Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to spend thousands on your blog to be successful. You don't need hundreds of thousands of pageviews. Or even a super slick blog design. In fact, you can be extremely successful and barely spend any money. But what you do need is a plan.
In this post, I'm sharing some of my biggest blogging disasters as well as common blogging mistakes most bloggers (new and veteran) make, plus how to fix and avoid them!
I've been blogging for eight years and been a full-time blogger for almost five. My blog has helped me live my life, employ myself and my husband, and it's even been the catalyst for our move abroad. And while that might sound awesome, it also means I've made more than a few mistakes over the years.
The good thing? You're here, which means you care about your blog and you want it to succeed. Which means… you're already halfway there!
1. You're All Wrong About Posting
One of the biggest mistakes I see with bloggers if they post all the time or they rarely post. But if you do post all the time… are you posting something worth it that someone wants to read?
When I first started blogging I posted every single day. My traffic was pretty bad. Why? Well, posting like that for me meant low quality posts.
When it comes to blogging I definitely recommend quality over quantity. But there's a caveat to that. You have to still post on your blog. Whether that's once a week, or twice a month, you have to do what works for you.
I know that when I didn't publish on my blog for a little over a month I did see a significant drop in traffic. Here's a look at my traffic when I didn't post for a month:
I lost nearly 23% of my traffic. That's a BIG drop!
The more you blog with detailed posts that are helpful, insightful, or offer something to your audience (this can be funny, instructional, explanatory, etc.), the more pageviews and subscribers you'll get.
Post consistently on your blog. At a minimum, I recommend posting at least twice a month on your blog. I recommend trying to keep a regular blogging schedule. I KNOW it can be hard. I get it! But it's crucial if you want your blog to succeed.
I suggest dedicating a day of the week to doing at least one or two blogging tasks. Especially if you're strapped for time (I know what it's like to run a blog and work a full time job, I've been there!). Here's what I suggest:
Monday – Brainstorm ideas about what to write + Write a couple hundred words
Tuesday – Do post research + Write a couple hundred words
Wednesday – Share last weeks post on social media + Write a couple hundred words
Thursday – Answer emails + Write a couple hundred words
Friday – Write a couple hundred words + Publish that post!
See a trend there? I HIGHLY recommend writing every day. It will help you become a better writer and keep up with a consistent schedule of posting. Schedule this ins a calendar (I like Google calendar) and you'll be set!
Stuck on ideas? Use Answer the Public, Google Trends, or poll your audience to find some.
One thing I try to remember when posting on my blog is to share foundational content. That's writing that people will read again and again and will last over time.
Now, do I share that every time I post? No! Of course I share personal posts or travel stories or things I find interesting. But I know the importance of sharing posts that people want to read.
2. Not Getting Paid for Your Work
For the longest time, I thought that my blog was just a free, fun thing. And it was (and still is) but that doesn't mean that my time and effort don't deserve monetary compensation.
Now are you suddenly going to start making $7,000 a day? Probably not. It takes time and effort. But it can happen. Especially when you set yourself up for success. In fact, it's a mistake to think brand new bloggers can't make money!
Now, one of the best ways to monetize any blog is to grow your pageviews. More pageviews equals more followers, subscribers, advertising dollars and more. As soon as I started getting 250,000 pageviews a month (this post details how) I noticed an increase in monetizing my blog. But you don't need hundreds of thousands of views in order to make money. check out the ways you can monetize:
There are actually more ways to make money blogging thank you think! This post goes into detail on how bloggers can make money. But here are some examples.
Be strategic from the start. First, integrate some things you already love and use in your posts. Sign up for affiliate programs (Amazon has one!) and naturally link to thinks that relate directly to what you're talking about. Here are some examples:
- If you're a fashion blogger, you can sign up for LiketoKnowIt and link to the outfits you wear (same goes for any blogger that talks about clothing or house hold)
- List your must-have travel items via Amazon
- Share what hotel you stayed in through Booking.com's referral program (I almost always use Booking.com to book a hotel so this is really a natural fit!)
- If you're sharing a recipe, link the pots, pans, and other tools you use
Sell What You Know
Whether you create an ebook, become a VA, or create a course, there are so many different things you can sell. Focus on where your areas of expertise lie and come up with a way to sell what you know.
Another option that has become highly popular is selling presets! You can take a look at my shop and see what I sell right here.
Passive income is one of my favorite ways to make money. Using Google advertising or an advertising platform (I work with MediaVine) is a great way to monetize your blog.
The way to actually monetize with advertising is through pageviews. The more views on your blog the more click and ad revenue. But if you're starting out, don't muddy your blog with too many ads and scare people away. Which brings me to my next point.
See more ways to make money blogging here.
3. Not Creating a Community
So often I hear bloggers say that they are working on SEO, or their Pinterest strategy, and while those things are great, to me, the MOST essential strategy any blog can have is building a community. Yep, the MOST IMPORTANT part of any blog is the community around it. The people that come back again and again.
