So you’ve decided to start a blog? Awesome. You deserve a hug, pat on the back, or at least one of those 80′s freeze-frame jumping high fives.
But wait. It might not be all sunshine and roses right away. There’s a few simple mistakes that a lot of us make in the very beginning that tend to decrease the effectiveness of our new-born blog. But the good news is that they’re almost always easily corrected. Let’s take a look.
Not letting us know who is writing it.
Letting us know who is behind your blog is extremely important, but for some reason it gets overlooked in a lot of new blogs. If your blog is a personal one, then this part is easy. Just let your readers know, often and early, who is responsible for the content (something like that dashing picture of me in the upper-right helps).
The same thing goes if your blog is for your organization or company. Make sure you highlight the fact that the blog has multiple authors (you can include small pics or bylines) and let each of their personalities show. Companies don’t blog – people do.
Not having a clear purpose.
The big question. The cosmic “Why?” of your blog. Make sure you spend some time thinking about this one before you sit down to write anything, because if you don’t you’ll soon find yourself wandering off track. A clear purpose helps keep you focused on the mission you had when starting.
Not having any content.
It seems simple, but you’d be surprised how many blogs I see with only one or two posts. Before you announce the launch of your new blog, make sure there’s some content there for people to go through. Nothing is more disheartening than hearing about a great blog launch and only finding one post to read.
In these cases, a soft-launch is usually a good idea. Start building your content and slowly invite people to check out your site. Start with a small group of people your trust, and go from there.
Not having “pillar” content.
Every blog should have a few home-run posts. These posts, often called “pillar” posts, are your best stuff, the stuff your blog stands on. It’s okay if you haven’t worked out your best writing yet, but presumably you had some good ideas when you decided to start a blog. Write out your best ideas into clear, well thought out posts and feature them prominently on your site.
You can check out my best stuff in my Must Reads section.
Monetizing right away.
I can’t speak for the interwebs at large, but I find it extremely silly when I visit a new blog and it’s covered in ads. You just started, you have no traffic or following yet, is that $0.09/month from AdSense really enough to justify cheapening the look and feel of your site?
I’m not an expert on when the “right time” is to monetize your blog, but a quick Google search will give you all the answers you need.
Not linking out.
Just like with Twitter, the beauty of a blog is the interaction. Unless you’re going for the really, really long tail, my guess is that there’s already some other blogs on the topic you’re going to be writing on. So when those bloggers come up with a great post, don’t be hesitate to mention it on your blog.
Also, you can’t worry about people navigating away from your site. If you have good content and a clear purpose, they’ll be back. When you link out and point to other relevant content you don’t lose readers, you gain trust. No blog is an island.
So there’s a few ideas from me. What do you think?
Also, if you’re still having trouble with your new blog or want to talk about getting started, feel free to email me at MattJMcD [at] gmail dot com.