Blogging – Trying to run before you walk?

Imagine clicking on a random blog from Google. Now you see a
good-looking blog with a catchy title, so you begin reading. But
there’s this little icon with a bit of animation on the top right
hand corner of the screen.

So you glimpse… It says “3 readers”

Know what I refer to? If you guess it is a feed count widget from
FeedBurner, you are absolutely right. Everyone has seen this
everywhere with different background colors. We are familiar with
it and know the small image is also an invitation to subscribe to
the feed.

What does this small icon has to do with getting people to
subscribe. While it doesn’t have specific call to action, the
number particularly says a lot. It conveys the popularity of the
feed. In marketing term, we call it “social proof.”

Social proof is a two-sided sword
On one side, you can use it to attract more readers. Sort of
telling people, “Hey, look at this number. I have so many
readers, why don’t you join? It must be good!”

Well, you may even make a decision to subscribe to the feed
without thinking. But that’s what happening when you see it.

That doesn’t mean this small image is always a good thing for
your blog. When you only have 3 readers, it also shouts on your
behalf, just that the message is not what you expect.

“See this count? I’m just starting out. I have no footprint yet
around the Web. I have not proven myself. I …”

Even if all the above statements are wrong, the visitors don’t
know so they make the presumptions.

Do you make these social proof mistakes?
First, the feed count problem. Just because everyone is using it
doesn’t mean you have too.

If you recall, I remind you in previous module not to pay
attention to small details when your blog is new.

Stop aligning the graphic two pixels to the left. Most likely
your readers are non-designers. They wouldn’t even pay attention
to it. You have more time to fix after you have the blog up and
running pretty smoothly.

Feed count is another. Just because it is cool to put it up
there, just because you want people to see you have 1,000 readers
when you have it, that doesn’t mean it is necessary to put it up
right now.

Some people may not care about it. They make decisions based on
the quality of your post. They give you a chance because they
know everyone starts somewhere. But like it or not, most people
make decisions based on recommendations.

A good rule of thumb is to reach 100 readers before you show the
feed count widget. If “50” doesn’t seem low, give yourself a go
at that milestone.

Another social factor that is harder to cover is number of
comments. During the first few posts, perhaps you will get none.
They show people about the popularity of your blog. Either that
or your relationship with the readers.

A blogger recommends turning the comments feature off first, but
this is not a flawless strategy either. With it off, you also
prevent people from leaving a comment when they really want to.

My advice is this. If you decide to enable blog comments, make
sure you do it right. Build your audience fast and focus on the
interaction so you get them to come regularly and speak their
mind.

Random but common mistakes, beware!
Let’s dive in and take a deeper look at mistakes commonly made by
bloggers.

The first one is related to content creation. When your heart is
all for blogging, you tend to write regularly, perhaps 5-6 really
long and good posts per week. For a lot of people, that is too
much.

Preferably, even if you can churn out content regularly, limit
the post so you have a buffer. WordPress is very good at this. It
allows you to schedule your post so when you need to take a break
you still have something up for your readers.

Having 5 posts per week for a month and then none of the two
weeks will hurt your blog. Traffic will begin to drop. In most
cases, getting in front of your audience regularly is necessary.
Except, of course, if your blog is tied closely to a specific
event, like Olympic.

Another mistake is about traffic generation. Most of the traffic
strategies are strategies, not only implementation. For instance,
as simple as article marketing is, you still need to put the
right strategies into use.

Use compelling title so the prospective readers click. Write a
powerful resource box so the readers can’t resist but visiting
your site. Make an offer they can’t refuse so they register.
Should you post to one or ten directories?

All of them require strategic decisions. Blindly doing it will
not get you the most benefit.

Money comes later, don’t rush it
Read it repeatedly until you believe in it. I see a lot of
bloggers hastily put blocks of ads from the beginning. They don’t
want to miss a cent of revenue.

Unfortunately, that is also the perception the readers have about
you and your blog. I resist subscribing to a blog because of that
and I bet you’ve done that too.

So why do things that you hate?

Focusing on monetization too soon in the process distracts you
from content creation and traffic generation. You will also
assign your blog to a negative image.

“I don’t care about you. I start this blog to squeeze everything
out of it, financially.”

Not a good way to start. After you’ve built traffic to a certain
level, and only after people realize what you have to offer is
valuable, that you should consider adding ads. But do it
carefully.

There might still be a few complainers, but at that point, you
can argue that you have built a good resource for others. It
takes a lot of effort to maintain it. And most readers will be
tolerant about it. After all, you need to feed yourself and your
family.

Everything leads to one conclusion
You should notice by now that blogging is and always will be a
long term venture. I said it repeatedly because really it’s worth
repeating.

Being in the correct mindset is huge contributor to your success.

There are more blunders to mention, but those are the most common
ones. As you gain more experience in the blogosphere, you’ll also
learn more things. Just be open to them and adjust your strategy
if necessary.

In the next few modules, I’ll help you build your traffic engine.
After all of these preps, you are ready for it. Play catch up if
you have been procrastinating for some time.

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2 Responses to “Blogging – Trying to run before you walk?”

  1. The informative post encouraged me very much! Saved the website, very interesting topics everywhere that I read here! I really appreciate the info, thank you.

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