November 7, 2013

8 Hidden Blogging Mistakes

If you have been blogging for a while, you are probably aware of the basic rules of the game, like using good images, posting regularly, and promoting content on social media. However, there are often little things we overlook as bloggers that can make a big difference to both the stats and audience engagement. I have compiled this list of hidden mistakes bloggers make based on my own observations, as I make it a point to visit at least a couple of new blogs every week. Some may never have crossed your minds, and others you may not have considered of much relevance. Either way, these tips require little effort and will only bring positive results!
 
1. Not customizing your Tweet button
If you want to keep track of who has been sharing your posts on Twitter, it is important to have your twitter handle (or username) in that tweet. Usually, when your readers click on the 'Tweet' button, they will be directed to publish a tweet which has your post title and link. Sometimes, it will have the Twitter handle of the share service provider such as @sharethis or @wordpressdotcom. The problem with this is that you are none the wiser when a post of yours has been shared on Twitter, unless you have access to stats. Even then it's hard to pin every single tweet down. By adding your own handle, you will be immediately notified of the mention, allowing you to re-tweet or thank the user if you wish. In order to add your handle, simply check the support pages of your sharing service. To my knowledge, all of them allow you to customize your tweet buttons. It's a simple thing that can help you gauge your content’’s popularity on Twitter!
 
2. Neglecting your Google+ presence
If you have simply created your Google Plus account, you're clearly not taking full advantage of a network than can significantly improve your search-based traffic. Very often, I am taken to a blogger's Google+ profile which doesn't even have a link to their blogs! You will find many helpful articles online about creating a good Google+ profile but, simply, try to fill in every field. Did you know that you can add your blog link in addition to your other social media profiles such as Facebook and Twitter? Make your Google+ profile like a CV which tells visitors everything they should know about you in one place. And while you're at it, don't forget to claim Google Authorship for your website/blog, so that a neat little headshot and name appears with your blog post in search results.
 
3. Not giving photo credit
How would you feel if your post was shared without giving credit to you? You would be furious and rightly so. Well, creators of images may feel the same way when they make a photo or illustration publicly available and find that nobody recognizes them for it! Remember, even royalty-free and copyright-free images require you to give credit to the owner. All photo sharing websites (including Wikimedia Commons) have a format or guideline for crediting their images. Similarly, if you are using your own images, make sure you watermark them or at least carry a copyright warning against them being used without your permission.
 
4. Not being mobile-friendly
There's no doubt that portable devices are where most people do their online reading today. If your website takes too long to load or doesn't appear quite correctly on a mobile device, visitors might not hang around long enough to read your blog. The good news is that it's very easy to activate a mobile-friendly version of your blog on most platforms, including Wordpress and Blogger. If you are looking to update your blog template, make sure it's a design that is responsive, that is, which automatically adjusts itself to the screen size it's being viewed on.
 
5. Skipping the email address
Sure, social media is a great way to contact you, but sometimes, an email address is vital. This is because Facebook or Twitter may not present the ideal platform for someone who wants to approach you for a business proposition or otherwise wants to have a detailed correspondence. I think clearly displaying your email ID sends a message that you are willing to converse on a deeper level with your readers and potential sponsors alike. Ideally, create a separate email for your blog. You can always have it forward messages to your personal inbox.
 
6. Not testing your blog
Every time you make a change to your template, check whether your new widget or links work correctly. For instance, try using your share buttons or leaving a comment on your blog after logging out. Now, if your readers come across broken links or images, they may think it's a problem with their system and not let you know. Every few months, check your blog thoroughly for any bugs or errors. The smallest errors could be costing you valuable traffic.
 
7. Having a stale 'About' section
As a rule of thumb, read your intro section every three months to see if there is something you can add to it, or whether something needs changing. It's always good to have a few of your recent posts on your 'About' page, or any new achievements you want to share. Don't create a page that barely describes you and leave it at that. Your 'About' page could decide whether a reader returns to your blog or not. Here's an additional tip: don't forget to mention your name in your intro! Very often, bloggers talk about themselves in the first person and completely forget to introduce their names.
 
8. Being a no-reply Blogger
If you use the Blogger platform, you may be a 'no-reply' blogger. This means when you comment on another Blogger post, the owner is unable to see your email address and will not be able to reply to you. Do remember that even if you have upgraded to Google+, you could still have this problem. The fix is pretty simple. You need to revert to your Blogger profile and check the 'Show my email address' box. Here's a complete tutorial.

I would love to hear about the things that helped you improve your blogging experience!
 
