1. Choosing an uninteresting or redundant blog name.
If you are starting a blog, whether you think you might be in it for the long haul or not, please consider your title seriously. Try to avoid words like musings, ramblings, thoughts, mommy, etc. Trust me when I tell you it’s been done. Your goal should be to set yourself apart from the crowd. Choose something reflective of your personality and niche, but be creative.
Some things to think about when naming your blog:
- Is the title flexible? Does it allow you to grow your niche if you decide to? For instance, if you are starting a mommy blog and your title is My Pregnant Belly, what happens when you’re still blogging in 18 months and you’re no longer pregnant? The entire focus of your blog has changed, but your title hasn’t and it no longer reflects your topic.
- Does the title reflect the blog’s topic? Your title is a great way to increase your SEO if you choose your words carefully to reflect your blogging niche.
- Does the title match your domain name? Your URL should match your blog’s name. It’s terribly confusing and hard to remember if your blog is called The Nelson Three but the URL is maxlovespie.blogspot.com. They are totally unrelated.
2. Not owning your domain name.
Your domain name is the URL, or address, of your blog. For example, yourblogname.com or yourblogname.net. There are several reasons to own your domain:
- It’s less than $10/year to own your domain and it’s an incredibly easy process.
- It’s easy for your readers or new contacts to remember your blog’s name & how to find it.
- As you build your blog, you build your brand. Your URL is an important part of that branding.
- Like it or lump it, people take you more seriously if you own your own domain name and use a .com or .net URL.
When you buy your domain name, it’s best to buy the .com and the .net. Most people are used to typing in the .com, but the .net is a close second. If, for some reason, you can’t secure the .com, go with the .net.
3. Your header is huge.
Digital scrapbooking is wildly popular and I understand that. However, blogging is not digital scrapbooking. I see so many blogs (particularly mommy blogs) that have a header that takes up most of the homepage. The reader has to scroll down several times just to get to the content. In a book you have a title page; on a blog you have a title bar. The title bar should be visible and eye-catching, but it is not the thrust of your blog. Keep it simple and small. Focus on your content.
4. Not considering privacy issues.
It’s important to consider how transparent you want to be online. It’s impossible to tell whether your blog will take off or not. If you’re insanely popular in a year, do you want people to know your child’s real name or where you live? For some people out there, it’s a game to see if they can figure out specific, private things about your family or your life. It’s creepy and it can be dangerous. I say this not to scare you, but to make you aware of the problems that can occur when you give too much to your audience.
On a lighter note, if you write about your family or personal life, you may wish to use pseudonyms. As you choose these names be aware that your baby is going to grow up. Calling them SweetPumpkin on your blog isn’t going to go over well when they’re old enough to know you’re writing about them and have a pet name for them. I called my children Max and Wild Thing (after characters in my favorite children’s book). As my second child grew older, she took exception to being called Wild Thing and insisted I change her name. You’ve been warned.
5. Allowing blogging to become a chore.
When you begin your blog, you have the energy and the ideas for fifty posts. You have a shiny new toy and you’re ready to jump in with both feet. I say harness that energy and write those posts. Then put those posts on auto-publish and give yourself a break. As you write more posts, add them to the queue. If you only write your posts the day before, you may end up (as so many of us have) resenting the fact that you have to write a post or you’ll lose your readership (which isn’t really true). Finally, remember that blogging isn’t life. Many a blogger has found that she’s so wrapped up in blogging her life that she forgets to focus on the people in her life. Step back every once in a while and take stock of how things are going. Adjust as necessary. If you’re hitting a wall and can’t think of anything to write, allow yourself to take a break (just don’t apologize for it when you come back).