I'm a graphic designer and writer in Northern Ireland. Welcome to my blog.

Seven blog mistakes to avoid

I’ve made quite a few mistakes since starting my blog. Here are my top seven. Hopefully they’ll help you avoid making the same ones.

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Mistake #1 — not using a self-hosted blog

The first mistake I made was to begin blogging using WordPress.com, as opposed to WordPress.org. The former involves hosting your blog on the WordPress website, rather than self-hosting your blog for full control. My first ever blog post was on October 8th 2006, and I’ve kept my WordPress.com blog alive at this address: Web and Graphic Design.

The problem with hosting a blog through WordPress.com is that you don’t have full control over customisation. WordPress owned and stored my content. I was also showing my blog’s web address as being www.wordpress.davidairey.com rather than www.davidairey.com.

In Jakob Neilsen’s 2005 article on the top 10 blog mistakes, he had this as number 10:

“Having a weblog address ending in blogspot.com, typepad.com, etc. will soon be the equivalent of having an @aol.com email address or a Geocities website: the mark of a naive beginner who shouldn’t be taken too seriously.”

It can be a mistake, but I disagree that the author shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Some of my favourite blogs use services: these three on TypePad, for instance:

There’s also , who’s a guru on everything WordPress-related.

Douglas Karr of has this to add about self-hosting your blog:

“I personally like to host my own blog because of the flexibility it provides me in design changes, adding other features, modifying the code myself, etc.

“I wouldn’t discourage anyone — even a corporation — from using a hosted solution like Vox, Typepad, Blogger or WordPress just to start out and experiment.”

Mistake #2 — expecting people to visit

It’s the interaction on blogs that keeps me going. When I started out, I had no idea how to attract visitors and comments. I thought that if I published new content I’d automatically find readers in my niche.

Wrong.

It takes time and effort, and reaching out to fellow bloggers. In fact, there’s a whole that changed my way of thinking. Now if I see or hear something of interest, I wonder if I can use it for my blog.

Mistake #3 — not writing as if I’m talking

My first blog on WordPress.com included posts that are more like lectures. No one wants to read a lecture. I want people to get involved in chat. I want to show people something they haven’t seen or tell them something they don’t know. I want to learn from my readers.

At the start I was , rather of making use of the comment threads.

It’s good practice to join the chat on related blogs. I regularly leave comments that add to the conversation on other blogs. It takes time, obviously, but people appreciate comments on their blogs, and they’re more likely to comment on yours.

The way you write, the words you use, your tone of voice, how you respond to comments, your blog design, the topics you cover… all show who you are.

Mistake #4 — changing the location of my blog

When I moved my blog’s location, from davidairey.com/blog to davidairey.com, I knocked my Google Page Rank from 5 to 4. The mistake was not moving sooner, or not starting out with my blog in the root directory.

Daniel at has this to say on the subject:

“Unless your blog is a secondary part of an existing website you should always install WordPress on the root directory. When I created my first blog I used an automatic WordPress instalation that my web hosting company offered, but the standard installation was done on “www.domain.com/blog”.

“I wasn’t sure how this would affect the blog so I decided to leave things as they were. A couple of months later when I started studying SEO I realized that this was a bad move.”

When I launched my first website about two years ago, I wanted my portfolio to be its primary purpose, and the blog a secondary aspect. Then last year I discovered blogs. It didn’t take long to realise the number of clients I could attract first through my blog content, and then directing them to my portfolio. It’s generally the content I publish that attracts visitors, rather than the work in my .

Mistake #5 — neglecting my article headlines

Most people new to blog publishing will spend all their time writing the article, and not thinking too much about the headline. Here’s the thing, if your headline doesn’t catch my attention, the chances are I won’t click through to the article.

This is something Brian Clark gives good advice on. Another good read is Ben’s article on writing eye-popping headines when exhausted.

It’s not easy coming up with headline after headline, but the more you practice, the easier it becomes. If you’re pushed for time, Lyndon at Cornwall SEO offers a that’s worth considering.

Mistake #6 — not linking to others as I’d like them to link to me

I see it every day, people linking to others using the anchor text ‘here’ or ‘click here’. You wouldn’t be linking to people unless you thought they had something worth saying, so give them a link they’ll really appreciate. I touch upon the subject here: .

Andy Beard says it better than I can: .

Mistake #7 — underestimating the time commitment

I’d no idea how much time publishing posts would take. There are — something I think many people don’t appreciate when taking the first step. I jumped right into it without doing any research (hence this trial-and-error post), and you can see the results through my dead WordPress.com blog linked to above.

What blog mistakes have you made?

Share yours below. Maybe you can stop us from making them.

Header photo by Becca Fatora

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165 comments about “Seven blog mistakes to avoid”

  1. David, I’ve made some of the same mistakes and tried to learn from them too. An additional mistake I made is listening to folks who suggested there was a “final destination” for my blogsite…that there’s a final look, a final set of static pages that somehow convey stability. I’ve finally made my peace with my site being an organic thing, a living document that grows and changes over time. That doesn’t mean it’s ok for me to keep changing major things (like title!) but it does mean it’s ok to make adaptations as my business moves forward. I used to agonize about it. Now I don’t.

    What do you think about this “organic” thinking?

  2. My biggest mistake was probably to blog in English on a .dk domain and it took me about a year to realise I had to comment on other blogs to get some traffic.

    I’m still learning to write good headlines.

  3. Hi David,
    I’m still torn about headlines too. I spend so much time fleshing out the article that by the time I’m ready to roll, I’ve lost track of and enthusiasm for how the audience will see the headline with no background into what I just wrote. Time helps . . . when I have it. :)

  4. I can relate to pretty much every one of your mistakes. I’ve been reading your blog pretty much since I started blogging and I just wish… well… that you’d written this article six months ago :)

  5. Very good points.

    One thing I’d like to add is that with a hosted blog on WordPress.com, you have the option of setting it to your own domain, so if a novice blogger does not want to go the route of having a self-hosted blog, they can still have their own domain name (and email address) using wordpress.com.

  6. Tammy, maybe you’ve noticed how many changes are made to my own layout. Blogs evolve. You could have something that fits beautifully, and a year or two down the line needs an update.

    Dennis, how are things with the new domain? I think you made a good move switching to Cutline. It’s much more open.

    Liz, you do a superb job keeping it up.

    Aaron, it’s like a joint journey when you read someone’s blog as you update yours, seeing the changes they make, watching their numbers grow, etc.

    Shaz, thanks for the addition. Good of you to let me know.

  7. I’ve done #4 – #7, lol. I was talking about #4 with Thomas – Technical Blogger this weekend. Initially, I would move my blog to the main directory but now I’m seriously thinking about moving it to a completely new domain. If I could do it over I would have used my real name instead of Vegan Momma.

    I’m vegan but I don’t write about veganism every single day. In fact weeks can go by without me writing about it. I believe that was my biggest mistake. I’m thinking of having vegan momma point to my real name.

    This is an excellent post and I’m including it in my Weekly spotlight. :-)

  8. This is perhaps the most thoughtful, useful article of this type I’ve seen. It goes beyond a lot of the surface-level ideas I’ve seen repeated over and over in other places. Nicely said.

  9. I have made every one of the above. My worst mistake was not to spend any time on the look of the blog (cardinal sin for a graphic designer). Once I started getting a few readers I decided the old theme must go, and now have a new theme, thats customised I am much happier with.

