Top 7 Technical Mistakes Bloggers Make

This is a guest post by Ishan Sharma. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

It’s easy to get lost when you are new. After all, there’s too much to manage! You have design, content and what not. In all this mess, it is easy to make small mistakes.

Recently, I had a very bad experience when a friend’s blog got messed up because of some configuration problems and we had to setup WP and design from scratch! So I thought about writing a post that would save bloggers from making common mistakes and here they are:

Woman With Laptop

Using A Free Service
Using a free host like Blogspot and WordPress.com seems good from far. But there’s a big problem with this option! You don’t own your content, the host does! Recently, blogger blocked and even deleted a lot of blogs. Among the victims was a customer who had 60,000 subscribers! Now, blogspot team is either nuts or using bots(which is likely high, considering it’s a property of big G) for blocking blogs.
In any case, the point is that you can loose a lot if you use a free platform. Consider getting a self hosted WordPress blog and while doing that, avoid the following mistakes:

Using “Cheap” Hosting
Many bloggers would move to a hosting company but would look for cheapest or worst – a free host. And the features they get are:

  1. Regular outages.
  2. Awful support.
  3. Slow loading times.

Remember, you get what you pay for. Do not fall for the “unlimited bandwidth” and other tall claims! Before buying hosting, research well and shortlist 2-3 hosting companies and then compare them. It is also advisable to contact friends using different hosting companies.

Using Your Host As Domain Registrar And Vice Versa
Keeping both hosting and domain with same company is a really bad idea. Yes, there may be some discounts involved but it’s a bit dangerous.
Imagine something bad happens with your hosting company and there servers crash! Now, if you have both domain and hosting with them, your site will be completely down.

If you have domain with a different registrar, you can at least redirect it to a new page explaining something bad has happened. It won’t retain all the visitors but hey, a bird in hand is worth two in the bush!

Wrong Permalink Structure
No explanations for this one, just a quick question: Which one is better and easy to remember out of the next two URLs?

  • http://myblog.com/?p=123
  • http: //myblog.com/my-post

Of course it is the second one unless you have got a super photographic memory! Not to mention that it is also better for search engine bots(and they don’t have photographic memory even if you have! 😉 ).

You should always use a informative permalink structure for post. In WordPress, this can be easily changed by going to Settings → Permalinks. Set the structure to custom and in the text box, enter /%post-name%/ for structure like the second example. For more permalink structures, see WordPress Codex.

Using Too Many Plugins
Plugins add lot of functionality to WordPress. But the main problem with them is that it is easy to get carried away with them.
This was a mistake I made when I was new to WordPress. I fell in love with lot plugins and in first month, I had some 60 plugins active at one time. Now, you can imagine how slow the blog would have been. Thankfully, I realized it soon and uninstalled several useless ones. Now, I have around 30 plugins and performance is better.
As a rule of thumb, you should not install more than 25 plugins unless absolutely necessary and delete the inactive ones.

Not Tracking Stats
If you don’t know your stats, you are missing a lot. Using stats you can know where your visitors are spending more time on your blog, from which page they are leaving the blog, bounce rate etc. With all these data in hand, you can tweak the blog and significantly improve your blog and your readers experience.
And another thing is tracking feed subscribers. For this, you can use FeedBurner. You can use your platform’s default feed without any problems but FeedBurner has lots of advantages. First of all, you can track number of readers(although inconsistently). You can offer free e-mail subscriptions and also add AdSense to monetize your feeds.

Not Taking Backups
Taking backup is something you should start doing today.
Anything can go wrong at anytime and having a backup locally(i.e. on your hard disk) may be the only security measure. You should setup a automatic backup for your blog using a plugin like WP DBManager. For detailed tutorial, take a look at this tutorial: How To Backup A WordPress Blog.

These were top 7 mistakes that new bloggers tend to make. Do you have any tips for new bloggers? Do share with us in comments.

