31 Big Mistakes People Make Blogging And In Social Media
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 21, 2016
Y’all know that I’m an opinionated guy. Well, this isn’t going to dissuade you from that belief even one bit.
There are things I see all the time as it relates to both blogging and social media, two things I’m pretty passionate about, that irk the heck out of me. I’ve written a couple of specific posts about things that irk me, one on my buddy Ileane’s blog and once here.
This time around I figured I’d put a lot of these things together on one blog post. I’m giving you 31 things that I believe people are messing up on both with their blogging and on social media in general. As it pertains to social media, I’m not calling out one particular site over another initially. I might use a site to help explain what I mean, but don’t think that I’m only talking about that one site.
What’s my purpose here? First, to give folk some things to think about if they hope to be successful in either of these areas. Second, to show you, as I tried to do with my last post, that you can touch upon a subject more than once and still find a new way to talk about it. After all, none of these topics are going to be new to those who read this blog from time to time, or all the time. You’ll see what I mean as I go through them… in no particular order for the most part.
Not Responding To Blog Comments
One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing blogs with comments and no one ever responding to them. You know, we’re all busy, but why have a blog if you’re not going to respond to those who take time out of their day to comment? Go ahead and be Seth Godin; see how that works for you (since you’re not him).
Not Verifying Whether People Get Emails Telling Them Their Comments Have Been Responded To
I comment on lots of blogs. I don’t get many emails telling me that the person has responded though, and that’s problematic. I’ve written about a process folks should partake in to see if it’s working and if not, figure out a way to get it done (see, they have these things called plugins that might offer some help…).
Not Linking To Previous Articles On Your Blog
This helps both you and those who visit your blog. The longer you can keep people on your blog by giving them other things that are related to your article that they can look at, the better your blog will rank on search engines because it makes you look like an authority. If people are constantly visiting your blog, reading one post and leaving it looks to them as though your stuff might not be all that compelling. For instance, I’ve written other rant posts about blogging and social media in the past that I’m linking to now.
Never Linking To Blogs Or Articles Outside Of Your Blog
Y’all saw what I did above in linking to Ileane’s blog, even though that was a guest post I wrote there? I often link to other blogs, promoting them while enhancing my own article at the same time. On my other blogs, if I’m referencing something that’s going on at the time I’ll link to those stories, and sometimes I even do that here. Sharing other people’s stuff never hurts you, especially if you tell them about it later on.
Not Writing Accurate Titles
My last post was about misleading titles. Previous to that, I wrote about the topic of creating titles and whether or not they had to be really strong or just accurate. By that, I mean whether the title will accurately describe what the article is about. Sometimes a title just might be written in the style of literature, where it applies to a specific point but might not actually be listed in the article. To me, that works pretty well also.
Not Writing Something At Least Once Every Couple Of Months
This one is dicey and not dicey at the same time. I believe people need to write something at least once a week to be truly effective. Yet, the deal I have with my accountant has me writing 2 articles a month for her, and her site is the highest ranked accounting site in the Syracuse NY area because she’s the only one who has new stuff showing up on a consistent basis.
Blogging success can be attributed to multiple things. Blogging failure can also be attributed to many things, but the worst is not having some kind of consistency in putting new articles on it. I’ve often said that I know there are a lot of people who really don’t like writing, yet create blogs because they’ve heard it’s good for business, which it is.
If you’re one of those people then try writing at least one article every couple of months. I mean, six articles a year are better than none; dead blogs make you seem like a quitter, which is a bad thing for people to think about you if your blog is associated with your business.
Popups; Need I Say More?
I probably do since I’m sure that the entire world hasn’t read my latest article about my hatred for popups. So, I’ll say that it’s not all popups, just those that show before I’ve had a chance to even look at your article. Trust me; even if people aren’t telling you they don’t like it, they don’t… so stop it!
Not Writing Enough When You’re Doing Tutorials
I really hate this. I do a lot of research in trying to get things right. However, I come across a lot of information that’s so incomplete that I end up having to read 3 or 4 articles to finally figure out how to make something work. If you’re going to help people help them. Don’t skip steps that you think are unnecessary to tell people; trust me, there’s always going to be someone who’s not as technically savvy as you are who’s going to need that information. In my last tutorial article I made sure to cover everything that others have left out in the past.
Making Sure You’re Not Repeating Yourself Just To Write Long Posts
There are a lot of blog writing suggestions these days telling people that they should be writing long posts. This one’s going to be a long post, but the one thing I can guarantee is that I’m not going to be constantly repeating myself just to make sure it’s long. I see that often when people end up doing what they did in high school, either throwing in extra words or saying the same thing every so many paragraphs to try to reach those magic word counts.
There are times when blog length is important, and other times when it’s not. I live by the Mozart theory; write as many words as are necessary, then move on.
