Are you guilty of making these beginner blogging mistakes?
Below are some of the common blunders I’ve seen many bloggers make. I can attest to them because I’ve done quite a few myself.
The good news is, some of these mistakes are trivial and easy to fix.
Unfortunately, others are more worrisome. They can cripple your blog in the long term or force you to have to repeat a few things over again.
You probably already know that the latter is no fun.
They’re frustrating. And, at times downright demotivating.
So, to help you avoid the extra hassle and headaches that come with having to correct them, I’ve compiled a LONG LIST of blogging mistakes every blogger needs to aware of.
That way, you’ll never have to deal with them. Or, spend any time worrying about what they can do to your site.
Starting with a Free Blog
Starting with a free blog is much easier than a paid one. There’s less technical hassle to deal with. And, it comes at NO COST.
Unfortunately, if you’re serious about blogging, want to do it as a business or are looking to earn money from it, you’re better off with a paid (self-hosted) blog.
Yes, you will need to spend a few extra bucks a month to maintain it.
And yes, you’ll have to learn how to set it up, install WordPress and do a few other backend things.
But, that’s all worth it.
Free vs. Paid Blogs
If you create your website via a free blog platform, you may or may not be able to make money from your blog. It will all depend on what your blog provider says.
And, if you can, you will need to abide by their rules.
This often means you won’t be able to monetize it the way you want. It can also prevent you from applying certain monetization strategies.
So, if you’re looking to make money from blogging, using a free blog platform can be limiting.
But, that’s not the worst thing about free blogs.
One of the absolute worst things that can happen to you with a free blog is that you can lose all your content. That’s because the blog provider can suddenly decide to shut down your account.
This can be due to a number of reasons including you unknowingly violating their terms and conditions.
When that happens, you won’t be able to even copy or extract your articles from the blog.
That means all your hard work is gone. And, you’re left having to start over again.
That’s not a good feeling.
This is why it’s always a good idea to start with a self-hosted blog. That is, you own the blog.
This ensures your blog won’t just get shut down.
And, as far as blog hosting goes, I highly suggest BlueHost when you’re starting out.
Can I Start With a Free Blog and Move to a Paid One Later On?
But it does come with some risks.
Among them is downtime, where your visitors won’t be able to access your website while the migration ongoing. That’s lost traffic and probably lost sales as well.
Just as importantly, moving your blog comes with the risk of losing some rankings. This can be because not all your links were redirected properly, some of your posts changed URLs or errors happening during the transfer.
When that happens, your traffic takes a hit.
So, What Should You Do?
Start with a self-hosted blog from the beginning.
While it does come with a monthly fee, there are a few reliable web hosting services that are very affordable. This makes them perfect for beginners.
And, when your blog starts earning money, it will easily pay for itself very quickly.
As such, think of it as an investment or your cost of doing business.
I like BlueHost because it checks all the boxes, especially if you’re just starting out.
- Blog setup takes less than 15 minutes
- Almost everything is done with a click of a button to install
- If you run into problems they’re 24/7 customer support
- And, it’s very affordable.
The last point is key because there are other web hosting services that offer similar features.
But, they cost more.
That’s not ideal when you’re starting out.
I’d rather you use your money to grow your blog.
Not Choosing a Reliable Host
The next BIG MISTAKE I see many beginner bloggers make is choosing a CHEAP WEB HOST.
Often, the cheaper the better, right?
After all, how much of a difference can there be between hosting providers?
Well, there’s actually a big difference. Here’s why.
Your blog’s host is where your website’s physical files are stored. Think of it as the computer where all your blog’s documents (articles) are saved.
More importantly, your web host is responsible for relaying the content of your website to laptops, phones, and tablets when visitors type your URL into their browsers or click a link to your blog from another site.
So, if your host is not reliable, you run the risk of your blog not showing up. Or, in internet-speak, “your site will be down”.
When that happens, you’ll see a screen that’s similar to this one. Look familiar?
That said, you never want your visitors to see that page when they try accessing your blog.
In contrast, the best blog hosts offer 99.9+% uptime. This means visitors can check out your website 24/7, 365 days a year while almost never experiencing any downtime.
Page Load Speed
In addition to always being up, high-quality web hosting platforms let your site load faster. This prevents slow page loading which can make potential visitors bounce and go read other blogs instead.
Ideally, you want your site to load in under 2 seconds. That’s because nearly 50% of your visitors expect your blog post to show up within that time. More importantly, 40% of people will abandon your blog if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Here’s an infographic that talks more about the importance of page load time.
