If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, you’ve probably committed one or more of the ways I’ve identified to screw up your blog. Don’t worry, though, if you have, because there are ways to improve and bounce back.
This post does contain affiliate links.
1. You aren’t responding to comments
What the hell are you thinking?! You have readers engaged with your blog so much that they are commenting on what you are producing, yet you didn’t respond to their comments? This is a massive failure! Responding timely is critical in building a positive relationship with your readers – don’t screw this up!
2. You’re stealing other content
Please tell me you aren’t stealing and plagiarizing other bloggers’ content. Not only is this lame, pathetic, and stupid, but you are breaking copyright laws. If you aren’t creative enough to write your own original content, then maybe blogging isn’t for you. Good bloggers spend time to create original ideas, or can create a spin-off from another popular topic.
3. Your blog is loaded with ads
I’m just going to come out and say it: If your blog is covered with ads when I land on your homepage, I’m immediately leaving your site. Not only is it super annoying to have pop up ads all over the place, it makes a CLEAR statement that you are out to only make money and not be known as a true influencer in your niche. I do have a few ads in my sidebar, but I mean a FEW. I want my readers’ to experience a clean, fast-loading site when they come to my blog, not a nightmare. I also want to build trust with my readers so that they know I’m not only pushing for clicks. You have one chance to make a solid first impression, so don’t screw it up by coming across as a salesman.
4. Your blog is not organized
Every good blogger has planned ahead to organize his or her site to make it easy-flowing for their readers. Make your navigation menu simple to follow. A rule of thumb I follow is to try to minimize sub-menus as much as possible. Your homepage should lead directly to your most recent blog post. One thing I can’t stand is landing on a blog’s homepage and there aren’t any blog posts. If you are using WordPress, you have the option to make a certain page your homepage, but I strongly advise against doing so. Make it your blog – with the most recent post at the very top.
Organize your sidebar with only the essentials. Forget about the social media widgets. If I wanted to see your Facebook threads or your Pinterest pins, I’d click on your social media icon and follow you. I don’t want to see your Instagram photos taking up all of your sidebar. It’s ok to include a set of social media icons to let your followers choose which of your accounts to follow, so don’t take up valuable space with the widgets that show your feeds. It’s unnecessary.
5. Your posts are just random thoughts
I don’t want to know how many marathons you ran last weekend. Who the hell cares? What kind of problem does that solve? Are you going to write about what you ate last night? Please don’t. I see enough of that garbage on Facebook and Instagram. If you are a food blogger writing a detailed review, fine, but just a random post about that awesome burger you had last night, just don’t. You aren’t writing for yourself. You are writing for your readers. Keep that in mind for EVERY SINGLE POST. If you start writing about yourself, delete it and start over.
You need to offer your readers some level of value for visiting your blog and reading your posts. What kind of problem are you solving? Why are you the expert they need to pay attention to and not someone else? If you can’t address those types of questions in your latest post, then don’t write the post.
Of course, there are times when random comments are okay, but for the most part, your readers are searching for information and answer to questions, so don’t blow it by spitting out random crap. Great job running that marathon, but how does that help me??
6. You’re using a bad web host provider
Trust me, there are bad web host providers promising great things that never happen. Just Google “web hosting” and watch how many of them pop up. You may not be able to notice the bad things that are happening, but your readers are. If your host isn’t providing enough speed, you will see a high bounce rate. I noticed it happen when I used a crappy service provider called eHost.
Who do I recommend for bloggers? SiteGround. I heard so many wonderful things about SiteGround while I was busy chewing out eHost that I finally decided to get on their bandwagon. You can’t go wrong with them. When I needed to move my WordPress site over from eHost, they did it all for me at no extra cost…and within 2 hours. How crazy cool is that?
Choosing a web host provider is like buying a used car. You really need to be careful and do your research, because they will look all new and shiny on the outside, but once you take the bait, you’ll wish you hadn’t made the leap quite so soon.
If you are interested in moving to a better web host, here’s my referral link to SiteGround. I’m not just throwing out this link to make commission. I truly love SiteGround and am so happy I moved to them. To me, there are no better choices.
7. You aren’t updating your older posts
It is really easy to write the perfect post, share it once, and move on, but that’s NOT the way to run a successful blog. People change, information changes, prices change. Thus, you must change with the times as well. That gem of a post you wrote a year ago could probably use some updates. You’ve learned more since then and can make the post even better.
