Pitfalls New Bloggers Should Avoid

You’ve followed your favorite blogs for years and are convinced you can do just as well. With nothing holding you back except for lingering insecurities, you’re prepared to try your hand at blogging. If you want the effort to turn into an enjoyable and possibly profitable hobby, there are things you’ll need to keep in mind as you get started.

Lifehack.org offers these recommendations for newbie bloggers:

* Don’t make it all about you. Maybe you’re a fascinating person and a lot of amazing things happen to you, but don’t expect others to instantly agree and flock to your online diary. Choose a topic others are interested in and stick to it.

* Don’t be too formal. You’re writing posts, not research papers, so be willing to bend conventional writing rules to stay conversational and approachable. Avoid large blocks of text and break things up into short, manageable chunks.

* Get social. Give readers a taste of your blog via social networks. A nominal amount of link-whoring is acceptable, but you’re better off enticing readers with your personality rather than commanding them to click on links.

Starting A Blog in 2012? Avoid These 7 New Blogger Blunders [Lifehack.org]

Comments

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  1. Cat says:

    * you’re unlikely to make more than a few dollars in Amazon gift cards blogging.

    So do it only because you WANT to.

    • kc2idf says:

      Indeed. I don’t even run ads on my blogs because they are only there as a hobby.

      • Cat says:

        I do, but it’s not my purpose in blogging. It is nice to see an occasional Amazon Gift Card for my time, and add to the ones I get moderating some forums that I would do for free anyway.

        Biggest purchase so far? Someone bought a big-screen TV and receiver. What a shock that was!

    • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

      Moistly true, although I do personally know some people making a full time living from it.

      Financially, it would make sense for me to shutter my site(s) and just do freelance writing in my spare time. It pays much better (a non-fun topic), and I end up turning down/delaying paying assignments so that I can work on fun stuff.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      exactly! i’m not going to get rich off my channel list but it’s fun to take something that started out as a word document for my friends and turn it into something useful for complete strangers.
      but man, i wish adsense paid out in smaller chunks than $100 only because it will probably be another several months before i see a check
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/catastrophegirl/6589269207

  2. kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

    Also:
    Have fun – Don’t get too bogged down in the requirements you set for your blog. Let the blog find its own path for a while.

    Don’t give up – You’ll probably have minimal traffic at first. It takes a while for Google (and other bloggers) to realize that you’re alive.

    I wrote this article a couple of years ago. It might be showing its age a bit, but might be useful to some people who are just starting out.

    http://www.thesoapboxers.com/10-tips-for-novice-bloggers/

  3. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    End your posts with a question to encourage discussion!

  4. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

    * Don’t ask inane questions at the end of every post. Eventually, the readers and commenters on the blog will start to make fun of it, and publicly shame you into never doing it again.

    • Cat says:

      Success!

    • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

      Okay, let’s not make every comment about this. It’s been said, now let’s leave it at that –I’m generally warning everyone that posting from here on out to make backhanded remarks won’t be acceptable.

      • Phil Villakeepinitrreal says:

        So give us fewer issues to make backhanded comments about. Simple things like accurate titles, basic proofreading, and fewer irrelevant articles. Don’t address the symptom by stifling the resulting posts, address the cause. Once you address the issues, the posts that result will go away on their own.

      • geetarz says:

        Not a very “consumer-friendly” reply. We all have experience with for example poor retailers who spend an excessive amount of time censoring the posts of unhappy customers on their discussion forums, rather than simply fixing the source of the problems. Do you really want to go down that road?

        Oh, and people are having a little bit of fun, if you are so thin-skinned, you may want a different line of work. My advice: there are decaf brands that taste as good as the real thing. Which brands do you prefer?

      • foofie says:

        Building a community of commenters, even one that’s partially based on tsking your foibles, is a pro tip for bloggers. We may be in the backseat making fun of the bus driver, but at least we’re on the bus every day.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

        What do you mean “every comment”? I see two comments about questions written less than a minute apart. And what do you mean “backhanded”? Larrymac’s comment is correct in that ending a post with a question IS a good way to encourage comments in a post. MY comment about those questions NOT being inane is also correct. I don’t mind questions. It’s when you have to do warm ups before writing one because you might pull a muscle making the stretch/leap to ask a question that bothers me, and apparently other readers/commenters on this site.

        • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

          I’m pretty sure she is referring to the fact that this Phil poking has been going on for more then just this post. I’m also pretty sure that you know that.

          I can understand pointing out typos and the like but, yeah, enough with the Phil pot shots. You can only make so many jokes about the questions at the end of the post (that DID inspire replies) before it’s just not funny. Oh wait. It’s already not.

          By the wording of your post you do not appear to have no problem with the aforementioned questions at the end of each post, just so you know.

          • JennQPublic says:

            I can NOT understand pointing out typos and the like. There is a proper way to point them out to the staff here- it’s mentioned in the Consumerist comment code, which is conveniently linked at the bottom of this page. It includes such gems as “stay on topic”. May I suggest you give it a quick re-read?

            • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

              Sure, you can make that suggestion, you can also go on and on about the good old days of consumerist when everyone is full of on topic joy and love and there was such great content in which your eyes filled with tears and filled your soul with fire.

              I’ve heard those comments before, I’ve seen the internet, there was never such a time. People who throw the off-topic stone, are, ironically, off topic themselves. While my comments may be odd, they are rarely completely off topic. I have never posted my mother’s snicker-doodle recipe in a post about how to do a charge back on your credit card.

