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8 Mistakes I Made When I First Started Blogging

I started blogging in 2011 over on Frugal Fanatic. It was my way of connecting with people and share all the ways I was saving money.

Like most bloggers, I jumped right in. I had no idea what I was doing, but tried to learn as much as I possibly could.

To tell you the truth, I often found myself checking out other blogs and trying to do what they were doing. At the time, that seemed like what every blog was actually doing.

I have learned a lot about blogging and have made quite a bit of mistakes over the last four years. Throughout this blogging journey my failures have taught me the most. Find out the 8 blogging mistakes I made and what you can do to prevent making the same mistakes. Click to find out!

This post may contain affiliate links.

I was not sure what was right or wrong, so I wanted to see what everyone else online did with their blog. Not only was this a waste of time, because I was constantly comparing my blog to other websites, but I lost focus on my own blog.

The first few years of blogging were a blur. When I think about it I do not even consider what I was doing ‘blogging.’ There was not much thought or planning involved.

Fast forward four years, and my mindset is completely different.

I have turned my once hobby into a business in which I make a full-time income. This is not something I would have ever imagined happening a few years ago. Nor is it something that could have even happened back then because of my own actions.

I have learned a lot from my failures and successes and I have made quite a few of blogging mistakes over the years.

My blogging journey may have taken me longer than others to get to where I am today, but that is a lesson in and of itself.

 

I am the only one who is accountable for the success or failure of my blog
 

No two blogs are the same and no two blogs will have the same outcome.

This was a huge ah-ha moment for me. I was the only one who would be accountable for the success or failure of my blog.

I needed to take action and figure out how to utilize my own set of skills and unique experiences and weave those into my blog. That was a turning point for me. I made a commitment to make changes that I knew would benefit my site.

I am almost embarrassed about some of the things I did when I first started blogging. Eeek!

My posts were horrible and if I could, I would take back some of the emails I sent out to other bloggers {sorry if I contacted you at anytime during my first 2 years of blogging!}. I was clueless and thought it was a great idea to email larger blogs and tell them to share my post — classy, right?

Anyway, to get to the point. Today, I want to share with you 8 mistakes I made when I first started blogging so that you will not make the same mistakes.

Keep in mind, these are NOT the only mistakes I made. These are just some that could help you make a few changes in the beginning stages of your blog. Or, if you are like me, changes after you are about two years into blogging.

8 Blogging Mistakes I made:

#1 I was focusing on quantity over quality

I was always in a rush to get a post live on my blog. I thought that it was better to just have something posted rather than miss a day.

Do not just post an article for the sake of posting.

This is a HUGE lesson that I have learned. It is more important to give your readers a quality article than it is to write 5 posts that are short and do not provide any real information.

Not only does it take a lot of time to come up with blog post ideas, but then you have to research, write and edit the post to put on your website. If you are trying to pump out a ton of articles then the quality will decrease because of the amount of time it takes to write amazing content.

Trying to write a high-value posts everyday can lead to blogger burnout. If someone lands on my site and finds a post that regurgitates information they can find anywhere online, then the chance that they will return, or sign-up for my email, list are slim to none.

When I started to write quality posts instead of pumping out a certain quantity of posts each week, I started to notice a change in my amount of email subscribers and even reader engagement.

At first I was worried that I would lose traffic because, I was not adding new content every single day. I quickly realized that I was wrong.

Not only did I not see a dip in traffic, but I was beginning to attract the readers I was targeting, and not just those who came to my blog to read one article and then left.

#2 I did not have a niche

When I started my first blog, it was primarily a deal blog. Then, I started to add evergreen posts and considered myself a lifestyle blogger. I was afraid that if I did not include a bunch of different topics, no one would like my blog. I didn’t want someone to come to my blog and not be able to relate to it.

This is wrong thinking on so many levels.

  • I do not want to attract everyone, but I did not realize that at the time
  • You can be a ‘lifestyle’ blogger while still having a focus
  • I thought that if I narrowed my topics, then I would not be able to attract a large readership. I was afraid that only certain people would be interested in reading.
  • I thought that writing about many different topics would be more appealing to the masses. You can certainly incorporate different topics on your blog, but you need to have a common theme, or niche. Once I began to focus on my niche, I was able to narrow my topics, while still growing my blog.

Writing posts consistent with your niche will allow your blog to grow, while also drawing the audience you want.

Your target audience should be specific so that you are addressing their needs and providing value for their lives.

Related: Finding Your Blog's Focus

#3 I Did not consider my reader

This brings me to my next mistake I made when I began blogging. I did not consider my reader. In the beginning, my blog was all about me. It was about things that were going on in my life, places I visited, or topics I was interested in. Now this is not a bad thing, but I did not consider my audience. How could my visit to a local event benefit their lives?

Even though it is your blog, it should not be all about you.

Blogs who build a loyal community of readers have traffic, comments and even shares on their posts because their readers find the article to be valuable. You can still maintain your voice and personality throughout your blog while focusing on your reader’s needs.

