There are a lot of common traps that ensnare bloggers. In fact, you might be caught in one now and not even know it! But not to worry, today you’re going to learn about 11 common blogger traps and how to avoid them. And if you can do that then the sky is the limit for your blog!
I’ve summarized the top keys and top resources for avoiding common blogger traps. Grab the free list!
Table of Contents
- The Blah Trap
- The Inconsistency Trap
- Follwer Trap
- The Know-It-All Trap
- The Consumption Trap
- The Red Dot Trap
- The Do-It-All Trap
- The Perfectionist Trap
- The Self-Involved Trap
- The Builder Only Trap
- The Lack of Planning Trap
1. The Blah Trap
Ugh….this is so freakin’ boring! Why did I decide to start a blog about wallpaper?
Blogging is HARD work! Hopefully, you realized that going in, but if you only started your wallpaper blog because you thought there was easy money to be made then there’s a pretty good chance that by now you’ve had your reality check and you may also have fallen in the blah trap. (The Blah Trap can lead to the Inconsistency Trap)
The blah trap is when you’re just no longer excited about what you are doing and it can ensnare even the most seasoned blogger, but newcomers who launched a blog just for the dough and not for the show (as in show your passion) might quickly come down with the blahs. And if you’re blah, you’re probably going to at some point say “nah” when faced with the real hard work involved in running a blog and building a business.
- you have trouble staying motivated
- lack of focus
- total blog abandonment (in extreme cases)
- pivoting towards passion
It’s time for some honest introspection! What you and every blogger need to realize is that passion promotes sustainability. Becoming a successful blogger takes a LOT of hard work and if you’re blogging about something you’re not excited about then it’s going to be tough sledding. You’ve got to be all in! It can’t just be about the money because there might not be much of that when you’re first getting started (OR ANY AT ALL!).
But, if you’re excited about what you are blogging about then the motivation is built in and can help propel through the times when the going is tough. So take a hard look at what you are doing:
- Is it something you wake up in the morning excited to do?
- Is there an audience of people you are excited about helping?
If not, then it might be time to adjust the sails and steer towards your passion. This is going to be so important to the success of your blog. And not just because it will help you avoid the blah trap, but also because it will help you present the best version of yourself to the world. And that’s what it’s all about!
- Check out these 5 Creativity Exercises for helping you find your passion.
2. The Inconsistency Trap
Hey, that’s awesome that you posted 10 Killer Summer Grilling Recipes back in June, but it’s September now and it probably shouldn’t be the latest content on your blog. Sure, I get it…you had plans (in your head at least) for creating content on a schedule, but then summer vacation got a little out of control and your vacation from blogging has become a full blown hiatus. You’re not alone, even the best of us can be swallowed up by the inconsistency trap.
- sporadic posting
- absence of a reliable content schedule
- your blog resembles a black hole of nothingness
The worst part about the inconsistency trap is that bloggers rarely see it coming. We’re blogging along thinking “we got this” and then WHAM! Life happens. Or if you prefer to put it another way, as Forest Gump would attest to, sometimes “shit happens”.
And why do you want to avoid inconsistency? Because inconsistency can kill your blog! Understand that serving your audience with consistent great content is a key component of blog growth and success.
- getting ahead/building a safety net
- maintain an editorial calendar
The key to escaping the inconsistency trap is making a plan and getting ahead! And having it all planned out in your head really isn’t enough. Because without fail: someone gets sick, something comes up, and “BOOM!” the next thing you know the new content section of your blog looks like the egg shelf at the grocery store the day prior to a big storm — A BARREN WASTELAND! All it really takes is one unforeseen event (the kind that happens ALL THE TIME in life) and the inconsistency trap will be sprung before you even see it coming. And there will be no escape…not immediately, at least. So….
Get that plan down on paper (digital paper will do if that’s your thing)! And make sure part of your plan involves getting ahead. Getting ahead is really the only way to avoid those content gaps because I don’t know anyone who’s immune to shit happening from time-to-time. Be prepared and get ahead.
A key to getting ahead is developing an editorial calendar: a plan for what your content will be for the coming weeks and months. This will help you greatly with planning and will hopefully allow you to get ahead. That way when shit happens it won’t lead to a content gap because your content is already done and scheduled to go out at the appropriate times!
