Setting up a blog is not that difficult. In fact, most people can easily use WordPress or Blogger to set one up in a matter of minutes.
With the sheer number of blogs today, estimated at 126 million by BlogPulse, only a very small percent of them are actually active and good. The vast majority of blogs are dead or dying on the vine.
Like a garden, you must tend to your blog; water it, give it sunlight and proper care.
So how do you ensure your blog will grow like a healthy garden?
Avoid these 7 causes of blog failure and you are off to a great start. Check out the tips for correcting the mistakes and then see how other bloggers have expertly done so and have planted their seeds to successful blogging.
1. You are not unique
Established bloggers often advise aspiring bloggers that they have to have quality content to be noticed. Quality content is definitely required, but it will not guarantee that you will receive all the traffic you want. Since quality content is more common then one thinks, it is important to differentiate yourself from the rest.
How can you make yours stand out in a field of similar flowers? Focus on your BIG difference and always avoid “me too” content. Posting the same information as other bloggers in your niche won’t get you very far. If anything, try to challenge them on their opinions and direct their traffic to your blog.
A great example is the Dukeo blog. The writer wanted to get started in the overly crowded affiliate marketing blog space. Instead of producing numerous posts similar to those in his space, he found a way to be unique.
He drew caricatures of top affiliate marketers and mailed the drawings to them. The affiliates loved his work so much they soon began posting their caricatures to their blogs, which drove incredible traffic to Dukeo’s blog.
2. You don’t post often enough
Really, you should be posting good quality content more than once a week. Remember, you want to drive traffic to your blog as often as you can and encourage RSS sign ups. Once a week is a minimum. Aim for three to five posts a week.
Here is a great rule of thumb: post at least twice a week if your posts are 500 words or more. If your blog posts are closer to 300 words, then try posting at least three or four times a week. Spoon feed smaller posts.
Copyblogger truly understands frequency. They have a new post Monday through Friday. But like Copyblogger, if you can’t find the time to write the posts yourself, then find regular contributors to buffer the workload. Having a steady number of contributors also helps with blog traffic because those contributors will also promote those posts through their social networks.
3. You don’t make sharing easy
Readers are generally lazy. Most won’t go out of their way to share your content unless the sharing function is dead simple. Place Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn sharing tabs clearly next to the title of every post. Make it easy for readers to share your blog content.
Just as importantly, make sure the pre-populated content of those sharing functions scan for the proper title and shortened URL to the post. Make the effort to share as minimal as possible and keep it consistent.
A great example is This or That. This or That is a unique application that makes sharing easy. The dock scrolls as the reader scrolls up or down a page, so the sharing functionality is always visibly available.
4. Your design is a mess
Messy and ugly designs turn readers away. If you don’t take the time to carefully design your blog, your traffic won’t take the time to carefully read your blog. Ensure your design flows smoothly, has a common theme and isn’t too heavy on ads.
ProBlogger knows how to manage ad density. He has admitted to earning quite a bit in ad revenue, but none of his ads feel intrusive or overbearing. They tastefully sit on the right-hand sidebar and above banner and do not interfere with the awesome content.
Color, another important element, has clear psychological implications and can influence how your readers ‘feel’ about your blog. For instance, purple is a trustworthy color, while red indicates hostility and rage. Chose a color that compliments your theme and content.
5. You don’t use links well
Google loves links, to and from your blog. And, as a blogger, you should familiarize yourself with how they work. Getting incoming links from other websites makes your blog appear more legitimate to search engines. The more backlinks to your blog, the higher your Google search ranking.
Linking internally to other content on your website is important as well. These links can help your search engine listings in addition to guiding your reader to more content on your site.
A tip: When you do use links, it is important they are relevant to your current content. Don’t send your readers away for the sake of creating additional links. The readers may not return.
6. You don’t watch your keywords
There are some critics who say SEO is dead, but it is far from it. Always know what keywords you want to focus on before starting to write for your blog. Keep it consistent.
Finding the right balance here can be difficult. You don’t want to overuse or underuse keywords. Too many or too few keywords won’t help you with Google. So, it is imperative that you keep the use of your chosen keywords as natural language and consistent throughout your posts and your blog. If you need help identifying the keywords for your blog, check out HowToChooseKeywords.
7. You don’t have a call to action
Before creating a blog, you should have a clear understanding of its purpose. Will it be educational, for entertainment, a personal journal or for business? Once decided, create a clear blog call to action indicating what you want visitors to do when they land.
Will they sign up for RSS, follow you on Twitter or comment on your posts? Make sure that the actions you want them to take are clear to them. Too many calls to action hides them all.
The follow up: a big mistake many bloggers make is not following up on the call to action. For example, if your call to action is an email sign up, don’t just collect emails – create dialogue with new subscribers immediately so that they don’t forget you.
YouTube really knows how to capitalize on a call to action. When you first hit the homepage, the search box is highlighted with blue and the account creation button is very predominant. Make the suggested next action painfully obvious so your visitors stay.
What other blog mistakes do you see too often? Tell us in the comments below.