Seven Silly Mistakes That Could be Killing Your Blog
If you’ve read my previous post you’ll know that it was all about seven silly mistakes that could be killing your online business. I decided that I would write this post in a similar vein, but this time on the subject of blogging mistakes. And guess what? I’ve come up with seven points again!
Just as last time, there are lots of important points that could be covered but these are just seven that I’ve come up with that I’ve come across quite a lot on my blogging travels. I’m sure that you could come up with some of your own, so please feel free to contribute them in the comments section at the bottom.
1) Lack of Updates
It should go without saying that you need to keep your blog up-to-date. After all, what does the word, “blog” mean? Let’s think about that for just a moment.
The word “blog” is a shortened version of “web log”. So, what is a log? It is a journal, diary or record of events. So then, this would imply that there needs to be regular updates. After all, there’s not much point in keeping any kind of journal if you never write in it!
Aside from keeping in line with the definition of what a blog is, why is it important to keep one regularly updated? Well this all boils down to what you’re wanting it to achieve. If you’re using your blog for your business then you want to generate (and maintain) interest in what you have to offer, keep in touch with your readers and customers and give the right impression. If your blog hasn’t been updated in months then, to other people, it says that you aren’t really interested in it and this, in turn, will cause your visitors to feel the same way.
If your blog hasn’t been updated for a long time then you shouldn’t really be surprised if no-one’s leaving comments or that you’re not getting many returning visitors.
So how often should you update your blog? There’s no definitive answer. The short answer is: as often as you need to. Some people write once a day, some once a week, others once a month. Do whatever is right for you and your blog. The main thing is you need to show that you are maintaining it consistently.
2) Failing to Connect With Your Visitors
Leaving a message for someone is an age old way of communicating, whether it be a telephone answering machine message, an SMS message, a love note, or whatever. But, just as in other methods of communication, one thing remains universal – communication is usually two way.
Whilst it’s true that certain messages don’t require or expect a reply, usually it’s plain old good manners to reply when someone leaves a message. This is something that’s vitally important on your blog. Why so?
Just think about it for a moment. Someone has taken the time to visit your blog, remain there, read your content and leave a comment. ‘Spammy’ messages aside, the person has made an effort to reach out to you. The absolute least you can do is acknowledge them! This goes a long way to making your visitors feel welcome and appreciated and these are the people with whom you could end up having lasting and profitable relationships, whether it be as joint venture partners or having them as your customers.
Replying to your visitors’ comments also looks good when people land on your site. Instead of seeing a one-sided comments section they will see a discussion where the blog owner is actively involved and is taking a personal interest in each of his/her visitors.
If you want to see a really good example of an active, vibrant blog that is run by someone who truly cares, I recommend that you visit the blog of Adrienne Smith. In fact, I recommend even more than that – I recommend that you bookmark, visit regularly and get involved with Adrienne’s blog. It is a mine of excellent information and you’d do well to take time to learn from her. One thing that stands out about Adrienne is that she replies to everyone, her threads always being a hive of activity.
3) Messy Layout
This is an area that is often subjective, as everyone has different tastes. For example, some people prefer a minimalistic blog whereas others prefer something with a bit more pizzazz.
However, let’s make it clear just what we’re talking about here. A site can be ‘busy’ yet still easy to navigate. Likewise, a ‘clean’ site can be confusing and annoying, even messy. Of course the same goes both ways, but the key point is that your blog must be easy to navigate, both in terms of how it looks to the eye and also its layout.
So, whether you prefer a simpler or a more busy style, always ensure that everything is laid out sensibly, neatly and logically. The last thing you want is for your visitors to become annoyed or frustrated and end up leaving. One thing that can be really annoying and turn people away is……..
4) Pop-up Madness
Love them or hate them, when used correctly, pop-ups are an excellent tool that can accomplish a variety of goals. However, when used carelessly they can spell disaster for your visitor retention.
I’m sure that you visited a website that, on first impression, seems to be really good and appealing. But then something like this happens….
After five seconds a pop-up appears in the centre of the screen. Okay, that’s fine – you just close it and start to scroll down the page. You inadvertently move your mouse pointer towards the edge of the screen.
“Wait! Leaving so soon?” cries the new pop-up, emploring you not to leave just yet.
“I wasn’t!” you say, “I was only trying to scroll down but my hand slipped!” Not to worry, you carry on with your browsing. But then you manage to just stray too close to the edge and again, “Wait! Leaving so soon?” pops up! Again, you close the pop up and scroll down, but you’re starting to feel a little annoyed by this point.
