We all start blogging from the beginning with 0 zero pageviews, 0 income and very basic knowledge. If you want to go from an amateur blogger to a pro, then you’re going to need to learn and develop the skills that are needed to run a successful online business.
I’m sure every pro blogger has made mistakes (actually, I’m 100% sure of it). If you’re new to blogging, here are the amateur blogging mistakes that we’ve all made. Hopefully, this post will highlight them so you don’t make them!
Related Course: Launch Your Blog Biz by Create and Go
Let’s dive into the most common amateur blogging mistakes:
Quit too early
This is huge! And it’s the biggest mistake that I made with my first blog.
I am always seeing amateur bloggers give up way too early. They get busy creating content and expect there to be traffic quickly. Blogging is a slow game that requires you to make consistent content and be committed to learning all that you can to get your blog off the ground
It takes time!
There will be days when you find yourself wondering if it’s ever going to work. We’ve all been there! Keep going.
They don’t treat their blog as a business
If you’re starting your blog to help you earn some extra money, then treat it like a business from the beginning.
This means that you set up a separate bank account, record your income and expenses, invest in learning and have a plan where you’re working towards earning an income.
Not self-hosting your blog
Self-hosting means you create your website and have external hosting, like Siteground.
If you are self-hosting you’ll have a URL like yourblog.com. If it isn’t self-hosted it will be yourblog.wordpress.com or yourblog.wix.com. This step is super important and can be such a pain to fix down the track!
I recommend that you start with WordPress.org and Siteground. Siteground is on the more affordable end of hosting and I’ve had such a great experience with them.
Don’t use WordPress from the beginning
Sure there are other platforms out there but I can say with certainty that many bloggers that start elsewhere end up on WordPress.
It can be a pain moving a website to another platform so invest the time to learn WordPress from the beginning.
Use the cheapest hosting they can find
There are many bloggers out there that promote very cheap hosting. I’ve spoken to so many new bloggers that have signed up and regretted the decision.
I strongly recommend that you start with superior service. I have used Siteground for years now and have had a great experience.
They aren’t the cheapest out there but they are still an affordable option.
Waste too much time on making their website look pretty
There are so many extremely profitable blogs that don’t look amazing. In fact, some are downright ugly!
Sure, it’s nice to have a beautiful blog but it’s not necessary. Get it up, start creating content and build your traffic. The worst mistake you can make is not getting started because you’re too worried about the look of the blog. Your first website will not be your last.
You can always invest more time and money into the website down the track.
Don’t monetize from the beginning
There’s this myth out there that you need a certain amount of traffic before you can monetize.
This is so far from the truth. Start monetizing from the beginning!
They’re too worried they don’t know enough to get started.
In reality, you only need to know more than your readers and even then, you could outsource the content creation in an area that you aren’t terribly familiar with.
Don’t let this hold you back from starting your blog.
They don’t invest in learning
Learning as much about blogging and online business will save you both money and time. It’s invaluable to be able to learn from other pro bloggers that have made mistakes and created profitable blogs.
Spend the money, you won’t regret it.
My all-time favourite blogging course has to be Six-Figure Blogger by Create and Go.
I know when I started blogging, I had no idea what SEO was. Once I learnt what it was, I thought it was so boring and didn’t invest the time and money into learning about it.
This was perhaps one of the biggest mistakes that I made when starting out.
Now, it’s the cornerstone of my blogs. I am continually learning about it and researching keywords to create blog posts. Once you have a steady flow of traffic from search engines, you have created true passive income.
Mike Pearson is my go-to SEO guy. He has two courses, Niche Site Academy and Stupid Simple SEO course. Both teach you some great SEO strategies. I highly recommend Niche Site Academy if you’re just starting out.
Not creating a content plan with relevant keywords
Once you have a list of keywords you want to go for, then start creating a plan to get those posts published. You can do this by writing them yourself or outsourcing them.
Work through your list and stay focused!
Focusing too much on social media
Don’t get me wrong, social media can be an important and successful part of an online business. The problem that I see commonly in the amateur blogging world is that newbie bloggers will spend way too much time there instead of creating amazing content on their blog.
Remember, you’re aiming to get to 100,000 words as quickly as you can. Once you have that, then by all means spend more time on social media but have the basics of your blog up.
The other thing that can really help you with your social presence is to schedule your content. This means that you won’t be wasting too much time on the platform.
Not learning about Pinterest
Just so we’re clear, Pinterest is a search engine, not a social media platform. Readers go there to find what they’re looking for, just like Google.
Having a presence on Pinterest is important and it’s a great place to start when you’re a new blogger.
Just remember that it will take time to see growth but fortunately it does happen quicker than ranking on Google.
My favourite Pinterest course is Pinterest Avalanche by Create and Go. They give you all the basics and more advanced strategies to drive readers from Pinterest to your blog.
Only using Amazon affiliates for affiliate marketing
Whilst Amazon is great, their commissions are very low and they can lower it (or even stop the program) whenever they want.
When starting out, research other affiliate networks like Shareasale to see if you can find the products you want to promote with higher commission rates. If you can’t find other options, you can always email the business to ask if they have an affiliate program.
Diversifying your affiliate income will create a more sustainable blog and business.
