I must admit that I tend to forget some of these myself, so hopefully this post will also serve as a checklist to go through once in a while. What about you, do you forget them?
1. Proofread. If you browse around the blogosphere you will notice that the vast majority of the bloggers do not proofread. Confusions with its and it’s, your and you’re, and their and they’re are very common. So the next time you finish writing a post or article, remember to proofread it. If it is a guest article or a linkbait piece, proofread it one more time. Check out the article 8 Proofreading Tips And Techniques for tips on this topic.
2. Backup. Over the past year I had around five friends coming to me on MSN and asking: “Hey Daniel, my blog crashed, and I had no backups, any tips on how to solve it?” Trust me, you really don’t want to find yourself in that position. Backup regularly if you do it manually. The best option, however, would be to get a script or your hosting provider to do automatic daily backups. Read Backup Your Blog Regularly to find more instructions on how to backup a WordPress blog.
3. Link to older posts. Linking to older posts can increase your traffic and search engine rankings. Additionally, it can also give more information for the readers that want to go deeper into certain subjects. If you have been blogging for months already you probably have a vast and rich archive, so use it. Read more about this on 10 Easy Ways to Improve Internal Linking on Your Blog.
4. Answer to comments. When you started blogging I am pretty sure that you got excited with the first few comments that arrived. You would even take the time to answer to each of them individually. That approach helps to create loyal readers and to build a community around them. Even if your blog is much more popular now, do not neglect the comments. At the very minimum you want to answer the people that post direct questions to you.
5. Answer to emails. Depending on the size of your audience it might become cumbersome to answer to all emails, but you should try nonetheless. Create a standard letter to common questions that you get asked. Answer to them in batches. Do whatever it takes, but try to be responsive to people that want to interact with you. It might be the difference between an upset visitor and a faithful reader. If you have a hard time dealing with your email, check these 10 tips to manage it more efficiently.
6. Approve comments. If you use comment moderation (and you should unless you get very low volumes of spam) you should approve pending comments on a regular basis. There is nothing worse than taking the time to leave a meaningful comment on a blog and not being able to see it published within a couple of hours. Not to mention when your comment doesn’t get published at all.
7. Check the spam folder. This point is valid both for your blog comments and for your emails. Some legitimate comments and emails might slip to the spam folder. This is not your fault, but it is not fault of the sender either, so check these folders once in a while to make sure people are not getting ignored.
8. Upgrade WordPress. Common sense, yet many bloggers are reluctant to upgrade their WordPress software. Some people deliberately choose to use older versions. That could be possible if you know what you are doing (i.e. if you know to patch the security holes). If that is not your case, though, just stick with the latest version. Here is a guide to update WordPress.
9. Update WordPress plugins. Not all plugins are compatible with all WordPress versions. Some require special functions or features that are found only on a particular version, and they might end up messing up your blog. Some of them also come with bugs and security problems, which get fixed by the author on consecutive versions.
10. Network. Ask ten bloggers what is the secret of their success, and I am sure that at least half of them will mention their network of contacts and friends. Sometimes who you know is more important than what you know. Keep that in mind and try to network with people as often as possible. As a blogger you have numerous way to do it.
Is there anything else that we tend to forget but shouldn’t?
Common sense, yet many bloggers are reluctant to upgrade their WordPress software. Some people deliberately choose to use older versions. That could be possible if you know what you are doing (i.e. if you know to patch the security holes). If that is not your case, though, just stick with the latest version.
Theresa Allemanon says
Terrific post! Getting an outside set of eyes or a Professional grammar editor to proofread your work is the surest way to get all the misspelled words and awkward phrases corrected.
Mark Walusimbion says
This is a wonderful post. My advise is not to count on MS Word spell checker or any software. Just get someone else to look at your work.
I like the phrase “Sometimes who you know is more important than what you know” very much. that single sentence tells you how important is it to have a network of bloggers…
This is seriously a great post. Reminded me of a few things I need to do on my own site.
Jan Polzer says
Yes, backup is one of the most important and one of the most ignored things.
Karla, the latest version of Firefox also comes with an inline spell checker. It is one of the most useful features I use these days.
To the first tip, I would like to add that with the availability of Dictionary.com and Merriamwebster.com on the Internet, it’s become so easy to double-check spelling. I happen to be an editor, and I honestly am annoyed with bloggers who’ve been around but continue to refer to “buylines” and “parteh.” It propagates a generation that doesn’t know how to spell. But then, who knows, with the English language being so vibrant, in a decade that might be acceptable. But let’s not go there. Good points though.
Catherine L says
Hi Daniel. These are spot on tips. And you are so right about the benefits of upgrading wordpress. I could not get my image plugin to work on my blog. And I finally upgraded wordpress last night and it works no trouble. You are so right about commenting too. I have noticed some bloggers have begun not commenting or replying to questions on their blogs. It is a real turnoff because it’s like they don’t value their readers.
Jay F.H. says
To Blog. You forgot that one. ;o)
Great 🙂 do I win a prize
maritza, I don’t, but I will write one soon, thanks for the input.
Acebone, it was done on purpose to see if the readers were paying attention :).
I don’t suppose you have a nifty link to a post somewhere discussing blog networking *smiles prettily*, for us newbies, you know.
“If you browse around the blogosphere you will notice that the vast majority of the bloogers do not proofread” You are so right: bloogers?
WAHM Tara says
This is a very good list!
Very good advice. I can think of personal examples for all those 10. I would just add enjoy your blogging. If you enjoy it you will be motivated to do all these 10 things.
“Link to older posts” I can add the inverse of that: “Link to newer from older” is a great tip that increased my traffic HUGELY.
Great reminder list. Defintely some things that I need to work. Thanks
Guilherme O'Connor says
Backups are essential. The easiest way I found to have a secure automatic backup on my wordpress blog was to install a plugin that sends an hourly backup to my Gmail (which is much safer than leaving the backup on the same server). And you can configure your Gmail to send your backup to the trash, where it will remain safe for 30 days if you ever need it. I’m sure this can be done with other mail systems.
OUTSTANDING list…bookmarked!!! Best Wishes, Keith Johnson, Author “365 Great Affirmations”
Hey there. I’ve been browsing the net for some good advice on getting a blog off the ground and this place is quite helpful. One thing, though: just about every article I’ve read regarding blogging says that networking is crucial, but no one ever elaborates. What’s a good way to network? If it’s emailing people, what should I say in the email? If it’s making phone calls, what should I say on the call? Should I be serious and businessy, or my laid-back self? I’d appreciate any advice you could give. Feel free to email me back at [email protected] or check out my blog, albotas.com Thanks.
thanks, all these tidbits are rather useful pieces of information.
Free Traffic says
I’m happy Everytime I come to your blog because I always find new valuable information. One of these 10 things I had never used is Backup. This is a great tip. Thanks for the list!
Thanks for the reminders! Good tips!
Great list! Now I have to go and take care of a few things I’ve, uh, forgotten.
Really good advice.. ^.^