Building a business around a blog is pretty easy these days. You can get online and start blogging within minutes. But wait! Don’t start just yet. There are some critical blogging mistakes that long standing, successful bloggers have learned the hard way, but you don’t have to.

Not branding your site

A brand helps you identify with your new audience and makes you easier to remember. Come up with a color scheme that fits your goals. Specific colors invoke specific emotions for most of the population. Aligning your brand with the emotion you want your users to feel about you is important. Help Scout (a leader in brand and customer management) has a great post about color emotions.

Along with colors, come up with a logo for our site. A logo helps you be identified without even reading a name. Think of brands like Nike where you only need to see the ‘Swoosh’ to know it’s a Nike product. Your logo doesn’t have to be as obvious like the ‘Apple’ or the ‘CocaCola’ script, but create something your users can quickly relate to and identify with.

Waiting to start your email list

Many new bloggers will wait to get their email opt-in form setup until they are seeing traffic rolling in. What they don’t realize is that they’re missing a key opportunity to grow their audience with one of the highest converting campaigns available, email marketing. If a new visitor sees content they like, but you don’t give them the option to sign up, they are only likely to come back if they discover new content on social media or a direct visit.

With email marketing, you can put your most recent content in front of users right in their inbox. Smart Insights has a comprehensive overview of email marketing stats. The most stunning is the average open and click through rates. On average, emails are opened 22% of the time, with an average click-thru rate of 3.26%. These are staggering numbers.

If we relate this to social media accounts like Twitter, where you might only get 1.85% of your followers to see your content, as Danny Sullivan of Marketing Land saw.

I prefer to use the MailChmip email service alongside the MailChimp for WordPress plugin.

Not setting up Gravatar

Much like branding above, setting up a Gravatar is a must. Gravatar is the default avatar system for WordPress, and you’re likely to see it in the comment sections of almost every WordPress blog, including yours. Most themes will also use your Gravatar image as the Author Profile image.

By setting up a Gravatar account with your email address in your WordPress profile, you can go comment on other blogs and have a consistant avatar image to build your brand with. Once completed, it will help people identify you wherever you are on the internet.

Creating too many categories

Categories are the heart and soul of your blog’s organizational structure. Lots of categories can leave your visitors overwhelmed. Not enough categories and your site becomes hard to lead people to more content that’s tightly related to the content they are seeking.

Finding a balance in the number of categories you create will be slightly different for every site, but it helps to make a list of the types of content you want to publish early on, and stick to it. Defining this ‘roadmap’ allows you to quickly publish content to meet the needs of your site’s goals and direction.

Conclusion

By addressing the above issues early on in the success of your blog, you’re guaranteed to get maximum impact from just a little amount of work. The sooner you start treating your blog like a success, the sooner it can become one.

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About Chris Klosowski

Chris has been using WordPress since 2005 and the sites he's worked on have received 1,000,000+ page views a month. Ranging from blogs, to communities, to eCommerce, if you can do it with WordPress, Chris has done it.

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Getting Started