  10. Thanks for the mention, David! What a great post.

  11. You weren’t short of question marks on your old blog were you? ;-)

    I’ve avoided most of those mainly by luck, but there’s probably about another dozen I’m guilty of. 6 & 7 definitely.

  12. Mucho agreement on the WordPress.com point. So much time lost trying to come up with complicated hacks because I can’t modify themes or plugins…

    If you’re the kind of person who really wants to tweak the details, then you’ll need to have full control.

    I was also disappointed that the wp.com domain name hosting doesn’t allow you to have cnames. I really wanted to move my tumblr under the same domain name…

  13. I think #7 is one of those one’s that you have to just learn from by experience. Advice from others just won’t fully reveal its reality.

    P.S. I’m liking the horizontal menu work. Keep at it! ;)

  14. Hi David, Thanks for visit my blog :D

    How are you? I’m fine but quite busy lately so cannot update blog as frequent as I want :-(

    You’re always make an excellent article!!! :D My blog mistake is mistake #7 for sure T T

  15. Good Post!

    My greatest mistake and one that I try to tell everyone about is starting a blog on blogger, for instance. Now let me say that blogger is a fine service but you need to remember that is is mainly for personal blogs.

    If you are going to do anything that has subjects or needs any sort of classification to make it a separate section, for instance Computer Software and Computer Hardware, you need stronger blog tools.

    This also ties in with your point about hosting your own as you then have complete control.

    Kyle

  16. Hopefully I’m still too new to make any mistakes. I made sure I knew what I was doing before I even set up the blog, but undoubtedly there’ll still be some screwups along the way!

    I am of the mindset that “professional” bloggers wouldn’t use a host such as blogger or typepad, but maybe thats simple elitism. To me personally, that says tackiness and either non commitment or naivety – it isn’t difficult to pay a few bucks a year for your own dotcom.

  17. Well, I do use a hosted WordPress solution, so maybe that is a mistake :) But I like not having to deal with the installation, upgrades, etc. And I believe that will continue to be the trend as blogging become more mainsream.

    My single biggest mistake however I have corrected: For the first 4 months of my blog, I didn’t get active in the blogosphere.

    That is, I didn’t post on other people blogs, nor did I try to link to them, or ask related & reputable blogs to link to me… wrong, wrong wrong.

    Since I have corrected all this negligence, my page views have (relatively) skyrocketed! It’s still only around 300 views a day, but I’ve showcased a consistent positive result, from a consistent positive action. As a personal brand marketing scientist, that kind of a control experiment is wonderful to show.

    ~ Vikram

  18. Opal, thanks for considering me for your weekly round-up. Interesting discussion on Thomas’ technical blog.

    Heather, glad you like the post. I updated your typo and deleted your second comment to correct it. If you’re using Firefox you can modify your comments up to five minutes after submitting them, but I understand that many prefer other browsers.

    Tara, I know exactly what you mean. Even for those who aren’t graphic designers I think it’s important to change your header image at least. You’re right to be happy with your own customisations. I think you’ve done a great job.

    Douglas, it’s a pleasure. You have some great content.

    Chris, I had this wonderful idea that every post I made would have a question in the headline, and inside the post I’d provide the answer. Variety’s a spice though, isn’t it? Besides, there are only so many questions I’m qualified to answer! Good of you to leave my one and only comment over there. Kind of brightens the place up a little.

    Engtech, like Lorelle, you do a great job on WordPress.com. I wonder if Lorelle regrets not having full control, too.

    Armen, I think you’re spot on about #7. You do need to experience it yourself. Pointers are nice but there’s no substitute for first hand knowledge. Glad you like the horizontal nav bars.

    Jennessa, all’s well with me, thanks. The festival is about to start here in Edinburgh so there’s a good buzz around.

    Kyle, I’ve never given Blogger a shot, but there’s one thing I really don’t like about it, and that’s the hoops that readers have to jump through in order to leave a comment. There have been countless Blogger blogs that I’ve wanted to comment on, but haven’t because I need a user ID. It’s a shame, because there are some very intelligent people using it.

    Damien, I agree with what you’re saying. It is, however, important to differentiate between ‘professional bloggers’ and ‘professionals who blog’. Take the few favourite blogs I mention in the article. The authors don’t blog to earn, they blog to keep a resource and express their thoughts within their niche.

    You’re one of the few I’ve heard from who knew what they were getting themselves into when starting off. I’m sure whatever research you put in will stand you in good stead.

    Vikram, the self-hosted WordPress upgrades can be a hassle, but it doesn’t take long, and there are web host providers who offer single click installs/updates, automating the entire process. Unfortunately I’m not with one, but still, I’m happy.

    I’m like you in that I didn’t get outwardly active for a few months. Good to know you’ve learned from your mistakes, as I have. Yet I’m sure I’ll still make more as I continue down the blog path.

  19. That’s why I love coming here every day. You’re always teaching me something new. Very nice article.

  20. Interesting read. Of course, we all know this, but you’ve summarized it quite nicely once more.

    At the moment, I think I’m making all of them. I blamed #1 on not having a job (i.e. cash), now I’m blaming all the others on having one (esp. the time commitment bit).

    Perhaps you missed one, though: giving up too soon. I’m barely entering my third year but I’m not giving up. Not ever!

    Cheers!

    PS Do you have a comment feed? I just can’t seem to find it…

  21. What a great post and reminder to me. I have made some mistake in the past, which totally kills my blog. Now I am still trying to recovery from my mistake.

    I have post a topic extend your with my own mistakes.
    Mistakes that kill your blog and drive your viewers away!

    I did link back to your post with appreciation to your great articles.

  22. Great list David. I think the only one I’m guilty of is underestimating the time commitment. I’ve got all kinds of ideas for websites that I’d love to start, and when I first started Random Jabber I thought I’d just start the site and move onto my next idea…WRONG. Random Jabber has nearly taken all my time. lol

    BTW: I love how the site’s coming along. Looks great!

  23. I always feel that blogging is about communication, conversation and interaction between bloggers and his readers and between bloggers and bloggers. I would visit a blog less if there isn’t an active conversation going on. The information could well be great but the place is not alive. And to get the community active, you will need great content and constant good traffic. Both you have achieved, David.

  24. I agree with all your points, David. I really suck at headlines and using proper anchor text. I think I’m improving in both areas, but it’s slow going.

  25. I think one mistake blogger make is that they do not have the do follow plugin in wordpress. this can make people not want to comment. I have now included the plugin in my blog.

  26. Really great post. As I have just recently moved from Blogger.com to hosting my own WordPress blog, my interest in blogging (and writing) is getting lit up. It’s really great to get all these tips now.

    Regarding #4: I am currently developing a general (Flash-based) portfolio at michaelgaio.com, and thus placed my blog at blog.michaelgaio.com. Is this an equivalent mistake as doing michaelgaio.com/blog? I’m curious if anyone knows the metrics of this in SEO.

    In any case, I am beginning to understand the great advantages of placing my blog in the root directory, and then routing to my portfolio etc. from there. Thanks!

  27. And by the way, is it considered bad form for me to include links to my own blog within a comment? I would not have done so unless my question was directly related.

    So much to learn. It’s mind bloggling!

  28. Nils, great point about money, and how #1 is opposite #7 in terms of financing. Three years? Your a great-granddad! I think I’ll be doing the same thing in a few years.

    As for a comment feed, I don’t promote one because I have that box for subscribing to comments. Have you heard of CoComment?

    Terence, thanks for the mention. I read your post and left a few thoughts.

