Blogging Mistakes I Made…
You have decided to start a blog, or maybe you have already been blogging for a few months, either way you are just making sure you have all your ducks in a row.
Let’s start with this:
Blogging is fun and creating your own blog can be beneficial in many ways, from personal enjoyment to even monetizing your blog. However, you will never have a “Perfect Launch,” of your blog so don’t worry if everything is not perfect.
And while I am about to go through some pitfalls to avoid that will save you lots of time and money keep in mind every blog and blogger is different – try to avoid comparing yourself early on – blogging takes time!
Sometimes my impulsivity gets the best of me, especially when it comes to starting something… for example, starting my first blog back in the summer of 2017.
Without doing any research I started a website. Just like that. I did not google “How to start a blog,” or anything. I just started a blog one day, and here I am 18 months later, still writing
Obviously, in between never researching a single thing on blogging to writing this, I have learned quite a few things about blogging. So here is the list of mistakes to avoid when you start your blog!
Learn from someone else’s mistakes – it will save you time and money. – Everyone who has ever started a blog.
Blogging Mistake 1: Have a Goal
Identify some short term and long term goals for your blog. It is OK if these change over time, just write them down somewhere. Something along the lines of these works perfectly:
- Publish 8 posts a month
- Grow a readership of 1,000 in 6 months
- Focus on growing once social media outlet
- Have an email list of 200
- Reach 100K viewers in year 2, etc.
Personally, I had no clue what I wanted to do – did I want to start a blog or did I want to start a site? I actually went with the latter and tried to do way too much too fast.
I had no goals at all! That is when I decided that in November of 2019 I wanted to have 200,000 monthly viewers – a lofty goal for sure.
So have a goal for your blog – where you want to be in a month, a year, and so on. Try to focus on one blogging skill at a time, (SEO, Social Media, Design, etc) as you progress in your journey.
The number 1 goal should be to produce high-quality content, which is always better than quantity & is vital to gaining solid readers. Don’t sacrifice quality early on (like me) for quantity!
Also, make sure when it comes to goals you answer this question:
Is blogging going to be a hobby or a potential business venture?
Yes, believe it or not, there is money to be made if you have a successful blog.
For me, I was so excited to blog I didn’t even know you could monetize a blog. Sharing with others was my main goal. Starting randomly without a plan would end up coming back to haunt me because I had to go back and reformat my early content.
You don’t need to go open an LLC and business checking account just yet, but keep in mind there is business potential in blogging – if that is your goal. Just be sure to first focus on creating quality content and relationships.
Side note: Join as many quality blogging Facebook Groups as possible!!
Blogging Mistake 2: Voice
If you can’t sing, you can’t blog. No kidding, but you will need to find “Your voice” and what YOU are passionate about when you blog.
My advice to you: have a clear cut focus.
For example – if you blog about personal finance, blog about personal finance. If you write about investing, don’t also write about your travel experience from 3 years ago, or how to be a new mom.
Identify a consistent voice. You know yourself best and the stories you have to share.
Early on, I thought I could hit every single type of audience and blog all over the place and reach everyone from 20 to 60.
Streamline your blog as you start so become an expert in your area. Know what your audience wants to read and do not try to do too much too soon. Consider asking friends and family what you should focus on as you start, or what they would want to read about. It is about your audience, not you.
(Voice Voice Voice – do not think you can post about 16 different things and grow your blog. Sometimes we need to find our voice by just starting down the path of blogging).
Here is an example of how all over the place I was:
Post 2: Books I Read in August (Since deleted)
Blogging Mistake 3: Choose the Right Domain
You might want to really spend some time on this one.
I rushed into a domain name. It is not that the domain was bad, Money Life and The Whole Ball of Wax… but who seriously is going to type all of that to visit my blog. Or search it for that matter.
Hopefully, you get my point. Short, sweet and catchy.
I had to go back and buy a second domain name and redirect it, which was a pain in the butt.
Slow down to speed up, really think about your domain name.
In the long run, you will save time by avoiding having to reformat and adjust social media accounts and come up with a really good domain name/site name for your blog a couple of months into blogging as I did.
Side note: Josh Is The Best Blogger Ever.com is still available if you want it
Blogging Mistake 4: Have a Plan
In line with having goals, have a plan. I recommend having 5-10 posts ready to go when you launch your site that are focused around your blog.
