10 Ways To Make Yourself Look Like A Blogging Newbie

Be A Blogging Newbie!

With blogging, first impressions matter in a huge way. Every day, people are going to land on your blog and interact with it. To say this in a more direct manner, they are going to land on your blog and interact with YOU, either directly or indirectly. That experience can make a lasting impression on a visitor, but it can also make no impression at all.

We all make judgements about the blogs we visit every day. We gauge the value of the blog within seconds. The problem is that for the most part, we make those judgements without thinking about them. For that reason, we sometimes have a hard time putting our own blogs through the same analysis that we use when we look at blogs that belong to other people.

To help eliminate that problem, I want to focus on some subtleties, things that can lower the impact you make on a visitor:

10 Ways To Make Yourself Look Like A Blogging Newbie

1. Don’t have pillar content.

Almost every successful blog I know of has epic content that sets them apart from the pack. You need to have at least one incredible project, video, e-book, or blog post! If you don’t, I’m afraid it’s hard to not look like a beginner.

Think about it. Is there a blogger out there that you really respect and follow that doesn’t have epic content?

Make sure that a visitor to your blog can easily find your best stuff, no matter what page or post they land on. If they can’t find it, they will assume that you don’t have it.

2. Use too many elements in your sidebar.

Some blogs I’ve seen have no less than 300 items in their sidebar(s). Most of the time, the majority of the items are links to other sites. I understand why it’s done – the blogger who does this is usually trying to give to other bloggers that they like. Do it too much, and it looks like a newbie move.

3. Have design from 1999.

I personally wish that we lived in a world where design doesn’t matter. Why? Because I have no design skill. I wish that people would focus 100% on my writing. Unfortunately, they don’t. The way your site looks matters and matters more and more as time goes on.

4. Have too many categories for your content.

This is a very effective way to look like a blogging newbie so make sure you don’t forget about this one! Adding a new category for every post is a powerful, advanced newbie disclosure method.

I’ve seen blogs with over 100 categories. You don’t need 100 categories. I personally need to go through my categories and get rid like five of them.

5. Lack topical focus.

Change topics every time you post. Consult with your readers about what kind of things they would like to learn.

Most of us fall into this trap at one time or another so don’t beat yourself up over this one. But, if you have a lot of interests that don’t fit together, you should have more than one blog.

I should say that I believe that there are exceptions to this. Mommy bloggers, for example, are able to successfully navigate a variety of topics related to being a mom, but they all fit under one main thing: being a mom.

6. Spread yourself thin.

Social media makes it all too easy to take focus away from your blog. It’s your blog that matters the most. No technique or amount of effort will be effective with social media unless your blog is strong.

7. Use meaningless post titles.

Titles like ‘Another meaningless Monday’ (You’ll notice that I’m ignoring title case for a double-newbie-effect.) and ‘Life sucks again’ are my personal favorites for looking newbieish. (Is newbieish even a word? Hmm.. Is newbie even a word?)

8. Beg for attention.

I see sites that literally scream ‘I want attention’. They have widgets asking people to review them here, there, and everywhere else. I hate to say it but if you’re annoyed that you don’t get enough attention, you are probably focusing too much on yourself! Make it about your readers and things will turn around.

9. Post erratically.

This has been my achilles heel and I’m working to turn that around. I don’t have a problem creating content that people like but I tend to be somewhat erratic. I always gain more traction when I’m steady.

10. Run around begging for links.

The most tell-tale sign that you’re a newbie is running around asking high-level bloggers for links. We’ve all done it, so don’t feel bad or anything. But, this isn’t going to work and it kind of reveals that you don’t understand how things work.

Links happens because bloggers are trading value. Sometimes they are trading guest posts or if a guest post has enough value on its own, one blogger publishes it in exchange for a link.

If a piece of content is truly epic, it will get natural links from all over the place.

Focus on developing friendships and links will come.

Comments 93

  1. lol, this is pretty funny. I actually see a few things I do on this list. The problem is I don’t know how to change my URL on blogger. Is it possible? If it is maybe you could refer me to a site that tells you how to do it.. Good article though, it made me laugh

  2. Great post! It was humorous and educational. Anytime you can present a post to your readers that’s funny, entertaining yet educational is a winner in my blog! lol.

    I’ve definitely subscribed to your fine blog! 🙂

    Keep on with your A-List blogging!