    Deron, I think it’s a step up from the Vertigo theme (although Brian Gardner deserves praise).

    Vivienne, thanks! You always add to the chat. Much appreciated.

    RT, keep at it buddy, here’s to a long future.

    Todd, I disagree that not having DoFollow on comments will prevent people from commenting. Perhaps half of the blogs I comment on are NoFollow. It’s not about personal gain when I leave a comment. It’s about building relationships and learning from what others have to teach.

    Michael, thanks for visiting. I’m glad you found something of interest here. If you were me, you’d launch your blog in the root directory, but perhaps your marketing is more offline-based? A lot of my business comes through my blog, so it makes sense to have it in the root. However, if the majority of your business comes from word of mouth, or local networking etc. (perhaps more likely for a photographer) it could be better to keep your portfolio up front.

    Regarding your links in the comment, I edited them because you can get your point across without the actual followed link, and the hyperlink in your name will act as a search engine followed link to your site already.

    Best of luck.

  29. Thanks, David, for your dedication to comments. Another blogging must, really.

    Exactly, I like my e-mail for e-mails and feeds for feeds. That’s why I prefer reading comment threads in Google Reader. If it’s not there, I subscribe of course.

    I used cocomment quite a bit, but got tired of it. Maybe I should re-install and see if there’s a feed there (otherwise I only have another site to manually visit and check).

    Again, thanks for taking the time for this.

  30. David,

    A very good list put together by you. I especially liked #6, since that is a very common mistake by most bloggers.

    On a different note, you’ve got an awesome design for your site. I love the look.

  31. Nils, I agree, you should reply to comments. Always good to feel valued. For high-traffic blogs this won’t always be possible due to the scale of comments.

    Anuj, I notice you linked to me in your latest speedlinking post. Thanks. Also glad you’re digging the design.

  32. Good list.

    You pretty much spot on about commenting and fostering the conversions. One thing you didn’t bring up was Trolls and how to deal with them. This can be a problem especially if you launch into a passionate topic.

    Also the power of commenting on other peoples blogs and the time this will take. It takes more time than just reading the blog, you have to think and compose logically your reply. But as you know the comments from others are gold.

    Theres are mistakes so when are you doing the top tips. :)

  33. I know that I’m guilty of quite a few of these mistakes – especially numbers 1, 2, and 7. Like has been said already, a big step in getting your name out there is by going around and commenting on articles you liked, or adding your opinion into a conversation that is ongoing already.

    It is kind of easy to tell the days that I don’t go around and comment – those are the days where hardly anybody visits my blog (I’m talking in the single to low double digits – as opposed to maybe 20 to 30 on a day when I am actively commenting).

    Sephyroth

  34. Thanks for the great article, will heed the advice, especially good headlines.

    Now if I could get broadband in my new flat I’ll get to it!

    Very fresh clean site design too, I likey.

  35. Awesome article! If this were to be made into the 10 Commandments to blogging I would probably add:

    1. Never use the default theme for (insert name of blog engine here). I cringe every time I see the a blog using the default WP or Drupal theme. Not that it looks bad but it shows some laziness on the blogger’s part which makes me wonder if the content is really worth reading. Of course not everyone has talent for design so that’s what themes are for. There are lots of free themes if you just look around. So unless you re already a famous person or the contents of your blog is that good, have some respect for your blog and use good design!
    2. Give your site a strong identity. Whenever I see a blog probably the first question that comes to my mind is “Who is the author?” If you run a blog, make sure you establish who you are. A simple line like “I am Dennison Uy and I am CODESIGN Studios” should probably do (alright alright I’m lazy). This not only adds credibility to your blog but it also adds that human element bit. Having been exposed to the SEO world by my SEO champion friend Benj Arriola I would always suspect blogs that do not have any author information to have been created for SEO purposes.

    3. Watch your grammar and spelling. Unless you are trying to be humorous, pay a little more attention to your writing. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but nobody will take you seriously if you write like a 5 year-old. If you are blogging in a language that is foreign to you, I would suggest you take up lessons to make yourself more fluent in that language. Otherwise, just stick to blogging in your native tongue.

  36. Gary, what do you mean by trolls? Commenting on other peoples’ blogs is a must, and something I wasn’t doing for the first months of my blogging life. It really makes a big difference and helps foster deeper relationships.

    Of course the comment has to be useful, and not simply, ‘great post’ or ‘nice job’ etc. As for my top tips, take the above and do the opposite.

    Hank, you’re very welcome, and thanks for the comment on my blog design.

  37. I find that the best way to write a headline is before you start writing the article. This may not work for everyone, but I know I feel a lot better about the headline if I throw it out there in the beginning. This is the best method for myself (and probably a lot of others) because I have the idea of what the article is going to be about at the beginning, it is the reason I start writing.

    So with the crude idea of what the whole article is about it can typically be the most basic and compelling because it not only gives the readers an idea of what the overall article is going to be about at a fundamental level. But it also helps to rocket you right into writing that article. A little two for one deal.

  38. Troll: aka flamebait, deliberately posting controversial or provocative messages on blogs and forums to provoke angry responses. I’ve seen this done to a fine art :)

  39. Hey David, thanks for the mention. Great article

    #2 sticks out at me especially – to create anything of value requires real effort which kinda links into #7 too. When I do blog I tend to set aside at least 2 hours of my time, often I end up overshooting this, unless its a rant of course, in which case those have a tendency to flow so much easier.

    Sigh…oh for a programmatic solution ;)

  40. Troll: aka flamebait, deliberately posting controversial or provocative messages on blogs and forums to provoke angry responses. I’ve seen this done to a fine art :)

    To me trolls are more like misinformed or uninformed attention cravers. It is possible that they were not trolling on purpose, but wish to come off as knowledgable in a certain topic / argument and in doing so become a troll.

  41. Personally I begin with a headline, write the article, then end up tweaking or changing the headline to match what I’ve written.

    Hank, ah yes, I’ve seem those people come up from under some blog bridges. Cheers for the definition.

    Rob, you’re very welcome for the mention. Is that two hours per article? Is it all in one sitting or do you leave them overnight?

    Dennison, I stopped by your blog to read your article. Thanks very much for the mention.

  42. Yes, these are great mistakes to reiterate. I can relate to all of them, especially the time comittment and the “build it and they will come” mentality.

  43. David, that can be per article and I always finish them in one sitting, unless its a hugey or Im just damn tired.

    Some take considerably less of course. :D

    There’s a good little meme in there somewhere Im sure ;)

  44. Hi David,

    This is my first visit – found your site via Problogger. Great post. I can’t agree more on no. 7 on time commitment. It takes much energy and determination and produce quality post consistently.

  45. Rob, I often find that by leaving drafts overnight I end up shifting the focus, almost always a good move.

    Shine, thanks for visiting. Some quality posts on ProBlogger today. Off to your site now.

  46. hi Rob..thanks for the tips. At least I know now what mistake I’ve been done. Hope I can solve some of my mistakes.

    I think my biggest mistake is by changing my blog host several times. But I really want to stay with this one, since I got my own hosted server (idwebhost.com) and my own domain now.

    Thanks to your tips and problogger that link here.

  47. Thanks for the list!

    My biggest mistake is expecting readers to come to me. I need to develop a good plan to get out there and market myself and my blog effectively.

    Thanks for the nudge in the right directions.

    Chase

  48. Thanks for this post… I found you through ProBlogger where my post on blogging tips made it to the list :)

  49. Thank you for the visit!! I always appreciate the additional traffic, and I hope to hear more feedback in the future.

