I’ve had one failed blog.
And the worst part is, I didn’t even know that my Blog was a failure at the time.
After one whole year of blogging, I asked myself, why am I not making any real money?
What’s stopping this blog from becoming successful like the others?
And that’s when I realized that almost everything I had been doing for the whole year was wrong.
So, when I started my 2nd Blog, I changed the way I blogged.
And now, in my 6th month of blogging, I was able to make $3451 with less than 50K pageviews.
That’s what Blogging really is about – getting traffic that converts!
If you’ve not yet started a blog (you can follow my step-by-step guide here), or have had one for a while now but are not seeing any real blog engagement – like traffic that converts into subscribers, fans or sales, then this post will help!
I will cover all the blogging mistakes that Newbie Bloggers commonly make. And yes, I’m certainly guilty of making most of these!
This post includes affiliate links, meaning at no extra cost to you, I might make a small commission if you decide to buy something and this money will be used to feed my poor lil’ dogs. They are perennially hungry, my little ones.
1. Using free domains or free hosting.
Don’t even think of putting up your Blog on a free platform. You will live to regret it.
Why free hosting is a bad idea:
- It is practically impossible to monetize these Blogs with ads or affiliate marketing. Companies will turn down your applications faster than you can say Kumbaya.
Stop it Larry.
- It is close to impossible to rank on Google Search Results. And if you want blog traffic, or want to monetize your blog in the future, you need to rank on Google Search Results. How often do you find blog posts on the first page with the URL www.cupcakemania.wordpress.com? Or www.lovemetenderly.weebly.com? Hardly, right?
- Building a relationship with your readers becomes very hard. When you are on a free blogging platform, no one is going to trust your blog posts.
- You will face a lot of technical issues like slow website speed or bad customer support. Not to mention the inflexibility of your Blog to accommodate plugins or other script codes.
- It is unreliable. Meaning, the company with which your free blog is hosted, can shut down any day and you will be blog-less without a minute’s notice.
Hosting is very cheap. And it is insanely easy to start a blog. Just follow my step-by-step guide on starting a blog from scratch the right way!
Gone are the days when you needed to know how to code in order to have a website. Now everything is pretty much drag-and-drop!
So, don’t pinch pennies when starting a blog because Blogging can make you some serious moolah.
2. Not paying attention to design.
Ditch the free WordPress themes.
Remember, that they are free for a reason.
The benefits of having a paid theme are
- You will get free updates for the rest of your life. Meaning the website theme will upgrade to accommodate the latest WordPress upgrades.
- Your theme will help Google index your website, thus helping Google to rank your pages faster.
- SEO becomes way easier with a paid theme. SEO plugins require your theme to be co-operative. Like I said before, you will be entitled to free upgrades of your theme which will be compatible with your SEO plugins as well.
- Flexibility. Aside from the cool landing page demos and all the awesome shortcodes you’ll receive, you’ll pretty much be able to add your own code wherever you want.
- Uniqueness. If you land on a website, you can tell if the person is running a free theme or a paid theme. It’s pretty obvious. And the fact that you have a paid theme will tell your readers that you really care about their reading experience. Which will help you further by building trust.
And last but not least, do not download pirated themes. They have glitches and eventually they’ll stop working because of the fact that you cannot get upgrades.
Doesn’t matter Chloe. You’re a pirate now.
Just don’t y’all.
P.S. I am currently using the Avada theme. It’s absolutely beautiful and fulfills all of the criteria above.
3. Not narrowing down your niche enough.
This is one of the biggest blogging mistakes that Blogging Newbies make.
I used to blog about everything and never even crossed 2000 pageviews a month.
It’s okay to start blogging and not really know where you’re headed.
It’s okay to take that time to figure out what you’re really good at and then slowly move into your niche.
3 factors for discovering your ideal blogging niche
- It should interest you. Never blog about something that is totally unrelatable to you or just doesn’t light that fire of passion in you. You will eventually get bored and stop.
- It should solve a genuine problem. Remember, you have to blog for your audience. It should be more “you” centered than “I.”
- It should be a profitable niche. The more competition that exists for the niche, the better. This means that people are actually looking for solutions to problems in that niche and you can actually make a profit by being in this niche.
Once you do discover your profitable niche, stick to it.
Create lots of content that surrounds various topics in your niche. This will make you look like an expert, and you will grow much more quickly than you would blogging about every thing that popped into your head.
4. Not focusing on growing your email list.
I’m guilty of doing this.
I avoided building an email list in the first few months, and man did I regret it!
Why it’s good to have an email list
Imagine you land on a blog that you love, oh so much! You start reading one post and can’t stop! You have multiple tabs open on your browser and you just can’t get enough of this Blogger’s writing!
So, you look for a place to sign up for updates and…
The person doesn’t collect email subscribers.
Are you really going to bookmark this website along with a 100 others and keep coming back every week to check for new posts?
Chances of that happening are pretty slim, hon.
