Starting a blog is overwhelming. Start a blog, and it will be fun–they say. You will make money, work from home–they say. Five months into blogging, I have made some big blogging mistakes as a beginner, but I love it. Hopefully, if you are starting a blog, I can help you not make those same mistakes.
Yes, I started a blog because I was persuaded by other blogs stating you can make $5K in three months. While I am sure blogs are doing such success in a small amount of time, I am not. I was not giving up and learned from my mistakes, and I will make more.
I am listing my mistakes starting a blog, so you will not make the same ones. Some are silly, and some are big enough for me to kick my own butt. I am proud of my progress and what I have learned because it is a huge learning curve with many blogging and technical terms.
There are a couple of tips and sites I love helping me along the way. I am not an expert, but I can tell you I have come a long way since my start. I suggest reading all my mistakes because they are likely common.
Blogging Mistakes for Beginners 1
Not using Grammarly. If you are starting a blog, writing posts, begin with this. Blogging is writing. If you cannot pay for the upgraded subscription (which I HIGHLY recommend), at least use the basic free service on Grammarly.
Just last week signed up and put all my published posts through Grammarly, and I am embarrassed for myself. I published content people have seen and read and was riddled with grammar and spelling mistakes, which I usually take pride in. Lesson learned.
I cleaned up all my posts, went back through each one, corrected grammar and small mistakes in the process, and formatted the posts to look better with the skills I learned over the months.
Hiring a website designer. She did a beautiful job and set up everything overwhelming, which is a bonus; however, the theme was not me at all. A theme that fits your personality means everything when applying enthusiasm to starting a blog. When I finally felt comfortable with my most recent theme and felt good about it, I was more motivated to put more time and energy into my work.
I was not so sure which direction I was going, the niche I was going for, but I had a website name and wanted to get going as soon as possible. Installing a theme and building your site sounds more horrifying than it is. Yes, it can be overwhelming. If I can, you can. Yes, my site needs some work here and there, but I am learning; it takes a lot of time and a massive learning curve.
What I did right. The one very right thing I did was do my web hosting through Bluehost with WordPress, one win for me. The set-up is easy, and you can start a website, blog, or online store, lifetime support, and total design freedom.
In five months, I have changed my blog’s theme three times (and my name twice). It is not the most fun thing to do and is stressful to get done. I went with this top-selling theme, flexible, with thousands of layouts.
I am still working on my blog here and there, but I am so happy I switched to this theme and will not change it again. It is highly customizable. Just whatever you do, pay a little bit for your theme, and it just looks better than free themes. You have to put some money into your blog, especially if you want to monetize it. If I can install and customize my theme on my site, you can too. I promise.
Blogging Mistake 3
Not having at least 10-20 blog posts completed before going live. I am a fly-by-the-seat of my pants kind of person, a massive overthinker, and I have severe ADHD. That being said, writing an informative post, getting it linked up, and posted took way more time than I thought. Now, it does not take me as long because I have learned some new tricks. When just starting your blog, slow down. Blogging takes time, and it will save you time later.
I am currently working on as many posts as I can, going back and fixing my released posts because I have learned more about formatting and the special features Bluehost offers. I am ok with this; it is how I learn.
My goal for the next few months is two posts a week. Writing photos, supplies, creating the links, linking them to my posts, creating pins, promoting. I have a million ideas on paper, but it is up to me to do the work and put it to fruition. If not, it is a pipedream.
“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”
Not making enough Pinterest pins per blog post. I was making one or two hoping for a miracle. Nor did I know that I should be making 10 per post and ten fresh pins per post per month. Pinterest likes new pins, and sitting on one or two will get you nowhere. Pinterest is not a social media network; it is a search engine. Playing with keywords, pins, and headlines makes all the difference in your pins being seen.
What I did right. Making 10 pins per post and 10 new ones each month on Canva is great; I love Canva, but I discovered Tailwind Create. Life-changing. This tool, by far, is my favorite tool in my blogging journey and for creating batch pins, and they look beautiful and on-brand.
I still use my Canva app for several items I may need to do outside of making pins on Tailwind Create because Tailwind Create is about creating pins specifically for Pinterest and scheduling your pins at optimal times. I highly suggest in addition to Tailwind for Pinterest, and you add the Tailwind Create.
You can create several pins with several pictures and different backgrounds and pin designs, all done by Tailwind Create. You can also edit the pins they automatically created for you to make them look more professional and to your liking.
Now the BEST part about Tailwind Create is the free stock photos. They have thousands to choose from for fresh pins each month. Some of the photos I have found are the same photos I have been buying for $12 apiece on stock photo websites!
