It’s always so easy to look back on our past mistakes and reflect on how we could have done better. I’m more than happy to share some of the blogging mistakes I’ve made in the past, which are also quite common with new bloggers.
1. Being Anonymous
When I first started blogging, I was anonymous for almost 4 years. I was scared of what other people thought. I felt more comfortable knowing that this was my secret thing. Nobody except my sister and my husband knew about it (To this day, my husband has never read anything on my blog and I am completely fine with that). Nobody could criticize it.
So this is what my gravatar looked like when I first started on the free version of WordPress:
2. Not Asking For Help Within The First 8 Months
I spent a LOT of time, searching for the answers. I’m not going to lie, it was very satisfying when I finally figured out how to do something, but the majority of the time, it took longer than I thought.
In my early blogging years, I was quite stubborn. I thought it would be easy and I could do pretty much everything on my own (not sure why). It wasn’t until almost a year afterwards, that I had a reached out to a more experienced blogger for help. She provided me with a TON of email support and advice in exchange for contributing to her blog, which is now a service I provide.
3. Not Having a Plan or Goals For My Blog
I didn’t set aside time to put in the work and effort, but I would get jealous of other bloggers’ traction and success. It’s nice to have specific goals because it enables you to work toward something and have that feeling of accomplishment.
I never looked into blog/content planners or even a content calendar.
4. Being Inconsistent, like REALLY INCONSISTENT
I had made my day job at the time a priority ( which obviously makes sense). I was trying to build a career for myself. My day job was also very physical (NOT a cushy cubicle job) – long days that had a 6:30 starts, yes you read right (which I refuse to wake up before 8:00 am if I don’t have to). I was pretty drained by the time I got home and would try to spend some of my weekends writing in addition to running errands/cleaning my apartment. In addition to this, I had a part-time job, so throwing a somewhat time-consuming hobby into the mix seemed like madness.
Yet there were so many people that did it.
5. Thinking That I Would Be Able to Make Money Right Away
Nothing is ever instant. Not even instant noodles.
I think making money from your blog should be a long-term goal, but not something you should necessarily focus on right away. It would be like trying to run before you could even get up and walk.
6. Having An Ugly Theme and Not Knowing How To Properly Choose a Theme
I don’t mean to sound vain, but looks do matter when it comes to your site. It’s your home on the internet. Wouldn’t you want it to look clean and presentable for your visitors? If a site isn’t well designed, cluttered and has a bad colour scheme that hurts my eyes, I’m not going to bother coming back. Even if the content is amazing.
If you’re just starting out, there are many free themes to choose from. You can then gradually work your way to a paid theme, and then a custom-designed one if you choose to do so.
Just please don’t choose one that’s ugly.
7. Using Ugly Stock Photos
8. Being afraid of SEO
We often have this fear of the unknown. I refused to learn about that and try to understand the basics of it for the first few years even though I knew it was very important. You don’t have to be an SEO expert, but at least look into eventually spending some time to learn the basics of it.
9. Not Networking or Asking People to Share My Posts
In this day and age, it’s so easy to get distracted by all the notifications. And I can’t read people’s minds or vice versa. It just makes sense to state the obvious. If you ask, some people will do it, some people won’t. There’s no harm in asking. They’re on social media pretty much all the time anyway (contrary to what you may think, I am actually not).
If they say no or don’t respond, move on.
With respect to networking, I’m referring to both offline and online. I was completely unaware of Facebook Groups in the beginning. I had spent most of my time on Twitter. I highly recommend joining Facebook Groups if you’re looking to connect with like-minded people or your potential readers/clients.
10. Not Knowing Who I Was Writing For
I like to think I had a general idea of who I was writing for, but I actually didn’t. It was just me expressing my thoughts, saying whatever I felt like, ranting about how Whole Foods is really expensive.
While it did attract somewhat of a following, I probably could have generated more blog posts and better quality blog posts if I knew who I was writing for.
Clarity translates into focus and purpose.
Please know that my goal isn’t to overwhelm you with all this and make you feel you need to have everything set up in the beginning so you avoid these common blogging mistakes. I just want to make you aware of them. Everyone makes mistakes. I’m just making different ones now. They’re more business related. However, if you can recognize them and correct them relatively early on or manage to avoid them all together, you’ll be in a better place.