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10 Common Mistakes When Starting a Blog
Even though I been doing online marketing since 1999 I became interested in blogging around 2004, when I saw several bloggers earning great income with their blogs. At the time I was earning about $2500-$4000 a month doing affiliate marketing but these bloggers were able to create a post and earn a few thousand dollars within hours of the post going live. This was something that really impressed me, and I needed to learn how to do the same. Since then, I’ve been studying everything I found about blogging and other related fields like writing, marketing and personal branding.
During the last seventeen I have read thousands of posts on these topics, brought books, did courses, and most importantly: I have implemented everything I have been learning. To this day I continue studying what the best marketers do, because it is a topic that I am passionate about and because I still have so much to learn.
Based on analyzing so many blogs, especially people who have just started and ask me for advice, I have reached a point where, with a simple glance, I can get an idea of whether the blog has a chance of success or if it will fail in a few months . Unfortunately, most blogs belong to the second category.
It’s no secret that 99% of blogs have fewer than 100 hits a day and end up being abandoned in less than 6 months. And usually the motives are the same: basic mistakes that could have been avoided with a little preparation and planning.
Based on my experience, these are the 10 most common mistakes bloggers make. Are you committing any of them?
1. Don’t spend enough time planning your blog
Usually when someone wants to start a blog they choose the first idea that goes through their mind, buy a domain and hosting, and starts to publish posts and share their articles through Social Media. Starting a blog is very easy, they mess up when they think the rest of blogging is easy.
This strategy does not usually work very well.
Just as you would never think of opening a clothing store without first studying where to locate it, deciding the style of the garments you are going to sell and doing research to see if the business is profitable, you should not create a blog without first defining the Details of your project and studying it.
Yes, I know it’s more fun to choose a template and set up plugins, but investing some time in planning what you’re going to do will help you spot serious problems before they happen and will save you hundreds of hours in the long run.
Be careful about falling on the opposite end: spend too much time thinking and not enough doing. It is impossible to plan everything in detail and in the end the only way to check if your idea is good is to put it into practice, so do not obsess. Clarify the pillars of your project and get going.
2. Not knowing what you want to accomplish with your blog
I have said it a thousand times, but I am not tired of repeating it: have a clear motive for what you are doing. Most people make quick decisions, and creating a blog is no exception.
Sometimes I get up, open my mail and have a message from a visibly excited friend:
“Brian, I have decided that I will start a blog about the best libraries in NYC”
“Well … because I want to have a blog!”
Automatically I know that blog will fail. As the author does not know what it is he wants, he will not have the motivation to write every week, and as soon as he gets his next big idea he will stop thinking about this one.
3. Not bringing value
Why do you read BrianManon.com?
Let me answer for you: because it brings you something of value.
Maybe my articles are entertaining, inspiring, or teach you new things, but what is clear is that they are HELPFUL. If not, you would not be here reading my articles, it’s that simple.
4. Don’t know who to write for
You know you want to start a travel blog.
For a month you work day and night to write epic posts that position you as a authority in your niche.
“5 activities to do in Chiang Mai that your children will love”
“How to enjoy Paris without spending a fortune”
“Top 10 destinations for digital nomads”
“Why you should not you be afraid to travel alone to India”
“21 photographs from Africa that will leave you with your mouth open”
Your articles are well written and bring great value. However, the blog has not just taken off the way you thought it would. A comment here and there, some email subscriptions … but little else.
What’s going on?
The problem is that you do not know who you are writing for. Many people like to travel, but a family with children does not want the same thing as a girl who goes backpacking for the first time.
To be able to contribute value week after week, you need to be very clear who your audience is and understand what your needs are. This is the only way you can you give your readers what they are looking for.
5. Not being credible
The Internet is full of “life coaches” whose lives are a disaster and false gurus who teach you how to get rich even though they are living check to check.
People know this and do not believe in anything they read anymore. That’s why, when they come to your blog, the first thing they do is go to your “About” page, they want to see who you are and what you write about.
I’m sorry, but we do not need more blogs of seducers who do not care, or travelers who do not travel, or of SEO experts who have not ranked a website. If you want us to believe in you, you will first have to DEMONSTRATE with FACTS that you deserve that trust.
6. Not having enough content
Possibly the most frequent cause of death among new blogs is lack of content. They start very hard, posting a new post every day, but each time it costs them more and more until there comes a point where they stop posting and die. What a pity!
Not knowing what to write about is usually a symptom of lack of passion. If you do not live and breathe your blogs niche, you will be unable to generate ideas for new articles every week.
7. Do not want to offend anyone
If you have ever publicly exposed yourself and someone has criticized you, even if iy were a stranger, you will know that it sucks a lot. If 100 people tell you that you are great, you remember the one who insulted you. So, to protect yourself, you begin to soften your opinions.
Instead of saying “learning English is important” you say “in my humble opinion I think that learning English can be important”, and instead of saying that “the current president sucks” you say that “it is a very complicated subject With many nuances. “This way nobody can criticize you, right?
The problem is that a blog is just the opposite: in exposing yourself, in expressing openly what you think. The public wants blood, and if you try to be good to everyone you do not look for enemies but you do not get followers.
8. Do not want to be different.
There are millions of blogs on all kinds of topics. So, if you want yours to succeed, you need to answer a key question:
Why should someone read your blog instead of any other?
Most bloggers are unable to give a good answer to this question, and their blog ends up becoming “just another blog” and getting lost in oblivion.
Now more than ever, differentiating yourself from your competitors is a prerequisite for success, because being different is what makes readers stay on your page.
9. Not focusing on what is important
The first time I wanted to create this site I spent a whole week deciding the design. I wanted a WordPress template that was perfect, and I spent the night looking and looking without finding any that I felt was a good match for me. In the end I got tired of looking and decided to postpone the launch of the blog.
Five months later I could not wait any longer, so I started the web on a free theme that would not let me change the template . That forced me to focus on what was really important: the content. And you know what? People didn’t care how it looked as long as I was providing good content that offered great value..
Many beginners spend months choosing a good logo or retouching the template of their blog, only to realize a few weeks later that writing is more difficult than they thought and that nobody will read their blog just cause they have a nice design
Rather than do that, remember that 20% of your efforts are responsible for 80% of your results, and dedicate yourself to writing great valuable content, grow your mailing list and establish relationships with other bloggers. Everything else is details. Do the minimum necessary and do not block yourself. There will be time to optimize later!
10. Not understanding that a blog is not the same as a business
One of the reasons many people start a blog is to make money. However, these people just do not understand that publishing free articles every week does not make you money. Unless you have AdSense on your website.
A blog is not a business but a marketing tool to attract a specific audience and position yourself as an expert. The business is to sell something to those readers. If you do not sell, you do not have a business, you have a hobby.
So, if making money is one of your main goals, you should have an idea of how you are going to get it before you start. Generating content is not enough.
Which of these mistakes did you make when starting your blog? Are there any more to add to the list? Tell us about it in the comments!