Tarana Khan (or just TK!) is a self-professed ‘non-expert’ on blogging, social media, and parenting, for that matter. She loves writing and learning all things new. Mom to a toddler, she has done her stints as a copywriter, reporter, and content editor, before embracing parenthood full time. She blogs at Sand In My Toes, where you can drop by to read more of her parenting and other adventures in Dubai. You can also catch up with her on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.  

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36 comments :

  1. Thanks for the opportunity to write for your blog!

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  2. These are great tips and as you mentioned, they can easily be overlooked.

    Thank you for sharing!

    xo
    Eesh | The Other Side of Paradise

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  3. Really good information.... I've got to get moving on my blog :)

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  4. These are super suggestions and several I never thought about. Great information! Thanks for sharing!--Deb (DialMforMoms)

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  5. Great tips and I even have a tutorial on J9Designs on how to include your Twitter handle when sharing on Blogger if anyone is unsure how to do this. So, I do totally agree this is very important.

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    1. Janine, do share that link here: I'm sure others will find it useful!

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  6. These are some awesome tips! My blog needs a lot of help. Thankfully my readers have been empathetic and have come back again and again. Not sure how I will approach some of these concerns as it may take some money since I'm still learning how to do certain things. I've made a lot of strides learning things on my own. So grateful for posts like these that give me tips!

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  7. This is great! There are a few things I've overlooked and I'm definitely guilty of not keeping up with Google+ (although I do have my blog link there!) and I didn't even know about the Twitter button!! #LOBS

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    1. Google+ has worked wonders for my blog's exposure...you must explore it!

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  8. Just to add on to the photo credit item: Please, please, please make sure you ASK permission before using an image. Just giving credit/attribution is not enough. It is still considered copyright infringement if you use an image without asking for permission first. As a photographer nothing would irk me more than a blogger using a photo and not taking the time to email me. I am more than happy to share images but not asking me first is a surefire way to make me say no.

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    1. Absolutely, I was just referring to the photo sites where contributors have uploaded their photos. For any other pictures, asking permission is a must!

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  9. GREAT tips.. and #6 is a HUGE pet peeve of mine right now especially as I'm trying to do a blogger outreach activity. Thanks for sharing with us at LOBS!!

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  10. These are all such great points! Thanks for sharing! It definitely drives me crazy when people are no-reply bloggers! Especially when they leave a sweet comment. I want a way to thank them! Then it's even more frustrating when they don't have an email listed on their blog. Argh.

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  11. How do you add your handle on Twitter? I know that is something that I could fix on my blog!

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    1. Hi Katie, here's the tutorial: http://www.j9designs.net/2013/09/04/blogger-in-post-share-buttons-including-your-own-twitter-handle/. Hope it helps!

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  12. Great tips!!! I just updated my ShateThis user name! I had NO idea!!

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  13. That's odd. My comment about asking for permission first when using a photo was not posted/approved. I don't wish to jump to conclusions but I do see other comments were posted after I wrote mine. Seems a bit odd that mine, which was sharing useful and vital information, didn't get posted.

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  14. 4 is a big one because so many people are using smartphones these days! 5 is also important. As a blogger, I think of my readers as friends and also use them interchangeably. Social media isn't a staple in everyone's lives, and some have social profiles I don't have. It's just as important to make yourself available on social media as it is to make yourself available on email.

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  15. Good stuff! Two things have made a difference to me: Sending all first-time commenters a thank-you email, and clicking links on good comments on other blogs to discover my next favorite blog.

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  16. These are wonderful tips! I have pinned this to my "e learning" Pinterest board!

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  17. Great tips! Thanks for reminding me to check into some,of these.
    --Gena

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  18. Thanks for the tips! found you on the fun friday hop/
    tam@ spinstersnacks.com

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  19. Great tips. I have such a pet peeve with Google + and the no reply blogger mess...there really needs to be a better fix! You can go in and fix it, but every 30 days when your account "permanently" unlinks from your old blogger profile, you become no reply again. If I don't pay really close attention, I become no reply again...like now! Ugh!

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  20. Love your tips! I pinned them and tweeted!

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  21. Great tips! I notice the twitter handle showing via @shareaholic or whatever sharing plugin the author is using way too often. I almost always switch it out when I tweet someone else's post so they can see what I've written, but it sure would be better if they formatted it correctly themselves!

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    1. I always correct it too, just to let them know!

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  22. Great tips! But when I shared this on twitter, only your link showed up :P Figured I should let you know :)

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  23. Hmm, I don't think my comment ever showed up. I thought the tips were really great, but I wanted to let you know that when I shared this post on twitter, it only added you link and not your handle :)

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  24. Thanks for sharing this blog with us. it's seems looking so good.

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  25. It turns out I'm making a lot of mistakes! I'm going to bookmark this post to come back and fix some bits over the week. Thank you!

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