Everyone reads the articles about what you need to do to grow your blog. From “pillar content” to list posts to holding contests, there are a ton of ways you can increase your subscribers and pageviews on your blog as you strive to take your show full time. However, there are not as many articles that explain what you should not do on your blog before you have the traffic to support it.
Sometimes…there are certain aspects of your blog that can actually be detrimental to your success if you jump on the bandwagon too early in an attempt to jump the gun.
Top 7 Things NOT To Do
So here they are…the top 7 things not to do before you have a significant amount of traffic on your blog.
1. Run A Poll
Polls are a great way to interact with your audience and get feedback related to subjects in your niche. However, as much as you wish your readers were holding on to every article you publish, that just isn’t reality. Not all of your readers are going to see the poll and…on top of that…even the ones that do see it aren’t guaranteed to participate. Do you really want a week old poll on your blog only showing 12 votes?
Social proof is a large part of blogging so you have to be careful about what you display on your pages. It is normally best to hold off on polls until you have at least 1,000 unique visitors a day in my opinion. Do you really think you are getting a great sampling in your niche if you are only getting 100 entries anyway? Probably not…
2. Start A Forum
Forums are incredibly hard to start even when you have a lot of traffic. When you do not have the traffic to support the launch, you will have to work that much harder to get an active community (contests are typically the best way). There is nothing more detrimental to a forum’s growth than silence. If you do have a plan for a forum in the future, look towards large traffic numbers and serious marketing planning to get it off the ground and running.
Bike198’s forum is running on IP.Board.
3. Display Your Subscriber Count
Displaying your RSS subscriber count is a debate in which there are two sides. Personally, I display my subscriber count in certain circumstances where I see fit (you’ll notice it is not displayed on this blog), but if you are planning on displaying your count…I would wait until you have at least 500 subscribers. You are not doing yourself any favors by displaying your 47 loyal subscribers.
There will be some cases (like with this blog) where you might want to hold off on showing your subscriber count even if you have a lot more than that. It is up to you on whether or not that fits inot your plan, but displaying a number that is too low will actually hurt you in the beginning stages.
4. Spend A Large Amount of Time On Blog Design
Until you have a lot of traffic on your blog, you do not really know how your readers are going to interact with your content. While you can guess and predict how your readers will interact and click through pages, spending a lot of time on design when you are trying to grow your audience is a waste of time. There are certain fundamental design elements that you need to have, but the most important aspect of your blog when you are trying to grow traffic is content and promotion.
9 times out of 10…you are going to find that your favorite design element that you are so proud of is worthless. I remember spending a lot of time on a newsletter opt-in form on my homepage only to find that the pop up hover was the source of 98% of my newsletter sign-ups. Spend your time where it counts the most and have a clean design that you can tweak over time as traffic increases and more readers interact with your content.
5. Go Full Time
Blogging is not a “get rich quick” method of making a living. It takes a lot of work over time to build enough of an audience to support a full time income. Most full time bloggers started their online empire while working a regular 9-5 at the same time. If you plan on walking in your boss’s office and quitting today because you found blogging, be prepared to be standing in the unemployment line. Only take your business full time when it can support the full time income.
Ideally, you want to bring in as much income for your household as possible, so you can do like I did and work both jobs as long as you possibly can. Two incomes are better than one right?!
6. Solicit Direct Advertising From Large Companies
I am one of those bloggers that fully supports and encourages monetizing your blog from day 1. However, it is also very important to remember where you stand in the blogosphere and adjust your money making methods accordingly. If you do not have a lot to offer in the form of traffic at this point in time, it is not a great idea to go after larger companies in your niche soliciting direct advertising spots…even if they are cheap. Larger companies have to show direct return for their investment and you are not prepared to deliver the results that requires.
On the flip side of that argument, partnering up with smaller companies in your niche is a great way to make a little bit of income and warm up your readers to the idea of direct ads on your site. It is all about knowing how your traffic levels affect success rates in direct advertising promotions.
When you are ready, check out OIOPublisher to auto rotate and handle direct advertising payments.
7. Ignore The Need To Start Building A Newsletter
If there was one thing I would do over again in my blogging, it would be starting my email newsletter from day 1 instead of down the road when I felt like I had enough traffic to justify the cost. My newsletters on my blogs is the #1 revenue and traffic generator and they also happen to be my readers most valuable option on my blogs. If you want to capture your readers and keep them for the long haul, an email newsletter is essential to success.
I use Aweber for my newsletters and I would recommend going that route as their start-up plans are wicked cheap (can you afford $1?).
Ready To Rock It Out?
Sometimes the strongest asset we can have is knowing what not to do. It is up to you to spend your time wisely and create assets that grow your business instead of constricting it.