10 Mistakes That Will Kill Your Blog
1. Excessive Ads – Hey, there’s nothing wrong with making some money from your blog (that’s why your reading this blog right?). But, when your advertisements begin to take up more space on your blog than your content, you’ve got a problem. People visit blog to learn and discuss topics that interest them. They want to share their ideas or ask questions. They DON’T want to have to sort through a million ads, to find your content. Think of it this way, you don’t tune in to your favorite TV show to watch the commercials do you? Well neither do your readers.
2. Lack of Interaction – Many people view blogging as the digital version of giving a sermon. The blogger sits behind his pulpit (keyboard) and preaches to his or her loyal followers. However, if you look at the most successful blogs online, you’ll notice that the interaction is a HUGE part of the blogs success. The ability to leave comments, read other comments, and interact with the content that you’re consuming is what has made blogging what it is. If you don’t make yourself available to your readers, don’t answer any questions and don’t accept any feedback on your content, you’re dooming yourself to the digital equivalent of talking to yourself.
3. Trolls – Everyone’s encountered a troll whether you knew it or not. The Urban Dictionary defines a troll as “someone who gets pleasure by typing annoying/controversial/offensive words on internet forums or message boards.” Unfortunately, trolls are no longer confined just to forums, they’ve invaded blogs as well. I can promise you, if you blog for long enough, and have any sort of success, you’re going to encounter one. Trolls bring absolutely NO value to the blog or your community and instead sit back and generally annoy you along with everyone else that takes the time to comment. They simply aren’t worth the hassle. To top it all of, many times, not only are trolls an annoyance, but they end up starting…
4. Fights – Now don’t think for one second that you’re going to agree with everyone all the time. And yes, I still stand by my statement that controversy is good. However, I’ve seen many bloggers allow themselves to get completely side-tracked by their fight with another blogger to the point that it consumes the blog. A good general rule of thumb is that when you get into name calling and personal attacks, it’s time to shut it down. If you allow a fight to go on long enough, you’ll lose readers who simply don’t want to hear the pissing and moaning anymore. Remember, your subscribers read your blog to get your thoughts and opinions on the subject matter. Unless that subject is fighting with other bloggers, chances are your fight will be interesting for a while, but in the end it will lack substance for your readers to survive on.
5. Playing Follow the Leader – I borrowed that phrase from Max but the premise behind it is 100% true. If you don’t bring anything unique to your blog, whether it’s a distinct style, a special way of covering the information, etc. chances are your blog will die. There are simply too many other options out there for people to read. If you’re not interesting and exceptional in some way, readers will have no reason to return to your site. Find the one thing that makes your blog exceptional, and make that your brand.
6. Under Posting – Ghost towns aren’t exactly hot tourist attractions. If you can’t manage to create fresh content for your readers to digest on a fairly regular basis, you might not be cut out for blogging. I’m not saying you need to post every day, or even every week, however, you need to post regularly enough that your readers know your blog is still active and you haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. On the opposite end of the spectrum…
7. Over Posting – Believe it or not, posting too often can drive away readers as well. If you’re slamming your readers with a high number of posts each and every day, there will be no way for them to keep up. Also, it’s going to be tough to keep up the quality of the posts if you’re cranking them out at such a frantic pace. If you slip into the mistake of posting too often, your “signal to noise” ratio will drop considerably, meaning readers will have to sort through more information to find something worthwhile or valuable to them. That’s a quick recipe for a failed blog.
8. Violating Privacy – This one’s a no-brainer. When people sign up for your blog, whether it’s to comment or subscribe by email, they almost always have to leave an email address. Quite simply don’t abuse that information. Don’t sell your email list or start spamming your readers with your latest chain letters. Trust me, they won’t appreciate it. You’ll damage your reputation and lose readers and commenters all in one fell swoop. Just don’t do it. See, I told you this one was simple.
9. Slow Site – You remember how slow dial-up internet access used to be? It sucked right? Especially if you’d ever used a high speed connection. Well, having too many ads (yes, it’s worth mentioning again), widgets, plugins, or those cool ad-ons included on your blog can drag your site back to the dark ages. It won’t matter how great your content is if it takes years for a single page to load! We’re now firmly entrenched in an age of instant gratification and if your site is slow to load, your readers and visitors simply won’t put up with it. They have too many other sites out there to sit around and wait for yours to get it’s act together.
10. Actually… there is no #10 – Oh wait! Over promising and under delivering. This is pretty much a good rule for life in general but it definitely applies to blogs. If you tell your readers you’re going to do something (add a feature, take care of a problem, listen to suggestions) then you’d better do it. Be very careful in what you promise and remember, this is a blog so everything is in print. You’d be surprised what people remember and call you on later. A couple of slip ups will likely be forgiven (they have been for me on this blog) but if you make a habit of getting people’s hopes up, only to disappoint them, don’t be surprised if you have fewer and fewer people to cry wolf to next time.
And my last bit of advice will be this… You’re going to make mistakes. It’s inevitable. But, if you follow the tips and lessons posted on this blog previously, and try to avoid things on this list, chances are, you and your blog will be able to withstand those occasional slip-ups. Most of all, be honest with your readers. You’ll be surprised how much slack they’ll be willing to cut you. I hope you enjoyed this post and as always, if you think I’m wrong, or left something out, feel free to chime in through the comment form below!