Top 5 mistakes i did when i started blogging

Hi All – I have a question. When you compare your early days of blogging to what you are today – Is there anything that you wish, you hadn’t done?

I started blogging just an year back and today when i look back, there are certain things that i wish i shouldn’t have done. I won’t call them mistakes – but rather “Experiences”, because those are the things that taught me a lesson or two.

1 – I should’ve selected the template with care.

I was looking for free blogger templates and as and when i came across one, i picked it up almost instantaneously.I did not check for cross-browser compatibilities, I did not even check if the comments link is working, I didn’t check if the columns(it was a three column template) are all placed well at different resolutions. And heck, i didn’t even check as to how big and ugly the code was.
All that mattered to me was the look. And somehow in my browser(FF), it looked all good. But not to everyone – i received emails from my friends (i didn’t even have a good number of reader’s at that time) saying that the columns are all over the place. Thanks to them, i started to tweak the code but in vain, there were certain things that i could not get away with – I was done! One fine day i decided to change the template once and for all -hah! what a relief, that’s the template I’m using right now.

2 – I shouldn’t have worried about the traffic or monetization.

All that mattered was quality. Quality of the posts and how frequently you delivered them but instead i worried about traffic, incoming links, page rank and as you guessed i had a not-so good in shape blog. Later, i managed to get over the “reputation” thing and concentrated only on my posts and their quality. I managed to make it fairly OK, i must admit.

3 – I should have interacted more with the blogosphere.

As you may already know, even if you have a fantastic blog, it’s not going to attract people if you are unknown to them.
When i started blogging, i did not spend even half of the time i spend today for interacting with bloggers. I was too busy tweaking and posting. Later, as i read from other professional bloggers,(though hesitantly), i started to interact with other bloggers and that’s when i realized that this phenomenon called blogging could be more fun and learning hand in hand, and not boring as it used to be.Today, i have an entire list of readers with whom i share ideas, get feedback, ask opinion etc and it’s truly amazing to know people. Study them and you have answers to your questions most of the time.

4 – Linking more.

Though i thought that i was writing great articles, others didn’t think so. They might have, but they didn’t tell me may be. I never linked to other blogs. I only linked to wikipedia, Google products etc.Honestly, i thought that linking to others may bring down my chances of ranking high on Google. I was wrong.Linking to others will only help you get appreciated by friends and readers. It also creates and urge for “invisible readers” to react – so that they make sure that you note them, and one day you link to them too. After all, everybody wants to be in the loop.

5 – Keyword research.

I would say it’s my impulsive nature that made me write articles. When ever i came across a rubbish or an excellent product or a service – i used to get excited, because it’s the passion in you – and i wrote articles based on it. Sometimes it used to be products, sometimes a blogger’s comments, or an article on a news site. Although it satisfied me,ti could not generate much traffic because, what i wrote was interesting to me, my wife and my friends (i guess) only. Had i done some keyword research, i could’ve picked up some interesting topics from the most searched keywords on Google and written articles that created traffic.I didn’t -i struggled to get the traffic.

I doubt if anyone would agree to me on the above points, but this is the truth – just what happened to me. It could happen to young bloggers too, and I’d like to nudge them, make them aware that these are the things that could get you carried away. To sum up, my advice to young bloggers who pursue a successful career in blogging (do i sound like a brag – boy ???) is to- Select your platform wisely – be it wordpress or blogger, pick a cool template and forget it. your viewers get a bad idea about you when you keep changing the template every week. you can tweak, that’s improvisation but make sure you have a template that you are likely to use for a long time.

- Don’t worry over traffic or money, believe me those are things that’s proportional with the quality time you spend on your blog. The more the quality, the more the time – the more the return. you should forget about it totally – and concentrate on the articles you write, how appealing they could be.Everything else, fame and money will follow.