- The WordPress Editorial Calendar Plugin is a popular tool for blogger.
- 7 traits of a great planner
- Evernote is a great tool for storing notes related to planned content
3. The Follower Trap
Are you obsessed with what everyone else is doing. Are you scared to stray too far from the herd? Scared to implement your own ideas? If you are then you might be heading towards the follower trap. Bloggers who lack self-confidence and fail to embrace their individuality are most susceptible to the follower trap. It captures those bloggers who try to replicate the success of others without ever truly establishing their own unique identity.
- low confidence
- overly concerned with the methods of others
- never implementing your own unique ideas
This is a tricky one because there is value to be gained by learning from others. However, if you are only looking at what other business are doing without evaluating whether that REALLY makes sense for you and your business then the Follower Trap might be about to swallow you up. Because the blogs/businesses out there that are really crushing it are the ones that have figured out what their unique value proposition is and then figured out how to use it to best serve an audience. So…
Embrace your individuality. Have the courage to try new things. The courage to cut against the grain.
- embrace your uniqueness
- implement your own ideas
- be authentic
- blaze your own path
- develop leadership skills
Understand this: If all you do is follow others then you are likely leaving your biggest asset on the table, the fact that you are unique!
Identify your personal strengths and tap into those. Sure, that other blogger you follow might be crushing it on Facebook, but maybe that’s not your thing. Figure out the skill sets and the platforms that speak to you and leverage those. Don’t be afraid to buck the trends and try something new. It can be scary to step out alone onto that ledge, but remember, everything was just a crazy idea until someone tried it and it worked.
- Discover your strengths – a nice article which list several exercises and resources you can use to assess your own strengths.
- 7 steps to becoming a better leader – Over on EOFIRE (Kate’s Take) Kate reviews 7 steps that can make you a better leader.
4. The Know-it-All Trap
All bloggers at one point in time were probably naive about something. Until they tried it and realized that it was harder than they thought. Or they discovered the great wealth of knowledge they thought they had was only the tip of the iceberg. Or they discovered that things can change quickly. But, if you are someone who still thinks that it’s going to be easy going…or that you have all the answers…or that you’ll EVER have all the answers then you’re already caught in the know-it-all trap.
- feelings of superiority
- feeling like there’s nothing left to learn
- you don’t hunger for more knowledge
The day you stop learning should be the day you go down for the big dirt nap. Not a day before. Because knowledge is power and knowledge is necessary for the ever changing landscape of life and blogging.
- embrace your humility
- read more
- become more receptive to advice and critique
Painful though it may be, the first step in escaping the Know-it-all trap is most likely a big slap in the face from reality. Until then, you might not even realize that you’re an idiot. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. No one knows it all. There’s always more to learn. There will always be room for improvement. Learning is perpetual. And nowhere are these things truer than in the online world where things change rapidly.
- 13 Habits of Humble People
- The Smart Passive Income Book Club – Read more! There’s nothing quite like reading to expand your mind and sharpen your skills.
- Taking Criticism like a Champ
5. The Consumption Trap
We live in the Age of Information. Gone are the days when libraries and universities are the guardians of information. If you want to learn something, the information is almost certainly right at your fingertips. Who was the 29th President of the United States? You might not know, but if you ask your phone you’ll have an answer in about 2 seconds.
Having information right at your fingertips is empowering, but it also can be dangerous. If you find yourself listening to 10 podcasts every week, but never actually taking the steps needed to move your business forward then there’s a good chance you might be caught up in the consumption trap.
- you listen to 10+ podcasts a week
- you’re constantly chasing new ideas
- you’re constantly starting things, but rarely finishing them
- you spend more time consuming then you actually spend creating
It’s easy to fall into the consumption trap. What you have to remember is that information is only valuable when you implement it. And part of that means consuming in bite-size chunks. Learn and implement the next most important thing for your business, the rest can wait!
