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Is starting a money making blog on your to-do list for 2020? Here are five critical mistakes you must avoid…
Blogging mistakes happen, especially when you’re just starting out. They’re part of the learning curve.
You will eventually realize that you have a problem. And recognize that something isn’t working.
Or you’ll notice that everyone else is having better success doing something this way instead of that way.
When you realize you’ve made a mistake with your blog, you have two options. The first is to give up and decide you’re not cut out for this blogging thing.
In that case, you’ll join tons of other bloggers who threw the towel in instead of sticking it out.
The second option is to learn from your mistakes and do what you can to improve. Being willing to keep learning and bouncing back will definitely pay off in the long run!
To help you avoid making some of the mistakes I have over the years, here are five of my biggest blogging blunders. They’re all things that have set my blog back tremendously, that I’m still working on overcoming.
Ready to see where I goofed? Learn from me, so you find success faster!
But first…need to start your blog still? Here’s my step-by-step post that’ll walk you through everything.
Blogging Mistake #1: Not Knowing Your Audience
When I started this blog, it’s sole purpose was to hold writing samples for my freelance writing business. I was writing for a completely different audience, for a different purpose.
Over time, I realized that my purpose had changed. But, I didn’t take the time to dive into my audience. To learn what THEY wanted to read.
I just wrote whatever I wanted.
And that was a critical blogging mistake.
Your blogging purpose may change over time. That’s okay! I think it’s a natural progression as we get into it and learn what we enjoy and what we don’t.
Changing focuses isn’t a mistake. But, not learning about your new audience is!
Take time to figure out who you’re writing for. Who is your ideal reader? What kind of content do they want to consume? What will they share?
Where is your audience looking for content? Are they hanging out on Instagram? Or over on Facebook? Go where your people are!
And learn how to connect with them. Follow best practices for each platform. Retweet great content. Use hashtags. (Here’s an awesome post by an amazing homeschooling mom blogger on the best Hashtags to Up Your Instagram Game). Have fun!
Now get out there and market, because otherwise you’ll spend years writing blog posts that nobody will read.
Need more directions on finding your ideal reader? I devote tons of time to this topic in the book I wrote with Sally Miller, Make Money From Blogging. Check it out here:
Blogging Mistake #2: Not Marketing
I spent years creating content without marketing it. That’s why you’ll find dozens of posts on my site with zero social shares. Back then, I didn’t even bother to create a pin and share them on Pinterest. Yikes!
And while in some ways that’s good for me (since I have tons of content I can repurpose), it was a huge mistake. A year ago, I literally had no traffic to my blog.
How would anyone ever find it if I never shared it?
My struggle with marketing has two key components.
The first is time. When I started my blog, I was just trying to spend time posting consistently. Trying to do that AND spend time marketing wasn’t happening.
Whenever you add a new task to your day, it takes time to become comfortable with it. For it to feel natural. And until that happens, it’s really hard to add another task.
I should have added marketing right away. But I didn’t. And while time was a concern, it wasn’t the biggest stumbling block for me.
Which leads me to the second component of this mistake.
I felt like an imposter.
There were all these amazing bloggers creating useful content that was getting shared by thousands of people. And I was just me.
I wasn’t an expert blogger. I had no idea really what I was doing.
And I felt like I didn’t belong. Like maybe I didn’t deserve to have my content out there with all this brilliant stuff.
Imposter syndrome is real. And I’ve definitely struggled with it.
For me, it was much easier to create content than to put myself out there. I fooled myself into believing that if I wrote it, the right readers would magically find their way to my site.
Except, no one ever did. And this lack of readership fueled my belief that I was no good.
It was a nasty cycle!
And one I finally decided to break. I took baby steps to start marketing. And I joined some amazing Facebook groups. I connected with some great people on Instagram. And I surrounded myself with other bloggers who felt similar struggles.
And I took a deep breathe and shared some content. I got good feedback, and that helped tremendously. It boosted my confidence and gave me the guts to share another.
It took time to get over my fear of putting my content out there. And honestly? I still am not completely over this fear. I still struggle with wondering if this content is good enough to be shared.
But, by taking one small step at a time, I’m really making progress.
If you’re struggling with putting your content out there, here are some tips:
- Tell yourself your content IS ready to be seen. Positive self-talk helps!
- Create a pin for each image that you would be happy to share if you saw it created by someone else. (I love using Pixistock photos for my pins!)
- Join 1 Facebook group for bloggers and participate in 1 thread a day.
- Find someone who can give you real feedback on your posts and help you overcome your fears of it not being good enough.
