I’ve been at this blogging gig for over two years now and boy, have I produced my share of small and whopping blogging mistakes. They weren’t all in the beginning either. I just made another one last month that has really got me frustrated.
The worst part is that all could have been avoided if I’d read more or asked for help. As I shared Monday, I’ve had a real problem with asking for help and am slowly learning to overcome it.
Common Blogging Mistakes to Avoid
Here is a list of blogging mistakes I’ve committed that you should avoid. If you are looking at starting a successful blog to make money or just to have fun, don’t fall into these traps.
Not understanding keywords
Keywords are the lifeblood of search. Begin to type a few keywords into the Google search engine and you will see suggestions begin to pop up. Google knows what people have searched for and is giving you suggestions of what it thinks you want based on the most popular searches.
When I write a post in WordPress there is a field in my post editor to input keywords that describe the content of the post. This feature allows me to type in keywords (each one separated by a comma) people are searching for in the hopes they will come across the post. You can find keywords to use by doing a search in Google Keyword Planner, using programs such as Long Tail Pro, or by simply typing words in the Google search engine as I already mentioned.
I had no idea about how this worked when I started blogging. So if I wrote a post called “18 Ways to Reduce College Costs” I just filled in the keyword description field with a bunch of single words that were found in the body of the post. It looked like this:
“college, save, money, used, books, commute, live, home, etc.”
The problem with this is that nobody is searching for those single word terms in relation to college. The proper way to input the keywords for that type of post would be in this format:
“how to save money in college, saving money in college, how to save money for college, etc.”
I wasn’t thinking of keywords as phrases. I wasn’t filling in the keyword field properly and I wasn’t using those phrases within the content of the post. So consequently no one was finding me in search.
Not filling out the theme SEO settings
Similarly to the keyword issue, there are fields in the theme’s SEO settings to input the homepage document title, the home page meta description, and the home meta keywords. These fields are again designed to drive traffic through to your blog through search.
I did not only have the wrong content in those fields – I had nothing in those fields for the longest time. Nobody was pulling up Luke1428 when, for example, they searched for “Christian personal finance.”
Disabling plugins I actually need
This is my most recent gaffe.
I mentioned Monday that I was having some site issues for some time that Grayson from Debt Roundup has now helped me overcome. Before I reached out to him I had disabled some plugins in an attempt to solve the issue myself. One plugin I disabled was my Alexa Claim and Certify plugin.
So 3 weeks ago I noticed my Alexa rank was going up faster than would be considered normal. So being curious I logged into my Alexa account in an attempt to determine what was going on. I found that, because I had not reactivated the plugin, Alexa had not been counting any page visits for almost a month. That was negatively impacting my Alexa rank. (I’m assuming this to be the case…Alexa rank is still sort of a mystery to me.)
This is not a huge deal as it will just take time for that rank to recover. Plus one’s Alexa rank is not the end-all to having a great blog.
The bigger issue is to review the purpose of all your plugins before deactivating or permanently deleting them. There was a reason I installed the Alexa plugin in the first place. I should have remembered that.
Not realizing I wasn’t harvesting email subscribers
One important feature to have on a blog is a place for readers to subscribe to your content. There are many places on a blog where a subscription form can be placed. The best possible locations I’ve seen are in a sidebar (mine is at the top right of my sidebar) at the end of a post or in a pop up.
I’ve had one on my site since I switched to my current theme. My initial one was pulling in subscribers but I decided to switch to another one that offered more features. Once the plugin was installed and the form loaded into the sidebar I pretty much didn’t pay attention to it thinking everything was fine.
Several months later I decided to look at my subscriber count to see where I was at. I realized it hadn’t gone up at all. Unusual. So I started to track it. Another month went by…nothing. Another month…no more subscribers.
Then I forgot about it thinking people just weren’t interested in getting my content. Plus I had too much else to worry about. Several more months past before I looked at it again. Still no change. “What the heck is going on? My content is not that bad!” I thought.
So I started to dig for some answers. My first stop was to investigate the plugin. Within minutes I realized what was happening. I hadn’t installed the plugin correctly. I hadn’t been harvesting email subscribers for nearly a year.
Like the Alexa issue, the moral of this blogging mistake is to tune into clues that something is wrong. At the least I should have seen a slow trickle of new subscribers from month to month. Not having any should have caused me to investigate sooner.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up Over Blogging Mistakes
I love for all my T’s to be crossed and my I’s to be dotted. So it was frustrating to figure out I had made these mistakes. But it wasn’t the end of the world. My blog still continued to function even though it may not have been firing on all cylinders.
If there is a silver lining about making these mistakes it’s that I am learning. I’m learning more of the technicalities of what it takes to run a successful blog. I’m learning to ask for more help in areas where I have a weakness. And I’m learning not to beat myself up for making mistakes.
It’s inevitable…we are going to make mistakes. The best learning can offer occur as we deal with the mess we’ve created for ourselves. I guarantee you I won’t be making these same mistakes again.
Questions: What blogging mistakes have you made? How do you emotionally deal with making blogging mistakes or any other mistake for that matter? Do you bet yourself up or forget about it and move on quickly?
Prior Post: I Need Help But Don’t Want to Ask