We will teach you below, 10 of the most common beginner blogging mistakes that people make and that we ourselves also made when we started. If you can avoid these rookie mistakes, you can build your own online business much faster and monetise it much sooner.
1. The Mistake of Using a Free Hosting Service
When starting off, you might be tempted to use free hosting such as via Wix, WordPress.org, Blogger.com or another free platform for creating your blog/website. There are several reasons though why you should avoid free hosting:
- The free hosting service can disappear at any time and this has happened to a number of providers. In essence, you do NOT own your own site if you place it on a free hosting service.
- On a number of free hosting services, you have 3rd party advertising that you do not want and that you make no money yourself from.
- Being seen to use a free service gives less credibility to your business,
- You will usually be greatly limited in how you can adapt the design of your site, as your business grows.
- Free hosting tends to be less reliable. This is understandable because fewer resources, of course, are provided to these services because they are not paid for.
So why pay for hosting, especially if you are starting off and on a really low budget?
- Hosting on a shared server is REALLY cheap!
- You can easily backup your site (i.e. using a plugin such as Backup-buddy).
- You will be able to add any plugins you want without restriction.
- You can have a custom domain rather than a long ugly website/blog address (learn how to choose a domain name).
So, my advice when starting off is not to do what we did when we started off with free hosting by using blogger.com for the first 2 years (this is several years back though).
2. Not Having a Niche
Writing about a clear subject area that enables you to build a definitive following is a key to developing your own business. That is not to say that you cannot be a lifestyle blogger who writes about a wide range of subjects on one blog site, including let’s say, personal finance, happiness, travel and fashion.
If you are interested in blogging for money though, you will generally find it far easier to succeed if you write focused content that attracts a clear group of readers and followers. This gives you the chance to develop your expertise and to be seen as an expert in your niche (learn how to choose a niche).
Whilst Valeria and I have usually chosen a niche, we also realise that when we started off, we could have been more focused. It is easy to get excited about something and go slightly off-track and move away from your core niche. Stay focused!
3. Going for Quantity over Quality of Posts
It is common to think that the more pages you have on your site, the greater chance you have of showing in search results. There is logic to this. Having 100 pages and with each page aimed at a different keyword term, surely will give you more traffic right?
In the past, before the Google Panda and Google Penguin updates (that focused on higher quality content posts and inbound links to your blog) this certainly worked as a strategy. We had roughly 25 websites and the more websites and blogs we made, the more money they made. That strategy now is a very outdated one and certainly NOT the way to go!
The key these days is high-quality posts. It is far better to have 10 very high-quality posts than 100 low-quality ones.
Why you might ask?! High-quality posts:
- Help you to build better trust with your visitors because you are offering genuine value, knowledge and expertise.
- Search engines give higher priority to high-quality posts.
1850 – 2000 words is a good target in terms of word count for a post. Focus though on genuine quality and include media (such images and embedded video) and references to data and whatever you can to make a post multi-dimensional. These days we focus on quality posts over quantity and so should you!
4. Creating a Post and Content without a Clear Monetarisation Goal
If you are blogging purely for fun then you can choose any title and any post you wish to. As long as you are writing something that engages with your readers, then it does not matter too much what the page is about.
If, on the other hand, you ultimately are looking to monetise your site, there is one vital thing you must consider for every single post. And this is the biggest mistake Valeria and I made when we first started! Every post you ever write should specifically be pushing the reader in the direction of one of your products or services that you sell!
Sounds obvious? We used to (and I bet you do too) write posts that we thought our followers and readers would like! And guess what – they did like the posts! The only problem was that it made us very little money! Valeria as a belly dance teacher and academic, wrote a great post on being over 40 and dance and at the time it went viral. Thousands of Facebook shares within the first week. People loved the post but that was it. No income from it. Sounds familiar?
In hindsight, it is obvious what the problem was. What was the post selling? Did it guide the reader towards an eBook she was selling? To a training program, she had developed? Towards a sales funnel? No. There was no clear goal.
We spent a year writing content that was not specifically focused and targeted enough. Please do not make the same mistake as we did when we started. Thankfully though we have learned our lesson!
5. Not Developing the Right Writing Style
How people read content on the internet has greatly changed and is continung to change. So many of us now are using mobile devices such as smart phones and iPads to read onlinew content!
What this means for you as a blogger, is that content needs to be easily readable on very small devices. So, forget the long paragraphs that are made up of 3, 4, 5 or more sentences as these paragraphs do not look good on mobile phones. Consider making each sentence or a maximum of two sentences to be a paragraph.
