You’ve started a blog! Yeah! I remember that feeling myself!
When I was an amateur blogger like you, I did not know anything at all. I did not know what I did not know.
That’s where you are right now in your journey.
There is a lot to learn when it comes to blogging. A. Lot. And, the truth is that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process.
But that does not mean you want to make them. As you get started, you want to make sure you do the right things from the start and, if possible, avoid making some of the most common amateur blogging mistakes.
Your goal is to move from a beginner to a professional blogger. But, as much as you want that, it is not going to happen overnight. You are bound to hit some bumps in the road.
You are going to screw it up at one point or another.
Fortunately, most things are fixable. But, wouldn’t it be even better to learn from a blogging expert before anything happens?
Of course, it would.
Let’s go over some of the most common mistakes made by amateur bloggers — so you can try to avoid doing them on your blog!
THE MISTAKES AMATEUR BLOGGERS MAKE
1. Using a free platform
The biggest mistake I see bloggers make when they start is signing up on WordPress.com or Blogger.com. You don’t want to do that.
Would you want to build your home on land someone else owned – even if they let you do it for free? What would happen if they suddenly changed their mind and no longer wanted the house on their property? You’d be in trouble. They could tear it down, and there would be nothing you could do about it.
The same is true when you use a free platform. If they get reports from users stating they don’t like your site or the platform decides to change the way it works, they can do what they want with your site.
That is just one reason, but you also are limited in your monetization strategy. For instance, you may not be able to use the ads you want, sell your products, or implement affiliate marketing. These free platforms may not allow you to do that.
You may also be limited to the features and design elements you want to implement. Free may sound great, to begin with, but it inhibits your ability to reach your income and other blogging goals.
Instead, take the proper steps to set up a blog using the proper hosting to start. You will be glad you did.
2. Not having a secure site
One thing that it seems most “start a blog posts” forget to mention is the importance of security. They all say, “go here and start a blog.” That is simple enough.
But, what they forget to do is remind you to make sure you get an SSL certificate. That’s a must.
What is an SSL certificate, and why do you need one?
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. It is a form of encryption that ensures the user’s private information is not compromised. You will see this when there is the lock icon next to the URL in your browser window.
It is something you must see when you are doing any sort of online shopping as it ensures your credit card and personal data are encrypted to reduce the likelihood of theft. But, if you aren’t selling anything, do you really need one?
Yes. You do.
With cybertheft on the rise, you want to make sure that readers trust your site. And, it is not just readers, but also the browser. If someone lands on a website that is not secure, they will see an alert that says it is not secure. Readers often shy away from this.
Even Google agrees. It is less likely to rank a site without an SSL certificate than one that does. It can help with ranking.
If you do not yet have one, it is easy to add. Reach out to your host and ask them to assist you with adding it (and most of them will even do it for free).
3. Trying to do everything at once
When you start out blogging, you are doing a lot of research. That means reading countless articles and books about what you need to do. And, the truth is, if you ask five people what to do first, you may end up with five different answers.
One may say you need to set up an email list from day one, and another may tell you to create a product to sell. Yet another will say not to do email but to focus on affiliate marketing. Then there is that other article you read that told you that you had to be on Pinterest and to ignore SEO.
That can leave the amateur blogger feeling they have to do it all at this moment. You don’t.
The truth is there is a lot you need to learn in your first year of blogging. And, there is no way you can do it all. It’s impossible.
Rather than try to do everything at once, create a plan for your blogging journey. Determine what to work on during your first six months – without worrying, you forget something important because Joe Q. Blogger says you need to do it.
You can’t do it all to start, so don’t even try.
4. Putting all your traffic eggs into one basket
Once your site is set up and you have content added, you want to get traffic to your blog. After all, who doesn’t?
Most new bloggers will start out using Pinterest, with good reason. It is the simplest way to get the first traffic bursts to your site. But what happens if the traffic starts to go down? It leads to panic.
Instead of focusing only on one platform, make sure to learn proper SEO, build your email list, and also take advantage of social platforms to get traffic. Multiple traffic streams ensure better flow and less panic when there is a change to an algorithm.
5. Not diversifying your income streams
You may have started your blog to make money. And there are many ways to monetize a blog, including ad networks, affiliate marketing, and even selling your products. The problem is when you start with one and use only that one.