As you near the bottom another pop-up appears from the bottom-right corner, inviting you to check out something or other, but at the same time it’s obscuring the section of the page you’re trying to read. By this time you’re not really in a frame of mind to pay any attention to what the pop-up says, you just want it gone. Ah it’s okay, it’s gone now that you’ve scrolled back up a little. Oh wait, it’s back again now that you’ve scrolled back down. Now then, where’s that cross to close it….? Oh… there isn’t one… Maybe the dimensions are slightly wrong and the cross is slightly off screen. Is that it to the side there…?
“Wait! Leaving so soon?”
And on it goes…
I’m sure you’ve been on sites like that! Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong in using pop-ups, slide-ins, opt-in forms, etc so long as they’re used unobtrusively and sparingly. And when they are used, for goodness sake make sure that they’re configured properly! Again, it all comes down to the fact that you don’t want to be doing anything that will turn your visitors off, make them leave and not want to return.
Just the same as everything, you’re not going to be able to please all of the people of the time, but just use a little common sense if you are going to use pop-ups and the like.
5) Using Third-Party Commenting Systems
Here is what I believe to be the bottom line with regards to this subject: WordPress has a perfectly adequate commenting system that can be supplemented by plugins or custom themes. There is really no need to remove that functionality and force people to use a third-party commenting system.
People already have enough things to sign up for or sign in to without having to sign up to something else simply to post a comment on your blog.
Now, you may feel that you have good reason to use a third-party system. For example, you may wish to utilise Facebook comments so as to increase social media engagement. But bear in mind that not everyone wants to use their Facebook account to leave comments here, there and everywhere.
If you really do want to utilise a third-party system then why not simply provide the reader with a choice? Lots of blogs have the default WordPress commenting system in place but also have Facebook comments, for example. That way, the reader can choose which one to use.
If you only provide something like Facebook, Disqus or LiveFyre then there’s a real chance that you could be losing out on a lot of interaction from people who would have otherwise commented. Furthermore, what happens if there’s a problem with the third-party site? You could end up having great content but no-one can tell you!
6) Broken Links
This one is important both for SEO and for user interaction. If you have any links on your site then you need to make sure that they go to where they’re supposed to. From an SEO point of view, broken links don’t look good to the search engines. From a user point of view, it can be annoying for them to click on a link expecting to be taken to a particular site but then finding out that the destination doesn’t exist.
Now of course, unless we’ve simply typed something in incorrectly, the fact that a link is broken may be down to something out of our control, such as a page being removed. But this is why it’s important to check regularly. How can you do this?
One very useful website that I use is Online Broken Link Checker. This is a free site where you simply enter in your website address and it will go through your site’s pages for you, checking as to whether the links are valid. At the end of its search it will generate a list of what, if anything it finds, along with the URL and a link to the actual source code. You can then go and ammend or remove the links as necessary.
Another area in which you can come across broken links is if your visitors have supplied their website address when leaving a comment. Sometimes they mistype the address or, if it’s been some time since they’ve left the comment, it could be that their site doesn’t even exist anymore. While Online Broken Link Checker will alert you as to any discrepancies here, if you are using the CommentLuv plugin there is also a handy little plugin from its creator that’s called CommentLuv Link Cleaner Plugin. What’s particularly good about this plugin is that it will scan all the comments on your blog and once it’s generated its results it gives you the option to automatically remove any offending links. I believe that there are other tools out there that do a similar thing but I haven’t tried any of them.
7) An Unsecure Blog
I still find it astounding that, in this day and age with the prevalence of website attacks and in spite of the abundance of warnings and information about website security, there are STILL people who don’t adequately secure their blogs.
I’m not going to go into a huge amount of detail here about this because it could be a blog post in itself, but things such as security plugins, not using “Admin” as your log in name and using a strong password should be the absolute minimum you do to reduce the risk of your blog being hacked.
If someone is really determined to hack into your blog then there’s a good chance that they’ll do it no matter what, but whatever steps you can take to deter someone and make it as difficult as possible for them should be taken.
Going back to the title of this post, inadequate security really could end up killing your blog completely!
Further Blogging Mistakes? Over to You!