    Have an excellent day!

  3. Hah! I finally stopped doing ALL of these! When I started ericsocia.net a month ago, I was literally doing just about every one of those things, with a couple of exceptions (like begging for links. I would never do that). Anyway, thanks for the laugh 🙂

  4. Yikes … I was guilty of at least 2 or 3 of those as recently as a month ago (especially the theme changing one). Hopefully things will continue to get better with time 😉

  5. I cracked up at the “have wordpress as the folder name” comment…that’s soooo true! I like all words capitalized in a title, I think it’s essential to make a title seem important.

  6. I’m a newbie and I am gaining lots of insight from your blog. Thanks for sharing your insights in a very entertaining way. Hey I’m implementing one of the things you teach in another post I’m leaving a comment. LoL

  7. Good info there! In fact I am a new blogger just 2 months old. I write about almost anything that strikes me and I STILL HAVE NO IDEA what the main thing my blog is about. >,<

  8. Hahaha that was both funny and informative and a tiiiny bit depressing because I’ve made at least 4 of those mistakes…or techniques to advertise my noobiness to the world lol.

  9. A lot of these things I noticed amongst many newcomers to blogging. In fact I still see these things daily. The one thing you mentioned that I see most are bloggers who write about everything from political debates to their opinion on a new cd.

  10. I have either made, or am making all 10 of these mistakes. What a great post. I wouldn’t know what I was doing wrong if I hadn’t read this. Thanks Court!

  11. Guilty on multiple counts. This helps me be more aware of how I use my site, now that I have read some of your other posts and will be monetizing it.

  12. Hooray, I’m not guilty of any of these! Although I must say, while I put #1 into practice, the Grammar Nazi inside of me gets really annoyed at this trend.

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  15. Superb article! I really got a few laughs off your treatment of ‘newbie’ bloggers! You just got yourself a brand-new subscriber to your preeminent, A-List blog!! I might also post this article on one of my Diigo groups about blogging and social media. Excellent work!!

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  20. Yes – There are certain ways to tell the experienced. It also is nice to have fresh posts and comments from people new to blogging 🙂

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  22. I’m totally confused. Is the original article about being a “newbie” all sarcasm, or do you really do these things? I am serious. Actually, I have yet to read my first blog. Guess I’m a dinosaur. I’m ready to start something, but want to know if the article was sincere, or for humor. Thanks.

    1. Barbara – Some newbies do commit those mistakes. The article is both sincere and 20% humour as blogged,”Please no one take offense, this post is 20% a joke and 80% to show you a few things to avoid.”

      Happy New Year!

  23. Hi Courtney,

    Excellent post – especially point 9 🙂
    Out of curiosity – which was the one mistake you managed to avoid, when you first started?
    I personally haven’t begged for links, but most of the other points seem quite familiar at one point or another 😉


  24. Thanks a million for this nice article, it’s really surprising how much the person can understand from each of a hundred of the small details! Frankly speaking I often don’t pay attention to such peculiarities as the title case and sometimes use the original URLs, so can be called a newbie easily. But is it really so bad? When you only start blogging you don’t think much about the details and sometimes looks like a kid who doesn’t know how to behave at the public place. But some time passes and you understand the basic rules and the norm of behaviour and it is great when you come to this conclusion yourself. This is much worse when the newbie is afraid of making something wrong and always conform to the rules, in this case he or she loses the individuality and this attractive impetuosity which is so cool.

  25. Haha, this was actually funny and helpful. I have done some of these things but by no means all. Before I launched my site I already knew about permalinks etc. But the most major thing I did was change my design a billion times. But the good thing is it actually improved and now it is where it shall stay. I like it.

    Good post though. lol newbieish.

  26. Obviously, this is a well written and sufficiently snarky post with a very well chosen topic. How else do you explain active comments for 2.5 years? 🙂

    That said, the Submit form ‘thank you’ landing page for the 5-day email course could use some help. It redirects offsite, which is fine as most email marketing lists are managed by a 3rd party anyway – I expect that. What I didn’t expect was that the Close This Window link wouldn’t take me back to where I was (i.e., the landing page should open in a different window/tab if all that link can do is close the window/tab).

    Thanks for the info nonetheless!

