After browsing and reading so many blogs on end, countless times I come across so many common mistakes that can make your blog become quite unattractive and these mistakes are very easily avoided.
This post is scheduled to be published on my own blog at http://kevin.kevandisa.com very soon. But thought I'd post the entire article here as a sneak peak for everyone else. And hopefully some of it may help you.
What Makes An Attractive Blog
On the contrary to what most bloggers think, what makes an attractive blog isn't necessarily on just the presentation of your blog or the theme you sat and trolled through and finally picked for your blog. The number one key attractiveness of your blog is always going to come down to the content, the more content you have the more successful your chances are of owning an attractive blog.
Of course building the content takes time and a tremendous amount of patience, even if you have been writing posts almost on a daily occurrence, the time it takes for anyone to notice these posts doesn't happen overnight. In the meantime there are other things you should avoid doing while you wait for the readership to grow and take notice of your content.
Avoiding these common mistakes that most bloggers (myself included) will no doubt also help along the way to increasing your readership.
5. Downright Plagiarism/Similar Content
At times, when you have had a writers block, it can be tempting to browse and read through other blogs and follow a certain writing style from someone else's blog. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking, well this formula of writing seems to work very well here, perhaps I should try this on my own blog. Not to mention copying content without legal permission can lead to all sorts of obvious problems.
4. Using Irrelevant Post Titles
Titles are one the most important aspects of a blog post. Having a proper title tells the readers what the content is about. More often than not, I've seen so many titles which are just too vague and even too creative. In my opinion having such a vague and creative title can lead to a certain expectation of the post that never becomes fulfilled.
3. Too Much Advertisements
This of course is subjective, for example for blogger A, his/her blog and writing is their full time job and as such taking advantage of monetizing their blog wherever they can. However blogger B, who is enjoying writing or blogging and isn't their day job and placing advertisements in almost every nook and cranny of their blog can make it become unattractive very quickly.
Of course though, you need to find the right balance of advertisements with the right amount of useful content to make this combination successful.
2. Busy Layout/Design
Having a very busy layout or design for your blog can more often than not deter readers away, after all, the visitors coming to your blog is purely there to read what you have to say in your blog posts. If they are having difficult time in trying to make sense of your layout or if things look a little busy they will click away.
This really follows the old saying "less is more". Same applies your blog's sidebar, it can be really tempting to load up as many attractive widgets and the like to your sidebar.
1. Making the Post too Long
I tend to fall into this trap myself and should really be avoided, ironically the reality is people do not want to read, they want to glance or extract the key messages from your posts. You should try to find the right balance of being able to get your points across or better yet, keep your posts to roughly around 800-900 words mark, anything more than that and you should consider perhaps breaking the post up to a series of posts.
There is nothing worse than someone scrolling through a 1000 worded post as this can look very unattractive.
With these in mind, you should be able to make your blog a little more attractive and over time increase the readership and returning visitors. I personally have been trying to stick by the above and has not been easy especially with some of my posts exceeding the 1000 word mark, at some point down the track I will change those posts into mini series of posts.
Do you find yourself unwittingly making some of the mistakes above? Do you have any general rule of thumb tips to stick by in your blogging experiences?
Cool tips, gotta remember the length point, something I admit I've been guilty of before :) Great stuff Kev!
The length thing is a tough one, but if you do want to write longer posts, I suggest breaking it up with smaller paragraphs, or a personal favourite of mine, including a quick set of bullet points or an off set quotation. These tricks help break up a bulky page of text, while still contributing content.
As my blog is more of a personal memoir vs a place where all people should gather (I mean, I understand that not everyone thinks I'm as awesome as I do), I feel like the one rule I consistently break is the "too long" rule.
Sometimes, I'm torn when I post a blog that is too long, too many photos or whatever, but often times when I do it, its because it all goes together. There's only so much series posts that I can handle, and I'm sure my readers are over it long before I am.
I think that what Kevin was trying to get at with this thread was his list of top five blogging mistakes that hurt SEO. Perhaps that wasn't made explicit in the post, but I didn't get the sense that he was criticizing anybody's personal approach. If you blog "for yourself" (whether or not anybody actually means that when they say it is another argument entirely) or if you aren't concerned with how to optimize your blog's traffic, then that's fine: don't worry about it. But the points that Kevin has listed are great tips for improving your site's SEO. Certain people may not have a problem with reading certain long posts about certain kinds of topics on certain sorts of websites, but the general trend of the data right now is that having short, content heavy posts will increase traffic to your site and encourage your readership to keep coming back. Most people want to be able to hop on and off of your site without having to commit a huge chunk of time out of their day.
Kevin's not saying that you must follow these rules to be a good blogger. He's just pointing out a few things to keep in mind if you want to improve your page ranking and traffic flow.
You've nailed it. I essentially always try to write with SEO in mind but I can understand for more personal entries sometimes it is difficult to get your post SEO friendly as those entries can be at most times very unique and can't possibly cater for all possible search terms.
I didn't explicitly mention SEO here, because the nature of these blogs are generally personal/journal types.
photos that are too small.
colors that are harsh on the eyes.
font too big/small.
I should have written it the way you have there and would have been done! :)