This year marks my 4th year of blogging (eeek!) and although I’ve still got a lot to learn, I also feel like I’ve learnt a lot since I first set up this little corner of the web back in 2013. Today I’ll be sharing 5 blogging mistakes I made – and how you can avoid them.
1. I didn’t buy my own domain for over a year.
I started my blog in June 2013, yet for some reason I decided to wait until October 2014 to get my own domain. This is one of my biggest blogging regrets to date, and if I had to start over I would definitely purchase my own domain straight away! First of all, having your own domain means that you get better exposure on search engines since these prefer to link to root domains rather than blogspot.com or wordpress.com domains. Having your own domain also looks more professional, and brands are more likely to want to work with you. Also, you can’t start working on your Domain Authority until you’ve got your own domain – and this affects how likely it is that brands will want to work with you. Check out my tips on how to improve your Domain Authority by optimising your site here and here.
2. I didn’t invest in a professional-looking template for a long time.
When I first started blogging I was quite sceptical about spending any money to invest in my blog – especially as at first blogging was just a side hobby (and to be fair, I was a uni student at the time with not much money at all!). So instead of buying a professional-looking blog template, I would use the default templates on Blogger and experiment by changing the background and font colours. Ummm, yeah. That didn’t work so well as you can see from the picture below! As I later found out, getting a nice, clean template doesn’t have to cost you loads. You can get some really nice ones on Etsy for under a tenner – search for ‘blogger templates’ or ‘wordpress templates’. Just make sure that whatever template you decide to go for is responsive and mobile-friendly as this helps you rank better on search engines.
3. I would only promote my blog posts once on social media
When I first started out, I used to think that once I’ve hit ‘publish’ on a new blog post, I would only need to share this once across my social media channels – and that’s my job done. Well, guess what? I was so wrong! After spending so much time working on a blog post, it’s pretty pointless and disappointing if nobody reads it. After all, the whole point of writing a blog post is that you actually want people to read what you wrote, and so it’s super important to work even harder on promoting your content. The general rule is 80/20 – you should spend around 20% of your time writing content compared with 80% of your time promoting your content. This doesn’t mean you should be spamming Twitter with the same link to your latest blog post. However, let’s say you’ve got 1000 Twitter followers. If you were to tweet out a link to your latest post just once, it doesn’t mean that 1000 people are going to see it. Most people won’t be on Twitter at the same time, so it’s important to promote your content at different times throughout the day, and on different channels. You can check out my Twitter Tips for Bloggers for more tips.
4. My photography was pretty.. meh.
Back in 2013, my photography wasn’t great. Although I enjoyed taking photographs, I was very inexperienced and as a result my blog photography, and my blog as a whole, suffered. I recently wrote a post discussing whether an expensive DSLR camera is essential for blogging, and quite frankly, it isn’t – especially if you’re new to blogging. However this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t work on improving your photography and produce great photos. I underestimated the power of good blog photography for a long time, however it’s very obvious to me now that readers and brands (and pretty much everyone else) is more drawn to a blog with great photographs. So if you want to grow your blog, working on your photography is a great place to start.
5. I didn’t want the people I knew in real life to find out about my blog.
Although wanting to hide your blog from your family, friends and colleagues might not be something that’s ever crossed your mind, I know A LOT of bloggers who started (and maybe even continued) to blog in secret. Of course, this is your own personal choice and you may have your own personal reasons for doing this. However, in my case I didn’t really have any particular reason other than the fact that I was embarrassed of what the people I knew might think if they found out about my blog. For a long time, it was only my parents, my boyfriend and my best friend who knew about my blog. However, as time passed some people I knew started to find out about my blog, and although I was mortified at first, I gradually grew more and more comfortable with this. As more people found out about my blog I realised that this only meant that I received more support on my blog and that the people I knew actually enjoyed reading it. Nowadays, I am no longer ashamed or embarrassed about my blog. I’m proud of my little corner on the web and all the happiness and opportunities it’s brought along with it! And you should be proud of your own blog too!
What’s the biggest mistake you made when you first started blogging?
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