Images Within Your Blog Posts
I doubted this one for years but finally started coming around in 2011. If your entire post is text it seems to put people off for some reason. Having an image somewhere on the post seems to keep people’s attention; a psychological thing I suppose. With a long post, more images seem appropriate, like in this post.
The thing about images is that you’ll be told that the image should definitely match the content. Trust me, there aren’t a lot of images that specifically match the topic “blogging”. So sometimes you have to be really creative in finding images. One trick is that pretty images will always make people feel good even if they don’t match the content; yup, another trick of psychology.
Word of warning on this one though. Don’t go to Google Images and start snatching pictures from there. You might violate copyright, and if it’s Getty Images… well, you just don’t want to get that letter from them, ever! For my blogs I use the Compfight plugin to find images that I can legally us or my own images. There are also multiple sites that offer free images you can use for your blogs.
Not Having An Avatar/Gravatar
For all of my blogs, if a comment comes in without an avatar it automatically goes to spam. This is probably the easiest way to tell spam comments from others, although it’s not cast in stone. If you’re actually going to be commenting on blogs as a strategy or because you love doing it (like I do), it helps with branding to have an image that goes along with your email address (or multiple email addresses). I recommend Gravatar, which is owned by WordPress, because it’s the easiest, though there are other places that supposedly allow you to set something up.
Not Commenting On Other Blogs
What are you, selfish? You think life is only about you? Get out there, read other blogs, and comment on some of them. Actually, my own tests over the years have shown that I get more traffic from blog commenting than anything else I do, whether it’s from the bloggers whose blogs I’ve commented on or someone else seeing what I’ve said and deciding to come check me out (especially those blogs that use CommentLuv).
Not Actually Reading The Content
I had this conversation with a friend of mine where she said that she usually reads the first paragraph and knows what a blog post is about. If you go back and look at my first paragraph, which only had two sentences, would you really know what this post is about?
I’m not spending all this time writing this blog post for people to only read the first paragraph and comment on that, or even the title. Trust me, I know when that’s what a comment is, and it’s going to be deleted each and every time. Now, I know that everyone doesn’t speed read like I do, but if you’re not really getting anything out of the post then don’t bother leaving a comment and being thought of as a noob.
By the way, if you’re not reading my entire article… why not?!?!? :-O lol
Being A Boring Writer/Be Original
I covered part of this in my last article, where I called out the writer for basically saying the same exact thing, in the same exact words, as hundreds of people before her. I don’t care who you are, that’s not only shows a lack of creativity, but it’s boring as sin.
You know what livens up a post? Something called “personality“. Unless you’re writing a doctoral thesis, nothing you write has to be so pure that it’s devoid of personality. Give something of yourself when you write your content; be like Adrienne (notice I’m linking to an outside blog here? lol).
Hard To Read Captcha
Man, I hate captcha with a passion! Even so, every once in a while I feel compelled to leave a comment on a blog using it. My problem is that those things are made to intentionally be hard to read, and almost half the time I’ve typed something wrong because I can’t really see it, even after doing a refresh before putting anything in.
Why are you using captcha anyway? I’ve noticed that most people using it still moderate comments. If you’re going to send everyone to moderation in the first place then having captcha is redundant. Neither of these are all that visitor friendly.
Copying Other People’s Content
Plagiarism, scraping, taking other people’s content and barely rewriting it… y’all should be ashamed of yourself if you’re doing this. That’s actually part of my gripe two spots above with those articles where people seem to just be copying what someone else has said without trying to be original in any way. If you’re going to copy content, copy your own from a year ago and rewrite it so that it feels fresh to your readers.
Marketing All The Time
Me-me-me-me-me; I’ve talked enough about me so tell me more about me!
Goodness, this grates my nerves, and I drop anyone who seems to be doing nothing but this. I see it mainly on Twitter where people have posts about themselves every 3 or 4 minutes throughout the entire day. If others are sharing your stuff that’s one thing, but if it’s you and it’s the only thing you can do… please stop!
Here’s my other thing. Not every single thing you do on social media has to be related to your business. Too many people are ruining Instagram and all the other social media platforms by posting business stuff all the time, or deciding that all those platforms are only for business. Folks, if all you’re putting on your Instagram page are quotes and products, we’re not impressed (unless you’re a restaurant showing your wares; I’ll forgive you that one lol). Actually, businesses I would expect to do that, but if you’re more of a personal brand with a business, then show people that your brand has a human element every once in a while.
Not Sharing Any Of Your Own Content
This is tantamount to sin! Okay, maybe that’s bit strong. lol I check every person’s personal pages whenever they want to connect with me. I check to see what they’re putting out. If they never share anything of their own, then I can’t get to know them so why bother with them? Above I said I don’t like when people are marketing 24/7. Here I’m saying that if you have nothing personal (or your business) to share, then you’re not interesting enough to connect with.