About Author: Hi, My name is Ishan Sharma. I am a teen entrepreneur and I love blogging and WordPress. I blog at Blogging
With Success
about Blogging Tips and WordPress. If you need any type of help with your WordPress blog/website, I can be found at WordPress Blog Experts.

TweetMeMe or Tweet Me Not!

First thing first: “TweetMeme is a service that aggregates the most re-tweeted stories on twitter and makes them accessible to people in one central location. The service also includes it’s re-tweet button which helps users quickly engage their readers in re-tweeting interesting and relevant content to their twitter followers. Other offerings around TweetMeme include the Widget and API.” – Sarah, Community Manager, TweetMeme.com.

You probably have see TweetMeme buttons used by many bloggers and even mainstream media websites. It helps in reaching more audience.
tweetmeme
There are two options to use the TweetMeme button:
1. On selective posts.
2. On every posts published on the blog.

If you want to insert TweetMeme button to a particular post, then here is the code:
Put this code wherever you want the TweetMeme button to appear:


<script type="text/javascript">
tweetmeme_style = 'compact';
tweetmeme_url = 'http://yoururl.com';  
 tweetmeme_source = 'yourTwitterID';  
</script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://tweetmeme.com/i/scripts/button.js">
</script>  

I personally like the compact TweetMeme icon, which shows the number of re-tweets and gives the option to re-tweet. But the large one my help get user attention. To get the compact button, I have used tweetmeme_style = 'compact'; and note that all these

tweetmeme_style = 'compact';
tweetmeme_url = 'http://yoururl.com';  
 tweetmeme_source = 'yourTwitterID';  
fields are optional, if not used, default values will be taken. Its a walk in the breeze experience, to install things on a blog/website using WordPress, but not so in many other blogging platforms. So, you can make use of the above code to implement it manually on your blog.
Code Source: TweetMeme Help

You can also know the number of re-tweets a story has got, using this code:


http://api.tweetmeme.com/imagebutton.gif?url=<url>

replace the <url> with the URL of the article.

If you want to show TweetMeme re-tweet button at the end/ beginning of every article on your blog, then its a good idea to make use of tweetmeme plugin.

Another fantastic plugin that I personally like is: Tweetable.
Here is its features:
* Automatically tweet your blog posts when they are published. Optionally add Google Analytics campaign tags to the shortened URLs. You also have your pick of URL shorteners.
* Tweet from within WordPress. The plugin adds a dedicated Twitter page where you can browse your friends timeline and post updates. An optional quick-tweet Dashboard widget is available as well.
* Display your latest tweets in your blog sidebar with a customizable widget. Includes support to display follower count.
* Set the minimum user level to access the Twitter page in the WordPress backend.
* Automatically add a full-size or compact Tweetmeme widget to your posts.
* Track tweets based on keywords of your choice via the Twitter API.

Over all, I think it’s good to use this button at the end of the article, as it will be a good call for action. As per my observation, a story with TweetMeme button get more re-tweets. People can see how many people have already tweeted about the particular article, and it can arise their feeling, to re-tweet.
It is also interesting to see TweetMeme using bit.ly as the default URL shortener. So we can get those extra stats- the number of clicks we got to the re-tweeted article link and the location of the people, who clicked the link etc. You need not even have an account with bit.ly, just append a + sign at the end of the shortned URL and hit the enter key.
Ex:- One of my article URL, shortened using bit.ly is http://bit.ly/mOtWR To see the stats I just need to append a + sign i.e., http://bit.ly/mOtWR+ and hit the enter. So simple.

How often have you tweeted a story that has a re-tweet button and how often have you tweeted about a story that does not have one. Always remember, many people using internet are lazy enough, so you can’t expect many people to phrase the tweet. Only a small percentage of people will take the initiative to form the original tweets, to share the stories that they like and all others re-tweet it. So it would be a good idea to have such links where people can just tweet or re-tweet about it, with 1 or 2 clicks.

Have you used TweetMeme buttons on your website/blog. How is it performing? Do you have it at the bottom or top of the article? Do you prefer using a plugin or manual coding for individual posts.