Maybe unacceptable is a bit too big of a word, I admit, but what I actually want to show you are those quiet killers, so to speak. The things that, over time, can cause you some serious trouble and make your blogging career much more difficult.
And I promise I won’t make this obvious. Like, for instance, putting something like “not paying attention to SEO” on the list. On the other hand, don’t sweat, the things here are nothing that tough to handle.
1. Not reviving your content
Let’s start with content, as it’s the core of every blog.
Some bloggers treat their posts as a one-off thing. What I mean is that they publish an entry, it remains up-to-date for a number of days, and then it vanishes in the archives never to be seen again.
In my opinion, an approach that is likely to work a lot better is putting more focus on making your content evergreen.
Evergreen means that it remains up-to-date forever (or at least for a long period of time). That way, whoever visits your post at any point in time, will find it relevant and valuable (especially if we take your search engine rankings into account).
Some topics are evergreen by nature. Like for instance, if you have a blog about productivity, you can write a post titled “Why Multitasking Kills Your Productivity.” Such a thing will remain up-to-date for years.
However, at other times, you’ll have to get back to some of your posts after a while, review them, and update them with relevant information. For instance, something like: “Best Business Ideas for 2012” can be updated to “Best Business Ideas for 2013.”
Updating your content will strengthen its position in the search engines even further, which should make the whole thing worthwhile for you all by itself.
Which brings me to…
2. Not tracking your rankings
All right, all right, sorry because this sounds kind of obvious and is actually directly connected to SEO, but it’s not just about doing SEO, per se.
Quite simply, there’s not much point in taking care of SEO (making your content optimized, doing keyword research, building links, etc.) if you then don’t monitor your rankings on a regular basis.
And this can’t be done by simply going to Google and searching for your keywords. Google makes every query unique to the person executing it. This means that if you ever click on your site’s listing, Google will display it higher the next time.
To monitor your rank effectively, you need an external tool. Unfortunately, there’s no free stuff that’s of good quality. Some paid solutions are SEOmoz, Raven Tools, Market Samurai.
3. Not updating WordPress
Let’s talk about the technical stuff for a minute.
WordPress releases updates very frequently. And you – as a blog owner – should make sure to install them as soon as possible.
Setting all the new features aside, this is mainly because every update fixes new bugs and issues making your site safer.
Getting hacked is not just a “possible” scenario, it’s one that’s very likely to happen. You see, whenever a new update comes out, there’s a change log released along with it. That change log mentions every hole that’s been fixed. And this is kind of like a manual for hackers. All they have to do is capitalize on the fixed holes and target sites that haven’t been updated yet.
Update your site frequently, at least once a month.
(By the way, the same thing goes for plugins.)
4. Having an unprotected site
Getting your site infected with malware is actually pretty easy. It was something I had to learn the hard way. A couple of weeks ago one of my sites got infected and the results were catastrophic, to say the least.
Just to name a few things that happened:
- My site got banned from Google.
- My traffic went down completely.
- Everyone who tried to visit my site saw a message informing that it’s an attack site.
Pretty cool, huh?
So, what to do to prevent this? Updating is one thing (explained above). Getting an additional set of plugins is another. Like these three, for example:
- AntiVirus. Lets you scan your site for all kinds of malware and exploits.
- Secure WordPress. Handles a range of security tweaks. (The number of tweaks is truly impressive, feel free to check the official site to get the list.)
- BulletProof Security. Provides you with some .htaccess protection. In short, it prevents everything malicious from messing around with your site.
5. Not backing up
The funny thing is that most people will only think about backing up right after the first major crash happens (myself included).
If you have a good web host, they will take care of backing up your site for you. And if you want to handle this on your own (just to be safe), you can use either of these plugins:
- Online Backup for WordPress. The plugin I use on all my sites. Lets you back up your database and the file system, schedule backups to happen automatically, send them via email, enable encryption, and do a dozen of other cool things.
- WordPress Backup to Dropbox. A straightforward plugin. It allows you to back up your database, the file system and send it to Dropbox.
6. Not posting regularly
At first, this doesn’t even seem like a big deal, I know, because that was exactly what I was thinking. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen if you skip a week, right?
However, picture this. Do you imagine a successful newspaper without a precise publication schedule? You know, a paper that would release new issues on Monday, then on Wednesday, then nothing for a week, then on Thursday and so on? It would be hard to build any sort of reputation for such a creation due to the inconsistency.
And blogs are kind of similar. No matter what publication schedule you choose, you have to stick with it. If it’s one post every 3 days then make it one post every 3 days. If it’s one per week, that’s still fine. Once every other week? Still fine.
Quite simply, whatever you choose, make it regular. Again, writing regularly is key! Because if you don’t, people will lose grip on what they can expect from you and your site over time.
7. Not speaking to returning visitors
Maybe around six months or a year into blogging, you should start finding out who your actual audience is. You can always assume this right from the get-go, but in order to know for sure, you need some time … some emails … some interaction through comments and some real-life data.
Once you have this knowledge, it’s a good idea to speak to those people more, rather than only focusing on your new visitors.
Let me give you an example. If you have a blog on SEO, and you know that your audience has the basic SEO knowledge and practices SEO themselves on their sites, then you probably shouldn’t define what SEO is in the introduction to every article, just in case someone new stops by.
After a while, your regular audience may get the impression that they have simply “outgrown” your site and that it’s no longer relevant to them.
This may not seem like a straightforward how-to advice, but keep this in mind anyway when you’re writing a new post.
8. Portraying yourself as being better
Nobody likes a smart-ass. Blogging is just like high school.
Remember the fellow who always had to say something smart and make it seem like they know everything, no matter what the conversation was about? Even if they were indeed intelligent and knowledgeable, no one actually cared.
Providing advice is what blogging is essentially about. But providing advice and speaking to people like you are better than them won’t get you anywhere.
I can’t be certain about this but what I think makes a blog interesting is when the blogger can speak to their audience like they are on the same level. You know, the situation when the blogger and the visitor are like pals, but the blogger just happens to be speaking right now and the visitor is paying attention, then the roles switch in the comment section.
Speaking of the comment section, that’s it for my list, so maybe you’d like to add something. Have you encountered any unacceptable WordPress blogging behaviors lately you’d like to mention?