Blogging mistakes

So, recently we posted the 6 annoying mistakes to avoid on contact pages. (Also, there was a  delightful kitten picture.)

Some time before that, we posted an idea of what to do if you don’t want to blog. This piece was borne of me being sick, and sad that the state of blogging is not what it once was.

Well, I’m sick again. This time it was my fault. I broke a cardinal rule, which is: When the question is, “That should be okay to eat still, right?” the answer is NO. I ate something knowing full well I was taking my life into my hands, with predictable results.

That leads me, once again, to pathetically cruising the internet looking at blogs and trying not to throw up. So, in honor of the previous posts, I give you:

6 Blogging Mistakes That Make You Look “Not Ready Yet”

For the purposes of our discussion today, there are two kinds of blogs. There are the blogs you land on automatically when you go to the website itself, like this one. And there are the blogs where you land on a home page and you have to click somewhere to get to the blog.

If you have the first kind of blog, where you land on the blog itself, your blog theme probably takes care of most of the rules automatically. Check anyway, but you’re more likely to be safe. If you have the second kind of blog, where you have to click to get to it, you’re going to want to pay more attention.

1. If your blog is not your homepage, there must be a button or link in your navigation bar that directs people to the blog. (If you do not have a navigation bar, you need a new web design.)

2. That button must say “Blog”. It could also say “Read The Blog” if you want to get your call to action on. You could say, “Our award winning blog” or “This is the blog, my mom says it’s great” or “This is the blog, my mom refuses to read it”. If it is a blog, it must say “Blog”.

If your blog is very article-y and you never write screwing around posts like this one, you may call it “Articles”. You could even snazz it up and call it [keyword] articles like S&M Articles or Banana Pancakes Articles or Candy Making Articles for a small amount of search engine love.

You may not call it Musings, Thoughts, or Resources for the same reason restaurants are not allowed to call the coffee section of the menu “Wet” or “Cups” or “Energy”. Blog is blog. Coffee is coffee. Leave it alone, Picasso.

3. If your blog is not infinite scroll (like Tumblr) where the reader can keep scrolling down and down to infinity and beyond, at the end of each page, you must have some kind of clearly marked button or link that indicates where more blog posts live. “Previous posts” or “More posts” would be good choices here.

4. At the end of each post, there should probably be a button that sends the reader to something else to read. This could be those “previous posts” buttons, or it could be “back to the blog” or it could be “read next post”. Do not leave your reader alone to die in your footer section.

5. You should probably have some way for the reader to subscribe to something. It could be your blog’s RSS feed, or it could be a newsletter, or it could be a “follow me on Twitter to hear when more posts come out”. The last is the worst possible choice, but it’s better than nothing until you get something for them to subscribe to properly.

6. If all you’ve done with your blog for the past 26 weeks is post links to your podcasts or videos, you do not have a blog anymore and you are not allowed to call it a blog because people will get mad and throw pasta at you.

This is the equivalent of a restaurant with a section on the menu called “Coffee” that is, in fact, a list of web design services. You don’t get to keep it that way just because you used to sell coffee.

If this is you, go up to your navigation bar and change “Blog” to “Podcasts” or “Videos”. Don’t lie. Lying is wrong.

There are sick people who want to read your blog. They ate bad eggs and they’re bed-ridden and they want you to entertain them.

Be nice to these people. Make it easy for them. They have money, and they might be just delirious enough to give some of it to you.