Then, there’s customer support. This is key when starting out because at some point you’ll have questions. I can’t tell you how valuable it is to have someone be able to help you when you have no idea what to do.
More importantly, experimenting aimlessly can be risky as it can crash your site.
Hosting services with the best customer support will hold your hand through the entire process and at times, actually, do the changes for you if they’re a bit technical.
So, What Should You Do?
Skip the $1/month web hosts!
Instead, go with BlueHost.
I highly recommend Bluehost for beginner bloggers because it’s easy to use, very affordable, has reliable uptime and offers solid speed. You can also chat with customer service in case you have questions or need help with any step.
Choosing the Wrong Blog Name
Your blog’s name represents your brand. It’s how people will call or refer to your website. As such, you want it to sound good and roll off the tongue.
You definitely don’t want it to sound weird, odd or embarrassing. But there are a few other things to consider when picking a blog name.
One of the most important things is does it convey what your blog is about?
Or, in other words, does it help describe to your readers what your blog is about?
This way, they know what to expect upon visiting your site.
The most overlooked factor in choosing your blog’s name are the simple things. That is, its spelling, pronunciation, how easy it is to type and remember.
Yes, very basic.
But think about it.
You want to make it as easy as possible to remember and type your blog’s name, even in very small digital devices like smartphones.
Just as importantly, you want it to be easy to spell and pronounce. This eliminates the risk of people not being able to find your site because you used a “y” instead of an “i”, in order to be clever.
And, you definitely don’t want to have to keep tell or reminding people how to spell your blog’s name every time.
For example, how would you tell someone interested in your blog that its name is techbytes.com? You’ll probably say something like “I run techbytes.com, that’s spelled with a ‘y’”, right?
That’s an extra hassle each time. Both for you and whoever you’re sharing your brand with.
So, it’s a good idea to avoid it altogether.
Another naming mistake is lack of versatility and scalability.
What happens when your blog grows, or you want to add a new topic to your blog?
Will your blog name still be relevant, or will it limit you from growing or expanding?
These are just some of the things to consider when choosing your blog’s name. If you want a step by step guide on how to pick the perfect domain name, check out my post on how to choose a blog name.
Expecting Fast Results
One of the reasons why many blogs fail is that they don’t see results. So, after a while, they quit.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen many cases where this has happened only to realize that they were so close to making a breakthrough.
Because we all want instant results.
Plus, many people come into blogging thinking that it’s easy to make money. And, that they’ll be able to start earning in a few days or weeks.
So, when you aren’t making a full-time income within 6 months or 1 year after staring your blogging, you feel as if you failed. Or, that blogging isn’t worth it.
The thing is, blogging is just like any other business.
At least, it has grown to become like them.
The sheer number of blogs and the competition that comes with it means that it takes more time to make money blogging.
More importantly, because blogging is all about building a relationship with your audience, it takes a while to do so.
Just think about how long it took you to become good friends with those you’re close with today. Those relationships didn’t happen overnight, right?
The good news is, as long as you keep at it, your blog will grow. And, soon enough, you’ll make a good living from it.
So, What Should You Do?
Treat your blog as a business. Businesses take about 3 years to break even or start making money.
So, be patient.
The good news is, your blog will likely make good money before the first 12 months are up. And, if you follow the right steps, you may even make a full-time living from blogging by then.
Not Treating Your Blog as A Business
While we’re on the topic, it’s important to do just that.
If you want to make money from blogging, you need to treat it as a business.
Of course, you can start your blog as a hobby. But, don’t expect to see consistent results and speedy growth while doing so.
Because we don’t always work on our hobbies consistently. We skip days when we don’t feel like it. We also just do it for fun.
That means when the going gets tough, you always have the option of quitting or just cease doing it.
If you do that with your blog, it won’t get anywhere.
And, believe me, there will be a lot of challenges along the way. That’s because you’ll be doing and trying things for the first time.
We all suck the first time, right? No matter what you do, be it cooking, playing sports or learning musical instruments.
Heck, I remember the first time I tried writing a blog post. It had no formatting, it was an entire wall of text with no images, videos and SEO optimization. Not good!
But, I assure you the second, third and fourth times get much better.
This is why it’s important to treat your blog as a business. That way you’ll plan for it, do your research, set proper work schedules and stick to deadlines.
Most importantly, when you make mistakes or fail, you’ll get up and try again because you know doing so will be worth it in the long run. And, it will pay off by allowing you to blog for a living and live the way you want to – On Your Own Terms.
Not Knowing Who Your Target Audience Is
Renowned journalist Katie Couric once said, “You can’t please everyone, and you can’t make everyone like you.”