              • JennQPublic says:

                There used to be a wider range of comment authors, some of whom were experts in relevant fields. But now, since a small group of people tend to post so many comments so quickly after every post goes up, those who have something useful to add either get relegated to the second page of comments (because they do not spend all day reloading Consumerist), or they don’t even bother, (rightly) knowing that their useful information will never be seen anyway.

                Maybe you really don’t notice how many posts end up clogged with you and your buddies’ chatter. I mean, I get it, hahaha, you are all so funny, and so clever, teehee. But I don’t come here because it’s a humor site, I come here for consumer news, and for comments about that.

                I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be rude, but this has bothered me for a long time. It’s frustrating to know that useful Consumerist information is being drowned out by inane banter. If you guys are just going to exchange one-liners, why not do it in chat somewhere? The rest of us don’t really need to see it.

                Note: I’m not talking about your legit contributions, I’m talking about the chatter. Just wish you would recognize the difference.

                • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

                  I would like to see the posts where truly helpful comments get swallowed up by “inane chatter.” You can view all comments by simply pressing “expand all” and read through them. No comments are voted up or down like other sites, therefore potentially burying comments simply based on popularity.

                • Cat says:

                  Part of the charm of Consumerist is the snarky chatter, and it’s a draw for a lot of people.

                  You mean we can’t be useful and have fun at the same time? Well, thanks a lot, Debbie Downer!

                • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

                  I may be a bit #latetothethread here, but you’re full of crap JennQPublic. Generally the chatter and banter back and forth between those of us who choose to do so is in a single subsection of the comments. You know that little plus on the left of the root of the comments that makes replies to it magically appear on your screen? Yes that one..

                  WHAT IT PROVES is that none of what we do pushes useful information off the first page of comments. So let’s pull that corn cob of self-righteousness out of your ass and start playing nice with the others.

              • Cat says:

                Could I get your mother’s snicker-doodle recipe?

                • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

                  1 cup butter, softened
                  1 cup granulated sugar
                  1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
                  2 large eggs
                  2 cups all-purpose flour
                  3/4 cup tapioca flour
                  1 teaspoon baking powder
                  1 teaspoon ground cloves
                  1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
                  1/2 teaspoon salt

                  Cinnamon & Sugar Coating:

                  2 tablespoons granulated sugar
                  2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

                  Directions:

                  1. Make the snickerdoodle dough: Cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl until fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until combined.

                  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, and salt. Gradually add the dry mixture to the butter mixture. Chill the dough for 1 to 2 hours.

                  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

                  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and ground cinnamon to make the cinnamon and sugar coating. Roll the chilled cookie dough into small balls (about 1-inch in diameter), then roll in the cinnamon and sugar coating. Place on ungreased baking sheets, 2-inches apart, and bake for 7 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.

            • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

              Yes, it’s mentioned in the comment code. Email the author. Luckily their email addresses have been scrubbed from the site. All we are left with is:

              Comments Moderator: EMAIL | AIM
              Media Inquiries: EMAIL
              Permissions: EMAIL

              Which one is for corrections?

        • JennQPublic says:

          Between the constant complaining about what Consumerist posts and how they post it, and the off-topic inane banter, the Consumerist comments section has gone way downhill. Comments like yours aren’t helping at all. :-(

        • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

          Please don’t respond to my request to keep comments relevant to the article and constructive (and yes, not thinly veiled criticisms of a particular editor’s style that have worn thin ages ago) by hijacking it further. SteveDave, if you are honestly not sure how to follow the comment code, email me and I’ll clarify it for you. Take this out of this thread.

      • JennQPublic says:

        Roz, I really wish you would disemvowel more comments. No one pays attention to the comments code anymore, and some days it seems like there are more junk comments than not. I know some people will get all butthurt about the ‘censorship’, but I’ll bet most of us would be delighted to see the comments section be more on-topic and less ‘Why is this on Consumerist’ and ‘You made a typo’ and ‘Insert completely off-topic witticism here’.

        This comment actually violates the comments code, so please feel free to start with me. :-)

      • Jules Noctambule says:

        If you’re going to make a blanket warning that you intend to punish people for violating, you might want to re-post it somewhere for everyone else to see. Buried in a multi-comment thread isn’t the best place for rules. PS: This is genuinely not intended to be back-handed or mocking, so please don’t take it in that spirit.

    • Cat says:

      You made Phil cry. You are a bad, bad man.

  5. Razor512 says:

    Wanted to add something for tech bloggers.

    Avoid writing reviews for products that you did not test.

    Also avoid writing review like post based on a press release.

    Avoid advertising. I have seen people post of forums asking for help on a blog and these are common mistakes.

  6. brinks says:

    * When you’ve run out of subject matter, post a list!

    • AK47 - Now with longer screen name! says:

      Screw original content. Just read other blogs you like, then paraphrase them on your own blog and add a link.

      Voila! Instant content.

  7. tinmanx says:

    I have a blog, but it’s mainly just a place for me to rant about random stuff so I can go back and see what I rant about later.

  8. Hawkeye says:

    It also helps to read, follow, and subscribe to other blogs. Bloggers appreciate new people reading and commenting on their posts and will take a look at your work. I got a lot more followers and subscribers that way, plus I found some interesting blogs to read.