Blogging is a great way to grow awareness of you and/or your brand and, with bloggers now getting book deals and media contracts, it can also be lucrative.
Unfortunately, many bloggers shoot themselves in the foot by making some basic errors that hold their blog back from its true potential.
Knowing how to avoid these mistakes can mean the difference between just another blog, and one that stands out as the kind people notice.
1. Owning your own domain.
Having your own domain—as in, blogname.com
—certainly isn’t a must-have for all bloggers. But if you want to be taken seriously, having a professional domain makes that much more likely. The great news is you can even buy a premium domain and use it on free blog services like WordPress.com
2. Owning your online property.
For anyone serious about blogging, a self-hosted option is the only way to go. Not only does it give you more options for styling and customization, it shows you’re in this for the long haul, which can be an attractive proposition for brands looking to sponsor blogs.
3. Optimizing your blog’s permalinks.
Usually, a new blog’s permalinks are set to blogname.com/?p=123
. Pretty ugly, eh? It’s not very search-engine friendly either. As soon as you set your blog up, change your permalink settings so they just show the post or page name after the main URL. So, blogname.com/posttitle
4. Forgetting to change your favicon.
When you have a browser tab open, there’s a little icon on it that shows which site you’re on (Gmail has a red envelope, for example). This helps your site stand out when multiple tabs are open. Use a favicon generator like favicon.cc
to make your own.
5. Having a generic logo.
Though you don’t need to go all out and custom-design your complete blog as soon as you start, at the very least get your own personalized logo. This is one of the first things new visitors see, and it can say a lot about your blog.
6. Not using a Web-friendly font.
A lot of bloggers want their blog to stand out, so go for a font that looks cool. Unfortunately, on the Web, it might be painful to read. Stick to a sans-serif font
for all your main body content, and try not to use too many different fonts on one page or post.
7. Not submitting your blog to the search engines.
A blog is incredibly search-engine friendly, because you’re offering fresh, new content; however, these search engines need to know you exist. You can speed this up by submitting your blog to search engines when it goes live. Google makes it really easy to submit your blog
8. Not learning SEO.
Many bloggers will tell you content is king. It’s a good point. but if content is king, search engine optimization (SEO) is queen. If you want people to find your blog, understand how SEO works. There are many free resources, as well as paid options
9. Not taking the time to format posts.
Web pages that have nothing but lines of continuous text are horrible to read. Make your blog jump from the page by using short sentences, bullet points, headlines, and great images. Even long posts can seem shorter with great formatting.
10. Not offering more than one subscription method.
Many bloggers offer just an RSS subscription feed
for their blogs. But email subscription is hugely popular for those who prefer it, while services like Odiogo
offer another great option for the visibly impaired. Make sure you offer more than one option.
11. Not offering social sharing options.
For many bloggers, social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ are big drivers of traffic. Make sure you offer the most-popular social networks as sharing options on all your posts, and make them prominent.
12. Wanting to be someone else.
Perhaps the biggest mistake new bloggers make is to want to be someone else. But the other bloggers you want to be like already have that audience—so be you, be cool with making mistakes, and grow your style naturally.
These are 12 of the most common mistakes I see new bloggers make. Though they may not all be crucial to where you want to go with your blog, they will play a big part in how soon you get there (if at all).
Blogging is fun. It can also be hugely rewarding. By making sure you don’t make these 12 most common new blog mistakes, it’ll be more fun and rewarding for you.
Danny Brown is co-founder and CEO at Bonsai Interactive Marketing, offering integrated, social media, digital and mobile marketing solutions and applications. His blog is featured in the AdAge Power 150 list as well as Canada’s Top 50 Marketing Blogs, and won the Hive Award for Best Social Media Blog at the 2010 South by South West festival.
A version of this story first appeared on the 12 Most … blog.