Problogger posted a great topic for discussion today, What is the Biggest Mistake That You’ve Made as a Blogger? Can’t wait to read some of the more honest responses to Darren’s post. Visit get some insight on what bloggers perceive as mistakes and post your gaffs.
I wanted to share what I thought were some of the more common mistakes blogger make and my take on why and how to fix.
1. Permalinks: Not Changing or Changing Frequently
Changing permalinks repeatedly or not setting up properly. When you create a post the URL it generated. When you change your permalinks structure;ie, you read that date and title based permalinks are better ( they are) and you run to change them, you change the URLs of all your posts. Why is this bad? Any inbound links are going to pages that no longer exists. Until your blog is indexed again all search results will bring up those non-existent pages.
If you have a newer blog or a blog that has no or few inbound links to deep links or not many posts I would absolutely change from the WordPress default structure. I may even do it with a more established blog and take the hit. I would NOT change them repeatedly.
2. Horrible Post Titles
Another pet peeve. Posts like “Update”, ” What I did today ” , ” New Idea” , ” News” are not good. There are no keywords. You have to use keywords in your post titles. You also must grab your reader’s attention and make them want to read your post. You need keywords in your post tile- your post title is also the page title and one of the most important onpage factors a search engine uses to index and place your page in search engine results pages.
3. You Are Signing Your posts as ‘Admin”
I wrote about recently in Missed Opportunity: Why Are Your Blog Posts Being Made by “admin” ? . A blog author called “admin” screams ” I don’t care” or ” I am new to blogging and don’t know what I am doing” . It is also a potential spot to place keywords or anchor text.
4. Sitewide Outbound Links
This is one of my personal pet peeves- You are literally throwing away and hurting page rank when you place an outbound link with no nofollow tags in your footer or sidebar. Every page on your site has that link sitting on it. Reserve your Blogroll tyor links for a few choice blogs or sites. Do not place links to affiliates in sidebar without a nofollow tag. Remove or add tags the unnecessary META links in your sidebar and footer ‘ ie. ” Powered By WordPress” or links to theme creator. ( I will add nofollow tag to free theme designer AND write post about how great the theme is OR create a link for them that only sits on home page because they deserve that respect)
5. You Are Blogging in a Vacuum
You rarely link out. You don’t mention other bloggers in your field for fear you might be “helping” them. ( You are- but so? ) . You save all your ideas and concepts for writing on your own blog . You don’t post or comment on any other blogs or forums. This is NOT good. Blogging is a social medium. Your blog will not thrive without activity or interaction with others. You can post on other bloggers site- even share your precious information. You will most likely get a link back (if you comment on a dofollow blog) and if your comment offers genuine value ( not just ” Great Info” ) you will get traffic. The blog owner may notice you and mention you in one of her posts. When you are out posting on other sites and forums on your area of expertise you are further branding yourself as an expert. You MUST do this!
6. Hiding Your Best Work
Every once in a while you write a post that is truly great. You bask in the glory of it for a few days… and then its gone… hidden in the archives. Yo may get traffic from other sites who have linked to it or from search engines, however you can do more! Show it off. Have somewhere to showcase your best work. Create something in the sidebar like ” Favourite Posts” or ” Best Work” or ” Post Hall of Fame”. I just use my blogroll widget. You can also hard code into your sidebar template. Also- do not forget to crosslink from other posts.
7. You Never Look at Blog’s Stats And Analytics
You must do this, you can read about using analytics in further detail, . Why is a great post not being read? What are the posts that readers come to your site for? Develop lost article with crosslinks and create other posts that relate to it. If a topic or concept gets a large readership that use that information and create more of it and go into more detail. Where are reader coming from? If you get know traffic from search engines maybe you aren’t using enough keywords. Are you get consistent traffic from a particular site or blog? Seek out more like them and try and get a backlink.
8. You Ramble. Often. And Off Topic
I can be guilty of this. Sometimes post can go on.. and on.. and sometimes we feel it necessary to share all about our cute cats are on a technology site. Posting that you are a new dad is one thing- posting your birth plan and videos is another .Ask yourself- if I was sitting next to myself at a party would I get up a leave?
9. You Are Not Hosting Your Own Blog
This gets mentioned in every single “mistakes list” for a reason. Its redundant to mention yet again- but- HOST YOUR OWN BLOG.
This should have been my #1. This has happened to a lot of people- they start a blog on blogspot or wordpress.org because they think is hard to set up their own or they started blogging as a lark. Trying move it later to your own ISP host is a HUGE hassle.
If your blog is new I would set up your own host now and move everything over. If your blog is older I would also pursue moving.
Why should you move or host your own blog? If you are thinking of monetizing your blog (make money blogging) you will be severely handicapped when some one else owns your blog. Most will not let you use Google Adsense- and enormous potential source of income. Take the time to learn how to set up your own blog- its easier than you think.
10. Erratic Postings
Posting incessantly for days and then nothing for weeks. It is hard to find your groove as well as keep up interest if you are running multiple blogs. Some way sto stay on track- have a schedule. To keep your blog “healthy” post a minimum of 2 posts a week.
If you are running multiple blogs organizing your time and create posting schedules that you can stick to. You can also post date you posts, write generic posts and have them published by changing the time in “Post Timestamp” . Do not start every post with ” I am sorry I haven’t posted in while” and then list a tale of woes.
I know some bloggers will warn readers they will be away, however I think that posting on a public blog that you will not be home for weeks is a bad idea. Announcing that you and your family are leaving for Disney World tomorrow may not be prudent, so keep this in mind.
11. Bad Ad Placement/Too Many Ads/ Cluttered Site/Lost Content
Trying to find a happy medium with ads will be tricky. Some blog visitors will abhor any adds. Most people will be fine with a few well place ads and nearly everyone will be turned off by sites that look like a Las Vegas strip of flashing banners and ads. A common problem I see is all ads and no content above the fold. Literally the entire upper portion of the site is solid ads ( or almost all ads) and not much content and reader has to scroll to find anything of value.
Lots of superfluous widgets and doodads in your sidebar are to be avoided. Ask yourself if they are ADDING value or taking away value. This is sometimes hard to tell as well and sometimes you just have to try and see if it works for you. I have put up widgets I thought would take off and readers would love only to find out they were just taking up valuable real estate. I have also thought they would be a waste and then put them up and later found they had value that didn’t occur to me..
Where is Best Place For Google Adsense Ads Anyway?
There is science to ad placement with payment per click type publishing like Google Adsense and beyond the intended scope of this article. Generally I like a leaderboard in header and square in left sidebar and another one in the post above or Google ads wrapped in the post. These placement get played with constantly.
Google also will curb number of you because they will only publish 3 sets of adds on any given page. Use common sense or ask some one you trust whether you have too many ads. Maintaining a balance of ads that makes your site profitable over a site that loses you potential revenue because of reader tune out is something you have to work on.
How Did You Do? Are You a Blogging Disaster?
Chances are you are guilty of some of the mistakes. All bloggers have made one or more of these mistakes in their blogging career. If you are making one of these mistakes it is out of not knowing any different. Th good news is now you know and can fix. The process of blogging is organic and you can’t know first learn how to do everything and them start. You learn as you go. Don’t let fear of making mistakes stop you from blogging- or anything for that matter.