Think of your ideal reader. How can you answer their questions and provide useful information? It is possible to intertwine your life experiences and knowledge, while still considering the specific audience who you want to target on your blog.

#4 I wasn't promoting properly

A few years ago, I would write a new post and then just hit publish. And that was it. Maybe I would post the link on my social media accounts, or even pin it to one of my boards on Pinterest, but I did not take the time to promote those posts.

I have no idea what I expected. I thought since I wrote this totally awesome post that people would be dying to read it and just flood my blog. Wrong. Thankfully, I realized this, or I would still be waiting for readers to magically find my site.

How is anyone going to know that you wrote a killer article if you are not promoting it? Although everyone says that content is king, I believe that promotion is equally as important.

I began to incorporate specific strategies - for my social media accounts, for guest posting, and for scheduling how and when I promoted my posts

This was a game-changer for my blog. Instead of waiting for people to come to me, I started to find new ways to get my posts in front of them. Consider how you are currently promoting your posts; what changes can you make?

#5 I was not building relationships or engaging with readers

Another blogging mistake I made was not building a relationship with my readers. This is a crucial part of blogging. Building a relationship is one of the keys to getting people to return to your blog. This means interacting with your audience at every opportunity possible.

This was something I was not doing. My blog was one-sided. When I say this, I mean that I would write a post and that would be it. My readers would not have the opportunity to tell me their opinions or if they disagreed with my post. I rarely engaged on social media, or took the time to respond to comments that were left on my blog.

In order to keep the conversation going I NEEDED to engage more. I used to wonder why no one was leaving comments, or why I felt disconnected from my audience. I was not taking the time to build a relationship with my readers.

This goes back to not understanding who my audience was and how I could help them. I now realize the importance of having a relationship and fostering that relationship to build a community with my blog.

I have learned a lot about blogging and have made quite a bit of mistakes over the last four years. Throughout this blogging journey my failures have taught me the most. Find out the 8 blogging mistakes I made and what you can do to prevent making the same mistakes. Click to find out!

#6 I did not take the time to build my email list

This is definitely a HUGE regret of mine. 

My first email list was something that was sent automatically to subscribers on a daily basis. I did not give my readers an incentive to sign-up nor did I provide them with any value so that they would want to continue to receive my emails.

Needless to say, anyone who subscribed also immediately unsubscribed.

There were a few people who probably felt bad for me and stuck around, but they never even opened the emails that I sent.

Next, I changed it to a weekly email, but still only provided my subscribers with a recap of what was posted on my blog over the past seven days. Still no real value. They could just go to my blog and see what was new.

Over the years, I have learned that my email list is one of the most valuable parts of my blog.

Even though I get traffic from Google, Pinterest, Facebook, referrals, etc., those could all be gone one day. You never know when an algorithm is going to change. Traffic is unpredictable and can fluctuate from day to day.

My blog’s email list is something that is mine. I now use it to build a relationship with my readers, by providing them with content upgrades, and offering them real value so that they want to receive my weekly emails.

Related: Why I switched to Convertkit

#7 I did not have goals or plans

I am a natural planner and list-maker. But for some reason, when it came to my blog, I would just write and write, and write without having goals in place. This is one of the things that prevented my blog from growing.

Once I got serious and figured out why I was blogging and what I wanted to accomplish, I started to see big changes. I have learned that I need to be intentional with everything that I do. Not only will goals help you to stay accountable, but they will provide you with motivation to keep going.

You may have no idea what you want to do with your blog, but start small and begin to write out your goals. Whether they are traffic based, or even monetary goals, you need to write them down so that you can create an action plan.

#8 I did not network with other bloggers

This was such a scary thing for me when I first started my blog. I was extremely afraid to step outside of my comfort zone to connect with bloggers. I am a shy person and was nervous to reach out to forge relationships.

When I look back on it now, I wish I would had done it sooner. The relationships I have created through my blog have not only helped me to grow much faster, but have led me to long-lasting friendships.

You may not realize the importance of having a blogger tribe, but trust me, the benefits have been truly amazing.

One of the most important things you can do for yourself, and your blog, is to network and take part in collaborative projects with other content creators.

Making connections and building relationships can be much more beneficial than you think. A lot of bloggers tell me they do not network because they view other bloggers as competition.

I believe this is the wrong attitude. There is plenty of room for everyone. You are unique and have your own voice, so even if someone writes on the same topic, their content will be different because they are not you.

Think of how much faster your blog could grow if you had other bloggers promoting it on a daily basis. You could reach a much larger audience than if you were the only one promoting every post.

Like I said, these are only a few of the blogging mistakes I made when I first started. You may even be making these same mistakes right now. But, don’t worry. It is okay.

I always learn the most from my mistakes and failures. Everything I have learned throughout the years has led me to where I am right now.

What blogging mistakes have you made?