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Starting a blog is exciting, isn’t it? Ugh – but there is so much to do before you go live. Your checklist of things to do before your launch date can get pretty long and in all the excitement of publishing your first post, it’s common to overlook a couple things during the set up like forgetting to install a plugin for an important feature. And that is totally understandable.
Want to know what I missed when I started blogging? The whole freakin’ blog! When I say I had no idea what I was doing, I wasn’t exaggerating, hehe. I started out with a static website from Web.com then moved over to Site Builder. Nothing against either one of them. Their customer service was great and their tools were easy to use but it wasn’t what I wanted.
I would visit other blogs and think, “why doesn’t my site look like this.” I called Site Builder and told the rep what I was looking for. He told me I needed a content management system – like I knew what the h*ll that was.
I searched on Google and WordPress was at the top of the list. I go to WordPress.com and immediately became overwhelmed because it looked intimidating. I started to wonder if this blog thing would ever take off for me because I kept running into roadblocks. Thank goodness I’m stubborn because I was determined to get it.
One day while chatting on Twitter about what we were up to my friend Lisa of Inspire to Thrive told me to go self-hosted and told me about WordPress.org. She assured me it was easier than it looks – and she was right.
I went from being intimidated to falling in love with the set up process. So much so that I now offer WordPress web design services. Anyway, that’s my story. It’s embarrassing for me but I wanted to share it with you anyway to show that we all make mistakes – some bigger than others like my major faux pas, hehe.
Here’s where I’m going with all of this. It’s always good to have a second pair of eyes give your blog a once-over to make sure your blog is totally set up.
I recently did a blog review and I noticed there were some key features missing so I thought I’d share what I found with you and how you can fix these common newbie mistakes.
Common Blog Set-Up Mistakes
No Social Media Share Buttons
Believe it or not there are still some blogs that have no share buttons. If you want visitors to share your awesome content, you have to have social media share buttons. Another common mistake is the buttons are so small that a visitor can miss them altogther.
I love Social Warfare. Their buttons are customizable and there are other perks too like click to tweet options and share button location options.
No Comments Section
This is another blogging no-no – no comments section. In order to build an engaging community you have to give your visitors the means to communicate with you.
There are many commenting tools you can use and a lot of them are free. The most popular are CommentLuv and Disqus. But if you have JetPack installed all you have to do is activate the sharing feature. You don’t need to install another plugin.
Here’s how you set that up. From your WordPress dashboard go to Jetpack and select settings. When the settings page loads, select the engagement tab.
Scroll down to the sharing tab and slide the button on the right to activate it. Click the dropdown arrow and select configure your sharing settings.
When you get to the configuration page, drag the social buttons to the enabled services section and complete the rest of the settings such as what content to display then scroll down to save your changes and that’s it!
There are a lot of bloggers who want to keep their privacy so they’ll use a logo or in some cases leave their profile pictureless. But folks like to put a face with the name. I know, it’s a tough decision. I’m naturally a private person but the decision was an easy one because I want to build a loyal following and gain their trust.
Not only that, there are a lot of bloggers who will not publish a comment without a gravatar. Instead they push it to their spam folder, which is the last place you want your comment to be.
To create your own gravatar, click here.
No Featured Image
I also noticed there were no featured image set for blog posts. You might not think it’s important but when someone shares your content, you want to make sure the image you created for it is pulled.
Without a featured image, Facebook, Twitter even Pinterest may pick up any image within your web page and that includes banner ads. Remember, you’re representing your brand so you want your blog posts on point.
No Visible Links
Maybe it’s me because my peepers are getting old but it’s hard to distinguish links within a blog post when they are the same color font as regular text. If you use a Genensis theme, there is an easy way to customize your links without touching any code.
StudioPress has a tool called Genesis Design Palette Pro. You can customize your Genesis theme without touching any code. You can edit colors, fonts, backgrounds, margins – almost anything – just point and click.
No Call To Action
Something that was missing was a call to action or CTA. At the end of every post you want to include a call to action statement. In short, this directs your visitor on what to do next. If you want to drive traffic to your blog, you would use a call to action statement like “share this post”.
Maybe you want to grow your email list, a call to action or CTA would be something like “get weekly updates, subscribe today.”
Final Words and Special Offer
I sure hope you found this post helpful. It’s always good to view your website from a visitor’s point of view. Browse around the posts and pages to make sure your site is eye-catching, inviting and user-friendly and take note of anything you want to improve.
If you’d like a blog review of your website click here for a special offer.
Over to You
Have you ever had a blog review? What was the experience like? Tell us about it in the comments section below.
Please share this post with anyone you know would benefit from these tips.