What happens if you are making all your income through an ad network and then traffic drops? Your income also decreases. It can even happen if you use one affiliate program, and they suddenly change the terms or close up shop. You lose money.
Make sure to equally diversify your income streams so that it can weather the ebbs and flows of traffic, conversions, and changes in terms and payouts.
6. Not having a clearly defined niche
Your niche, or your blogging topic, is what readers come to your site to learn. If you blog about too many unrelated ideas, it is confusing to them.
A common type of blog many people create is called a lifestyle blog. A lifestyle blog is a collection of different kinds of articles that may (or may not) have anything to do with one another.
For example, your lifestyle blog may be about fashion, travel, parenthood, and budgeting. Are you the expert on fashion or parenting? If they sign up for your list, are you going to email them on subjects that they may not want? This is not a smart way to set up a site.
Instead, decide on a primary niche and then create the sub-topics beneath that which serve the reader. They need to make sense and solve their problems. Make sure you invest time in coming up with the niche that makes sense.
7. Using the wrong blog name
Your blog name is one of the most important things when it comes to your site. It is what people type into the search bar. It is the name they share in groups and with others about the content you write. It is what your site is about.
Many times, amateur bloggers will try to be creative or come up with a name they think is cute. The truth is, less is more. When you try to be too creative, it can lead to a name that is confusing and makes no sense at all.
For example, your name may be Kim, and you talk about coupons. You may think K0upiningwithKim.com would be a great name. It wouldn’t.
No one spells coupon with a “k.” It is going to be difficult for people to remember.
You also need to make sure your blog name makes sense and tells the reader what you are about. For instance, if your name is FrugalBaker, one would think you are about saving money and baking, right? That means you should not talk about travel or fashion.
Ensure the name you come up with on your site makes sense and helps the reader (see module 2 of my free Start a Blog course for more help).
8. Giving up
You are going to want to quit. You may have already thought about throwing in the towel several times already. Don’t.
The truth is, many amateur bloggers quit when it gets hard.
They don’t give it enough time and do the right things to try to make it work. If they aren’t getting traffic, they think it is their content and stop blogging.
If you are not getting traffic, you are not making money or do not understand how to do the blogging things; you need to learn. Don’t give up. There are many resources out there to help you learn how to do it all.
If you quit before you give it a chance, you will never know what could be.
9. Not setting realistic goals
You may have started your site because you read an article where someone shares how they make $50,000 a month on their blog. That sounds awesome – doesn’t it?
However, that is more the exception than the rule when it comes to blogging. How many people write a blog post about making $3,000 a month after two years of blogging? They don’t.
You need to be realistic with your goals. While you can make money, it can take 12 – 18 months before you see consistent income. It will not happen overnight.
Make sure your goals are attainable and not so out of reach you can never get them. Rather than set a goal of making $10,000 a month, aim for $2,000 a month within six months, $5,000 by 12 months, etc.
Goals are great. But they need to be realistic.
10. Not being consistent
Blogging is not easy. You can’t write five articles, pin them, and then wonder why you aren’t getting traffic. The truth is your few amateur blog posts are not going to be enough to get you traffic and make you money.
It is like a diet. You can’t eat a few salads and think that it is going to work to shed those pounds.
You need to change your eating habits. There is also working out and getting enough rest. You have to put forth the effort to get the results you want.
So goes it with blogging too!
You can’t write just a few posts and think that will work. You need to create a plan and blog consistently. It is going to take work and effort to have a successful blog.
11. Being unwilling to invest in your site
Free is great! Who doesn’t love a good sale or when you can find a way to get something for nothing. I am right there with you….until I’m not.
There are plugins, programs, and articles you can find for free online. But are they worth it? Are you getting what you need from them?
Every day it seems someone asks me about resources to learn different aspects of blogging. When I share the courses or books I know about, they ask me for something free because they don’t want to pay.
But, there comes a time when you need to be willing to pay to learn. Experts create books and courses to be helpful. They have learned what to do and not to do, and following them can save you countless hours and even money.
Think about the doctor you go to. Would you expect them to be an expert if they had not invested in their education? Of course not, that is absurd.
While that is an extreme example, it makes sense. The doctor took the time to learn how to diagnose and help patients. You, too, need to take the time and invest in learning the aspects of blogging that make sense.
12. Poor site design and navigation
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
You’ve probably heard that said time and again. It is true.
