Blogging may sound pretty easy, but there are many mistakes people make when setting up their blog. These mistakes can quickly tank your chances at ever having anyone read the excellent content you post.
If you’re considering starting a blog and want to avoid potential issues, make sure you’re aware of these eight common mistakes when setting up yours.
1. Choosing the Wrong Web Hosting Plan
First-time bloggers are often concerned about the cost of web hosting plans. This pressure can sometimes lead to sub-optimal purchasing decisions. The problem is that it may lead to more significant issues like poor performance, security vulnerabilities, missing features, and more.
Web hosting plans are available from thousands of companies, each competing for a slice of the market. That’s led to many creative marketing efforts that range from the offer of everything from freebies to unlimited web hosting resources.
When choosing your web hosting plan, always look beyond price and consider a few other critical factors. Some questions to ask yourself include;
- Can it support the web applications you want to use?
- Is there an uptime guarantee in their Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
- How well-regarded is the host in the industry?
2. Choosing the Wrong Theme
Choosing powerful themes like Astra, for your WordPress website. It comes with a large collection of pre-made templates and different plugins to improve productivity.
It can be very easy to get distracted with aesthetics when it’s your first time setting up a blog. After all, you want to give visitors a good impression. Many current CMS like WordPress help make blog designing easier through the use of themes.
However, don’t get overly distracted by how great everything looks. Themes are designed and coded by different individuals and companies, so not all may perform well. Choosing the wrong theme could severely impact the performance of your blog.
If you aren’t sure how well a theme performs, do a little market research to see what others say. Some themes like GeneratePress are lighter on design but offer stunning performance. After all, you can add more visuals later to make up for shortcomings in a lightweight theme.
3. Failing to Optimize Website Performance
Once you’ve added everything necessary to your blog and are happy with how it works, it’s time to maximize performance. Nobody wants to wait for a slow blog post to load. How quickly your posts load affects everything from search rankings to conversions and user experience.
While the web host contributes to this in some parts, the other half depends on how well you optimize your blog. Blog optimization is a never-ending challenge, so be prepared to do this a few times.
The basic cycle is;
- Testing – Use a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights to run an analysis on your blog. It will show you exactly how much time the various elements on your blog take to load.
- Optimization – Based on what the tool lets you know, work to rectify one area of underperformance. Don’t try to fix everything at once.
- Re-Testing – If you think you’ve addressed the problem, re-run the test and see if there are noticeable changes.
Repeat the cycle until you’ve addressed as many of the critical areas as possible.
4. Not Carefully Selecting Your Niche
With the design and performance of the blog settled, the next area of concern is typically content. What you share on your blog is crucial since it affects your target audience, search rankings, and growth potential.
Many new blog owners use it as a diary and simply jot down whatever comes to mind. While in some rare cases, this may work, it isn’t ideal for building a successful blog. Because of the way search engines work, focusing on a content niche often yields better results.
Niche content can also vary in breadth. For example, “technology” would be a niche that’s right at the top of the food chain—the more specific a niche you choose, the better the opportunity to showcase your knowledge and expertise.
5. Paying Poor Attention to Content Formatting
Having excellent content isn’t just about how well you write and how much content you produce. The content also needs to be as user-friendly as possible. That means you should format the content so that users find it easy to consume.
While you can do many things to format content properly, here are some to get you started;
- Write short sentences
- Don’t use overly small or fancy fonts
- Separate sections with H2 and H3s
- Break long content with visuals
- Make good use of lists
If you’re using WordPress, a plugin like YoastSEO can help you mind your formatting. If not, don’t fret; there are also many web-based tools available. I have used Grammarly since it provides more inclusive guidance, but you might prefer a more technical option like Readability Analyzer.
6. Forgetting to Build Links
Links are blog owners’ way of helping search engines understand content in a greater context. It also serves as a validation of sorts. There are three kinds of links that you need to build – Inbound, Outbound, and Internal.
Inbound Links are those on other websites that point towards your blog. Having a reputable website link to yours indicates to search engines that your blog is relatively trustworthy. The more links such as these exist, the higher your reputation.
Outbound Links are less critical for reputation, but they can be a sound currency for building inbound links. In addition, they help build relevance and have other practical uses. For example, linking a fact to its source can demonstrate the integrity of the information you provide.
Internal Links “join” your content pages together, helping search engines better understand and rank your content. The weightage of these links (i.e., more or fewer pointing towards specific pages) helps show how critical certain pages are.
Link building isn’t a one-off task, and it needs constant watching. You’ll want to ensure you aren’t pointing to defunct or outdated pages while making sure any links pointing to your site are from reputable sources.
7. Not Submitting Your Website to Search Engines
Starting a blog from scratch means it’s essentially nonexistent at the beginning. As time passes and you build more content, search engines will eventually pick up those pages. Once they know you exist, they’ll send robots to crawl your website for updated content regularly.
However, none of this happens at the beginning. By submitting your new blog to a search engine for indexing, you can nudge the process along a little faster. Some have argued that submitting websites isn’t necessary, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Remember, if your website isn’t being indexed and crawled, you won’t get any traffic from search. That’s the most important means of building an organic flow of visitors to your blog.
8. Having Poor Security Processes
Most web hosting companies will secure their servers well, but there is a point of vulnerability – you. If you think about it, running a blog means you’ll likely have a ton of places that need credentials, from access to your hosting control panel to the CMS itself.
Poor security processes can quickly lead to hacked blogs, defaced web pages, hijacked services, and more. Once security is compromised, cleaning things up can be a nightmare. In many cases, blog owners simply give up and wipe their accounts clean.
To avoid this, make sure you take proper precautions when running your blog. Some things you can try;
- Make sure to use strong, unique passwords
- Try to use a VPN for remote connections
- Scan your website files regularly
- Keep an eye open for erratic website behavior
- Make sure you keep web applications updated
Setting up a blog for the first time can be a challenge. There are almost two billion websites on the Internet today, so your new blog will be facing an uphill battle. Avoiding pitfalls when you first start can mitigate future trouble early.
After all, prevention is always better than cure. So avoid these mistakes when creating your new blog.