Thursday, February 6, 2014

Five Common Mistakes Bloggers Make When They Want More Readers … and How to Fix Them By by Ali Luke

Do you want more readers?

It’s a silly question. Almost every blogger does – whether they have 5 readers, 500 or 5,000.
However, some bloggers end up making big mistakes when they focus on growing their blog larger. These are five of the most common, though you may well have come across others (share your thoughts in the comments below).

Mistake #1: Not Building a Good Blog First

However great your promotional skills are, you’re not going to get far if your blog looks really amateur, contains only two posts, or has default text (like the WordPress sample page) still in place.
Imagine coming across a new blog for the first time, perhaps through a search or through social media. If it makes a poor impression on you, there’s a good chance you won’t be back.
Fix it: Before you start gaining readers, make sure your blog is in good shape. It certainly doesn’t need to be perfect – but you should have at least five posts in place, and at least one of those should have been published within the last month.

Mistake #2: Using Shady SEO Tactics

Some bloggers turn straight to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) when they want new readers. And while being found in search engines is really important, it’s not a good idea to take shortcuts.
Dodgy tactics like writing hundreds of low-quality guest posts just for backlinks, participating in link exchanges, or stuffing your posts full of keywords probably won’t work, and if they do work in the short term, they’ll almost certainly see your site heavily penalized in the next Google update.
Fix it: By all means pay attention to SEO, but use “white hat” tactics that make your blog a better reading experience too. For instance, you could hand-craft descriptions for each post (using a plugin like All in One SEO Pack) and come up with keyword-rich titles that help readers know exactly what your post is about.

Mistake #3: Asking for Links (the Wrong Way)

Some new bloggers create lists of all the top blogs in their niche and promptly email everyone asking for a link.
While this might seem like a good idea at first glance, it’s not likely to result in links (large blogs are inundated with requests like these) and it may well annoy the people who you most want to impress.
Fix it: It’s OK to ask a blogger to link to you – but pick someone who you already have a good relationship with, and try to target someone who regularly includes links on their blog (either in a weekly roundup or in a blogroll).

Mistake #4: Leaving Loads of Blog Comments

While leaving comments is a great way to get involved in the blogging world and build relationships, it’s not a particularly good way to get readers – especially if your comments are all of the “Great post!” variety.
Many bloggers will edit or delete comments which use a keyword rather than your username, too, and some will delete comments that they feel aren't adding to the conversation.
Fix it: Go for quality not quantity in your comments. If you have a good point to add, by all means share it – this may encourage readers to click on your name and check out your blog. Remember that the most important thing is building a relationship with the person who owns the blog you’re commenting on.

Mistake #5: Thinking Great Content is Enough

Some bloggers don’t bother promoting their blog. They ignore SEO (maybe because they’re intimidated by it) and they rarely use social media, or comment on other blogs. In many ways, this is the opposite mistake to the above four.
These bloggers believe that by writing great content, they’ll eventually attract readers who’ll share their posts across the world. (This is the “if you build it, they will come” school of blogging.)
Fix it: Great content should absolutely be your first focus – but the blogging world is so busy and crowded that you need to market your content too.  Try cutting back your posting schedule so you have more time to promote your posts.

The key thing to remember when building an audience is that while there are no super-quick shortcuts, there are definitely methods which work well and consistently to grow your blog.