Think of it like this, Google's Algorithm (as well as all social media platforms) change all the time. That great post that used to rank #1 on Google? Now isn't even on the first page. YES, this can happen and it can happen overnight. I don't say this to scare you, but worrying solely about traffic from your competitor (yes, Google is a competitor for your blog), then I fear you're doing it wrong.
I just spoke with a girl who has triple my amount of traffic (I get about 250,000 to 300,000 hits a month) but I make 5 times the amount she does. WHY? Because I have a community of people that actually care. That means they click, buy, interact, and support my blog. And I'll take that over a million hits any day.
I think most of us start blogs to find our voice or to share something about ourselves. When we do, we also find others with shared experiences. And it's incredible! It's one of my favorite things about blogging.
Here's 20 people from my blogging community that came and traveled with me in Europe!
First and foremost: stop worrying about numbers so much! I know we're told it's important. But these things Focus on creating content that your readers want. Not sure how to do that? ASK THEM! Do a poll on your Instagram Stories, create a questionnaire or survey that you send out to readers, look at what other bloggers with high engagement are writing about than write about your own topic in your own words with your own expertise.
Create a connection with people. Don't just like someone's Instagram post; comment with something meaningful. Start a conversation and support them. This is one of the best ways to get them to notice you. But don't just stop there, communicate with others in a similar niche or check out who they're following.
You can also join a Facebook group – this is great for not only gaining knowledge but to find people that would be interested in you.
Reach out and ask. Ask them to go to lunch, grab coffee, or even just chat. You'd be surprised how often you'll get a response back!
Lastly, write with your own voice. People want to connect with you and your background. Don't try to force writing about topics you don't actually care about. Stick true to who you are, stay authentic, and write from your heart.
Further reading: How to Create a Community for Your Blog
4. Not Creating a Newsletter
I waited YEARS to create a newsletter. And I'm still kicking myself over this. A newsletter is the number one way I make money. NUMBER ONE y'all!
This goes hand in hand with creating a community. If you're creating a community you need to capture these leads (aka email addresses) so you can notify them of new posts, news, or something you might be selling (your own stuff or affiliate links, etc).
So often people publish and share on social media then cross their fingers that the Google gods and social media society to magically send traffic. You have to be proactive. And collecting email addresses is smart. In fact, a study revealed that each email subscriber you have equals about $38.
Set up a newsletter. Like right now. I recommend Convertkit. It's what I use and they also offer a free plan. Which is HUGE. It's created by bloggers for bloggers. Here's my tutorial on how to set up a newsletter.
Now you can't just create a newsletter. You need to make it super easy for people to sign up. I recommend offering an incentive for people to sign up. This can be a free checklist, ebook, calendar, stock photos, etc. Here's my freebie for this post. I recommend you sign up so you can see how it works 🙂
Where can you ask people to subscribe? ANYWHERE. You blog home page, side bar, in between blog posts, etc. I also like using SumoMe to create pop-ups or creates a bar at the top. Oh, that's free to use!
5. Not Getting Help
If you want to take your blog seriously, you need to ask for help. Of course, there are free resources out there. But the game changed for me when I invested in my blog. I have taken dozens of online courses to learn new skills and find what path works best for me.
BUT one of the biggest ways I've grown my blog is having someone help me with my blog. The fact is we can't know everything when it comes to blogging. This is a HUGE world of knowledge. I'll say this a million times if it wasn't for WP Help I probably wouldn't be blogging today. If you're on WordPress A few ways they've helped me over the years:
- Move my blog from Blogger to WordPress
- Set up my DNS settings
- Helped facilitate my blog design (I have actually lost money on this by hiring a design team that sucked. They came through and helped create the design you see on my blog now!)
- Back up my blog
- Perform security checks to make sure it's running smoothly
- Making my blog run faster
- Basically any time anything breaks I ask them for help
But more than that, the customer service is our of this world. I know this sounds salesy but this isn't sponsored. I just love this company that much. I feel like they're part of my family. Maybe that's because I talk to them at least once a week.
I actually reached out and WPHelp gave me a code (for my readers only!) if you use code HELENE15 you'll get 15% off!
Don't be afraid to take online courses. Do your research and find ones that work for you. I recommend people that are specialists. If someone has a course on Pinterest, SEO, WordPress, Instagram, Facebook ads, Blog design… etc, be warned. Try to find someone that has expertise in certain areas and doesn't try to be a jack of all trades.
If you need help, ask for it! You do not need to be a coding wizard and you don't have to spend hours trying to tinker with your blog. If you need to ask for help turn to Facebook groups or Twitter to help find others in similar situations or could point you in the right direction. Of course, I think WPHelp is your best bet because they are experts when it comes to WordPress.
There are always going to be mistakes when it comes to blogging. And that's okay! Just learn from them and don't forget to celebrate successes!