blogging mistakes

10 Big Mistakes I Made in My First Year of Blogging

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Are you making any of these serious blogging mistakes?

There are lots of articles out there about how to start a blog and make money. Blogging is a fun way to make a living that affords a lot of time freedom, but it’s not without its struggles.

What about the potential pitfalls?

I’ve been blogging for about a year now, and I have DEFINITELY made some blogging mistakes. Don’t suffer the same fate!

Read on to save yourself some headaches in the process of learning how to become a blogger.

Blogging mistake #1: Not being diligent about my 10-hour time block.

A few months ago, I downloaded Rosemarie Groner’s 10-hour time block, hoping to put some structure into my blogging efforts.

I’m trying to grow my blog while I work other jobs, so I thought her system would be perfect for me to follow, since she used it to grow her blog, The Busy Budgeter, while working 50 hours a week.

It’s a great system, if you follow it.

Some weeks I just wasn’t getting the full 10 hours in, other times I was, but I was spending too much time on some tasks and not enough or none on others. A tool works best when you use it properly. Go figure.

I plan to be more committed to this system of scheduling this next year, and I highly recommend it!

For the months that I was able to use it properly, I felt very on top of my game and able to keep track of all the different components of blogging.

Blogging mistake #2: Not posting 1 day a week.

If you look back at my earliest posts, you’ll see that there will be one maybe in February, then a 3 week period without posting, then 2 posts in one week, then 2 weeks with nothing, then three posts in a week, then 5 weeks without posts, etc.

This is a huge mistake!!

People all over in the blogosphere are saying consistency is key, and it’s TRUE!

On the week I was able to write 3 posts, I should have scheduled two of them out for the following 2 weeks, to fill in some gaps when I wasn’t able to write anything. Not only is consistency of new content important to the Pinterest algorithm (which is the main way I am currently trying to grow my traffic), it’s also important to your readers!

If you find a blog you like, and you check back on it a few weeks in a row for new content and week after week find nothing, you are going to stop coming back to that blog! Conversely, if there’s something new and interesting there every time you return, you’re far more likely to want to keep coming back.

Blogging mistake #3: Not posting enough period.

I have officially been blogging (counting from the date of my first POST, mind you – If we count from when I bought my domain, it’s been longer) for a little over a year.

Including this post, I have 23 posts to show for it. I should have 52, if my goal is to post once a week. That means I didn’t even make it to the halfway mark!

Now, I’m being kind and gentle with myself. I am embarking on a venture that I knew zilch about when I started. I am still learning and I know the learning curve is HUGE. I’m being nice to myself. AND a metric like this tells me where there’s an area with a LOT of room for improvement.

On the bright side, if I can address this and get to the point where I AM posting once a week at least, I should see an improvement that’s equivalent to the size of my shortcoming. How exciting!

Blogging mistake #4: Prioritizing travel.

I must admit, I’ve been skipping to the end a bit, to my happily-ever-after blogger fantasy.

I’ve been traveling a lot for leisure and to see friends and family, which I have immensely enjoyed, but doing so has seriously impeded the growth of my blog.

When I feel I am able to set my own hours blogging, it is so easy to always prioritize other things over it. I think to myself “I can blog anytime. X, y, or z should be done now.”

“I can blog anytime” quickly becomes NOT blogging anytime, if you’re not careful, as I have definitely learned.

Having time and money freedom to travel is my ultimate goal, but I need to put that on hold for now and put the work in first. Oops!

Blogging mistake #5: Not adjusting my expectations accordingly.

It’s okay that I’ve been traveling a lot in the last year and made that more of a priority than my blog at times, but if I make that decision then I need to adjust my expectations.

I took the Launch Your Blog course from Lauren and Alex at Create and Go, and have been following the two of them as models for what I hope to do. (The course is AWESOME, by the way. When I started I had no idea where to start, how to use wordpress, or how to launch. They made it easy AND fun!)

Alex and Lauren were able to make over $103,000 in their first year blogging. Even if I split that in half to take into account that they are two people and I’m one, I’m still $50,000 short of the mark. I know not to compare myself super unhealthily or unrealistically to others, but it was something good for me to shoot for.

Here’s the thing though: they quit their jobs and spent every free moment on their blog.

No traveling for 6 weeks in Europe. No dinner parties with friends. No camping trips on the weekends. No Netflix and chill.

I did ALL of those things.

And I still had to work because I didn’t have savings to live on for the year. So I can’t really be disappointed by not reaching that $50K mark. For my result to be similar, my path needed to be… more similar. 🙂

There’s a part of me that is kicking myself a bit for not getting more serious this past year, but honestly dwelling too much on that is just a waste of precious energy.

What’s done is done. I need to just look back on all the fun I’ve had this year and the quality time I’ve had with my family and appreciate it.  It’s especially important right now because two of my siblings have young kids. I don’t want to feel like I missed out on their growing up.

And know that I want to work harder this year.

Blogging mistake #6: Dreaming and scheming.

Listen up, y’all. I. LOVE. DAYDREAMING.

I could do it all day. And some days I do, which is really bad for productivity.

