As a new blogger, your biggest goal is to look like you’re not a new blogger. Looking like a rookie doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in your content.
So even though you may BE a rookie, you certainly don’t have to ACT like one. There are 10 mistakes that most new bloggers make right off the bat:
- Blogging at random
- Getting lost in the short term
- Pretending rules don’t apply to you
- Using too much text
- Launching immediately
- Counting on a reader’s loyalty
- Losing patience
- Spending money in the wrong places
- Writing obscure headlines
- Taking on too much
This post will focus on these 10 mistakes and how to avoid them for new bloggers or experienced ones who find themselves stuck at the beginning stages of blogging.
1. Blogging at random -> Having a strategy
It is so easy to treat blogging as some sort of side habit that you only take care of when it suits you, rather than having a strategy with deadlines that you stick to.
If you’re only using your blog as a creative outlet and aren’t interested in gaining traffic or making money, then blogging at random is fine, but my guess is most bloggers are interested in the latter option!
If you want to be a serious blogger, I recommend having an editorial calendar — a plan for what you’ll write and when you’ll write it. However often you decide you’re able to post, stick to the same times and same frequency; consistency is fuel for a great blog!
At LadyBossBlogger, we post every day at 6pm cst, switching between business resource posts and interviews every other day. For most beginning bloggers, you’ll want to bite off a smaller bite (we’ve had lots of time to build up content!). I would recommend committing to post once a week at the same day and time until you can move up to twice a week (and so on, and so on).
Regardless of when you choose to post or how frequently you do it, there should be a STRATEGY in place that you are FOLLOWING. Rather than deciding “this week I’ll post 5 times and the next month, I won’t write at all,” choose to keep up a schedule.
Having a strategy and a business plan is the ONLY difference between bloggers than make money and those that don’t.
2. Getting lost in the short term -> focusing on the big picture vision
It is easy to get distracted by the immediate and forget your long-term goals. You have to make sacrifices in the short-term to make it to your overarching goals.
Don’t just think about what you need know; plan for where you aim to go with your blog.
You don’t want to get yourself in a mess later when you try to add features to your site and have to change the entire theme because it doesn’t support x, y and z. In the same way, you don’t want to get stuck with a blog name, design, or writing style that won’t support you in the future.
Sit down and set your long-term goals before you even launch version 1.
3. Pretending rules don’t apply to blogs -> Practicing ethical blogging
It is easy to get lazy with your blog and stop bothering to attribute your information and photos correctly. It also easy to believe that if you just take a photo or use one paragraph from someone else no one will even notice and it won’t really affect anyone anyway.
The thing is, there are laws that bloggers are required to follow, as well as legal measures you should take to protect you and your blog.
As a new blogger, that might be news to you, or you just haven’t spent the time to really look at your blog and ensure you are following these rules. Blogging “legally” and “ethically” sounds drastic, but it’s actually beneficial for everyone involved.
On the legal side, make sure you are following all copyright laws — all writing should be completely your own or the original author should be given credit (usually by linking back to their work).
Copyright laws also apply to all photos — you can’t just choose any image from Google images for your blog post. Check before you use a photo to see what restrictions it has under copyright laws. If you don’t want to worry about checking at all, I recommend a site like Pexels where all images are free to use.
Also on the legal side, you MUST DISCLOSE any free items or payments you receive from a brand when you write a post about them according to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations.
Anytime you are working as a brand ambassador, writing a sponsored post, getting paid as an affiliate marketer, or any other similar situations, you need to tell your followers clearly and directly.
It’s always good to include a statement on your blog that tells your followers that…
- All your content is copyrighted and anyone who uses it must either get permission or correctly cite you as the source.
- If you use advertising, promotions, affiliate marketing, etc. to make money from the blog (having this general statement DOES NOT replace an individual disclosure on each post).
It protects you, the blogger, as well as them, the consumers.
Finally, from an ethical standpoint, you should ONLY promote products and services that you would actually recommend to a close friend and have used yourself. DO NOT falsely review something because you want the brand to pay you or keep working with you. Your followers deserve honesty at all times!
Don’t try to push the boundaries of what is permissible; do your research on copyright rules, FTC laws, and ethical blogging practices to make your blog the best it can be!
4. Using only text -> Including whitespace and visuals
It is easy to bog readers down with all text, assuming that if there is space, you as the blogger must fill it with something interesting.
In reality, whitespace and visuals in your post make it more engaging and easier to follow.
I recommend keeping your paragraphs down to 1-3 sentences. I would also keep the sentences themselves short and direct. You’re not writing a formal essay — short and sweet is better.
In the same way, you should break up your text with graphics. Readers are attracted to sites with colorful and clear images, especially if you blog in a niche like fashion or beauty where pictures are a given.
Even if your niche isn’t one that requires images, find a way to include visuals in all your posts. On LBB, we ask for pictures of the women being interviewed to use in their interview posts and often create infographics for business resource posts.
5. Launching immediately -> Planning ahead
It is easy to get so excited about your new blog that you launch as soon as you’re relatively happy with the look. NOT a good strategy in the long run!
