I remember the first time I got a comment on my blog. I rushed to my favorite forum yelling, “I got my first comment! I got my first comment!” Boy did I feel like a noob when one of the seasoned bloggers replied, “Yeah. I got that exact same comment on all 12 of my blogs, too. It’s a spammer bot, stupid!” Well, that’s just one of the 7 practices I’ll be discussing here that make you look like a rookie blogger. How many of these mistakes are you making?
1. Using the same free theme everyone else is using
At one point I could always tell the rookie bloggers who’d been through a certain blogging training seminar because they all used the exact same free WordPress theme. It was an ugly, boring theme and most didn’t even change the header or the background color. There’s nothing wrong with using a free theme when you’re just getting started, but do something to customize it so you stand out from the crowd.
2. Using free images from Wikipedia
Yes, I realize there are some good free images at Wikipedia, but I also know they’re few and far between. Find a good stock image website like Public Domain Pictures or Wikimedia Commons. And never, ever use water-marked images on your blog. That just screams “Rookie!”
3. Using poorly-aligned images
Re-size your images so they line up with your content. One sure sign of a newbie blogger is a post where the content runs into the image or there’s one word of text all the way over to the left, underneath the picture. Use your preview button to see how you post is going to look to your readers before you hit publish.
4. Leaving the meta data in your sidebar
Just delete it. Delete the whole widget or delete all the links. Whatever it takes. Get rid of those meta links in your sidebar. Do. It. Now. Please.
5. Lack of formatting
It never ceases to amaze me when newbie bloggers just hit “publish” on one huge block of text and expect people to be able to read it. Honestly. You’ve seen other blogs, right? If you don’t understand how your text generator works, take some time to play with it… preferable before you hit “Publish.”
6. No “About” or “Contact” page
In the beginning I always forgot about these two pages two. Now, they’re the first two pages I add to a new blog. Do yourself and your blog a favor and add an “About” page and a “Contact” page today.
7. Spam in the comments
Those are not real comments. They were left by a spammer. To prove it, click on the link in their name and see where it leads. Viagra, you say? Hmmm… Delete those spam comments because they’re just calling attention to the fact that you’re a rookie blogger.
If you’ve made a lot of these same mistakes, don’t worry. Everyone does. We all started as rookies. But, as the saying goes: If you wanna run with the big dogs ya gotta get off of the porch. Clean up these rookie mistakes today.