– Interact with people
, talk to them, get their ideas, study it, brood over them, try to implement them, pull off what you can’t – get on with others.Find your fan, find your critic. It will help a lot in self analyzing you at least, expel some wrong notions you cultivated about yourself and your blog.

- Link more with others, it’s a way of telling them that you appreciate their work(even thought you criticized). So link, get linked, exchange links, don’t panic about the google algorithm or the page-rank.

- Do a bit of research.Yes you should follow your heart, write about things that you are passionate about, but also make sure you are not losing the platform. See what’s happening around you, what people are searching, write about it, contradict, agree and do all that.Mix it with the topics you are passionate about. It will take you a long way in getting quality traffic.

P.S - I’m not trying to be a brag-boy or a “professional blogger” here, just trying to share my experience with young bloggers – hope it helps.

About the Author

I'm an Internet Enthusiast basically. Today am SEO to an UK based stock photography agency. I blog, i review, i live the internet, and yes..am a dad.

hem acharya - May 14, 2007

All that mattered was quality. Quality of the posts and how frequently you delivered them but instead i worried about traffic, incoming links, page rank and as you guessed i had a not-so good in shape blog. Later, i managed to get over the “reputation” thing and concentrated only on my posts and their quality. I managed to make it fairly OK, i must admit.

that true

Sourav.S - May 14, 2007

Great Post Mani…I think these things would really help me…

Thnx :)

Keith Dsouza - May 14, 2007

I agree with you many people tend to make such mistakes when they start blogging.

I too have made these mistakes, but with the second chance I have made sure not to do that

Denise Olesky - May 14, 2007

What you said about the look of the site is very true. I started blogging three months ago and I'm on my 3rd look. I took more time this time in selecting what I want and am hoping that now I can concentrate on writing :) Thanks for the advice.

Stephen Welton - May 14, 2007

If there are tips to implement right away I think these are them!

Your giving and helpful nature shines through.

Since I have been reading your site and implementing your thoughts along with your loyal readers my planning has become alot easier.

Mani Karthik - May 14, 2007

@ Denise – I guess you got to stick to the current one buddy. Or are you on a "One-month One-template" marketing strategy? :D

@ Stephen – Glad you liked the ideas. Thanks.

@ Techie – I had a look at ur site and even if u had made mistakes(as u say) it doesn't show through – it looks very 2.0 and professional. Great going!

@ hem and sourav – Thanks for the appreciation.

Cheers!

Mani

Mark - May 14, 2007

Choosing a template is still a struggle for me. I've got one I'm using, but I know it's not good for the long term. How did you finally settle on the one you're using?

Mani Karthik - May 14, 2007

Hi Mark,

The one I'm using is similar to Matt cutt's wordpress skin – it's a tweaked version of it. The original template was a mess as the comments section won't work and there was a lot of html junk.I had to include a header image, increase the header text sizes, change colors here and there, replace the comments section, and add a few css styling as well. And here I am. I can give you the code if you need.

Kevin - May 14, 2007

Good post mani

interaction in the blogosphere is definately a big plus and gets you and your blog noticed. If you take the time to write good comments people will want to visit your blog :)

Francis Simisim - May 15, 2007

I can't agree more, thats exactly the same experience I had with starting up with mine. I'm just about to go into the keyword research. Thanks for the tips, it's been really helpful

Sue - May 15, 2007

Great post! I'm just starting up my blog and these points will definitely help me on the right path. I just want to be able to find other bloggers and I'm definitely going to build on that first.

Daniel - May 15, 2007

I agree 100%. These are mistakes even myself have fell victim to. But as you said it's a learning experience.

John - May 15, 2007

I just launched my blog today after messing around with templates etc. for a while. This all seems like good advice, particularly the stuff about thinking about content quality and not traffic or money. My own problem is a little different – I want to endlessly tweak the site (I know nothing about PHP but am hoping to pick bits up as I go) and try out plugins when I should be writing content.

lynx92 - May 15, 2007

Excellent points made here. I am just starting out in the world of blogging (after 30 years in the IT business!) and expect this advice to be invaluable. After all, the only way to monetise a blog is to ensure lots of visitors, and the best way to do that is to write excellent copy.

