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3 Costly blogging mistakes to avoid.

follow this guide to avoid common blogging mistakesBloggers make mistakes all the time. But most of them are easy to avoid, and even easier not to create in the first place.

As a blogger you might think that anything goes when it comes to the content of your blog posts. Well, by and large of course it’s up to you what you write, but if you started your blog for a reason, for example to promote your business or art then you might have to give it a little more thought than just doing a brain dump on the page every morning.

Mistake number one then –is not sticking to the topic of your blog. Blogs are usually designed around a theme – and the more focused the theme, the more likely you’ll attract interested traffic. Many new bloggers however either ‘cast around’ for a theme, hoping to hit on something that works, or are just scattered in general. You can see this on lots of blogs, where people talk incessantly about their bloody cats when they’ve run out of business stuff to share.

Solution – keep your posts as focused as possible on the overall topic that you set out for your blog and don’t be afraid of sharing too much detail about what you do or even how you do it with your avid readers. If anything this kind of sharing builds trust and is more likely to get you work or a following than if you keep it all secret.

No business operates in vacuum and its crazy to waste energy trying to hide your ideas from your competition.

Mistake number two – bloggers don’t spend enough time or expend enough effort in promoting their sites and driving driving traffic back to them.

Blogging isn’t just about posting content. Unfortunately, many people seem to think that ‘if they build it, they will come’ and that’s simply not true. New and fresh content is vital to your success and not updating often enough will really impact on your traffic. Most bloggers start out really well – they write lots of posts and then, it tapers off. They become discouraged, or worse, they think they aren’t doing ‘it right’. Blogging needs just as much attention as any other site, sometimes more so – and like most sites, unless you hit on something really big, you’ll find that you don’t make much of an impact at first.

Driving traffic to your site can be fairly simple though – you can do it by taking part in other sites, and using your url in your sigline, you can comment on other blogs and forums, bookmark your site and of course create a social media strategy – with wide exposure you’ll gain far more traffic than simply relying on SEO.

Mistake number three – not connecting with others in your niche. This isn’t restricted to bloggers of course, its a feature of business generally. Many owners of small businesses try to play their cards too close to their chests in an effort to protect their trade secrets.

Solution – its important to contact others in your niche, because it gives you a chance to participate in link exchanges and maybe even collaboration on projects. One of the best ways to do this is ‘mutually’ recommend one another’s sites – you can do this, quite simply, by asking the site owner to review your site, and you can do the same. That way, you’ll build a more valuable ‘link base’ for the person you’re reviewing, and though they are creating a two way link exchange with you, the review style link exchange is always more valuable.

No matter what mistakes bloggers make, or the length of time they’ve been making them for, its never too late to get things back on track. There’s always a way to fix common problems including the mythical writers block.

How do you continue to find interesting ideas for your blog?

It can sometimes seem like you’ve said it all, and just very occasionally this is actually nearly true. Most times however, its not and there are some great strategies and tools you can use to generate new ideas and exciting fresh content for your blog. I’m just about to use one such tool:

Tomorrow, I’m going to talk about how you can keep your blog fresh and come up with an endless stream of new ideas to share with our readers.

Until then, if you need any help with any aspect of blogging, be it technical or content…just give me a call on my mobile number 07939 149103 or drop me a line.

Photo thanks to:  J. Money via Compfight, right on the money!

How to have a Productive Website

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A lot of people forget that their website is a business marketing tool and that it isn’t the end in itself.

When you get to the office in the morning you wouldn’t dream of digging in to the programming code of your bookkeeping software to make it look or behave a little bit different or unscrew the back of the coffee machine to try to improve its performance.

As business people we somethimes take our eye off the ball and start to fart around with stuff that just isn’t helping us to be productive.

I love this short film of sculptor/artist Tom Sachs from the TheSelby which is another inspirational website for you to waste spend useful time on during your working day.

The main message for me from this film is to spend as much time as possible on your actual work, the business of creating whatever it is you create.

Even when he is working on a component he knows the likely “man hours” associated with this task. And whilst he is engaged in that task he says he is meditating on what that task actually means and where it fits in to the overall plan.

This is a very mindful way to work and we could all learn a lesson from him.

When working on a client’s project I am also aware of the man hours associated with each task. For example, yesterday I was installing and configuring a membership site plug in for a website I’m working on.

