We are all bound to make mistakes. Blogging is not a new phenomenon, however, so we should be able to learn from the mistakes that other bloggers made in the past. In this lesson, you will find 10 common blogging mistakes you should avoid.
1. Monetizing Too Early
Having ads on your blog from day one is fine, and it might even be a good thing because it will signal to your readers the direction that you are going. The important thing, however, is to make sure that your ads will be minimal in the early days, else they might annoy your very first visitors.
Remember that while your blog is young you will mostly be trying to gain the attention and trust of readers. If you put many ads on their faces before you have their trust, they will certainly go somewhere else.
Later in the game, once they know you and the quality of your content, it will be much easier to monetize the blog efficiently without the risk of losing readers.
Even when your blog becomes established inside its niche you should still plan your monetization strategy carefully. If your ads start getting in the way of the user experience, they might scare off even some of your loyal readers. One example is pop-up ads. They tend to be quite profitable, but most web visitors detest them, to the point of leaving and never returning to sites using pop-ups.
Another problem is having too many ads. If visitors have a hard time finding your content in the middle of all your ads they might just head somewhere else.
3. Going Off Topic
Once in a while, you might get an urge to talk about unrelated things. Maybe there is a political scandal that pissed you off or your football team just won the championship. The audience is there after all, why not share it with them?
The problem with off topic posts is that they might annoy your readers. Remember that they read your blog to get information about a specific topic. If suddenly they find themselves reading about something they don’t care about at all, they might decide to unsubscribe and never come back.
It takes several quality posts to gain the trust of a reader, and just one bad post to lose it.
4. Not Having an “About” Page
As we explained before, blogs became so popular partly because they represent a very personal publishing platform. It is only natural, therefore, that your readers will want to know more about you. Apart from giving some general details about yourself, your “About” page will be important to your credibility. It should explain to the readers why they are not wasting their time by reading your content. Here are items that you could include on the “About” page:
- a brief biography,
- the story behind the blog,
- a picture of yourself,
- your professional background,
- your past achievements,
- useful links (e.g., the RSS feed), and
- a list of posts to get the reader started on your blog.
5. Not Having Stored Posts
There will be days or periods where you won’t be able to post on the blog. You might have a particularly busy week in your work, or a family emergency might come up. For those occasions, it is a good idea to have a set of emergency posts stored and ready to go.
Two or three posts are enough, and the only concern that you have is to make sure that the content on those posts is evergreen.
6. Apologizing for the Lack of Posts
If you have been reading blogs for a while, you probably already have come across a post from some blogger basically apologizing for not being able to post lately. Should you come to a situation where you can’t post for some time, do not do this.
Why? Because such posts just worsen the problem. They put in evidence the fact that you are neglecting the blog, and they send a message to all your readers saying that it will probably be a while before you manage to get the posts flowing again. The result? Many readers will just move on to another blog.
Instead of writing an apology, just make an effort to write a valuable post and publish it on the blog. This will do a much better job of keeping the interest of your readers.
7. Changing Design Every Month
The abundance of WordPress themes available on the Internet leads some bloggers to change their design every other week. This is obviously a mistake because it will weaken your brand.
Testing with a couple of different themes or designs is fine. Once you’ve chosen one, however, you need to stick with it. For how long? One year is considered to be a good time frame before you can redesign a website (and even then you need to be careful to maintain the overall look and feel and the color scheme).
8. Forgetting the Images
Many bloggers focus on writing their posts and forget to include images along with them. At a very minimum you want to include an image with all your pillar articles. If possible, include images with every single post.
There are several reasons to do this. First of all, images make your blog and posts visually appealing. Second, they might capture the attention of some people and lead them to read your articles. Finally, they can help with the search engine optimization of your posts (e.g., if you use your main keyword in the image name and ALT tag).
9. Neglecting the Writing Quality
In 2007, a company called Vizu Answers did a market research with blog readers. One of the questions of the research was: “What makes a good blog?”. Over 50% of the people participating in the research said that the writing quality was the main factor used to identify the good blogs.
In other words, you must make sure that your blog posts are written in a clear and effective fashion. Proofread as many times as necessary to make sure they will not contain grammatical or spelling mistakes.
One trick that you can use is to find a blogging partner, where you will proofread her articles and she will proofread yours. It is always easier to catch mistakes in someone else’s work.
10. Not Listening to the Readers
Remember that the focus of your blog should be on the content that your readers want to read, and not on the content that you want to write (unless you simply want a personal blog). In other words, always pay attention to how readers react to your posts, how many comments they write, whether other bloggers link to the posts and so on.
Once in a while, you should also try to get some direct feedback by using polls, surveys, and the like. This kind of information is critical to keep your readers and attract new ones at the same time.
- Go through the 10 mistakes listed in this lesson and make sure to avoid them on your blog.
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