Roberta - May 15, 2007

I got mixed up with worrying about traffic, I am a stats junkie…..Others kept urging me to keep up with the quality, so I figure Rome wasn't built in a day, right?

mharke - May 15, 2007

What luck! Having just started up my first two blogs, I've been lurking around the blogosphere looking for articles such as yours for guidance.

I'm a prime candidate for making mistake #3 (regarding interacting with my fellow bloggers). Like you, I have been hesitant to leave comments, fearing that some almighty "big name" blogger might drop by and criticize my tiny little blog for its insignificance. :D

So, I decided to take the first step towards correcting that mistake by submitting this comment. Great post.

Dollar Bear - May 15, 2007

I'm a month old and I just started interacting with other bloggers. I try to devote an hour every day to commenting on other people's blogs. One of the big problems that I have noticed is that most of the "blogsphere" (at least the visible part) is blogs about blogging or blogs about making money blogging/online. I'm not part of this group. Maybe I should create a second blog.

I really like your idea of linking. I link to two blogs right now. There are a lot of blogs I want to link when I find time beyond content and social networking.

Bruce - May 15, 2007

Great post, some interesting pointers for a new kid on the block like me.

Terrence Taps - May 15, 2007

Thanks for the post. I am new to blogging and am always looking for input on how to do a better job of blogging. As for the keyword research, does anyone have any recommendations about how to do this? Do you just use the Keyword tool in adwords or what?

As I said…I'm always looking for input! :-)

WebLeOn - May 15, 2007

Nice piece,I also did these mistakes before and I find that interactivity is the most important thing in the blogosphere.

Amy Jane - May 15, 2007

sweet post… that all pretty much sums it up ;)

Myo Kyaw Htun - May 15, 2007

No one is perfect. Everyone always did mistakes in their life and will do in future too. This is just called a Life. But have to avoid mistakes as we can. Thanks you for sharing your blogging experience and teaching me indirect.

Yahoo messenger twea - May 15, 2007

A good sum up.. quite common mistakes though..

But i can call bieng worried for traffic as a mistake.. Good quality content is indeed the king but traffic comes by good marketing.. well thats my point.

Yahoo messenger twea - May 15, 2007

read can as "can't".. typo you know..

Angie - May 15, 2007

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I will be back daily from now on. Your blog has some golden tips.

Chris - May 16, 2007

This is very good info! thanks a lot for the information :)

Jayce ooi - May 16, 2007

Thanks for the tips. :)

Mike - May 16, 2007

Nice write-up. I find myself making some of these mistakes. This gives me good incentive to improve.

The Greed - May 16, 2007

Great article and I know what you mean about quality templates! I downloaded everything I could find and made changes and tweaks only to have it come crashing in the end with cross-browser issues, etc. A great piece of advice is to always run your template choice through an online validator. There are many schools of thought on this one, that it's good, that it's bad, but ultimately you can save yourself a ton of template tweaking headaches if you run it through a validator fisrt. It's always better to know your template has little to no errors than find out it has 44 right out of the box :)

Excellent Job

soufulow - May 16, 2007

Great job. I guess it's not necessary for me to put up another thank note here for your intereting (and helpful) writing.

However, i don't really agree about the "Don’t worry over traffic"… most people blog (and will blog better) when there are audiences, feedbacks, and sometimes, money return. i'm totally against with the idea of 'write good content and the traffic will come'. if this is true, mistake 2 – 5 actually are not mistakes as the main purpose of these steps is to increase the popularity of your blog among your potential readers.

Just my two cents…

El Bloggero - May 16, 2007

It's a great post. I've found it really illustratingan helpful.

I have a bunch of similar posts in my blog.

Check it out :D

paul147 - May 16, 2007

good job. your guys. I think you are right and i will do it later.

