I have in the past talked about what needs to be done for you to become a successful blogger in Kenya. I have also highlighted the reasons why you need to start a blog even though you may think that you do not need one. I am not going to repeat those lessons here today.
I have been an active blogger for close to 4 years now, during which time I have noticed some mistakes that bloggers make here and there. Hopefully, you won’t repeat them in 2014.
Read, share and learn.
Mistake #1 Not backing up your website’s database
There is more than one reason why you need to back up your WordPress blog. Servers can crush at any time (don’t rely on your host’s promises that they are backing up your data). Hackers have become ruthless and developers can make costly mistakes.
How would you feel if you lost all the posts on your WordPress blog?
You need to be backing up your data.
Fortunately, all you need to start backing up your data in a restorable form is a backup plugin such as the BackupBuddy Plugin.
BackupBuddy is a premium plugin. There is however a host of other free WordPress Plugins that you can use to back up your website just in case the worst happened.
Mistake #2 Blogging without SEO in mind
On-page and Off-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the easiest and cheapest way of bringing targeted audience to your blog. It is also the only way to get your blog to rank well in search engines. If you are not optimizing your blog content for search engines, you are blogging the wrong way.
Fortunately, you do not need to hire an overpriced SEO team or be an expert at SEO to start optimizing your content for search engines.
According to this infographic by SEO MOZ, on-page SEO involves the proper use of keywords in your content, having content that reads grammatically well and content that is of considerable length (700+ words). No duplicate URLS on your website, and having proper meta data and schema structure for your website/blog.
In the very least, you should make sure that you include your keyword in the following important parts of your content:
- Use keyword in the title of your article
- Use keyword in Permalink/url of the article
- Use the keyword in alt-tags of the images on the post.
- Use the keyword in title tags within your content
- Use the keyword in the body of your content
Off-page SEO concerns itself with building backlinks for your content through social media bookmarking, directory posting, guest blogging and web 2.0 properties.
Mistake #3 Failing to build an email list
The phrase, the money is in the list might be a cliché, but it still holds true. The best way to turn one-time blog visitors into loyal blog readers is by capturing their details in an email list.
If you have not yet done it, sign up for an autoresponder service (I strongly recommend Aweber) and start placing opt-in forms and email captures on your blog.
Email marketing is one of the best ways you can use to grow and increase your blog traffic. If you think you are not ready to start paying for an autoresponder service, try the free services out there (MailChimp).
Mistake #4 Not responding to audience comments
If you are too busy to respond to visitors’ comments on your blog, I don’t see the reason why you should be blogging. After all, what is the goal of blogging if not to build a community?
However, assuming that you are the egocentric blogger who cares little about building a community, why else should you spend time responding to comments left on your blog?
Apparently, the more comments you have on your pages, the more long tail keywords you will have on those pages. This increases your search engine rank leading to increase in blog traffic.
Also, when you form a habit of offering insightful responses on your blog, visitors form the habit of returning to your blog posts to read what you had to say in response to their queries.
Mistake #5 Doing Zero Promotions for your blog posts
If you commit mistake number 3, and go ahead to couple it with not promoting your blog, all the hard work you are doing- the intricate web design, the custom written posts and everything else- will be in vain. How else do you expect your target audience to discover your blog content if you are not promoting it?
The good thing is that you do not have to spend hundreds of dollars doing promotions for your blog. At the very least, share your content on social media and give your blog visitors a chance to subscribe to your blog’s RSS Feed so that they are notified whenever you publish a new post.
Email marketing also works magic when it comes to promoting your blog. If you have not yet done it, sign up for an email autoresponder service and place opt-in forms on prominent places on your blog.
Also consider submitting your blog to Top Blog Feeds.
Mistake #6 You write too much on your blog
The cliché content is king has probably been stuffed through your eardrums so much that all you do is create content for your blog. You spend hours brainstorming for new content ideas, and when the muse goes mum, you grab some PLR junk, spin it and walla! You have a new post on your blog.
If you do not have an inspiring article to share, you are better of sharing nothing at all. Step away from your blog for a while. Read and comment on other blogs in your niche. Engage your fans on forums and social media networks with healthy discussions. Chances are that after you have been away from your blog for a while you will come back replenished with lots of blogging ideas that you didn’t have.
Mistake #7 You are obsessed about the look of your blog
This is actually a blogging mistake that I can identify with. With so many stunning WordPress themes and Joomla templates, it is easy to think that you are not using the very best.
The irony is that you are probably the only one bothered by the look of your site.
Your blog visitors care more about how useful your blog content is.
Google cares about the usability of your site.
Instead of spending time checking whether your blog has a cool logo or the latest design, use this time to come up with content for your blog and promote it.
Many of your blog visitors do not give a hoot about the look of your blog as long as they can glean useful information from it.
Mistake #8 You Don’t Reach out to Powerful Bloggers
You probably think that the big bloggers will snob you when you sent them requests to connect or asked that you guest blog on their authoritative blogs.
I will tell you why this is one of the gravest blogging blunders you need to overcome in 2015.
To grow your blog into an authoritative blog, to make yourself stand out among the mass of blogs that are started on a daily basis, you need to guest blog. There is no better place to guest blog than on those popular blogs in your niche.
Reach out to the popular bloggers in your niche. Request for a chance to guest blog or ask for insights about the industry.
Mistake #9 Failing to set up your permalinks properly
The default permalinks in WordPress are horrible. They look something like http://yoursite.com/?p=13
The default permalinks look ugly to the human eye and they mean nothing to search engine bots. You are hurting your traffic and SEO by leaving your blog’s the permalinks like this
To change the permalinks, go to the settings tab on the WordPress Dashboard, click on permalinks and change the settings from ‘default’ to ‘post name’.
There you have it… Remember to hit one of the social share buttons below. One of your friends could be needing the advice contained in this piece so badly.