- Learn AND THEN IMPLEMENT one new thing at a time
- prioritize creation over consumption
- narrow your information sources to the best of the best and the things vital to YOUR business
- delegate to others
- Hacks for consuming information more efficently
- 5 Ways to Avoid Information Overload
- The One Thing – great book on the power of prioritizing what matters
6. The Red Dot Trap
Do you ever find yourself compulsively opening Facebook or other apps just to see if there’s a new update waiting for you? If you do then it’s a clear sign that you are caught up in the Red Dot Trap.
- you compulsively open Facebook or other apps throughout the day checking for updates
- inability to stay focused on the task at hand
- social media is the first thing you check every morning and the last thing you check before bedtime
- you ALWAYS have your phone with you
- you spend large amounts of time on social media without accomplishing specific goals
All of the above are signs you’re in the red dot trap. It’s an addiction. You’re a rat in a maze searching for your next food pellet. You probably open Facebook without even realizing you’re doing it sometimes, am I right? It’s become like breathing. You do it without thinking or even realizing you are doing it. The difference is Facebook updates are not essential for your existence. You do it because you’ve become a red dot addict!
Much like the mice in B.F. Skinner’s box who would get a pellet when they pressed a lever, you have been trained to open Facebook in search of a red dot fix. And in the meantime, your blog and business are dying a slow death because those tasks that are essential aren’t getting done!
- Self-diagnosis and self-awareness – You need to first come to terms with your bad habits before you can fix them
- Schedule specific times for checking your social accounts
- Put down your phone! Start putting down your phone from time-to-time. You’d be surprised. The world doesn’t end. You’re more attentive to that task at hand.
Essentially, escaping is about coming to terms with your bad habits and understanding how they are being reinforced. If you’re able to do this then you can start buidling new habits and reinforcement loops that prioritize the stuff that really matters.
- The Power of Habit – Check out this awesome book on the power of habits.
- 5 Steps to Ending your Smartphone Addiction
- 10 online tools for better focus and for blocking distractions
I’ve summarized the top keys and top resources for avoiding common blogger traps. Grab the free list!
7. The Do it All Trap
As a blogger, you wear many different hats. You likely are a:
- website manager
And that’s just naming some of your roles! And within each of these, there are many different tasks. If you try to do them all then you are caught in the do-it-all trap and you’re certain to fail!
- you feel the need to implement every new idea you see
- you feel overwhelmed by your to-do-list
- you don’t have a team
- you never outsource anything
New bloggers are especially susceptible to the Do-It-All Trap because you may not yet have a team and some experimentation is certainly involved in figuring out what works best for your blog. But YOU DO need to figure this out. And you do need to develop the ability to focus on the most important tasks and let go of the rest.
As you grow you may be able to hand off certain tasks to your team and outsource others. Others you need to drop altogether. Start focusing on the 20% that deliver 80% of your results. Or as John Lee Dumas loves to say, “FOCUS: Follow One Course Until Success”.
- stop chasing every new idea
- understand your most important tasks and put blinders on to the rest
- learn how to outsource certain tasks
- when able, expand your team
One of the MOST important jobs you have as a blogger is that of a curator and the MOST important thing you are curating is the allocation of your time. If you don’t become good at this then your blog will never reach its full potential.
- The One Thing – Yup, I’m mentioning it again because learning to prioritize and focus are crucial skills for your success.
- Virtual Freedom #1 bestseller from Chris Ducker on how to build a virtual staff and increase your productivity
- How to Prioritize when Everything is #1
8. The Perfectionist Trap
Having a high bar for quality is great, but only if you still get shit done! If you’re constantly tweaking, constantly improving, but never implementing or never hitting publish then you may be caught in the perfectionist trap and it might be slowly killing your business.
- you spend countless hours improving things
- you are always finding reasons why your content or ideas aren’t ready or good enough
- the above really slows you from implenting new ideas and hitting the publish button
- you never hit your time deadlines (or you never set them)
If you exhibit the above symptoms then you are likely in the perfectionist trap. And it can be a debilitating place to be because it’s holding you back. You need to realize that nothing will ever be perfect. You need the realize that the best way to improve things may be to launch it and then adjust on the fly.
- have a good enough standard, but don’t pursue perfection
- stick to clear time deadlines
- Just launch it! You can always improve things later.
You understand right? Take that leap and start getting shit done!
9. The Self-Involved Trap
If you are consistently making it about you and not about those people you can help then you may be caught in the self-involved trap.