This applies to life as well as blogging.
So, instead of trying to cater to everyone, figure out who your blog’s target audience is.
Are they beginners at something, moms, single parent, millennials or people looking to make extra money to supplement their day job?
Are they mostly male or female? What age group do they belong to? What are their biggest problems?
Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you to understand your target audience. That is, the people you’re trying to cater to.
Knowing this lets you talk to them in a way they can relate to. It also lets you address the biggest pain point they may have.
For example, if you have a parenting blog that caters to moms, your posts will be focused on taking care of kids, how to have time for yourself and things like that.
Similarly, you’ll be using language that’s very different than if you were running a yoga blog.
In the latter, you’ll be talking about inner peace, meditation and getting in shape.
See the difference?
So, What Should You Do?
Before you even start writing content for your blog, do audience research.
This lets you figure out who your audience is and where you can find them.
In addition, creating a customer avatar helps. This is the persona of your target audience. In it, you’ll figure out their demographics, interests, needs, likes, dislikes and everything else.
With this in hand, you’ll be able to write content that caters to their interests and needs.
Only Writing About Things That Interest You
Speaking of your audiences’ interests, one huge mistake is thinking that your blog is about you.
The reality is, your blog is about your audience.
Unless you’re writing a personal journal, the focus of your blog shouldn’t be on yourself but to your readers.
This is why the previous point is very important.
Once you know WHO your audience is, you’ll be able to know WHAT they need. From there, you’ll be able to think of ways on HOW to help them with their biggest problems.
That’s when your blog becomes super useful and valuable to your readers.
When that happens, they’ll keep coming back to you to see if you’ve published a new post. That’s because they know your article will help them with a problem they’re currently facing.
Just as importantly, they’ll like and trust you. So, come a time that you pitch them a product, they’ll be willing buyers.
Not Spending Time on Your Blog’s Design
Your blog’s design is part of your marketing. So, you shouldn’t ignore it.
While you don’t need to win any design awards, make sure that your blog looks pleasing to the eyes.
No one likes to look at something that’s ugly. And, in many cases, people will leave a website immediately when they see its design looks spammy or is from the 1990s.
Here are a few things to consider when it comes to your blog’s design.
- Does it look clean and neat?
- Is it too cluttered? Too many things happening on a page can make it hard to find what you’re looking for.
- Is it easy to read the text?
- Does the content look intimidating to read?
- Can I find the navigation menu?
- Is there a search bar I can use to find a specific topic?
- Does it look okay on mobile devices
- Do the colors complement one another, or do they clash?
Not Creating an Email List
Your email list is the key to turning first-time readers into loyal fans.
That’s why it’s your most important source of traffic.
What about Google or Social Media platforms like Pinterest, YouTube or Facebook?
Keep in mind I didn’t say it’s your largest source of traffic.
Instead, I said it’s the most important kind of traffic your blog has.
You can get in touch with your email subscribers at any time. They know who you are, and they trust you enough to give you their email.
In contrast, people coming from Google, or social media may not even know who you are. That in itself decreases the odds of them buying anything from you.
In addition, you never know when your ranking in Google drops. Or, if people will visit your blog from social media.
So, What Should You Do?
Grow your email list. And, make sure to prune it every now and then so that the list you have is engaged.
Here’s how to do it.
- Add a Call-to-Action (CTA) in your blog and posts to encourage them to sign up for your newsletter.
- Create useful freebies that will help you grow your subscribers. And, when they do sign up, make sure you take care of them, answer their emails and keep them regularly engaged.
Not Working on SEO
One of the things many beginner bloggers tell me is that they don’t like SEO.
One of the reasons for this is probably because you don’t see any immediate results from your efforts.
In contrast, sharing a post on Facebook or pinning an image on Pinterest allows your blog post to receive visitors soon after.
Unfortunately, there’s a downside to social media promotion. That is, it takes work. By that I mean the moment you stop sharing, the traffic goes away.
In the long term, you want something more consistent. That’s SEO traffic, or search traffic.
So, while it may take a lot of work and time when you actually get traffic from Google, it’s more consistent. Additionally, the volume is often bigger as well.
So, What Should You Do?
In its simplest form, SEO falls under 2 categories:
- On-page SEO. These are things you can do to your website and blog post to optimize it for SEO. In doing so, you increase your odds of ranking on Google.
- Off-page SEO. These include the ranking factors that are outside your blog. The most important one of all being link building.
As such, each time you publish a new post, make sure you optimize it for on-page SEO.
Then, promote your new blog post.
While you’re doing these things, keep building relationships with other bloggers and do guest posting. This will help your blog get backlinks which in turn build authority.
