So you’ve decided to start a blog. Maybe you run your own business and have a stale website that’s been sitting there for years and you want to dust it off and use it to reach more customers. Maybe you’ve decided it’s time to share all those family recipes you’ve held on to so tightly. Either way, congratulations. You may have a long road ahead of you to make it a success, but it’s worth it in the end. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot though. Here are three common getting-out-the-gate problems to avoid if you want to make a solid start on your future blog.
Choosing the wrong theme
Most blogs today use WordPress and there are thousands of themes out there to choose from. Before you choose which one you’re going to use, think about the kind of content you’ll be posting on your blog. For instance, will you use a lot of photos and photography or videos? If not, then you probably don’t want to choose a theme that has a dozen featured photos on the front page. Getting your blog setup will likely be a big headache if you’re stumbling through dozens of features you don’t want or need. On the same token, make sure the theme is capable of what you need. Will you need ecommerce function? The ability for users and visitor to log in to their account? Not all themes come ready built for that.
Trapped into a bad hosting deal
You see it all the time… Buy your domain from, let’s say company A, and they’ll give you free hosting. Sign up with company B and they’ll design a site for you for free. You have to be careful, otherwise you may find yourself stuck in a hosting contract that doesn’t fit your needs at all. You may never be able to get through to a live person if suddenly your site goes down and you need help now. Unlimited hosting? Think again. Or you may find out that you don’t even own that shiny new domain you thought you paid for. Oops.
Skipping or neglecting social engagement
You’ve probably seen a lonely blog that’s glaring proof that social proof is important. You know, that blog you found where there are absolutely no comments, no social love. You might even wonder if the blog is still up and running or if it’s one of the many blogs out there abandoned.
If there are comments on a lot of the posts and it’s being shared on Facebook, you might be compelled to comment yourself. But what’s the point if no one is going to see it or respond to it? That’s a dilemma you wanna avoid. If you spend valuable time composing an amazing blog post, you want it to get the attention it deserves and you don’t want visitors to feel like they’re the only one reading it. But how? Here are just a few things you can do to help give it a social push:
Develop your own commenting club – Find other bloggers in your niche or industry and connect with them. Create a commenting club, or as Ana Hoffman calls it, a tribe. You’ll follow their blog and comment on new posts and in turn they’ll do the same.
Use social buttons that make sense – If your blog is about horses and horse breeding then it’s pretty safe to say that your visitors aren’t big users of Behance (a social networking site for creative professionals). So why would you clutter up your post with Behance? Most social sharing scripts and plugins will allow you to customize which buttons will be shown – for a reason.
Smart social managements – While you don’t want to SPAM links to your blog, you also don’t want to forget to share a great post. Yes, share other helpful or interesting things you find. But make sure you have a system so links to your blogs posts are mixed in. There are many apps, websites and software programs that can help you do this. Many are free with options to upgrade to access more features. You can use IFTT (If This Then That), which is free. Or if you want something a bit more, Folwd is cool program I’ve used before.