Arielle asked me a few days ago if I could make a post about the most common mistakes a beginner blogger does. So I took up the challenge and compiled a small list of not-to-dos and how to avoid them. I actually made a few of them myself in my beginner and initiating first months of blogging. There’s no shame in that, no one’s ever been born scholared or educated, we learn from our experiences and from our mistakes. So the purpose of this article is to open some eyes and hopefully help you build a better blog.
1. Not blogging on self-hosted blogs. I see this everywhere and I’ve gotta say this is one of the most capital mistakes you could make as a blogger. A big chunk of the blogosphere is made out of free-hosted blogs, such as the ones WordPress and Blogger provide. What’s wrong with a upkeep free blog? Well you have very limited control over your work, blogger or whatever service you use can delete your posts or blog whenever they feel like it, most of the times you have trouble monetizing your traffic and because it’s plain old unprofessional.
I’m not saying that blogger or wordpress blogging services are bad or anything like that, they’re actually a great way to get used to the platforms, but nothing more. If you’re blog actually becomes popular, you’ll gonna have a real though time switching to self-hosting, as you lose a shit load of subscribers, visitors and incoming links. Spare yourself the trouble and buy some host space and a .com domain(or whatever), it’s dirt cheap these days.
2. Not blogging out of passion, but out of lust for money. Nowadays a lot of people start blogs just to gain a extra income, hoping they’ll make a easy and quick buck. If they’d blog for long enough, they would know there’s not such thing as easy money in the world of blogging, or internet marketing for that fact. You have to work a lot and be persistent, or to be persistent and constant in your work you have to be fueled by passion or else the the 1-2 first week enthusiasm will die off soon and you’ll have a another dead blog on your hands. Stop posting about mesothelioma or whatever adsense high paying keywords works and start blogging about what really matters to you.
3. Design cluttering. I’m more then certain you’ve seen all over the Internet blogs that are plain and simple horrific and unaesthetic beyond any measure. Eye hurting color combinations, way over crowed sidebars, hard to read content, spammy banners and links everywhere. If you’re reading this and you identify yourself with the above, the dude de-cluster you shit now! A blog is like a greeting card or a mirror of yourself, when someone sees and reads a blog they associate it with the author. Take simple cleaning measure like you would do with a overstacked desk, put everything away and start from the top. This time don’t add useless garbage anymore.
4. Commenting issues. I just hate it when it’s just to complicated to comment on a particular post. Some people make the mistake of making the commenting process to complicated and time consuming, especially if they make the user to register an account. Some people make a even greater step backwards and turn off commenting all together. That cuts off reader interaction, one of the major principles a blog is built upon.
Also as a blogger you have to keep reader interaction at all time, that means you have to actively participate in the discussions or debates, by responding to comments. A simple thank you for commenting can do wonders, you can take this to a even higher level by sending responding readers a thanks you e-mail in which you show your appreciation for their response. This is a excellent technique if you have a really new blog and you’re in desperate need of faithful readers. Commenting on other blogs or on the ones belonging to people who comment on yours is often neglected. Make a commenting schedule every day. Your comments will be returned.This really a broad field that I will expand upon in a future post.
5. Stats show off. I really don’t like it when people brag about their stats, and I really stay away from those who have bad one too. I wouldn’t call it exactly wise to put out half of siderbar worth of ranking icons and things like that, that says: rank 10412, or 2 visitors today, or 4 feedburner subscribers. That’s totally a turn off of readers, so my advice is that you immediately take them down. Keep just a feedburner chicklet, if you have a few hundred, as a sign that you’re a established and you can also put something like monthly general stats in your about page, or preferably in our advertising space, again only if their really impressive.
6. Bad content and text formating. A lot of people write in a very poor, most of the time unreadable manner, forgetting that they are actually exposed on the web and anyone can read their posts. Take some time and read a few (good) blogs for a few weeks and understand how blogging and writing works. Learn to make decent headlines, insert representative images, brake your content into paragraphs for easier reading, use a spell checker to avoid common typos and grammar mistakes (mozilla has one built in) and lots and lots more.
Also I’ve seen a lot of people steal content from others and “making them their own”. Most people think that’s ok to just copy/paste someone else’s work, but this not only unethical, but also illegal, so you might risk a low suit. Plus there’s no real benefit to it, as search engines nowadays know how to spots copycats and cheats, so you won’t get any real traffic. Blog about what you know best, no matter how bad the end result might be, you’ll eventually learn more about your field, develop your own writing style and ultimately be a authority on your domain.
7. Early monetization. Being rewarded for your hard work is a normal thing, but don’t do it from the start and never do it excessively. First establish yourself a readership, a decent amount of traffic, subscribers, inbound links etc. Once you’ve done that you can safely put some adsense, or other PPC, here and there, but so to not distract readers from your content or bug then too much. Most people, including myself, hate over monetized websites with ads everywhere and won’t spend more then 3 seconds on your website.
Oh and on a similar never cheat and click your own ads, you’ll be banned and trust me there isn’t a question of if they find out, it’s when. Is a fist of dollars worth losing a possible stable income? I think not.
There are a lot more, but these are the most common and the most serious ones. If you’ve found any of the points above familiar, then take the necessary measures to fix them.
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