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If you want to avoid weeks or even months of frustration, confusion and downright throwing your laptop at the wall anger, then you're in the right place.
Today I'm uncovering the most common blogging mistakes beginners make and giving you the solutions to actually avoid them.
I've been blogging for “pert near” (as my grandpa would say) 5 years now and I think it's safe to say I've made a few mistakes….
Okay, you caught me. A LOT of mistakes.
But that's why we're all here, to learn the mistakes made most often and avoid them.
disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links which means I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you choose to use my link. and if you do, I appreciate you!
This is probably the most talked about mistake but even still, time after time (cue Cyndi Lauper) I see this question asked.
So I'm going to talk about it.
I know okay, I get it.
The allure of that word free and that hole in your pocket which is why you started blogging in the first place is just so appealing…
But look, that allure of “free” lasts about as long as a batch of freshly baked peanut butter cookies in front of my dog.
These free and/or non-self hosted blogging platforms are platforms like, Wix, WordPress.com, Blogger, Weebly, just to name a few.
And I do mean a few, there's a lot out there.
Yes, I have personally used many of these platforms.
These free and non-self hosted platforms are not great for multiple reasons but the biggest one is that they are technically allowed to delete, remove, alter, your posts.
Which is usually stated in their terms and agreements but come on, no one reads those.
Not only that, but these platforms also offer very little customization options, little to no help, they usually end up much more expensive in the long run and their branding is plastered all everywhere.
Another reason to avoid these types of platforms is simply for monetary reasons.
A lot of affiliate companies will only approve people with self-hosted blogs. Not all companies, but a lot.
And nobody wants to lose out on money if they don't have to right?
Go self-hosted with WordPress.org and your preferred hosting site.
That may sound pricey but it's really not and if you can actually make money, in the long run, why wouldn't you invest a bit?
Have you ever heard the saying “skin the game”? Sounds disgusting if I do say so myself but let's just be honest with ourselves.
How many times have you gotten something for free and then not bothered to use it?
Okay, how many times have you spend a larger amount of money on something and then actually got your money's worth out of it?
See the difference?
You put skin the game and therefore you tried harder.
It's the same with blogging.
And where you should be putting your money is in your hosting.
My preferred hosting site is SiteGround which I recommend to anyone and everyone and I even have a whole video on how to set up your blog right here.
Yes, I do actually use SiteGround for both of my blogs.
Seriously, if you don't do anything else on this list at least do this and number five.
Raise your hand if blogging scares you. (Raises hand)
Yeah, it's scary sometimes to put your work out there for the world to see.
But guess what?
It's worth it.
One of the biggest questions I see is “How do I launch my blog?” or “How many posts should my blog have before I launch it?”
Want to know a super secret secret?
You don't need a launch to be successful.
What you do need is some solid content which is something I have talked about hundreds of times, including in that blog post that I strategically linked for your viewing pleasure.
Technically speaking, as soon as you write your first post and publish it, your blog is launched.
And I'm just going to be honest, people are not anxiously waiting for you to have a huge blog launch.
In fact, most people of the internet don't know you even have a blog until you tell them.
Pick your blog topic, write a couple of posts or even one post and publish it.
I just don't want you to be afraid to even start because you think you need 1,000 posts right away.
All it takes is one.
This may come as a surprise because yeah, I talk about making money blogging as do many other bloggers in the blogosphere.
The problem isn't wanting to make money from blogging, the problem comes when the “why” behind your blog is to make money.
Your “why” for blogging is simply why you're doing it in the first place.
It's a very tough road to go down when the sole reason you're writing is to make money. Just sayin'.
Unless you do an incredible job of faking it, which really isn't that fun…okay it's not fun at all and it's not very nice, so don't do it, then people are going to be able to sniff out your sole purpose.
Which doesn't build that know, like and trust factor you need.
If you're looking to make a few sales here and there, or don't really care about building an audience, one, my blog is not for you and two, then make your sole purpose about money.
But if you want to make real connections, make lasting customers and build a community around your blog, make your why about your audience.
Be of value to your audience.
With each and every post.
And guess what?
