12 Most Common Mistakes New Bloggers Make

12 Most Common Mistakes New Bloggers Make

Blogging’s 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 a lucrative one.

Unfortunately, many bloggers shoot themselves in the foot by making some basic errors that holds their blog back from its true potential.

Knowing how to avoid these mistakes can mean the difference between just another blog online, and one that stands out as the kind people take notice of.

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 and Blogger.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 or blogname.com/pagetitle.

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 (cough, cough, Sean…).

5. Having a generic logo

While 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 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

While a blog is incredibly search engine friendly as it is, because you’re offering fresh, new content, they need to know you exist. You can speed this up by submitting your blog to search engines when 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, SEO is blogging’s 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 that 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. While 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 too.

Featured image courtesy of William Hartz licensed via creative commons.

Danny Brown

http://dannybrown.me

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.

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131 comments
astho
astho

nice post.. good to notice

Jeane M.
Jeane M.

That was really gold mine article. Strategics for blogging specially creativity in presenting one's topic is very crucial. Got a handful of tips and learning here. Learn from others mistakes and develop a strategy to combat and avoid any of that. Must share post. http://www.arcanys.com

vizslah
vizslah

Its rather surprising to read such a poor quality blog post about how to be a good blogger.

I'd add:

13. Not reading your post before publishing

So you can't discover mistakes, like here, the title of the first 3 points are reversed, so it suggests its a huge mistake to own your own domain.

Not to mention the totally irrelevant point 7, as you can't possibly write more than a few posts before Google finds you on its own. If you are not listed in Google blog search results, maybe you should write some posts. Actually, that is the single most common mistake, not posting regularly. How could that be left out from the list? Submitting to search engines was important in the 90's.

Sorry to say that, but this post was most probably written in 10 minutes, without any thinking involved.

cobayley
cobayley

Thank you Danny Brown for writing so I can understand it...I've struggled with on line lingo for 10 years...every time I read one of your posts...it gets a bit clearer...

JGoldsborough
JGoldsborough

Thanks, @Danny Brown . This is a really helpful post for someone still learning the ropes like me. I already have a few to-do's after reading this post :). Hope all is well.

GalenRodgers
GalenRodgers

Retweeted this post! Awesome list. I just started blogging and was relieved I had mist if these points covered.

I really love the detail portion of this list with regards to the Favicon, seems to be missed by so many sites, and SEO. Working on both of those!

Thanks much for the great content.

Galen

JohnFeskorn
JohnFeskorn

Hey Danny ~ Well, I have a domain name #1 check..As for #2-12 work in progress. Being new to blogging I haven't taken the time and your list, along with the comment thread sure will help me on my way. Thanks! John

Steve Birkett
Steve Birkett

A great list for start up bloggers to check off some important items, nice one Danny. As an extension of #12, there's also wanting to be everything to everyone.

Though that can be part of finding one's feet in the world of blogging, I'd have loved to hear "choose your niche and target your readership" when I started writing. It directs content and helps to focus passion, which I think most of us would agree is the fuel that keeps a blog running during hard times.

Right, best be off, I need to work on #3 and double check #10....cheers matey!

BrandonPDuncan
BrandonPDuncan

Good stuff. I need to dig into the SEO stuff a little more. Genesis has all those custom settings, but I do pretty well in search engines without messing with them. Plus, I don't want to break anything, lol!

I also need to dig into typography a little more. I love the font I use for my headings, but I'm sure it's a huge no-no. I'm sure I will change it eventually, but I am picky about fonts. (Go figure.)

Have you found a need for the hearing impaired optimization? This is the first i've heard that mentioned, honestly.

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

Beyond the font itself of #6 above, it's crucial the size of the font be large enough to be read without zooming the page. By way of a test, hold up a page from your favorite book next to your computer monitor and observe the font size differences -- then weigh in that your eyes are likely closer to the book than the monitor.

This is why I employ a 16-point font size for content and 13-point for sidebars.

