Blogging isn’t always easy. You’re going to make mistakes early on and heck, you’re going to keep making mistakes along the way. But that’s ok… You learn, you try new things and you adjust along the way. That’s how I did it. That’s how Irina did it. That’s how Amber did it. And guess what? They’ve become excellent bloggers along the way!
So yes, you’re going to make mistakes and that’s totally ok. Nevertheless, here are some tips and suggestions of things to avoid early on…
- Use a free url. Don’t use a free url like yourblog.wordpress.com, yourblog.blogspot.com and yourblog.typepad.com. This is problematic from a content building and seo perspective. Think about it, later when you switch your domain to yourblog.com, you’re going to have to redirect all of those (now broken) links to your new main domain. Focus instead on driving traffic early on to your main domain (besides, it’s good branding too).
- You don’t display subscription options prominently. You’ve worked hard on writing remarkable content but are you offering new visitors/readers an option to subscribe? I use feedburner to make it easy for readers to subscribe via RSS and/or via email. If you want to ensure that visitors come back and read your content, you need to offer them an easy way to subscribe to receive your new content. I came across a site the other day that wrote a phenomenal post on marketing and when I looked to subscribe, the RSS option was placed at the bottom of the site near the footer. The footer! Did I subscribe? Nah. Truth be told I got annoyed and left…
- You close comments. I’ve seen few people do this well; Seth Godin being one of them. Closed comments is a quick sure-fire way to keep a community from building around your content. If you want people to engage, connect and discuss your content, you need to give them an opportunity to do so. Besides, services like disqus and intensedbate offer moderation via email if your concerned about being able to moderate comments easily.
- You don’t offer an easy way to share your content. You write about how to use social media to drive traffic but you don’t enable social sharing options to drive traffic. Tweetmeme, Sharebar, and sexy bookmarks are a great place to start.
- You have too many pages on your navigation bar. A simple, clutter free navigation is the most effective thing you can provide your site visitors. Just the other day I came across a website that had 23 pages (yes, twenty-three!) in their site navigation. If your goal is to over-whelm site visitors and drive them away, this is a sure-fire way to do so. Here are your basic mandatory navigation items: (everything else is basically clutter)
- Product/Services Page (If you author a real estate blog, this would be your “Home Search” page)
- About Page (or Testimonials Page)
- Support Page (for customer FAQ’s and product/service related questions)
- Contact Page (make it easy for people to get in touch)
- You focus too much on SEO (before you’ve even written your first post). To quote Copyblogger: “There is no better way to write horrible, crappy content than to deliberately stuff it with keywords in an attempt to boost your search engine rankings, when what you really need is for people to link to you in the first place.” Look at this post title for example. Do you think readers are going to connect with this? Yeah, me neither…
- You stop updating after the first few weeks (or the first two months). This one happens often. You write a ton of great posts the first few weeks. Then, after about a month or so, you run out of things to say and you stop posting. Suddenly, your last blog post was 6 months ago. If you expect to have a successful blog that people are going to visit often, remember, consistency matters. Pick a post frequency and stick to it: Once a week, twice a week, Tuesday’s and Thursdays, etc. A blog you don’t update is about as good as having no blog at all.
Over to you!
What would you add to this list? What mistakes did you make in your early blogging days? What tips do you have for the newbie blogger today? The comments as always are yours… 🙂
PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Collins