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I’m not going to lie, blogging is hard. Especially in the beginning. There is a lot to learn when it comes to blogging, more than you’d probably think.
The truth is that about 50% of blogs never make more than $100 a month, and many earn nothing at all. While some bloggers experience insane success and earn several hundred thousand a month.
During the first four years of my online journey, I made so many amateur blogger mistakes. It makes me sick to think how much time and potential income I wasted. And why you might ask? I was stubborn, cheap and lazy.
Oh, how I wish I had known all the things I’m about to tell you back then!
Common amateur blogger mistakes
1. Not investing in yourself
Don’t waste days, weeks or even months to save like $50 as I did. It is what I consider my biggest blogging mistake and I know so many other bloggers would agree. I was obsessed with getting everything I needed for free and adamant about not spending a cent more than I absolutely needed. I spent almost six months trying to code my website when I could have spent $39 on a theme!!
What I didn’t realize then is that we are so lucky to live in a time where we have access to literally all the knowledge we could possibly need. Your choice is whether you invest your time and find pieces here and there or invest your money in a course or coach and save a lot of time. The choice should be easy really.
Money is a renewable resource that flows in and out of your life and you can always get more of it. Time is the only thing you can never get more of. So why are we so willing to waste time to save money? It’s a mindset shift that I wish more than anything I had worked on changing earlier.
If you feel triggered by this, you should work on your money mindset before anything else. I started my blog when I had like $40 in my bank account, so I know a thing or two about not being able to pay the bills. However, it could have been so much easier.
If I had to start from scratch, I would:
- Work on my money mindset first. Read books like Get Rich Lucky Bit*h and Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. Watch YouTube videos and blogs until money no longer is this big, scary, separate thing in my life. I would get comfortable logging into my bank account and looking at the numbers. I would get excited every time I paid a bill because I got to contribute to society. And most importantly, I would learn to be comfortable with receiving.
- Buy a domain, hosting and a WordPress theme if needed. More on than later.
- Invest in a course from someone who already is where I want to be. The Pro Blogger Bundle by Create and Go is the best value resource I have ever come across in my 8 years as a blogger. And that comes from someone who has completed 79 blogging courses and ebooks.
Pro Blogger Bundle:
This discounted bundle of Create and Go’s 4 best-selling courses will teach you exactly how to start a blog and make money from home. It’s the complete path they used to start an online business and scale it to six figures. You have the opportunity to get the step-by-step guide to building a money-making blog from someone who earns more than $100,000 from their blogs monthly!
What you get in the Pro Blogger Bundle:
2. Not starting an email list
You might have heard the phrase “the money is in your list”, and I couldn’t agree more. Your website can be hacked at any moment and your social media accounts shut down. The only thing you truly own is the list of names and emails of people who have chosen to give them to you. Which means they are invested in your content in one way or another.
When you launch a product and post about it on social media, you have no control over who sees it and who doesn’t. These days Instagram is only showing like 10% of your audience your content. However, if you send out an email about to people who have already engaged with you and are interested in what you have to say, there’s a greater likelihood that they will purchase. Or your results will at least be more consistent.
Or in a different scenario, if you get shut out of your social media and lose all your followers, you can send an email asking everyone to follow your new account. An email list is also a great way to get people to engage with your new blog posts as it can take weeks or even months before Google decides to show it to anyone.
My favorite of the four courses mentioned above is Six Figure-Course Creator because it literally has an email marketing course built into the course about creating courses. Haha. Be sure to check it out!
Create your first freebie to begin collecting those emails using my FREE Canva lead magnet template.
3. Not focusing on SEO
One of the biggest mistakes amateur bloggers make is not focusing on SEO from the start. SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and it means the process of improving your site to increase its visibility in searches.
Appearing at the top of search engine rankings builds credibility for your site and, of course, results in more clicks which means more traffic and more opportunities to convert readers into customers.
Make SEO a priority from the beginning so you don’t have to go back and edit 150 blog posts as I did. Buy a course like mentioned above or read blogs and watch YouTube videos until you know how to format an SEO-friendly blog post.
4. Using a free platform
Free things are great, right? Well, not if you are serious about making blogging your full-time job. Another one of the most common amateur blogging mistakes I see is not investing in a self-hosted blog from the start.
I bet you wouldn’t want to build your home on land someone else owned, right? If they suddenly regretted it and wanted you to tear it down you’d be in trouble. The same goes for your blog. You’ll also be limited in the features and design elements you’d be able to implement.
If you are serious about blogging, don’t use wix.com, Blogger, WordPress.com, etc. Buy a domain, get hosting and install WordPress.org. In fact, 43,2% of all websites in the world are powered by WordPress.
