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The Undead Guide to Killing Your Blog

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.

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Comments

  1. Synth Ninja says:

    I was a werewolf blogger once. Got threatened with a lawsuit and everything. Good times.

  2. Hi Clay,

    Very interesting post, So among all those types of bloggers listed above, which one is the best and the most recommended? I would have chosen the Ghost Bloggers, but the issue of not attending to your own blog pisses me off.

    Thanks for the post.

  3. I love this. I am doing the same thing right now. I am bored with my own blog so it is time to revamp it.

  4. Anabelle says:

    Ha, see? I’m not the only one. According to “expert” bloggers, “Read, Write, Live” is too vague, but no, it’s really what I talk about–books, writing and living a fulfilling life. Thanks for making me feel not too alone in this world.

    • Clay Morgan says:

      Thanks Anabelle. I think a lot of organizations as well as individuals are known for a lot of products/services/ideas/etc… Your tagline makes sense and means something. Our three topics may each seem large, but if we combine them all the time then we are creating something unique, a tasty stew to those who love such things.

  5. Grieg says:

    really good points,
    i agree with you all the way!

  6. Some blogs really are ‘monster’ously boring! I like to find those that have relevant and topical information that I can learn from personally to help improve my own online business. Bloggers who have an individual and unique style to their expressing are so much more enjoyable to read I think. Bought content is quite often used on some blogs and detracts from a certain freshness in many cases. A great blog needs to stand out from the crowd or risk being buried with a growing list of others in the cemetery archives of the unread ….. Or should that be ‘undead’? (cue sinister laughter).

  7. Mi Muba says:

    A well weaved article both idea wise and expression wise. I would add another type of blogger here i.e the buckblogger the one who always talk about money, he or she starts with money continue with money and ends with money. Rest of the effective blogging requirements become secondary consideration for him or her. What he or she gets in return? No money, no money and no money.

    • Clay Morgan says:

      Thanks Mi Muba. I would probably put that type of person under vampire or selfish blogger. Basically someone who never considers value for their audience.

  8. mad.madrasi says:

    I guess I fall into the Frankenstein blogger category. Write about everything and anything – time to think whether to kill off the blog :-(

    • Clay Morgan says:

      Frankenstein blogs aren’t necessarily a bad thing depending on your goals. Many people simply want to chronicle life and there is nothing wrong with that. The target audience then becomes people who are interested in your life. If you do want to take blogging in a professional direction then maybe consider killing the blog but don’t be down! It may be a great, rejuvenating thing to do.

      • mad.madrasi says:

        thanx. Thinking it over the weekend and taking off on your ‘monster’ ideas – instead of killing my blog, maybe I should do a ‘hydra’ blog. You know segregate the posts into 3 or 4 ‘main’ topics and split them off into a separate blogs on their own, leaving the present one for all miscellaneous.

        Like a Hydra losing 1 head and growing 2 instead. Only this case it could be 3 or 4.

  9. Jan Bierens says:

    That reminded me of my earlier experiments. Like you said, we learn from them, but in retrospect I could say i was more of a taker than a giver. Now I have changed that, the whole blogging experience became more natural and consistent.
    Sometimes one is ‘forced’ to start over, for instance when the target audience changes due to a business change. For fun blogging consistency and quality is key. Not saying that I master those qualities both…

    • Clay Morgan says:

      We all face the challenge of vampire blogging, taking more than we give. Nothing wrong with starting over too, and you’re right–any number of circumstances may make it a smart thing to try.

      • Jan Bierens says:

        I started over once and it brought me nothing but good so far. “Lessons learned” and a good experience. Thanks for the response, Clay.

  10. Victoria says:

    Great post – very creative. I love how you added a touch of Halloween to your post. It is hard to get started as a new blogger. I almost gave up and started focusing on my Technology degree, when I noticed people coming to my page, it is an exciting moment for sure. I try to post several times a week which can be challenging with 5 children homeschooling 3 of them, and being full-time college students. Again, thank you for an uplifting twist on blogging. best wishes!

    • Clay Morgan says:

      Thanks Victoria and wow! You have your hands full. Even with three years experience and a lot of online connections starting over has been challenging. But I love it. If you don’t love it then that’s when I would questions whether it’s worth it or not. As for posting schedules, you can do a lot with 3 posts a week and they don’t have to be more than 500 words. Play around with it and maybe try writing all your posts for a week in one block of time if you can get 2-3 hours.