I spend time dreaming about what it will be like when I can blog full time, when I can have enough money to no longer have it be a pain point in my life, about having the time and money freedom to travel, to treat my family to things like trips together and gifts or things they really want or need.

I dream about having a large readership of my blog full of amazing people I get to talk with and who really are helped by the things I’m putting out into the world.

The list goes on and on. This is the “dreaming” part.

The “scheming” part is about coming up with ideas for my business (it’s not bad, like an evil villain scheming about taking over the world).

Scheming in my mind is like dreaming, but with strategy.

I brainstorm about post ideas, what types of things I think might be helpful to people, what kinds of products I could make or that people would like, different components of my website, giveaways I could do, etc.

Let me be clear about one thing: Dreaming and Scheming, as I have called them, are GOOD.

The dreaming part is what keeps me motivated to put in the work. It is my why and my reward for working consistently on something I don’t have a guarantee will work. It is essential.

Scheming (or strategic planning and creative brainstorming) is also incredibly important. I need to keep ideas and creativity flowing, and be thinking about how various parts of my business can come together. My blog needs direction.

Dreaming and scheming are vital, but they need to be managed. It’s so easy to do them so much that nothing ever gets DONE. I just spend a whole day planning things I could do instead of doing them.

Dreaming is easier and more fun than implementing. So it’s just something to be very mindful of not overdoing.

Blogging mistake #7: Reading too many blogs.

This is one of the blogging mistakes that goes hand in hand with #6, it’s just more specific. It’s incredibly easy to feel like the world is full of information to consume, and that you’re not ready to start something until you research the heck out of it.

Which means you just need to read one more article, or maybe two, or four, before you’re really READY.

Bookmark those things for later.

If you know what you need to be working on, work on it! Don’t read 5 more articles about it 🙂 I’m definitely guilty of this one!

Blogging mistake #8: Not focusing on traffic first.

Okay, this one was a big a-ha moment for me.

I have been taking Create and Go’s Make Money Blogging for Beginners course, which is the natural next step after completing the Launch Your Blog course. The course is great, but I was feeling a little unsure about where my focus should be at this point.

Alex and Lauren say they get asked all the time “Should I focus on monetization strategies first, or traffic first?”. They say that it’s sort of a tricky question, but the answer is both.

Here’s the thing – sometimes my brain is not so great at “both”.

Blogging – and all the skillsets that come with it – are new to me, so I really feel like at this stage I need to focus on one thing at a time.

But which one?

I have learned through a few missteps that the answer for me is traffic. Why?

I signed up for Amazon Associates right away, because I’ve read that that’s a great place to start earning affiliate income. That’s true, but the problem for me was I was hardly getting any views, so I didn’t get any affiliate commissions.

3 months went by, and Amazon let me know that if I didn’t make 3 qualifying referrals, they would close my account. This wasn’t that big of a deal, because by that time I had actually decided to change my domain name. The first one wasn’t right.

So I just applied for a new AA account with my new domain, confident that I would surely be able to make 3 referrals in the next 3 months.

NOPE. Still not enough traffic!

It’s not the end of the world, I can still reapply. But it was SUPER discouraging! I felt like I was failing – twice!

Then I made another mistake. I decided to do an essential oil giveaway in an effort to gain some email subscribers.

Which in itself isn’t a bad idea. But again, I didn’t have enough traffic to make it worth it.

I spent time making a landing page, selecting the oils to give away, writing email automations with the weekly giveaway information, and making pins for Pinterest to promote it. Guess what, y’all? I only had ONE person sign up in the whole month of May. And they didn’t even respond to me when I told them they had won!

It was a good idea, but I was trying to execute it too early. In the end I wasted a lot of time on it.

These two mistakes are why for me it makes more sense to get traffic flowing to your site first, and then trying to add various monetization strategies.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s just fine to be thinking about affiliate programs that suit your audience and apply for those. Be thinking about your own products you might like to create in the future WHILE you are working on traffic. But use common sense.

Don’t do things like I did that really take away from your traffic efforts or are time-sensitive until you get things going.

Blogging mistake #9: Trying to follow too many gurus or focusing on too many things at a time.

This year I enrolled in the Launch Your Blog course by Alex Nerney and Lauren McManus at Create and Go.

Then I enrolled in their Make Money Blogging for Beginners course.

Then I enrolled in Elite Blog Academy.

And I attended some webinars and started getting emails and SEO guides from the folks over at Click Minded.

And I signed up for emails from blogger Rosemarie Groner at The Busy Budgeter.

And some emails from the folks at ConvertKit about email marketing.

Oh, and some emails from Natalie Bacon about designing your ideal entrepreneurial life.

Overwhelmed yet just reading this?

Try getting ALL the emails and trying to follow all of their collective advice at once.

Let me be clear: ALL of these folks have great information, valuable insights, and helpful tools. I just need to do a better job of filtering out one at a time and focusing on one source of information until I implement everything I can from it before moving on to the next one.

Trying to follow everyone all at once is one of the biggest blogging mistakes you can make, because your focus will be spread WAY too thin!

For example, I’ve just recently decided that my focus right now needs to be on growing my traffic coming from Pinterest. So I don’t need to read the emails and resources from Click Minded about Google SEO right now.