Mistake 5- The Biggest Blogging Mistake To Avoid Hands Down
This mistake has two parts, one, not using SkimLinks right from the beginning for my affiliate links. I was applying at individual affiliate programs or applying through individual merchants through CJ. It took a long time, and I was denied many times, hurting my self-esteem and confidence.
For the merchants who approved me, I had to work my content around those merchants, which is hard to do and very limiting. Then I discovered SkimLinks. Once you are approved for Skimlinks, you are approved for 99% of their merchants, and it is extremely user-friendly.
Here comes my biggest mistake of all mistakes. Being the squirrel I am, I signed up at SkimLinks, was approved, and did not follow the directions like a normal person. I started adding my affiliate links to my content like I was a pro. I published many blog posts and was getting several clicks on my affiliate links.
Mistake: Amazon Affiliate. Becoming an Amazon Affiliate is easy; being an Amazon affiliate is tough. I say move on to greener pastures because it is hard to make sales through Amazon affiliates. This is true for me, it may not be for you, but I have struggled to be an Amazon affiliate. Time will tell.
I am guessing, when you promote your affiliate link, a person who goes to that product on Amazon has six million other products to choose from, just like the one you promoted. I also theorize people do what I do–stick it in their cart. If their cart is anything like my cart, it’s 10 miles long of wants.
I suggest not putting all your eggs in one basket with Amazon Affiliates because if you do not make the minimum sales and required sales, they boot you, which is about to happen to me. I will have to go through all my posts and change my affiliate links. Not fun.
What I am doing right. I will tell you what I do like about being an Amazon affiliate: direct link on Facebook or Instagram or wherever your heart desires. SkimLinks and most affiliate programs prohibit direct linking. I just discovered Amazon direct linking, and please stay tuned on how it works out.
Not utilizing Facebook. Instagram is fun, but I find it disheartening and distracting, and everyone and their mom is selling something. It seems like a vicious circle of mommy bloggers, perfect lives, and your message getting lost in translation. Now, I do “ok” on Instagram, but it is a difficult way to promote; for me, it has been. I became obsessed with followers. Um, no. Not important right now. I started Instagram and Facebook after a lifetime of NO social media. I am not a social media person, but it is a “somewhat” necessary evil.
My mistake was not focusing on Facebook as I should have. Facebook is just a better platform to share your blog posts quickly and seamlessly. I am still working on my Facebook, but I love it. And a good thing about becoming an Amazon Affiliate is that you can use direct links on Facebook. You cannot use it on Instagram. You can copy and paste your product link; the link and photo come right up, ready to share with your feed. It is awesome.
What I am doing right. I found a simple way to share your posts on Facebook (do not laugh, I am so new to all this) is copying your blog post URL and simply pasting it in a Facebook post to share. Yep, I did not know it was that easy. Insert eye roll here. It’s that simple. Instagram does not allow sharing of any links or URLs on your feed or story. If you like Instagram’s platform to share links and URLs, I recommend LinkTree for your bio. I just started using this platform and am loving it.
Blogging Mistake 7
Not using paid-for stock photos. Style Stocked Society gives you access to thousands of stylish stock photos and gorgeous graphic templates. Styled Stock Society is a visual marketing library – created by and for women entrepreneurs – and designed specifically to help you make your business look ah-may-zing and cut down on the time and money you spend trying to make your brand look and feel like you want (Source: Style Stocked Society). I promise you, and it is worth the price and peace of mind.
What I am doing right. I will keep my membership with Style Stocked Society forever, but I am working on my very novice photographer skills. I bought myself a starter camera and am learning, and Photography is much more complicated than I thought; this is why I appreciate Style Stocked Society!
Being so hard on myself. Starting a blog, creating a website, and forming a community of fans is HARD. Especially if you start from scratch with no knowledge like myself, it is not easy to write, build a beautiful website, learn the ins and outs.
There are many technical terms, website building, tweaking, coming up with ideas and photos (oh, the photos). There is a lot of creating. I have to say, though, I love it so far, even though I have yet to earn a dime. I need to give myself time to learn and create then it will all come together. Please remember, it’s a significant learning curve, HUGE. Go easy on yourself and give yourself credit for the work you have done,
I will give you all an update in a couple of months. I would love you to subscribe to my email list because that is important to building a blog! Hope we can be friends!
My favorite Blog Resources thus far:
- Bluehost (make sure it is Bluehost.com, with WordPress Hosting)
- Tailwind (for Instagram, Pinterest, and Create)
- SkimLinksCheerup Theme-Envato
- Style Stocked Society
What I am learning and focusing on next:
Learning why SEO (Search Engine Optimization) I do not know enough to go into detail with you; all I know is it is more important than everything, and you need to know too. I ordered this book on SEO. According to the author, “if your website isn’t highly visible in search engines, you might as well give up and go home.” I am on it, are you with me?