  11. Clay, love your style man… The Frankenstein blogger cracked me up! So true though. And there are a great number of vampire bloggers out there, just wanna suck your blood (money) right out of the visitors with no emotion.

    Been guilty of being a Zombie blogger… would go months becasue there was not much to chat about without turning into a Vampire blogger. Getting better at it… yup.

    • Clay Morgan says:

      Thanks Greg! This post was fun to write. I’ve been a zombie blogger too for sure. All we can do is get a little better every day.

  12. Great analogies Clay and yes, I do admit I have been a bit of a ghost at times when life has got in the way of what I wanted to do on the blog. There is no doubt that if visitors sense tumbleweed blowing around a blog they are unlikely to be a regular visitor.

    Many thanks for your new take on the sometimes unworldly world of the average blogger.

    • Clay Morgan says:

      Thanks Tony. I had a crushing deadline to finish my book this past January then again in March. My old blog definitely had some tumbleweeds! But you’re right about priorities, and sometimes a blogging hiatus is necessary or even wonderful. Nothing wrong with that as long as we communicate what is going on and why.

  13. Shelby Roth says:

    I agree with you. Every beginner at least knows nothing about blogs and everything sounds a burden! I was also a victim and it interests me that you really knocked on the head. Making an every day trial without giving up is all I came to realize helped me find things interesting and all good. Thanks a lot for sharing; I love your site contents, very inspiring!

  14. Amazing post clay. I really loved the ideas with the three bloggers; the vampire, the ghost, the werewolf. I think they really work under the same roof and could make your blog somehow attention-grabbing and really unique. I really can’t choose one out of the three even though with ghost, the issue of not attending to your own blogs gets me out! Anyway, your site contents are completely charming and I love the idea, thanks!

  15. I so love your guest post clay! I have to agree with you on the ghost blogger point. It is good to make your identity known for your readers; this will keep them coming back for more if they were intrigued by your post. Thanks for the good info.

    • Clay Morgan says:

      Thanks Tabetha. It’s frustrating when you really enjoy something someone has written and you can’t even find them to say so!

  16. Glynis Jolly says:

    Great post for this time of year. Also the content is relative to what many people are complaining about these days. I know that I am doing some things wrong but I can see where I fall into one of your categories here. I’m have to keep on searching.

  17. Dave says:

    A very nice post. In my early beginnings, that is, around 2009 I had a few zombie blogs and at least one vampire blog. This is really the best classification one could make! :)

  18. Victor Steel says:

    I haven’t faced such kind of problem with my blog but though its good piece of information and I will keep in mind from today itself.

  19. @ThatGuyKC says:

    Congrats, Clay. Way to be a guest post feature.

    The various undead/monster blogs had me rolling and thinking about what to avoid with my own blog. Good work.

  20. Sudhir says:

    interesting facts.
    Keep up the good work.

  21. Cracking blog. Really on the money and made me smile. Can’t wait to share it!

  22. Keisha D. says:

    Ahh I’m so guilty of being a Frankenstein blogger. Now I think I need to kill my blog. It’s only a year old but want to start a new one. Damn.

    • Clay Morgan says:

      As I said earlier Keisha, Frankenstein blogs can work depending on what your goals are. But if you do decide to blow it up and start over you might be reenergized with a new focus.

  23. Hi Clay.

    I’m not sure what kind of blogger I am. You probably would have better objective insight since you I’ve known you for a long time. I try to give credit to fabulous bloggers whose writing I love. I try to keep things fresh. I love writing, and I’m still doing it after 3 years.

    Now I’m realizing that I wished I killed myself off and resurrected myself the way you did.

    I could have used that time to complete my book.

    I am the juggling blogger. Not quite a monster, but definitely always scrambling to post.

    I need to take the leap into self-hosting but I’m terrified of losing all my readers.

    Ahhhhhhhhhh! :-)

    • Clay Morgan says:

      Simple Renee, you’re a good blogger. The self-hosting leap is a big decision, and we know so many people who are in that same spot as you. I say do it now rather than later if it’s going to happen. If those readers are reading and really with you then they’ll follow. Plenty of ways to let them know what’s happening. The people I “lost” must not have really been paying attention to me, so I didn’t really have a connection anyway.

  24. Melissa Ng says:

    Ha! Very cleverly written. Fun and memorable!

    My blog still hasn’t launched yet. Hopefully it won’t stay a “Coming Soon” landing page forever.

    If it does, I guess that would just make me non-existent…nope, don’t want that.