Experience is the best teacher, they say. My ten years as a blogger taught me a lot but I failed to recognize that until recently. I wasn’t paying attention. I knew I have to keep learning but I was too lazy, and a lot of things were holding me back. So after a decade, I still haven’t made an impact in the blogging community. With the right mindset and strategy, some were able to find success from blogging within a year or two, and here I am just starting, again.
I made this list to hopefully help other bloggers who are going through the same phase, or for aspiring bloggers who want to avoid the same mistakes that I made. Here are my 10 mistakes to avoid when blogging, all of which have happened to me in the past 10 years:
1. Blogging for Monetary Reasons
While this may have enticed you to start, don’t fall into the trap of building a blog and expecting to earn money right away. Yes, you can earn money from blogging, but not after a lot of hard work, dedication and focus. For some, the monetary gains start to happen after six months to a year, or years. And this is not to disappoint you, but it may not even come at all.
The truth is, if you want to monetize your blog, you have to offer something extra to your readers. You receive what you give, so be mindful of what you are giving. Focus on the value of what you are offering, people acknowledge that when they see it. You may have at some point shared some articles, videos or links on social media about things that you find relevant. You may have liked and followed pages on Facebook which are not celebrity-owned. You did that because you saw something that it is of value to you, got inspired, amused, or touched.
So if you are not receiving enough from your blog, you may not be giving enough.
2. No Clear Purpose
I started this blog after establishing its purpose, the purpose why I am blogging, and why this niche. I aim to share, with hopes that what I am sharing would be of use to others. It is important that there is a reason behind the blog, not just the blogging.
Ask yourself, what is my blog’s purpose? What are my intentions? I have talked about this briefly in a previous post:
3. Not Having a Niche
If you know the purpose, it becomes easier to pick a niche (although finding a niche could still be daunting). A niche determines the overall content of your blog. Unless your blog is your online journal and is exclusive to your selected readers, you will end up writing about anything and everything when without a niche. I have also discussed this in a separate post which you may find helpful:
Keep in mind that your purpose and intentions could help you determine a niche. What are your intentions?
4. Not Understanding SEO and Other Related Tools
I intentionally used the phrase “layman’s terms” in this blog’s tagline for obvious reasons. I hate technical terms, and “SEO” and “Google Analytics” are one of the many jargons that I avoided for years. I failed simply because I chose to not understand things which I find complicated. Wrong.
Make sure to learn these as you start creating your blog. There are lots of free online references available, use them. You don’t have to be an expert on this subject, again unless you intend to be one. While I still am unable to articulate SEO or Google Analytics in a way that I could make them a topic for a blog post, I now get the idea. Gaining knowledge about these tools helps, don’t be afraid to explore them, and use them!
5. Not Having a Domain
My fellow bloggers have been convincing me to to get my own domain since 2008. I did not listen to them. At that time, I didn’t have any plans to monetize my blog so I thought purchasing a domain and getting it hosted are money wasted. The thing is, you do not really need your own domain in order to monetize your blog. A .blogspot.com blog would do.
Why do you need a domain then? It simply is more appealing, it looks and sounds more professional. And if you have been blogging before, getting your own domain is a milestone. It is taking your blogging to the next level. If this is your first time to blog, number six is for you.
6. Having a Domain Too Soon
If you are new to the world of blogging, buying a domain may not be a very good idea yet. You may need to explore and experience things that goes around the Blogosphere first; I highly recommend a .blogspot.com blog. Not only that it is easier to manage, but Google loves it!
Back in 2015, I closed my old domain and started a new one. I had a plan I was very excited about so I purchased a domain right away. Only three articles later, the excitement started to fade away. I stopped posting after five months, and just like that, I threw away a year of domain and hosting subscriptions! This is the reason why it took me two years to decide to start again. I’ve learned my lesson, and that is one of my inspirations to come up with this list.
7. Not Networking Enough
Yes, you do really need to be “open-minded” about this. A blog is still a social media, and just like Facebook, you need to have friends in order to have an active timeline. I had over fifty solid connections in the Blogosphere eight years ago, and I regret the fact that the connection was not sustained and I stopped making more.
Network by visiting other people’s blogs. Leave comments, and ensure that these are genuine comments because a seasoned blogger is good at spotting spam and pushy comments. Be professional, you will need to establish a good reputation in order to gain other blogger’s trust. This takes time so be patient, which leads us to number eight:
8. Being Impatient
Indeed, patience is a virtue. It’s good to let go of all the expectations first. Instead, keep building your blog with quality posts as the priority. Your posts are your foundation. Build your foundation in the first three to six months, make it deep. So deep that it will be strong enough to handle success!
I am impatient myself, I use to want to publish three to five times a week that I ended up posting random articles in my old blogs. I sacrificed the quality, I had no clear intentions other than to post something, just anything. Well, I know now that that is not how it works. Always prioritize quality over quantity.
9. Not Being Unique
When I learned about “niche”, I started looking at other people’s blogs with the intention to copy what they are doing and expect to be as successful. Another mistake. In order to stand out, you have to be different. Be inspired and learn from someone you look up to but don’t be a copycat.
Do not overthink! While it’s true that all topics are (maybe) taken, there will always be something you can offer that others can’t. You can write about a similar topic and add your personal “touches” to it. We may have related experiences, but no two experiences are exactly the same. This is one way of taking advantage of your individuality.
10. Thinking That Blogging is Dead
Never. Blogging is still at its peak. Blogging in the Philippines is still very active. Vlogs will not kill blogs. I’d say blogs are here to stay and will continue to dominate search engines. Visit the website of any company you know, and there will always be a link for “blog” or “news” in their main page. That is how they survive online, more than just selling their products or services.
For us bloggers, our blog in itself is our product. Keep on writing and sharing. It’s true that there are lots of negative impressions about blogging and bloggers. Do not focus on those. Instead, aspire to be one of the bloggers who spread positive impressions (and earn those page impressions)!
I wish you the best of luck on your blogging. Be an inspiration!