Not Sharing The Content Of Others
This relates well to the other two. I’ve talked about how I market myself on Twitter. I share some of my stuff, then I share other things from others that I find interesting. I like sharing the content of others because I’m interested in a lot of things.
What also happens is if you share the names of the people who either shared it originally or who actually wrote it (like in articles on sites like Huffington Post) and they see their names, they’ll share those posts with the people they’re connected to and it helps to spread your name and reputation to people you’d have never known about. People love being flattered when you show that you appreciated something they created; trust me on this one (for instance, please share this post with your networks as much as possible and see how people respond to you lol). 🙂
Never Interacting With Others
Are you scared to talk to people? If so, why are you on social media?
I talk to people all the time; I’m my own brand after all, and part of what I hope to do long term involves other people. So I talk to people either by messaging them privately (like on LinkedIn, which is set up to be like that) or in the open (like on Twitter).
There are some people who never respond to me however. If I notice that more than a few times, I drop them because obviously they’re not interested in talking to me or anyone else. It used to be something I actively researched before connecting with people but I realized that with as much stuff as there is on social media that was a daunting task every once in a while.
If someone reaches out to you, what can it hurt to respond back to them… unless they’re being mean? You might do business with them, or even make an online friend; that’s pretty sweet if you ask me.
By the way, no matter where are, DON’T AUTO-DM; I hate it, others hate it… don’t do it!
Auto-Cross Sharing Your Stuff Too Much
Whenever I have a new post on this blog and my main business blog, it also posts on LinkedIn; that’s it though. If it’s not new and I’m sharing it, I refuse to set it up to auto-post in other places. There are folk who do that, and others who will post a line or link and have it go elsewhere at the same time.
The issue? Why are you posting a link on Twitter to send me to Facebook or Google Plus that says the same exact thing? For that matter, why aren’t you sending me to your blog or website more often instead? Unless you have a specific reason for doing it (like posting a link to send someone to LinkedIn because that’s where the article is), please stop doing this. Images might be a different animal I realize, but other than that it’s bothersome.
Not Doing Either Video Or Podcasts
Out of everything I’ve talked about up to this point, this is the one that I consider the least of your issues, but one that could be helping you greatly. The thing with videos is that it humanizes you and helps you get your point across, and most of the time people can just listen to them if they’re not predisposed to watch. With podcasts, if you create them properly they can not only listen but they can download the files and possibly take them on the road or listen to them at a later time.
Not only that, but you can embed each of these within your blog so that people can see a different side of you and highlight the post somehow. Kind of like this…
Not Setting Up Your Profiles Correctly
On every social media platform I’m on, I come across people who don’t complete their profiles properly. Some don’t even use capital letters for their name; of all things!
If you’re looking to be anonymous, then do whatever you want to. If you’re looking to be known, whether for business, as a personality, or just because you’re a nice person, then set your profile up to let people know the type of person you are. A nice picture or business image, a link to your website or blog, a few words about you or your business is a nice start. If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can do a heck of a lot; check mine out to see what you can do (unfortunately, if you’re not on LinkedIn already you won’t get to see all the stuff I’ve done; if you’re in business or work for someone else, you need to be on LinkedIn).
Not Culling Your List From Time To Time
Culling your list means removing people from your list of connections. This one has a twofold benefit. One, let’s face the fact that sometimes you’re connected to people who you really don’t want to bother with. Two, sometimes you’re connected to people you don’t even know. This happens a lot when we first join social media platforms and are looking to grow our channels.
About a month ago I was talking to someone who’d asked me for some advice about improving his online presence. I told him he needed to clean up his Facebook page because he was connected with a lot of fake accounts that made him look bad. Not only that, but he allowed these fake accounts to post stuff on his page and he just ignored it.
A couple of weeks ago I went into my LinkedIn profile and removed nearly 100 people. Oddly enough, LinkedIn started ranking my page higher when compared to the people I was still connected to. I’m now matched up better with people who do what I do as well as local people; hopefully it’ll work better for me as it regards business at some point.
Protecting Some Of Your Privacy, Especially Your Family
Our buddy Brian once asked me to write an article talking about the importance of protecting our family members on social media, especially when they haven’t asked to be there. I have rarely mentioned my wife’s name on this blog, and I share few pictures of her and I. When I share pictures with others here, I almost never mention their names so no one knows who they are. The same is for both Facebook (where I’ve never mentioned her name, though others do) and Twitter.
I tell a lot about myself in my blogging and on social media. You’ve probably seen how I begin some of my posts with a story of something that’s happened in my life that leads to the point of the article. But I don’t tell everything… and I never will.
