You’ve decided you want to start a blog, probably after a period of going back and forth on the idea. I have enjoyed my blogging journey so far and I’m glad I got that push from a good friend of mine. I love having an outlet to put my thoughts out there and although it’s been a learning curve on the tech side it’s definitely worthwhile.
There have definitely been mistakes on the way, so to save others some of the pain I went through on my journey as a blogger, here are a few to avoid…
Not considering whether self-hosted works better for you
There a number of ways to start a blog. One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is whether you go with a hosted blogging platform (e.g. wordpress.com) or opt for self-hosted site. For the latter you’ll need a host for your blog site. This decision will boil down to why you set up your blog and what you would like to do with it going forwards.
When I initially started blogging I just wanted to start putting out posts (I kept finding reasons to delay starting) and so going for a WordPress hosted blog was the simple solution. There were also some horror stories I’d read with regards self-hosting. However, as I learned more about blogging, there were so many things I wanted to try that were not possible or restricted on my WordPress.com site.
For those looking to develop something long-term or make the most out of monetisation options, head straight for the self-hosted option! This will cut-out the additional step of having to transfer your site and re-jig things at some point in the future.
If you are looking for a host try Siteground. I thought their customer service was great, so was the speed at which they responded to my queries (essential when you’ve messed something up). You can sign up for as little as £2.75 ($3.95 for US) per month through my link.
Unrealistic Publishing Schedule
It’s easy to get carried away when you first start blogging by over-promising when it comes to how frequently you post. Saying you’ll post five times a week may sound great but may not fit in with your other commitments.
With the number of steps involved in getting to your final post you may find that it takes longer than you initially thought (and that’s without the interruptions/distractions that life can bring). Blogging more frequently is known to bring more traffic, but be careful not to over-promise and under-deliver.
Start off with a realistic frequency schedule (e.g. weekly). If you find that you can do more step it up to twice a week or more – make sure you keep up the quality though! No one wants more frequent junk!
Not Posting Consistently
Consistent posting helps build your profile. Your readers will know what to expect which will help build traffic.
This is something I’ve been guilty of in the past. I think my uni days and professional exams instilled a false sense of confidence that I could pull everything off last minute. Not the case I’ve found with blogging – writer’s block, illness and the early arrival of Baby Maximiser emphasised the need to plan ahead. Some weeks I could have ideas galore whilst in others I draw a blank.
Get into the habit of planning your blog post topics ahead of time, publishing consistently. Where you’ve had a really productive week get those posts scheduled in advance so come publishing day you can relax. You can use an editorial calendar to help with this if you like.
Also to maintain consistency when unexpected events stop you from working on posts it’s a good idea to build a buffer of posts.
Not Growing your Subscriber List
The email list is the lifeblood of your blog. It’s something I wish I’d focused on from the beginning. By ignoring this list each post is essentially like a stab in the dark, hoping to attract a new visitor. Returning visitors are essential and the more you build that relationship the more they are likely to share content, which in turn will attract new visitors.
Make it priority to have an email subscribe option on your site. New posts are then directly delivered to readers. Still not having any luck? Provide something that your readers will appreciate in return.
Not Answering Comments
Comments are a great way to build a connection with readers and fellow bloggers. My thoughts are that if someone has taken the time to read and provide a comment on one of my posts the least I could do is respond. Granted this may not be feasible when your blog is getting 100,000 visitors and hundreds of comments but in the earlier stages it is a must.
Commenting on fellow bloggers’ posts is also a great way to network and find those with different niches to yours. There are many personal finance blogs out there with various niches such as:
Respond to comments on your blog and check out fellow bloggers posts. In addition to giving your feedback, it’s not uncommon for the latter to lead a few people to your page.
What else would you add to the list? What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on your blogging journey? Please share, I’d love to hear from you.
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