    The reason for the link, was that I respect individuals that are not afraid to publicize their own image. I respect and feel that you are on track for the top ten.

    Always enjoy great tips and tricks!!!

    Jason MoneySpace

  50. I had never really thought of it, but you are right… A lot of bloggers are one sided. They completely cut off the conversation. Great observation!

    I agree with you about the owning and hosting your own blog; however, on the flip side there are a lot of people who just want to blog without incurring expenses. That doesn’t necessarily mean that there won’t be something good on their sites. :)

    Keep up the good work and drop by sometime!

  51. Wow, I thought you graphics guys weren’t supposed to write well. More competition, sigh.

    Not to link spam but there are several posts regarding writing headlines for blogs on my blog. Think they’re helpful to those who commented here on heads.

    Here’s a bit of advice:

    “One way to pick up some reader interest is to “borrow” titles and expressions from popular culture or literature. Pros do it all the time — just pick up a copy of the New York Times and you’ll spot at least a couple. Boomers salivate at the mention of any Beatles song title, for instance. So you get something like: “Say you want a revolution? So does Google.” “The publicity machine: twist and shout.” Or “Steve Jobs: a day in the life.” Most people would dive right into those posts. … ”

    The more keywords the better but you get the idea.

  52. Jerry, I don’t think it’s harmful to change your host. The problem lies in the time involved, and that they’re not giving a good service in the first place.

    Jason, top ten? Thanks! I’ve a long way to go.

    Street, I agree that just because someone uses free hosting, this doesn’t mean there isn’t useful info on the blog. In my post I mention a few great bloggers who use TypePad and WordPress.com.

    Glenn, that’s a compliment considering you author a writing blog. Great advice about checking newspaper headlines.

  53. Great list, David.

    But I really like that Goethe quote!

  54. Expecting people to just visit is one of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make.

  55. Thanks for the list. I’d say number 7 is the killer for most folks. Especially if you’re trying to create some unique content. It ain’t. After you hit a couple of home runs things do get easier but its hard to get it perfect from the start.

  56. One of my favs, too, Rob.

    Dave, the start was all about experimentation and making blunders. I had no real guidance, but it has stood me in good stead for the future.

  57. Good Lord, I’ve made them all. Okay, so you can’t shorten the learning curve artificially, I guess, so I can start working on them one by one. Thank you for the information!

  58. I’ve been planning a blog in my head for the last 18 months and have finally gotten down to actually doing something. With so many other projects, school, friends, etc. going on it’s hard to build up a core knowledge that you feel can be relied on before making a plunge. It’s great to read other people sharing their past experiences. Thank you!

  59. Brendan,

    Best of luck with your blog launch. You’re right, it’s not easy, but I found the best way to learn was to just do it. Of course it’s always great to read what not to do beforehand, and thanks for reading my post.

  60. The second point is most important in my opinion. This is the same situation as one developes a discussion board and wants people to get there automatically. First find target group for blog, than give it tools and content.

  61. Hi David,
    I find the hardest thing is not knowing what are mistakes and what are not mistakes. Finding out about blogging from scratch it’s almost impossible to know what works and what doesn’t. There’s so much advice about, but you are never sure which bits of advice make a difference and which don’t and you also don’t know if you’ve done whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing correctly. As you never get a message saying ‘congratulations you have just improved your traffic by 2% or whatever. It’s all a bit hit and miss. For example when you ping a post you have just written it would be nice to get a message something like ‘well done your post has just been distributed to 5 million bloggers, but 99.99999999% have decided they’ve got better things to do’. At least you’d have some idea of what’s going on. Some people give the impression of knowing exactly how it all works and exactly what happens to their posts and where they go, it would be nice to have the same degree of certainty !

  62. Our team is new to the whole blogging thing. Not sure that as a sales team, valuable time that should be spent in person front of potential clients, should now be done remotely via blog. Perhaps someone can clarify this part to me more fully.

    In any case, the article is certainly interesting, worth reading and has been saved to be passed around to other team members. Thank you for the post!

    Greetings from Sunny Seattle!

  63. Old Vic,

    It’s true that there’s so much information about what to do and what not to do. In saying that, it’s usually obvious from the quality of the website you’re reading whether or not the advice is worth taking.

    There are lots of people who profess to be experts when they’re not, so you need to exercise a little common sense.

    Take my tips, or leave them. I felt that as I’ve been working at this blogging caper for a while now that I’d give an insight into my progress. Cheers for commenting.

    Rita,

    Your blog can be your online sales force, reaching a much wider audience than your offline team. You should use both, whilst not neglecting either one.

    Think of your blog as a way to actively promote your services before the more personal contact. Even after you’ve met clients face to face, you can always direct them to a particular article on your blog for specific information.

    A lot of people like to take time to digest information on their own, and a blog or website is a perfect way to let them do it.

  64. The short things I’ve posted to the blog pertain specifically to luxury real estate or affluent buyers and sellers. Some is advice, some of it actually features a couple cool properties.

    What other kinds of things would YOU find interesting to read on our blog? Could you swing over to the site and give input pretty please? Others are also welcome to opine on this matter.

    Click on my name above (broken link removed in 2014).

    The dot-com side is being overhauled with a new look, so we are driving people to NET for now.

    Thanks for your interest! Rita

  65. I like using the communityserver platform for blogging, it has the most features overall and is easy to customize with a professional look.

  66. Rita, I took a quick look. Here are my initial thoughts:

    Generic appearance. The pressrow theme is a great choice if you’re using someone else’s design, but for a business it’s important to have your own custom-made (or at least customised) look.

    Optimize your images for web. Your header image doesn’t look in very good shape (over-optimized?) and some images in your blog posts are 4MB in size, hugely increasing load times.

    How about adding a photo to your about page? People deal with people, I think it helps.

    Make your RSS/email subscription options more obvious.

    Shawn, I’m not familiar with that platform, but thanks for your thoughts.

  67. Thanks David, Great article. I myself seeing, making some of the mistakes. I am sure after reading the posts and working on it, many bloggers will correct the mistakes and making blogging more engaging. Can someone tell me what are pros and cons of using blogger.com as against using any other for you blogging? Second, what will a blogger lose if he moves the blog from one server to another?

    I appreciate if someone can answer my questions.

  68. Cheers Matthew, much appreciated.

    Ravi, moving your blog from one server to another shouldn’t affect things. Be sure to backup your files, and don’t take the current one offline until any bugs are ironed out.

    As far as I’m aware (although I’ve never used Blogger), the downside is that you don’t have full control, because it’s not self-hosted.

  69. Helpful site -thanks,David. So much to know…yet so little time. Yes, planning for the time factor is critical. Knowing that the committment was going to be the biggest challenge, my sister and I became accountability partners. We have only been at this for a couple of months and because we were learning everything from scratch, I know we wouldn’t have gone two weeks without set checkpoints during the week. Oh, rest assured we are doing everything wrong, but thankfully still having fun.

  70. Hi Allie, I’m glad this site seems useful for you, and I appreciate your comment. Best wishes to you and your sis, Christine.

  71. Been there, done that. Trying now to learn from my mistakes.

  72. I’ve done almost all listed mistakes. I’m now in the middle of restructuring my blog .

  73. I have only been blogging for about a month now so I am probably making most of the mistakes that you mention (and some others). Thanks though for helping me to see it differently, I will try to take your advice. Your comment in point 1 about ‘forced articles’ really struck a cord with me, as it does all feel a bit forced sometimes. Thanks.
    Toni

  74. #7 is the most common. Most just blog daily on the 1st week, then on the next week, no post at all.

