There’s a simple truth to life that every human being will make mistakes. Since every blogger is human, at least the ones that aren’t spambots, then every blogger will screw up inevitably.
On BloggingPro, I recently wrote an article about how to recover from the mistakes you make but the question becomes “What kind of mistakes can one expect to make?”
With blogging, as with life, there are very few guarantees but there are a few mistakes that virtually every blogger, at least if they keep blogging long enough to make them. Here’s just a small sample of those mistakes with 5 blunders you can probably look forward to.
1. You Will Screw up Spelling, Grammar Etc.
If you type enough words, you are going to get a few things wrong. It doesn’t matter how good your grasp on your chosen language is, how careful your editing process is or how many eyes you have reviewing your posts, you will make typos and other spelling/grammar errors.
Fortunately, most of these blunders are very minor and can simply be corrected. People tend to forgive these errors quickly because they aren’t important and, quite literally, happen to everyone.
The key here is to just not make too many and you’ll probably find that your audience is forgiving. Still, that’s no reason to get sloppy.
2. You Will Bork Your Theme
At some point you’ll go into your theme, make a change, no matter how minor, and completely screw it up. You’ll get your structure wrong, add to many of a certain kind of tag, leave out space or forget a bracket and your site will be completely ruined because of it, at least until you fix it.
These mistakes are very similar to grammar errors but with code. We all make them and we all pay for them. The key is to repair them quickly and get the corrected version up as fast as possible. It also pays to make and keep backups before doing ANY changes to your site.
Remember, this is why you need to know the basics of HTML and CSS. You’re only human and your best-laid plans will often go astray.
3. You Will Say Something Stupid
Open Mouth, insert foot. We’ve all done it and you will do it with your site too. Eventually you’ll write something that, in your head makes sense but when put out on the Web is either taken a completely different way or is simply flat-out wrong.
No matter the cause of this, you should be prepared for it and take appropriate action. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this as every case is different but generally speaking the best approach is to be honest, apologize, correct the error and move on.
If you can do that, it’s usually pretty easy to put this kind of mistake behind you.
4. You Will Get Heated
A big part of blogging is dealing with people and whether it is via email, via comments or something in between, you will, almost certainly, respond incorrectly at least once.
Though we all know not to feed the trolls or start flame wars, inevitably someone says something that gets under our skin or we make the mistake or we let a civil discussion go too far. That creates a hostile situation that we have to deal with.
The best way usually is to disarm the argument by apologizing if necessary, seeking common ground and then highlighting differences in a more positive light. If you can’t end a flame war through being the bigger person, it’s usually better to just walk away.
5. You Will Anger Your Audience
At some point something you do will upset your readers, or at least a large number of them. Whether it is a change in direction for your blog, a new theme or even just a new logo, you’ll find yourself taking heat from a large number of your very loyal readers.
Strangely, it doesn’t matter how much warning you give about the change, how many people you ask beforehand or how many polls you take, many will stay silent until the changes go live. That’s not to say you shouldn’t take those steps, they can greatly mitigate any conflict and any warning is better than a surprise, but they don’t ensure a smooth transition either.
Here, you need to make sure that what you did was actually a mistake before backtracking. In many cases, some user heartburn is a worthwhile trade off for a clearly better site. That being said, if it is a mistake and you have a full user revolt, you need to figure out quickly if the mistake was the change or the way things were.
Either way, you need to engage your audience, listen to their concerns and make changes as appropriate. It will help you greatly soothe the heated debate.
If you blog long enough and grow to be of any size, you’re going to make some mistakes, including these. Though you should work to keep such mistakes to a minimum, you also need to be prepared for them and be able to respond quickly.
If you can do that, you’ll likely find that your goofs aren’t that big of a deal and that most of the focus stays on what you got right, not the few things you got wrong.