The Two Biggest Mistakes New Bloggers Make
Being a relatively new blogger myself, I’m here to tell you that there are definitely more than two mistakes you can make. But these are the two biggies that can make or break you when you’re first starting out.
1. Focusing on monetization and advertising.
First of all, if making money is your number one reason for starting a blog, you’re going to be very frustrated and disappointed. If you don’t actually enjoy the work of blogging (and yes, it is work), you will end up quitting before you see any real return on your investment.
Bloggers make money in three main ways:
- Ads on their site. Bloggers sometimes get paid by how many views an ad gets, or by how many readers click on that ad.
- Affiliate links and sponsored posts. Let’s say a blogger writes a post about a particular vacuum cleaner. If a reader clicks a link through that post and purchases the vacuum cleaner, the blogger makes a commission. Similarly, the vacuum cleaner company may have paid the blogger or provided a free product in exchange for writing the post.
- Selling their own products and services. Many bloggers offer online courses, e-books, photography, etc. for sale on their sites.
If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t have many readers yet. Your ads and affiliate links are just being shouted into the void. You can’t make money from advertising if nobody is seeing the ad. All the time you're spending soliciting advertisers and trying to make a few pennies off of banner ads could be spent creating amazing content. You really shoud not even think about advertising until you have built a substantial base of readers. Which leads me to the next biggest mistake new bloggers make...
2. Writing without promoting.
You’re pouring your blood, sweat and tears into your blog posts, clicking “publish” and then what? Maybe your mom is reading it, but how is anyone else supposed to know about your amazing blog? You must promote, promote, promote. Only about 20% of blogging is actually producing content, the other 80% is marketing. There are several ways to market your content:
- Join blogging groups on Facebook. This has been the best way for me to promote my blog as well as building relationships with other bloggers. These groups are also a fantastic resource when you have questions about blogging. Some of my favorites include Grow Your Blog, Blogging 101, and The Blog Loft.
- Create a social media presence for your blog and ENGAGE with others. You don’t have to be present on every social media site, but you should consider your target audience and where they spend their time. Are they active on Twitter? Instagram? Facebook? Create as many social media profiles for your blog as you feel comfortable to handle, and use them to reach out to others. You can’t just post your own content and expect everyone else to come crawling to your greatness. Leave meaningful comments on other people’s posts. Retweet. Share. If this feels overwhelming, you can use a social media scheduler to take care of the posting part for you, so that you can spend more time engaging with other people’s material.
- Be active on Pinterest. For every blog post you publish, you should be creating a visually appealing pin to go with it. Pinterest is where bloggers go viral. To grow your audience even further, you should be joining group boards. You can find many group boards through the Facebook blogging groups mentioned above, or you can visit pingroupie.com for a directory of boards in your niche.
- Promote yourself in real life. I work on my blog every single day and yet I still feel weird thinking of myself as a “blogger.” But then I’ll run into someone I haven’t seen in a while and they’ll gush about how much they love my blog, or how they tried a recipe I posted, or bought some makeup that I recommended. It makes me feel validated, and so happy that people are actually reading and enjoying Lillian Abbey. You have to treat your blog as a business. If you have created a business you are proud of, tell the world! If something is holding you back, think about what that is and how to change it.
Don't be discouraged if your blog hasn't gone viral within the first month. Blogging is a long-term commitment if you intend to grow it into a full-time income. And hey, if you're blogging simply because you love writing and it's a creative outlet, more power to you! There's nothing at all wrong with blogging for fun. But if you intend to reach a wide audience and eventually make a profit, focus on content first, marketing second. The money will come in time.
Are you thinking of starting a blog? What questions do you have for me?