The money will come but it's just a by-product of you providing value to your audience. So value first, understand why you're blogging and the money will come.
I think looking up to other bloggers and asking questions of bloggers that have been doing this for a while is a fantastic way to learn and grow.
I mean, that's literally why I'm writing this post…to help you.
It's a big but.
Don't play the comparison game.
And yes, this game can be played on other places than Instagram.
It's so easy to fall into the trap of Googling and Pinteresting (is that a word..? It is now!) income reports and traffic reports and feeling down on your progress because you aren't where they are.
Here's the thing, most of those people have been doing this for years.
You simply can't compare your chapter one to someone else's chapter 30. (cliques on cliques)
Look to those bloggers for help but don't compare yourself to them and don't get caught up in the numbers.
You are where you are and if you want to improve, find a way to improve on your own or ask for help.
Although from the outside it may seem like bloggers write willy-nilly without really thinking about it but there is a ton that goes into writing a blog post.
This was one of the biggest mistakes I made when I first started.
I didn't research, I didn't take the time to learn about my audience.
I would just write to write.
Did that turn out?
You tell me because I don't see that first blog around anywhere.
If you want to get serious about your blog, get serious about your audience.
Before you write, think about what your audience would want.
Do the research.
Take the time to write high-quality posts that are packed with value and if that means only writing once a week, so be it.
Quality over quantity will get you so much further than the other way around.
And this will take a bit of pressure off of you as well because you won't feel like you have to scramble to write 10 posts a week.
Three things usually happen when it comes to Pinterest.
It's not used at all and completely ignored.
There is a mix of personal boards/personal enjoyment and business/niche related boards.
It's over thought turning it into a consuming mess.
First things first, if you're not using Pinterest for your blog why in the heck not??
Pinterest + Blogging = AMAZING THINGS (including traffic, community & income)
And yes, you can actually make money from Pinterest.
While there are a multitude of mistakes that can be made with Pinterest I'll just let you read this post which breaks it all down for ya.
The biggest mistake I made was mixing my personal boards with my blogging boards.
Why is this a problem?
Because I only want the right people coming to my blog.
Think of Pinterest as a place to advertise your business.
When people come to my profile, I want them to know right off the bat, I'm all about blogging.
If they're not into that they can leave and find something that better serves them.
In my mind, the point of Pinterest is to simply serve my audience.
I do this by strategically pinning posts that are relevant to my blog/business.
Clean up your Pinterest profile and keep your personal Pinterest and business Pinterest separate.
This will help attract the right people to your Pinterest page and in turn, back to your blog.
Have you ever been to a site that had so many pop up ads you couldn't even get to the content?
This is a problem.
But don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking ads.
Ads are great.
Ads bring in money passively.
Meaning you just slap some ads on your site, drive traffic and boom, you make money.
The problem comes when the ads come at the expense of user experience.
The point of your blog is to keep people coming back.
But no one will want to come back if they get a sore jaw from getting smacked in the face with ads every time they try to read your blog.
Don't use ads altogether and find other ways to make money blogging.
Be strategic with your ads and try to utilize a company that will place the ads for you and limit the number of ads you use.
Mediavine does a great job with this but does require 25,000 monthly sessions.
Another way to play around with “ads” is to use banners from affiliate companies you are apart of.
That way you get to decide exactly where they do and how many you use and they tend to look quite similar to ads giving you a bit of trial run without filling up your site.
Just make sure to disclose. You can read more about affiliate marketing and disclosures here.
There's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Medium, Reddit, Tumbler, Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram Live, Facebook Live….did I miss any? (pretend I was reading that list like the person that frantically reads the possible side effects list of medications on TV commercials)
The point is there are a million and one social media platforms and it feels like to even make a dent we have to be on all of them.
We don't and it will actually hinder progress is you try to be.
Chances are your audience isn't on all of these platforms.
So why would you be?
Put your time into platforms that you are getting a high ROI (return on investment).
If you're spending your time posting on Instagram but noticing your not getting any traffic or conversions from it, then stop putting so much time into it.
Pick the platforms you know your audience is on and stick to them.
My focus is on Pinterest and Google.
Because I know those are the two places I can make the biggest impact with my audience.
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