Whenever you do update your old content, make sure you put a statement at the top of the post telling your readers when you last updated it. This little statement is crucial because it proves to your readers you are in this for the long haul, and you care about the content’s accuracy and value to them.
8. You aren’t grabbing readers’ attention
Have you ever searched for something online and found a headline that was so compelling that you just had to click on it to find out more? If your headlines aren’t doing this today, change them. The goal is to get your readers’ attention in the first few seconds so that they are tempted to click on the post to read more.
Think of the most outrageous and tempting headlines as possible to generate views. It takes practice, but once you get in the habit, you’ll find it gets much easier.
9. You’re using free WordPress
There is a TON of information online about which version of WordPress you should use. There is no debate about which one is better. Always go the self-hosted route. This means that you host your WordPress blog through your web hosting account and domain. Nothing will discredit you more than having a yourname.wordpress.com URL. Spend the few bucks a month and go self-hosted. If you aren’t self-hosting, I’m not reading your blog. Ever. Period.
10. Your images suck
If you aren’t using professional-quality images, you’re doing it wrong. Your images contribute greatly to your site’s overall appearance and appeal. There are a few free sites you can pull free images from, but don’t do this forever. Spend a little extra money on quality images, or take your own quality images. Trust me, it makes a huge difference!
I can almost guarantee no one wants to see your mirror selfie on your blog. Definitely do not use it as your main profile photo. Use a more professional photo or even have a company take the photo for your site. Most photographers will offer packages so that you can get your images digitally.
11. You don’t use the right keywords
SEO research is a MUST in building organic traffic to your blog. You can only get by for so long on traffic coming from other sources. Yes, the traffic coming from other sources is valuable, but the end goal is for your content to show up as high in the search rankings as possible.
The Yoast SEO plugin is a must-have for anyone running a blog through WordPress. It gives you a visual indicator when your SEO is good, just ok, and poor. If you aren’t using this plugin today, what are you waiting for?
12. You don’t back up your site regularly
You don’t realize that you need to back up your site regularly until something goes wrong. 9 times out of 10, it’s too late by that point. My website has crashed several times, but thankfully I had my site set to backup daily, so I didn’t lose any data. Don’t get to the point where you are in danger of losing data. There are several good plugins for WordPress, so hop over to www.wordpress.com and find one that’s right for you.
One thing I should point out – don’t only backup your data to your PC. PCs fail all the time. If your hard drive dies, there goes your data. Always backup to a remote source such as OneDrive.
13. You don’t protect your site
This should be a no-brainer this day and age, but you’d be surprised as to how many bloggers don’t install any type of protection for their sites. WordPress is vulnerable to attack, and it happens a lot. It happened to me a year ago. Again, WordPress.com will have security plugins. Don’t wait until your data and your readers’ data has been compromised. Take action to secure your site today. Some web hosts offer additional protection. My advice is to pay the extra money to secure your site to avoid any data loss down the road.
14. You don’t utilize Pinterest
I never realized how much traffic I could reach by simply implementing and managing a pinning strategy. A year ago, I’d tell you I didn’t really pay much attention to Pinterest, but after a ton of research and talking with other bloggers, I don’t know how I could possibly live without it.
I suggest optimizing pin images using Canva and promoting pins using Tailwind. I pin 80 times a day automatically using my Tailwind account. These pins drive multiple repins, increase my followers, and drive traffic to my group boards. I have a free video tutorial over the basics of Tailwind that I just know you’ll love!
15. You never link to old posts
Remember how I talked about updating old posts? You should always find opportunities to link your new posts to old posts. The more opportunities you can find to link to other content, the more information you can provide your readers. This also gives them more of a reason to stick around on your site longer!
Had enough yet?
Yeah, I know I was a little harsh in today’s post, but I really do have your best interest in mind. I hope you’ve learned more about preventing total chaos and failure on your own blog by reading these tips today. Are there any other ways you’ve found that put your blog in danger of collapse? What are they?
I truly appreciate you dropping by today! I look forward to any feedback or criticism you may have over the content I’ve provided you today. Without your support, it’s very difficult to improve my blogging skills. So, let’s hear it – good or bad – send it my way!