The biggest mistakes new bloggers make

We all start somewhere so this post is absolutely about helping rather than shaming.  And you know what?  I have been guilty of every single one in my years as a blogger (my first blog was started around 2004 – that’s a lot of time to make mistakes!!)

So take a look at these and just bear them in mind as you begin this blogging journey – its a fun time so just enjoy it!

 

Also remember that nothing is set in stone with blogging – I feel like I say this a lot, but we can change our direction, our content, our minds at any time!

 

The biggest mistakes new bloggers make

So in no particular order here are some of the mistakes I see new bloggers make (and myself too!)

  1. Not having a niche
  2. Not having a self hosted website
  3. Not having a business plan
  4. Not having a content strategy
  5. Having a slow website
  6. Not optimising images
  7. Ignoring long term traffic strategies
  8. Only speaking to other bloggers
  9. Using comment/engagement pods
  10. Not setting up analytics

 

Let’s take a little look at them in more detail:

 

Not having a niche

This is the biggest one I see bloggers not only struggle with but actively rebel against.  When we’re starting out we don’t want to restrict ourselves to just talking about one thing – for me as a travel blogger in the early days, I didn’t want to just blog about certain places or kinds of travel – that didn’t sound like fun at all!

We normally figure out a wide niche fairly early and many people stop there.  Maybe you want to be a travel blogger, or a food blogger or a parent blogger – that narrows it down a bit.  Niching further might be by being a cruise blogger or a vegan desserts blogger.

You don’t have to niche down too far at first – I always advise people to spend some time getting used to writing, finding their voice and what they like to write about.  But do think about it and have it in mind – see how you do.

Niches can really help in building an audience of raving fans so well worth it!

 

Not having a self hosted website

When you get started it’s so easy to just go to the free website creators around and jump in there.  If you’re not sure if this will be for you then it’s not a bad idea – I spent a lot of years utilising the free options while I found my voice and figured out how writing posts actually worked.

And if I’m honest I really didn’t have the money to invest in anything else – if that’s you I totally get you, no shame here.

The reason why going ‘self hosted’ is recommended is because you have so much more options.  You can add adverts, change themes, make your website look just how you want and have a host of plugins and extras to look at.  If you want your blog to make money in the future it’s pretty much essential.

Self hosted WordPress is what I recommend and it’s what I have experience with – you can get started with a fairly low cost too.  If you can start off the right way and it’ll save you some time down the road!

 

Not having a business plan

A business plan for your blog might sound like a frivolous activity to do when you’re just starting out but I would recommend at least having a very simple strategy in mind for how you plan to monetise your site.  It doesn’t need to be fancy, have all the details or be looked over by anyone else.

Just have a think about:

  • potential ways to make money – courses, products, adverts, affiliates
  • potential ways to build your audience
  • your goals and dreams

 

Not having a content strategy

Your content strategy is what you’re going to write about.  Your blog titles maybe or just vague ideas – it doesn’t have to be fancy.

Knowing what you’ll be writing about is good for a couple of reasons.  First you’ll have some options when you sit down to write – we don’t want writers block knocking us off track.

The second reason is that it can keep us focused on our niche.  It’s easy to think ‘oh I’ll just write about this thing i did the other day’ but having a content strategy will give you a reason to pause and see if it will fit in overall.

 

Having a slow website

We all know how frustrating a slow website is don’t we?  We wait forever for it to load and only the hardy and committed hang around to read the goodness within – the rest have wandered off and found someone else’s blog to read.

Slow websites can happen for lots of reasons but mainly it’s your website host, your theme and then your content that will slow it down.  Image heavy pages and posts will not help at all.

Keeping your website fast is an ongoing project so don’t fret about getting it perfect straight away!

 

Not optimising images

Related to the above one is optimising your images.  It’s not always the first thing on a bloggers mind when they start out – like you’re just happy it uploaded right?

Optimising might look like getting the size of the file right so it’s not slowing down your website or naming your images so it helps for SEO.

The reason I add this in here is that it can really be a big job to replace and update your images if you don’t start out with good strategies.  It can be done but it’s not a pleasant way to spend time – I can attest to that!

If you want to learn some easy ways to optimise your images check out my post here.

 

Ignoring long term traffic strategies

When you start out blogging you want instant results and I get that – you want to know you’re on the right track, you want feedback, you want to be loved!

Sharing your posts on Facebook, Twitter or even Instagram can result in traffic but it does tend to be short term.  Yes you can reshare in future but that will be another short term boost as well.

Long term traffic strategies is what I call learning SEO and utilising Pinterest – they can bring in traffic for months and months and work you do tomorrow could be paying off still this time next year.  Honestly it’s worth having them in your focus.

You can see some of my posts on SEO and Pinterest here.

 

Only speaking to other bloggers

Bloggers are a funny old bunch – writing our thoughts on the internet and helping people with what we write.  Other people who aren’t bloggers think we’re not real businesses or they just don’t get it.  So we hang out with each other!

There’s a lot to be learned from other types of bloggers or other types of businesses so if you can get out of the bubble and speak to others!

 

Using comment/engagement pods

If you join any blogging groups on Facebook you’ll come across comment pods, threads and ways to share your latest blog post.

These can be fun and they can be helpful when you’re just starting out and getting your first readers.  I’ve used them myself in the past so I can’t be all high and mighty about it – I’ve even found amazing blogs and bloggers from doing them.

So if you want to do them then go for it, but be aware of the pitfalls of doing so.

The main thing I find is a pitfall is the reliance of it to get traffic, and it can be pretty time consuming to do so it leaves less time to grow an organic audience.

The other thing I don’t like is that if you do them a lot it will distort your stats when you look at them.  You might think you’re doing well and so you put less time into growing your following.

Organic views and fans do take time – not so fun but worth it to work on!

 

Not setting up analytics

Setting up some simple analytics tools at the start is something we should all be doing.  I swear you’ll thank me for it.  You don’t have to understand it.  You don’t even have to look at it at the start, but if it’s there it’s starting to generate some information and stats for you so that when you’re ready and when you have the headspace you’ll be sorted.

I always recommend just good old Google Analytics and also connecting Google Search Console too – they do slightly different things so don’t be confused by them.  They are free!

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