- You spend a lot of time talking about yourself
- You don’t spend a lot of time trying to make your content relatable and relevant to your readers
- You find yourself regularly listing your credentials
It’s not about you. I can’t say that enough, it’s not about you. You can shout from the rooftops all you want that your content is great and it won’t matter. Paraphrasing from Nicholas Kusmich, The key is not shouting louder, but whispering in the right ear.
Because here’s what you need to understand…
..more important than people understanding you is their feeling that you understand them. They have to believe that before they’ll ever believe that you can help them. Take a moment to let that sink it because it’s going to be SUPER important to the life of your blog and your business.
- make it about the people you are trying to help/connect with
- don’t sell yourself, sell the solution to their problem
- network and expand your audience by helping others
The self-involved trap can equally hinder your ability to reach your audience and to network within your industry. Just continue to repeat in your head, “it’s not about me, its about them”. For more help with outreach, you can check out this Ultimate Outreach Guide.
10. The Builder Only Trap
“If you build it, they will come.” While a great line in the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, this is a bad motto for running a blog. If you find yourself believing this then you’re probably stuck in the builder only trap and your blog may be suffering.
- The belief that content is king
- lack of a network
- lack of a marketing strategy
Look, I understand, the “content is king” saying gets thrown around a lot. So, it must be true, right?
Let me ask you this: If you type a question into Google do you get one result or A LOT of results? So what exactly makes your content king?
I’m not saying content is not important, only that it matters little if you don’t get it in front of the right people at the right time. Therefore, context is the new king. Nicholas Kusmich promotes this idea along with the idea that more important than what you say is how you say it.
And if context is king, then you better focus a lot of your energy on becoming a good marketer. Because building the solution is not enough. You also have to pair that solution with the people who need it when they need it.
- have a marketing plan and continue to improve it as you continue to learn about your target audience
- Focusing at least equal energy (if not more) into marketing your content as you do creating it
- Work on your copywriting skills
- Step by Step Guide to Marketing Fundamentals
- Ray Edwards – Ray is a tremendous resource for all things copywriting.
11. The Lack of Planning Trap
If you’re just bumping around blogger world from one task to the next without clear goals then you’re likely in another common blogger trap, the lack of planning trap, and it will keep your blog from reaching its full potential.
- you spend half your day trying to figure out what you are going to work on next
- you are constantly jumping from task to task
- you don’t have a list of time-based goals
- you don’t have a daily plan that focuses on your top priorities
A lack of a plan is the same as a plan to fail. You can bump around from one task to the next if you want, but if you really want to get serious about taking your blog to the next level then you had better map out a plan for getting there.
- Set time-based goals
- Reverse engineer the steps needed to reach your next goal and put them into a plan
- Have a daily plan that helps you avoid focus on your priorities and avoid idle time
There’s no time like today! Start planning for the blog, business, and life that you want.
- The Freedom Journal – Use the Freedom Journal to accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days
- – A Smart Passive Income Episode with Michael Hyatt on how to plan your best year ever
- 7 keys to planning your work
There are other traps of course, but you’ve probably identified a common theme within these that you’ll find in other traps as well. So, let’s review:
The Top Keys to Avoiding Common Blogger Traps
- steer towards your passion
- consistently served your audience with valuable content
- capitalize on your strengths and be brave enough to implement your own ideas
- be humble, accept critique, read, never stop learning
- Narrow your focus, prioritize the most important tasks and let the rest wait
- Be wary of distractions and time traps, cultivate good habits, plan time away from your computer and phone
- Don’t try to do it all, learn to slowly outsource more and more tasks so you can focus on what you are great at
- Let go of the idea of perfection, set time deadlines, get shit done
- Never make it about you. Serve others. Helping people is always the answer.
- Don’t skimp on marketing. Always be learning about your ideal reader and how to get the content they need most in front of them.
- Plan for your success
I’ve summarized the top keys and top resources for avoiding common blogger traps. Grab the free list!
Thanks for reading! Let me know which one of these (or another) traps you find yourself most susceptible to? Share this article with others who might find it helpful. Help others by sharing any valuable resources you’ve found for avoiding any of these traps in the comments below.