Valeria and I have been a bit slow on some other sites we have run in the past, to move with the times and to think about writing for all devices that people now use for accessing the web. So break up the text and think mobile!
6. Not Developing an Email List from the Start
A common thought when starting blogging is to think that there is no point to create an email list because it is early days. This though, could not be further from the truth. And guess what, we didn’t bother for the first few years and now we realise this was a big mistake!
Creating an email list is essential as early on in your blogging life as possible.
Your email list is the one way you maintain a connection to your followers regardless of search engine changes and other disruptions to traffic to your site.
You own your mail list and this is the No.1 way you will always have direct access to your readers!
Make sure to avoid the mistake we made many years ago with our first sites. Get your mail list started as soon as possible.
The very best email list provider in our opinion and from our experience, having tried several of them, is ConvertKit! It is extremely user-friendly and makes it easy to, for example, email different users with specific interest to push specific products or services you sell.
7. Ignoring the Power of Pinterest
We spent many years focusing on SEO and we have had many successes with our previous sites – but – focusing on a search engine such as Google, can be so time-consuming and can also be expensive. The mistake we used to make was not to give enough focus to Pinterest Marketing.
What many people do not realise is that Pinterest is also a search engine and an extremely powerful one at that!
Why is Pinterest so good?
Pinterest is very different from Google because you can build traffic much faster through Pinterest with much less effort. Pinterest, if done correctly, can be an extremely effective and efficient media through which to market your own blog/website.
Pinterest treats you more equally to long-term users compared to Google. It can take one to two years to establish your blog or website in Google search results and a massive effort to build links from other sites to yours is needed. Your pinned content can show from the start and you will begin to drive traffic to your blog site very quickly.
8. Having Poor Time Management Skills
Blogging and building your own website, I am sure you will agree, can be overwhelming?!
Furthermore, there is just so damned much to do when starting a blog and working from home right? You need time to write posts, have time to create and optimise images, sort out technical problems that seem to happen too often with your blogging site or computer. Time is precious, isn’t it?!
5 quick tips for you:
- Do not try to make your website perfect. It will never be perfect and there will always be something to change. In the past, we put too much focus on making changes and updating our site, at the expense of creating regular content.
- Always focus on time to add high-quality content and on a regular basis and at the expense of the perfect site design if need be.
- There are a number of brilliant tools for drastically reducing the time you have to spend on certain tasks and that we have listed on our resources page. These include Tailwind (for scheduling Pinterest pins) and Convertkit (for mailing lists as you can do a lot of tasks quickly with this tool).
- Do not waste too much time making decisions such as what domain name to choose. Do not waste days making a decision. (Read more on How to Choose a Domain Name).
- Only check emails twice a day. I have really struggled over the years to avoid the temptation to check emails every hour or even half an hour. It has often been a habit. Learn to check emails only once a day i.e. after you have completed a solid day’s work. If you always check emails, treat being allowed to check your emails as a reward for getting a major day’s work completed. if you need to check emails because of customer support, then consider having a separate email for this (if you have not done so already) and only check the support email frequently.
9. Not Understanding Your Audience
Learning to understand your readers can be invaluable for building your site. Engaging with your readers, for example, by making sure that you respond to their comments that they add to the bottom of your blog posts, can be a wonderful way to learn about your readers.
Likewise, creating a survey (cheap, quick and easy to do) to ask your readers what they want to read and learn about is certainly worth the time. Whatever your niche, there are so many directions and paths you could take when it comes to content and ideas to write about. You want to find the path that will best engage your audience and drive you towards selling products and services that you can best monetise.
Creating a Facebook page or a Private Facebook group that you use as a kind of prestigious offering to your valued readers, can also be so incredibly useful when it comes to seeing what they ask questions about and the topics they discuss.
Make every effort you can to understand your audience!
10. Poor Writing and Proofing
No doubt that some of you will point out an error that I have made grammatically in this post (quite fairly) and it is so easily done, especially when writing a blog post that is around 2,000 words long.
There are though some brilliant tools that you can use that certainly help and that are free! The very best, in my opinion, is called Grammarly. This is a free tool that auto-suggests grammar changes and it is a tool that you will not want to be without once you have started using it. I know that MS Word and other programmes have auto-fix suggestions but Grammarly takes this to a higher level and you can fix and learn as you go.
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