In April 2010, CHA reported in a press release that there are 1.3 MILLION scrapbook bloggers. Wow, that's a lot! Apparently, we scrapbookers & paper crafters have a lot to say!
It makes sense, though. Blogs fill an important role for many of us in this industry. Local Scrapbook Stores are updating their local customers. Manufacturers are showing off their design teams & new lines. Direct sales consultants are sharing sales updates. Crafting groups are planning crops & retreats. Aspiring designers are sharing their work. And that doesn't even begin to take into account those crafty bloggers who are blogging simply for the fun of it!
I am no expert, that is for sure. But whether you are a long-time blogger or just getting started, here are a few blogging blunders that I implore you to avoid 🙂
Don't feel like you should your posts by apologizing to your readers for the length of time since your last post. You don't owe us anything! Most of us subscribe via a feed, so if you haven't posted anything in a while, believe me, we're finding other things to read out there in the blogosphere. We aren't frantically checking your blog hourly & cursing you for the days, weeks, or months you've been absent 🙂
Yes, we enjoy reading some personal anecdotes. We like to know that you are human and that you aren't perfect. (Perfect people are intimidating and can make us feel like we don't measure up.) But seriously, we DON'T need to know the gorey details about your kidney stones or your upcoming uterine ablation.
Masking Your URL
This is a mistake we made here at PaperCrafter's Corner when we first got started. We own the domain www.papercrafterscorner.com and once you type that URL into your browser, it will forward you to our typepad homepage, which is www.papercrafterscorner.typepad.com. When we first started, we "masked" our domain so that every page appeared simply as papercrafterscorner.com. We did this because we thought we would look more like a "real" website if we didn't use an obvious blogging host like typepad, wordpress or blogger.
This was a mistake. Why? Once someone found an article they wanted to share on a messageboard, on facebook, or on their own blog, they couldn't (easily) see the exact URL of the article to share it. They could only share our home page address. This meant less sharing & referrals. Readers are inherently too lazy to search for the relevant post — they want to be taken right to it. So you want to make it EASY for your readers to hotlink right to your best stuff!
No Home Page Link
This is the other side of the coin of the above blunder. I run across many great blogs via hotlink to a specific post. I arrive at the blog, read the article, and then want to see what else has been written recently…. but there's no link to "home."
I usually can figure out how to erase part of the URL and figure out the main page, but it might take a second. (I find this issue most often with those using blogger as their platform.) Make it EASY for your reader to find your home page — this is the page they will want to bookmark or subscribe to.
No Email Link
Okay, I understand that you don't want to get a ton of spam. I get that. But if you want people to read your blog, you should give them a way to contact you. Why are you hiding from us? Sure, we can just leave you a public comment and hope that you will read it & get back to us…. but that seems a little one-sided. If you are worried about getting spam generated by a computer, there are two ways you can handle this. (1) Provide your email via an email link button or (2) Write it out like this: Susan(at)papercrafterscorner(dot)com
Leaving Out Key Details
If you are planning or mentioning an event, don't assume that we know more details than what you've provided. If you are promoting your event on the web, I'm assuming that new folks are welcome to attend? If so, help them find you!
Date Assumptions: I run across so many events that don't include the year — and I find myself referencing the calendar to see if Friday the 25th of July occurred in 2010 or if it was Friday the 25th in 2009. There are lots of out-of-date websites out there still promoting events from 2006, so help us know that your event is still current.
Location Assumptions: If your event is planned at the XYZ Community Center, please be sure to provide an address including city & state.
Phone number assumptions: Be sure to include your area code — even if your town only uses one prefix. Someone from out-of-town may be planning a visit to your area and she may not know your prefix.
What else? I'm sure there are more!!
As I said, I'm certainly no expert. But these are just a few things I've seen that are easy fixes to make your blogs more linkable, readable, and user friendly. If you have some tips of your own, please feel free to share them with us in the comments section below 🙂