You may have decided to start a blog because you like writing. Well, you're about to find out that there's a whole lot more to it than that. With SEO, social media marketing, photography, website design and basic HTML being just a few of the things you'll need to get the hang of, owning and maintaining a blog is probably going to be one of the biggest learning curves you'll ever experience.
If I haven't already scared you out of starting a blog or sent you running for the hills, congrats! You have the right mindset and are up for the challenge of becoming a blogger. But there are just a few more things you should know - things I wish I'd known when I started this blog five years ago.
Here are 10 mistakes I've noticed new bloggers tend to make, and how you can avoid them.
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1. Expecting overnight successDon't go into blogging thinking that your blog will be mega popular or you'll get rich just from writing about your life on the internet - at least not straight away, anyway. It's true that people can earn a living through their blogs and some are making extremely good money, but if you think that happens quickly and without a lot of work, you're going to be disappointed.
Don't believe all those "How I Got a Million Views and Made £20K in My First Month Blogging" posts that you often see on Pinterest. The people who managed this usually ran blogs before and knew exactly what they were doing and how to monetise and promote a new blog, and to be quite honest, if they don't show proof of their earnings or pageviews I don't really believe what they're saying anyway.
2. Thinking blogging is easyGuess what: it's not. To be a blogger, you REALLY have to love what you do if you're going to stick with it for the long term. It's a lot more work than you think, and you'll often wonder why you bother doing so much work for so little reward (in the beginning, anyway).
There's a lot to learn when it comes to blogging: you can't just write a post, publish it and wait for people to find it. You'll have to take great pictures (or find somewhere to get nice stock photos), optimise your posts for SEO, promote on social media, learn Pinterest marketing and much more.
There's always something new to learn or implement when it comes to blogging, so don't stress if you don't know it all straight away. Even experienced bloggers are still learning every day.
3. Working too hard and burning yourself outNow you know that blogging isn't necessarily easy, you may be willing to work hard to make your blog a success. It's tempting to jump in head first, buy every course you can get your hands on then start writing posts like crazy and practising every strategy you've just learnt.
But beware: blogger burnout is definitely a thing, especially if you're an overzealous newbie. It helps to be disciplined but you don't need to exhaust yourself to be successful. Pace yourself until you find a blogging schedule that works for you and gives you plenty of time to rest and recharge.
4. Having an unprofessional looking blogThis isn't as much of an issue if you're just blogging for fun, but if you want to want to monetise your blog you should have a professional looking, aesthetically pleasing site.
Invest in good hosting (such as Bluehost) and a clean, minimal theme. Create an 'About Me' page. Make your blog look attractive and professional and people will think you know what you're doing, even if you really don't have a clue.
5. Getting connedIf you want to work with brands, you need to be wary of the ones who'll take advantage of new or inexperienced bloggers. Some will offer you 'exposure' (basically, ask you to work for free) or, even worse, to pay for a product to review on your blog.
I could write a whole post on what to look out for and when not to accept a collab, but as a general rule I'd say: DON'T EVER pay a brand who wants to work with you. They should be paying you. It's up to you if you just want to accept products on a gifting basis or also ask for payment, but you should be getting something for your time and work and definitely shouldn't end up out of pocket.
6. Being scared to promote your blogYou can't be shy about promoting your blog posts. No-one's going to read your blog if they don't know it exists. (I've had this blog for five years and I still feel awkward sending out those "New post!" tweets, but it's something that has to be done.)
Don't be afraid to put yourself out there - talk to people, network on social media, leave comments on other blogs, learn how to use Pinterest to promote your blog (more on this later) and attend blogging events. Get yourself and your blog known.
7. Not making friends with other bloggersBlogging can be a lonely hobby/job. Writing isn't exactly a social activity so it makes sense to have friends with the same passions as you.
Your 'real life' friends and family may not understand or be supportive of your new found love for blogging. A lot of bloggers will tell you that their online friends are the most supportive people in their lives.
It'll make your blogging life a lot easier if you have people to talk to, share any problems, ask questions and help each other out.
8. Not learning SEOI've mentioned SEO a couple of times already in this post and if you're new to blogging, you might not even know what I'm talking about. It stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is one of the best ways to get free, organic traffic to your blog.
You'll need to learn about keyword research, link building, alt text and much more. There's a lot to take in, but it's pretty simple to understand and implement. I found this comprehensive guide to SEO for beginners by Moz which should hopefully make things a little clearer.
9. Putting off PinterestLearning how to use Pinterest effectively was the best thing I ever did for my blog traffic, and I really wish I'd done it sooner. It's crazy how much traffic Pinterest can bring to your site when you know how to use it properly.
I'm currently receiving over 22,000 monthly blog views and most of them are from Pinterest. I explain exactly how in this detailed post.
10. Not being yourselfDon't pretend to be someone you're not. Honestly, what's the point? It's usually really obvious if someone is being fake and even if you get away with it, any success you have with your blog won't be real.
Also don't copy other people just because they're doing well. You don't have to reinvent the wheel - you can certainly borrow someone's strategies or ask them for advice but don't, for example, copy their writing style - and definitely don't plagiarise their work. That's just straight up theft and unsurprisingly doesn't tend to go down well with writers and bloggers.
Remember you are unique; that's what makes you special and that's what will ultimately make your blog successful.
Those are my tips for beginner bloggers. If you still want to be a blogger after reading this post but think you might need a little help, check out my Useful Resources for Bloggers page.
Do you have any tips for new bloggers? Are you a new blogger with questions about blogging? Leave them all in the comments.
If you enjoyed this post, you'll love my blogging ebook The Blogger's Survival Guide: My Tips and Advice from Over 12 Years of Blogging full of industry knowledge and strategies for both new and seasoned bloggers.
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