I see lots of passionate bloggers making some pretty big mistakes, and it's heartbreaking, really! I want you to succeed so I want to share 5 things that could be damaging your blog in hope that we can iron out some of those kinks and together create a blogosphere that we are all happy to be involved in!
They are simple mistakes and sometimes it's the simple mistakes that we over look! They are also easy things to fix and you can start fixing these problems today!
1. YOU DON'T HAVE IMAGES AND THEY'RE NOT EDITED
One of the reasons people love to browse blog is to look at the images that accompany posts. You may choose to find stock photos (and in case you missed it, here are my top 5 places to find stock images) for your blog posts or you might want to select an image from your own branded image library. Displaying images in your blog posts do two things: They help to break up the text, making it easier on the eye and they also keep your readers interested and illustrate points that you are making.
Another mistake that we see on blogs is that the images that are selected are either not edited or they are edited poorly. It's not enough to just display images, you need to make them work within the confines of your branding - apply branded text over the top, use brand colours and apply your logo or url somewhere on the image so when people share your images on Social Media, your mark will be clearly visible. Images should also span the width of your content area, like this:
2. YOUR SIDEBAR IS A MESS
Keeping a clean and tidy sidebar is vital. It can be so overwhelming when the sidebar is riddled with ads and banners and to be honest, a disorganised sidebar will send me running every time. Some key things you should have on your sidebar include:
- Your image and a brief introduction, welcoming your readers to the blog.
- Your social media links.
- A search bar.
- Your blog categories or topics, neatly displayed.
- Popular or featured posts.
- Social Media widgets to make it easy for readers to connect.
- Any sponsors or a select few advertisements.
If you need more ideas, have a look at this list of 21 Wordpress widgets that you can use to dress up your sidebar!
3. YOU DON'T PROOF READ YOUR POSTS
Not editing your posts is probably the main reason people are leaving your blog. There is nothing worse than blog posts that have spelling mistakes and grammar inconsistencies throughout, it makes it incredibly hard for your readers to stay engaged with your blog post under these conditions. And think about it this way: the more effort people are putting into trying to understand what you are saying, the less time they are actually connecting with what you are saying and absorbing the message you have for them.
It doesn't take long to proof read your post. Read it out loud, ask a friend or partner to have a look over the post too. It will make a huge difference to the people you are hoping to connect with and will ultimately keep them coming back!
4. YOU ARE GIVING US UNCLEAR, INCONSISTENT CONTENT
I know it is super tempting to cover a range of topics and appeal to lots of different people, but I promise, this only works for a select few bloggers and it's usually when they have a team of bloggers that specialise in different things. A Beautiful Mess is one of those multi-topic blogs but they also have a huge team of professionals working on producing quality content. There's nothing wrong with setting out with the ultimate goal of building a multi-topic blog, but for the solo blogger, focusing down is key.
Blog readers seek consistency - and this doesn't mean writing the same content over and over again, it just means that they are looking for an expert and when you write on everything from branding to interior design to the trials of raising a family, you are not being an expert and you are certainly not being consistent.
Focusing down (or niching) is great strategy to build authority within your field and also really helps you to produce quality content.
At Brand IT Girl, I cover two main areas: business and design. Within these two areas there are sub-topics: Within the parent of Business, I cover blogging and productivity and within Design, I cover branding and web design. This gives me a range of topics to talk about on my blog, providing readers with just enough variety without overwhelming them with inconsistent content spanning a range of interests.
5. YOUR BLOG POSTS ARE HARD ON THE EYE.
I absolutely love sub-headings, it's a little taste of what is to come and really helps to engage me. If I see a big slab of text without any breaks, I am automatically repelled. Instead try using different sized fonts and different colours to create break out points and interest within your blog posts. I use sub-headings to punctuate each point I am making and it gives my readers trigger points when they first skim the article to know if they want to read further.