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What not to do when starting a blog

This week Hugh (from Hugh’s Views & News – yes it’s even fun to say!) released his list of ways to kill your blog. A whole 71 of them. He makes some very valid points—but I’m only going to walk you through my Top 6 favourite, or least favourite.. depending how you look at it.

Not having an ‘About Me’ page

I stumbled upon this little blog recently, and it looks like it’s only just started.. Which is exciting to watch how it builds and grows—anyway, this is a great example of a very easy to find ‘About Me’ section, it’s almost front and centre on the page. Keeping it short and sweet but personable enough makes it a huge attraction to the reader as we’re not here to read your life story, yet. That’s what all the posts are for!

Posting broken links, or leaving them up there

Come now, this is just being lazy. Yes, granted you may have accidentally popped in a broken link without knowing it. It happens to the best of us. The Crtl C and Ctrl V keys are just so close together. You will be forgiven, as long as you fix it. Now before you start rolling your eyes—we’re not expecting you to go through your whole site all the time to check the links. Use this little guy right here Online Broken Link Checker and he’ll scan your site url and let you know what’s not working anymore.

Making your site hard to read (font, paragraphs, layout—take your pick)

If you’re unsure of what fonts, colour schemes and layouts to use for your blog; just google ‘best looking blogs.’ Literally. Articles like this one from HubSpot will pop-up, and there’s your answer. The indication is that simplicity is key. That doesn’t mean boring white backgrounds and Times New Roman font (seriously though—not Times New Roman) just don’t crowd your blog and detract readers from engaging with it just because you thought that leopard print theme jazzed it up.

Not having a search bar

Everything has a search bar these days. Your email, your messaging app on your phone, Google is one giant search bar. Your readers may want to find a specific article to show their friends, or they might remember reading something and want to reference back to it. In any case, a search bar is so easy to add especially with using templates from WordPress, Wix, Tumblr, Medium etc there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t have one.

Posting without editing

Two words, spell check. One word, Hemingway. It does spell check and grammar all in one. Winner! If in doubt, get a partner or friend to give it a second pair of eyes before it goes live. They might also just pick up on weird phrasing or flag something that you might have thought was fine to go out into the wide world of internet.

Having zero personality

Business blogs, I can understand. Some are meant to be a lot more professional, B2B etc. But if you’re an actual person behind that keyboard—chances are people are reading your blog because they want to know your opinion, your experience, your misfortune so they can feel better about themselves. This is the internet after all. But whatever the reason, being personable online and getting your voice across to your readers has a massive impact on engagement and will make your readers feel like friends, rather than someone you’re just reciting a bunch of words to.

This advice may not be for everyone, and for every blog. But generally speaking they’re a pretty good set of rules to live by in the blogosphere.