Let’s be clear with something: making mistakes is part of the learning process. It’s all a part of getting your feet wet and figuring out what works for you and what doesn’t. However, there are some mistakes that if prevented, can save you a lot of time and effort for trying to fix them. When I just started out, I made hundreds of mistakes, but I also had a lot of successes. If I can save you a little time and effort, I’m going to. I learned from these mistakes so you don’t have to! Below, I’m going to describe 5 common mistakes new bloggers make and how YOU can avoid them.
It’s important to keep in mind that success is defined by you as a blogger. Whether your goal is to reach a large audience, monetize, or simply produce content as a hobby, then your success is defined by what is important to you. What I see as successful in my own blogging journey may be different from yours, but hopefully we can agree on some common goals, and this post will help you get there sooner!
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Related Post: Review of The Content Planner
First Things First
Before you take a look at this list, you need to be honest with yourself and clearly figure out your purpose. Is your blog a hobby blog, or do you plan to use your blog as a full-time job or side hustle? The difference between the direction you take with your blog will define how you organize your content, delivery and strategy.
This post is more directed towards those who plan on monetizing their blog from the start, or simply plan on monetizing at some point. These tips can absolutely be applied to hobby blogs as well! Below you’ll find my in-depth explanation of 5 mistakes new bloggers make!
5 Mistakes New Bloggers Make
1. Not going self-hosted ASAP
When I started blogging, I spent quite a bit of time researching to see what the best practices were and how the heck I was supposed to pull this all off. Everyone recommended self-hosting from the get go. I can confirm, this is true.
If you plan on monetizing your blog, self-hosting is the best way to do it. What does self-hosting mean? Think of self-hosting as the home for your blog. It is the page on the Internet where your blog will live, and people will access it through your domain name. Self-hosting has many benefits, including looking more professional (cynspo.wordpress.com doesn’t quite have the same ring as cynspo.com!), complete customization of your site, as well as freedom to monetize in any way that suits you and your needs.
The mistake new bloggers make is that they don’t go self-hosted from the start, and then they sometimes spend up to a year getting mentally ready to take the leap! The longer you wait to self-host, the longer you’re waiting to monetize. If you have a free site, you do not have the opportunity to monetize your blog.
I personally gave myself one month (and I honestly should have just started right from the beginning) to get my feet wet and see if I could stick it out as a new blogger. Once that one month was up, I immediately signed up to be self-hosted (and haven’t looked back). For self-hosting I use Siteground and cannot rave enough about them. I essentially used their live-chat support to set up my blog (yes, someone literally sat with me on live-chat for an hour as I figured out the best plan and asked 1000+ questions!) and get my WordPress free site transferred over!
I absolutely recommend Siteground for hosting, and their plans start at $3.95 per month with my special link here! Keep in mind too, the longer you decide to host with them, the cheaper the plans are! If you haven’t yet purchased a domain, Siteground can also help you out with that! I personally used Namecheap (.coms are currently 1/2 price until April 8th 2019, and they offer free WhoisGuard protection – meaning people can’t search up your name and address through your domain name)! Remember, the sooner you go self-hosted, the sooner you can monetize your site!
2. Not Securing Your Name on all Platforms ASAP
When you’re starting your blog and trying to think of a name, it’s important to not only choose a name for the sake of branding yourself, but it’s also super important to make sure that name is available to you.
As soon as you come up with a name, it’s important to check out whether that handle is available across all social media platforms. If you have 4 different names across platforms, it may be confusing for people to try and find you. For example, if my blog was named cynspo, but my Instagram handle was cyn, would you necessarily link the two together? The easier you make it for your followers to find you, then there’s a greater chance of them finding you and seeing your content.
When coming up with a name, check the availability of the name across all social media platforms. If you can’t claim the same name across all, see if there’s a way to tweak your name in a way that people will still find you and connect the two together (ex. writing out four instead of 4, or vice versa).
Remember, your blog name is essentially your brand name. You want as much visibility for your brand as possible. Make your brand visible, cohesive and easily searchable to your followers!
3. Writing Content Just for the Sake of it
It’s a known fact that when you start blogging you want to get content out there. You want your blog to have a substantial presence, and the more content you have the easier that is. However, not properly strategizing your content is a great way to waste a good chunk of your time.