- Take a deep breath and hit the button to share it. It’s hard, but you can totally do this!
- Don’t give up if something doesn’t go well. Just keep trying!
Blogging Mistake #3: Not Including Images
Do you know how many of my early posts don’t include a single image? Or if they do have one image, it’s just a cover image and not optimized for any social platform?
Way too many
It amazes me every time I go back to these old posts to realize that I never bothered to put an image in. They really do matter.
Yes, it takes time to create an image (or a couple) for each post. But, it’s crucial. Without images, you likely won’t hold your reader’s attention for long. Images help break up long passages of text and make the post easier to read.
They also entice readers to share. I know many times I’ve gone to pin something I enjoyed reading only to realize there was no image. Without an image, I couldn’t save it to my account. So, I just closed out of the tab instead.
I’m sure readers have done this to my content – they realize there was nothing to share, so they walked away instead.
The good news?
It’s not too late to add images to your posts! You can go back and do that now. Or hire your teen to do it for you, like I’m doing!
One other thing related to images I’m working on is to add more personal photos. After all, readers want to know bloggers, not blogs. It’s a piece of advice Crystal from Your Blogging Mentor, that I’ve recently decided to try implementing.
So, here I am – writing this post. I’m sitting at the dining room table (which is a mess since we just got home from a missions conference and haven’t put everything away yet!). It’s late, and I’m tired, and definitely not looking my best. But, I want to get this post done so I’m pushing through!
Take time to add images to your blog. They serve three main purposes.
- They give readers something to share.
- By breaking up long sections of text, they make your posts easier to read.
- They help your readers get to see the real you – the behind the scenes part!
So, put the pictures in. Even if you’re a bit self-conscious about what you look like or what people may think.
You can do this!
Blogging Mistake #4: Not Worrying About SEO
Let me start this section with a disclaimer. You absolutely need to write for human readers and not for bots scrolling for Google. You can keyword stuff all day long, but if you don’t provide useful content about those keywords, you won’t get the results you desire.
But, on the other end of the spectrum is someone who writes without any concern for SEO. That’s where I used to fall.
I was so focused on writing what I wanted to write that I didn’t pay much attention to what my readers wanted to read. I dismissed SEO as nonessential and mistakenly didn’t do any keyword research.
I’ve learned now that keywords are important. They represent search results – what people are actually searching for. You can type in any focus keyword in Yoast, and watch all the pretty lights turn green. BUT, if your keywords aren’t ones that are being searched for, you probably won’t get a lot of organic search traffic from Google.
There is definitely a happy-medium between writing for humans and writing for bots. It’s called writing useful content for humans THAT THEY ACTUALLY ARE WANTING TO READ!
Keywords can help you find that happy place. They can give you directions for where to launch, maximizing your chances for success.
Wondering how I handle SEO now? Here’s a guest post I wrote recently sharing my process and my best SEO tips for beginners.
Blogging Mistake #5: Forgetting to Monetize
Finally, a huge blogging mistake I made was forgetting to monetize. I’d write posts and leave out natural opportunities for monetization.
Since my blog is a business and not a hobby, every time I have a post without affiliate links, links to my own products or services, or any other form of monetization, I am leaving money on the table.
Not every reader who reads will click and buy. But, some will.
However, I promise you that if you don’t include the link, no one will every buy from you. Period.
No link, no sale!
I’ve been going back through my posts and looking for ways to add these links without coming off as spammy. I don’t want to turn my readers away because I’m trying to sell them tons of stuff and take all their money.
But, if I’m talking about how meal planning makes my life easier in one post, I can include a link or a banner like this one to the Ultimate Bundles Healthy Meal Planning Bundle.
I’ve discovered I can integrate at least one link into almost every post on my site. I haven’t actually done it yet, but it’s one my to-do list! 😀
The posts that I can’t find an affiliate link for, I can almost always tie back into my own products. Then I can have a link to those, so readers can easily find them. Like this:
Wondering how I find time to work on my blog as a busy mom to nine kids? Check out my course, Balancing Diapers and Deadlines. You’ll learn all my best time-management strategies to help you grow a business while raising a family.
By taking the time now to ensure your posts have a monetization strategy, you’ll be prepared should any of them go viral. The last thing you want to do is realize your post is getting tons of traffic, but that it doesn’t have a way to capitalize on that popularity.
There you have it…
5 Blogging Mistakes That Will Hurt Your Progress in 2020
I hope you can learn from my mistakes and get your blog going in the right direction!
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.