It’s fair to say I’ve made a lot of mistakes when it comes to blogging. I’ve been creating websites since the early noughties, and blogging on WordPress since 2008, so it’s easy to look back and see where I did things wrong. Truthfully, I made way more mistakes than I cover in this post, but these are some of the big ones that I thought might help you avoid them. The good news is, though, that every mistake is an opportunity to learn – and I’ve learnt a lot!
1) I Didn’t Choose My Target Audience
Throughout eight years of working for myself online, I never actively chose my target audience. People found me, and then I tried to please them. I was going about it totally the wrong way – no wonder I didn’t find my business fulfilling!
If I started again today, I would start by choosing my own audience. I’d write what mattered to them (and me) and I wouldn’t worry about the people it didn’t resonate with, as they wouldn’t be my ideal customer. Once you’ve chosen your audience, you can, of course, tweak things when you learn more about their specific problems – but always stay true to the audience you really want to serve.Click here to download my free blog-naming worksheets and checklist
2) I Tried to Create Multiple Blogs on Multiple Topics
Although I first started blogging for the love of it on a personal blog about anything and everything, when I finally discovered you could actually make money blogging I went all in and created dozens of sites. They were on a huge variety of topics: growing long hair, eco-friendly living, lifestyle etc. I just had so many ideas and so many interests – how could I just choose one?
The truth is that by not choosing one topic, I ended up wasting my time on so many websites that I never stuck with. I also realised that I’d get caught up in the excitement of a new idea, which would quickly fade away leaving me bored.
I still have new ideas all the time, but now I try to sit on them for a while to see what happens when that initial excitement dies away. And I’m really focused on what I’m writing about. If it doesn’t fit in, I’m not going to write about it and I’m not going to start a new blog about it! You can’t do everything.
3) I Went for Quantity Over Quality
Following on from the last point, I wasted a lot of time aiming for quantity over quality. I thought that if I posted daily to all my blogs they’d grow more quickly. But the reality was that I got burnt out, I didn’t enjoy the writing, and the content just wasn’t that useful. To be honest, I cared more about stuffing my blog posts with keywords than writing useful, engaging posts that would end up getting shared by my readers.
4) I Didn’t Use Images Properly
Things have changed a lot since I first started blogging. Images weren’t such a big deal back then, but I still used them to add interest and break up the text. Unfortunately, I used them all wrong: I took images from sites like Google and Flickr without knowing whether I had the proper rights to use them (do not do this – they are copyrighted!). It also took me years to catch up with the growing importance of visuals in the online world.
5) I Did Things Just Because Other People Were Doing Them
This is probably my biggest lesson, and it’s taken me until this year (!!) to truly put it into practice. No matter what you’re blogging about, you’ll come across other people doing it more successfully or “better” than you are. That’s great for them, but does it mean you need to do everything they’re doing to achieve their level of success? No!
Firstly, success looks different for everyone, so although their blog may look wildly profitable, they may be paying off thousands in debt, or they might be completely burnt out and unhappy with what they do. It’s fine for you to work less if you have smaller outgoings, or because you want to make more time for self-care.
Secondly, and following on from that point, there are no rules! Just because someone has a giant presence on ALL OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITES, EVER! doesn’t mean that you need to. Start with one social media platform where you know your target market hangs out, or even avoid social altogether if it makes you procrastinate and feel negatively about life.
So what if you don’t grow your following as quickly as someone else? So what if you never record a video? As long as you are making effort to grow your business (i.e. not just doing nothing and expecting magic success), then it’s totally fine to do it in your own way, on your own terms.Click here to download my free blog-naming worksheets and checklist
Hopefully sharing my mistakes will help you avoid making them too. But remember, every mistake is a great chance to learn something!