With millions of blogs springing up on the Internet every year it is becoming more and more difficult for publishers to make sites stand out from the crowd.
Search engines are looking for signals of trust and it is more important than ever to make sure your blog has the signals that Google algorithms are probably looking for.
Of course there are exceptions to all the points below but in general if you can steer clear of making these mistakes your blog will stand out from all the millions of spam blogs out there.
Although Google would never admit it the vast majority of blogs using the blogspot.com domain are spam. Out of the hundreds of blogs I read every day about 2 of them are hosted on blogspot.com.
Put simply if you don’t use your own domain then your blog is lumped in with all the other spam blogs on blogspot.com and your content has to work much harder to get the recognition it deserves. Google doesn’t penalise blogspot blogs because it owns Blogger but the fact that these blogs get a lot less links than blogs hosted on their own domains means they rank lower anyway.
Of course you can use Blogger and have your blog on a seperate domain but then you really should be using WordPress (or some other similar platform).
Have a huge blogroll
Blogrolls were popular about 3 years ago and most of the sites that still have a list of 200 sites in their blogroll haven’t had a design update since they launched.
Of course there are exceptions and times when a blogroll is a great idea (such as when you are an industry leader wanting to make friends with lots of bloggers) but in general if you have a small blog with a small readership adding a massive list of links to your sidebar is a great way to make you appear spammy.
Fail to provide an “About” page
Blogs that don’t have an about page are quite often spam. If a blogger is too lazy to change their about page to make them stand out from the million spam blogs that keep the default text on their about page then it’s quite likely the rest of the blog isn’t a good standard either.
How hard is it for a search engine to use About pages as a signal of trust?
Fail to include a prominent “Contact” page
Have you ever seen a well respected blog that didn’t have a way for people to contact the author? It is quite rare.
Every blog should have a contact page – it makes readers more confident and in most cases actually helps the author connect with people. If you don’t want to read the emails then you can always delete them.
You don’t have an “Advertise” page
Ok I hold my hands up here – Blogstorm doesn’t have an Advertise page but that’s because we don’t host many adverts and don’t accept any new advertisers.
If a blog is covered in adverts but doesn’t have a page where advertisers can find out about rates then it might appear like a made for affiliate marketing blog.
Even if you just create a simple page saying “To advertise on this site email xxxxxx” it is still a signal of trust that people (and search engines) can use to evaluate your blog.
Your theme is the default WordPress theme
If you install WordPress and fail to change the default theme (or use a free theme without spending the time to personalise it) then your blog will have a hard time standing out from the thousands of other sites that look exactly the same.
Making a blog stand out is hard enough so spend the time to create a custom design and it will save you time in the long term.