It may take months, even years. But, once you build enough authority, your blog posts will rank high enough on Google such that they rake in visitors in large numbers on a daily basis even on days when you don’t do any anything.
You Publish Your Post Immediately After You Finish Writing
Unfortunately, your post isn’t ready to be published immediately after you finish writing it. There are a few more very important things you’ll want to do.
The good news is that they take but a few minutes each.
Some of these things include proofreading, editing, doing on-page SEO, creating social media images and more.
If you want to see the entire process step by step, check out my article on what to do before and after you publish a blog post.
Not Blogging Consistently
Blogging is a long-term game. It takes time to grow an audience and build a relationship with them.
To do so, you need to be consistent.
One way is to publish new content on a regular basis. This can be once a day, once a week or once every two weeks, depending on how long your posts are and how much time you have.
In case you’re wondering, here’s my post on how often should you publish a blog post?
Whichever you choose, make sure you stick to it. This allows your audience to know when to expect new content. It also builds up excitement which you can use to increase engagement.
One way to stay consistent is to schedule your writing sessions. This will allow you to publish regularly.
To do so, set up an editorial or content calendar. This lets you schedule blog post ideas ahead of time as well as note down when you should be writing these posts.
Believing that Writing Epic Content is Enough to Succeed
Just because you write an amazing post doesn’t mean that anyone is going to read, share or link to it.
Unfortunately, that’s the reality of blogging.
So, you need to just deal with it.
The sooner you understand that writing awesome blog posts is just the first part of the puzzle, you’ll be able to grow as a blogger.
In fact, according to a study by Buffer, only 1% of all blog posts get 1,000 shares or more. That means it’s not easy to get that many shares.
What Should You Do?
- Make sure that people are interested in what you’re going to write about. You can do this by doing audience and keyword research.
- After you’ve published an article, focus your efforts on promoting that post. This includes sharing on social media and doing outreach to fellow bloggers.
Not Spending Enough Time Promoting
While we’re on the topic of blog promotion, it’s important to stress that just sharing your posts once isn’t going to cut it.
That’s because there are over 4 million blog posts published each and every day. Yes, that many!
So, the question is, why would a reader choose to read your article as opposed to those written by other bloggers?
That’s where promotion comes in. And by promotion, I mean a lot of it.
Most blogging experts suggest spending 80% of your time promoting and only 20% of your time writing content.
As much work as it sounds, that’s about right.
In addition, you want to come in with a plan. This will allow you to be more efficient. Here are some blog promotion strategies you can try.
- Let your email list know whenever you publish a new post
- Share your posts on social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest
- Do on-page and off-page SEO
- Comment on other blogs
- Outreach to bloggers in your niche
- Do guest blogging
- Participate in niche-related communities like Facebook groups, forums, Reddit and Q&A sites
- Repurpose your blog posts for other media & platforms. Some options include YouTube, creating an infographic, podcasting, and Slideshare.
- Spend on Facebook Ads and Google Adwords
Not Investing in Courses
Blogging courses aren’t cheap.
At the very least they’ll cost $40+. And, they can run all the way to $1,000 or more.
So, it’s easy to tell yourself, “I’ll just save the money and try to figure things out myself.”
While that approach works, it isn’t the most efficient nor the most effective way to make use of your time.
That’s exactly the same reason why your parents sacrificed all the money they worked hard for to put you through school.
It’s a way to learn faster. More importantly, to learn the right way.
So, while courses can be an investment, do save up for them. They’ll save you time, effort and most of all frustration.
Also, they speed up your learning curve. This allows you to make money sooner. And, I can tell you that once you make money it’s easy to cover the investment you put into taking courses.
The key here is to figure out which courses to take.
My tip is to choose the course you need right now.
That is, the course that will answer your current questions and problems in order to get you to the next stage.
More importantly, all you need is one good course to get you started. As you make more money, focus on setting aside a little of that for the course that will take you to the next level.
Rinse and repeat until you reach your ultimate blogging goals.
This way you don’t spend for what you don’t need yet.
Comparing with Others
Let me ask you this question.
Think back when you were in high school or college, what if your professor gave you the freedom to choose what grade you got?
- Choose to get a B+ in the class
- And let everyone else get an A
- Opt to receive a B-
- And have everyone else get a C
This is a quick and easy test to see how much you value yourself in comparison to other people.
- If you took the first option, you probably don’t care that much.
- If you chose the latter option, you probably spend a little more time caring what other people think about you.
That said, try not to keep comparing yourself to others and with what other bloggers are making or doing.