  75. My blogging mistakes were wanting to stay with my blogspot blog because I’d modified the template quite a bit and I’d also achieved a nice following. Put it this way on some days I was getting over a 1,000 unique visits.

    Anyway I moved to self-hosted wordpress – which I’d wanted to do for a long time. Unfortunately I think the way I did it meant that it was seen as duplicate content and my page rank plummeted from 4 to nil and my Alexa ranking rose dramtically back up to the default 4,000,000 odd.

    Jim

  76. Marko,

    Good luck with your blog restructuring. Hope it all works out well.

    Toni,

    You’re very welcome! Once your blog writing feels forced, I think it’s a good indication to take a break. You’d be surprised how inspiring a short break can be, getting outdoors and doing something different.

    Chino,

    I know what you mean about blogs dying away. It’d be interesting to know how many are left for dead each day of the week. Thousands perhaps.

    Jim,

    I can see how it wasn’t easy to migrate to WordPress. Taking the traffic / PR hit isn’t easy, and I still wonder if I made the right move by changing blog address. Still, we live and learn.

    As for the duplicate content issue, I’m not entirely sure how Google penalise for it. They must know that blogs create so much duplication, via pages, categories, archives etc. I think I have duplicate content myself, but I’m not overly worried.

  77. Great article David , my jaw was dropped by the time I finished reading your article – I only wish I’d have read it back in July. I’ll hold my hands up and say I’m guilty of all 7 Blogging errors you describe:

    1. I’m not self-hosted and have a .blogspot.com extension. I pondered this at the outset but for ease just started Blogging with the intention of changing it shortly afterwards – but here we are months and months down the line and still no change. Talk about perpetuating your own problems!

    2. Expecting people to visit – yep, for quite some time I thought people would just appear and say “hey this is great” – but it doesn’t work like that does it? Gaining new readers is hard enough a task on its own but maintaining existing readers is a behemoth of a task.

    3. Lecturing – Yep – Guilty as charged. Reading a number of Blog posts back they sound just like lectures and I get bored listenting to lectures – so why do I do it?

    4. Changing the location – I’ve been considering this for some time and the longer I leave it the bigger the problem it’s going to become. I’ve got around 560 posts on my blog at the moment!

    5. Neglecting headlines – I only recently learned about this one and have been trying to correct it but historically headlines may have been one or two words – crazy bearing in mind they are often all a new potential reader will see.

    6. Linking using “here” – oops – yep – that’s me. I started out promising with each Blog post containing its own ‘References’ section with a URL, title and author but lately using “here” with a hyperlink seems to have crept in somewhere.

    7. Time committments – some days I can Blog for hours, others not at all – finding the right balance is tricky and Blogging takes up far more time than most people would think. In fact many people I know have started Blogs since hearing about mine but have fell by the wayside when they realise how much time is involved.

    In fact I’m going to own up on my own Blog now – perhaps the first step to recovery!

    Jason.

  78. Hey David, I tried to go through these comments to see if the question had been answered, but didn’t see specifics. I’m going to read the things you linked to when you moved your blog. Do you have any other tips? You seem to have succeeded in redirecting, but I didn’t follow exactly how. Can I redirect links to specific posts (e.g. send someone from http://www.kristarella.com/blog/date/post-name/ to http://www.kristarella.com/date/post-name/) or do I have to settle for a redirect to the homepage?

  79. Jason,

    Thanks buddy, and glad you enjoyed the read. I wish I knew these things when I first started out, but that’s the joy of hindsight. I reckon you’re on the road to recovery though, and best of luck with it.

    Kris,

    You can indeed create the redirects you want, although I’m not quite sure. Here’s an article from Kyle at Crucial, on htaccess code, which might be of help? Hope so.

  80. Hi David!

    So, now I’m blogging additionally under a different venue – historical costuming!

    I belong to Somewhere In Time, Unlimited, a historical costuming group based here in Seattle, Washington. The regular website is: SITUSeattle.com So that the regular blogging audience who is interested in chatting about costuming has an opportunity to do so, I thought of doing a simple blog that would tie back easily to the main site. That address is: SITUSeattle.wordpress.com Would I like to remove the “wordpress” from the name? Jaaaaa, but I think I’ll need to buy a domain name other than “dot com” so that folks can easily find us.

    Trying hard to follow suggestions made by others on this blog about the hyper-linking, references to content, writing as if I’m speaking, etc. Maybe you have some other ideas too. Take a gander folks and give me ideas…. Thx, Rita

  81. Great blog, I think my next course of action then for my own blog (been running for 7mths) is make more effort to get alot more more links in there and then of course figure out what a trackback is and how to do it!

    Hangs head in shame….. :)

    Amanda

  82. Hi Rita, one main suggestion is to remove your patterned background. Placing your body text on white will make it much more appealing to read. Good luck with it.

    Amanda, be proud of your mistakes. The more you make, the faster you learn.

  83. I certainly agree with Mistake #3. One of the difference between a blog and a website is that a blog is highly interactive whereas a website is not.

    Speaking from your experince always matters and that is what readers want rather than a boring lecture.

  84. Am I the only one who wishes that I had a tech-savvy sngel on my shoulder at all times? As a writer, I get so consumed with honing my craft that doing something like pimping my blog seems really extraneous. Of course, anyone who wants to reach an audience knows that it’s not. But I do sometimes wish that I could team up with a like-minded blogger to get my message out, rather than fuss over all these details myself.

    Thank you for making it all sound a little simpler, though!

  85. Eliza, glad it sounds a little simpler. Have you tried teaming up with a like-minded blogger? Good idea to pool your resources.

  86. The points david highlighted here were exactly the mistakes i had been doing wid my blog . Actually my blog isnt a public kinda blog. Its totally a personal blog with every post refering to my love my girl.. but still its the only place where i write to her and she does read them every now and then . But soon i ll start with a lesser personal blog to share my writing skills and views with other bloggers out there..

    thnx David

  87. Thanks for this very useful article. I’ve just launched my own blog and still discovering my own voice while I have sooo much to share. I think the hardest thing for me is to narrate my thoughts without sounding like a lecture. I’ll keep your ideas in mind while I continue to develop artwerk.com

    Cheers! Rob.

  88. Hi David,

    I stumbled upon this blog post following a train of links as usual :)

    Your advice is all very logical, a lot of common sense really. I think you’re right about mistakes ingraining lessons much more effectively than reading someone else’s experiences.

    I am in the process of redesigning my portfolio site for the conclusion of my design course, and have been thinking about adding a blog to it for the purpose of keeping it “alive”. Portfolios seem a bit static to me without a blog, or some sort of regularly updated content.

    Your post helped me decide to wait awhile, and do a bit more research before launching into any type of blog- I don’t want to go creating the wrong impression!

    Thank you for the wisdom and insight :)

  89. Hi David,

    I’m glad I found your blog. There are so many good tips here! I’ve had my blog hosted at wordpress.com for a couple of months and didn’t realize how big mistake it was… until now. I will definitely make it a priority to host my own blog at wordpress.org instead. I just hope it’s not too complicated, because I’m not the most tech savory person. Anyway, thanks a lot!

  90. A great article David. In my own case, my blog was something I was not too serious about, and it was/is a subdomain. I’ve since been immersed by the whole blogging concept, and my websites have altered course. When you changed to your root domain though, did you not lose ALL of the back links you have generated? In my own case, I feel moving to root domain is something I should do, but I’m a little apprehensive about doing it.

