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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

    Facebook Ad Strategist

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    Last Updated on March 14, 2019

    7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

    7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

    Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

    For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

    Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

    1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

    A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

    It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

    It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

    How it helps you:

    If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

    Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

    2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

    Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

    Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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    How it helps you:

    Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

    Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

    If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

    Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

    3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

    Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

    Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

    How it helps you:

    This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

    For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

    Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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    A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

    4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

    To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

    A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

    How it helps you:

    One word: hierarchy.

    All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

    In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

    If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

    5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

    Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

    Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

    How it helps you:

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    Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

    If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

    This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

    6. What do you like about working here?

    This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

    Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

    How it helps you:

    You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

    Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

    Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

    7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

    What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

    As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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    How it helps you:

    What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

    First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

    Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

    Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

    Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

    Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

    Making Your Interview Work for You

    Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

    Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

    More Resources About Job Interviews

    Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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