Avoid My Blog Mistakes
If you are new to blogging and you wish to be found – I can tell you one thing that will scare a visitor off quicker than anything is to have a site that looks unfinished, disorganized, and broken. Then to make it worse? If you don’t have a Game Plan (Business Plan) to figure out what you are going to do once you start blogging your going to be hosed.
No Game Plan
If you have some sort of idea of what you want to do, or even better a thorough Business Plan to map and outline what you are planning to do — GREAT! If not?
The downside is if you do not have a Game Plan and just go willy nilly like I did you too could suffer the following:
- Accidentally no-index your entire site thus blacking you out from internet search engines. I’m still recovering from that as I was just starting to receive traffic to my site.
- My site is in a constant state of flux as I had to test out plugins/changes “on the fly” which is a huge no-no.
- Have a sloppy mess that will detract visitors instead of enticing them to visit your site.
- Even though I had all these great ideas – they are all over the map and not focused in any general direction.
Site Under Construction
I originally created this as your usual “Site Under Construction” posts you see on thousands of sites on the intarweb. But it is my hope if I reach at least ONE person and help them avoid the goofs I’ve made? Then my job is done.
Nothing will scare a user off faster than seeing the dreaded “Site Under Construction”. My suggestion? Make sure your site is 100% up, working, functional, and COMPLETE before releasing it into the wilds. Your first impression is the most important. If you want return visitors then having a site that is finished is the first step toward that goal.
Hire A Professional?
I know were all on a budget these days. And if you are thinking of becoming a serious blogger or have a product you want to sell/market? I highly suggest hiring a professional. Even though this can be a huge outlay in cash – you will get a professional looking site, and a GOOD service will not only design your site but assist you with Marketing and SEO.
There are alternatives to hiring a professional to at least get you half way there. And that is to purchase a Premium WordPress theme. Look for those that offer personal customer support – so your not only paying for the theme, but the customer service as well. This is a lot cheaper alternative – but you will still need to work on getting yourself known out there by yourself.
But… if your like me, broke, and stubborn… You could always
Do It Yourself
I’m not a web designer – and it definitely shows (though I think it’s improving?). If you aren’t great at design, coding, or anything dealing with the “under the hood” aspects of WordPress or the web in general? I’ll reiterate – I’d highly suggest hiring a professional and save yourself a lot of headaches.
I decided to go with the The Thesis Theme for WordPress by diythemes.com. It is completely 100% awesome! I get the control I wanted from my website and the ability to theme and change the site to my vision.
Oh.. and I won’t – why? Because I’m stubborn and I like learning. So I’ll take the hit and hopefully recover lol!
Sandbox / Development Sub-Domain
So your still going to do it your self? Bravo! I commend you on learning how to code, create graphics, figure out type settings, how to work with the tools you’ll need to do all this, figure out hosting, and how to install WordPress, Widgets, Plugins etc… (Scary Stuff eh?)
I beg all of those thinking of going this route? GET A SANDBOX! This means you need to either create a subdomain on your host and install a copy of your blog on there or have some sort of local copy you can work with. This way you can test, change, and generally break your test copy instead of your live blog.
Scary Stuff Eh?
And if this all seems a bit daunting and scary? It isn’t really. It’s just a lot to learn. There are a million resources on the web on how to get started. Not to mention hosting services are usually quite helpful on how to do all of this.
Feel free to leave me a comment below if you need some help. If I can’t help you – I can at least try and point you in a direction of someone better who can. Also I’ve provided some helpful links to help you get started. So good luck my fellow bloggers – you aren’t alone!
Lastly.. if you have any additional tips you’d like to provide – please do comment! Your input matters!
SBA.gov – How to get started with Writing a Great Business Plan
W3.org – What is HTML / CSS
WordPress.org – What is WordPress and how to get started.
WordPress – Hosts to Choose From
The Thesis Theme for WordPress – Provided by diythemes.com – If you want complete control and don’t mind learning – I’d highly suggest purchasing this! (yes, this is an affiliate link)