I don’t talk much about blogging and what I have learned about blogging on here often. Why? Because I really am not qualified to offer much advice. I am still in the ‘I’m learning a LOT’ mode right now.
If you are a relatively new blogger, and you are still waiting for that ‘my blog is finally snowballing’ moment, know that my moment came after about nine months.
I don’t have a twitter account. I am not active on Periscope. I am next to non-existent on Facebook. Because of my season of life, I have narrowed down my focus to my blog, Instagram, and Etsy.
That gives you an overarching perspective of my current ‘motherhood / blogging business philosophy.’
Without further ado, here are the ten biggest ‘mistakes’ I learned in my first ten months of blogging. I have learned, though, that I will fail if I am to succeed. So are these mistakes? Or just part of learning what works?
1. Expectations. I had an unrealistic expectation of where my page hits would be after six months. I knew that starting a blog usually meant very little reward for the time invested, but I was surprised I was generating so few hits compared to what I thought I would.
2. Email List. Building an email list is the most guaranteed way to remind people about your blog. Social media sites are constantly changing algorithms, and I am at their mercy. If they want to show my post to my followers, great! If they don’t, I can’t do anything about that. I own my email list. I can email my followers whenever I choose, and I know the email will go to their inbox for them to see.
3. Deadlines. I put deadlines on myself. I thought by giving myself deadlines I’d have a better blog. In reality, I am a mom with two little boys, and the wife to the most giving husband ever. If I don’t get a few nap times each week, nothing happens on the blog. And that’s the way it is. And that’s completely fine. I don’t know why I put myself under pressure to post when my time really didn’t allow for it. No need to hustle. No need to unenjoy something that I love.
4. Partnership. I had so. much. fun. working on this blog with my sister for the first six months. I had wanted to start a blog for years, and she gave me the courage to go for it. We both realized that we couldn’t be a partnership with this style of a blog. We were attempting to merge two different lives using a lifestyle type blog as a platform. Deciding not to work together meant a big change for the blog. Even though we agreed it was a good change, it still meant rerouting the blog and kind of starting over.
5. Affiliate Links. Affiliate links are great. It’s a great way for a blogger to make money without clogging up a site with ads. Most of us don’t hesitate or shy away from acknowledging that affiliate links are ways we make money. The mistake I made was not using them well. I didn’t understand why I never got any clicks. Affiliate links don’t perform well for me for posts like ‘Target’s latest Decorating Line,’ or ‘What I’m Eyeing for my Birthday,’ or ‘My Ideal Kitchen Products.’ Where do I find the most progress with affiliate links? DIY posts. People come looking for the best way to sew an absorbent bib, and they find what they were looking for. They are specifically look for the best supplies to create this bib.
6. Unnecessary Content. I was so focused on putting out three posts a week. I don’t know why. What happened was I started putting up unnecessary or mediocre content. I have since taken down many posts after going back through and reading them. For my blog, it’s best for me to try and put out good content instead of just content.
7. Dawdling. Friends, I can waste a lot of time on the laptop. I can go through my routine of checking email, Facebook, Instagram, Etsy, my affiliate accounts, and all my favorite blogs before I ever start writing a post. When I sit down with five specific tasks and don’t even open Facebook, I can get a LOT done in a short amount of time. I spend less than an hour on the laptop on my focused days. Most of my blog posts come to life on a scratch piece of paper while I am playing with two little boys in the play room. Blogging doesn’t have to take a lot of my time if I am intentional, purposeful, and focused.
8. Blog Name. My sister and I can laugh at this one. Did you know this blog was originally called ‘The Striped Pearl?’ We were excited for this fun and whimsy name…with absolutely no meaning at all. The whimsyness lost it’s luster, and we went through phone calls with Bluehost, and new domain searches, and shutting down the blog for a week until we settled on the current name. I am still reaping some of the consequences of changing our name. Take a tip from me, and think long and hard about your blog name.
9. Branding. The colors. The images. The look. The feel. The name. The logo. The products. I want these all to appear cohesive, and they still aren’t. That’s called branding. I sometimes think of how much time I have spent redoing watermarks in Photoshop and retaking pictures to better fit with my brand.
And, I recommend having a professional artist design your logo. My logo has bothered me for months, and I have come to terms with myself that I don’t have the graphic design skills to create a logo that looks great. Three seconds, friends. You have three seconds to make an impression on your blog visitors. What do they see first? Yep, your logo. (Mine is in process of being hired out! Yay!)
10. Up front costs. Many will say starting a blog is free. While starting a blog has relativity low costs in comparison to starting a small business, it is not free. I had the wrong facts. Some costs I really don’t think you can avoid are the domain fee and the hosting fee. Expect to pay at least $200 for those. Buying a professional logo can vary greatly in price, but that is one other cost I recommend investing in early on in your blogging career.