Blogging lessons we wished we learnt upfront before starting our very first blog!
Starting a new blog can be incredibly exciting. The thought of being able to turn a hobby or passion into a full-time business is sure to get anyone fired up and motivated. And that’s exactly where we found ourselves at the launch of our first blog.
But, boy oh boy, we weren’t quite ready for the steep learning curve that lay ahead. Let’s face it, blogging has become partly art and party science. There’s the expressive side where you want to share and help your audience through your unique and awesome content. But then there’s also the technical side, setting up your hosting and domain as well as designing and building your blog.
We’re not going to lie, pretty early on we felt completely overwhelmed. But alas, we never gave up. We persevered and now looking back we are amazed at how much we’ve come to learn.
That’s why we start this very blog, to help others blog with ease and so they don’t have to go through the same frustrations we went through ourselves.
We can honestly vouch for the fact that a second or third or even a fourth blog set up and launch is so much simpler and hassle-free.
In this article, we’re going to outline 10 blogging mistakes to avoid as a beginner blogger. Mistakes that not only we made, but that many amateur bloggers fall for too.
Technical set up
One of the most common blogging mistakes that many amateur blogs make is to not invest correctly in the initial set up of their blogs. Opting for free or cheap versions of tools and products ‘to get started’ and having to change it all later.
Take a blog theme as a case in point. We wish we invested in a proper lightweight theme from the get-go, especially considering that speed is one of Google’s biggest SEO ranking factors. Changing a theme later on in your blogging career is a scary and daunting task. So, getting this right from the get-go is super important.
That’s why we’ve invested on Flatsome for this particular blog. Going off other fellow blogger’s recommendations we decided to invest in this theme, which we are extremely happy with. Well worth the money spent!
We also went a bit crazy with plugins when we first got started. Not realising that these same plugins all add more bloating to your blog and effectively slows the entire site down. As such, be sure to only make use of plugins that are absolutely critical and lightweight too.
Linking in with speed, we once again didn’t realise that we had optimize all our images which resulted in us having to go back and re-upload tons of images later on. What a headache!
Another mistake I often seen bandied about in blogger Facebook forums is that of blog post URL structures. This is one of the first things you should get right from the beginning.
Wasting time designing a site
We know, setting up and launching a blog can be a very personal venture for any new blogger. You pour your heart and soul into the blog and so it’s only fitting that you want that reflected in the design and overall look and feel of your blog.
But one of the biggest beginner blogging mistakes we come across is when newbie bloggers spend weeks on end designing and building their website, hoping that the next tweak or change would make it perfect.
To put this into perspective. On our first blog, we must have spent around two to three weeks designing the blog, which we subsequently changed again. On our Easy Breezy Blogging site, we spent around three days designing and building the main blog structure. Yes, you read that right. Three days!
So, don’t get too overly obsessed with your blog design. By using a simple and straightforward theme (as we’ve done with Flatsome), you can design and implement a great looking blog in no time at all, allowing you more time to focus on what’s really important, content!
Not having an upfront blogging strategy in place
Yup, one of the top blogging lessons we wished we knew upfront, is to not rush into starting a blog before you’ve first established a strategy.
Defining your niche, your message and strategy at the beginning of your blogging journey allows you to formulate a proper blogging business strategy.
Think about how you will monetize your blog, what opt-ins can you create to entice your followers to sign up to your mailing list, what courses can you create or sell.
Treat your blog like a real business and properly plan out the roadmap, including how to get there. Just going along blindly and hoping for the best might still get you to your goals in the long-term. But, to be truly effective and get your blog off the ground as soon as possible requires planning, planning and more planning.
Neglecting to properly monetize from the get-go
Tying into the point made above. When we started out on our first blog we just went with the flow.
By the 15th article we had posted we thought, oh yeah, maybe we could monetize our blog. Let’s sign up for a few affiliates. As we started researching affiliates and getting to grips with blog monetization, we suddenly realised that there was so much more we could be doing to optimize our blog fully in order to generate a proper income.
In the end, we had to identify the affiliates we wanted to promote and then had to go back to all our previously published post and link these up, in order to give us every possible chance of turning our blog into a full-time career.
So, take our advice, clearly identify how you will go about monetizing your blog before you even get started.
Not understanding SEO & Keyword research
Yet another big mistake that made us feel like real amateur bloggers was not doing enough research upfront to get to grips with SEO and keyword research.
As almost all top bloggers will tell you, SEO is king and getting consistent organic search traffic to your blog is the most sustainable way to keep your blog in business.
There is plenty of awesome SEO and keyword research courses out today, so do your homework upfront and don’t start writing until you feel you have a clear grasp on what SEO is and how to implement these principles into your blog.
Many bloggers spend ages going to back to old content and having to optimize posts they had written before understanding SEO properly. Don’t make the same blogging mistake!
This one is a biggie for us!