Because I know what to do and how the plug in works and where to look for help if I need it, I can confidently estimate my time and therefore be as productive as possible.

If my client had tried to do this work by herself, the time requirement would essentially be open ended, as there are so many blind alleys you can go down and so many errors that can be incorporated into the installation and configuration of a job like creating a membership site.

Worst of all she would have been using her clients as guinea-pigs to test whether or not her work was good enough. You only get one chance with clients on a membership site, so errors are not acceptable. People rightly get very touchy about their information being mis-handled by a business website.

So my message for today is to follow Tom Sachs’ example, be mindful, be creative and above all be productive.

Give me a call on 07939 149103 or head over to my maintenance page for all of your fiddly website issues and use your own valuable time doing the amazing stuff that you do.

How to Back Up Your WordPress Website

cpanel back up wizardThere can be no worse feeling than making a tweak or adding a plug in to your WordPress site only, pressing preview and finding that your site has been re-designed by Picasso!

The horror I felt the first time I found a line of code at the top of a white screen or a jumble of header and content all over the place was palpable.

Worse is the sudden lock out of the admin area where you can’t even get back in behind your site to see what went wrong.

These “disasters” are rarely more than a plug in conflict which can be resolved relatively easily, but I have had a client delete their entire website in an effort to
free disk space! There was plenty of free disk space of course so the primary aim was met, but there was no longer a business website, just lots of lovely free disk
space.

That story had a happy ending, because we had a…Back Up plan.

Many people shy away from backing up their WordPress site because it appears too difficult. There’s not just the site to back up but there’s also one of these pesky
database thingy’s and no one wants to mess around with those do they?

Fortunately its easy when you know how.

You can use a plug in for this, but it easy to do it manually.

All 4Donkeys hosting clients have access to their website’s control panel (cpanel) which is different to the wp admin area; this is where the bare bones of the
operation are managed.

Here’s my 10 simple steps to feeling good!

  1. Log in to cpanel
  2. Scroll down to the section titled “Files”
  3. Click on Backup Wizard: Box 1 will be pre-selected.
  4. Click on the “back up” button within the Option 1 box; this takes you into Box2.
  5. Select “Home Directory”, box 3 opens and gives you a button to download a copy of your Home Directory…
  6. Download the Home Directory file to a folder on your PC (preferably one that is synchronised with off site storage like Dropbox).
  7. Depending on the size of your site this might take a little while.
  8. Then click on box 2 to return to the download options.
  9. Select mySQL databases which will take you to a list of the databases for your site (usually just one).
  10. Click on each database in turn to download a back up file and store safely as before.

Of course you should do this regularly if you are updating your site frequently and always make sure you have a copy saved to somewhere other than your own PC and
somewhere other than you own building. Cloud folders are great for this. I use Dropbox, Amazon Cloud and Google Docs, all of which are free.

Happy backing up.

Any questions please feel free to call me or drop me line, or head over to Maintenance and I’ll do it all for you.

bronze

The bronze maintenance package for WordPress website owners.

This package provides you with 1 hour of my time per month.

This package is most suitable for you if you are running a blog or small website and you need help to back up your site and database (Very Important), or maybe to keep your plug ins and WordPress installation up to date. 

Includes full time-sheet of work completed each month.

There’s no contract and you can cancel your subscription at any time. This is a good way to test the fit between us and to gauge the level of support you need without breaking the bank.

£50/month

Website Address:

silver

Our Silver package for WordPress website owners.

This package provides you with 3 hours of my time per month to develop your WordPress site which can include upgrading of the site’s design, functionality and/or content creation.

Includes Free full site back-up each month and WordPress version upgrades when required and a full time-sheet of work completed each month.

There’s no contract and you can cancel your subscription at any time.

This package is most suitable for you if you are running a blog or website and you need help to develop the functionality and or content of your site.

£135/month

Website Address:

gold

Our Gold maintenance package for WordPress website owners.

This package provides you with 5 hours of my time per month to develop your WordPress site which can include upgrading of the site’s design, functionality and/or content creation.

Includes Free full site back-up each month and WordPress version upgrades when required and a full time-sheet of work completed each month.

There’s no contract and you can cancel your subscription at any time.

This package is most suitable for you if you are running a busy blog or website and you need help to develop the functionality and or content of your site.

£199/month

Website Address: