When it comes to setting up a blog we often have a “been there, done that” mentality. However this can mean that we make the same mistakes over and over again. If your blog is not as successful as you would like it to be then take a look at these common mistakes. Maybe you are making a mistake or two that is holding your blog back from being the best it can possibly be.
The first thing I look for in a blog is the overall topic. Does the blog have a niche? If so, do the blog posts reflect that niche? There is nothing more frustrating than going into a blog expecting one thing and then being hit with a bunch of random junk. Even if your content is really great if it is off topic then it is junk. When you first created your blog you had a niche topic in mind. Something that was neither too narrow nor too broad.
You picked a topic that would appeal to your target audience. However if you have wandered from that topic or chose to ignore that you have a topic at all then you have a big problem on your hands. Your blog content should reflect your blog’s overall topic. It is okay to get creative in how you connect your content with the topic or even color outside of the lines and throw in a semi-random post here and there, but the vast majority of your content should remain true to your central topic.
Another big issue I have with many blogs is the sheer amount of ads they have on their site. I know that it is important to monetize your blog especially if blogging is your primary source of income. However an ad packed blog will not do as well, traffic wise, as one that has fewer ads or better add placement. When you are contemplating your blog’s ads try to remember that your goal is to get real people interested in your blog. Keep the ads from being too flashy and loud.
Try to integrate them into your blog’s layout and content so they are not so jarring to readers. Make sure that ads do not cover over or break up your blog’s content. This is a big turn off for many readers. Pop up or pop under ads are also very frustrating for readers and will cost you traffic.
Speaking of flashy and loud, one thing that is sure to scare off blog readers is a busy or confusing blog layout. Bright clashing colors, flashing or moving text, too many images or text areas can make readers confused and overwhelmed. You do not want to scare off readers. Make sure that your blog’s layout is not overwhelming or confusing. Make it easy for readers to know where to start reading or what actions to perform.
There are many ways to signal readers subtly where they do not even realize they have been signaled. A good header image or text section can give your blog all the help it needs to be readable, useable and pleasant to look at. Remember to make sure your blog’s theme and look matches its topic. For example if your blog is about luxury vacations you would want a background of luxurious colors and textures. Velvet or silk, dark blue or purple would work well. A boldly flowered, neon colored background would just not match up. Simple and tasteful is the way to go.
Do not take simple to mean boring however. There are many bloggers who think that their content should speak for itself and therefore ignore the aesthetic appeal of their blog. A bland or blank blog site is just plain boring. Although black and white can make a statement a blog without color of any kind is usually not attractive to readers.
You can spruce up a bland blog layout and background by adding images to your text however. If you have many images you may want to go with a basic background to avoid making your blog look too cluttered. The point is to remember to make your blog visually appealing and compelling to readers.
All the visual appeal in the world does not matter if you do not have the content to back it up. Avoid the impulse to artificially pack your blog. It takes time for a blog to accumulate content and that is fine. As long as your focus is on creating good content that is on topic then your blog can look a bit empty for a while. However many bloggers fear the empty look and seek to pack their blog with meaningless drivel to make it look fuller. This just drives off potential readers and creates more problems down the line.
If you are worried about a new blog not having enough content then hold off creating it until you have the content to back it up. You should also try to avoid using blog layouts that require a lot of content to look full before you have that content in place. Remember you can always change your blog’s layout at a later date. The point is to find something that works with your blog now, as it is. Writing good content that answers questions for your target audience should be your primary goal. Make sure you keep your blog topic firmly in hand and your eye on your goal. Provide great quality content and you will find everything else easy to do.
Once you have the content and layout down then you need to verify that your content is readable. This starts out simple. Is your text visible against your blog’s background? Yellow text on a white background is almost impossible for readers to see and will end up costing you traffic. After you have the visibility fixed then you need to think about your content layout. Do you have large hunks of text?
Pages and pages of writing for each post? Instead of overwhelming your readers with all that text try to keep your posts short and sweet and to the point. Anything over two thousand words becomes overwhelming to readers and will most likely be skipped over. For longer posts you have the option of creating a post series, like part one, two, three and so on, or breaking the text up with sub headers. You can also create numbered lists or bullet points to break up the text and make it easy for readers to scan. Adding images is another great way to add visual appeal to your blog and break up large portions of text. A visual example is very helpful to readers and can greatly expand the points you are making in your post.
Now that you have the looks and content of the blog in place you need to focus on the usability. Can your readers get around your blog easily? Is it simple to move deeper into your blog? Do all your links work? Do all your images load? If you have more than one page then do those pages all have the same layout and general look? If you have a website connected to your blog is it easy to move from the blog to the site?
Does it take forever for your blog to load to user’s computers? Do not just pull up your blog on your own computer to check for these problems. Oftentimes cookies will save content so that your blog will work perfectly for you when it is actually broken. Use another computer where you are not logged in to check for usability issues.
Your blog is all set up and ready to go… so why do you still have no traffic? Well, one reason can be a lack of SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization. Your goal is to get the search engines to pick up your blog and pop it to the top of their rankings for your niche topic. However sometimes that does not happen naturally. There are many ways to get your blog noticed on search engine results.
One way is to pay for your blog to be shown. An alternate way is to use organic traffic methods such as proper keyword use and carefully crafted blog post titles. It is important for your blog to appeal both to readers and search engines alike for you to have the most traffic possible.
A big mistake that I often see blogger make nowadays is a lack of communication with their readers and community. I understand that turning off comments means you do not get the spam, but that seems like killing your cow so you do not have to milk it. It is counterproductive and alienates the readers that you have. Instead make it a practice to reply to comments left on your blog and encourage commenting and interaction through asking questions.
You can even offer prizes or play games to get your readers talking. You should also be involved with your blog’s niche community. If your blog is all about cars then you could sponsor a race car, donate your time or money to community events like soap box derbies, and become part of the real life community. Any way you go about it you are getting more exposure for your blog.
Last but not least is the blahs. If you lack passion for your blog’s topic or if you are just burnt out it will show up in your writing. That is why it is so important for bloggers to maintain the passion for their blog. Readers know when a blogger is just dialing it in and they will tune out.
If you are burnt out or feel like you have lost your passion then try to regain it. Take a break, focus on a new aspect, go on an adventure, learn something new, and then come back with passion and zeal for your blog.
These common mistakes are ones I see all the time. They are also ones that are easy to avoid or rectify. I if your blog has one or more of these mistakes don’t despair. Most of them are easy to repair and come back from. Your blog can be successful even after a mistake. Just take the time to fix it up right and your hard work will pay off.