The blogosphere is a crowded place. In fact, it is estimated that a new blog is created every half-second.Of course, some of these go dormant pretty quickly, because people with big plans lose their enthusiasm and resolve, don’t promote, and just stop posting.
If you have made it your resolution to start a blog and to really pursue this goal, there are some pitfalls, challenges, and even threats out there that you should consider. Her are seven of them.
1. Beware of Weirdos
Everyone has Internet access – the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, and the deviant. You want a blog where people can come, read and view, add their comments, participate in discussions, and share your posts on social media. This will leave you open to every possible type of human out there. And yes, there are weirdos who troll through the web looking for new blogs they can insert themselves into.
You have to stay vigilant. When you see comments that are “off-center” or on the weird side (e.g., those that do not relate to your topic), it’s a good idea to block those people. You don’t want your readers exposed to bad actors – your reputation is at stake here.
2. Select Domain Privacy
When you register your domain, there will be the option to pay extra for “domain privacy.” Spend the bit of extra money (average $12/year), so that your personal information is not out there for anyone to find. You don’t want to be the target of personal emails that are spam, inappropriate, or downright offensive. There are some sick people out there – don’t let them have access to you.
3. Avoid Self-Promoters
You have probably seen this on other blogs. You read a great post and move down to the comment section to add your feedback or to enter a suggestion. As you read through the conversation thread, you discover that there are commenters who are there to promote their business enterprise or their own blogs. They will appear on your blog too. If you see these same people appearing again and again, block them. Your blog is not a place to promote others you know nothing about.
4. As You Grow, Pick Your Reciprocal Arrangements Carefully
Once you gather a loyal following, you will be noticed by other bloggers. There may be offers to set up reciprocal arrangements for promoting each other’s sites through your blogs.
Before you allow someone to guest post on your site, and before you agree to guest post on another’s site, do your due diligence. This means you check out that person’s blog and be certain that you want to be associated with it. There are a lot of blogs with a small following (much like yours in the first year or two), that are legit and valuable. But there are also blogs that are not so much. Before you enter into any cross-promotional agreement, make sure you want to be associated with that person/blog.
5. Resist the Temptation Monetize Through Any Means
You may want to monetize your blog by offering advertisements for products and services. This is common and can be a great way to bring in some cash for all of the hard work you do. Please look at #4 again. There are two important things to remember:
- Do not irritate your readers by filling up too much space with advertising.
- Check out the individuals/companies that want to advertise on your space. The products and services should be related to your blog theme in some way. Be certain to access review sites and read about their reputations before you ever allow one of them to place an ad on your site. You are only as ethical as the people/businesses you associate with. A friend of mine who has a popular blog on camping and wilderness experienced a huge backlash on social media for posting a paid advertisement from a company that was discovered to be dumping plastic into the ocean. It took a lot of apologies and a lot of “clean living” after that to repair that reputation. Don’t let this be you.
6. Avoid Sensitive Content
Unless your blog is specifically courting a certain political, social, or religious group, it is wise to avoid hugely controversial topics. It is certainly fine to support environmental health; it is good to educate readers on dangerous lifestyle practices. But when you go beyond the factual information and get on a “soap box,” understand that you will be angering some. If you want to anger them, go for it. But if you don’t, choose your words carefully.
7. Monitor Your Social Media Pages
One of the most effective ways to promote your blog is through social media. And you should have pages/profiles on all that are frequented by the audience you are trying to woo. But with that exposure, you also need to monitor the comments that others are making on your pages. Get a good social monitoring tool that will alert you whenever you or your blog is mentioned anywhere. You need to be vigilant and access each comment. You will want to answer questions, clear up misconceptions, and respond to any issues that a poster has. You will also want to give positive feedback to those who are complimentary. This shows you are involved with your readers on a daily basis and that what they have to say is important to you – it’s about building connections.
Avoiding the Pitfalls is Not Hard
As a new blogger, you will find that these seven “dangers” are important to remember to maintain your reputation. There is a lot more to blogging, however, than just avoiding the negative. You need to have a space that others love to visit, because they love your style, your content, and your consistency. Take the time to develop your theme, your plan, and your unique voice, and to study successful bloggers in yours or related niches. Successful blogging is hard work, but always worth the effort!
What are some other bad experiences you’ve had with blogging? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!