It was just over two years ago that I quit my job as a preschool teacher and started to focus on this blog full-time. Since then, I’ve watched this blog grow into my full-time business and one of my biggest accomplishments so far in my 25 years of life. As someone who always wants to grow and improve, I spend a lot of time analyzing this blog and my various social media channels to see what works well for me and what doesn’t. And after a ton of reflection and looking back on the last two years, I’ve come to realize that I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my blog. As do many new bloggers or any blogger or business owner for that matter. So today I’m reflecting on the top 10 blogging mistakes I’ve made in the last two years, that you should avoid making at all costs.
I didn’t proof-read.
I get it. You spent hours typing up your blog post and putting it all together. By the time you actually hit ‘publish’ you’re probably just wanting to get it out there rather than re-reading it for the thousandth time. I’m totally guilty of this as well. But you must proofread! If you don’t want to do it yourself, then find a friend, family member, or even a fellow blogger who can take a look at it for you before your post goes live. Sometimes they’ll find errors that you wouldn’t normally find on your own. In addition to this, don’t forget to use spellcheck! In WordPress, it looks for both spelling errors and grammatical mistakes which can be really helpful to you. So be sure to use it!
I rarely shared my content.
I was terrified to share my content when I first started blogging. I had actually started my blog almost a full year before I finally decided I wanted to turn it into a business. And in that time, it was rarely shared with anyone. In fact, when I quit my job to pursue it full-time, I was only getting maybe 250 page views a month. Yes, you read that correctly. 250. Not 250,000. Just 250. So quitting my job for it was quite the leap. But once I started getting serious about it and sharing my content with the world, my blog exploded. It grew faster in those first three months than it did in the almost year and a half that I’d been blogging at that point. So don’t be afraid to share what you have to say with the world!
I used horrible images.
I don’t even want to think about the images I used in my first year of blogging. Oh my were they bad. First off, I never thought to create Pinterest-friendly images so no one was able to pin my content. Not helpful. And then in addition to that, I totally used way too many Instagram images. It doesn’t sound horrible considering many bloggers post the same images to their blogs as they do to their Instagram accounts. I still do it. But when I say I was using Instagram images, I mean I was using super low-quality, grainy, over-filtered photos…yeah. It was bad. I do not recommend doing this.
Nowadays, I realize the importance of using high-quality images. I personally feel that it’s best to take your own photos, using a good, high-quality camera. When I’m doing this, I use my Nikon d7000 with a 35mm lens. I love this combination so much. BUT it’s totally not doable for some people and that’s okay! Plus, it’s a ton of work as well so when life gets hectic, I’m a huge fan of stock images. There’s nothing wrong with using stock images, but be sure to abide by copyright laws. Never take images from Google and make sure your photos are bright, clear and consistent with your overall brand. People are very visual beings so you want to draw them into your post and keep them hooked!
I wasn’t using the right tools.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to use the right tools if you want to turn your blog into a business. I’ll get into this a bit more a little later in this post, but using all the free tools out there isn’t always going to be beneficial for you in the long run. So get that out of your head. If there’s a tool out there that could help you save hours each week on your social media scheduling, then use it! Ask around for recommendations if you have to. Explore all your options to find what works best for you. At the end of the day, you have to create a system that works for you.
I was afraid to invest.
Okay so going along the lines of using great tools, you also can’t be afraid to make some investments. To me, being afraid to invest tells me you don’t believe in your business. And that alone will hold you back from getting to where you want to be. Don’t feel bad. I’ve been there. Investing in your business is terrifying when you’re unsure about the outcome and whether or not it’ll be successful. But I’m a strong believer that you have to spend money to make money.
So as I said earlier, if there’s a better tool out there that can help you get to where you want to be, but it costs a little bit of money, then take the leap and go for it! There’s no point in holding yourself back using a tool that isn’t working as well just because it’s free. Most times, those tools that you’re wanting to use (the ones that cost money) are the tools that are going to help move you forward, faster. So don’t be afraid of them. And if you’re just not liking it or seeing results after 6-12 months then make a switch. It’s not a lifetime commitment.
