Originally this post was going to be about the mistakes I made as a new blogger and how I'd advise others to avoid making those same mistakes. For instance, I once asked a blogger I barely knew to add me to her blogroll. (In my defense, it did say "If I've left you off this list please let me know." and I wasn't on there! Duh.)
But as I was writing out my list of mistakes I realized they weren't really mistakes - rather, things that happen as a natural course of beginner blogging. Then I began looking around to see what other people had to say on the matter, and, of course, came across approximately thirty million articles titled things like "common blogging mistakes".
The more I read about these so-called blogging mistakes, the more I didn't agree with (all of) them. And maybe they're aimed more at business blogs than parenting blogs, but for me, anyway, they don't all add up.
Here are a few "common blogging mistakes" that I've noticed seem to pop up repeatedly in different places.
Don't post too little or too often.
My view is, as long as you're posting once or twice a week, and not just randomly once every few months (a guaranteed way to lose readers), there's no need to post every single day. Of course, if you want to post every day then by all means, do it. I blog two to three times a week, and that, in itself, is quite a time commitment.
You must go forth and spend wads of cash making your blog pretty or be doomed.
I like a nice looking blog, of course, and I definitely think good design and typography enhances the overall experience, but beauty isn't the principal thing for me - content is. One of my favourite bloggers is Mom 101, and though hers isn't the flashiest, prettiest blog on the block (sorry Liz), it's her thought-provoking content and writing that keeps me coming back for more.
If you're serious about blogging you should ditch Blogger and move to WordPress.
I've been back and forth about this and I'm still undecided. I research things a lot before I make these kinds of decisions, and honestly? I've yet to see the true benefit of moving my blog to WordPress. Yes, I understand WordPress provides more flexibility in terms of design, format, typography, etc. And yes, I get that WordPress is superior when it comes to SEO. But is it really better for me? For my little parenting blog? Not convinced.
What do you mean you're not self-hosted?
I do plan on buying my domain name in the near future, but, I don't think it's essential. Sure, if the purpose of your blog is to generate an income, then, yes, a self-hosted domain is probably the way to go. For a parenting blog like mine? While it does look more professional, I'm not sure that having the .blogspot extension is really harming my blog at the moment.
You're not commenting on enough other blogs.
The first year I started blogging, I was determined to get around to every single blog in my reader, whether or not I really enjoyed reading it. It was a tiresome waste of energy. Now? I read the blogs I like, end of story. And oh, it's nice to have finally realized that it's okay to do so.
You need to be more useful to your audience.
Useful schmuseful. There are tons of articles out there on how it's essential bloggers make themselves useful to their audience. I suppose, in a way, it's true. (Another of my favourite bloggers is Design Mom - she finds the most beautifully designed things and writes about them on her blog.) But most of the blogs I read - you know what they offer me? Sweet Fanny Adams. (What? You've never heard that expression?) Nilly noo. (Sorry, I just made that one up). Nothing. I read their amusing, touching, sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious stories about their lives. And that is all.
Don't jump on the bandwagon.
Why not? I like jumping on the bandwagon, and I like reading what other bloggers have to say when they jump on the bandwagon too. Opinion posts are often the most interesting and draw passionate discussions. Jump, I say, jump.
You're not selling yourself hard enough.
If I want to sell myself I'll strap a sandwich board to myself and go down to the local market, thank you. I write my blog because I enjoy writing and I like the blogging community I've found myself a part of. Should there be an opportunity to earn money down the line or sample a product I love? I'm not going to say no, (I got bills to pay too y'know) but it's not why I started this thing.
One of the biggest mistakes a blogger can make, in my humble opinion, is spending too much time worrying about all these "mistakes" and trying to figure out the right thing to do rather than just being who they are and doing what feels right to them. Hey, if you want to fill your blog with widgets and ads, I'm not going to desert you. If you want to talk about something that's already been hashed to death? Okay. Fine. If the only thing you offer me is a giggle with my morning coffee? I'm more than good with that.
What about you? What are your thoughts on these blogging"mistakes"?