Let me explain. A lot of the time, you just start writing content because you have all of these ideas and want to get them down. I was guilty of this too. There’s no rhyme or reason to why you’re posting what you’re posting, there’s no real schedule, and you’re technically meeting your posting quota. You may throw in a holiday post to stay on track with what’s occurring in real time, but you’re still not planning to the best of your abilities.
The trick to posting content that is relevant, drives readers to your blog and gains you the most real time exposure is planning your content in advance. Ideally planning at least a month ahead can allow you to strategically release blog content in line with holidays, events, and seasons.
You should be planning to release content for a given holiday at least 3 weeks before that given holiday (people are often searching in advance to prepare). You should also be checking out what’s trending on social media (ex. #nationalwineday is coming up!) and capitalizing on these events both on your blog and social medias! Another tip is to link old blog posts to the season. For example, did you do a makeup round-up? Tie it into spring. Re-share it as ‘5 Lip Colours You need to Have this Spring’. You can also write blog posts that are timeless so that you can repurpose them by season.
The trick to enhancing the number of views your blog can receive is to time content with what’s happening at that given time, and release it in time with what’s really happening. You wouldn’t see me releasing my post about 25 Ideas for Valentine’s Day right now would you? However, you may start to see me re-circulate it in the middle of January.
Half of the battle of content planning is producing the content, and then the other half is strategically releasing it. Check out my number one secret for how I strategically create, release and promote my content here.
4. Discrediting Themselves Because They Are a New Blogger
I used to do this all the time. I used to think that just because I was new on the scene, my content wasn’t worth anyone’s time. I used to think that no one would take me seriously because I was new. If this sounds like the soundtrack of your mind, hit stop right now.
About one month into blogging, someone reached out to me and told me that my content was exactly what they needed to hear. They told me how hard my post hit home for them, and thanked me for writing it. I was floored. Now, just imagine how many people who read your content and may not necessarily tell you how helpful it was, but go out and do something positive as a result?
As long as you are writing content that is near and dear to you, as well as something you are genuinely interested in, your personality and passion will shine through. Other people will be able to see the genuine passion through your writing and really hear what you’re saying!
If you’re guilty of holding yourself back because you’re new to blogging, stop right now. Post the content you dream of posting, share your content, and connect with others. Stop holding back simply because you’re new and start treating yourself like the blogger you are.
5. Giving Up Way Too Soon
Last but certainly not least, giving up too soon is one of the other mistakes I see new bloggers making. It’s important to note that while numbers of views and subscribers are indications for growth, they don’t make or break you as a blogger. Don’t give up just because you don’t see the exponential growth you may see other bloggers experiencing.
You have to take into account that it took a lot of seasoned bloggers months and years to see the traffic they have. As long as you are consistently posting and making yourself relevant, you need to give your strategies time to see growth.
The first month I implemented Pinterest I saw some growth, but not the whopping growth I dreamed of seeing. I was definitely put out, and for sure questioned whether I was still on the right path, but I gave it a little more time. With time and perseverance, I’m seeing the growth I originally didn’t see. Growth takes time. Your blog is a slow-cooker and not an instant-pot. Don’t become discouraged simply because your growth didn’t take place overnight.
The only time you really fail at something is when you give up. Trust the process, be prepared to make a few ‘oops’s’ along the way, and enjoy the ride. Blogging has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding things I’ve ever done, and if I had given up every time I wanted to, I would be no where near where I am today.
An Important Reminder
That was a lot, but I don’t want you to make some of the big mistakes I made when I first started blogging. I wrote this with the intention to save you major time, and to hopefully keep you on track if you felt like giving up for 0.5 of a second. It’s important to remember you were drawn to blogging for a reason, and whatever that reason is, you’re still in it today. You still have a story to share, and the only way you can do that is if you stick with it.
Remember to stay true to yourself and what sets your soul on fire. Keep at it, be consistent, and keep in mind some of the mistakes mentioned above so you won’t waste your precious time and energy. As someone who is passionate about inspiring others and welcoming new bloggers into the community, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask me questions!