June 8th, 2019, marked my first year of blogging. I’ve published sixty posts, written 43,820 words, and shared dozens of original photos. I know what plugins, widgets (ok so I’m a little iffy on that one), and keywords are. Make no mistake, I am still very much a newbie but I’ve made plenty of beginner blogging blunders.
A year ago, starting a blog seemed like a natural progression of my yarny addiction. I loved crocheting blankets, making amigurumi, and photographing my projects. It even served the purpose of another creative outlet so that I didn’t have to talk my family’s ears off about my obsession!
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While I do feel accomplished and proud of myself, I know one thing for sure, I’ve got a lot to learn!! There is so much more to blogging than I ever imagined! So today I would like to share my 7 Biggest Blogging Blunders and hope that it will encourage you to continue writing or to start the blog you’ve been thinking about!
7 Biggest Blogging Blunders
1. Thinking I didn’t need much outside help.
I listed this blunder as number one for a very good reason. I jumped headfirst into the blogging world without even knowing how to blog. I had read blogs before so I just naturally thought that was all I needed to know. In some ways that wasn’t a terrible way to start because I quickly learned I needed help. I started googling topics that would pop up, but found myself frustrated because not only were there conflicting opinions, but there was just sooooooo much information!
When I learned that Lisa from Farmhouse on Boone was going to offer a blog course I was not only ecstatic but relieved. Finally, a voice I could trust was going to show me what to do. I had been following Lisa’s blog and Youtube channel for quite some time and I had always been impressed with her content. When Lisa shared that her own husband quit his job to join her in the blogging endeavor, I knew she was legit (too legit to quit….sorry, had to do it…….. you know you were already thinking it!) The Create Your Blog Dream covers everything from the technical info you need to start blogging, to how to create content on a frequent basis, to how to make some real moola.
2. Thinking it was going to be easy.
Ignorance is bliss and that certainly was the case for me. I was completely and totally clueless about the work it would involve when I began. Although I absolutely love blogging I had no idea how many hours I would spend not just writing content, but learning how to blog. Although extremely important, writing is just one aspect. Technology plays an important role as does networking. Layout, font size, SEO, and meta descriptions are all topics I had never given much thought to, but now are part of my everyday vernacular!
3. Believing people would flock to my blog.
This blogging blunder took me some time to understand. Just because a person writes a blog does not mean that anyone will read it! This is the bitter truth. Blog analytics are honest to a fault. They don’t care about your feelings. They don’t care if you poured your heart and soul into a piece. It only cares about cold, hard data. Finding folks to read my blog has been a bit of a challenge and I believe a lot of bloggers can relate.
Eventually I found Facebook groups to be a great way to share my content. I dug around and joined a handful of crochet, amigurumi, and knitting groups. I carefully read their rules and shared my posts sparingly. I don’t share all of them each week and try to be very sensitive to the group’s dynamics. Also I try to be an active member of the group and interact with other member’s content as well.
My second highest referrer to my blog is search engines and I have a feeling it will surpass my number one spot very soon. Once I began to understand SEO a bit more and added the Yoast plugin my views from search engines began to soar! I cover this more in the next mistake but don’t ignore SEO for long like I did!
Pinterest is another great way to get your content out there! I pin my own content just about every single day and it is the third largest driver of traffic to my blog. This is an area that I need to learn more about but even with the little I know it is getting views on my blog.
The most obvious way to drive traffic to a blog is by sharing your content on social media. In the beginning I was really shy about sharing but now am excited to let others know when I publish a post. There is a definite balance between sharing and spamming your followers so I have opted for less is more. But surprisingly this isn’t one of my top three drivers of traffic to my blog!
4. Not adding plug ins until much later.
Boy do I wish I had fixed this blunder sooner. I didn’t really understand what a plugin was and felt intimidated about learning how they could help. Eventually I added the Yoast and Smush plugins. They have both been invaluable to my blog and I cannot recommend them enough.
Yoast helps you craft a blog piece that Google likes. The more Google likes your post the higher it will rank in their search engine. Google likes certain formatting, titles, and word count just to name a few. This is one of the worst blogging blunders I made. If I had added this plugin from the beginning I would have learned right off the bat how to write so that Google would rank my content higher.
The Smush plugin optimizes my photo sizes so that they don’t overload my site with large file sizes. In the beginning of my blog I thought the bigger the better when it came to photo file size and I was wrong. Over time larger photos will slow down your site and no one wants to visit a blog that takes forever to load!
5. Underestimating the need for networking.
My grandfather always liked telling the story of when I was a toddler and any time a grown up offered to help me my standard response was, “I do it myself!” I guess I’m still having to overcome that mindset even at my age! Networking is just a fancy word for a group of fellow bloggers who are committed to helping one another.
I have found a group like that I can’t stress the importance of this enough. They will encourage you when you’re down. They will push you when you’re tired. They will inspire you with their own content! It’s a total win-win situation! One of the benefits of Lisa’s blog course is the private Facebook group she offers to all enrollees. We ask one another questions, offer support, and seek advice there. It’s a wonderful, positive place and has hundreds of members!
6. Not creating a content calendar early on
The first nine months of my blog I wang it, wait… wung it… that doesn’t sound right, winged it. I’m not sure what the past tense of “wing it” is, but that’s what I was doing. Every week I would decide what I wanted to write about and then set out to do that. In the very beginning that was ok because I had already been thinking a lot about what I wanted to post.
As the weeks and months passed I began to feel panicked and stressed about what to write. Finally I decided to get my calendar out and pencil in blog posts for the next several months. I penciled them in rather than putting them in ink so that I was able to change it easily all the while keeping my calendar from looking like it belonged to a serial killer. Keeping my content planned but flexible has been key for me.
7. Not understanding formatting tools.
I mistakenly chose my theme and thought that was all I needed to do to have the blog of my dreams. I focused on the colors and fonts but not the formatting. Originally my entire blog posts loaded onto my home page each time they were published. I falsely believed there wasn’t anything I could do about it.
One day I decided to sit down and look at the different tools WordPress offered and was shocked by all that I could do but had been neglecting. I was able to add just an except of my blog to the home page all along. Other tools I didn’t know I had were subscribe buttons, charts, and columns just to name a few! I wish that I had explored everything that was available at my fingertips from the beginning.
The Worst Blogging Blunder You can Make!
I share my own blogging blunders, not to discourage you but to encourage you. If I can overcome these obstacles then you can too. Thankfully I didn’t make the worst blogging blunder one can make, and that is to not start a blog at all. These blogging blunders are only hurtles that can be overcome with persistence and practice (that dreaded word I use over and over).
I would love to hear from you! Are you already a blogger? Then what are your biggest blogging blunders? If you’re not a blogger but would like to start one, what is holding you back?