Guest post by Susan Osborne, SheBuildsABusiness.com
Starting a new blog is very exciting but can also be daunting at the same time.
Setting up a website can feel completely overwhelming, and it often takes a lot of trial and error. The good news is, nothing is written in stone. You can always fix, tweak, change and evolve as your blog grows.
To help you get started on the right foot, below are some common mistakes to avoid that new bloggers make when setting up their website.
These mistakes aren’t anything “bad”, they are simply things that you may overlook, or not even be aware of, when getting started. Let’s fix that!
And while content is king, avoiding these simple “behind the scenes” newbie mistakes can help give your blog growth a “boost” without too much extra effort.
Mistake #1: Using a poorly made theme
Not all WordPress themes are created equal, but with the millions of theme options available, how do you know which ones are good and which aren’t?
Unless you’re a coder, it’s nearly impossible to know!
Invest a little money and purchase a premium theme. Not all free themes are bad, but a premium (paid) theme will better your chances of having a solid foundation for your blog.
Genesis is one of the best frameworks for your website foundation. You can find a lot of theme options that are available for the Genesis framework at Studiopress.com.
Mistake #2: Not using an SEO plug-in
You don’t have to be an SEO expert to apply good SEO practices to your site.
It’s very easy to optimize your blog for the search engines by simply installing a free plugin such as All In One SEO or Yoast through your WordPress dashboard.
With either of these plugins, you can enter keywords and descriptions for each blog post right on the blog post edit page – giving the search engines lots of good reasons to rank your pages easily!
Mistake #3: Not collecting email addresses
You may be thinking, “I don’t need to collect email addresses, I’m just blogging!”.
That may be true if you never plan to monetize your site, but if you have dreams of growing an online business or selling a product down the line, then you want to start collecting those email addresses now!
To do that, sign up with an email service provider such as MailChimp, Aweber or Mad Mimi and place opt-in boxes on your blog’s sidebar, at the bottom of each blog post and on your About page.
Your list will grow faster if you can offer a fun and valuable freebie when someone subscribes. This is often called a “lead magnet”.
Your lead magnet could be a free downloadable printable, a free eBook, or anything else that would provide value to your readers. Delight them with something amazing!
Mistake #4: Not putting social media share buttons on your posts
To grow your blog faster, you want to add social media buttons to make it very easy for readers to share your articles.
Install a free plugin like Simple Social Icons which will place social media icons above or below your blog posts.
If you include fun images with your posts (which you should if you can!), be sure and include a “Pin It” button so readers can share your images on Pinterest with the click of a button.
You can install a free plugin called jQuery Pin It Button that will make pinning images from your blog super easy for your readers.
Mistake #5: Using poor images – or no images
Good images can grow your site!
Whether you have a food blog, craft blog, organizing blog or parenting blog, a nice image with each blog post can really add value for your readers and create loyal followers.
Not to mention you can use your images to gain traffic to your blog through Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.
Even if your image is a simple graphic with the title of your blog post, try to use some sort of visual with every post to add interest to your content.
You can create nice-looking graphic images at Canva.com for free!
Mistake #6: Not including a call-to-action
It’s always a good idea, especially if you are trying to get your readers to do a specific action, to include a call to action.
For example, you want people to sign up for your email list, or maybe you want them to leave a comment after your blog post, or perhaps you want them to check out your services page.
In each case, you should have a clear, concise call-to-action on your homepage and at the end of each blog post.
Visitors to your site want to be led to the next action. It’s your job to lead them!
Mistake #7: Letting your blog sit idle
This is definitely one of the most common mistakes new bloggers make…lack of consistency.
It can be hard to get a new blog off the ground when you feel like no one is reading, but keeping that regular content flowing is critical to growing your blog!
Create an editorial strategy and schedule and stick to it! Consistency, even if it’s only once a week, is better than blogging every day for a week, and then not adding anything new for a month.
Give your readers a reliable schedule so they have a reason to come back!
These mistakes are easy to avoid!
Avoid these (very common) mistakes above and you are already ahead of the blogging game with a solid foundation.
When it comes to setting up your blog, what questions do you have? What problems are you experiencing?
Share in the comments below!
Susan Osborne is founder of SheBuildsABusiness.com, an online magazine for new women entrepreneurs. You can grab her free Build A Website Start-Up Kit at www.shebuildsabusiness.com.