It’s been a trial by fire my first six months of blogging. Suddenly words like canva, analytics, engagement, and email lists pepper my conversations (and every waking thought). I’ve gathered some of the lessons I’ve learned the hard way so you don’t have to. What did I denote as the biggest new blogger mistake?
I feel a bit sheepish as I’ve only been blogging for six months. I’m certainly no expert. Since October I’ve been on a crash course of writing, time management, social media, and overall technological mayhem.
In the hopes of making a clearer path for others (and head space for myself) I’m going to share five things I’ve learned in these six months and three things I can improve.
5 Things I’ve Learned as a New Blogger
A great website doesn’t have to be pretty but it absolutely needs to be orderly, pleasing to the eye, and easy to read. I’ve encountered blogs where the text is in a strange font. Honey, if someone has to struggle to decipher what you’ve written, they won’t struggle for long. They’re clicking away.
I know we all desire monetization but too many ads clutter sites and annoy readers.
Aim to make the most pleasing images possible for blog posts. We may have the best written blog post in the history of blog posts, but a stranger is unlikely to click on it if the image doesn’t capture their attention. I use Canva (the free services) to create images for the post itself and social media. My analytics tell me that better images drive traffic.
…But Not as Much as Consistent Content
I have a threefold reason for pushing consistent content: to familiarize Google with our sites, showcasing dependability to readers, and practice making perfect.
Writing is the medium of blogging. We don’t have to be Joyce Carol Oates but we should be proficient. You know those articles written by bots? They’re terribly written and people hate them. By publishing consistently we sharpen our skills and create more enjoyable articles.
We’re always looking to increase our readership. Google can help by loading our articles on the first page of its’ search results. But Google won’t introduce us to readers if we’re strangers. Posting regularly lets Google know we exist and encourages introduction to the search engines’ users.
Posting consistently shows readers we’re dependable and creates trust. No one will support blogs they find untrustworthy.
I’m going to call out my (incredibly wonderful) husband for a minute. Sorry, babe.
When Ish Mom was first launched, I delegated the task of managing Pinterest to him so I could focus on creating content. Weeks later I asked how Pinterest was going and Josh replied, “I didn’t really understand it, so I just stopped.” (He’s great at Pinterest now <3)
Don’t do that. If you don’t understand something, learn it. Google things like “how do I use/drive traffic/create images on Pinterest,” “how do I use Canva,” or “how to show up on the first page of a search result.” Put the same queries into YouTube. Read articles. Watch videos. Take notes.
Provide A Service
There is incredible value in being of service to others -Elizabeth Berg
I see so many new bloggers publishing posts about their day-to-day lives. I think that’s the biggest mistake new bloggers make.
I’m sorry to break it to you, but at this point in the game, only our moms want to read that. We’re too new for a wider audience to care.
For example, I wanted to write a post introducing Little A. I did that, but included important developmental milestones, so the entire article wasn’t just “LOOK AT MY BABY.”
We need to be providing a service or answering a question to generate readership. Decide the subject you want to cover in your post and enter it in the most general way possible in Google. Scroll down to the “people also ask” section and see what the popular questions are. Tailor your content around answering a question picked from that list.
Working At Home Means Working All The Time
Seriously. All. The. TIME.
I’ve found that I have to work “between the cracks.” I write when the boys are napping and at night. Any down time I can find I’m researching skills, reading other blogs, working on my social media platforms, leaving comments, drafting emails, making lists, pinning images, making images, the list goes on and on.
2 Bonus Tips!
- Don’t publicly announce your blog when you only have a few articles:
Does this sound familiar? Someone decides to start a blog and excitedly tells everyone. They share their site but, with only an article or two present, there’s nothing to sustain an audience’s interest. The site is soon forgotten. The new blogger is stung by what they think is a lack of interest and give up.
I posted three articles a week for six weeks before I made any kind of announcement. I wanted those who came to Ish Mom to know I was serious. You wouldn’t present a painting when it’s still a penciled outline, would you? Your site doesn’t need to be a masterpiece, but it should be “filled in” some before a public launch.
- Treat your blog like a business:
Be wary of people and businesses who approach you in the beginning. They want your money. Remember what I said earlier? We’re too new for anyone to care about us. Don’t give away what you haven’t made. Investing in yourself and your business is a smart move, but not before profit is generated.
3 Things I Need to Work On
Connecting With Other Bloggers
I’ve read how accepting the blogging community is but I’ve been too chickenshit to test it out.
Mommy Cusses (please check out her site, it’s good and soooo funny) messaged me once. I’ve wanted to reach out to her again but I feel intimidated by these successful, established bloggers. This is a stupid hill to die on, as I have questions. And blogging is lonely.
Social (Media) Saavy
Social media is exhausting: everyone looks so beautiful and glossy on Instagram, turns out Pinterest is Mom Google, and Facebook is constantly bugging me to pay to advertise Ish Mom.
My head is barely above water with this stuff. Don’t let the serenity of good lighting fool you, it seems like everyone’s legs are paddling beneath the surface trying to manage this stuff.
I need to learn the exact best way to utilize each platform and schedule specific times to maximize them.
Out of all the blogging duties, I enjoy writing and researching the most. These duties take as much time as I give them; a piece that should take me an hour stretches into three.
I need to schedule writing efficiently. Once my scheduled time is up I should do the less fun stuff (like social media) and come back to writing during the next scheduled time.
What are some of your biggest career, productivity, blogging, and overall life hacks? Let me know in the comments below!
If you’ve been wanting to start a blog you should do it. Share this article as a way to goad yourself.