I should take my own advice. I had two items #4. Oops! I’ve renumbered them. So, this is edit number 2. Yeah – clearly I’m still new at this
While I’m here, thanks to all of you who left great comments (and my two rebloggers)! I’ve got awesome readers
As a relatively new blogger I have made my fair share of mistakes. In the hopes that others can learn from my mistakes, I am going to list
ten twelve of them here for the world to see (feel free to add your own). They are in no particular order. Some may be specific to WordPress, but I’ve tried to be general
1.) Not using the spell-checker.
I have had to update things several days after publishing because I had a spelling issue. Some were typos, others were silly mistakes (hear instead of here, and the like). This is particularly bad if you are a writer (is anybody going to take you seriously if you constantly put it’s instead of its?). Sure, I know the rules, but sometimes my fingers type the word the way they want to – not the correct way – if I’m going quickly.
2.) Publishing a bunch of posts the FIRST day.
I get excited about new things. It would have been better if I had written them, but not posted them. I could even have used (if I had found it by then) the publishing scheduler thinggy (over the “Publish” button it says Publish immediately and then there’s a link for “Edit” – use that if you want to do this). Here’s a shout out to Magdalena for introducing me to this.
3.) Forgetting Categories and Tags
Forgetting tags and categories isn’t a cardinal sin – it’s just not going to help you. If there are no tags or categories, it’s really hard for people to find what you wrote. WordPress is really good about putting yours stuff out there by topic, but you have to take the time to tell it what the topic IS.
4.) Not using the “more” thingamajig
For short posts, this isn’t necessary, but if you don’t want to overwhelm people with long posts, it’s best to write a bit and then have a “click for more” type button. This can be found just to the left of the spell check (ABC) button in the text editor for WordPress.
Note, however, that if you go back and put it in after you wrote the whole thing, your best bet is to do it in the HTML view, not the Visual view. Otherwise, you can end up reformatting or something. I don’t know how or why, because I don’t do webcoding, but I’ve done it. Learn from my mistake. Just find the spot you want it to be in the text, and put it there while viewing in HTML. You can go back to visual once you’re done.
5.) Not previewing my posts
Sure, I think my post is excellent and pretty and well written. Then I put it up and realize that something went funky. This is especially problematic for me when I embed pictures. I now live by the “always preview before posting” rule.
6.) Sloppy responses to comments
Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a whole bunch of comments about what you’ve written. If you aren’t careful (and this depends on the theme and how it handles nesting replies) it might be hard for people to see who you’re replying to. The simple solution – use their name/moniker. For example:
Hey MZ4! Thanks for stopping by. I think your comment is spot-on!
7.) Not immediately making my site private
This might not be for everyone, but I wish I had made my site private before trying to figure out what I was doing. It would have inspired some confidence on my part that I didn’t look like a total moron while I kept changing things. Moreover, since changing the theme can alter which widgets appear, how much space they take, and other things (which you can usually change back), I’m now of the opinion that it’s best to set things up under Private settings until you think you’re mostly settled.
8.) Not setting up the automatic suggestions
WordPress has a neat feature (I think it’s under “settings” ) where it can suggest tags, photos, and even related articles. Now, don’t go using this blindly. Sometimes it makes silly suggestions. If you so much as mention Google, it will be a suggested tag. At this point, it’s suggesting:
- Spell checker
Now, I don’t think those are particularly good representations of this post, but sometimes it comes up with good ones that I might not have thought of. Also, the picture suggestions are great because it saves me from having to scour the web for free stock photos. If I had any artistic ability with a camera, this might not be an issue, but I’m betting I’m not the only one who doesn’t.
9.) Flying by the seat of my pants
So, I said one day “Hey, I’m going to start a blog!” and that was it. If you are at all interested in SEO (search engine optimization), this is not a good approach. What are you posting? What’s your niche?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help – from choosing a theme to tags. Not to say that flying by the seat of one’s pants isn’t a fun challenge, but it will likely make it harder to do some things. I’ve got a fair number of followers for as long as I’ve been out, but I’m sure some of my posts bore each of them. Some like my writings (stories, essays), some my comments about writing, others my book reviews, etc.
The advantage of this, is that I have a wide variety of visitors. The disadvantage is that it’s harder to keep them because I’m likely to end up being something other than what they thought. So, this is not necessarily a mistake – but not thinking about it beforehand was.
10.) Not understanding how websites work
When I started, I thought I’d like a home page that had a little welcome and what-this-is-about. Then I’d like a page with my posts, a page with my bio, and a page with links.
This was stupid.
It just doesn’t work that way.
For the uninitiated, here’s how it works. “Pages” are static things. WordPress (and presumably other places, but I don’t know for certain) will post your blog entries even if you don’t select a spot for them by name. I don’t have a “page” for each category, but if you click on a category, it will select all the posts in it, and display them.
I certainly don’t understand this entirely, but I should have learned more than I did before I started – or at least before I made my blog public.
As far as I can tell, you have your theme/widgets/headers/menus and those are universal to your site. Pages are static entities that people can look at. Posts go to their own spot, and you can give those names by using categories.
11.) Having no plan or schedule in mind
This is related to flying by the seat of my pants. I had all these ideas, so I started out putting out a post a day for the workdays. I’m still not sure if this is sustainable – I’m running out of ideas, although I do get new ones, not THAT quickly. However, since I started out that way, I feel badly if I don’t post something each day Monday through Friday.
Maybe this is my own guilt issue, but I should probably (at some point) decide how often I’m going to post and make it happen. I missed last Friday, and that bothers me. I also have no idea how I’m going to handle summer (with the kids home) or vacations/etc.
I should plan this out before I get there.
So, what about you? Have you made these blogging mistakes? Other ones?
**********UPDATE (the original one) **********
I forgot the mistake that actually made me want to write this post (oops!). So, I’m adding number
12.) Not thinking about categories ahead of time
This is another non-planning issue. It’s a real pain to have to go back and add/change/remove categories for a whole bunch of posts. I just decided that 100 word pieces should be a category. Thankfully I only have a few right now, but it wasn’t any fun when I finally got the concept of categories and went back to all my posts to edit them. Save yourself the effort and plan this one out.