There are a lot of common mistakes that all new bloggers seem to make. Obvious mistakes that spring to mind include posting infrequently, displaying dozens of advertisements before their blog has any traffic, and using a poor blog design.
There is another thing that many new blogs lack: A Personal touch.
I believe this can be a bigger barrier to a blog’s success than an outdated design or a sporadic publication schedule. People like to know the person who is speaking to them. That is why every major news website and blog states the name of the person who wrote the article. Most websites also include a picture of the author too.
The Person Behind the Blog
As you can see, my photograph is displayed prominently at the top of the sidebar throughout this blog. This is not because I have an ego. There is a reason why my face is shown to all my readers: I want readers to know that there is a human being behind this blog. This may sound trivial; however in an environment such as the internet, it is one of the main ways people connect to someone.
Many other top bloggers use this approach too. Within the internet marketing niche, Yaro Starak is well-known for putting his face on all his products and services. He is an approachable guy who connects with visitors through his writing and through podcasts and videos.
Can you imagine Yaro having the same success if he remained incognito?
Rise Forums member Ryan Biddulph also displays a photo of himself prominently on his blog at the top of his sidebar. The rest of his sidebar displays photos of him travelling around the world.
Branding your blog in such a personal manner makes sense if you are the sole author. If you run a multi-author blog, it may be better to publish photographs of staff on an about page instead. Individual photos can also be attached to each article the author publishes. This is what most top blogs do.
I have spoken with many bloggers who do not want to publish their profile online. It seems that many bloggers want anonymity. I fully understand why people want to remain anonymous online. The problem is that remaining anonymous can make it very difficult to brand your blog. People do not connect with a domain name. They do not connect with a cool design. What they connect with is other people.
If you really do not want to publicly display your name on your blog, I recommend using a pen name. Be up front about why you are using an alias for your blog. It is not something you need to hide.
Another mistake I see many bloggers make is not giving their about page the attention it deserves. If you analyse your blog traffic, you should see that your about page is one of the most visited pages on your blog. Why is this?
It is because visitors want to know more about you and who you are. It is an opportunity for you to talk about yourself, explain to people who you are and what you do. My about page is around 6,000 words long. I detail my experience online and talk about my love for travelling and martial arts. I also make the effort to update it every few months so that it remains relevant.
I have lost count of the number of people who have emailed me and told that they they loved reading about my journey. It really is an area of your blog you should not think as an afterthought.
A pretty picture and a detailed about page count for nothing if the quality of your articles are poor. Generic articles that are written with no passion are destined for obscurity.
If you have an opinion about something, share it. Write about what you love, write about what you hate. Do not fall into the trap of just stating facts and figures. Readers want to hear your opinion. How are you going to set yourself apart from the crowd if you are just echoing what everyone else is saying?
The best advice I can give to any blogger is to be yourself. Be open about your strengths and weaknesses. If you do not understand something, just be truthful about that. Do not try and portray yourself as an expert on something when you are not. You will get found out.
This kind of honesty will endear you to your readers and help establish trust.
Video & Audio
Podcasting and videos are powerful ways of connecting with readers. It is no surprise that many bloggers are using YouTube and podcasting to build up a loyal readership for their blog. In many ways, it is like having a direct conversation with your followers.
Information is also easy to digest in these formats. You just sit back, watch and listen.
There is no barrier to writing an article. All you have to do is log on to your computer and start typing. Recording is different. At least, it is perceived that way. You need hardware for recording and you need software for editing. Or do you?
Today, every laptop has a microphone and webcam. All modern smartphones have cameras that can record video. For example, I recently purchased the 16GB Moto G for only £105 (around $170 US). It only has a basic 5mp camera, yet it can record video at 720p and 30 frames per second.
There is an abundance of apps available that let you record video. Take the official YouTube app for example. You simply click record, record your video and then upload it. That is all there is to it. This allows you to record and uploads videos anytime and anywhere.
My point is, whilst you can spend time and money on better hardware and software, most of us do not need to as we already own devices that are capable of recording and publishing audio and video.
In 2013, I launched a podcast and a YouTube channel; recording a few tutorials and a few travelling videos whilst I was travelling South America.
You can check out one of my travelling videos below :)
Recording was, in many respects, a trial. A trial to see how I liked recording and whether I was any good at it. Turns out that I am not that good, at least in comparison to many other people. However, I quickly found out that does not matter. I also found that I felt more comfortable with each video I made.
Sadly, I have not made the effort to produce more videos in several months. It is something I am going to address in 2014. Videos only take a few minutes to record. This allows me to explain something in just a few minutes. In contrast, it may take an hour for me to explain the same thing with video.
Therefore, I am going to start writing down ideas for videos I can record for all of you. If you have an idea of a video or tutorial you want me to record, please leave a comment with your suggestion and I will do my best to record the video for you :)
The Personal Touch
The updates from Google over the last two years has encouraged more internet marketers and companies to develop blogs in order to drive traffic to their products and services. That is not why I blog.
I still love the act of blogging. I love being able to share my thoughts and ideas with others instantly. I love getting comments from readers. I love using my blog to network and meet like-minded people.
This kind of passion is what encourages people to subscribe to your blog. It is what increases traffic and, in turn, what increases income.
If you love what you write about and let your personality come through in everything you do, there is no stopping you. I truly believe that.
So I encourage you all to make an effort and personalise your blogs a little more. I ensure you that you it will captivate your audience.