I celebrated my 2 year blogiversary a few months ago (!!!!!) which was exciting but also like WHOA.
I’ve learned a lot and made a ton (like, a TON) of blogging mistakes along the way – most of them involve some sort of inaction or waiting too long. That’s a common theme I see in my life in general – I have something in my brain for way too long and just never end up doing it. So, I’m trying to take action quicker rather than mulling it over for ages, and just generally trying to work faster!!
I am also a notoriously slow worker because I just want to get everything RIGHT, and I honestly enjoy working slowly and HATE rushing haha, but it’s definitely something I’m trying to improve upon. But that’s a convo for another day…
I try to live with #noragrets (anyone?) but I do have some blogging tips and things I would advise someone else to do differently. Or tell myself if I was starting all over again.
And so, here are 12 blogging mistakes to avoid:
1. NOT STARTING SOONERI’ve had a blog since 2008 (!!!) – so I’ve been in the blogosphere for A WHILE. I remember when I first came across Fashiontoast in Teen Vogue (can’t remember exactly when, but it was a long ass time ago, like 2007). I was 15 and immediately HOOKED. I soon stumbled onto some other fashion blogs and would spend hours poring over their posts.
I remember staying up on my mom’s computer (because of course I didn’t have my own lol) and scrolling through different pages, gathering inspiration and reading every last word. I started my own blog soon after, and was on Chictopia etc, but nothing ever really came of it.
My love for fashion blogging started to slowly die in college because I hated the constant feeling of needing to buy new things for outfits (plus ya girl was broke), and I started feeling this awful pressure of HAVING to take photos and document everything. It kind of ruined my love for fashion.
I still loved blogging, but took a TON of breaks and eventually ended up killing that blog in 2015 to go in a new direction with a newfound obsession: travel blogging!
However, I didn’t actually START my blog until 2017. That’s two years after I thought of the concept! TWO WHOLE YEARS!!! If I had just gotten my act together and started it earlier, I may be further along than I am now.
Who knows – but I was honestly just scared. My last blog died in a whisper of smoke and I was really afraid I would put all this work into this one and no one would read it (AGAIN.) But here we are today. Starting earlier would have been much better for SEO (Google favors websites that have been around for a longer period of time) and just for myself as a creative outlet in general.
2. NOT JOINING FACEBOOK GROUPSI literally JUST started joining blogging Facebook groups, and they’ve been SO HELPFUL. Why didn’t I do this earlier?
I didn’t really look for them, and I think I was secretly afraid because I felt like I wasn’t a ‘real’ blogger or something dumb like that. But they have been so helpful – I love being able to ask questions and people actually answer, and they’ve been instrumental in networking and sharing content.
Plus, it just helps me feel much less alone. In high school and college, I didn’t know anyone who wrote blogs and felt like I was kind of weird for doing it. In these groups, you’re (virtually) surrounded by people like you who GET IT, which is really nice when the majority of your friends and family don’t.
Here are the ones I’ve joined that I love:
- DNW – Making Money from Blogging
- Make Traffic Happen
- Wandering Women Travel Bloggers
- Slaying Social
- Female Content Creators
3. NOT PURCHASING COURSESI’ve read a lot of blogging mistakes that mention this, but ugh. I wish I had just set aside like $500 to spend on courses because it honestly would’ve saved me SO much time. I was determined to do everything myself (for free) and wish I hadn’t.
It takes so much longer to search for all of those answers on your own when you can just have it altogether in a nice ebook or course. Plus, the courses I have bought have taught me things I didn’t even KNOW I should be doing, or that I had never heard of before.
If I could go back, I would have gotten one on SEO, one on Pinterest, and one on Instagram/branding.
Courses/purchases that are helpful that I wish I’d made earlier:
- Siteground Hosting for my site – it’s been fast & I haven’t had any problems
- Make Traffic Happen ebook for SEO
- Keysearch to assist in keyword search
- Tailwind to schedule Pinterest posts in advance
- Pinterest for Creatives course from Molly Ho
4. NOT LEARNING ABOUT SEOI’ve always been the type of person that’s lived by the “make good content that comes from the heart and people will come” sort of motto, which, yes, I do believe to a degree, but sometimes ya gotta market yourself a little!!
I also felt secretly like my content wasn’t good enough and was afraid that by using SEO I’d be cheating somehow. And it also meant that people might actually find my content. And then they might actually read it.
Which means they might have an opinion on it, and think it sucks, or think I’m an idiot.
