Mistakes I have madeJun 19, 2007 Edit
These are some of the mistakes I have made over the past few years with Blogging and web design. These mistakes have cost me hours of extra work and in some cases months headache’s. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and save yourself some time.
- Used a sub directory - When you browse to this blog you will might have noticed that its stored in a sub directory ('http://blog.abluestar.com/') instead of the base directory ('http://www.abluestar.com/'). This is bad for SEO and but I didn't know that when I first installed this blog. I just used my hosts default directory ('/blog/') and now its too late to go back and fix it there are already too many links set up. Lesson learned: Use your base directory for your blog.
- Used sub domains - When ever I created a new project I would create a new sub domain for it (projectx.abluestar.com). It made things really easy to sort and organize but Search engines saw it as two different sites and when one project when up the others where not effected. Lesson learned: Use sub directories not sub domains
- Used my host as my registrar - I registered all my domains with my host, when I out grew my host and went searching for a new one, my old host made it extremely hard to tranfer/forward all my domains to the new server. It took months to get everything reorganized. Now I use one company as a registrar and anther as my host. Lesson learned: Don't get stuck with one company.
- Everything in one basket - Similar to the last one, All my domains, and my websites where hosted by one company in one location. The companies servers when down for 2 days and all my projects died over night. It was disastrous on how many uses I lost in two days. it wouldn't have been so bad to clean up if only one or two sites dropped out but all at once created a lot of extra work for me over the next months. Lesson learned: Don't put everything in one basket even if its easier.
- No clear theme - This was a big one for me, I had lots of ideas for posts but no general theme for the website. For the first few months my website was a filled with random posts with nothing to do with each other. It was impossible to do any marketing for. At the end of 3 months I had 10 subscribers all people I knew. After I switched to a unique website theme 'Games games and more games' it became much easier and at the end of the first month I had 30 new subscribers. Lesson learned: Define your theme from the start.
- English - My English was/is appalling, its one of the biggest faults I have. I re-read some of my posts from 4-5 years ago and there completely unreadable, they where so bad that I couldn't even figure out what I was talking about. Over the past few years I have spent a lot of time trying to improve my English skills, there not great but there better then they once were. Lesson learned: Learn English before you try to blog.
- Writing for myself - Most posts from last year and earlier where written for me. I often used the word 'I', and 'myself'. I ignored the readers needs and wrote the posts for myself as if I was bragging that I was able to solve a problem. I wouldn't have thought that to make a big difference but as soon as I started using words like 'you' and 'yourself' I started getting a lot more comments, and more links. I stopped ignoring my users needs and they stopped ignoring me. Lesson learned: Write for your users not yourself.
- Action words - It may sound stupid but I never told the users what I expected them to do with the information that I gave them. For example in this post 'I expect you to learn from my mistakes and try and avoid them'. The action words are right in the first paragraph and there clear on what this posts is all about. Once you are done reading this post you should have a clear idea of what you need to do next. Lesson learned: Tell the readers what to do.
- Too many RSS feeds - This one was a big for me, every web site that I enjoyed reading I subscribed to. My thinking was that if I organized the data properly it would make it a lot easier to read and I would save time. The problem was that after three months I had 150 RSS feeds and I was getting 400+ new posts a day, I spent 6+ hours a day reading nothing but RSS feeds and I still wasn't catching up. Because I was spending so much time reading other peoples posts, my post quality dropped and I lost readers on my website. I have since removed all but 10 RSS feeds, and I get around 20 posts a day, much more manageable. Lesson learned: Less feeds more quality
- Ran out of ideas - When I started my first blog I had lots of ideas. After the first 6 months I couldn't think of anything, I couldn't even remember all the ideas that I had at the start. So I went to a park with a sketch book and pounded out 25 new ideas over the next few hours. Now I keep this sketch book where ever I go. When ever I have an idea I write it down, no matter how stupid it may seem. When ever I am stuck for an idea I open the book and search for an idea that I have not posted about. Lesson learned: Keep an idea book.