Don’t work on their mindset
My growth with an online business has been from starting out trying to figure it all out myself, to paying for courses to help, to implementing every strategy I’ve learned and then to realising that mindset has such a huge role in your success.
Have you wondered why some bloggers are killing it and you’re struggling after years?
I’d probably say that you need to work on your mindset, including your money mindset.
We have so much baggage from experiences earlier in our lives that we need to clear out.
It’s a big job but I’ve loved Denise Duffield-Thomas. She’s taught me a lot!
They don’t start growing their list from the beginning
Once you’re well on your way to creating amazing content, then get your email marketing sorted.
The best part of having an email list is that you own it. You can control how you communicate with your audience and what you show them.
You don’t have to rely on algorithms or worry about only a small percentage of your audience seeing your content.
Mailchimp is often where amateur bloggers start, and that’s ok. They do have a free version for up to 2000 subscribers. During this period you do however have limited features you can use.
My recommendation is to start with Flodesk. At the moment they only charge per account, not per the number of contacts you have.
I’ve done my fair share of moving email providers and I have to say that Flodesk has been my favourite, especially for simple blogs.
They are currently charging $38/month for unlimited contacts but if you use this link, you get it for $19/month for the life of your account. Such a bargain!
Don’t create lead magnets that truly add value to the reader
When creating lead magnets don’t just whip up something. Take the time to think about what your audience needs and how it can lead to something more profitable.
For example, if you have a low waste blog, you might create a simple PDF to help the reader create zero waste solutions for their kitchen but in your welcome sequence, you could upsell them a course, whether your own or an affiliate product.
They think they’re writing creative pieces
This is not true!
When blogging you are wanting to answer the reader’s question concisely and give them the information they need. It’s not a creative writing piece!
Be straight to the point and leave the fluff out.
They don’t learn how to SEO optimize each post
Even if you’re doing your keyword research, you will also need to know how to construct the blog post for SEO purposes.
You need to know where to use the keywords, how to optimize your images and alt tags, what to use for your permalink and what to include in your Google preview. Just to name a few things.
Learn this from the beginning and it will save you so much work down the track.
They don’t install Google Analytics from the beginning
This is simple to do and it’s important to know your analytics. You just need to add the code to your header and you’re good to go.
Your analytics will give you so much information on what’s working and what’s not on your blog. It’s also super important if you intend on selling your blog down the track. The more information you can give potential buyers, the better!
They don’t record their income and expenses
I know this sounds basic but record your incomings and outgoings from the beginning. It might look sparse but it’s important and if you get into the habit, you’ll be better off.
I’ve created a simple Google Sheet where I record it all for all of my blogs. I update it every month.
Not having the correct permalink structure
The permalink is the tail of the URL. For example yourblog.com/learn-to-blog
The default setting within WordPress can include dates and extra bits that are totally unnecessary.
To change this go to Setting > Permalinks > Post Name > Save changes.
Even then, I often update the link to only have the keywords that I’m going after. It’s good to keep the permalink as short as possible but with your keywords.
Avoiding linking to other blogs or websites
It seems that new bloggers are afraid of linking to other sites but Google actually gives you credit when you do. It likes to see you linking out to other blogs and it also gives you authority when other websites link back to you.
Lack of formatting and using the correct headings (H2, H3 etc)
When you’re writing a blog post you want to learn how to create posts that are easy to read (and skim) and use your keywords in your main headings.
The recommended practice is to not use H1 heading in posts. Your main headings will be H2, sub-headings H3 and then H4 if need be.
Not writing enough
Gone are the days when you can whip up a few short posts and expect Google to rank you for them. The more amazing content you create, the more authority Google will give you. When creating new websites, I aim to get to 100,000 words before I expect much from Google.
When looking at your competitors analyze how long their posts are and how many they have. That will give you an idea of what you need to aim for to start seeing significant traffic from Google.
Writing for search engines and not humans
Whilst you need to be researching keywords and writing with the aim of ranking on Google, you still need to make sure you’re writing for your reader. If it’s keyword-stuffed or hard to read, you’ll lose the reader. Do the research and then create the content for the reader.
They try and be everywhere when starting out
When starting your blog, you hear that you need to have an amazing website, a Facebook page, Instagram, TikTok, email marketing, Pinterest and the list goes on.
I can tell you that if you think you master all the things, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Pick a couple to start with and then as you can, increase your presence on other platforms. When starting a new blog I always focus on SEO, Pinterest and growing the email list.
Not being aware of site speed
This is something that really took me a while to see the value in. I knew it was important but I didn’t prioritize it. And it shows with my older blogs, they are far slower than my newer ones. With new blogs, I start with site speed in mind. I invest in the right plugins and optimize my images from the beginning. It’s so much easier than having to do it later!
Using images that are way too large
It’s a priority to keep your site loading fast. One of the biggest contributors to a slow site is huge images.
I always reduce the size of my images before loading as well as having a compressing plugin like ShortPixel.
Stop making these amateur blogging mistakes now!
Hopefully knowing those amateur blogging mistakes now will help you avoid making them! Some of them have taken me years to figure out.
I also just want to remind you not to quit too early. I know it was mistake number 1 but it’s so important. When it gets hard, keep going. Keep working towards your plan and goals.