    Hope you’re enjoying your holiday! Mark.

  91. Mark – since David is in India at present, I thought I give my 2 cents. Definitely make the move! If your blog is your main content, don’t placehold your homepage for something “more exciting” down the track (looks like you have something current there already though).

    When I moved, I felt like I ran the risk of losing link credit with search engines, but I did anyway for long term benefit. I made sure the .htaccess was redirecting properly – so I was sure that old links would still get to where they were going. My PR has gone down one point, but I believe that was due to the recent Google page rank restructure, rather than moving my blog (since during that whole thing it was 0!).

  92. I absolutely love your work. I’m taking some of your advice and posting in my blog ;) hope that’s okay. I’m linking to you, just like one of your advices. Thanks!

  93. Anthea,

    Glad you like the article, and I think you’re making a wise decision to research before launching. Sure, you can learn from experience, but best to get the important aspects right at the beginning.

    Erica,

    I’m sure you’ll manage fine to get your self-hosted blog up and running. It’s quite easy, thanks to WordPress. I’m a big fan to say the least.

    Mark,

    Good question about the backlinks. It’s something I sacraficed, even though an htaccess modification helped direct those referrals. I think I mentioned that my Google Page Rank (for what it’s worth) suffered during the move, but I’m happy I made the right choice, and at the end of the day, if you have great content, people tend to find you.

    Kristarella,

    Thanks very much for answering Mark in my absence. Good advice too.

    Cindy,

    You’re very kind, and thanks for linking to me. I think it’s always wise to give proper accreditation.

  94. Thank you Sam.

    I’m glad I never started on Blogger, because I know I wouldn’t have liked the domain restriction, amongst other things.

  95. David;

    Thank you for this fantastic article (and blog)!
    I am happy to see I am doing a few things right and I now have an idea where to focus my energy from here on.

    I have just started blogging in the last few months and despite being a mildly technophobic fine artist, I am also a control freak and saw the sense in keeping my blog on my own domain.

    I tried web design in the early part of the decade as my background is in graphic design, but gave myself ulcers! LOL! Now, messing around with WordPress and htaccess files is keeping me up nights! You now have me thinking about whether or not my blog should be in the root directory – I am off to buy stock in Pepto Bismol….

    All joking aside, it is worth taking on the extra challenge of self-hosting. Blogging has been a great experience, no less for all of the great people offering excellent advice making it even better.

    Thanks again,
    Michelle

  96. That’s very kind of you, Michelle.

    Let me know how your stocktrading efforts turn out. I’ve often thought about testing the water myself. ;)

  97. Wow. This is really a great article Sir! I like the #6. And you’re definitely right on that view. This would be a lot of help for bloggers. Bookmarked it. :)

  98. I remember when I was new in website development particularly on blogging. I never used to review or search for articles like this on the internet. I just post and post whatever I want. Which in the long run, I realized it was wrong. Well, this article is really a very big help for bloggers. :)

  99. mistake, not updating my blog regularly.. :)

    thanks for this article.. :D

  100. Thanks for such a compilation of bloggers’ mistakes. It’s funny, but I think I did all the mistakes you writing about :)

  101. I like your comments regarding hosting and default folders, but do not totally agree with them.

    I’m not totally convinced that hosting yourself is right for every user. I used to have a blog on a self hosted domain, but got bored of the subject matter and let it expire as I wasn’t adding to it anymore. However, if I’d hosted it on blogger, the blog would still be there and I’d still be getting the odd bit of affiliate commission.

  102. Ben,

    Of course there’ll always be those people who want free blog hosting, for personal journals and the like, but if you’re in it for money, as you suggest, then it’s most certainly worth paying for your own hosting.

    Blogging to earn money also requires you to write about something you’re interested in, otherwise you’ll quickly lose motivation, as you did.

    If I wasn’t passionate about the subject matter, I too would’ve given up long ago.

  103. I like your thoughts on not writing the blog like a lecture – something I think I may have to get used to that I am not writing an essay. However, do you think that posing questions for debate at the end of a blog item would look very sad if know one replies. Is it better to do this once you are sure of some decent traffic to the blog?

  104. When I first posted a reply to this conversation, I was helping someone get her WordPress site up and running. It’s her baby now…

    In the meantime, I set up my own little blog about costuming. Altho I don’t encourage people to necessarily comment upon anything I’ve written, I’ve noticed when I track where the hits are coming from it appears that the blog is being used in research as as a conduit to reach the “real” costuming site with all the photos I’ve posted. Interesting for sure.

    Love to hear back other comments from you pros out there if you think I should include other content (other than RSS) or how I might make it more appealing than it already is to the costuming community.

    Many thanks in advance
    Auntie Rita in Seattle

  105. Thank you again David for putting together such a great site. I think I’ll be spending plenty of time reading my way through many of your posts. Advice/guidance on some sites can be overwhelming. Yours is one of the best I’ve come across. Keep it up! I’m looking to your site as I make my way through my own blog!

  106. Steve,

    You make a good point about leaving questions when traffic is low. However, if you think the traffic will come, and if your content is timeless, isn’t it better to prompt a future response than not? You could always ask a few blogging friends to leave their thoughts, so the article doesn’t appear so quiet.

    Rita,

    Continuous updating of blog content definitely helps where search engines are concerned. I’m not sure what you mean about providing content other than RSS.

    Web Gal,

    Thanks for the kind compliment! Great to know I’m helping out with your own blog creation.

  107. Thanks David.

    As someone who is about to set up her first blog I am really glad I found my way to your site first. I will definately be taking your list of things to avoid into account.

    Avril

  108. You’re very welcome, Avril.

    I hope your blogging efforts are a big success.

  109. i’m fixing the 4th mistake now david; finally i am moving my personal blog to http://nugrohoadipratama.com (it was nugrohoadipratama.blogspot.com). Since the traffic still close to nothing, i think i did the right things. (i still blog my niche about indonesian economy in blogspot though)

  110. Nice move, Nugroho. You could do much worse than to choose a WordPress theme by Maki of Dosh Dosh.

  111. I need to apply all of your tips because I think I have all of mistake on my blog. Thanks David for giving us the powerful tips.

  112. I’m working on myriad new things and thinking about posting articles for them once my site is further along. I’m glad to have a few tips to take with me. I bookmarked your site to keep up with your work.

    Thanks,

    Dennis

  113. Thanks for sharing. I did have my own domain and purchased hosting, but one mistake I made was putting the blog in a wordpress directory. I have since learnt the mistake and now have the blog in the root directory and things are much better with the URL looking cleaner without a /wordpress in them all the time. Wish there was a list we could refer to when we started blogging, but then I guess learning by trial and error has its own advantages too.

  114. Renan,

    No problem at all.

    Dennis,

    Thanks for the bookmark. Here’s hoping you learn something else from your future visits.

    moserw,

    Ah yes, the /wordpress/ directory. I think it can be an easy mistake to fall into, considering the installation instructions include it. You’re spot on about trial and error. The fastest way to learn is to make the mistake yourself. Not always ideal, but you’re less likely to do the same thing twice.

  115. I’m wondering about #4 on your list, “Mistake #4 – changing the location of my blog”. Do you know if subdomains have a negative effect? I found a few things online, each contradicting the next, so I am at a loss as to whether I’ve taken the right path of using a subdomain for my business blog.

