Starting a new blog can be exciting and confusing all at the same time! There is a good deal of contradictory advice out there regarding the dos and don’ts for new bloggers. However, there are some very specific mistakes that new bloggers commonly make.
Mistake #1: Not Choosing a Niche
Not choosing a specific niche is a very common mistake among new bloggers. Many bloggers assume they can simply write about whatever topics they want, even if they are completely unrelated topics. If you are simply blogging as a hobby, this would not be an issue. However, if your goal is to successfully monetize your blog and bring in organic traffic, it is important to determine your “target audience.”
Successful bloggers focus on one topic or several topics that go together. For example, one blogger may focus on health and wellness. Another blogger may focus on motherhood and parenting. You may be able to branch out a little bit if your topics work together – such as motherhood and home organization or fashion and makeup.
If you are writing about a wide variety of topics, it is unlikely that you will gain long-term readers. Someone might read one of your posts, but it’s unlikely they will stick around if your other posts don’t interest them. Choosing a niche, or a selection of topics with the same target audience means you will be able to draw your readers back in for more.
Mistake #2: Not Choosing a Self-Hosted Platform
It may be tempting to blog on a free platform, but if you want your blog to be successful, you almost certainly will need to choose a self-hosted platform.
The most important reason for this is because on a free platform, a blogger will not own their website. While the content belongs to you, the website itself could be taken offline at any time, and you would lose everything – your website, your followers, your subscribers, etc.
With a free blogging platform, you will also not have a custom URL. Having a traditional .com or .org website gives a blogger more credibility.
Free platforms also limit the monetization options for your blog. Many of the ways bloggers choose to monetize their websites are not available to bloggers who are utilizing free platforms.
The final reason it’s important to choose a self-hosted platform is that free blogging platforms limit your ability to customize your website. The plug-ins and custom options available to users on self-hosted platforms are typically limited for those on free platforms.
Again, this may not be an issue for a “hobby blogger,” but if you want your blog to be successful and monetized, it is very important to choose a self-hosted platform.
Mistake #3: Choosing a Poor Hosting Provider
Selecting a poor hosting provider can cause all kinds of issues. Many bloggers select their hosting provider based on price alone and soon realize that “you get what you pay for.”
One of the most important aspects of hosting providers is speed. Many low-cost hosting providers partake in something called “server stuffing,” which is when they overload their servers, causing the websites on those servers to have very long load times.
Slow page speed can cause readers to leave your website before the page even loads. Slow page speed is frustrating for users and will negatively affect your page views, bounce rate, and repeat traffic.
Mistake #4: Focusing On Unstable Traffic Sources
Bloggers commonly focus on social media as a way to advertise their blog and gain views. Social media is extremely important for bloggers, and it can bring in a significant amount of traffic.
It’s important to remember, however, that social media is not guaranteed. You do not own any of your social media accounts, and they can be deleted or suspended at any time. Social media algorithm changes can also make traffic from these sources unpredictable. That’s why it is important to spend time focusing on Search Engine Optimization or “SEO” to bring in organic traffic.
Mistake #5: Not Paying Attention to SEO
Search Engine Optimization, also commonly referred to as SEO, is extremely important. SEO is a way to optimize your blog posts to be found by search engines. Blog posts that are properly optimized for SEO typically show up higher in search results and will therefore get more page views. Many new bloggers decide that it is too complicated to tackle right away and, as mentioned in mistake #4, focus on bringing in traffic from other sources. Many new bloggers decide that they will focus on SEO later.
However, it is difficult and time-consuming to go back through old posts and optimize them for SEO at a later time. It can also take several months for blog posts to begin appearing in search results, even when a blogger is focused on Search Engine Optimization from the start. Waiting to focus on SEO will push that timeline out even further.
There are so many important aspects of blogging that one should learn about before creating their blog because many of these mistakes can be costly and time-consuming to change or fix later. Considering the mistakes mentioned above before beginning will steer new bloggers down the right path right from the start. Learning from the mistakes of seasoned bloggers will help ensure success.