We all want people to read our blogs, comment, and share our stuff far and wide. What’s the point of trying to produce great content if all your great work never gets seen by the people that it will help the most?
I believe everyone has a story to share, knowledge, and life experiences that will benefit somebody, somewhere.
To that end, I try to help you achieve that and it’s why I approach giving you advice from the perspective of a blogger advising a fellow blogger.
But today, I’m turning the tables.
I not only create websites and blog. I also read A LOT of content, books, and assorted related material, trying to figure out what matters, and what can help me and my audience spread our message.
To put it bluntly, I can’t (and neither can you) afford to waste time on anything that distracts me from that goal.
3 Blogging Mistakes to Avoid
Here are the top 3 reasons, why I, as a member of an audience myself, will stop reading a blog (and oh yeah, don’t think for a second *I*haven’t made some of these mistakes):
#1 – No Personality
If the site reads like a textbook… it will put me to sleep like one. Some people have knack for expressing their personality through their writing. Sadly, most of us don’t.
Because it’s just not a medium most of us are used to conveying ideas through. Sure, we chat, e-mail, and Facebook, but when it comes to expressing an idea in extended form, that’s where we have trouble.
Writing is an art and as such, it needs to be practiced like one.
Want to get better at writing? Write more!
I’ve struggled with this from time to time. My teaching background pulls me towards writing in a way that can seem wordy and too detailed at times. Nothing wrong with that, but where I work hardest is at letting my own voice shine through.
Fix: Don’t be afraid to express your thoughts.
People don’t connect with websites, they connect with YOU and what YOU have to say!
Controversial? So be it.
Different? Can’t think of a better way to stand out.
Opinionated? Good! That’s how people get to know the real you.
They let their “voice” and thoughts be heard loud and clear.
Here’s what I have to say when it comes to finding your “online voice.”
#2 – Not Bothering to Ask for Permission
I go to the website and *WHAM!*, I’m hit with a pop-up asking me to Facebook-like a page I have seen for all of 3 seconds!
Umm, no. Not happening.
Same for the opt-in “subscribe” pop-ups.
I like it when I’m given a chance to look through the stuff, read it, and maybe… maybe… I can make an informed opinion on whether I like it or not.
Pop-ups, when used incorrectly, reek of desperation.
Fix: Give readers a chance to really *like” your stuff.
If you’re convinced must use pop-ups, at least configure them to let the reader see a few pages before asking them to like or subscribe to your site.
#3 – Site is a Hot Mess
Remember this simple rule:
Less is More.
You don’t need hot neon colors, yellow letters on black background, flashing ads, or auto-playing music that makes me jump out of my seat and fumble for the volume dial. No one does.
For many new bloggers, there is a strong temptation to add a whole bunch of fancy features and wild graphics to call attention to the site.
Unless you’re a web designer and graphic design *IS* your business, there is no reason to ever add anything that distracts your readers away from your most important asset: your content.
Fix: Simplify and harmonize.
First, start with a light-colored background (I strongly recommend white), so that black letters are easier to read.
Next, choose a pleasant color combination. Strong colors are OK, as long as you use them sparingly as accent colors.
For a great bunch of suitable color combinations, built around your color of choice, go to ColorCombos.com and have at it.
And last, make sure that your “Call to Action” (what you’d like your audience to do when they first visit) is front and center. Make it clear and unmistakable.
For example, my aim is to let first-time visitors know immediately:
a) What the site is about…
b) What the “Call to Action” is (subscribe to my blog).
Take a look at my homepage to see how I’ve implemented those two concepts.
There are many ways to do this, but the results should always aim for this:
Give your first time visitors a place to land their eyes on.
An excellent example is that of Kim Roach, at BuzzBlogger.com. Her site is no-frills and devoid of anything flashy. Her content, however, is OUTSTANDING and truly shines. Her “Call to Action” is right up front, without being pushy.
Make sure you state upfront what you’re about and deliver.
Does the above mean that breaking number one, two, or three, disqualifies a site? Not at all.
But then content has to be doubly good for me to get over any annoyances that scream at me to close the browser window.
And that about wraps it up.
What do you think? I’d like to hear your opinion in the comments below.
What are your least favorite web-design trends
that you wish would go away forerever?
Keep tuned in and check back Mondays for business building info, Wednesdays for content related to expat life, and Fridays for tons of travel pictures as I do an on-the ground report spotlighting a travel destination.
Also, check out my Pinterest page about Antigua Guatemala, one of the prettiest colonial cities in the world and latest digital nomad destination I’m trying out.