Blogging is no rocket science, but it isn’t exactly a piece of cake either. Which is why not every blogger starts off on the right foot. Here I’ll go over some of the biggest blogging mistakes you should avoid at all costs. And offer you some quick fixes, so you can achieve success sooner rather than later.
Hear me out. If you’re ready to give blogging a try, you better go all in. A half-assed blog will be nothing but a waste of your time, energy, and money. If all you want to do is write your thoughts down with no intention of sharing them with the world, don’t start a blog. As long as your blog is public, someone will eventually find it.
Since you’re here, however, something tells me you don’t want to publish just another blog on the internet. You want to help, inspire, or entertain and build a community of raving fans. You want people to take notice of your work. You aspire to build a kick-ass blog that stands out.
When you are a new blogger, there are certain common mistakes you a likely to make. Avoiding them will help your blog grow quicker and get you in the fast lane to success.
Here are the biggest and most common blogging mistakes new bloggers tend to make and how to fix them:
1 | Starting on the wrong blogging platform
With so many different blogging platforms out there, choosing the right one for you can take some digging. That’s why many new bloggers end up on the wrong platform, often a free one, such as Blogger or Medium.
This is a HUGE mistake that can end up costing you dearly. To see what I mean, check out the pros and cons of Blogger.
I (almost) get it. Free blogging platforms are really convenient. But they are the worst in terms of accountability. They also come with a shitload of limitations related to design and functionality. This makes building a brand extremely challenging. Making money is difficult, if not downright impossible, as well.
That’s why I use and recommend WordPress. WordPress is the best blogging platform in the world. It’s the way to go if you want to have full control over your blog’s future. It’s also the best blogging platform to make money.
No matter your goals and what you blog about, you cannot go wrong with WordPress.
WordPress is free. But they won’t host your blog for you. This means you’ll have to purchase a hosting plan with a web hosting provider.
The hosting company I’ve personally used, paid for, and recommend to beginners is Bluehost. They have a super easy setup and are truly affordable (only $2.95/month). Plus, WordPress comes pre-installed on your account, so you can start blogging in a matter of minutes.
If you need help, follow my step-by-step tutorial on how to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost.
Now I know there’s a lot of confusion about WordPress.org and WordPress.com. So what’s the difference between the two and why do I recommend one over the other?
WordPress.com is a very restrictive, free blogging platform that limits the way you monetize your content.
What I’m recommending is for you to start a self-hosted WordPress.org blog. This way you’ll enjoy ALL the features and flexibility that come with this amazing blog building software. And you’ll be able to make money with your blog any way you want.
If somehow you’ve made the mistake of starting your blog on WordPress.com, learn how to move WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
2 | Not investing in camera equipment & software
This one is not a generalized mistake. There are many blogging niches that don’t need lots of photos to accompany the text. But when it comes to travel, food, or fashion blogging, images are a must. The nicer the better. And you get bonus points for publishing your own.
Nowadays phone cameras can take amazing photos. If you are happy to invest also in some accessories, the results can be downright breathtaking.
But not even the iPhone is at the level of a mirrorless camera yet. Although nothing can beat a phone camera in terms of convenience when it comes to publishing your photos on Instagram and other social networks, you can still get much better results with a professional camera.
So my advice is to invest in a good camera, maybe even a tripod. And get Adobe’s Lightroom for photo processing. While there are some great photo processing apps out there, if you want your photos to look really professional, you need a more complex software.
Keep in mind that it is way cheaper to invest in a camera before a trip than to take the trip again. Make sure you understand the basics of photography first. And learn your damn new camera before you leave home. Don’t you for a split second imagine you will actually get the instruction manual out of your pocket in front of the Eiffel Tower at 1 AM to learn how to take beautiful light trails. Nor will you passively watch the cream on your waffles melt while trying to figure out how to get beautiful bokeh.
And one more thing. When uploading the photos to your blog. Make sure you use the whole real estate you have at your disposal. One big mistake new travel bloggers make is believing they are still in the 1990s. But a small photo won’t cut it anymore. Use larger than life photos if you can. Go for the maximum width of your template.
Only upload your best. You really don’t have to use 25 photos per article. Nobody wants to see the Colosseum from 10 different angles. Plus, do you know how much scrolling does that take?
3 | Poor blog design
If you’ve avoided mistake #1 and started a WordPress blog, then you can enjoy access to the WordPress repository which has hundreds of free themes.
The only caveat is that when you use a free theme your blog could end up looking like thousands of other blogs out there. This might lead people to think you don’t take your blog seriously.
If you are unique, then your blog has to be unique too.
My sincere advice is to roll up your sleeves and find a professional, clean design that will not only look awesome but also help your SEO efforts. I wrote about how to choose the perfect WordPress theme here and about the best WordPress themes by niche here.
Your blog reflects back to you. A tidy, minimalist and responsive design will make your readers want to spend more time on your website. Make it easy for them to navigate and find interesting articles. When you make a new friend you don’t try to hide your best traits either, right?
Again, a cluttered design is sooo last century. You really don’t need two sidebars. Heck, I’m not sure I even need one! I like to keep my readers immersed in the experience of reading my articles.
First impressions count. Granted, I might be pickier than the average. But if your blog has white letters on a dark background, count me out as a reader. My eyes will get tired after the first paragraph and I’ll leave your blog with a headache. And that’s the last thing you want, trust me, to have your readers running for the hills even before having a proper taste of your great content.
4 | Either being all over the place or completely ignoring social media
Social media is one time-consuming thing. It took our lives by storm. Everyone, their grandmother and her cat are on Facebook. So if you want to build a successful blog and keep your readers updated, you need to speak their language. And that’s the social media language.