    The blog in question is at http://chronicle.dsgndvlp.com but I am considering giving it a unique URL or combining the existing http://www.dsgndvlp.com website with it if that will work out better.

    Any advice?

  116. Daniel,

    You ask a good question, and unfortunately I don’t know the answer. What I have seen is that more often than not, people / companies show blogs in a directory as opposed to sub-domains.

    If you’re going to change, better to do it now than to wait until you have more blog URLs from the current location. If I was starting it from scratch I’d probably choose dsgndvlp.com/blog, or dsgndvlp.com/journal as my blog address. I often wonder if I made the right move changing from the directory I was in to the root, but it’s serving me well so far.

  117. David, that can be per article and I always finish them in one sitting, unless its a hugey or Im just damn tired.

  118. I especially like your 5th point about the title of the article. I usually don’t name blog posts until I’m done putting them together. That way I know that the title sums up the post.

  119. Thanks Alex.

    Rob,

    I’ve actually written another blog post about writing headlines. You might be interested in the comments from copywriters:

    How do you write blog headlines?

  120. I can connect to all 7 mistakes. I started on a subdomain of wordpress.com and ended up manually moving my blog posts (was a newbie then).

    I believe the biggest issue is the time commitment: people don’t realize how difficult it is to produce quality content for your readership

  121. About the time committment thing – I tend to agree. Several of the blogs I have read appear to go one of three directions: 1) Rambling thoughts of the writer about their personal life, home, family, etc., 2) An avenue for someone to place a rant and thus instigate postings from other ranters or opposition to a point of view – I personally HATE these and wish they wouldn’t take up band width – 3) As a “web site” for a professional or company who likes the layout of what is usually used as a blog but has converted everything into a website.

    For me, I don’t personally care if anyone EVER comments on my blog. I have records to show how frequently it is “hit”, what people are searching for as queries to land on the blog and thus read what I’ve posted. I see people are consulting the blog for the most interesting of reasons and frequently they DO click out to my main website (SITUSeattle.com or CostumingInSeattle.com ) for additional information or photos.

    I prefer to look at blogs that have lots of pictures. I don’t have a lot of time to surf the web on private time, so I want info, pix, quick run-down/411 on what I’m reading. Maybe that’s just me.

    I’m heading over next to the article about writing headlines. I’m always amazed how many times my own headlines are showing up in Googles searches. Guess they like what I write or it’s easy to find. Not sure about this. Anyone have thoughts? Rita

  122. Gerd,

    It truly is a big time commitment. For me, it’s the most important aspect of my marketing, so in that respect it’s definitely worth the time.

    Rita,

    Have you tried StumbleUpon? If you’re interested purely in pictures / photography etc., it’s an excellent source of inspiration.

  123. Bravo!! (I’m standing and cheering over this one). As you can see by the website, I still have a lot to learn. I’ve been around the block more than once and think that I have a lot of information stored in this head of mine that would benefit a lot of people. However, getting it from between the ears to the internet is what’s troubling me most, or maybe I should say, the understanding of the mechanics of it.

    So as I stumble along, I’ll have your comments pinned over my computer for reference.

  124. Best of luck with your own blog, John. I’m glad I could offer some info to help as you stumble.

  125. I own about 100 blogs, and that was my biggest mistake.
    My biggest mistake was making 100 of sites without knowing how much time it will take to maintain them. Now I work all day updating as much as I can, I have my employees working on SEO, because I simply don’t have any time to build links. I think the biggest blog mistake is to own many blogs, and under estimate them, because at the end you will be canceling domains which is just like throwing your cash away.

  126. Great post! Thanks for sending me the link to this one. The only problem is, I opened almost all the links on this post so I have some more reading time ahead of me!

  127. Vlad,

    My two blogs are enough of a time consumer, never mind having 100! That was some task you took on.

    Joe,

    You’re very welcome. I’m sure you’ll find some use out of the links within the article. I certainly did.

  128. Thank you so much for these tips. This post was extremely helpful and encouraging at the same time!

  129. Hi David,
    I know that my comment will be buried in the seas of comments you received here. You have done an absolutely fantastic job of pin-pointing the mistakes to be avoided. One mistake I made when started out blogging in Aug 2007 at justintsan.com was to blog about my learning curve in internet marketing and hopefully earn a few bucks. But I ended up with too much things/info in hand and not having any center theme, no research was done to find my niche market. Luckily I learned from my guru derricchew.com to do proper market research and now I concentrate my effort in my new blog ebooksreviewers.com
    Thanks for sharing
    Justin

  130. Hello Justin,

    There are quite a lot of comments here, but I make a note of reading every one. You take the time to comment, so it’s the least I can do. I hope you’re doing well with your current blog efforts, and thanks for dropping by.

  131. Great tips!

  132. hey david! your ideas were all great. i learned a lot from it. in fact if you could check out my blog, maybe you’ll see some influences from your article.

    and i’m still on my way creating a self-hosted blog. its a shame, coz its even your number 1 tip! haha! but once I get along with the blogging culture, i’m sure i’ll move my blog into its own domain page! thanks once again for the tips!

    cheers!

  133. Hi dino,

    I followed your link, but unfortunately the page was blank. I hope you’re able to sort any issues soon.

  134. haha! that’s weird. it works for me.

    anyways, try it again sometime whenever you’re free. just wanna say that your tips were highly appreciated.

    cheers!

  135. I most recently learned……I guess music autoplay may be a factor in losing some readers. I still have music on my blog, but I recently removed the autoplay feature giving the reader the choice.

    I had other bloggers tell me this could make people leave really quickly unless your blog is all about music or related topics, but my blog is about health, skincare and ones well being so it may shock someone not expecting it when the page loads.

    What cinched this for me, is I did find one reviewer of my blog who wrote how much she loved the articles but found the music annoying and apologized to her readers. One thing I have learned, one person that speaks up may be representative of those who don’t and just go elsewhere.

    I heeded her remark and now my readers have the choice to listen or not.

    Regards,

    Katherine

  136. Hey David,

    I’ve just read some of your articles and I come to you with a very dumb mistake I made with my blog; I stayed two days to move my old blog from one address to another, and I mistakenly clicked on the flag button, with inappropriate blog content. Now, every time I access my blog, the flag is red and I have to click again to turn it off. Do you have any idea what I should do to turn it off? I searched a lot for solutions but I didn’t find it anywhere. Again, sorry if it’s a dumb question, but I had to ask.

    Mary

  137. Hi Mary,

    No need to apologise at all. Where is this flag button you clicked? I’m not sure what you’re referring to, as I don’t have one on my browser.

  138. Hey, David! I managed to solve the problem; I have changed the settings from the navigation bar, from the blog and everything came back to normal. I have the blog for two years, but it was like a journal, I didn`t know what blogging was really about; now I`m learning and I like it more and more! Thanks for answering. Have a good day!

  139. No problem at all. Glad you were able to sort it out.

  140. Hell yes I can relate, I have not long started to try and learn how to blog the right way. I haven’t got there yet but still learning.
    I also made the mistakes of starting out with in a different directory and had to move my blog in the root directory.

    Neglecting my article headlines.

    Not writing as if I’m talking, to build up trust with your visiters they have to get to know you.

    If they get to know you and they get to like you for you there are sure to come back and visit. I have also learnt that, if your blog reads like an article directory they will certainly not get to know you but instead you may just end up boring them to death.

