The phrase, “I am my own worst enemy,” applies to bloggers more often than not. If you aren’t getting the traffic you want, most of the time you have no one to blame but yourself. Want to see more readers, more engagement, and more sales? Stop sabotaging yourself! You might not realize it, but a little more care with your actions can make a huge difference. Here are the ten crazy things bloggers do to sabotage themselves:
1. Have Bad About Pages
I can’t tell you how many times I’m on a blog, click the “About” page to read more, and am utterly disappointed. First and foremost, your about page should include your name. Even if you talk in the first person, you can say, “Hi, I’m Jane Doe. Welcome to my blog!” Your bio doesn’t have to be three miles long, but it should tell me what makes you qualified to blog about the topic at hand, as well as what to expect from your blog (which is fine to put on a separate “About the Blog” page, but it needs to be somewhere). If you don’t tell me who you are, I don’t feel a connection with you and I probably won’t be back again.
2. Post Apologies for Not Writing
Haven’t written in a while? That’s okay. Don’t make your first post back an entire post apologizing for not writing and promising to write more. It’s wasting my time. I’m there for actual content. Funny thing is, most bloggers who do that end up writing a series of “I’m sorry” posts because they just disappear again after a few days. If you must, apologize in the first lined of your post, but then jump back into the content I’m there to read.
3. Say, “It’s a labor of love.”
If you blog for fun, go ahead and say that your blog is a labor of love. But if you’re trying to make money this way, calling it a labor of love only sabotaged your money-making efforts. Calling it that solidifies in your mind and in the mind of everyone else that it’s not making money and probably is never going to make money. Instead, start calling it a business. You can still be passionate about and love your business! But you need to be the first person to acknowledge it as such if you want others to take you seriously as well.
4. Not Use Maintenance Mode
If you have to update your blog, download a maintenance mode plug in and use it. If I visit for the first time and it’s a wreck, I probably won’t come back. I have no way of knowing that it’s not usually like that.
5. Hide Social Media Links
Don’t make me Google to find you on Twitter or other social media sites. Proudly display these buttons on your blog, preferably on your sidebar or in the navigation bar. I’m not going to hunt you down in most cases.
6. Use Twitter as a Place to Vent
Twitter is such a casual atmosphere that we often forget just who is watching us. We all get emotional from time to time, and occasionally Twitter becomes a place to vent about those emotions, whether we’re excited, sad, or angry. But if that’s the norm for you on Twitter, you’re probably going to attract the wrong people and lose the followers you really do want. Try to think of Twitter as a professional networking event. You might vent a little to friends occasionally, but keep in mind that everyone else can overhear you.
7. Post Without Categories or Tags
Categories and tags have been around since the dawn of blogging. Or at least it feels that way. If you don’t categorize and tag your posts, you’re not only missing out on valuable Google juice, but you’re also making your blog a lot harder for readers to navigate. It only takes a few minutes to add these to a post, so there’s really no good reason not to do it, yet I constantly run across blogs that are uncategorized with no tags.
8. Give Out Their Phone Number and Address
What are you nuts? There are tons of creepy people online. Don’t give out your personal information! I see people do this all the time and I makes me shudder. If you want people to be able to contact you, get a business number and a P.O box. Giving out your address is especially scary. I’ve dealt with a crazy stalker before and it’s no fun. Protect yourselves, people!
9. Beg for Shares
Occasionally, it is okay to ask people to share your work. For example, yesterday, a friend DM’ed me and asked for a retweet on her latest post about searching for a new job. I was happy to do that. We’re friends. But if we’ve never talked before, please don’t DM me and ask me for a RT. At the most, DM me and ask me to read your post IF (and only if) it is super relevant to my interests. I’ll RT it if I want. And even if we are friends, only ask me to RT something that’s super important to you. If you DM me every single post, I’m probably going to unfriend you, and I certainly won’t share your work.
Along those same lines, if you add “Please RT” every single time you’re sharing something, it’s obnoxious. Only use that for special announcements. Otherwise, I’m actually more likely not to retweet because I find you annoying.
10. Post on a “When I Feel Like It” Schedule
Lastly, the biggest thing bloggers are doing to sabotage themselves, in my opinion, is following the advice to “only blog when you have something to say.” That’s great advice in theory, but bloggers are taking it to mean “I only have to blog a few times a month.” Here’s the thing: If you don’t have something intelligent to say about your blog’s topic on a regular basis, why are you even blogging at all? The “when I feel like it” schedule is just lazy. You shouldn’t force posts when you honestly don’t feel passionate about a topic, but if you aren’t posting regularly, you’re won’t have the success you could have. This doesn’t mean you have to post every day – but be consistent and make sure you don’t go so long between posts that people forget who you are.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.