I was also afraid to try. For some reason, doing this whole blog thing “for fun” was like, way less embarrassing than feeling like I was actually trying to accomplish something real.
Because then that meant that I could fail. And how embarrassing and soul crushing is that? To pour your heart and soul into something, spend money and time on it, and have it just…Fail?
I honestly don’t know why we, as a society, see the act of trying as embarrassing. Like when we hear someone is trying to be an actor or singer or the like, we secretly judge them and immediately think they probably won’t make it. Like, I think that’s amazing that they have the courage to go for their dreams!! We should be supportive, not judgmental.
I just read this quote by Amy Poehler that I LOVE: “I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people who dream, support, and do things.”
That quote is just SO MUCH YES.
And let me tell you a secret that’s not really a secret: There is NO SUCH THING as failure, people. If you learn something, then you have not failed. Failing is not doing the thing at all! Because then you learn nothing! (Telling myself this just as much as y’all btw…)
And often, I think people end up somewhere good by going for what they want, even if it’s not what they’d originally envisioned. For instance, someone determined to be an actor may end up realizing how much they like roller skating along the way through a part they had to play, and decide to do that instead. You know?
I just think that the universe gives back to people that try to do what they want and gives them things they never even realized they wanted, if that makes sense.
Ok, so that kind of went off on a tangent, oops.
But back to SEO: let me tell you, going back to re-SEO old posts is the most annoying thing ever and if I had just taken it more seriously from the beginning, Google would like me a lot more and my posts might rank higher. But again – who knows! I don’t want to beat myself up about it, but rather, reflect and learn and take those lessons with me in the future.
Things that have helped with SEO:
- I did the free SEO challenge with Ticket to Blog a year or so ago which was SO HELPFUL. Sadly it’s no longer around, but I’d recommend the ebook below instead…(BUT! They have an awesome podcast with episodes you can still listen to – they’re super helpful for bloggers/entrepreneurs!)
- Make Traffic Happen ebook – This basically taught me everything the previous course did plus more. It really isn’t that pricey for what you learn and I really wish I’d bought it ages ago.
- Keysearch – This helps you figure out what the heck to even write about based on people’s keyword searches. You can also just do their free trial for one month first to decide if it’s right for you – that’s what I did and realized how useful it was, so I decided it was worth it. (psssst…You can even use my code KSDISC for 20% off!)
5. NOT LEARNING ABOUT PINTERESTPinterest is so important in the blog game. And I was lazy and just really didn’t learn about it at all and just pinned random things when I felt like it. But Pinterest is a WHOLE other ball game and I’m literally JUST starting to learn more about it! (Thanks to my girl Molly coming in at the perfect time with her Pinterest course…)
Things that have helped with Pinterest:
- Tailwind – This schedules posts, so you don’t have to do everything one by one! It saves a buttload of time. (pssst…By clicking on the link to sign up, you get $15 off!)
- Pinterest for Creatives – I just finished this in January, and I’m so happy with the results! Pinterest has tripled my blog traffic and I’m so excited to see where it goes if I continue working hard at it. Before taking the course, I started learning a little more about Pinterest and Tailwind, but didn’t really know what I was doing. Needless to say, I’m so pleased with the results!
6. NOT MONETIZING SOONERI just joined Amazon affiliates and other affiliate sites about 6 months ago. I wish I had thought more about it/had more of a strategy from the beginning.
I still really suck in this aspect of blogging. I hate feeling “sell-y” and I don’t like promoting a lot of products because I whole heartedly believe we should be buying and consuming less. However, there are some things I will post (like hiking boots or things like that) that are more difficult to buy used or that I really do use and love. But Amazon also sells used/refurbished products (my beloved blender and juicer were both bought refurbished and work great) sooo please do that when you can!
I kind of just thought, ima keep doing me and the money will come eventually. Idk, maybe it will come that way eventually, but it hasn’t yet, and ya girl’s gotta eat somehow, so…
I’m starting to think about a way to monetize a little more and we’ll see where that goes.
Things that help with monetization:
- Amazon Affiliates – You may want to have enough traffic to apply for this, as if you don’t you’ll have to reapply if you don’t make at least 3 sales in the first 180 days. However, it’s pretty easy to reapply, so it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you just applied right away anyway!
- Skimlinks – This is a website that is linked with a TON of affiliates so you don’t have to apply for each affiliate program. I’ve mostly made money from recommending hostels with Hostelworld through this!