What are some of the things that you feel could be deadly to a blog? I’d love to hear your input below. And please don’t forget to ‘Einstein’ 😉
16 thoughts on “Seven Silly Mistakes That Could Be Killing Your Blog”
Another great post and I am guilty of at least one of those! I’m not saying which one though 🙂
As for number seven, I have found a good security WP plugin, the best one that I now use on all my sites is the All-in-one WP security plugin (Free). Another one that is quite good is Better WP Security (Also Free). I don’t think you’ll find any better ones even among the commercial options 🙂 (I Hope you don’t mind me putting in the links, feel free to remove them if you need to)
John Lee recently posted…BCB The Big Commission Blueprint and iPro Partner Program
Aww, you have me curious now! Hehe! :-p
I have used Better WP Security in the past but I found that it was causing problems with something else so I switched. I have never heard of All in One WP Security but it looks like it may be a good one. I’ve bookedmarked it for later perusal. Wordfence is another good one, as is Bulletproof Security.
Don’t worry about the links, they’re informational so it’s fine. The code wasn’t actually correct so I had to edit it, but no probs. 🙂
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…The Great Traffic Illusion
Nice post you have here, Glenn – good list, and good suggestions in the comments, too!
I was going to mention what Dita suggested – about internal linking. But since she said it first, i guess i will just build upon it and say – make it easy on your readers’ eyes.
There are too many bloggers out there who write big chunks of text as if they were writing a book (or something). Writing for the web is a bit different – especially when it comes to formatting a blog post.
Love the white space and utilize headings – this way you let your readers skim if they are in the hurry; and if they like what they see – they will most definitely come back for the same or more, when they have more time. If you don;t allow them to skim and learn what your post is about in the first 10 seconds or less, well – chances are you lost them 😀
Great tips – buffering it for later!
Welcome to my blog 🙂
The big chunks of text is something I have to admit that I’ve struggled with. I have a good background in written English so to write in any other way seems completely alien to me. However I have improved, although I do have to keep forcing myself to create new paragraphs sooner than my instinct tells me!
Thanks so much for coming by to visit and for adding to the discussion, I really appreciate it.
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…One Thing You Should Know About Joint Ventures
Great list here and I definitely have to agree with you. I don’t believe I’m making any of these mistakes myself.
I know that people have their own opinion on what they like but those blogs that have two sidebars or tons of stuff over there is just way too busy and overwhelming for their readers. When you give them too many choices to make then you’ll more then likely lose them.
I can’t believe that people don’t connect with their readers when they’ve taken the time to share their opinions in the comments. The poor schedule of not writing more consistently will eventually hurt you in the long run so you just have to make up your mind if you want to blog or not.
Those are my opinions at least but this is a good list.
Noooo, I certainly don’t see you making any of these mistakes!
You’re right about overwhelming your readers. That’s why a good layout is so important. Having plenty of content and even a variety of choices can work well if it keeps your visitors engaged and on your site for longer. But it’s when things just aren’t clear and that there seems to be no real direction that can cause visitors to feel confused and frustrated.
You definitely need some kind of strategy for blogging and, no matter what strategy you take, part of that absolutely must include interaction with your visitors. If nothing else, it’s just plain good manners at the end of the day. There are so many benefits to be had from good interaction in this way, it really baffles me that many don’t appear to see it.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Adrienne, always a pleasure to get your input. Take care and have a fab weekend. 🙂
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…DON’T Try to Succeed at All Costs!
Awesome post, as usual, my friend. Love your images. The other major mistakes people make is that they do not include links in their posts that lead to other posts on the blog. The links give visitors opportunity to explore the blog more and reduce the bounce rate.
The other thing I’ve noticed with some pretty serious blogs is that the popup, if it can be called that, is a white covering of the post. Eventually it may disappear, but likely I am gone and never to return before it does. Such nonsense! their loss though…
I really like the newsletter box on the bottom of your posts. Which plugin are you using.
Dita recently posted…LSI Keywords – Latent Semantic Keywords – What Is It
Many thanks for your kind words and your thoughts.
Yes, I too have noticed that a lot of people don’t use internal linking between posts. This is something that I have always done ever since building my very first websites but it’s only within the last year that I’ve been doing it more strategically. In fact, I think that it was from you that I learned about the importance of doing it.
You know, I just had to log in to my dashboard to check out what the box plugin was called because I couldn’t recall! It’s a free plugin called Magic Action Box. There are paid upgrades too but I find the Lite version does what I need it to just fine.
