Blogging has become an essential part of good online marketing. Most people have either connected a blog to their site or link to one hosted elsewhere. A blog page has many different aspects, which makes it easy to ruin. Here are my top ten:
1. Hiding the RSS feed
No visible RSS feed might be the most frustrating thing ever. If I find a blog that inspires me, I want to subscribe right then. If I search for 5 minutes and can't find the feed, I'll probably leave and never come back. If you want to retain readers, keep your RSS feed at the top and bottom of your page. (Also, consider offering email subscription, too.)
2. Captcha doesn't work to comment
I admit, I am guilty of this one. For two months no one could leave comments on posts because my captcha created impossible to decipher words. Finally someone told me and I fixed the problem. Check your captcha!
3. Requiring a log-in to comment
Most Wordpress blogs don't require a log-in unless you add a plugin for that, but some other blogs do. Sure, this deters spam, but it also deters serious responses. I know I will usually fore-go commenting if I have to take an extra step. Note: this is not because I am lazy, but because I am busy. Forcing people to log-in disrespects their time.
4. No structure in posts
Some blog pages show just part of a post, while others show the entire thing. I don't really have a preference, but if you show an entire post, make sure to give it structure. (Actually, give it structure anyhow.) By structure I mean paragraph breaks, headings... They call it, letting your writing "breathe." People except one idea to stop before you begin the next one. Structure helps signify those changes.
5. Design doesn't mesh with website
Sometimes blogs are embedded into a site, or just linked to the main page from another host. The design of the blog may not match the rest of the site. The clash of designs can range from disjointed branding to omg-my-eyes-are-burning. Strongly consider integrating your blog; or at least matching your blog with the rest of your site.
6. Blog content doesn't match goal of website
Your blog should play a part in your marketing. If your blog content is too personal or isn't useful to clients its not functioning in your favor. Make every post work for you in some way. Sit down and think about the goal of your website and your blog. They should be complimentary.
7. Fifth grade writing skills - sometimes you should pay for content
Not everyone can boast beautiful writing technique. I don't mean you need an English degree or the best grammar. Just make sure your writing is readable. If you just don't have good writing skills, consider hiring someone or buying content. Don't give up on a blog just because you can't spell, but if you're not willing to invest the time, pay someone else to.
8. Not using your own work (or at least claiming its yours when it isn't)
DO. NOT. STEAL. Copying may be the highest form of flattery but its not worth it. If you get caught, imagine how that would destroy your credibility. Plus its just wrong. You can point to other blogs and even quote them, just link back and give credit.
9. Not taking advantage of Titles
Even if you don't display entire posts on your blog page, readers will at least be able to see titles. Use your titles to keep people clicking! This is a great way to convert a causal browser into a possible client. Your posts may already have good information, but your titles aren't urging people to click RIGHT NOW!
It happens far too often. You spend hours adding links to your blogroll. You play with all the fun plugins and options. Its easy to suddenly have a blog just covered in random crap. Live by this rule, only add things you would click on someone else's blog.
So ends our series on How to Ruin Your Website! Was there any particular page you would have liked to cover? Which page do you struggle with?Image by