Do You Make These Mistakes
With Your Blog?

There seems to be a trend developing lately.

Some people are turning the whole “blogging advice” arena on its head, and instead of focusing on what you should do to be an effective blogger, they point out what you shouldn’t do. Perhaps this is a better way to get certain points across?

OK, I’m game. Here’s my “top five” list of big mistakes people make, and a handy prescription for how to cure what ails your sickly blog.

5. Do you write for search engines instead of people?

Your blog is suffering from “robotitis,” an affliction characterized by boring, keyword stuffed content that serves only to fill the blank spots between AdSense ads. If you actually hope to sell something, you need emergency attention, fast.

Prescription:

4. Are you doing what everyone else is doing with their blog in your niche?

Stop, drop, and roll yourself right out of “me too” mode. You need your own unique story now, before you end up on a blog respirator due to a lack of a viable reader base.

Prescription:

3. Do you agonize over writing a great post, only to slap on some hastily-concocted post title that all but guarantees hardly anyone will read?

Less-than-compelling headlines kill more solid blog posts than any other blogosphere affliction. There is a cure, but you’ll need to take action fast. If not for yourself… won’t you do it for the children?

Prescription:

2. Do you hope to make money with your blog, and yet rattle on excessively about your personal life, your dog, your goldfish, and your recent appendectomy?

You’re suffering from egocentritus. Only people like Mark Cuban can get away with this, and now that basketball season is over, I don’t read him either.

Prescription:

1. Do you use user-unfriendly RSS options that you bury at the bottom of the page, and leave out an email subscription option altogether?

I can only label this as a disease of the blogging mind. You do all that hard work to get everything else just right, and yet you rely on people to remember to come back on their own? That’s just self-destructive. Paging Dr. Freud!

Prescription:

For more tips on what not to do with your blog, check out Why My Blog Stinks, a blog that actually doesn’t stink at all, even though it’s one of the most egregious examples of Mistake Number 1 above. :)

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Comments

  1. You’re utterly right about the blabbing on about personal issues. I’m guilty. However, the exception – whether or not you’re Mark Cuban – is if your blog is about your experiences and what you did in response to various situations.

    E.g., I have a “personal finance” and “small investor” site which talks about specific solutions to real problems. No doubt there are other similar blogs (personal development, for example).

  2. Raj, that’s true. But in that case, that would be what your blog is really about, and why it has value to readers. On the other hand, if I start featuring the family hound in every other post on Copyblogger, it’s going to get really lonely around here really fast! :)

  3. Brian, you’ve outdone yourself. A new spin on the famous “Do you make these mistakes in English?” headline, plus a post that just cracks me up while teaching me a thing or two (too bad I don’t have a blog!).

    Let us know how many new readers this headline pulls . . . .

  4. Lisa wins the prize for spotting the famous headline I stole remixed for this post.

    Well done!

  5. I’m definitely guilty of #3. Although most of the time I try and think a great deal about the headline, recognizing its importance, just the other day (Tuesday night) I wrote a quick post to help publicize an impromptu contest I was running.

    The headline was bad.

    It went on reddit (thanks to the person that put it there!) but it generated much less traffic than I think it could have with a good headline.

    I learned my lesson (I hope!) and I wrote about learning my lesson (hopefully to help others)…I think I even pointed them in your direction (to your “How to get 53% more…” post.)

  6. I think Brian wins the prize for recycling his archives. This is genius. Well done!

  7. Ben, you did point to the 53% post, and I appreciate it!

    And Liz, I learned all my archive-recycling tricks from you. :)

  8. I’d steal this idea, like I’ve stolen about 9 others from you Brian, but I don’t have any great old posts to use and I ain’t smart enough to write one like this.

    This is a great post and it will probably spawn about 10 clone posts and get you another 100 subscribers and 73 links.

    You, my blog friend, are a link-getting, subscriber gathering machine !

