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 WordPress for Beginners tips:
Mistake #1: Using a poor layout or design
One of the most important features of your blog is that it needs to be easy on the eyes. A clean layout without a lot of clutter (think poorly placed graphics or too many graphics) makes for much happier readers.
Also, with Google’s new push for mobile “friendly” websites (i.e., websites that are made to be viewed on any device, from smartphone to tablet to laptop), it’d be blogger suicide to go with a static theme rather than a responsive theme. In fact, Google is going to start penalizing any website that is not mobile-friendly starting on April 21, 2015 as part of its new algorithm, meaning it won’t show up in its search engines as much.
And while there are free themes a-plenty out there, not all are created equal. If you have the means to do so, use a paid theme. This blog runs on the StudioPress Genesis platform using a child theme I found on Luvly Marketplace. My business website also runs on Genesis using the Simply Charming theme from Restored316Designs.com. Sometimes, you can find coupons for the StudioPress website, or even child themes that are packaged with the Genesis framework for less than the framework itself. Just keep your eyes open for coupon codes!
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 called 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: Going without social media sharing buttons on your posts
Share, share, share! And share some more! There are a number of plugins available to choose from. Right now, I use the SumoMe sidebar, but I have used Shareaholic in the past. These buttons prompt your readers to share your blog posts either before or after reading the story. Or, sometimes they sit on the side of every post or page, like SumoMe does. Try out some different ones and see which work best for you.
Mistake #4: Making your sidebar your hall closet
Don’t put just anything in your sidebar, or use it as a place to put stuff that you otherwise don’t know where to put it. This goes hand-in-hand with Mistake #1 and can cause your blog to appear “messy” for lack of a better term. It’s a good place to put your featured content, social sharing buttons, as well as any advertising, but try not to overload it with ads. You can also use it for your newsletter signup form as well as a little blurb about you.[sociallocker]
Mistake #5: Using poor images or not using images at all
If you’re not using images in every single one of your posts, even if it’s just one image, you’re losing out on a lot of readership. Not only do people love imagery, but Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest posts need them in order to get any sort of traction in social media land. There are plenty of places to find free stock photo images, but if you’re at all good with a camera, you can take your own photos. And if you have the means, do use paid stock photo images. Some great places to use are Fotolia and Big Stock Photos, which have reasonably priced monthly subscription programs.
Mistake #6: Not updating it at least once a week
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. Said pings help drive traffic to your blog, so it’s in your best interest to keep up the posts. Your readers will also know that you’re actively involved in your blog, and they’ll want to “stay tuned” for more amazing content!
Mistake #7: Installing unnecessary plugins
I admit, I’m somewhat guilty of this, but I’m getting better (I 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 large amount of resources required to run them. And pages that take too long to load can be frustrating, right?
What about you? Do you have any blogging tips you’d like to share? Have any questions for me about the ones I’ve shared? Please leave them in the comments below![/sociallocker]