Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A Blog Award and 10 Blogging Mistakes

Mr Joseph of A MAN ON THE MOVE gave me this award. Thank you. Mr Joseph has a very attractive and interesting blog. His brilliant photos from South India , cultural information and inspirational posts make very good reading. I would encourage you to pay him a visit.

I am a very ordinary blogger and hardly posses the skills of language or expression which all of you my fellow bloggers so beautifully exhibit in your compositions.


I recently read an article on blog improvement by Michael Hyatt, the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Here it is.

DO YOU MAKE THESE 10 MISTAKES WHEN YOU BLOG?


Assuming you want to increase your blog traffic, there are certain mistakes you must avoid to be successful. If you commit these mistakes, your traffic will never gain momentum. Worse, it may plateau or begin to decrease.

How do I know? After writing more than 1,000 posts and receiving more than 20,000 comments, I have made most of the mistakes you can make—numerous times. As a result, I have begun to see certain patterns emerge. These are my top ten traffic-killers.

Mistake #1: You don’t post enough. Hobby bloggers may go weeks between posts. But frequency is what separates the men from the boys. You cannot build solid traffic without frequent posts. I have seen time and time again (via Google Analytics) that there is a direct correlation between frequency and traffic. The more I post—within reason—the greater my traffic.


Mistake #2: You post too much. Yes, this is possible, too. I don’t need to hear from anyone more than once a day—unless it is a group blog or a news site. You would do better to focus on writing one really great post a day rather than several mediocre ones. The trick is to find your frequency sweet spot. For me, it is four to five posts a week.
If a post starts getting too long, consider breaking it up into several posts.


Mistake #3: Your post is too long. Seth Godin is the master of the short, pithy post. His are usually in the 200–400 word range. I shoot for less than 500 words. But I often post 750 words and sometimes more. You can get away with this if your posts are “scannable”—that is, you make use of subheads, lists, and other devices that keep people moving through your content. If a post starts getting too long, consider breaking it up into several posts.


Mistake #4: You don’t invite engagement. When I talk about “engagement,” I am referring to a combination of page views, reader comments, and social media mentions. Postrank.com is a great tool for measuring this kind of engagement. The posts that generate the most engagement for me are those that are controversial, transparent (especially about failure), and open-ended. This is why I try to end every post with a question.


Mistake #5: You don’t participate in the conversation. When bloggers don’t participate in conversation by commenting on their own posts and responding to their readers, it is like hosting a party at your home, making a brief appearance, and then disappearing. In any other context, this behavior would be perceived as rude or odd. The same is true in blogging. People want to have a conversation—with YOU.
When you use subheads, lists of bullets or numbers, it draws readers in by making your content accessible. Shorter paragraphs also help.


Mistake #6: You don’t make your content accessible. Since I am in the publishing business, I often get asked if I think people are reading less. The simple answer is “No.” In fact, I think they are reading more than ever. But they are reading differently. Readers have shorter attention spans. They are scanning content, looking for items that interest them. When you use subheads, lists of bullets or numbers, it draws readers in by making your content accessible. Shorter paragraphs also help.


Mistake #7: You don’t create catchy headlines. According to Brian Clark, who runs the must-read site, CopyBlogger, “on average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.” This means your headlines are the most important thing you write. Fortunately, Brian has an entire series of posts called “How to Write Magnetic Headlines.” I suggest you read every post.


Mistake #8: Your first paragraph is weak. This is critical. Assuming that you have written a great headline, people will next read your first paragraph. You must use this paragraph to pull them into the rest of your blog post. Start with a story, a promise, or a startling fact. The idea is to grab their attention and hang onto it. Many bloggers spend too much time trying to setup the post or provide context. Just get to the point.


Mistake #9: Your post is off-brand. I have often been guilty of this one. If you are a hobby blogger, you can get away with the occasional post that strays from your primary message or brand. But if you are trying to build traffic, you need to find an editorial focus and stick to it. A tighter focus leads to higher traffic. This is why I have tried to narrow my own focus to three areas: leadership, social media, and publishing. If I want to write on something else (e.g., fitness), I do so through one of these three lenses.

Mistake #10: Your post is about YOU. Unless you are a mega-celebrity, readers don’t care about you. Not really. They care about themselves. They want to know what’s in it for THEM. Your personal stories can be a doorway to that, but in the end, the best posts are about your readers’ needs, fears, problems, or concerns. Always ask, “What’s the take-away for my reader?”
There are other mistakes, too; I doubt this list is exhaustive. But I think I have covered the major ones. If you can avoid these, you will be well on your way to increasing your traffic and growing your audience.
Question: What other traffic-killers have you witnessed as a blogger?