  9. K so 2 points for lisa, and a whooping 3pointer from Brian.

    I agree, I like how you recycle your post with conviction. And how you made this post intresting to read at the same time.

    It seems to me Brian, that you are running into form again on this blog!

    Keep it up!

  10. right on about cuban

    egocentric stuff is a great one – thanks. t just creeps in on you

  11. Thanks for the excellent information. I was wondering how I got people to ‘subscribe’ and now I know from reading this bit of ‘re-cycling’ :)

    One thing, though, why do you not mention your name in your CopyBlogger mailing. Wouldn’t a little intro at the top be helpful? (I am new to your blog, admittedly, but I don’t think such an introduction would annoy me!)

    Anyway, thanks again
    Steve

  12. A really good post.
    Neat way of getting folks to check out your past articles.

    A neat way of positioning yourself as an expert.

    I was even tempted to click on one of your past links. Then I realized I had already read it!

    But my favorite line was the one about doing it for the children.

    We really don’t think about them enough. :)

  13. Mike and Ming, as always, you both are too kind.

    Steve, the Feedblitz mailing program doesn’t offer a lot of flexibility at this point, but I hear there’s new stuff coming.

    Yeah Char, I had a lot of fun with this post. As I approach the dreaded 6 month mark with this blog, it’s time to have more fun, I think. :)

  14. Gosh, Brian, I’d better start reading my own blog. Can you tell me where you found that? I think you pushed the bar up higher. You’ve been known to do that . . . on just about every post I think.

    The six month’s crash. Whew! I’m glad I’m past that. Char and I will be watching! :)

  15. Re: recycled posts & links thereto

    I’m happy to see this because one major downside of blogging is the place I call “archive limbo” the netherworld of brilliant posts. I rarely look in archives so unless the author resurrects them somehow, they exist in darkness.

    In order to attract readers to our archives (our best stuff may be behind us), we have embedded images of or posts in a Film Loop. On rollover the title is revealed & a click takes you there. You can also put comments on the loop.

    We also have a table of contents which is a good old school answer to the blogging archive dilemma.

    Thanks Brian for your continued brilliance.

  16. If “rattl[ing] on excessively about [our] personal life” is such a problem, why does it work for Molly E. Holzschlag, “group lead” of the Web Standards Project, authoress or coauthoress of nearly three dozen books, and in-demand speaker and consultant?

    http://www.molly.com/2006/06/16/starting-anew/

    Scouring away all traces of personality is a great plan for people with no personality. And, I mean, good luck with that.

  17. Oh, Joe, please. Personality can easily be conveyed without getting off topic, which is the point you are apparently missing.

    And please note my use of the word “excessively.” If Molly works for you, than I suppose she’s not exceeding your tolerances. But there are plenty of unread bloggers out there who could benefit from this advice.

    Sheesh! You write a lightheated, fun post that digs into a bit of archived material before a long holiday weekend, and, like clockwork, some guy who takes himself way too seriously comes along. :)

  18. Yea, and what is the former Canadian Prime Minister, Joe “Who” Clark, doing blogging anyway :)

  19. Brian,

    Thanks for even more great advice. For some reason, I waited until the Nth time someone suggested setting up email subscriptions (and the 2nd time you did) before finally doing it.

    Your suggestion a while ago about separating the about-the-blog and the about-the-author posts was a great one. I did that a while ago, and have seen both pages get more traffic than the previous about-both page ever did.

    Thanks again!
    Scott

  20. It isn’t a “blogging mistake” to run a Weblog with multiple topics. Hence prattling on “excessively” is not necessariliy “getting off topic.”

    What is the single topic of your blog, Brian, and when do you “get off topic”?

  21. I never said it was about having a “single topic,” Joe. How did you make the jump from rambling about “personal life issues” to some imaginary prohibition against “multiple topics?” I never did that, so I’m a bit mystified.

    I’m not sure we’re even close to talking about the same thing here, so let’s not even bother.

    Have a good weekend.