Must read >> How to create a media kit as a travel blogger/influencer
5. Not connecting with other bloggers
I’m an introvert and like doing everything on my own, and so I did for years and years. However, to transition from amateur blogger to successful business owner, you need to network with others as much as possible.
- Comment on other blogs and social media in your niche.
- Ask bloggers with a higher DA if you can guest post.
- Join Facebook groups in your niche.
- Go to travel conferences.
- Pitch magazines.
- Shout out other bloggers and Instagrammers you genuinely like.
- Do collaboration posts.
The more exposure, the higher the chances of opportunities finding you.
6. Not niching down
If you niche down it will be so much easier to monetize because Google and your readers will know exactly what you’re about. When you are seen as an expert on a topic you are much more likely to rank in search results. However, your niche should be broad enough for you to be able to write one or two blog posts a week for years.
Choosing a profitable niche
If your main objective is to make money from your blog, you should choose a niche with good income potential. In theory, all niches can make money as long as the topics attract an audience. However, some niches are more difficult to monetize, especially for beginners. You should ask yourself:
- Are people actually searching for the topics in the niche?
- How are the affiliate opportunities? Either something people buy often or products with high commissions per sale.
- Is it a niche where brands are paying good money for partnerships?
- Can you create and sell your own products?
7. Not focusing on user experience
Don’t make people go looking for what you want them to see, especially your products and affiliate links. Make your navigation clear and easy to use, keep pop-ups to a minimum and make sure your site is as fast as possible.
Page speed isn’t only important for SEO but for user experience. How many times have you immediately clicked out of a site that took forever to load?
Choose a quality theme
A bad blog design is not only an assault on the eyes, but it can also affect conversion rates and keep people from returning. We humans are visual creatures and many people will judge your blog by how it looks. Especially in niches where aesthetics are important like beauty, fashion, interior design, etc.
Finally investing in a quality theme was the first good decision I made for my blog. My current theme is by 17th Avenue. There are also free premium themes such as Kadence.
8. Plastering your site with ads too early
And while speaking of user experience… In my mind, ads are not worth it before you can make some good money from them. Ads take away from the user experience and can affect affiliate and other product sales. Wait until you have at least 10,000 if not 50,000 pageviews a month so you can go straight into a quality ad network like Mediavine.
Must read >> How to pitch hotels & brands as a micro-influencer/blogger (+pitch example)
9. Not having a secure site
While you are caught up with design, social media and your email list, don’t forget the importance of security. An SSL certificate, which stands for Secure Socket Layer, is a must for all websites. It is a form of encryption that ensures the user’s private information is not compromised, often shown as a lock icon next to the URL in the browser window. It is easy to set up, just ask your hosting provider.
If someone lands on a website without an SSL certificate, they will see an alert that says it is not secure. Readers will often click out of your website and Google is also less likely to rank a site without an SSL certificate.
10. Focusing on low ROI tasks
ROI stands for return on investment. If you’re not thinking about your ROI when blogging, you’re doing it wrong. I wasted so much time in the beginning on social media, sharing threads and making sure every little detail was “perfect” when I should have only focused on two things; writing SEO-optimized blog posts for traffic and affiliate conversion.
Ask yourself: is this task worth the time I’m spending on it? Will it bring me closer to my dream of being a full-time blogger?
11. Trying to do everything at once
Most bloggers will have different views on the most important tasks to focus on for amateur bloggers. And as a new and eager blogger, you will probably want to dive in head first and consume everything you can on the subject for then to try and implement it all at once. And that’s a surefire way to get burnt out quickly.
My advice would be to focus on and conquer one thing at a time. Start with writing SEO articles, learn Pinterest, then continue to affiliate marketing before starting your email list. Go at a pace that you can actually keep up with.
12. Not being consistent
Consistency is one of the most important factors for any blogger or content creator to be successful. A consistent posting schedule, consistency in tone of voice and in promoting what you’re selling. You can’t write five articles, pin them, sit back and then wonder why you aren’t getting traffic.
If you’re a slow writer like me, don’t set a goal of writing four blog posts a week. When you never make it, you will only get discouraged and lose faith that you can actually do this. Start with one quality blog post and when you get in a rhythm of publishing every week then you go for two a week. Once you gain momentum everything feels so much easier.
13. Focusing on one traffic source
Traffic = opportunities to monetize. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to traffic, income or anything else on your blogging journey. If you spend all your time on Pinterest and the algorithm suddenly changes, you are screwed unless you have also built an SEO foundation, share regularly with your email list, promote on social media etc.
