1. Crafting cute, clever or confusing headlines (or really bad ones)
Your headline is going to appear in many places. At the top of your
In search engine page results…
And subject lines.
The goal of the headline is to stop readers cold and draw them into your
post. You can’t do that if you use cute, clever or confusing headlines.
You can stop readers cold, however, if you write headlines that are unique,
ultra-specific, useful or urgent. Here are a few examples:
As you can see, headlines can share multiple U qualities. The best ones
2. Never linking to old posts
In the example above I linked to four older posts of mine. I did that for
They helped me prove my point.
Those links drive traffic to those older posts…giving them new life.
Those links contain keywords I want to rank high with.
Links are one of the best ways to direct Google spiders through your
Just because you’ve published a post doesn’t mean you should forget about
it. Each post is a valuable asset in which you can give new life to with each
3. Never linking to other bloggers
A long time ago I wrote a post without any links. It was an important
topic…I was busy and just wanted to get the post out. I actually intended to go
back and put in links when I had more time.
However, an influential blogger who had started reading my posts commented
almost immediately. He said, “Don’t you want others to join the
I immediately went back and put in links.
The value in linking out to other bloggers is three-fold:
You draw others into the conversation – By linking to
others opens yourself up to discussing the topic at hand. This allows you to
listen and trade ideas with others, learning things you didn’t know
before you started…and creating relationships.
You give credit where credit is due – If you write
something that is based on an idea that you got from somewhere else, you
must link to that blogger. Its proper manners on the web.
You get the authority juice – Inbound
links no doubt have high impact on your search rankings. But so do outbound
links…especially if you are linking to authority sites.
4. Forgetting to fill out your page title and description fields
You’ll screw any chances of your post ranking if you forget to fill out the
page title and description fields for each post.
That meta data is critical to search engines crawling and indexing your
site. And when you use keywords properly, it tells those spiders what the page
is all about.
To make life easier on you, use a plug in like All-in-One
SEO pack. In WordPress you’ll see this form at the bottom of each post:
If you want to give your post a fighting chance in the SEO landscape, then
you have to include recognizable words in your URL. This means keywords,
Here are a few approaches you can use when it comes to URLs:
Listen: one of the keystone elements to successful blogging is consistent
content. In fact, in one study HubSpot proved
that the more you blog the more traffic you will get.
But ask any blogger, doing that over time and the well will eventually run
dry. That’s why there are so many blog posts about creativity and overcoming
writer’s block. Bloggers need a ton of ideas!
That’s when the temptation to copy what other bloggers write comes in. (By
the way, scrapers are shameless plagiarizers.) But there is no faster way to
kill a post and ruin your reputation than to plagiarize.
7. Publishing less than one post per month
Okay, I understand that you are very busy…and that churning out one blog
post a month is not easy. But really, the less you post, the less chance your
newest post has any chance at gaining traction.
That one blog post every two months is about as good as not blogging at
As I mentioned above, the more frequently you post, the more traffic you are
going to get. That traffic eventually slows and then dies when you stop
Besides, if Google comes back to your site to check for more content and
doesn’t find any…it will back off and it may be a long
time before the spiders come back…which sucks for your newest post.
8. Writing big blocks of copy
I understand the author isn’t writing for mobile. He’s writing for Mashable.
But the same rules that apply for mobile marketing copy…well, pretty much
apply across the web.
Writing short paragraphs is a basic
blog post writing law. Just like simple words and short sentences. Resort to
long blocks of copy and you are stacking the deck against your blog
9. Zero presence on any social media platforms
was the only game in town (see points 3 and 4 in that article I linked
to)…well, all you really had to do was blog. There weren’t other social media
sites you could leverage like Twitter, Facebook or Google+. That has all changed.
Hopefully you are on these sites (especially
Google+)…and hopefully you are being strategic
about how you use these social sites to promote your content. Every post you
publish needs a boost from your social media presence.
10. Never inviting readers to leave comments
A post without comments is like that abandoned house down the end of your
street…creepy and not to be trusted.
Of course if you are just launching a blog, it may be a few weeks before you
get your first comment. But follow all the steps above and that comment will
You also have to encourage people to comment. That’s why I end every post I
write with a question:
I do this on my blog and every guest post I write.
You will also get comments when you write detailed posts on advanced topics.
You may cover a complicated issue that needs a little more explaining…or
somebody wants to know how you did something.
That’s okay…you want that.
In the end, good comments give your post proof that people find what you are
writing about valuable. And the more comments the better. It’s social
proof in action.
11. Writing about a topic nobody cares about
It’s this simple: your post will fall flat on its face if you do not write
about what your audience cares about.
The same is true if you try to write about a topic that somebody else is
already doing a good job writing about. For example…
If you want to write about online copywriting…then you have to do a better
job than Copyblogger.
Perhaps SEO is up your alley. If that’s the case, then you have to square
off with the likes of Search
Engine Land or SEOmoz.
Don’t get me wrong…it can be done. Every single one of those blogs
started small. But it takes a lot of work, which brings me to my last point.
12. Giving up
In a wonderful post about 21
Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic, Rand Fishkin ends with the tactic of being
consistent. He points out that the SEOmoz blog, his personal blog and his wife’s
popular Everywhereist blog didn’t
really take off until two years had gone by.
Sadly, most people quit about nine months in.
Blogging is hard work…and commitments like job, family or other reasons can
overtake your blog. That happens. This is why it is so important to count the
costs before starting a blog…because in the end giving up on your blog will kill
every post you’ve ever written…and success will not come.
None of what I shared…except the part about social media presence and
Google+…is probably new to you. But it’s true…and it has been for years, which
means it’s probably not a bad idea to follow, right?
Fortunately, blogging is a level playing field…so anybody can apply the
basics and succeed. I mean, if you want a blog that grows year after year…you
have to start with the basics…namely, writing a killer blog post. And do that
non-stop. That’s it.
What are some other things that people do that kill blog