Have categories ready and practice clicking around your site, to make sure it is user-friendly. I had no plan when I launched my blog (surprise) and for two weeks I had no clue I needed to edit the mobile view for my blog (75% of people will read your blog from their phone).
(Try using Mind Meister to map out content!)
So if you went to my site from your cell phone you probably laughed at the formatting. To get some ideas, just go visit some of your favorite blogger’s websites. While you can never have a perfect blog as I alluded to before, here are some things to consider:
Is your blog/blog posts:
- Mobile friendly?
- Links to other pages within your site?
- Subscriber fields working?
- Social media accounts connected?
- Do your titles catch reader attention?
- Are your Heading 2’s in line with your article?
- Are you long-winded (I can be)?
- Is the Yoast SEO complete?
- Is your SEO slug short and sweet?
- Do your graphics look good?
Blogging Mistake 5: Hosting & Platforms
Here is where not knowing anything about blogging AT ALL really started to bite me in the butt.
After already screwing up the domain name thing, I also messed up hosting and platforms. In fact, words like hosting and platforms… what was all this talk?
If you are really serious about starting a blog and you haven’t already I recommend you start with Bluehost because you will get your hosting, domain, security certificate and the WordPress platform all in one click.
I could have saved tons of time had I done this from the get-go.
I started a Wix site because I had no plan and did zero research. I had about 16 ideas that I wanted to touch on so I just launched a site and started writing… big mistake. Wix is good for small businesses who just need a website, but not for blogging.
I had to reformat my entire site and 20 posts once I switched to Bluehost and WordPress and I could have saved alottttttt of time had I just started there. Not to mention the once I decided to leave Wix I couldn’t get my $225 refunded.
When you use my link to start your blog with Bluehost the package includes a domain name as I mentioned, but I would even be willing to help you set things up, just contact me.
The platform (WordPress) is basically where you design your blog, add posts, format pages, and so on. When you use Bluehost, the WordPress.org platform is included.
DO NOT: A mistake I made after converting from Wix, was buying Bluehost hosting and buying the WordPress.com platform. I signed up for both, which was completely unnecessary.
Remember – starting a blog with Bluehost lands you everything – a domain name, a host, and WordPress.org.
Bonus: Other blogging mistakes to avoid!
When I originally created this post I had been blogging for about 4 months. I have since learned even more and updated this post with additional things I have learned.
Here is a few bonus blogging mistakes to avoid!
Network with Bloggers.
When I started my blog my readers couldn’t make comments on posts and they couldn’t share posts on social media for over 40 days!
Additionally, my sign up forms were very limited for my subscribers. But where did I learn how to fix this?
I fixed this by reaching out to other bloggers, joining blogging groups on Facebook, and a huge nugget: Twitter & Pinterest.
By following other successful bloggers and blog coaches on Twitter I picked up tips here and there. Pinterest has tons of tips as well which then allowed me to zero in on 2 or 3 bloggers who I could really learn from.
Also, every time I have a question about a WordPress plugin I google it or go to Youtube.
Social Media Mistakes:
I recommend starting with Twitter and Facebook as you launch and grow your blog. Get really good at one, then the other.
Social media will help drive traffic and connect you with other bloggers who have had success (See above about why that is important). Once you master one, go to the other. Pinterest is great, but it is also the most difficult to fully grasp.
If you don’t want to overwhelm yourself, just pick one or post your blog posts on your personal Facebook page.
Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to operate a blog, 3 social media accounts, and your personal social media accounts.
Remember – social media is a business. Facebook’s goal is to allow businesses to advertise to potential customers aka social media users.
Twitter – easy to use, good for engaging with others, not a great source of traffic. Use targeted following and unfollow anyone who doesn’t follow back – you can follow about 1,000 a day!
Facebook – better for traffic, but Facebook is funny. Think of turning off the water to a sink. Facebook gives you a taste of what it could be like then slowly reduces the amount of users exposed to your posts.
Pinterest – I have heard of people getting lots of traffic from Pinterest. I personally find Pinterest the most complicating to use. I would focus on the above then transition to Pinterest.
Sharing options for your blog – So for a long time I used the Social Warfare plugin for sharing and counting social media shares on my blog.
However – I have found the Sumo plugin to work much better. It is super user-friendly and you can really do a lot with it (See subscribers, social media, Google analytics).