Surrogate Pimp - May 16, 2007

My blog is a mess. I violate every one of your 5 points.

If I blogged for a living, I'd be on welfare.

Allison - May 16, 2007

Hey great article. Very useful ideas. I have never thought about the keyword search thing. I am building several blogs themed on things that I am interested in. I just wish I had more time to blog!

Don - May 16, 2007

Nice post. I can certainly relate to your top 5.

I'd also add "Listening to those with fewer readers than I have" LOL Seems everyone with a computer and internet connection can tell you how to blog!

Don

Mani Karthik - May 16, 2007

Glad that you all liked the post.

These are things that you already know – it's just a matter of some re-assuring that you need to correct them asap.

Cheers!

Mani

Mani Karthik - May 16, 2007

@ Steve S – You are right steve – a fine example is this post itself.

@ Francis – You are in the right direction – Keyword research should be a bloggers hobby if you ask me.

@ Sue – Glad you picked up the "social interaction" point. I'll be writing on my blog, more on places to find bloggers and valuable contacts. Please follow up in a few days.

@ Daniel – Precisely – it's just a matter of tracking down the measureables.

@ John – It's OK to try plugins and tweak around for a while – after all it's your baby – so you wanna bring it in good shape. The idea is, once you have the necessary plugins installed, forget about it. Then focus on the content. Trouble is when you try to do two things at the same time.

Mani Karthik - May 16, 2007

@ lynx92 – 30 years of experience means quite a lot – im sure you wouldnt have troublefinding topics to write about it on your blog.

@ Roberta – Im poor in history lol :D

@ mharke – You made a good start today!

@ Dollar bear – I agree – every second blog you see today is on making money online – I wouldn't say its bad. Its good if all of them are making money themselves. Fortunately it's easy to find out who is genuine and who is not. If you see my blog, i dont brag about the money i make, im focussed on blogging and connecting through people through the blogging medium. Some bloggers think that the "making money online" mantra is the best marketing strategy to get traffic.Good for them.

Glad to know that you are not part of that "group". All the best with the linking thing. ;)

filipinoprogrammer - May 16, 2007

great topic, thanks it give me a great deal of idea based on what you have experience. i am looking forward for more update

Mani Karthik - May 16, 2007

@ Bruce – Glad you liked the posts.

@ Terrence – Yes the adwords tool is a good one, also Overture is. I'll be writing a post on this topic in my blog soon. So watch out.

@ WebLeon – Right on target!

@ soulflow – I'll disagree with you – if you look at the process in a step by step manner – unless you have quality articles, there is no use looking for traffic. The circle is incomplete – so yes, you have to worry about traffic but – make sure once you have visitors on your site, they have something to read and enjoy or they are gonna ditch you forever.

christine - May 16, 2007

Don't forget that proper grammar and spelling goes a long way toward making your blog readable and enjoyable, as well as making it look professional.

Clara - May 17, 2007

Mani, I've just stumbled upon such good warning tips! Thanks. My (costly) learning experience had me deal with 404 blog pages not recognized correctly at google, plugins that should have been installed and well, still discovering and learning.

As much as bloggers are looking for ways to get more readers, article quality must never be compromised. Only when there's good and solid info, then can we go all out to call others to come and read what we have.

TechZilo - May 24, 2007

You have 5? I could write 10. The topper would be my failure to understand WordPress and get my own domain+Wordpress.

Once I realised, I moved, but 3 months of hardwork,~40 links and 100s of Page Views lost :(

tovorinok - July 4, 2007

Hi all!

Great book. I just want to say what a fantastic thing you are doing! Good luck!

G'night

Tanning Freak - May 24, 2008

Great tips, these actually remind me of my own experience. I too chose a nebie-ish WP theme when I started out which did not display in IE :(

Now, I'm all the more wiser thanks to my mistakes.

Pavliga - August 15, 2008

Very nice.

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