I don’t castigate anyone who tells everything about themselves, but there are two inherent dangers there. One, those things can be exploited and used against you. Two, it can lead to stalkers and people looking for even more personal information on you that puts you and family in danger.
Reacting To Negative Things Before Thinking About It
This is a tough political season to hold my tongue on, but I’ve been much better than I would have been 8 years ago. At least that’s only politics; there are other things that make me pretty angry, and I know I’m not alone on this one.
The thing is that if our responses aren’t measured, even when we’re angry, we could be alienating people we might actually want to work or communicate with. There are a number of people I won’t allow in my life because of things they were saying about Barack Obama on Twitter 8 years ago that I felt were racist and intolerant. There are people on Facebook who will comment on articles other people write just to push their agenda, forgetting that other business people are seeing that stuff and judging them on it.
Remember, freedom of speech isn’t really free; it always comes with consequences. If you’re willing to live with them then go for it. But you’ll probably find that you’ll get what you weren’t expecting… and you won’t like it.
Not Protecting Your Business Or Brand By Saying Stupid Things
It turns out that people don’t have to be angry to say stupid things. One lady years ago lost nearly half her subscribers on YouTube by saying something stupid about people on Medicaid. On here some weeks ago I told the story about a guy who did videos on his blog using a lot of bad language, only to have one of his clients find it and share some of it with many of his other clients; he lost lots of money and had to shut down his blog and scramble to restore his business (which I never found out if it was able to do or not).
I’m not saying anyone should go out of their way to not be or say something controversial; sometimes it’s necessary to do so. What I’m saying is that if you’re going to take on subjects that might bother someone, make sure you choose your words and message carefully and properly. You don’t want to be politically correct? Well… just remember that freedom of speech thing I said previously.
Not Making Sure What You’re Reading Or Sharing Is Accurate
Two weeks ago someone on Facebook posted a link saying that Davy Jones of the Monkees had died. And he had… in 2012! I see lots of things like this on social media platforms that a quick internet search would clarify, but most people aren’t in the mood to do it. Don’t be that person. 🙂
Protecting Your Brand
This is another twofold point. The first ties in with the point above about not being stupid. The second involves when people say things either about you or your business and you don’t address them, either by trying to fix the issues or fighting for your reputation.
I often see where people recommend that you ignore negative things said about you or your business. I think it depends on the who, what and where. If someone’s griping about you because they just don’t like you, that’s one thing. If someone’s lying about your proficiency at something, or your business, that’s another.
Don’t ever run from an attack if it’s not true. If it is, then fix it, no matter what it takes. You’ll not only show that you have integrity, but that you have guts and belief in yourself and your business.
Standing Up For Others
Every once in a while you have to be willing to stand up for someone or a group when it’s the right thing to do, even if it doesn’t involve you. I’m a big diversity guy; it’s one of the things I’ve talked about in my speaking engagements. So when I wrote a post based on some of the behavior I see aimed at women on social media, I felt that even though it didn’t personally affect me as a man that it affected me as a person and that something had to be said. There’s a quote that it seems no one is sure who really said it first, but it goes like this: “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.”
Being Real And Truthful
I once wrote an article about phony people and how they make me uncomfortable. We all deal with people like that, and I don’t know a single person who likes it. Yet, I find a lot of those same people being phonies when it comes to things about themselves and how they interact with other people.
I say this all the time; unless you’re a jerk and know it, try being your authentic self and try telling the truth instead of lying all the time. Once you’ve been discovered in a lie, especially in business (and leadership, one of my other major topics), you never get another chance to turn things around. Well, you might, but no one will ever fully trust you again.
Let me say this as a motivational statement: “There’s nothing wrong with you except when you think about yourself negatively.” We tend to beat ourselves up more than others beat us up. This leads to our lack of authenticity online. Don’t give it all away; protect your privacy when you need to. However, if you’re going to be online, be real and stop trying to be something you’re not, or that you can’t live up to.
Not Marketing Something At Least Once A Day
Whenever I remember to write in my Franklin Planner on at least a monthly basis, this is always the last thing I write on the main page at the beginning of the month. If you have products, or you offer services, you have to try to let people know. I’m actually bad at this one I’ll admit, and I’m working on becoming better. Sure, I share my articles and videos, but I don’t talk about my products or services all that often… not even on my blogs!
So, before you go, look over there to the left and see some of the products I’ve created, and the one product that’s a free download that I didn’t create, but I’m in it. Then go back to your space, your blog or website, and if you have products or services either put then on a sidebar or on an About page. Then somewhere, Twitter, Facebook, wherever, post a link or write something about you. Keep it short to start; don’t overwhelm people. You never know who might be listening or watching.
Whew; that’s it, and I have actually thoughts of more things I could have added. Another time maybe. Please read, comment, and share; see, that’s something I didn’t mention we all should do. 😉