Let me confess:
I committed some disastrous blogging crimes when I started the Writers Blog in June 2011.
They’ve costed me a lot, in terms of money, time and traffic.
If you’re about to start a new blog (or have recently created one) make sure you don’t go there.
1. No goal
My current goal is to get 1000 subscribers.
When I started, I didn’t have any goal.
All I wanted to do was land some freelance writing gigs.
Guess what, my content was targeted at writers, not at clients looking to hire writers.
Power Tip: Make sure you set a clear goal and, to attract the right type of traffic, each and every thing you do should be in line with your goal.
For Example, if you’re an affiliate marketer promoting digital cameras, writing tips on photography will attract photographers who already own a camera. Instead, you should publish camera reviews, news about new and upcoming DSLR models, tips on choosing and buying new cameras etc.
Yes, I’m way behind schedule and I’m not guest posting as frequently as I should, but finally, I’ve lined up a few posts on the topnotch blogs *surprise*!
And I’ve planned an awesome event by the end of this year, (or the start of the next year) *surprise*.
I’m sure I’ll exceed my target in next few months.
2. Bad homepage
During the very early days, everything I did was a mess.
But the homepage was worst of all.
Full of fluff and keywords.
In one word, it was:
After one full year I learned that your homepage should be a Landing Page.
3. Expensive web designer
I hired an expensive web designer to modify my then-selected WordPress theme.
At the end of the day, it still looked pretty awful.
Later on, I came to know there are thousands of free WP themes that can be customized easily through widgets.
4. Cheap hosting service
This hosting company was charging under $20/year plus offered a free domain.
On the other hand, most big names (like hostgator, godaddy, etc.) were charging at least three times this price.
Web hosting is web hosting, why choose a costlier one?
Beware, hosting company has to do a lot more than simply storing your pages on their servers.
I’m talking about the two most important aspects: Data Security and Backups.
In just one year, my blog has been hacked twice and once the server’s hard disk crashed.
These mishaps resulted in a massive drop of Search Traffic.
If you don’t want to spend big bucks on hosting, go for free hosting services like WordPress, Blogger (though they sound amateurish because of the ugly domain name).
5. Blog commenting
They never did.
I also expected some traffic out of them.
But most comments were posted on irrelevant blogs, I doubt if they ever attracted a single visitor.
If you want to learn how to increase your PageRank, check out this Infographic.
6. Didn’t build a list (early enough)
A blog without a list is just like a home without a door.
People will come, walk about and leave.
To make them your returning visitors, you need a door… you need a list.
Even during the early days, there were occasions when the Writers Blog saw traffic galore, but it was all wasted as there was no way to opt-in.
7. Didn’t use Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the best and most comprehensive free traffic analysis tool.
Without knowing basic details about your visitors i.e. where are they coming from, what type of content they prefer etc. you’re shooting in the dark.
8. Bad theme
It was a horrible theme, oh boy!
Flamboyant and colorful, and almost overshadowed the text content.
As soon as I switched to Platform – a simple and minimal theme, my bounce rate decreased tremendously.
9. Content for search engines
Writing a highly SEO’d content was the silliest thing I did – though not for too long.
Now, Google can catch if your content is for humans or search engines.
If it even suspects that your target are robots, you’ll bear the wrath of the giant search engine.
10. Poor approach for guest blogging
To get more readers and subscribers, guest posting (on relevant blogs) has no rival.
I started guest posting very late, mostly on irrelevant blogs and then I pitched some A-list blogs.
Bigger blogs refused while the irrelevant ones hardly sent any traffic.
Start by pitching small to medium-sized blogs in your niche and when you’ve some know-know, aim at the big guns.
5 Bonus Tips
These were 10 Don’ts of blogging, here are 5 Dos:
- Read the popular blogs, or better yet subsribe to their email list. Try to follow the footsteps of successsful bloggers in your niche
- Make it about your readers, not about yourself
- Write a killer About Me page (it’ll be among the most visited pages)
- Make use of social media (especially Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus)
- Be creative, break the rules, dare to try new things and learn from your mistakes
Over to you…
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Hi! I am Ali – a freelance writer & blogging enthusiast. If you're new here, you'll totally love my FREE ebook: The Secret Ingredients to Writing Magnetic Headlines That Always Get Noticed.
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