I looked at other bloggers as my competition.
This is such a big no-no if you want to grow your blog. You absolutely cannot look at other bloggers as your competition. The blogging community is just that. A community. You’re surrounded by so many amazing bloggers and business owners who have already been there, done that so why not use them to your advantage? Seek out advice when needed. Get involved in Facebook groups. Collaborate with them on giveaways or guest posts or webinars. Don’t be afraid to team up with them and create awesome content together. This is especially helpful when you’re just starting out and have next to no following. So take the time to network and make those connections.
I was inconsistent.
Okay, I’m still inconsistent sometimes. But life happens and my marriage and family will always come first. BUT that inconsistency can really take a toll on your blog. And I notice it every single time. Traffic will slow down, your follows wont be as engaged, and it can overall just be hard to get back into the swing of it and regain those followers that you lost during your inconsistent moments. So how do you combat inconsistency? Try to stay ahead!
My daily planner is my lifeline. I write down EVERYTHING and it really helps in planning ahead. So if I know I’m going to have a lot of schoolwork to do or I’ll be busy with baby prep or something like Zack’s surgery that he just had last month, then I’ll try to have social media and/or blog posts scheduled out in advance so that I’m not feeling the stress of all the added work later on. And if needed, find some help! Hire a virtual assistant or find some other bloggers who’d be willing to guest post for you so it’s less work on your plate. There’s always a way to keep up the consistency when life gets hectic.
It took me a while to find my niche.
I used to be one of those bloggers who believed it was totally doable to write about anything and everything under the sun and still make money blogging. Yes, there are bloggers out there who do make money from writing about absolutely everything, but most times, those bloggers have been around for years. And in reality, not having a real niche can make it super challenging to market to your target audience because there isn’t one. Your target audience is everyone and that’s just not manageable.
So make a choice: either narrow down your blog topics and/or narrow down who you’re writing for. For me, it was a matter of narrowing down who I wanted my blog to be for. I had to figure out what type of person it was that I wanted to be helping with my content. This will change as your blog grows and evolves so if you ever find that your niche just isn’t working anymore, then don’t panic! Instead, make a change. But I highly suggest having your niche narrowed down before trying to take your site to the next level.
I never took the time to learn about SEO.
This was probably one of my biggest blogging mistakes. Even just the term ‘search engine optimization’ sounds complicated and confusing, am I right?! So I avoided this at all costs and never thought twice about it. BIG mistake. 2 years later and I’m still going back through old blog posts to update them and add some great SEO. While social media is great for driving traffic to your site, SEO is crucial if you want your posts to show up in Google searches or on Pinterest. So this is one of those things you need to be thinking about right from the start. That way you’re not having to go back years later and update hundreds of posts to add it in.
I wasn’t using Pinterest.
This was another one of my biggest blogging mistakes these last few years. I was one of those people who used Pinterest solely for personal purposes and it just wasn’t helping me whatsoever in growing my blog. Mainly because I was still looking at it as a form of social media. It’s not. It’s more of a visual search engine. So back in January, I decided it was time to really step it up and learn more about this platform. I had heard so many great things from other bloggers who used it to grow their blogs and I wanted in on it.
Related: How To Grow Your Blog With Pinterest
When I started using it, I was stuck at 600 or 700-something followers on Pinterest. It had literally taken me 2+ years to get to that point because, again, I wasn’t using the platform properly. Today, I have 2,200+ followers and it accounts for about 75% of this blog’s traffic. I SO wish I had taken Pinterest seriously a lot sooner than I did. Who knows where my site could be by now if I had. So if you’re not using Pinterest for your blog or you’re just not seeing traffic from it, then take the time to learn more about it so you can use it to your advantage. It’s a huge game-changer!
What blogging mistakes have you made?