Alright my friend, if you’re ready to start a blog then I’m glad you’re here! I’ve been blogging for over 20 years (yes, YEARS!) and blogging has been one of the most fun, entertaining, and and life-altering things I’ve ever done.
I know that seems a tad dramatic, but it’s true!
My blog has helped me build a freelance web design business, leave my corporate job, launch ebooks and e-courses, get paid to travel and speak at conferences, work with THOUSANDS of amazing bloggers and business owners and even move across the country from Michigan to California! (You can read more of my story over here)
Whether you’re blogging to gain customers, blogging to grow your client list, blogging to make a little cash on the side, or just blogging for FUN, I know building a successful online presence has the potential to do some amazing things for you too!
But before you get too far into the process I wanted to share 10 mistakes I see my beginner blogger students make all the time so you can start feeling like you know what you’re doing ASAP!
1 | Using too many fonts/colors/graphics or not altering the template at all
There is a fine line between customizing your blog design to look like your own and looking like you handed the reigns over to an elementary school art class with zero direction.
Choosing fonts and colors that help to convey the vibe of your blog and show off your personal style is important to building a recognizable brand. Choose up to 4 colors and no more than 3 fonts, and focus on creating eye-catching graphics over going full force into learning to re-code your template.
2 | Leaving comments that promote your blog or ask for a follow in return
Even after 20 years in the blogosphere I STILL get comments that are mostly a URL and a request for follow back. This is a massive waste of your time and it looks like spam. Don’t use other people’s blogs to promote your own. Leave genuine comments, only put your URL in the URL field, and put time into connecting on social media. You’ll make WAY more blogging connections that way.
3 | Avoiding social media because it’s overwhelming
I get it, the second you start a blog you end up with multiple social media accounts and find yourself overwhelmed almost immediately. Not only do you have a long list of blogging tasks, but now you have to keep up with posting on social media every day as well??
Social media is still the best way to bring in new readers, so I recommend you pick one or two platforms, figure out how to use them really well, and schedule your content in advance.
4 | Writing posts that cover everything
Not only should you be specific with your overall blogging niche, but you should be sticking you ONE subject per post. This is better for SEO, social media, and growing traffic than posts covering multiple topics.
While 10 readers might be interested in every single thing you did over the weekend, you could be missing out on 1,000 readers who only want to know about the cake you baked or that side table you re-finished.
5 | Posting 12 photos that are exactly the same
Fashion bloggers I’m looking at you! I know you think the photos looks totally different when you tilt your head slightly to the right than the photo above it where you’re turned a little to the left, but it doesn’t. What it does do is make your posts take a really long time to load. Pick the very best photos and share those on your blog and then use the rest to promote that post on social media.
6 | Hiding social sharing buttons
Here’s the truth: most readers will not make it all the way to the end of your blog post. They’ll skim the headings in search of the info they need and read a paragraph here or there, so if your social media share buttons are only at the bottom of the post you could be missing out on lots of shares.
To avoid this issue, I use Sumo share buttons (affiliate link) which stay glued to the side of the post so reader can share whether they only make it through the first handful of tips or scroll all the way to the bottom.
>>> My favorite tool for share buttons, pop-up boxes, and announcement bars
7 | Random post titles
Pop quiz: How many people do you think will click on a post titled Tuesday? Probably not a ton, right?? (Don’t worry, I have soooo many weekday-named posts from years ago too.)
Not only is it difficult for me to dig through my own archives, but it also makes it REALLY unlikely your readers will be intrigued enough to read or take the time to share. You post titles should give info on what the post is about or tease readers enough to get more eyes on your content. Something like, How I learned the secret to _________ or 10 mistakes _______ always make will do the trick.
8 | Not promoting a damn thing
If you’re writing for fun and don’t care who stops by your blog then keeping to yourself on the internet is totally cool. But if you’re hoping to gain a few more readers, clients or customers, you best be proud of what you’re writing and share it all over the place.
If you aren’t excited about your blog posts then you can’t expect your audience to buy in and get excited to. Setting up a social media scheduler like Planoly (for Instagram), TailWind (for Pinterest), or SmarterQueue (for Twitter + Facebook) will make promoting your own content much less awkward and less time-consuming too. (Affiliate links!)
>>> Read this: How to promote for people who hate self-promotion
9 | Posting teeny tiny photos or photos in multiple sizes
Notice anything about the photos on my blog?? They’re all the same size. My post space is about 700px wide which means my photos are 700px wide. Photos should be the width of your post space whether they’re vertical or horizontal because keeping a consistent photo style is an easy way to make your columns clean and your design look pro.
>>> Need more design help, check out this post with 10 quick design fixes
10 | Complaining online, “Whyyyy aren’t people coming to my blog???”
99% of the time the answer is – you are posting sporadically, about 50 topics, and you don’t promote your posts or engage with other bloggers. And you complain too much. Stop doing all of those things and I guarantee more people will come to your blog and stick around longer.