Must read >> Six-Figure Course Creator by Create and Go review
14. Choosing the wrong blog name
Don’t choose a name that you will regret in a year or two. Choose a name that you can grow with as bloggers need to be in it for the long haul. Maybe you are a backpacker right now but in a few years, you might want to focus on mid-range travel. You might be young and skinny right now but that doesn’t mean you will be forever.
Make sure your blog name reflects your niche and at the same time leaves room to evolve.
15. Giving up when it gets hard
Blogging is incredibly fun but also super hard and frustrating. Those who are successful in blogging are the ones who don’t give up. Algorithms change, spammy backlinks will happen, and affiliate networks will change their commission or shut down altogether.
While it definitely is possible to make good money within a couple of months it is not the norm. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t reach a crazy goal like six figures in your first six months. Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint.
16. Not diversifying your income
One of the biggest mistakes I see amateur bloggers make is to rely heavily on one source of income. A few years ago Amazon cut their affiliate commission in half and as a result, many of my blogger friends lost half their income. Don’t let that be you.
There are many ways you can earn money from a blog, the most common are:
- Sponsored posts
- Display ads
- Affiliate marketing
- Digital products
- Press trips
The easiest one to start with is affiliate marketing. I made an affiliate sale the first day my blog went live because of a pin that quickly gained a lot of traction. Of course, it doesn’t often happen that way but it is possible.
17. Not treating your blog as a business
If you want to become a successful blogger you have to treat your blog as a business and not something you will get to when you have time. You might have to say no to going out with friends and make do with fewer hours of sleep in the beginning.
Act as the CEO of your blogging business. Walk, talk and think like you’re already where you want to be. Invest your time and energy as you would in any other job and be prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve your dream.
18. Writing for yourself
Unless you’re already a well-known person, blogs aren’t diaries like they used to be. But rather a place where people come for information, inspiration, entertainment or education.
If you want to make money fast, your blog should focus on what your audience wants to read about, not what you want to write. You should of course still share your thoughts and experiences, however, every blog post should also solve a problem.
Must read >> How I manifested my dream job by mistake
19. Failing to plan and strategize
Don’t just write about the first thing that pops into your head and post when you feel like it. Sit down and create a plan for success.
- What are your goals?
- Who are you solving problems for?
- What are your content silos (topics within your nice)?
- How are you monetizing your blog and social media?
- How often are you able to post?
- Where are you sharing and promoting?
Keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to success. Yes, you have to put something out there and create ways for people to pay you. But you can do that in whatever way feels right to you. Don’t waste your time looking for the one right strategy, because most strategies will work if you work them.
20. Comparing yourself to others
One of the amateur blogging mistakes that many make without even realizing is constantly comparing themselves to other bloggers and big influencers. Sometimes it may motivate and inspire you to work hard and become successful like them, however, if you’re not in the right mindset it will only bring you down.
Instead, try to focus on yourself, your own growth and practice gratitude daily. See others’ success as proof that there is an abundance of opportunities out there. If they can do it, so can you!
21. Focusing too much on social media
Instagram used to be my main focus even though I didn’t want to be an influencer. My dream was to run a successful blog, still, I spent most of my time on Instagram because I thought it would lead to pageviews.
Today I have more than 25k followers on Instagram, yet I only get a few clicks on my website a day. Pinterest, however, sends 300-500 people daily and Google even more.
Social media can be a great second source of income, especially if you actively pitch brands. (If you would like my media kit and pitch templates check out the Travel Creator Toolkit.) But you don’t need a shit ton of followers on social media to be a successful blogger.
22. Using other people’s content
Okay, most of you probably know this one already, but I’m saying it anyway. Don’t be that amateur blogger who steals and copies others. You will lose respect, and yes, you will eventually be penalized for plagiarism. It is perfectly fine to be inspired by and even strive to create something better than your competitors, but never copy.
Remember that you are not allowed to use other people’s photos unless you get explicit permission. I take most of my photos myself, the rest I buy from Depositphotos, an affordable and my favorite stock photo site.
23. Failing to get started
I don’t want this article to scare you away from following your dreams of becoming a successful blogger. Making mistakes is a big part of any journey, it’s how we learn, grow and evolve. I made TONS of amateur blogger mistakes and I still came out on the other side with a money-making blog. It just took a lot longer than it needed to.
As with everything in life, you have to actually get started to see results. Fear is the reason why most people let their dreams be just that, something they think and fantasize about from time to time. Is your fear to be seen, fear to fail or fear to be made fun of a valid enough reason to not go after your dreams?
Don’t be one of those people. Dare to go after and fight for what you want in life!
Remember to pin for later 😉
Eileen Valdez says
Your style is so unique compared to other people I have read stuff from.
Thank you for posting, I will bookmark this post!
Thanks, Eileen 😀