Before you dive head-long into installing WordPress and broadcasting your new blog to the world, there are some things to keep in mind while creating it. Consider these tips for beginners, before creating & launching your new WordPress site.
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7 Mistakes Bloggers Make When
Starting Out on WordPress
Mistake #1: Using a Poor Layout or Design
One of the most important features of your blog is that it should be easy on the eyes. A clean layout without a lot of clutter (think poorly placed graphics or too many ads) makes for much happier readers.
With Google’s rules about websites having to be mobile “friendly” (i.e., websites that are optimized for any device, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops) it would be blogger suicide to go with a static theme and not a responsive theme. In fact in April of 2015, Google started penalizing any/all websites that weren’t mobile-friendly, as part of its new algorithm. So if your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, it won’t show be showing up in Google search engines as often.
And while there are plenty of free themes out there, not all are created equal. If you have the means to do so, buy yourself a theme! Our first theme was just $15 and I LOVED IT (so did you!). But as you all know, we recently re-launched our website and our entire business, so we HAD to grab a new theme (the one you’re experiencing now)!! This theme is called Oleander and at an inexpensive $49, it’s still the most I’ve ever spent on a WordPress Theme. Guess what, it was totally worth it! People have been clicking on the link above and buying it for themselves, then emailing me with requests for setting up their new theme (I do offer this service, just let me know if you’d like some help getting this theme to look like the Demo, this site or all yours). This site is fully customizable with an enhanced User Experience like you wouldn’t believe.
Mistake #2: Forgetting to Use An SEO Plugin
If your blog doesn’t show up in a search engine, then your traffic will suffer a fate worse than death (okay, that’s an overstatement but no SEO means no traffic which equals no revenue). Try the top free SEO plugins such as All-in-One SEO or Yoast to help you craft SEO friendly posts and pages.
Another great plugin, although a paid one, is Squirrly SEO. It sits right in your post editor page, guiding you in making your post human friendly as well as providing an on-screen keyword research tool. While you can get it for free, the paid version is well worth the money.
Mistake #3: Not Utilizing Social Media Sharing Buttons
Share, share, share…and share some more! But there are so many apps and plugins to choose from. I’ve always been a huge fan of SumoMe apps BUT as of late, they started charging for ANY integration with email providers and once free/amazing list of marketing plugins just keeps dwindling. Fortunately, I recently discovered that BluChic had their own Social Share buttons (free and lovely!), including a specific plugin just for showcasing your Instagram photos (usually in the footer area of your website, like I have chosen but you can put them anywhere).
This plugin allows a new reader that stops by my site to see who I am “behind the scenes” with my family, enjoy my (beautifully branded) inspirational quotes and there’s a follow button to my IG account right at the bottom. This way if a new reader isn’t ready to commit to my email list just yet, they can easily chose to stay “in touch” by literally keeping an eye on me and the goings on of Alegria’s Muse!
Mistake #4: Turning Your Sidebar Into a Hall Closet
Don’t put just anything in your sidebar or at least, use it as a place to put stuff that you otherwise wouldn’t know where to put it. This goes hand-in-hand with Mistake #1 and can cause your blog to appear “messy” (you’ll want to keep things organized to stay sane!) for lack of a better term. Your sidebar is a good place to show off your featured content, social sharing buttons, as well as any advertising (try not to overload it though). You can also use it for your newsletter sign-up form as well as a little blurb about yourself.
Mistake #5: Using Bad Images/No Images
If you’re not using images in each of your posts, even if it’s just a featured image, you’re losing out on a lot of readership. Not only do people love visual content, but your Pinterest posts need them to get any sort of traction across that platform. And as I’ve said before, Pinterest is THE #1 traffic generating search engine for Bloggers. Better than Google, it will get eyeballs on your content, so it makes sense to give the platform what it wants….IMAGES!! There are plenty of places to find free stock photo images and if you’re at all good with a camera, you can take your own photos too. If you have the means to go the extra mile, you really should pay for premium stock photo images. One of my favorite places to use is Stocksnap.io which has a weekly email option so you don’t even have to think about finding new visual content!
Mistake #6: Not Updating Your Site With Fresh Content
When you update your blog, you’re doing two things: providing new, juicy content for your readers and providing search engines with “pings” letting them know your blog is alive and well. These pings help drive traffic to your blog, so it’s in your best interest to keep up with your posts! Your readers will also know that you’re actively involved in your blog and they’ll want to “stay tuned” for more great content!
Mistake #7: Installing Unnecessary Plugins
I admit I’m somewhat guilty of this, but I’m getting better (promise!). Plugins that are not being used should be deactivated and uninstalled if you do not plan on using them again. Why? The unused ones, especially the ones that are still active, can slow down your website because of the massive amount of resources required to run them. Also, pages that take too long to load can be frustrating, right? Long page loads also tend to drive the average person (who is usually impatient) away from your website.