  27. Court, im so mad at you right now!!! **ok not really but sort of** I started reading the top list and thought, W-T-F…DID I MISS SOMETHING? And then i got to the rest of your article. You had me going. If you have any ocean front property in Arizona, im looking to buy!

  28. Great post!

    I think I’m guilty of more than a few of those (I just put my blog up last week). Looks like I’ll have to start paying attention to this as well


    Darren L Carter

  29. do not, do not do not forget about typos.

    Nothing worse than reading a “professional” blog that was written by someone who lacks both the ability to spell and punctuate.

    I love comments, but the few times I have had blogs with comments–they always seem to get spammed.

  30. Thanks for the humorous post. I am pretty much a newbie but found that I don’t make all of those mistakes – just enough to let everyone know I’m a newbie. I’ll be making an effort to improve based on what I have learned here. Thanks again.

  31. in your next article about blogging like a newbie, you can also mention, that its the best to leave the names of all pictures as the original filename from the cam.

  32. Great points! And I wholeheartedly agree with nine of your ten points. 🙂

    I do know exactly what you mean about having too many categories, or creating a new category for every random thing. I transfer lots of blogs from Blogger to WordPress for other bloggers, and in the process, I always see how people have assigned as many different labels to their posts as possible. That’s an absolute nightmare to clean up once you get into WordPress since they transfer over as categories, so most people just leave them because it’s a headache to clean up all of that mess. I think that’s a huge mistake.

    But I personally do have just at 100 categories on my blog, and they were all carefully planned and curated so that my blog would work just as I wanted it to. So I don’t necessarily think it’s about a specific number. I think it’s about the organization and efficiency of your blog. For some blogs, that may only require 10 categories. For mine, I used 100 well-organized categories/subcategories. And I do actually have people write to me regularly to tell me that they love how organized my blog is. 🙂

  33. Thanks, Court!
    I know I am making some of these mistakes, and I am pretty sure that I am making a bunch of others, too. I feel like I’ve had no idea what I’ve been doing… until I starting following your “Better Blogging” hang outs with Brooke and Beckie on Google+. You all offer great information and make me laugh while you’re doing it. Although I probably still don’t know what I am doing, you’re a great lifeline and I will be following you. thank you!

  34. But I personally do have just at 100 categories on my blog, and they were all carefully planned and curated so that my blog would work just as I wanted it to. So I don’t necessarily think it’s about a specific number. I think it’s about the organization and efficiency of your blog. For some blogs, that may only require 10 categories.

  35. Just reading this blog post embarasses me. I can’t say that I’ve committed every one of these transgressions, but the list gives me enough mental facepalms to realize that I need to work on my blog more before I start inviting guests.

    Thanks for the great advice.

  36. Oh wow, stepping on some toes. I’ve been blogging well over two years but didn’t try to monetize until recently. Now I feel like a complete newbie all over gain and making some of the same mistakes, but trying to listen and learn as well. Loved this list. Made me have a gut check about my blogging.

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  39. This post has seriously made me think for a while. I should have created some pillar comtent, but it’s almost 3 months now since my blog lanched. However, I think it’s never to late 😉

    Thank you so much for putting all these important things together.

  40. I too am very guilty of this. After reading so many different opinions on how to build relationships, get traffic, blog design, etc. I sometimes feel information overload. Thank you for a great post and helping me realize just what I’ve been doing wrong.

  41. Hi Court,

    Something that really turns me off when reading a post is, the misspelling of words and using incorrect grammar.
    Those kinds of posts are difficult to read and don’t hold my interest. I would suggest to everyone who is a blogger, please use spell check and make sure you can punctuate a sentence properly. I understand, that not all bloggers speak English, but, you can learn. This might seem harsh, but, some of the PLR products I have read are worthless. So much for my rant!!

  42. I just heard you on Leslie’s podcast from last year. I loved it! I have to say I’m going to edit my website based on this ;o). Thanks for such a nice looking blog and resource. I look forward to exploring your blog more.

  43. I enjoyed your class at Haven last week. I am sooooo new! Wish i would have read all thisbefore i started my blog. Lots of changes to make. Thank you! My head is spinning but i will master this!

    I will in be in touch!

  44. I love this! This is so true, especially about having an old website design. I’ve kind of noticed that among my WordPress group, we’re kind of competitive when it comes to who’s on the up and up with the latest themes. Great share!

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