It isn’t easy starting a blog. I started mine in January 2022, and regardless of how much research I’ve done, I’ve made tons of mistakes. They are bound to happen no matter how experienced you are.
The good thing is some of these blogging mistakes actually help you improve. It sounds like a cliche, but it is true! You learn better from your own experience.
The bad thing is other mistakes prove costly and leave a hole in your budget.
These are the ones you should avoid. And in this case, it’s better to learn from someone else’s experience.
In this post, I’ll tell you about those mistakes that YOU CAN AVOID in order to SAVE TIME AND MONEY.
That being said, I’m not writing this article as an expert on blogging. Because I’m not. I’m writing it as someone who’s made a few errors on the way. If I can help you avoid them, great! If I help you relate and not feel alone, that’s also great!
MISTAKES I’VE MADE SINCE STARTING A BLOG
Before starting, I want to reiterate that IT’S OKAY TO MAKE MISTAKES! AS LONG AS YOU LEARN FROM THEM.
Don’t be intimidated by them and, also, don’t compare yourself to others. Each with their own struggles and experiences. Below, I’ll tell you about my own.
TIP: This is a lengthy post. Use the image below to save it to your Pinterest account, and come back later if you need.
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MISTAKE #1 I underestimated how much money I would spend
During my blogging research, I read a lot about how cheap starting a blog is. And technically, it is. To START it.
But you don’t just want to start a blog. You want to make it look professional and beautiful. You want to be legally protected. To earn money as a side hustle or even as a main job.
It is a business that you start and you want to GROW.
For this reason, I felt some bloggers weren’t telling the whole story. Of course, I’m not accusing anyone of anything. I’m just saying I, personally, appreciate it more when I’m given the entire picture.
So what is the entire picture?
It’s important to know approximately how much money you’re going to spend when starting something. I’ll show you below some of the things I paid for after starting a blog, so you know what to expect.
A. First, you need to pay for a hosting plan. Depending on which hosting company you choose, the prices will differ.
I went with SiteGround and paired it with WordPress. Besides SiteGround, another option would be Bluehost. Here’s a comparison between their plans.
It’s important to know that you pay it annually (not monthly). So this would mean 4.59×12.
Bluehost hosting plans
B. After paying for the plan, I had to pay for the domain. Not having a domain is not an option, so paying for it is mandatory.
If you choose Bluehost, the domain is included in the pricing. But there are other things you will want to have that you’ll have to pay for.
C. Another important feature I paid for is Domain ID Protection. This way, I felt I had a minimum of security and that my website is protected.
In addition, there are other features these companies have to offer and you may want to have them. This means extra costs.
For example, SiteGround has the SG Site Scanner for malware protection and so on.
So, in total, I had to pay over 100 EUROS (see below). Not so cheap, is it?
D. Then there’s the thing about your website’s appearance. This includes the theme and the installation process.
I can tell you now that I paid for both.
Is it necessary? No!
When you’re just starting a blog, you can go with a free theme, and choose how to personalize your site.
I chose a paid WordPress theme because I liked what I found, the Kylee More theme by Studio Mommy, and it wasn’t expensive (I think $11). It also came with a full tutorial on how to install it and make it look exactly like the demo.
But I also paid for the installation, because it’s hard to find your way around WordPress when you’ve never used it before. So another approx. $60 went out of my bank account.
I chose to save time over money. It’s strictly a personal choice.
E. You’ll also need branding elements for your website. Favicon, logo, tagline.
Again, I paid a designer to create them.
Can you try doing them yourself? Of course.
But keep in mind it takes time and skills. If you want to do them yourself, I recommend working in Canva or Photoshop.
F. Don’t forget about additional costs or subscriptions you may need!
The main ones that come to mind are keyword search tools, e.g. Keysearch, and an email marketing service, e.g. Mailchimp, Convertkit, Hubspot, etc. Each company has its own prices and packages. Choose what works for you.
Both are essential to writing blog posts and building an audience.
If you need help with theme installation, branding elements, and other technical stuff, I recommend Selena from Her Tailored Blog.
Last, but not least: you need to legally protect your website. A lawsuit is the last thing you want, trust me!
G. How do you LEGALLY PROTECT YOUR WEBSITE?
Also, check out Amira’s legal templates. I purchased mine from her. She is a trusted lawyer and a successful blogger. Her templates are extremely detailed and easy to customize.
WHAT YOU NEED TO REMEMBER FROM THIS
You don’t just want to start a blog. You want to CREATE a blog that makes you money.
This means paying for that extra feature that will solve a problem.
At the same time, know your limits! Don’t pay for something you can’t afford!
Prioritize your needs!
MISTAKE #2 Not being consistent/not having a schedule
The first thing you learn when you start a blog is that you have to constantly produce content.
It’s how every algorithm knows that you are serious and deserve a place in the search results. No matter which platform we’re talking about. Google, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc.
Take Pinterest for example. Being active on Pinterest and constantly creating and saving new pins gets you more monthly views.
When you don’t post on Pinterest for a period of time, your monthly views will start to decrease. It’s only natural, right?
My mistake was that I didn’t have a work schedule. A plan that said I need to write from this hour till this hour. Or deadlines.
I would post one article a certain week, and then not post for another two. It’s easy to neglect writing when you have other responsibilities.
HERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN DO TO AVOID THIS
BE ORGANIZED! Write down your schedule and actually DO the work, not just wait for it to happen.
SET DEADLINES! If it motivates you, reward yourself when you meet each deadline.
KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES!
DECIDE HOW MUCH TO POST A WEEK (one time is fine if that’s all your time allows) AND KEEP IT UP!
MISTAKE #3 Paid ads- not learning how they work
The truth is that if you pay for advertising, the results will come a lot faster. If you have even a small budget saved, you might want to try this. It is worth it.
A lot of bloggers, small influencers, and content creators push this idea of organic marketing or traffic. Which is ok, nothing wrong with that. Especially when you don’t have the financial resources.
But what’s not okay is to create the expectation that the exact results will happen organically as they would through paid advertising.
In the first months of blogging, I didn’t even consider paid ads. I followed a lot of YouTube channels that promoted growing your blog through posting on social media. Then I would look at that person’s success, think it is all organic, compare myself with them, and start doing what they say, thinking that’s the only way to go.
Last month I tried paid ads for the first time with Pinterest. A 10 days campaign with a small amount of money. The views for that pin went from under 200 to over 20k. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a screenshot at the time, and now it’s not as relevant. The views dropped because of….GUESS WHAT!…INACTIVITY!
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
The results you’re looking for might not come just from posting on social media.
Consider creating at least one paid campaign.
Choose a platform (e.g. Google, Pinterest, etc.) and learn how it works.
Don’t waste your money on campaigns before understanding the process.
MISTAKE #4 Not taking blogging courses
Writing blog posts isn’t like the writing you’re taught in high school or university. You don’t need long sentences, long paragraphs, complicated words or phrases, etc.
There are so many resources out there, that you can find a course or a tutorial for almost anything. Some of these courses and tutorials are free, while for others you need to pay.
You need to learn about SEO and how to achieve a high ranking. There are tons of materials on this subject.
Just don’t do what I did! Which is saving, choosing, and starting so many courses that you eventually can’t manage to finish.
The volume of resources and information can be overwhelming. Because of this, it’s better to start with one course at a time. Keep it simple at first! You don’t want to get confused and overwhelmed.
Writing blog posts is a skill you can learn through courses and practice.
Don’t forget to actually write, not just take courses!
Start one course at a time and don’t be intimidated by the amount of information you find!
I highly recommend you start by learning about SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
MISTAKE #5 My Pinterest pin designs
Basically, if you look at my Pinterest account, you’ll see a lot of inconsistency in the pins I created. My account isn’t cohesive.
The pins are chaotic and break graphic design principles.
Why is that important?
Because they aren’t clickable enough. Visually, they are not compelling.
So now I’m looking to remedy that by researching what courses I can take or reading about graphic design rules. I suggest you do that yourself, as well.
Or, if your budget allows, you can purchase all kinds of templates. Pinterest, Instagram, etc. But remember:
NO PIN CLICKS, NO PAGE VIEWS.
MISTAKE #6 Spending too much money on subscriptions I didn’t really need as a beginner
If you read my Blogging Resources page, you’ll see that I hugely recommend Haute Stock for their stock photos, templates, guides, instaquotes, etc. I absolutely love what they have to offer!
But was it necessary to have it right from the beginning of my starting a blog?
NO! Though it’s good to include paid stock photos on your blog (helps with the SEO), you don’t have to do it immediately. So is the case with other tools you might need for blogging.
Check first if they have a free subscription!
So what I’m saying is, again, PRIORITIZE YOUR NEEDS and KNOW YOUR FINANCIAL LIMITS!
MISTAKE #7 Not planning my content before writing it
Are you the type of person who simply starts writing words down hazardously without first thinking of what exactly you want to write and how is the best way to do it?
Because I sometimes am. Especially when it comes to blogging.
Me not getting to the point, or writing a lot of unnecessary stuff. Essentially, me not being satisfied with my content.
In many instances and for some people, this might be a good technique. BUT, when it comes to blogging, I’m pretty sure more often than not, it doesn’t work well.
The key words here are STRUCTURE and DISCIPLINE.
Take a moment and figure out a few things first:
- the structure of your content (headline, heading 2, heading 3…)
- the information and message you want readers to know
- what is your targeted audience
- the keyword or keyphrase you want to rank for (DO A RESEARCH FIRST, USING THE KEYWORDS SEARCH TOOL, e.g. Keysearch)
Then get to work!
Oh, and don’t try to write it perfectly! There’s no such thing.
MISTAKE #8 Not setting up goals
For example, this month, I want to reach x number of views with a certain blog post. Or I want to earn a certain amount of money.
I didn’t do any of that.
And I think it’s important because it reminds you why you’re doing the work you’re doing. It motivates you and gives you something to work for.
So my advice is to start setting up goals. Starting from small ones. Write them down if you wish.
This may seem like an insignificant mistake. But be careful!
Don’t underestimate the effects psychological factors have on your work routine and work quality!
That was it. These were the mistakes I wanted to talk about. I hope this helps you in your blogging journey.
I’ll make sure to update this post with other mistakes I make in the future.
Have you started your blog yet? What mistakes have you made? Share your thoughts in the comments.