When you meet someone, you get an instant vibe. You may encounter a man one day who was short with you. You may think he is a mean person. But, the truth is they had just lost their job, their car broke down, and his girlfriend broke up with him.
He was having a horrible day. Your first impression is still there, and it is hard to overcome.
That is the case with your site. When visitors land on your site for the first time, they instantly decide right then if they are going to visit again or not. If they do not like it, they are going to bounce right out, never to return.
You need to invest in the way your site looks. It needs to be professional and efficiently guide the reader to the content they want to read. Things to keep in mind with site design include:
- Easy navigation. The menu should direct the reader to the content they want to read in less than three clicks. Don’t make them search to find what they want to read.
- Color scheme. I once visited a site with a neon green background and white lettering. Needless to say, I left and never looked at it again. Your colors need to make sense. Make sure they contrast, and the backgrounds make it easy to read every word.
- Mobile configuration. Most themes will be mobile-responsive. That means the way it looks will change for mobile users to make it easy to read and navigate your site. If your website does not work well on mobile, readers will not visit. With more than 80% of users now visiting sites on their devices, it is imperative your theme work well.
Don’t skimp on your theme. Free themes can work, but they are not all that they are cracked up to be. Invest in a quality theme such as Avada or Genesis to ensure your site loads quickly and gives the reader the right impression.
13. Trying too hard
There is a difference between working hard and trying too hard. When it comes to the amateur blogger, you may be trying too hard.
You may see others who are producing 3 and 4 articles a week, so you want to do five. They may pin 20 articles a day, so you decide to do 40. They write on three topics for their niche, and so you feel that if you do ten, it will be better.
You have to stop trying so hard right now. Take the time to focus on writing what matters and where your effort is best served.
You can’t work on five social platforms effectively. So don’t do it. Instead, find the 1 – 2 where your reader hangs out. For example, my readers are not on TikTok. It makes no sense for me to be there. So I’m not.
Focus on the things you can control such a writing good, quality content. Even if that means one article a week compared to two, so be it.
Don’t work yourself too hard.
14.Comparing themselves to others
There is a saying I love to share with bloggers:
“Comparison is the thieve of joy.”
It’s true. When you compare yourself to others, you don’t get a chance to relish your accomplishments.
You may be making $500 a month after six months of blogging, whereas someone else was at $1,000 a month. Why are you focused on them making more than you? You can’t.
Why are you not celebrating that you are making money! That is a fantastic thing!
Stop comparing yourself to where others are who started before or after you and focus on yourself!
15. Not finding the right person to follow
If you look at many blogs these days, they have a niche and then add in a category called blogging. They share what they feel are great tips to help you learn how to blog.
But do they know what they are doing? How long have they been blogging?
You would not hire a plumber who had never snaked a drain before, would you? Why, then, would you follow someone to teach you about blogging who has never really blogged?
Countless blogging pros are there to help you every step of the way. You need to make sure you find your person.
On the flip side of this, don’t try to follow eight experts either. You may get eight different answers, and that may leave you even more confused!
Focus on finding 2 -4 experts who are your “go-to people” for all things blogging. It allows you to learn in a much simpler way.
16. Thinking your site is about you
Blogs used to be a diary. They were created to chronicle events in people’s lives. Over the years, they have migrated to a way to educate and help others. Because of this, your blog is no longer about you.
When you write an article, it needs to be for the reader – not you. Don’t talk about yourself as much as you do about how the reader can learn.
This does not mean you can’t share your experiences. Not at all.
It means when you write, avoid talking about yourself too much. It will ensure the reader feels a connection to the article and that you are there for them – not to vent or share about yourself.
17. Failing to plan
The #1 mistake amateur bloggers make is that they fail to plan. You need to establish goals, know what you will write about each month and have a monetization strategy.
For example, you need to have a plan for each blog post you write. What is the topic? What are the keywords? What do you want to cover? Which images will you use?
Then, what do you do when you are done with the post? How do you promote it? What do you send to your list?
Planning also goes beyond the post and social shares. How do you plan to make money? Are you ready to learn about affiliate marketing? What other education do you need?
You need to get organized and create a blog plan, so you are not flapping about and have a clear focus and direction.
We all make mistakes. After all, we are human. What moves the amateur blogger to professional is the willingness to learn, change, grown, and adapt. Be open to new ideas and whatever you do – Don’t Give Up!!!