When I first started this blog about two years ago, I ended up making a ton of mistakes in a lot of different areas. To be honest, it’s just part of the learning process. I don’t think you’ll ever meet one blogger who had it all figured out since the beginning. There is a lot to learn when it comes to blogging! But because there is so much to learn, it can be totally overwhelming. That being said there are 6 main things that I did that I don’t want you to do.
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. If you purchase something through a link, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Don’t be afraid to invest in your blog
When you’re deciding to finally create your blog, you may be thinking of all the amazing money-making opportunities you’ll have in the future. You see it all over social media. “How I made thousands this month on my blog.” I want you to know this – it is possible to make money on your blog. Don’t worry, I’ll cover how and more details in another blog post. But you know that saying, “You have to spend money before making money?” This can apply to blogging as well.
Some things that are smart to invest in are:
- Self-hosting (most important!)
- Blogging courses
- Stock Photos
- Tools (desk, computer, camera, etc)
Now am I saying you need these in order to have a successful blog? Not necessarily but they can make your blogging experience a little bit easier, efficient, and closer to making money on your blog.
Stop comparing yourself
It can be difficult to see posts of these successful bloggers talking about how they landed their fifth guest post or made 5k on their blog this month. It’s so easy to feel like your suddenly not doing enough. But guess what?
That blogger you’re looking at may have 5 more years of blogging experience than you. The best thing you can do when you’re starting to compare yourself to another blogger is to realize that this is your journey. You can totally be where that blogger is in a few years, maybe sooner, if you stay focused on your own blog.
Now if there’s a certain blogger you’re inspired by, take notes on what they’re doing to become successful. I want to express that It’s okay to be inspired but make sure you never copy their content. Remember, this is your journey.
Self-hosting your blog
During the first two years of blogging, I was using WordPress.com which is totally free. I highly recommend using this if you’re just starting your blog. Take the first year to get the hang of blogging, use the time to learn about SEO and affiliate marketing, connect with other bloggers, and build your audience. We’ll call this year your learning year.
Related Read: 10 Tools You Need To Help Grow Your Blog
The thing with wordpress.com is that because it’s free, you don’t actually own your blog. They do. You’re very limited when it comes to monetizing your content as well. That’s why I say only use this platform for the first year. And do not pay money for their upgraded plans. You’ll be spending way over $100 for a couple of added extras and still not own your site. I made this mistake because I didn’t know what I was doing.
When you feel like you’re more familiar with blogging and ready to get serious, it’s time to self-host! I only paid a little over $100 for my first self-hosted year with wordpress.org and SiteGround as my hosting service. I can monetize it to its full potential and it’s totally mine.
The importance of SEO
When I realized just how important Search Engine Optimization is, I was already blogging for an entire year. And let me tell you, my SEO skills sucked. It’s one of those things that people can become overwhelmed about but once you have practice, it’ll come to you naturally.
Basically, SEO is the reason why relevant articles pop up when you search for a certain subject. It’s all in the keywords and using them correctly. I mean, if you search for puppies surely you don’t want to see pictures of penguins. Or maybe you do. That’s not the point. You get it, right?
The main tool that has helped me with learning SEO and using it correctly in my posts is Yoast SEO. I highly recommend checking them out. They have a free version but I recently paid for their pro plan. Either one will help you to become knowledgeable and you’ll start seeing results like your blog post being discovered on Google!
Pinterest & visually appealing pins
When I started my blog, I saw everybody talking about how great Pinterest was for their blog traffic. Pinterest is a visual search engine with over 300 million active users. It’s the main source of traffic for a lot of bloggers. When you realize the potential sharing your post on Pinterest can have on your blog, it’s easy to get pin happy. This is perfectly fine but only if you’re creating visually appealing pins.
Related Read: The Pinterest Course That Helped Me Monetize My Blog
I’ll be honest, I look back on my old pins and cringe. I personally wouldn’t click on them if I was scrolling through Pinterest. The tool you’re going to want to use for creating pins is Canva. This design tool has stolen my heart and I don’t think I’ll ever use anything else. They have hundreds of templates for dozens of platforms such as Pinterest!
Affiliate links…the right way
Let’s talk a little bit of money, honey! If you want to start making good money on your blog, you’re going to want to learn about affiliate links. In fact, I have a couple in this post right now! Often, brands will offer an affiliate program for bloggers/influencers to share their products. You’ll provide your audience a link when sharing, and you’ll receive a small commission if somebody purchases the item through the link.
It took me a good while to get the hang of affiliate links because I was doing it so wrong. For example, don’t share 5 affiliate links in the first two paragraphs of your blog post. Talk about pushy, huh?
Of course, apply affiliate links where applicable but don’t add them so often that readers will only think you want them to buy something every single time. You want your content to come across as genuine. When you’re including an affiliate link, it’s something that will help them. Also, when including affiliate links, you need to include a disclosure in your blog post. You may have seen mine at the top. It can be as simple as that!
Are you ready?
I hope that this post allowed you to learn a little bit from my mistakes and you’re feeling more confident about your blog journey! As I mentioned, this is a whole learning process but there are so many people in our community ready to help you through it!