Six years ago, a friend of mine quit her day job and dove headlong into the world of blogging. Like any other venture, the beginning was the hardest. But, within months she was clocking 10,000+ unique visitors a month. She was also earning a regular income more than what her day job paid, and for fewer working hours.
Until one fine day, when her world toppled upside down. Her website was taken over by a hacker who had replaced her beautiful landing page with a terror flyer. Despite her knowledge in blogging and ability to strike a chord with her readers, her blog’s defense systems were not the best-in-class. She had also made several mistakes that most amateur bloggers make, which ultimately led to the hacking of her website.
Are you a blogger? Then you need to read further and know about the many mistakes (some silly ones!) that bloggers make. Mistakes that cost them their hard work, online reputation and in some cases, even their own finances.
#1 A cluttered blog layout
It’s ok if your bedroom is messy, but, your blog is messy, your visitors may not longer around for long. An easy to navigate, pleasant on the eye and well-organized blog is a pleasure to read through. More brownie points if you can keep all blog posts arranged chronologically or topic-wise for easier finding.
In other words, be like Medium. Medium is the world’s most popular blogging platform. It is a lovely destination for bloggers who want to express themselves through writing and publish a blog of their own with minimal effort. Medium’s minimalist interface makes reading and writing so easy that you can publish a blog in a flash. Moreover, the platform has arranged all topics under specific categories allows users to find topics of their choice with minimal effort.
#2 Spammy ads
Ads in any form are a huge turnoff, especially when they pop-up in blogs. Your audience have landed at your blog to gain knowledge, gain value or simply to spend some time reading good stuff. They can see plenty of ads anywhere else. So, don’t be an inconsiderate blogger and let them down with spammy ads.
Of course, you want to earn something for all the hard work you put into creating content, optimizing it for SEO, publishing it and then bringing in traffic.
You can always use ads, but don’t be too pushy. Use subtle call to action and triggers that will not interrupt or offend the users.
#3 Typos, grammatical mistakes & poor punctuation
The difference between a pro-blogger and an amateur is one lies in attention to detail. There is a certain amount of finesse, a niche quality and a perfection that makes the professional stand apart from amateurs.
In blogging, it is measured in terms of grammatical correctness, use of right punctuation, and also factual correctness of the subject matter. If the blog audience get the slightest hint that you are putting across content in a shoddy form or are presenting wrong information, be informed to lose them in troves.
Always, before publishing a blog or any piece of content, ensure you run it through multiple rounds of proofreading. If possible, ask help from someone else to skim through the content to weed out possible typos, punctuation errors and also grammar peeves.
#4 Ignoring security essentials
My friend will never take security for granted ever again. Neither should you. Hackers have developed a keen interest for high-traffic generating personal as well as hobbyist blogs. They see it as a fresh ground to propagate their spammy ads or as a place from where they can rich information of a large pool of visitors. If you have any forms which you use to collect user feedback, attachments or even their contact information, they could be used by hackers for XSS scripting based attacks.
Make sure you put up the defenses against hackers with proper security measures. HTTPS is proven to be the ideal form of security that every website and blog can have. HTTPS is enabled with the help of a SSL certificate. Once installed, the SSL certificate activates a green address bar and a padlock symbol that indicates that the website and its content are encrypted. Without encryption you stand a fat chance of losing critical data to hackers.
#5 Clickbait headlines
Eye-grabbing, spicy and clickable headlines are great to get the initial traction. In fact, it is such headlines that bring maximum click-throughs. But, don’t overuse such headlines. Ensure that the headlines are used as a means to convey an offer and convert an interested user into a visitor. Don’t use headlines as clickbaits which do not go further than bringing the user to the website.
Topics like the ones below might get your visitors immediately curious. But, if they do not derive any value from your blog, they may not return to your blog in the future.
In the long-term, the traffic from such clickbait headlines will reduce and your blog will soon lose its sheen. So, make it a point to write straight-forward and sincere headlines that will impress your target audience.
#6 Not installing a caching plugin
A caching plugin does the task of caching your static files so that they can be delivered to your visitors using mod rewrite, PHP, or legacy caching. Without a caching plugin, your websites will tend to load slowly which will make your visitors irate. The slow loading blog might even make them close and abandon your blog for the good. Hence, the inevitable need to install a caching plugin.
If your blog is hosted on WordPress, you can check out these caching plugins:
- WP Super Cache
- SP Faster Cache
- W3 Total Cache
- Comet Cache
- Cache Enabler
The wise ones say, one gets better by learning from the mistakes of others. Since it is too expensive to make mistakes of your own and learn from them, it is always better to draw inspiration from the mistakes of others.
We have listed out some such mistakes that most amateur and even some veteran bloggers make. Stay clear of these mistakes and your blog will grow and thrive without restraints. Good Luck!