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10 Mistakes Bloggers Make - an unexpected list.

Carry-your-branding-everywhere
(photo above is McD viewed from the Seattle Space Needle: don't miss an opportunity to keep your brand front and center!)

Before bloggers even begin posting the first two mistakes in this list happen before the template has been chosen:

1. Permitting someone else to register the domain for you under that person's account.  This results in your NOT being the owner of your domain. There are four contacts in the domain registration.  When another company registers it your domain under their own account, you will not be listed as the owner, the billing or administrative contact.  The problem with this is that if you have a falling out with that person or company, or they close shop, you'll never get notification of when your domain is about to expire and you risk that your site will go down, including your mail.  In worse cases, your domain could be forward to another address without your knowledge or taken offline altogether maliciously if you have any conflicts.  You may also lose your domain and it can be very difficult to get it back.


SOLUTION: If you have someone else register it for you, be sure to request that they update the contacts to show you as the registrant, administrative and billing contacts. The agency can remain the technical contact.  That's a MUST.  Better yet, set up your own account with a domain registrant such as namecheap.com, godaddy.com, or hostgator.com  I'm not a fan of Register.com or NetworkSolutions.com – too difficult to make changes and talk to a human.  DOMAIN registration is NOT NAME server or WEB HOSTING.  They can all be at the same place, but you can also have your domain registered with one company, the site sits with another company and your name servers are somewhere else. (YouTube 5 minute video: learn the difference.)



2. You choose to host your blog with a company that has limited capabilities, or choose the free version of some blog service such as Google’s Blogger or WordPress.  The problems include: ads, limited customization options, inability to have your domain MAP to the blog. So instead of www.yourdomain.com, you end up with yourname.blogger.com, or yourname.wordpress.org. This is sloppy branding. You are working hard to build your brand; create your marketing materials to include a web address. It's clumsy to have such an obviously FREE domain.  You want it all to match and make a statement of quality. 


SOLUTION: Choose a hosted WordPress solution such as through Bluehost.com, FatCow.com or some of the others.  Don't know how to do this? Ask for help from your web solutions provider or the hosting company you select.

3. When you set up your blog site, you forgot or didn't know to change all of the default types of directories, usernames. 


SOLUTION: Do not use ADMIN or ADMINISTRATOR EVER as a username. You are completely vulnerable to hacking.  Also, have the directory for your blog within your hosting account be simply, / -- not wordpress/, not blog/ unless you are nesting a blog within an HTML site.  With the versatility of blog design, there is no need to have a static website AND a blog. Design them together to have them flow better.  If Admin, admin, Administrator is your username ANYWHERE – change it.  TODAY.

4. You don't have a theme for the content.  I'm not talking about the look; I'm referring to your mission message that is the common voice of your posts and company.  The shotgun approach to content isn't a way to build a loyal and growing audience.


SOLUTION: You want to become the EXPERT in your topics and EXPERT in your mission and philosophy.  If you blog about party games one day, sales strategies the next and then follow it up with a post at midnight about local events, what are you talking about all the time?  This is a time of quick hits and limited attention spans. Ideally people will look forward to your posts because they know it will be something of interest to them.  The TONE needs to be consistent.  There are very few newsletters/blog recaps that I look forward to, but the ones I do all have the same tone, such as http://www.cracked.com – irreverent, but interesting topics. Fast Company is another favorite.

5. Inconsistent posting times.  Just like the newspaper, the mail, morning coffee; people like routine – whether they admit it or not.


SOLUTION: Find out when your audience is most apt to be checking their inboxes for news. It may be early in the morning or just before bed.  There are time zones to consider if you have regional news to post.  Whatever you decide, stick to it. Post on Tues/Thurs at 9 a.m., or Mon/Wed/Fri at 4 a.m. You can schedule your posts, as well. They are indexed higher when you post them live, I've learned through Google Alerts. Post three times in a day so that your audience only receives one email for the week from you, if that's your preference.

6. You really don't have anything to say, yet you continue to post.  Why?  You lose the impact of your good posts if you are just posting to post. I'm guilty of this from time to time. 

SOLUTION: Be respectful of your audience's time and your own.  If you only post once a week, so be it.  Make it count. Make sure it is well written, timely, helpful, interesting.

7. Because you are the blogger, you think you need to be the editor. WRONG.

SOLUTION: Find someone you trust who can write a paragraph, knows your business and is perhaps, a marketing EXPERT. Leave it in draft form until they can view it and offer edits.  I've saved myself many embarrassing moments and produced a much clearer message by taking my ego out of having to do it all.  Align yourself with a few trusted people that are happy to help you edit. I pay for that service – happily.  It's hard to regard a writer as an expert when they have confusing sentences, typos, misused words and other sloppy errors.  You may only have one shot to make this person a loyal follower and perhaps a future client.

8. "Borrowing" images from google.com/images.  You're right – there is no borrowing. It's stealing. In this time of Pinterest, we are finally catching on to what ad agencies have known for over a century – the IMAGE is what grabs them long enough to stay a while longer and read your message.  We now rely on images; to pin them and add more content for the search engines.  But where did you get your image?  Did you search, right click, save and insert?  Please say, "No, I did not do that terrible thing."  Just because you find an image online, it is not yours to use without permission or purchase.  You may end up with an ugly email from the Getty1 goon squad demanding payment for that image of JFK that you just had to use. This can be as high as $10,000 depending on the image, how long it was in use and the size of the image.  Really! They can come after you.  There are teams of people around the world who search for photo stealers.


SOLUTION: GET AN ACCOUNT with istockphoto.com, shutterstock.com, veer.com or any of the others.  Buy Royalty Free images – then you can use them without worry, you can use them over and over. Another thought – take your own conceptual images, scenery, food shots – you may surprise yourself with how effective your own images can be when you are telling your own stories.

9. Abandoning your brand. Are you known as the company or author that always relates things to books or movies?  Are you the author who always tells personal stories and ties it to a business lesson?  Are you client advocate, the humorous writer, the fear-monger?  What is your brand? 

SOLUTION: If everything you do has ORANGE, make sure all of your images have ORANGE – think HubSpot.com and their Pinterest account.  They are BRANDED.  If everything you do always includes a recipe – do that.  If everything you do shocks people to attention with innovation – then write that way!  You recognize their style, their look and know it is from them.  (Side note: Be wary of using images of kittens and puppies.  The porn industry is on to this on Pinterest. They'll suck you into their despicable sites with one click of that cute pug puppy sitting in the hat.)  Stretch yourself beyond the trite with your image and content.

10. Are you verbose – do you nanner on and on? 

SOLUTION: Don't lose focus. Stay clear to your headline and message.  The first paragraph should sum it up and the following paragraphs should continue to support the message in the first paragraph. Once you get your 250 words written, make sure you actually need to keep writing.  Save the draft, walk away, and then come back later to review. You may be done. Put down the mouse – just walk away. Stop typing.

By: +Susan Finch
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