Starting your blog is very bittersweet. You’re so excited to get started, get some viewers, and start making money. But you’re so frustrated when you run into technical issues that you can’t figure out, and you’re searching on google and youtube trying to get an answer. It’s also really annoying when you spend a ton of time on something that you realized you didn’t need to do. There are so many highs and lows. And as a favor to you, my lovely readers, I’m going to walk you through my some of my royal screw-ups, in hopes that I can save you the time (and money) that I’ve wasted since starting my blogging journey, and you won’t have to suffer from these mistakes that new bloggers make!
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Not having a place to subscribe when you first launch
You NEED a place to subscribe. Subscribers are so valuable, especially the loyal ones who will read every post that comes out, open all of your emails, etc. You don’t want to miss out on even one of those. So make sure you have an email marketing platform set up. I started with Mailchimp, which was a great starting point. It was free, and it did what I needed it to. As I really got into blogging, I switched to ConvertKit, and it’s flippin’ amazing!
ConvertKit is one of my blogging essentials! It makes it soo much easier to customize things. I also really like that the price depends on number of subscribers, because subscribers reflect your income, in a sense. If you have under 1000 subscribers, you pay less than if you have more. And as your subscribers and your income grows you are more okay with paying more for an email service provider. This is one of the biggest mistakes that new bloggers make!
Waiting to launch until the “right time”
Yes, there are a few things you should do before you launch, but you shouldn’t be worried about waiting until it’s perfect, because it will never be perfect. I’m going to tell you a secret… I change things on my blog constantly! There is always going to be something you can improve on. You’ll make a bunch of pins, and then realize they’re not the optimal size or format. You’ll create a brand/overall look for your instagram, and realize you want something different. You will ALWAYS be upgrading and changing things. So just go for it! You won’t be getting a whole lot of views right at first, so you can work on improvements while you’re growing your audience.
Having someone help you with everything
Now, don’t get me wrong… having someone who is more experienced with technical things is awesome. My sister does web development, so if I ever needed help figuring something out, I’d ask her. Which was great, but I didn’t actually learn how to fix things, so the next time I would need help again. If you’re going to get help from someone, make sure you’re watching them so you can do it the next time something goes wrong. No one wants to have to keep asking someone for help for the same things!
Not having a “system”
You need some sort of system to keep you organized, to make sure you’re getting the absolute most out of your time for your blog. You need to put a plan in place to make sure you’re publishing posts often enough, creating graphics and opt-ins, posting to social medias at the right time, and all of the other many things that bloggers have to do. The more specific the plan, the easier it is to make sure everything is getting done. Many people have certain days they use for writing, specific days they publish posts, days they send out emails, times of day they post to social medias, etc. Try different techniques to see what works best for your blog.
Not tracking your progress
First, install google analytics! You won’t regret it. This way you can track your monthly pageviews, sessions, bounce rate, which posts are performing the best, and so much more! I also like to track my social media progress. I keep a running spreadsheet in google docs that has my monthly goals for subscribers, followers on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. At the end of each month I put in my totals so I can see if I hit my goal, and then I set new goals for the next month. Setting goals is a great way to keep up your motivation. Nothing feels better than hitting (or exceeding) your goals!
Not adding keywords in the right places
Keywords are one of the most important things you need to include in every blog post. Make sure to add single keywords such as “blog,” “wordpress,” etc… and also a few long tail keywords such as “how to start a blog,” or “mistakes bloggers make.” Place your keywords in the “tags” section of your blog, along with the alt tags in each photo uploaded into the post. You can also make sure the title of the image is a keyword, instead of “img4592.”
Don’t forget to include a description for each photo that has keywords within it. When an image is shared to social media, such as Pinterest, that description will be the one that the platform uses to determine what the pin, or image, is about. You also want keywords throughout your blog post, in your headings, and in your blog post title!
You want to make sure your blog posts are formatted so readers can read them easily. Most people skim through a post, they don’t often take the time to read each and every word. So make sure your post has headings that stick out, maybe in a bigger/bolder font, and don’t make each section too long. Often times readers just read the headings. Also, make sure your words that contain hyperlinks stand out from the rest of the text with a different color, italic font, etc.
Not having social share/follow buttons
All it takes is one person to share something for your blog post to go viral, so you can’t afford to miss out on even one share or follow. Make sure you have a plug-in installed that will add social follow/share buttons to your blog. I use a plug-in called Social Media Feather, but there are so many out there to choose from!
Not choosing a theme that is mobile friendly
For a lot of bloggers, the majority of readers are coming through a mobile device, and no one is going to sit there and read a blog post if they have to scroll back and for every five seconds. So frustrating. So just make sure the theme is compatible.
Trying to do too many blogging courses at once
The best tactic when it comes to courses is to read it, learn it, and apply it. Then move onto the next. There are some courses I have purchased and not even read until later when I mistakenly came across them. It’s hard to do so many things at once. Focus on one thing at a time, whether it be affiliates, SEO, email marketing, etc. Don’t burn yourself out and get discouraged.