It’s better for your blog if you take the time to plan content and completely finish your design before presenting your blog to the internet. When your readers arrive on your site, they want to see a finished product.
Plus, once you start publishing blog posts, you have to figure out how to market them. It’s worth it to have posts scheduled for a few months and leave yourself space to figure out all the extra stuff.
Blogging is A LOT OF WORK, so any and all preparation you can do BEFORE LAUNCH will save you so much time and energy!
Make a list of all the things you must have done to make your blog look professional and completed. Then, give yourself deadlines for each of these steps.
You should have all of these completed before your “launch” time. You may even want to pre-market your content by starting a social media page.
6. Counting on the loyalty of readers -> Providing a follow-up
It is easy to believe that if a reader loves your blog, they will just keep visiting your page to see if you’ve posted again… they won’t.
No matter how much I love a blog post, if I don’t have a way to easily follow-up with the blog, I won’t continue seeking it out.
- The best way to provide a follow-up is to start an email list. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy yet — just send an email to your subscribers every time you post!
- The second best way is to use Pinterest, Insta and other social media platforms to their fullest.
Having your social media links on your blog helps people stay updated on everything you do.
7. Losing patience -> Setting realistic goals
It is easy to get frustrated with the process of building a blog. When you have unrealistic expectations for how fast your blog will start making 6 figures, giving up sounds like a reasonable option when reality sets in.
The best way to overcome the drudge to the top is to make realistic goals from the get-go for your blog.
Set short-term and long-term goals that you’ve done the research for. Look at other other blogs in your niche and see how much money they make and when they started making it.
Your short-term goals can be as simple as “I would like to make $100 through affiliate marketing by March 15.” Your long-term goals can be “I would like to quit my 9-5 and make my full income through blogging in 2 years.”
Having goals will keep you motivated through the hard times.
Goals will also help give you a realistic picture of how much you need to be doing for your blog and keep you accountable for doing the work to meet your deadlines.
8. Spending too much or none at all -> Paying for what you need
It is as easy to overspend on unnecessary items for your blog as it is to attempt blogging without putting any money into it at all. Both strategies are unsustainable.
What do you REALLY need to spend money to start a blog?
- Hosting — your blog needs a home on the internet.
- Domain name — make sure your name is search-worthy so you’ll get free traffic from Google.
- Theme — some free themes are good, but if you want a site that works for you to help you get found, you’ll pay for one that is SEO optimized.
- Auto Schedulers — I recommend paying for services that keep track of your social media marketing, it’s unbelievably worth it.
I understand that it can be hard to put money into a blog you’re not sure will go anywhere, but blogging is always going to be a risk (just like starting any new job or business!).
The risk will pay off in the long run with hard work and dedication.
On the other hand, you should be making CALCULATED risks. Do not pay for anything and everything without thinking through its value for your blog. If your blog doesn’t end up doing well and you’ve sunk too much money into it, it can be devastating.
Once you’ve started making money with your blog a little further down the road after launch, you can purchase a few more services. Until then, stick with the necessities.
9. Writing obscure headlines -> Utilizing them for SEO
It is easy to name your posts something that is either meaningful or amusing to you without thinking how easy it will be for others to;
- Understand what the post is about.
- Find your post in the first place.
The best strategy is to practice the SEO technique of using keywords in your headline writing. Apply those same strategies to your titles.
Think about what people would type in google search box to find a post like yours. Most often, that will be “How To ________” or “Ways To _______” or maybe even “Why _______.”
10. Taking on too much -> Keeping things simple
It is easy to stretch yourself thin as a new blogger. While hard work and dedication are good things, if you try to take on too much as a blogger, you’ll burn out quickly.
You need to choose how to use your resources effectively.
For example, having an updated social media page on every single platform isn’t realistic for a one-woman show. If you see a blog with a presence across every platform, they likely have been blogging for long enough that they have them set up to post automatically for the next 12 months or they have a staff team of social media marketers (or both!).
Instead of trying to do it all, choose the platform that targets your audience the best. Choose the blog niche that you have the most expertise in. Choose the email strategy that you can actually keep up. Choose the 5-month plan that you know you can accomplish.
In essence, don’t bite off more than you can chew! You can grow in time, but for now, stick to what you can do with excellence.
Quality > Quantity always!
If you’re making any of these mistakes, no worries! All of them are easy to fix and simple to apply to your blog.
If you’re thinking about starting a blog, you’re now ahead of most newbies!
If you’re an experienced blogger and know more mistakes that you made as a new blogger, comment below and add to the conversation!
Feel free to share this post on all your social media outlets to help other new bloggers out there.
Bethany Peterson is a junior at Wheaton College (IL) studying Interdisciplinary Studies and Journalism with a minor in Spanish. She has worked in blogging for three years first as a staff blogger for 31Women Ministries, and now as an intern with LadyBossBlogger. She serves as Co-Editor in Chief at the Wheaton Record and hopes to go into journalism after graduation.