    James Howard

  141. Great sharing on blogging mistakes as it sure does come in handy for those new bloggers in town ….

  142. Hi David, great blog you have here, I am mainly interested with the SEO tips as I try to optimise my website and push it up to the first page of Google! (at present I have zero traffic!) I ignored blogging and posting comments until now and these were the BIGGEST mistakes I made (You won’t believe if I tell you that this is my first comment on someone’s blog!). So, instead of paying for AdWords which did not get many sales, I rather blog and leave comments to get the valuable links. By the way, do you “do-follow”?

  143. Hi Eve, no, I don’t have “followed” comment links. I used to, but found it attracted far too many spam-like comments.

  144. Hai David, thanks a lot to you for your article, I really know how must I do for the first time because, I’m just starting my blog :)

    It is true that using a root directory is more efficient than usinga blogspot or others, because in my case, I have a limited access to my blog…

    I read many blogs tell me to comment to other blogs, the question is what blog should I find ? Am I just randomly googling the blog and go to the blog and commenting it? :)

    I still need to learn a lot, and I’m not a graphic designer and I don’t know a lot of designing a blog…and I think my blog is little messy…

    thanks for the advice david, I appreciate you very much

  145. Hi Teddy, rather than search for a specific blog, try searching for a specific topic you want to read about. That way, it’s easier to express your thoughts, instead of searching for a design blog, and then searching for a specific topic within the blog.

    Google Blogsearch is a nice way to find blog articles of interest. If one blog publishes quite a lot of interesting info, subscribe to the feed so you get to know the author better.

    Hopefully that’s of some help.

  146. Great article and advice, very valuable. I just have one thing that bugs me and its about the not self hosting mistake. I am guilty of this and personally don’t really care, but what I want to ask is why is it such a big deal? Its the same with having a hotmail email address I just don’t understand why its such a bad thing? Please could someone help me understand?

    (my blog is really more of place where I can show my work as an online portfolio not really to discuss a specific topic, is this bad too?) :D

    Again thanks for the advice really helpful.

  147. Hello David,

    Great article and very useful for me because I’m going to launch my blog soon. Thanks David!

  148. Evan, the “Hotmail” factor is all about how others perceive you. An email address using your personal domain extension looks more professional, and gives potential clients one less reason not to hire you. My first email account was with Hotmail, back when I was a student. I used it to approach companies for help with my assignments. Sadly, a few people replied with snarky comments about using Hotmail, and how I shouldn’t be wasting their time. That’s not how I operate, but others do.

    The difference between a hosted and a self-hosted blog is the latter offers more freedom in movement (to your preferred web host) so you’re not tied to any one specific provider, and it also normally offers more freedom in design (with no limits on the coding you can set).

    Narendra, all the very best with your own blog launch.

  149. I’m sure sure I’ll discover I’m guilty of some of these mistakes! My blog launched on 1 May 2010, and you’re right it is hard work to get it out there.

  150. David,

    Great post. Cannot believe how relevant it still is three years later! Good to see how many people are using self hosted blogs now (including myself), but we still see a lot of .wordpress or blogger accounts. It is too bad because it has never been easier (or cheaper) to self host.

    I think the biggest mistake I made when I started – just over a year ago – was not paying more attention to SEO. When I finally figured it out (and it was not hard), I realized how much more traffic I would have had if I had only done a little keyword research in advance. I had to go back and fix up all my old posts to make them more keyword friendly. It worked! Within 6 weeks, I had more than tripled my traffic.

    Thanks again!

  151. You’re very welcome, Nanci. Glad the SEO tweaks are working well for you.

  152. Thank you for your awesome article. I have struggled with many of the items mentioned on your list which is why I am probably so far behind the rest of you. I am now taking the time to establish relationships with bloggers so thank you for the great advice.

  153. Thank-you David. I have been considering removing the Comments section, as empty comments are harming my self-esteem. Instead maybe it’s time to look into SEO around my posts. I know I’m well down the “long tail”, but am sure people could benefit from my posts.

    …Geoff

  154. Thank you for this post, It is incredibly resourceful and helpful to my lack of knowledge and experience with blogging. I started a blog a couple weeks ago, and you’ve saved me a couple hours in research and probably a lot more time in fixing mistakes that I know now to avoid.

  155. Happy to be of help, Igor. Good luck with your blog.

  156. To answer that last question I tripped on every one of those points in your list. lol. But I’m not giving up! I’m still a student and you sir, are a great teacher.

    Thanks for this post!

  157. Boy, ain’t it the truth! I have only recently begun writing my blog with the idea of the reader in mind. Classic mistake, not writing for your audience. And being from an academic background, it has been a real challenge trying to transform my writing into something less like a lecture and more like a conversation. And you aren’t kidding about the amount of time it takes! But still, we do this because we love it, right? In any case, thanks for the tips. Though, fankly, it’s all common sense if you are willing to open your mind and think about it objectively, it’s always helpful to have reminders put in front of you in black and white. So, again, thanks.

  158. David,
    Thank you so much for this article!
    I got some new motivation and different ideas :)
    Good Luck!

  159. Very informative guide. I have been making some of these mistakes, like not using a self-hosted blog. Thanks for the tips, through which I can rectify my mistakes. :)

  160. I’m about to start a blog and really appreciate you sharing your experiences. As a color consultant and design coach it is very important to have flexibility with the blog. I will apply your comments and let you know how it goes! Also thanks for the reminder to change my email address so it’s not yahoo.com haha.

    Thank you. Diane.

  161. I would like to start by saying that you are an inspiration as a designer.

    I’m a graphic design student and just recently started my first blog. One of my classes was starting a WordPress blog, and I decided to take it a step further and go self-hosted. I underestimated the time commitment required for such an undertaking, but I feel like I learned a lot more by going the self-hosted route.

    The biggest setback I have is driving traffic to my site, but considering my blog has only been live for a month; there’s still plenty of time to get that worked out.

    Thank you for the great blog advice!

  162. I have an old blogspot blog that has articles that are way too long. I started my own sites for practice, to teach myself how to set them up. I really like the customization too. My greatest mistake is just not spending enough time on growing sites to foster their growth even more.

  163. Isn’t it interesting that years later we are still making the same mistakes? But, I’m a little late to the game – like Leo the Late Bloomer in the children’s story. Better late than never they say.

    I think I’ve made, and I’m still making, most of the mistakes you mentioned! I know my blog Three Books On The Shelf is too text heavy. I’m not sure about all the rules — especially copyright stuff, so instead I have a lot of content but not much else. I would like to make it more conversational, graphic, and interactive.

    But, right now I like that it is a web-hosted Blogger site because I don’t know enough to create my own site. But I can see how it would be limiting later.

    You hit the nail on the head with this article. You got people talking, responding and it has longevity as a piece of interest to many.

  164. I started blogging a few weeks ago and now I have moved house decided to spend time planning my blog and learning from others. I came across this post in the book “Blogging for creatives” and I am so glad I did! I am taking my first steps and am sure that in years to come I will look back laughing at my mistakes. I am using wordpress.com simply for cost reasons and time. I have a young child and very few precious hours to spend on my blog and starting my design business.

    I wish I had enough knowledge to transfer to wordpress.org but from past experience trying to do everything took me away from the design work, chicken and egg thing I suppose. Can you transfer your content from wordpress to wordpress.org when you are ready? So hard to try avoiding mistakes but I guess they are unavoidable. Good post, and I look forward to reading some more of yours. Smiles.
    Gaelle

  165. Great advice. The tip about having the blog at the root of the domain is good and something that I hadn’t considered before. Thanks.

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