If you’ve just entered the world of blogging or if you’ve been blogging for a short time and find that things are not working out as you expected, it will be worth your while to spend some time understanding the common mistakes that bloggers make, mistakes that make it hard to enjoy what should be an enjoyable, satisfying experience: Blogging!
Diving in (rather than wading in)
Having unrealistic expectations
Ignoring the reader
Diving in! Many bloggers are so anxious to get started that they dive in rather than wading in slowly — it’s a mistake in an unfamiliar swimming pool or pond and its a mistake when entering a new arena such as the ‘blogosphere.’ Consider these things before you start your Blog:
Find a focus for your blog . . . a focus that reflects what you know, what interests you and what you enjoy talking and writing about. No topics are out-of-bounds: politics, religion, science, sexual orientations, comedy, exercise, diet, diseases, etc., etc..
Take the time to read dozens of different blogs: note the colours, graphics and layouts to get an idea of what appeals to you. Also note that some bloggers are long-winded and others are brief and to the point . . . others are just chatty and entertaining and have no particular point to make . . . this too is a personal style you get to choose.
You need a host for your blog, some are free, some charge a small amount per month for their service, some are simple to use and some require more technical knowledge, some have more features than others; choose carefully, once you’ve established your blog and have a few regular readers you may not want to change your address (your URL).
You may or may not want to use your real name on your blog, this depends on many factors, not the least of which is your stance on controversial issues and how publicly you want to be identified with your opinions.
Unrealistic expectations! If you come to blogging expecting instant results: a large readership and many complimentary comments, you may be disappointed. There are tens of thousands of blogs online vying for the same audience. Patience and tenacity are essential on your part. If you write well, find a unique niche to fill, have appealing titles for your posts and tirelessly promote your blog the readership and comments (some of which will be complimentary) will come.
Losing focus! When you started your blog you had a particular reason for doing so; it might have been to express your views on a topic or it might have been to just communicate with a close circle of friends about your daily activities. Readers will come to your blog for the first time and either be interested in your subject matter or not, will either like your style or not and, if they like your subject and style they may comment and then come back later. Once you’ve established a topic and tone for your blog you’re free to change it but to do so you’re basically starting all over.
Be aware that you can have more than one blog, each one devoted to a particular topic and each one, if you choose, under a different identity.
Plagiarizing! There are some great bloggers out there and as you surf through blogs you might find one who said something really well, something that resonated with you and something you want to put in your blog. DON’T just copy and paste someone’s words in your blog without giving them credit, making it look to the world like the words are yours. If you write it, write it in your own words and write it better, adding your own thoughts and feelings and then be gracious, mention where you got the idea and provide a link.
Ignoring the reader! Some of the people who read your blog will leave comments; some readers will agree with you and some readers may even praise your insights but most will pick a point you’ve made and criticise it. People leave comments on others blogs for the same reason they themselves blog, to exchange ideas and express their points of view. Always respond to your readers comments; thank them for reading and taking the time to comment (even the severe critics) and then respond, as appropriate, to their comment. If you ignore your comments your readers may end up ignoring your blog.