When you create a way for fans to keep coming back to your blog, you are not only increasing your Blog Traffic, but you are building trust.
You are building a brand.
And email lists will make you money.
By constantly hearing from you, your readers will understand that you are an expert in your field.
And when you launch a product or say that you have slots open for commissions, you will land clients and make sales!
Not only that, but if social media shuts down tomorrow, we are pretty much screwed.
I was the victim of an Instagram Glitch and my business toppled over in pretty much 24 hours.
I had no way of reaching out to my 181K followers to tell them what was going on.
It was a mess.
And that’s primarily one of the reasons I enrolled in ConvertKit before I started my second blog!
So, don’t hesitate, start building an email list right now! And this brings me to my next big blogging mistake…
5. Using a free email marketing platform.
I don’t mean to snitch on Mailchimp but it is honestly one of the worst decisions I made in my first year of Blogging.
Mailchimp is free for the first 2000 subscribers.
And let me tell you why that sucks.
Imagine you have two opt-ins or lead magnets on your blog.
For instance you offer a free Blog Planner for those who love blogging. And a beautiful Fitness Planner for those who are into fitness and health.
You’ll want to put these readers into 2 lists. Bloggers and Fitness Folks.
Here’s the catch.
If someone signs up for both, Mailchimp counts them as 2 subscribers.
Imagine you had 5 or 6 opt-ins.
One person would technically be counted as 5 or 6.
I currently have 10 opt-ins in my new blog. Imagine, how much I’d end up spending if I used Mailchimp.
Segmenting your Readers
Not only does ConvertKit not do this, but you can also tag your subscribers. I have tagged my readers as Freelancers, Bloggers, Productivity Princesses and what not.
This isn’t how I really tag my readers.
Whenever I write a post that’s related to freelancing, I send it out to all my readers marked with the Freelancing tag, which they get when they download my Client Profile Workbook.
You can also tag readers based on their clicks in the emails you send out via ConvertKit.
Let’s say you are a food blogger. You send out a vegan recipe. Those who click on the link to read it, are obviously interested in vegan recipes. You can tag these people as Vegans.
If the same person clicks on a meat recipe, you can add another tag to them called “Meat-a-holics”
In ConvertKit, one person can have multiple tags and they are still counted as 1 subscriber!
This also helps you when you want to market a product to your readers in the future!
If you create a recipe eBook for Vegans, and you have a tag called “Vegans”, you can send out that Broadcast to all the readers marked with the Vegan tag.
This reduce the unsubscribing rate to a large extent and helps you make more sales because your email platform is segmented properly!
Beautiful Customizing options and flexibility
Apart from this, Convertkit helps you build beautiful forms that work seamlessly on desktops and mobile phones with just a click of a button!
Once a person signs up to a form, you can send them to a thank you page that you’ve customized especially for them or send them a download.
Everything is super customizable! And this marketing platform is a Godsend for Bloggers!
Convertkit has a free trial! Which you can take here!
6. Not analyzing why you’re writing blog posts.
Every blog post you write must be intentional.
There has to be a purpose.
Meaning have to analyze the call-to-action before you write a blog post.
The different types of call-to-action for Blog Posts
- To raise brand awareness – Posts like tutorials, case-studies or list posts are perfect for raising brand awareness of the blog. These tend to gain lots of comments and also get a lot of social shares.
- To collect leads – These type of posts are usually for the sole purpose of collecting leads. It is best to include a relevant opt-in or freebie with these posts in order to collect more email susbcribers. Don’t forget to tag these subscribers so that you can market to them in the future!
- To make affiliate sales – Posts that are centered around an affiliate product like tutorials do very well. Make sure to include lots of screenshots and if possible you can even add a video to promote the affiliate product.
- To sell a product – maybe you’ve just launched a product! So you create a free email marketing course which is a sales funnel to your product. Now all you need to do, is write blog posts about the topic to collect leads that automatically goes into the email course!
This is how a sales-funnel typically works:
This is why it is crucial to analyze why you are writing the post before you start typing away!
7. Not knowing whom you’re writing for.
If you don’t know whom you’re writing for, it’s pretty pointless to blog.
Understand your audience.
Do an audience poll by sending out surveys to your readers.
See which posts of yours get the most comments and monitor what they are asking. Understand what your readers want from you.
The best way to understand your reader’s problems is to go to Facebook Groups in your Blogging Niche and see the most commonly asked questions.
Make a note on questions that are constantly repeated.
You will get a theme.
And write down blog post ideas based on these problems.
That way, you can direct people to your posts whenever they ask a question that you’ve so eloquently answered in your Blog.
8. Not giving your best.
A lot of bloggers save their best tips for their eBooks and courses.
For the love of chocolate ice-cream and cocoa puffs, please don’t commit this blogging boo-boo!
I mean it.
Give it all away.
You must be wondering, is this woman peanuts for suggesting that we give it all away?
Let me explain.
People don’t know you.
Or your blog.
They can’t see you.
