Blogging has become very popular nowadays and quite understandably so: it is extremely uncomplicated to set up. However, when you get all caught up with the hype, it becomes pretty easy to screw things up. We tend to think over the bigger picture too much but it’s actually missing the small details that make us miss opportunities.
I realized that people — including me! — make pretty similar mistakes when it comes to their blogs. We barely realize it especially when we’re not the ones really reading our blogs but they’re can be a major turn off to many readers.
You’re probably making some of these mistakes — here’s a rundown of the most common ones plus their super-duper easy fixes!
Mistake #1: Not optimizing your URL
Are you familiar with this URL formatting?
Or what about this one?
These URLs look very complicated to the eyes of a reader but they can even be so to the search engine bots. They provide no meaning making it hard for your blog to rank for the keywords that you are aiming for.
Solution: Keep your URLs as clean and simple as possible.
Step 1: Make sure that you change your permalink settings to properly format all future posts. To do this, go to your WP dashboard > Settings > Permalink.
There are a whole bunch of options to choose from but I suggest using the Post Name option in order to eliminate all unnecessary numbers that will not help your rankings. The change of permalink structures will reset the share counts for past pages but it will be worth the change, I promise.
Step 2: Enable permalink cleanup in your Yoast SEO plugin.
Go to Yoast SEO > Advanced > Permalinks. Enabling this automatically removes the stopwords (a, an, the, of, etc.) from your permalinks.
Step 3: Change your permalink when editing your post.
You can also manually change your permalinks located right below your blog title in the Edit Post mode.
Mistake #2: Not adding deep links
It can be pretty easy to get your past post buried under a gazillion newer posts, especially if you have been blogging for years. How will you get your readers to notice the awesome *evergreen* posts that you created a few years back?
Solution: Check your archives and link to past posts when you have a new one.
It is also recommended to check your top performing posts and add links to the ones that do not perform very well so that they will get noticed.
Mistake #3: Not optimizing your image names
Want another secret to doing SEO on your blog? Put all your keywords where you can.
Solution: Use your keywords to rename images.
Instead of using ‘Img-0458.png’ or ‘DSC_698759.jpg’ for your images, use your keywords such as ‘blogging-tips-beginners.jpg’ or ‘seo-tips-tricks.png’ to name them.
Mistake #4: Not using alt text and descriptions for images
Solution: Add keyword-rich descriptions + your blog name.
Adding in descriptions to your images is basically like adding a summary of your content in the image. Make sure to sprinkle in some of your keywords, blog post title and blog name while doing so.
Alt-texts are also the ones being pulled by Pinterest if you happen to use a Pin It plugin. This way you do not have to worry about your reader’s pins being description-less because you’ve done the homework for them.
DESIGN, AESTHETICS AND BRANDING
Mistake #5: Not having a search bar
Solution: Add them up!
It’s really frustrating to get into a blog or website, see that they have an awesome content but realize that they do not have a search feature of any sort! I mean, would you still want to look for a particular topic by going through five, or even just three, years’ worth of titles? Not me.
Mistake #6: Not having an email subscription box
Solution: Have them installed in your sidebar, below posts and in the footer.
Mistake #7: Not using sharp and clear pictures
Solution: Enhance your photography skills or use stock photos.
People have become very visual in the past years and if you have a blog that is very visual-heavy (think food or travel), the one thing that will entice readers to read more of your content is pictures!
If you’d like to know more about photography (not just food photography), you can check out [eafl id=134 name=”Food Photography School” text=”Food Photography School”] (affiliate)!
Also, if you want to overhaul your website design, DIY style, you can get this awesome [eafl id=134 name=”Food Photography School” text=”guide on how to create better looking blogs”].
Mistake #8: Not having a logo
Solution: Create one or have someone else do it for you.
While it is not a must for newbie bloggers, having a logo is essential if you want to create your own brand and be remembered by your readers. Creating a logo can be very tricky, from conceptualization to actual implementation (I know by experience, I created the logo for my family travel blog and for this site).
If you can’t do it yourself, you can always ask the professionals to do it. Head on to Fiverr or 99 Designs to get the job done.
Mistake #9: Not changing your favicon
Solution: Modify your favicon.
Favicons are those tiny 16×16 px images at the left side of your blog’s name on your browser’s title bar. Can you see it? Well, they’re not really necessary but if you want to be remembered for your brand (and let’s face it, having these favicons make your site a little more pro, too), you might want to have tiny versions of your logos there.
Some themes make uploading your favicons really easy, just like uploading a header, but you can also follow these steps to create the favicons as well.
Mistake #10: Not adding an About Me intro in the sidebar
Solution: Tell your readers a little more about who you are.
Wouldn’t it be better if you knew a little bit more about the person writing that super awesome post you are currently reading? Craft a killer About Me section in your sidebar (just a tiny glimpse of who you are and what you are there for, for your readers) and then create a longer story and put in your About Me page.
Here’s a super easy way to create your About Me to get you started.
PS. Be sure to choose a professionally taken picture if you are putting it on your business site.
Mistake #11: Not adding related posts
Solution: Add them manually or use tools and plugins.
Aside from manually embedding your links throughout the content of your site, adding a related post at the very end or even somewhere in the middle (using pictures can be very enticing) will do wonders in reducing the bounce rate and exits from your blog.
I currently use the Shareaholic plugin for all my sites as it is super easy to customize but I have also been manually adding links using the featured images for each post in order to only add posts that are closest to the current post topic.
Mistake #12: Not displaying your site’s social media links
Solution: Have them on display in your sidebar.
Social media links on the sidebar are good but if you can put them on a prominent header bar that preferably does not disappear to encourage visits is even better. Check out Wandering Ella’s social media links. Pretty cute, huh?
Mistake #13: Not putting social media sharing options in posts
Solution: Add these options, preferably one that stays in a fixed area, to encourage sharing.
If you want to compel your readers to share your post to their social media accounts, keep your social media sharing buttons as prominent as possible. I love Shareaholic’s buttons and they look awesome in mobile, too.
Mistake #14: Not having featured images
Solution: Don’t forget to include this when editing your post.
It’s great when other people share your posts but you know what usually happens when you do not assign a featured image? A random image gets pulled up, sometimes even a totally unrelated picture from your site like a logo to an affiliation or an image from another post.
If you want to make sure that the right images show up for your posts when they get shared on social media, enable the Featured Image feature and put them in for every single one of your post. If you’ve done N years’ worth of posts without these, there are also plugins that pull up the first picture for that post and use it as a featured image.
Mistake #15: Not optimizing images for social media
Solution: Add different images suitable for major social media networks.
Aside from headlines/titles, great pictures will never fail to entice anyone to click through your post on social media. But, the biggest mistake people make (and hey, I’m also guilty of this) is that they fail to optimize their images for the particular network.
The Yoast SEO plugin allows for this customization so you can assign one image for Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
For the actual creation of your images, you can use Canva or for an even faster and smoother way of editing the same photos across all networks, use Canva for Work. Canva automates everything and eliminates the guesswork for the image sizes but if you are using Photoshop, you can use this guide for social media image sizes.