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Top 10 Blog Mistakes

March 24, 2011

Jakob Nielsen’s “Top 10 Blog Mistakes” was first presented to me by Marisa Peacock during her session, 140 Character or Less: Designing a Social Media Strategy, at the “A Day in the Life” Conference in Baltimore last year. Marisa is very knowledgeable and was an excellent speaker. I follow her on twitter (@marisacp51), and if you are interested in furthering your social media knowledge, I recommend you do as well! I’ve shared the list with many of my blogger friends, and in thinking about what I’d like to share with my readers, this seemed like a no-brainer. So here goes:

Top 10 Blog Mistakes

1. No Author Bio

2. No Author Photos
Both of these revolve around the idea that you need to clearly identify yourself and stand behind what you are saying, instead of remaining a mystery.

3. Non-Descriptive Posting Titles
Use your words, describe in the title what you’re writing about, and make everyone’s life a little better and easier to navigate.

4. Links Don’t Say Where They Go
When using twitter, if my friend doesn’t tell me what the link is that they are posting, I rarely click through (unless their lead in is a genius tease.) Same if someone emails me a link, and the address is not descriptive — unless I am bored bonkers, I will not be reading that link.

5. Classic Hits are Buried
Don’t play hard to get. Play to your strengths and really advertise clearly what is driving traffic to your site.

6. The Calendar is the Only Navigation
Yarg. I hate when I can’t go to categories, search a word cloud, search tags, go through a drop down menu, whatever — don’t give me just one option. Everyone has preferences as to how they are going to use your site, so don’t cater to the lowest denominator (sorry if you really love the calendar, but c’mon now!)

7. Irregular Publishing Frequency
This is a very important point. Have you ever followed a blog that you really loved, but when you checked back, they never seemed to update? So you inevitably check back less and less, until you take them off your RSS feed and stop checking altogether. If you find yourself doing it, clearly your readers are going to be doing the same thing to you. Keep a schedule, and stick to it! Whether it is 2x a week, 2x a month, whatever it is, make sure you keep up. The followers you lose because you don’t stay on a schedule, or because you don’t post regularly, are incredibly difficult to get back — don’t lose them in the first place.

8. Mixing Topics
Guilty as charged! If you want to be a professional blogger, blog about your expertise.
For me, I had to make a decision about posting with regularity vs. posting about mixed topics. I couldn’t keep up the pace of 2x a month, reviewing bars. My liver wanted to punch me in the eye. So I’ve opted for a consistent schedule. Most people won’t have to make a decision…

9. Don’t Forget That You Write for Your Future Boss
As is true with any social media, keep it professional. Keep your facebook as something you aren’t ashamed of, and don’t trash-tweet about your job, clients, co-workers, etc. The occasional vent is ok, and a bad day whine might be acceptable, but the web makes everything public. And, although I know most social media allows you to make things private and lock them down, security wise, I’m a cynic and think Big Brother will, at some point, be able to access all my information. So keep your nose clean, friends.

10. Have a Domain Name Owned by a Weblog Service (or website.)
If I had to take a test with this list, I would probably fail. Guilty again. I think this speaks to the professionalism of any blog or service. Also, how much easier would it be to remember “sewallis.com” vs. “sewallis.wordpress.com”? Definitely easier. It also rolls off the tongue, is easy to jot down, and is generally much more impressive. Another thing to add to my to-do-list of 2011.

And finally, a few juicy, bonus tid-bits for you:

  • Not every blog entry needs to be huge. If you post a link that you like and give a little intro, that counts as a blog entry and something your readers will appreciate — there is a balance between quantity and quality that you have to strike.
  • Use Analytics to find out where people are coming from, what they are viewing, and exploit it
  • When overlapping in social media (blog, FB, twitter, linked in), figure out what the point of each is, so that the audience of each is getting something different and special.
  • If you read another person’s blog, comment! Use your blog to funnel to other services/sites, they will post back to you and increase your traffic.

The slide show to “140 Character or Less: Designing a Social Media Strategy” can be found here

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 24, 2011 2:13 PM

    Crud. I’m a PR person and I do about half of these no-nos. I guess I shouldn’t announce on a public blog that I occasionally fart in my office. Heh.

    Thanks for the tips!!

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