This is a guest contribution from Gary Newell.
I started blogging almost two years ago and since then, my blog has grown considerably.
I have learned a lot in a relatively short period of time and I want to share five of my biggest mistakes so you can avoid falling into the same traps.
1. I didn’t link to my own articles
For well over a year, I would write articles and post them on various news sites and social media networks.
This isn’t a bad thing to do but I never linked to other articles I’d written so people bounced off my website very quickly.
For a while I couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t click on the menus at the top or click on the links in the “most popular posts” section in the side bar of my blog.
The truth is people clicked on my article in the first place because they may have been mildly interested in the title. I needed to give them a reason to stick around. And so do you.
It is up to you to sell your blog posts with great titles but then you need to try and sell other blog posts on your site. By not linking to your own articles you are just giving readers an excuse to leave.
2. I sold an outbound link to another site
There are various ways to make money from blogging but selling outbound links is not one of them.
There are a huge number of sites that provide lists of how to make money from your blog and some of them suggest selling links. I think this is bad advice.
Selling links is a sure fire way of annoying Google so selling one link for $10 isn’t worth plummeting to the bottom of Google’s rankings.
Another danger I discovered when I sold outbound links is other sites selling the same link, reducing the value of the link. I also realised the site I was linking to had a dozen pages of bad reviews. I quickly retracted the link and refunded the purchaser!
3. I spammed social networks with links
If you read the get-hits-quick guides for getting visitors to your blog, they will often say that you should embrace the social networks. I posted all my blog posts on social media before I realised the “trick”.
The “trick” behind getting value from social media is actually engaging with the people. You need to have conversations with people before they trust you enough to follow you and share your links with friends!
For many of you, this won’t be a surprise.
You have to get involved and comment on other people’s articles and build up a comment Karma. You also have to post not just your own links but link to other people’s articles.
4. I randomly posted affiliate adverts all over my site
For a while I became disillusioned with affiliate schemes. I placed adverts across my site but nobody was clicking them.
Then one day, I realised why. I was doing it wrong.
Placing an advert at the top of the page is just eye candy. Hardly anybody clicks through to them.
I found that if I provided an ad for something that was related to my content, that wasn’t easy to find elsewhere and was something people needed then they would click through and purchase goods. I’m not making millions but I am getting a good return now.
I also found that Amazon links don’t work when sporadically splashed around the site. If you link to content and write articles that link to items on Amazon without overly selling the item then people click through and buy goods.
5. I kept all the best articles for my own blog
This is a recent one really. I have only written a couple of guest articles because as a blogger I wanted to keep my best content for my own blog.
I thought that if I want people to visit my site then I need to have the best content on my site.
The truth is, however, that to get people to click through to my site I needed to have great content on other people’s sites as well. I also accept guest articles and they often attract a great number of new visitors.
Be careful about following advice on how to get rich quick from blogging or advice thats tell you how to grow your blog ridiculously fast. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.
My five blogging blunders have helped me become a better blogger . I have learned that if I write good content and build relationships with other people in my niche area, my blog grows naturally. And it has.
I’d love to know…. what have your big blogging blunders been and what did you learn?
Gary Newell lives in Scotland with his wife Stephanie and three children. Gary runs the blog Everyday Linux User which provides news, reviews and technical how-to’s.