20 Fertilize my soul:

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Amrita,

Many thanks for your lovely comment about my blog.

Your blog is also interesting,exciting and deals with a variety of subjects which is of common interest to all.

Your current post is of inestimable value to all of us who are blogging to express our views,concerns,problems,experiences etc.

Wish you and your family all the best,
Joseph:)

Donetta said...

Hello Amrita
Do hope this finds life enjoyable.
Wow My mistakes in this list are many indeed.Thanks for the focus change.
You have had a very full life and living it to the top.
enjoy the day ahead may beauty be found in it.

Zimbabwe said...

If I haven't time or access to Internet, I don't write any post or I make in Blogger "plan" for future. Sometimes, but rarely, I write 2 post daily - it's commonly connected with for example news or my emotions with news (for example when I wrote about the disaster of Polish plain with president or in the time of flood). But I don't agree that people aren't interested in us, but there is one risk in writing about myself or yourself - risk of misunderstanding or use in negative sense what You wrote.
I greet You Amrita heartly.

Pat said...

Very educational post Amrita..thank you!
For me personally, I don't care for posts that have music in the background. Choice in music is very personal, and I also find it distracts my concentration.
You do a wonderful job with your posts..always interesting and often humorous!

Julie said...

congratulations on your well deserved award. Your blog is always so interesting.

Gerry said...

I found this blog entry to be very valuable because I am always thinking about my blog and what I can do to create more interest in the readers. Your adviser has ideas worth trying!

Felisol said...

Dear Amrit,
Your advices are all very timely and understandable.
When I take up my blogging again, I will bear that in mind.
I find your articles about India, people, religion, culture and food most interesting.
Mainly because they also contain a genuine personal angle.
You have a gif to connect directly with your readers and make them a part of your world.
That special personal touch divides your blog from any top traveler's guide.
This is Amirta living in India, with her family,church, health issues, joys and strengths alike.
I'll keep coming back, that's for sure.
Yours Felisol

Kathryn said...

I don't entirely agree with his last point. I DO read other blogs because i'm interested in them. I find it interesting to read other folks' and learn more about what they think, how they live, etc. But then, that is me. Maybe i'm just weird (i've had a few folks tell me so, LOL).

Scott R. Davis said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. Very good and well written post. You should consider writing a book on blogging!!!!

monsoon dreams said...

Amrita,
You deserve this award!!
Thanks for the useful tips,dear.
I repeat what I have told u many times- it feels like home,being at your blog.

Marie said...

Congratulations on your well deserved award :)
I Find your blog is very interesting :)

I'm fine thank you :)
Now I'm a grandmother to a little boy. He is so sweet and he makes me very happy :)

Ash said...

Congratulation on your blog award and thanks for these tips!

Did I tell you how much I love your blog?

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

Wonderful tips to help us with blogging it right! After all, who doesn't love traffic? Thanks!

Facing50Blog.com said...

Morning from the misty and grey UK. Firstly thank you for your comment on my last post. I love making people smile...it's the whole purpose of the blog.
Secondly I think you truly deserve your award. Congratulations on it.
Thirdly this post is wonderful. As a fairly new blogger I am always looking for ways to improve my blog. It appears I write too much according to your article so maybe I should trim my posts....the trouble is I write from the heart and stop when I've finished saying something. I found the comments very useful and will try to employ them. As long as my blog makes lovely people like you happy I'll stay true to it though.
Sending you smiles and happy thoughts.

Amrita said...

Dear friends I am so fortunate for all you precious people talking to me.

I hav e so much to earn about blogging.

Dear Keats from Malaysia, welcome to my blog.

Amrita said...

Dear Felisol, thank you so much for your kind note.

Joe George said...

Excellent post Amrita...and informative. Thank you!

Amrita said...

Dea r Kathryn I am with you, I like personal blogs and I am interested in the well being and concerns of my fellow bloggers.

The blogs I find easier to visit are ones with large/bold fonts, eye friendly text color an d backgroud. Some people have a combination of light colors - hard to read.
Word verification together with moderation also slows one down, specially thos e where to click several times to open boxes etc.

Too many widgets, blinkies,slides etc on the sidebar impedes me.

Music players I don 't like too.

Amrita said...

Dear Facing 50,

You are so kind to me.

I ewnjoy the beams of fun an d laughter your spread through your vibrant writing. You are such an excellent story writer. I like being with people who make me laugh and humour is a dose of medicine for the soul. Keeping writng dear. We lov e you.

Amrita said...

Dear Nina, thank you for your surpris e call. It was wonderful to hear your voice. May God make Hi s face to shine upon you and heal your throat problem.