are thinking. Seriously. What kind of an impression are you making with those misspellings and grammar errors? Get in the habit of previewing and proofreading your content before you hit publish. This is more a matter of developing a good habit – proofreading – than getting rid of a bad habit.
Rehashing The Same Old Stuff
When I first started blogging I thought “unique” content meant you simply rewrote another blogger’s content in your own words. Many new bloggers think this same thing. Soon, it becomes a habit. You search around your favorite blogs, look for the most active post of the day, and rewrite it and call it “unique.”
But that’s not what “unique” really means. Sure, the basic information will always be the same from blog to blog, but “unique” means giving that information your own spin to make it relevant and interesting for your own audience.
How many times have you said, “Oh, I’ll come up with something to blog about tomorrow” And then when tomorrow comes you can’t come up with anything to blog about? I used to do this all the time and when you’re just starting out it’s not really a problem. You have plenty to blog about because you haven’t really blogged about anything yet.
However, when your blog starts aging and your audience starts looking for more in-depth content it becomes almost imperative that you start planning ahead, otherwise you’re either stuck for content ideas or you’re repeating the same old stuff.
How to break this bad habit? Set up a monthly editorial calendar right now and plan your blog posts for at least the next 21 days. Think about things like internal link building, product promotion, and list building while you’re at it. When you start planning your content and your calls to action your content becomes much more effective. And after 21 days you’ll have yet another good blogging habit to add to your list.