7. NOT REACHING OUT TO PEOPLE
I’ve made some cool online friends since my second go at #bloglife! Instagram has definitely made this a lot easier for sure.
I used to be way too afraid to make the first move for fear that I would seem super desperate and weird.
But out of the people I’ve messaged first, everyone has been soooo cool and nice! And I’m always super grateful when people message me.
Networking, and honestly just having support, is so important in anything you do. It’s nice to surround yourself with people that can boost your confidence/encourage you, you can learn from each other, and help each other out when cool opportunities arise. Plus just having someone who GETS the whole blogging thing is so important – it keeps me going, honestly!
8. NOT KEEPING MY ORIGINAL INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTOk, so tbh, my old “personal” Instagram account has slightly less followers than I do on my blog Instagram. And I literally never use my personal account – I probably post maaaaaybe once every couple of months?? Like LOL right.
If I had just turned that one into my blog account, I think I would be a lot further along right now than I had been starting from scratch! But I was honestly too afraid of what would people would think etc. SIGH. I wanted to have an account where likeminded people could follow me if they wanted, and I didn’t want to put the heart and soul of my work out where friends and family could judge me. But honestly, if they didn’t like it, they could have just unfollowed. I’m still kicking myself for this.
Plus I kinda wanted to have a fun account where I could post photos I normally wouldn’t on my blog account – but, I tend to keep those moments private now or just post them on my story on my blog account. So, I’m kind of annoyed at myself about that.
And on that note, I should have learned about Instagram more in the beginning! I was honestly afraid to have a “strategy” because I felt like it sounded desperate or something, but now I realize it’s just SMART.
9. SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME ON INSTAGRAMOn that note, Instagram is really not THAT crucial to your success as a blogger if you want to go the affiliate route (and you can really make a pretty penny going this route!).
It’s important if you want to work with brands, though – which I would like to do one day for sure, but I’m starting to shift my focus to my blog and driving traffic through SEO and Pinterest. Instagram actually isn’t THAT great for driving traffic, it’s much better used as a way to meet other bloggers and network with brands etc.
But Instagram, unfortunately, is where I have wasted the most time yet seen the least growth. With my blog, I’ve definitely seen growth from SEO and Pinterest – Instagram, not so much.
But I don’t think I’m necessarily doing Instagram the right way – it’s just that I would spend waaaay too much time thinking up a caption and editing my photo so it was juuuuust right. Like, literally hours sometimes. Which looking back, was a huge waste of time.
So lately I have been trying to be much more conscious of the time I spend on this app. I don’t waste time tweaking my photo too much anymore, I just post and go.
10. NOT MAKING AN EMAIL LIST
Um, ooops, I’m still getting to that?
11. GETTING IN MY OWN WAY
If you can’t tell by what I’ve said in the previous sections, I held myself back a LOT. I’d tell myself my content wasn’t good enough, things like, “oh I’ll just do this for fun and see where it goes” even though I knew I wanted to be more serious about it.
I kind of touched on this in the SEO section, but I honestly was just really scared of people seeing my content and thinking it sucked. I lived a lot of my life through other people’s eyes way too much.
I’m a lot better at this now, but it’s still a struggle for me to let go and not care what people think. But, I have come really far from the days where I refused to tell a single soul about my blog!
12. NOT STAYING IN MY OWN LANE
I really need to get better at this. I think all the most successful people are clutch at this, but it’s so difficult for me. Instead of looking at the road ahead, I’m constantly checking out all the other cars on the road. It’s a miracle I haven’t been in a bad accident (lol).
This really distracts me and makes it hard to focus when I’m trying to get shit done. The comparison game is not a fun one, and no one wins. Again, I’m working on this, but it’s definitely a tough one for me to overcome.
I hope my #ragrets help you on your blogging journey! Or, to be honest, I really think these can really be applied to any kind of journey.
- JUST START ASAP
- Learn as much as you can about marketing at the beginning
- Invest in tools and courses
- Network with other people in your field
- ~Do you~ and don’t give a hoot about what anyone else says/is doing
SAVE FOR LATER ON PINTEREST!
This is such a good and useful post! I just joined one of the Facebook Groups you recommended hopefully I can get good use of that! I literally agree with all of these takeaways that you have so WELL DONE! <3
Thank you so much, Jo! I’m glad you found it helpful 🙂 And yes, I’m obsessed with Facebook groups now haha!