Yes, I know it’s hard. That’s because human nature makes us like to compare ourselves to others.
According to social psychologist Leon Festinger, we like to compare ourselves to others for two reasons.
- We’re not sure about certain things so we check others as a way of assurance
- To learn how to define yourself.
The first reason is something you can use to grow as a blogger. Unfortunately, more often than not the comparison I’ve seen with bloggers is the second.
More specifically, it’s the upward comparison that Festinger talks about in his Social Comparison Theory. That is, you compare yourself with those who are better than you.
Sadly, when it comes to blogging, this often refers to income statements.
As a result, you start feeling bad about yourself, start questioning your ability or wonder if you’re ever going to get where you want to be.
I can tell you that IT NEVER HELPS TO DO SO. Comparing yourself to other bloggers, especially very successful ones who’ve been at it for 3, 4, 5 or more years is a no-win situation for you.
It will just discourage you.
More importantly, how other bloggers do doesn’t affect you positively or negatively. If they do well, it doesn’t increase or decrease your earnings and vice versa. So, why bother comparing?
Just focus on yourself and what you need to do.
Your goals are your goals. Stick to them.
Not Studying Your Blog’s Analytics
If you look at my post on the first things you should do when you start a blog, one of the items in the list is set up Google Analytics.
This is a free service Google offers where you can track and monitor your blog’s traffic. More importantly, it gives you a ton of insights and information regarding your visitors, including:
- How many of them are visiting your blog
- Where are they coming from
- How are they finding your website
- Which of your posts do people read the most
- How long do they spend reading each post
- Do they immediately leave after reading one post or do they click around to see more of your other articles
- And so much more
It’s important to learn how to use this information so that you can optimize your blog. In doing so, it will help you grow faster.
For example, knowing which posts get the most visitors will allow you to figure out what topics your audience likes most. This will let you create more content on that subject.
Similarly, if you notice all your traffic is coming from one source, you can ramp up your efforts there. Then, over time, start to diversify your traffic so that you’re not fully dependent on that one source.
This is a very expensive proposition. And, it’s never worth it.
One of the most important things to always remember is never to infringe on copyrights and trademarks.
That includes images, videos, content, and brand names.
An example is one I mention in my post about choosing your blog name. when doing so, make sure you never use a brand’s name in part or full in your domain. That’s because when they find out, the company will slap you with a very expensive lawsuit.
The reason is that they spend millions on building their brand. So, they’re very protective of it. And, if you use their brand in your blog name say, facebookmarketing.com, it can mislead people to think you’re related to Facebook.
So, to prevent you from doing anything that can affect their brand, they’ll make you take down your site or go to court against them.
You lose either way!
This is true for everything else with copyright, including photos, recipes, graphics, and content.
What Should You Do?
Always check before using photos and images. And, never copy content, recipes or other things without asking permission and getting approval from the author first.
If they agree, make sure to give them credit for their work by citing them as the reference.
Another way is to only make sure to use Creative Commons Zero (CC0) images. These are free to use and don’t require giving any credit to the photographer.
Sites like Pexels, Pixabay, and Unsplash are just a few awesome sources of free stock images that you can use for blog.
If you want a bigger selection, sign up to stock image subscription sites like Shutterstock This ensures that the photos you use on your website are copyright-free.
Thinking that Replying to Comments is a Waste of Time
When I started blogging, I didn’t bother much about comments.
That was a mistake.
Comments are a way for your readers to engage with you. This helps you get to know your readers more as well as converse and interact with them.
In doing so, you’re able to build a better connection with them.
In the process, you can also learn more about them, what they like or don’t like and where their problems lie. This feedback allows you to adjust your content strategy to better help those who consistently visit your site.
In addition, comments also offer a couple more benefits to your blog.
- They help build your credibility
- They provide social proof
What You Should Do?
Ask questions at the end of your blog posts to encourage your readers to leave comments.
When they do, promptly answer them.
You can likewise go a step further and leave comments on a few of your commenter’s blogs. This will show them you care about them as well.
In some cases when their question needs a more in-depth reply, email them directly. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it and will love to hear what you have to say.
Everyone makes mistakes.
As a blogger, you’ll likely experience a few yourself.
But, it’s important to spot these mistakes early so they don’t affect your blog too much.
Better yet, if you’re aware of these blunders ahead of time, you’ll be able to avoid them altogether.
The list above is meant to help you with that.
By pointing out the errors bloggers are guilty of (including myself), you’ll be able to sidestep the stress and extra time spent on them.
What blogging mistakes did you make when starting your blog? And how did you come around to fixing them?