This guest post is by Clay Morgan of ClayWrites.com.
Are you unintentionally killing your blog?
When I started my first blog in early 2009, I knew absolutely nothing. I just thought a website might give me a place to write some stuff. And my complete lack of planning and strategy showed.
So a few months ago, I killed my old blog and started over.
It was a conscious decision and a good one at that. Lessons from past mistakes are so helpful. I’ve still got a ton to learn but I’m enjoying my new life as a blogger.
This post is about many of the mistakes we make that kill us in this medium. We can scare readers and potential subscribers off in a number of ways, most of which I am unfortunately familiar with.
Blogs with poor design and execution can turn ugly in a hurry—they’re more frightening than a horror movie, you could say. I actually like scary monsters, but I don’t want to come off as one on the internet.
I’ve been preoccupied with the undead for a while now because a) I’ve liked zombies ever since I saw Scooby-Doo and Michael Jackson’s Thriller as a kid and b) my new book called Undead just came out.
You may notice a bit of a theme in this list of six personalities to take on if you want to fail at blogging.
The vampire blogger
Vampire bloggers suck the life out of everyone they encounter. They take but rarely give, and offer little value—let alone anything free.
We all know self-promotion is part of the blogging game. As a new author I’m more painfully aware than ever of the struggle to balance the need for self-promotion with the importance of providing value for readers. But if you take a selfish, “me-first” attitude, then your online career will be in its twilight faster than Dracula can flap his cape.
The zombie blogger
The content of zombie bloggers is stale and rotting. In other words, nothing is ever updated or even really analyzed. Do you recognize your evergreen content and touch it up to maximize reader experience?
Some bloggers seem to crave 404 errors like the living dead crave brains. Don’t let your site fester! Get that thing checked out and always be tweaking and studying your results.
The ghost blogger
Ooh, those spooky ghost bloggers can hardly even be found anywhere on their own site. I’m not talking about ghost writers who write blogs under other names, but people who fail to maintain any real presence on their own sites.
New posts are residue that sometimes appears but traces of who made them are hard to find. Ghost bloggers don’t even seem to appear with substantive feedback of any kind in the comment sections. Not that a response to every comment is necessary, but communities eventually need a leader to rally around.
Visitors to your site shouldn’t feel like they’re walking around a haunted house calling out to see if anyone is there, but only hearing creaking sounds with every click. Stay on a consistent posting schedule, because if you vanish, so will your readers.
The mummy blogger
Mummy bloggers should not be confused with mom bloggers who are generally happier than the undead, and live much cleaner linens.
Ancient Egyptians removed most organs from the dead during the embalming process but they always left the heart, which they considered to be a person’s core, emotional seat, and mind.
Has the heart been ripped out of your blog? Does passion come through in what you do? The easiest way to be boring is to be bored. If you don’t care, then neither will readers.
The werewolf blogger
Aooowwwwoooo! Since we just mentioned passion and emotion, make sure that you don’t go to the other extreme, act like a werewolf, and surrender to a raw, unchecked appetite.
Werewolf bloggers hold nothing back, even when they really should. The web is filled with tales of meltdowns by bloggers, authors, customer service reps and more that buried their reputations this way. Baring your fangs and snapping at people is never good. If someone offends you or your beliefs it’s critical to react in the right way.
The Frankenstein blogger
Frankenstein bloggers just piece together content without any continuity. I was guilty of this for a long time myself.
These bloggers never think about branding. My current tagline of “pop culture, history, & the meaning of life” might still not seemed focused enough for some, but it’s exactly who I am, and describes what I will always write about whether in future blog posts or books.
Frankenstein bloggers are also responsible for those unsightly content-farm sites with keyword-bloated, rambling posts buried amidst a graveyard of useless and broken ads. In other words, it ain’t so pretty. Keep that up and readers will come after you with pitch forks and torches!
The last thing we want to do is run off visitors who take the time to read our work. Learn from the mistakes of undead bloggers and inject new life into your blog.
Can you see yourself in any of these descriptions? Let your skeletons out of the closet in the comments!
Clay Morgan (@UndeadClay) is a writer, teacher, and speaker from Pittsburgh, PA who blogs about pop culture, history, and the meaning of life at ClayWrites.com. He is the author of Undead: Revived, Resuscitated, and Reborn about zombies, God, and what it means to be truly alive.