TheJackB
TheJackB

I hate SEO. I see the need for it, but sometimes it just bugs the crap out of me.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

@vizslah Always great to hear an alternative opinion, so cheers. :)

Not sure where you read that it's a huge mistake to having your own domain. As the point mentions, it's not necessary - *but* if you want to be taken seriously, then your own domain is a must. Perhaps you misread?

And, yes, you can write posts and be found - but you have a far better chance of being found quicker when you submit to the various search engines. It's still important today, hence the reasons Google, Bing, etc, make it easy for you to submit.

I'd disagree with your "posting regularly is a must" statement. Sure, it can help with SEO, but it won't do your reputation much good - especially as a new blogger - if you'r posting regular crap. That's a fast road to blogging irrelevance.

Cheers.

PS - Could you possibly leave a link to your blog, as there isn't anything on your Livefyre profile. Interested to see your other stuff.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

@GalenRodgers Cheers, Galen - it's funny how it can be the little things that stand out the most. ;-)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

@Steve Birkett You know, that's a great point, Steve.

So many tell you to write about anything until you find your way - but that can just leave you stretched and your readers confused.

Set your stall out from the start, and work to being the best you can be there. Seems to work. ;-)

TheJackB
TheJackB

@BrandonPDuncan We need to change your MOS to Sgt of Social Media or something like that. Uncle Sam could pay for your SEO education.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

@BrandonPDuncan Hi Brandon,

Just jumped over to look at your site. While the header font is pretty cool (is it a Google Font, or Typekit?), I noticed that it first loads the normal one (web standard, like Arial) before loading the stylized one. So I'm wondering if, A) that affects load time, and B) it throws mobile browsing off? Might be something to consider.

According to CIBA, 800 million people worldwide are blind or visually impaired:

http://www.cibavision.com/eye-health-care/vision-statistics.shtml

Now that's not to say they all use the web, but it's definitely a big enough number to keep in mind.

Hope that helps, mate!

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

@Ari Herzog Good points on the font size, Ari - I think most of my designs have always run around the 15px size, maybe 14 at the least. It's one of the reasons I prefer a mobile-friendly site as opposed to one where I have to zoom all over the place.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

@TheJackB I hear you mate. To be honest, I write for the reader and then SEO. Sometimes, if there's a certain post I really want to be found, I'll make sure to concentrate on th SEO structure.

Though in fairness, with social shares adding to the "SEO score", it could be that traditional SEO is becoming less mandatory and more a nice part to have knowledge off. We'll see. ;-)

vizslah
vizslah

@Danny Brown Sorry for the negative attitude, it really wasn't necessary. The mistake I'm talking about is this:

post title is "12 most common mistakes..."

and then: 1. owning your own domain. 2. Owning your online property. 3. Optimizing your blog’s permalinks

These are not mistakes :)

About my own stuff, I'm an absolute beginner, so its not that I know better, I just had the impression you didn't take the time for this particular post. If you are interested, here is my blog: artcollabs.com

BrandonPDuncan
BrandonPDuncan

@Danny Brown

Cufon. I think it loads Georgia first, I just haven't found one I like enough to change it yet. I know I need to. It doesn't display well on my work computer.

800 million. That is a much bigger number than I considered. Thanks for the link(s). I will definitely look into that. Thanks for the tips also!

TheJackB
TheJackB

@Danny Brown The social sharing seems to really move the dial, not enough to ignore SEO, but it is noticeable.

TheJackB
TheJackB

@PegFitzpatrick @Danny Brown It looks interesting. I requested an invite several weeks ago but haven't heard back yet.

Haven't really investigated it in depth- been having too much fun on Google +.

PegFitzpatrick
PegFitzpatrick moderator

@Danny Brown @TheJackB I love my @Twylah page - I have gotten blog traffic from it as well as retweets from old tweets that would have disappeared in the regular stream. It gives a much better Twitter profile than just checking the last 5 tweets that someone sent.

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