And it’s difficult to win people over with written text and a couple of pictures. This means, that you’re starting from scratch.
If you want to make sales, or sell your products or sell affiliate products, you need people to trust you.
You have to make them think, “This blogger is so detailed. He is so informative! He writes posts that make you go WOW!”
That’s what you should aim for.
By the time someone is done reading 1 blog post, they should be so in love with you, that they open up another post on your blog or leave a comment or send you an email.
And trust me, if you can roll up those sleeves and write over 2000 word posts, that explain the solution step-by-step, it will convert into subscribers and sales.
People won’t hesitate to buy your products.
Because they will know you deliver.
They will know that your content is super helpful and detailed. They know that they will get value for the money they spend on your products.
This is how you should strategize your Brand.
Likewise, if you have no products, and constantly write beautiful reviews of products that you’re an affiliate for, they won’t have reason to doubt you.
They will trust you and click “Buy.”
So, don’t hold back.
Write your heart out.
And be as detailed as you can.
Your blog will grow like never before.
9. Not formatting your Blog Posts properly.
In my first blog, I’m guilty of just writing blog posts as fast as I could and hitting publish quickly.
I never really gave much thought to the title or the introduction.
Spend minutes if not half an hour crafting your title.
Write down at least 5-10 titles of your Blog post and see which one is more clickable. There is no point writing a blog post if your title is just meh.
You need to get people to click on your post and read it!
The same goes for your introduction.
Learn how to write an introduction that hooks the reader.
Offer a promise and show the results the reader will achieve once they read the blog post. This will lure them to read further.
Use plenty of headings and sub-headings. You’re not writing a novel.
You’re writing a blog posts.
And we’re in the 21st century. People have grown impatient.
End each blog post with a question or an apt summary that briefs up the points and motivates them to take action!
This book Content Inc taught me how to write blog posts that dazzles readers in a specific niche. And I couldn’t have reached where I am today without it.
Yes, the whole book teaches you how to write content that sticks and makes people fall in love with your writing. See it here.
This is one of those blogging mistakes you cannot afford to make!
As much as I love some blog posts, I get slightly irritated when I cannot find share buttons on the post. I am not going to manually copy the URL and paste it in my FB page.
That’s way too much work!
Ain’t no one got time for this!
So, make sure that you use share buttons on the side or the top or bottom of your post.
I use Social Warfare.
It’s by far the most beautiful and neat social share buttons out there. You can download the free version.
But the Paid version comes with tons of benefits and it’s only $29 for the whole year!
11. Not blogging consistently or blogging without a plan.
If you are blogging without a plan and are just planning on wingin’ it, don’t.
Stop. It. Now.
Make a plan.
Sit down. And draft a plan.
Remember what I mentioned about writing content with a purpose?
Yes, your blog posts should flow smoothly from one topic to the next.
Use an Editorial calendar like Trello or Asana to schedule in your posts.
Have a content plan for the following 3 months. Always.
It helps you brainstorm points even while you sleep, and by knowing what you’re going to write about next week, you’ll be less stressed and more prepared.
You can download my 12 page Blog Planner to keep you more organized!
12. Not using Pinterest to grow your Blog
Among all the Social media I use, Pinterest is by far by favorite. It ain’t just a social media, it’s a search engine.
Yes, it’s not just for browsing wedding dresses or recipes.
It can be used to search for anything! It can even help you rank on Google’s Search Results.
You can even make money on Pinterest.
Just upload an image with your affiliate link to a certain product and/or service and bham!
People click on the image and buy, and you earn little green dollars.
Pinterest currently makes up for 89% of my social media traffic. I average on 1 million monthly viewers on Pinterest currently.
13. Not using Analytics to see what’s working for you Google Analytics is very important to grow your Blog.
Unless you know what posts are doing well, and where your traffic is coming from, you cannot grow your Blog. It’s one of the most common blogging mistakes, bloggers make.
How to see your popular posts:
Go to your Google Analytics and then simply click on Behavior>Site Content>All pages.
You will get a list of your most popular blog posts.
How to double your traffic for these posts
Now, using this list of popular posts simply create 3-5 different vertical pins for each blog post, modifying the title a bit. And put them on Pinterest.
You’ve just succeeded in doubling your Blog traffic!
Better yet, create an Infographic to put into your Popular Blog posts and pin it to Pinterest. Infographics do superbly well on Pinterest. Here’s proof:
Use these tips to grow your blog even quicker! And don’t worry, we all make mistakes. What matters most is how fast we learn from them and move on.
So, buckle up, keep your eyes wide open and enjoy the ride. Because Blogging is one hell of a roller coaster!
And once those likes, comments and sales start pouring in, all that hard work and grinding will have been worth it.
You can visit my Blogging and Business section to read more posts on improving your Blog.
Additionally, you can join my free 5 day email course that will teach you how to grow your Blog Traffic exponentially.
What are some blogging mistakes you’ve made in the past and how did you fix them? Let me know in the comments below. And see you next week, sugar cube!