I’m not focusing on Google SEO at the moment. So I make a folder for all of those emails and move them there without even reading them. And when I AM ready to focus on Google SEO, all the information will be there.

I started Elite Blog Academy, which is AMAZING, but I wasn’t ready for it yet.

I hadn’t even launched my blog yet and didn’t know the first thing about how to use WordPress. EBA is designed for students who already have a blog and have a basic understanding of WordPress – it doesn’t offer any technical help.

It’s not bad information, it’s just not what I needed at the time.

Launch Your Blog covers all the WordPress basics and gets your blog actually running, so that was a better place for me to start. Getting the idea?

There are a lot of great resources out there, but it’s up to YOU as the consumer to really decide what your NEXT is, what your focus should be for the time being, and select ONE resource that will help you with that focus. Implement everything you can from it. THEN move on to the next.

Blogging mistake #10: I’ve gotten really lax about accounting.

I haven’t made any money with my blog yet, and because of that I stopped keeping close track of what my expenses have been. I know that it’s not as big of a deal when you aren’t making money, but I do want to have an idea of how much money I’ve invested into the blog.

In part it would be helpful for my own personal budgeting, but I’d also like to know when I reach the point where I’ve made back all the money I’ve invested (breaking even).

I also want to train myself to be in the habit of tracking things so that when I do start making money I won’t get behind and be totally overwhelmed by expenses AND income.

Enough about blogging mistakes! How about 5 things I DID get right? 

1. I wasn’t afraid to change my domain name.

I decided to change my domain name a few months into starting my blog. The original wasn’t right.

It wasn’t quite capturing the niche I wanted to go for, but I had started with it because I wanted to start with something.

I’m glad I did, because it means I started a few months earlier than I would have if I had waited until I found the “perfect” niche and name. I started, and then I gradually got more clarity on my niche.

It was a little bit scary and a bit of a hassle to change it. I lost some domain authority that I had somehow managed to achieve. I had to change the logo on all my pins that were all over Pinterest. I had to change little mentions of the name here and there on my site.

But it was worth it to go with my gut and change it sooner rather than later, so I could start anew with a new brand.

2. I signed up for Tailwind.

If Pinterest is a platform you’re using for your blog, you need Tailwind.

It’s hard to express how much time you will save using their scheduler than if you tried manually pinning multiple times a day at different times when you think your audience would be active. You wouldn’t have time for anything else!

Tailwind is more than just a scheduler. It has built-in analytics for all of your pins and boards, so you know which pins are resonating with your audience and which group boards are actually worth your time.

One other major component: Tailwind Tribes!

Tribes are groups that you can join within Tailwind where you can share your content to get reshared by tribe members.

It’s basically a way for you to borrow followers from other more established users when you’re just starting out, which is amazing for growth and getting your content in front of more people.

I love the atmosphere of the tribes. They’re a very positive space where bloggers can build each other up and help one another out. This is definitely a MUST have tool if you’re serious about blogging.

3. I signed up for Convertkit.

Convertkit is the best email marketing service I have come across, in terms of ease of use, design, amazing automation, and helpful support staff.

They also regularly put on incredible free webinars, chock full of useful info I’ve saved for later on SEO, email marketing strategies, and more.

They make setting up forms and landing pages so easy, and the end result on your website will look very professional.

There are other email marketing service providers out there, but if you’re in the blogging game for the long haul, I think you’ll end up switching to ConvertKit anyway, so why not save yourself the hassle of switching over. Start with the best from the get go.

4. I STARTED!

It took me a couple of months from the time I first started toying with the idea of starting a blog to actually starting one, but I did it!

I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’m learning as I go. But I haven’t let that stop me from getting started and moving toward my goals.

If you’ve been thinking about blogging (or starting anything, for that matter), START NOW!

There will never be a “perfect” time where you feel you have all the time in the world to do it and all the know-how and none of the fear or insecurity. You’ve got to start in spite of those things.

I HIGHLY recommend this Launch Your Blog Course. It’s exactly what I used to get started, when I didn’t know the first thing about using WordPress or blogging!

5. I’m writing this post.

I’m taking the time to write this post about my first year’s mistakes. Which means I’m taking time to reflect on what I’ve done so far so I can learn from them and try something different. Reflection is vital to growth.

A couple of quotes from Thomas Edison, the inventor of the lightbulb, come to mind:

“ I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

“Many of life’s failures are from people who didn’t realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

It just takes ONE way that works. And we never know what’s around the next corner for us. The only way to find out is to keep going.

Learning a new skill or trade is hard, and it takes time to master. I know I’ve still got a TON to learn about blogging, writing, and serving others, but the key is to keep moving forward.

If you avoid these mistakes that I made with my own blog, you’ll be 10 steps ahead of me!

What mistakes have you made in starting or running your blog? I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,

P.S. Check out my post, 10 Ways to Save Money Right Now, if you’re feeling like money’s a little tight at the moment!

blogging mistakes

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Hey there! I'm Megan.

Hey there! I'm Megan.

I believe in cultivating a happy life with intention, using one small building block at a time.

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