Your blog cannot exist in a vacuum. You cannot ignore social networks. They are powerful traffic driving tools.
But don’t overdo it!
Make sure you are on Facebook. When it comes to SM, Facebook is still the king. Then get a Twitter account. This is where the companies like to hang out and relationships are built.
Instagram is incredibly important. Have you heard of bloggers who were invited on media trips for their Instagram following alone?
Pinterest is also a powerful traffic source. It’s not a social media per se. Pinterest is rather a content discovery tool. And there are some tricks that you need to learn to make it work for you. But there are plenty of bloggers that swear this is their main source of traffic. Intrigued?
There are countless other social networks out there. Don’t try to be active on all of them because you will end up neglecting them all.
Ultimately, go with the social platforms that fit you. The ones you like and you feel comfortable with. And give your best.
5 | Not adding floating social share buttons
Once you have your social media channels all setup, you will most likely add them to your website as well.
But this is not enough.
You need to make it dumb easy for your readers to share your content.
You can have social sharing buttons before and after your content. But the most efficient by far are the floating ones.
Having the buttons handy at all times will dramatically increase the social shares of your articles.
If you are on WordPress, you can install a plugin out of any number of social plugins. Personally, I use Grow by Mediavine.
A word of caution, though. You don’t want your share bar to look like a Christmas tree. So use them sparingly. Don’t display more than 5 social networks.
6 | Not starting a newsletter right away
Yeah, this is one mistake an incredible number of bloggers are guilty of, yours truly included. Some of the biggest bloggers admit to it too.
Falling into the trap of thinking ‘I don’t have an audience just yet, who’s going to subscribe to my newsletter anyways?’ is not a good thing. Don’t underestimate yourself. And don’t take the decision away from your readers. Let them decide for themselves if they want to receive your newsletter or not.
Because you see, in spite of rumors that email is dead, it is still the most effective marketing tool.
Mailerlite is a great email marketing tool to grow your audience. It’s versatile, easy to use and set up. Plus it’s extremely affordable! It also comes with a built-in landing page creator which puts it way ahead of its competitors. I wrote a whole article about how to get started with Mailerlite.
The only rule of thumb here is to not betray the trust of your subscribers. Once they grant you access to their mailboxes, make sure you deliver good and useful content.
7 | Poor blog post formatting
This one goes right next to bad design.
It’s not enough to write interesting, well-researched and spelling mistake-free content. You actually have to make sure your body copy is really easy to read.
One mistake many newbie bloggers make is writing incredibly long paragraphs with no end in sight. Long paragraphs are intimidating, to say the least. And inconsiderate.
A blog is not a Ph.D. thesis. And reading online is not the same as reading a paper book.
So say it quick and say it well.
Keep your paragraphs short. Two sentences short whenever possible. And no more than five lines of text or your body copy will look cluttered and uninviting.
Use easy to read fonts. And make sure the font size is no less than 16 pixels.
A well-formatted text is key. Use bullet points. Use subheaders. Use bold.
Use Grammarly to proofread your posts. A text free of grammar and spelling errors is always more appealing.
Thanks to the digital world we live in, we now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. Don’t make it difficult for your readers to stick around.
8 | Not having a clear focus
This is a tough one. Because most people don’t know what they want. Goldfish attention span anyone?
But a blog without a clear focus is like a leaf in the wind. It’s like Alice in Wonderland.
“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”
– Lewis Carroll,
But you don’t want to get ‘somewhere’. You want to get to a specific destination. You want to be known as the expert in _______ (fill the gap).
If you travel with your partner, write about the challenges and rewards of traveling as a couple. If you are a family traveling together and homeschooling your kids, write about what works and what doesn’t. If you are a solo female traveler, write country-specific tips for women who want to go on their own.
If you are passionate about scuba diving, focus on scuba diving spots, gear, and tutorials. If you are into green travel, teach others how to live a sustainable life. If you are a shoestring traveler, publish detailed budget spreadsheets.
Just be creative and try to thoroughly cover one specific topic above all. I actually wrote a whole post about how to choose a profitable blogging niche.
The age of general blogs if well past.
9 | Not interacting with your readers
I get it. Not everyone has top-notch social skills. Some of us are rather introverts.
Let go of the fixed mindset. Blogging is a self-improvement exercise. It’s about getting outside of your comfort zone.
In time, you will get better at it, I promise.
The thing is, blogging, like kissing, cannot be done alone.
Answer your reader’s comments. Get back to people when they email you asking for tips.
Build relationships. Play nice. This can go a long way.
10 | Not using Google Analytics
When it comes to traffic analysis, Google Analytics is the standard.
If a company wants to know how big your blog is, they will inevitably ask you for your Google Analytics stats.
Setting up an account is super easy and free. So no excuses there!
Make sure you have Google Analytics installed on day one. If not for others, then for yourself. It’s always nice to see your blog grow from one month to another, don’t you think?
But Google Analytics is not only about the number of monthly visitors and where they are from. You can also see which keywords your pages rank for in Google. And how long users spend on each page.
Google Analytics is not only about stats. It’s also a powerful tool that can help you improve your content and increase traffic.
THINGS TO READ NEXT
- How to Look Like a Professional Blogger When You’re Just Starting Out
- How to Choose the Perfect WordPress Theme for Your Blog or Business
- Best WordPress Themes by Niche
- 5 Blog Design Hacks To Grow Your Personal Brand like WHOA!
- How To Use MailerLite To Grow Your Email List Lightning Fast
Hey there dream chaser! I’m a writer, designer and the creator of The Smart Blog Planner and Perfectly Productive Planner. I’m on a mission to inspire and empower you to create a highly profitable minimalist online business and show up for your dreams in a sustainable way.