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Starting A Blog in 2012? Avoid These 7 New Blogger Blunders

Starting A Blog in 2012? Avoid These 7 New Blogger Blunders

    Are you thinking of starting a blog in 2012, or making significant changes to your old one?

    One thing that you should always be 100% clear on is your purpose of writing. Is it to start a personal blog where you don’t really care if you have a total readership of 9 or is it to have a blog that you want to monetize at some point.

    If you belong to the former camp, then do as you please, and skip this post. If not, read on.

    1. Making Your Blog All About You

    Your blog is not an online journal. Although it might feel like the perfect place to let everything out, be careful about what you write. Especially, when you have aims of making money from it.

    Many people get offended at this advice. They indignantly retort that they are writing for their friends and family only. If that is your intent – and it is perfectly fine – go ahead but keep this in mind it would be fairly hard if not impossible to reach wider audiences with a personal blog.

    The majority of the new bloggers gives up within first year of blogging. Lack of audience is the biggest factor. And they are not finding these audiences because they are not targeting them.

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    You target new audiences through marketing as well as your content. Not one or the other, both.

    Write for your readers. Find out what can you write about that will interest them enough to come back. Remember, you might be the author but ultimately the blog exists because of your readers.

    2. Writing About Every Topic Under the Sun

    You have many interests and you are happy to write about them. Ask yourself, would your readers be happy to read just the same?

    The only way to survive in the blogosphere is to pick a niche and write about that. If you are like most of us, you have lots of things that interest you and it can be hard to choose one.

    For starters choose a broad niche such as personal development, writing, marketing, business, technology, fashion etc. As you get comfortable with writing, you could narrow it down further.

    Make a list of 20 possible posts you could write on your blog. You would be dismayed to discover that you run of things earlier than you anticipated. On the other hand, a new topic with potential might surprise you. Go on, try it, you won’t know it until you do.

    3. Confusing Your First Time Visitors

    When somebody lands on your blog for the first time, it takes a few seconds for them to form an impression. And you need to do everything you can to make it a favourable one.

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    A first time visitor is looking for this information.

    • What is your blog about?
    • Who are you?
    • What is it in it for them?

    If they find the answers to these questions quickly, and if they fit your reader’s profile, there is no reason for them not stay and explore further.

    If you indeed are right for them, but the information is hidden away and hard to find, you are doing yourself a big disservice. Choose your blog name carefully, put a great deal of thought into your tag-line, all of these things contribute towards positive branding.

    4. Not Paying Due Attention to Your “About Me” Page

    Your ‘About me’ page is the second most frequently visited page of your blog. (Your homepage is the first in case you are wondering)

    As soon as the visitors start to develop a soft corner for your homepage, they will head straight towards your ‘About me’ page to find out more. Now its your job to satisfy their curiosity in a way that is highly relevant to them.

    Talk about what your blog is about, who you are and what you can do for your readers. That’s the main information any reader wants to have. Once you have done that, you can elaborate on what is important to you and really personalize your page.

    Include a back story if you think it will inspire your readers in some way. Don’t ramble about your early childhood.

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    5. Writing Like Your High School English Teacher

    Your design will would help to get people through the door but what will make them stay put? Your content!

    It doesn’t have to resemble a college essay in form. Work hard, write passionately, be yourself and don’t forget to learn from A list bloggers who deliver with style and panache!

    Make your content screen friendly, break up large chunks of text, use headings, bullet points and bold to make it easy on the eyes.

    Headlines: If you want your posts to be read and shared across social media channels, then you better be a pro at crafting headlines. Headlines that arouse curiosity, hints at solving reader problems and are so good that it is impossible to not check out the article.

    Intro: Once the reader is there, they are skimming. Remember it is the web, attention spans are shorter and everybody is in a rush. Your lead should invite the reader straight into your post. Start with a story, a shocking statement or a question. Whatever you do, make sure you get to the point quickly or you will risk losing your precious reader.

    Close: Have a clear call to action when you finish your post. What is it that you want your reader to do? Comment, share or buy? Make it explicit.

    6. Not Embracing Social Media

    Even if you build it, they still won’t come, unless you market and promote your blog – repeatedly. Go out there and get active on social media. If you think it’s too hard, start using one medium at a time. Start with twitter then move on to Facebook. Don’t overlook the importance of Linkedin and other networks if you are serious about monetizing your blog in future.

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    7. Ignoring Other Bloggers

    You should subscribe to as many blogs as you can. There are a few reasons for that. Not only will you learn a lot, you will never run out of material for future posts. On top of it, you will stay abreast of latest trends in your niche.

    Most of all, you would start to develop relationships with fellow bloggers who can help you out and vice versa. You will form meaningful connections and even make a few friends. They will support you, link to you and keep you working towards your goal.

    And that is priceless.

    If you were to start a blog again, what would you do differently? Share with us in the comments below.

    (Photo credit: Start Blog via Shutterstock)

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    Marya Jan

    Marya is a business strategist. She shares tips about life and success on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on January 24, 2021

    How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

    How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

    Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

    For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

    But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

    It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

    And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

    The Importance of Saying No

    When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

    In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

    Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

    Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

    Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

    “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

    When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

    How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

    It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

    From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

    We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

    And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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    At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

    The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

    How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

    Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

    But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

    3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

    1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

    Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

    If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

    2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

    When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

    Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

    3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

    When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

    6 Ways to Start Saying No

    Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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    1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

    One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

    Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

    2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

    Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

    Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

    3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

    Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

    Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

    You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

    4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

    Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

    Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

    5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

    When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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    How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

      Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

      Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

      6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

      If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

      Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

      Final Thoughts

      Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

      Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

      Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

      More Tips on How to Say No

      Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
      [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
      [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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