Always great to see you, Dita, thanks for stopping by 🙂
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Protecting Yourself on the Internet
Agreed…you seemed to have covered everything I wanted to say (in my comment!). Like you mentioned, some of these are grey areas, such as third party commenting system; I know a lot of people who are having success with it (of course, they might be losing some of the commenters).
As for pop-ups, yeah they can be annoying. But, effective, if we use it right (2-3 popups per page is too much..and even if the reader likes your content, he/she might just exit the blog just because of those pop-ups).
Same with updates. If we are post 2-3 posts per day, then go for it (it will definitely get us more page views). But, if we are only able to post once a week, then do it (just make sure the post is of value!).
Anyways, thank you for sharing these, Glenn 🙂 Hope you had a wonderful weekend!
Indeed, with some things there are no hard and fast rules because things can vary according to the needs of the blog and its readership. But some things, if overlooked, can have negative and even devastating effects.
Thanks for your input, buddy 🙂
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…One Thing You Should Know About Joint Ventures
Hi Glenn, I agree with you about the updates. I visited a blog today and it was not updated since November. It made me wonder if they were still really around or not. I would add a blog that has no images in the posts. I like to see at least one image and I’m guilty of going beyond that on my own often with 3. I guess I’m a visual person 🙂 Great points Glenn. Have a great weekend.
Lisa recently posted…Pinterest – Why You Should Pin It On Saturdays
That’s a good point that you mention about images. There are lots of little tweaks that we can perform to make our blogs more appealing. I know that I still have a lot to learn in this regard but I’m always trying to improve.
I don’t think that you need be concerned about having three or even more images in your posts. In this post, for example, I’ve included one for each point – so, seven. I think that images play an important role subconsciously for our readers, making our posts just more appealing and breaking up what would otherwise just be large blocks of text. Of course the information would still be exactly the same whichever way, but it’s how a person’s brain responds that’s the key.
Thanks very much for your visit and comment. I hope you too have a good weekend 🙂
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Seven Silly Mistakes That Could Be Killing Your Business
I agree with you Glenn and try and avoid everything you mention.
The only time I break the rules is with my niche blogs.
I don’t update them very often and I don’t try and connect with people.
It seems to work just fine and makes money.
With my main blog, I’m very concious of connecting with people because I think relationships are key for that blog.
Tim Bonner recently posted…Promise Or Pay: Helping You To Achieve Your Goals
I suppose a lot depends on what the purpose of your blog is. Maybe with some blogs people don’t expect the same level of interaction?
I absolutely agree that relationships are key for your main blog. If you’re wanting people to connect with you, stick around and come back regularly then it’s hard to expect them to do so if you don’t seem to be putting the effort in.
Although I cited Adrienne as an example, I’ve noticed that there are many bloggers who do an excellent job with interacting with their readership, yourself being one of them.
Thanks for stopping by, it’s always great to see you 🙂
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Four Figures in One Day! Why Not You?
I use Disqus for comments. I like your list. I may need to evaluate whether to continue with Disqus. I believe it enables users to more easily leave comments that become immediately visible, but I’m not sure.
Other than pop-up madness, which I’m not guilty of, every other item on your list is worthy of review.
Mike Collins recently posted…Ten Simple Steps to Get Your Blog Unstuck
Welcome to my blog and many thanks for your comment.
I do understand why some people choose to use Disqus but, just as with any third-party commenting platform, we need to assess the potential benefits against the potential drawbacks when choosing to use such a thing.
For example, a visitor who comes by a blog post and intends to leave a comment is unlikely to say, “Oh, I’m not leaving a comment here because the only option they have is the native WordPress system”. However, many people are indeed put off from commenting on blogs that only have third-party systems in place and will thus avoid commenting, perhaps because they don’t wish to use their personal profiles for such a thing or because they don’t want to sign up for a service that they wouldn’t otherwise use.
Ultimately, although we can never expect please everyone in everything we do, we don’t want to do anything that unnecessarily turns people off.
At the end of the day there’s nothing necessarily wrong, per se, with using third-party systems, but my advice would always be to have them as an addition and not as a replacement, thus giving the reader a choice.
Having said that, on the one occasion I tried using a third-party system in addition to the native WordPress system, the third-party system caused all kinds of problems on my page and ended up being an unnecessary hassle for both myself and my readers, so I had to remove it. However, the native WordPress system just does its job and does it well – it just works.
Thanks again for stopping by and leaving your thoughts, Mike, it’s very much appreciated. I hope you have great weekend.
Glenn Shepherd recently posted…2 Keys to Success