Monday, August 30, 2010

12 Common Blog Mistakes

(1) No editorial linking strategy.

Not linking to online sources when quoting them, or as references under a Further Reading type category at the end of the post.

This is also a typical failing of online versions of newspapers and magazines. Sometimes the avoidance of linking is based on fear of sending readers off your website, as though they'll never come back, which is the old fashioned concept of "stickiness" (keeping people trapped on your website).

Don't be absurd. Your blog will gain more credibility when you substantiate what you say by linking to the sources and other relevant online information.

(2) Spambot-friendly email display.

Displaying your email address as makes it easy for spambots to harvest, sell, and send spam to your email address. Always display it like this: vaspers [at] inbox [dot] com

(3) Generic design template.

When you use a generic design template, instead of a customized header and layout, your blog looks amateur, cold, non-personalized -- and it won't stand out as unique.

(4) Faceless / No avatar.

Not showing a photo of yourself or some image that represents what your blog is about. If you have a good reason not to show your face, at least use some visual device, logo, or other graphic that immediately lets people know your general interest and topic area.

(5) Solid blocks of text.

These are hard to read. Break up your text into bite-sized paragraphs. This will greatly reduce reading fatigue and make your blog look smarter, better presented.

(6) Full of ads.

When a blog is loaded with advertisements, the credibility is greatly reduced because many spammers and con artists will do this.

We've all seen them. You do an internet search on a topic, and some of the links go to sites that have very little relevant content, just enough to pull you in, and the minimal content, which is usually copied and pasted from some other site, is just a lure to get you to click on the ads.

(7) No tagline or slogan.

This is one of the fun parts of blogging: inventing some catchy, clever, or comical tag line.

A tagline or slogan is short text that acts as a motto or summary of what you're blogging about, or a glimpse into your personality, or just a funny statement.

"You just stepped into a pile of posts" is a humorous one. My tagline for this Pluperfecter blog is "Web Content. Social Media. Marketing Strategy."

See my post "Blog Taglines Experiment #1" which caught the attention of the BusinessWeek blog.

(8) No link to your corporate or ecommerce site.

If you own a business, or have a product selling website, you need to put a link to it way up at the top of your blog sidebar. Make your company logo a clickable graphic link. You should also try to do posts about various products you sell, or aspects of your business, or topics related to your industry expertise.

(9) No multimedia.

All text blogs are like dinosaurs, they're becoming extinct. People like informative reading material, but they also like photos, video, and audio in a blog.

Get a digital camera, a webcam or camcorder, a video editor like Magix or Sony Vegas, a computer-compatible USB microphone like Samson CO1U, and audio editing tool, like the free Audacity.

You should make your own videos and you can also find relevant videos on sites like YouTube and Vimeo. You can do your own podcasts and audio files, then embed or link to them on your blog.

(10) Typos.

It can be very annoying to read a blog post full of spelling errors. Each blogger has to decide where he or she stands on this issue of typos. Edit and revise. Typos can cause people to not understand what you're saying.

I personally think it's lazy to allow typos to remain in a blog post. I usually print out my posts to edit them one last time, as I can't spend a lot of time on the computer due to physical disabilities.

Have another person read your posts. An extra set of eyeballs can catch things that you blanked out on. Typos are another sign that a blog is amateur and not sufficiently concerned about readers.

(11) No links to your Twitter, YouTube, or Facebook accounts.

Way up high on your blog sidebar should be a "Follow Me on Twitter" link, "My YouTube Videos" link, a Facebook link badge (if you're on that horrible surveillance site), and any other social media sites you're on. Bloggers often forget to include these links, but your true fans will want to know your other online content locations.

(12) Obsession with Comments and Traffic.

Don't worry so much about how many comments you receive or how much traffic you're getting. Just keep adding frequent, relevant, helpful, entertaining, or educational content to your blog.

You can increase your comments by posting comments on other blogs related to your own and by adopting a friendly tone that invites people to share their viewpoints.

As far as traffic goes, numbers are not the main thing. Even if you reach only a few readers, you may have a huge impact, especially if those readers are significant influencers in their field.

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