Don’t feel bad. You don’t know what you don’t know. And we have all been there. Honestly, even the best and most experienced bloggers are still learning. So let’s get right to it. This will cover the most common mistakes I see new bloggers (even those who have been at it awhile) make in their posts. I believe this is extremely important because posts are the content which is the anchor to your blog. Other things like good design and consistency are critical also; but your posts are the reason people will subscribe to your blog.
Top beginner posting mistakes:
1. not setting permalinks: After clicking on your post title, does your URL end in something like /?p=123. Your permalink structure needs customized. Go to your dashboard under settings choose permalinks, select custom structure and paste /%postname%/ some bloggers like /%category%/%postname%/ if your categories are set up. Why do you need to do this? If your post comes up on a search, people will see your blog name and ?p=123. This tells them nothing about the post. They will click where they see the info they are looking for. Have your post titles available for the search engines to read. (This is also why the terms you use in post titles are so important.) Been blogging awhile? You might want to search how to create 301 redirects.
2. Using click here for a link: When creating a link do not use the words “click here”. Choose words that go with the link; such as the website’s name or specific subject. First this gives the reader information about where the link is going. Also it provides more specific terms that search engines prefer and can use.
3. Not key wording images: To give even more search engine juice to your post simply add your top search terms or key words to the image’s title and alternate text. If you change the name of the image file to the keywords, even better.
4. Large Blocks of Text: Format the text of your post to make it easy to read. Please avoid large blocks of written text. You notice in non-fiction books and magazines they break up the text with excerpt blocks. I have seen many pro-bloggers go to short sentences with lots of short paragraphs. What I like to do is bold important phrases. Visually it gives eyes a rest and a place to focus. Headings and subheadings are good for dividing text and again for SEO.
5. Making it hard to comment or share: One of the best parts of blogging is receiving comments. So make it super easy for visitors to comment. I know you want to avoid spam but consider getting rid of any captcha boxes. It’s easy to delete any spam you might get but comments are hard to come by. Also offer at least the twitter and facebook share options. People like to share good content. Help them out.
6. Not linking internally: Yet another simple thing to do that makes a big difference to your blog SEO-wise. If you have written about a similar topic before link to it. You can also go back and add links to old post connecting new posts for complimentary information.
7. Unable to Contact: Add a way for readers to contact you by email. Visitors may wish to ask you questions that don’t necessarily have to do with a post. You never know when another blogger will ask you to guest post.
Last week I posted an email message that I received from a reader. She was basically stuck in her blogging journey. After starting she was bombarded with too much information and was “scared” to go on in fear of “messing up”. I asked what others with blogs would give her as advice. Some very nice people commented with good suggestions for her. I wanted to share what my response was to this disheartened blogger. My email stated:
Thank you for contacting me. I am sorry you have had such a hard time getting your blog going. It does take time to learn even the basics of blogging. The only thing you need to focus on to begin with is adding your text and an image to a post. Nothing else. After you have 10 posts with images/photos you can start learning other parts of your blog. But take your time. Learn each task individually as you need to. Not a bunch of different things at once. After you learn it move to the next task. Again take your time. Stop reading what the techies say you need to do. You are not at their level yet. But you’ll get there.
Feel free to ask more questions. But most things I learned by doing a search on google as I needed to know them.
New bloggers can easily be stymied by information overload with all the sites out there telling them what they need to add to their blog, pulling them in all kinds of directions. But like a kindergartener doesn’t start with War and Peace, a beginner blogger needs to start with the basics; copy & paste, adding images, and so on. So novice bloggers, take it slow and you’ll be much happier.
What do you think? Did I give her sound advice? Have you read War and Peace? Let me know:
I love getting questions from readers. It’s a chance to help other bloggers in similar situations. Just this past week I had a visitor to my blog ask a question about starting her blog. Here is most of her message:
I really appreciate your clear, simple directions! I sort of started a blog last year but abandoned it because of my job and because of all of the details involved. It seemed that the more I read, the more confused I got and the more bogged down in details. Good gravy but there’s a whole bunch to be concerned about!
I even purchased and installed WordPress, but then I came across all the stuff about pasting code. I got so scared I would mess something up that I just stopped the whole thing. How important is it to deal with all of those countless details that the techies talk about? I have read about folks who just started a blog in a couple of hours, and some have done really well. Any thoughts?
So many beginning bloggers have this same thing happen to them. It’s a very frustrating scenario. I would call it information overload.
What advice would you give this stalled out blogger?
If you have some sage advice from your own experience please leave a message in the comments. You could really help out so many new bloggers with this same problem.
Starting a blog can be very intimidating. With all the choices and technical details to learn, it can stop anyone in their tracks. So why not let someone set up your blog for you.
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I really want to help farmers to start a blog or rejuvenate their blogging habits. If the burden of setting up a blog is getting in the way of anyone starting, I want this post to help you move past this stumbling block. It’s as simple as letting someone else do these beginning tasks so you can get to publishing posts and putting your information out there.
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Follow their 4 steps to set up your site. So you can get to blogging.
Can’t decide where to go [with my blog]. I don’t know if I should “Ag”vocate or just write.
New bloggers have this dilemma as well as seasoned bloggers. They have multiple topics that interest them; but not sure which one to focus on that would be most appealing to their readers. This is my advice to anyone who wants to blog for a hobby.
Write about what you know. What can you easily write 100 posts on and still have more to say? Don’t worry about the audience at first. In the beginning of your blogging journey, you are learning the basic mechanics of publishing a post, adding graphics, creating links, ect… You need to be focused on the habit of keeping up your site. If you’re not serious about making your blog current, then what’s the point.
So to make this process as easy as possible write about what is familiar to you. If you need to do a bunch of research to be able to add a post, it’s too much work and becomes a hindrance. Thus more like a job, that in turn will be put off ’til later. Then not done at all.
In starting or re-starting a blog, find your comfort zone and just write. Decide which two days of the week will be your publish days. Once you have this goal set, you’ll start thinking about what your next post/posts will cover. Keep an idea list on your phone, desk, or computer. And for goodness sake, keep it simple.
Tell me what your short term goals are for your blog.
We are taking this site in a different direction. I have other websites that I am working on.
Together we will discover
1. how to reach an audience
2. make strong connections
3. get your message out
If you would like to join us to see how this can improve your site. Join the email list to be included. It's at the top of the page. :D