Man, do I wish we started working on backlinks ages ago. Now, we’re not talking about black hat SEO here. No link swaps or dodgy dealings.
No, we are referring to a proper backlink strategy that involves gaining credible backlinks through collab posts or more importantly through guest featuring on other credible blog sites.
Writing guest features for more established sites helped us increase our DA (Domain Authority) from 11 to 21 in just 3 months! Although DA is by no means a metric that Google uses, the natural backlinks gained does mean that we’ve been able to drive up our keyword rankings on key blog posts, which in turn equals more organic traffic.
The most important piece of advice we always give new bloggers is to focus on content, monetization and backlinks when just starting out.
Don’t make the same mistake we did and wait months before getting started on a backlink strategy for your blog.
Not immediately jumping on board with Pinterest
Yes, it’s true, you may have to wait several months for you to start seeing a marked improvement in traffic to your blog. Especially when it comes to SEO and rankings.
But this doesn’t imply that you cannot grow and build your blog before then.
Pinterest is a not-so-secret weapon that many new bloggers hack into in order to get massive and consistent traffic numbers to their blogs.
Whilst Pinterest may seem like a maze to navigate, we honestly regret not mastering Pinterest sooner!
After struggling to understand how many fellow bloggers out there were getting thousands of daily page views from Pinterest, we set out searching for a Pinterest course that we felt confident investing our time and money into.
Enter, Carly from “Mommy On A Purpose”, and her Pinterest course, Pinteresting Strategies.
This course changed everything for us. Suddenly we had a much clearer understanding of how Pinterest works and which strategies to start adopting. Upon doing so we almost instantly saw a pick-up in Pinterest traffic to our blog.
We can honestly recommend this course to anyone wanting to master the art of pinning. Given its low price of only $47, it is definitely great value for money too!
Not starting a mailing list with opt-ins
This is undoubtedly one of the areas that most bloggers tend to neglect or put on hold for later. And yet, is one of the most important aspects of any blogging business.
Building your subscriber base means that you can keep your audience in the loop of any new posts, developments on your blog, courses or products, so you can imagine how powerful such a mailing list can be.
We wish we didn’t neglect this ourselves when we first started out. Like many other bloggers, we signed up for a mailing list management platform and popped a few ‘Subscribe Now’ boxes onto our blog, hoping visitors would sign up.
Sadly, this is not an effective strategy at all! Think about all the thousands of visitors to our site that we failed to convert into subscribers.
On Easy Breezy Blogging we used a completely different approach, which was to design several free and useful downloadable opt-ins that our following didn’t mind signing up for.
Now, we’ll let you in on a little secret. We decided to invest in ConvertKit, a product we absolutely love. ConvertKit allowed us to automate most of our email and opt-in processes and we totally believe this has helped us succeed in building our subscriber base to what it is today.
Since focusing on a structured subscriber strategy, we have seen a big boost in our emailing following and have certainly reaped the rewards.
What you are waiting for? Get cracking on your mailing list today!
Wasting time with online share threads
Let’s be honest, many bloggers and experts out there will tell you that chasing traffic shouldn’t be your end goal. And whilst we do agree to some extent, let’s face it, traffic does help drive up earnings and the chance to convert affiliate sales or sell your own products.
No wonder so many beginner bloggers starting out are lured into participating in the multiple online click-through threads with the promise of a steady traffic stream headed their way.
Sure, these click-through and reciprocation threads may offer you some traffic, but the sheer work and time involved in clicking on hundreds of different links a day are simply not worth your effort. Plus, I can only imagine that these threads must be frowned upon and is probably breaking various SEO and blogging rules.
Already participating in these threads? Stop right this minute.
If you want to boost your traffic in a truly organic manner, then you’re much better off focusing your energy on content creation, SEO and Pinterest, not on reciprocation threads.
Not tracking expenses and income
If you’re reading our blog then we’re certain you’re serious about building a business through blogging. Perhaps you are aiming for financial freedom or want to blog full-time, working on your passion. Whatever your reason or motivation for starting a blog is, be clear with yourself upfront as to whether your blog will be a side hobby or a full-time career?
Do you intend for your blog going to be a profitable business? If your answer is yes, then start treating your blog as such from day one.
Many bloggers start blogging with the intent of earning a full-time income from it but don’t keep track of any expenses or income running through their blog. This is a big blogging blunder if you ask us.
Surely you will want to have oversight of what your blog has generated in terms of financial income as well as what your ROI is. Why else would you be putting in all this hard work and effort without checking back to make sure you get great results in return?
As such, if you haven’t already, start today and keep track of your blogging business stats.
It is our hope that you will take the lessons outline in this post to heart and avoid making the very same mistakes we made on our first blogging journey.
Trust us, we’ve been there and done that and if we had to do all over again, we can confidently say that we could get a blog up in lightning speed compared to our first go at blogging.
Avoiding these simple blogging mistakes will go a long way towards helping you to blog with ease and confidence from the start!