Thousands of new blogs pop up every day. Because I’m constantly being asked to check out new blogs from friends and colleagues, I’ve started to notice that most new bloggers tend to make the same mistakes. These are the 8 mistakes that just scream “I’m a blogging noob!” If you want to gain the respect of your audience, avoid doing these 8 things.
1. Hosting your blog at WordPress.com – Free WordPress hosting is okay if you’re keeping a personal blog or just experimenting with blogging. But if you’re blogging professionally, you need to host the blog on your own domain. This is for a few reasons. First, a URL of yourblog.wordpress.com just looks unprofessional. Sorry, but it’s true. Also, when you don’t host the blog on your main domain, you won’t get the full benefits whenever someone links back to a post (links build trust for your domain with Google). Finally, hosting your blog on WordPress.com limits your customization options, blocking you from using the best themes and plugins.
2. Using the default WordPress theme – Look, I’m not saying your blog needs to have a killer, unique design, but for the love of all things holy, don’t use the default WordPress theme. The truth is we do judge books (and blogs) by their cover. The good news is there are thousands of high quality, professional-looking WordPress themes that are absolutely free. Just find one you like, download and install it, and you’re good to go.
3. Not proofreading your blog posts – Sure, you can get away with being a little informal when you’re blogging, but if your blog is riddled with typos and poor grammar, no one will take you seriously. Proofreading only takes a few minutes, and it can go a long way to keeping you from losing your credibility.
Tip: Wait a day or two after writing your post before proofreading it. This allows you to view the content with a fresh set of eyes.
4. Providing no social media buttons for easy sharing – It’s Blogging 101: If you want to promote your blog, you need to make it easy for your readers to share your content with their friends. WordPress has several plugins that allow you to include social media buttons on your posts. This allows your reader to share your post on Twitter, Facebook, Digg, ReddIt, etc., at the click of a button.
5. Filling your website with AdSense crap – Cramming your blog full of Adsense contextual ads cheapens the user experience. Those text ads are a staple on spammy blogs, and they create the perception that you’re just blogging to earn ad revenue, rather than to provide valuable content for your readers. There’s nothing wrong with having ads on your blog, just make sure they’re presented in a clean, organized manner.
6. Using non-optimized URLs – Optimizing your URLs is helpful for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, it helps your blog perform better in the search engines. Google uses context clues from URLs to help determine what the page is about. If your posts have URLS that look like this: www.yourblog.com/post123, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Additionally, non-optimized URLs are bad for usability. If someone shares a link to your post with their friends, they might not click on the link if it doesn’t describe what the post is about.
7. Not focusing on a main topic – If you want to build a loyal following, you need to attract a targeted audience who knows what to expect from one post to the next. In other words, you can’t write a post about how to grow tomatoes, then one about the latest celebrity news, and then another about the best iPhone apps. That’s not to say you can’t be creative and tackle new topics, but you need to focus your blog on a main subject.
8. Playing it safe – As a new blogger, it can be difficult to find your voice. That’s what leads a lot of new bloggers to just copy what everyone else is saying without adding any new insights or opinions. Question: If your blog is the exact same as all the others in your niche, why should I (or anyone else) read it? Be yourself, and don’t play it safe.
What are some other mistakes made by blogging noobs? Share your favorites in the replies.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit: http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/subscribe/.