So this is probably my fourth or fifth attempt at getting a blog off the ground. Why so many attempts? Well, there have been a number of factors including things changing the direction I want to go (which seemed to happen every few months), design issues, troubles with the host… However, this run around I realized that ultimately: it’s me. I’m the one getting in the way of not getting my blog published. So I thought I might go through where I went wrong and how I could prevent these pitfalls in the future. I also thought: “why not teach my readers how not to get a blog published.” That way you can learn how to avoid these mistakes.
Mistake #1: Getting Caught up in Blog Starting Courses
A quick Pinterest search will no doubt show you how countless articles have been published on how to start a blog. Many of these articles link to online courses that you can take to help get things started off right. Some of the more popular ones include building a blog by Create and Go as well as the building a framework course by Just a Girl and her Blog. I’m not saying these courses aren’t helpful for some individuals. (I myself took the Create and Go blog course.) But I have noticed they all tend to provide the same information over and over again. It’s also possible given my experience with WordPress, that I might find some of the information overly redundant since I’m comfortable with WordPress. Not everyone is. However, I was looking for courses that would help in creating content rather than actually physically building a blog.
My advice to you: just pick one course and see it through. There’s no need to take multiple courses as the information tends to be the same across the board. And keep in mind that if you can’t afford a course, can find this information for free, it just might require a little more digging.
Mistake #2: Putting the Horse Before the Cart
This is another issue that I think stems from all of the “start a blog” courses that you find online. There seems to be this overwhelming focus on how to make money on your blog from the very beginning. Sure, setting up things like Amazon Affiliates and Convertkit from the very beginning is helpful, just keep in mind it may take several months if not a year before you will get the kind of traffic that might return a profit. A lot of the blogs that run these courses on “how to make money blogging” are actually getting their money by running these courses rather than just their content and affiliates. Step back from the push to make money and instead focus on the content of a blog. That’s what makes a blog successful. Which brings me to my next point:
Mistake #3: Being Afraid of Content
Readers don’t come here for the pretty website design or to troll the comments section. They are here for the content. The stories. The artwork. The principles. That’s why readers come to a blog. And if you’re failing to deliver interesting content, or your stuck in this cookie-cutter pattern that’s being taught (Publish Listicles, How-To’s and Testimonials!), people are going to end up giving your blog a quick look over and never return. Readers are interested in genuine people who write genuine content. I stopped trying to the fill this “what my readers want” and “what will get me clicks” requirement and started writing on what I was passionate about found it was much easier to get posts turned out. This brings me to the last mistake:
Mistake #4: Following the “Rules”
Most blog courses talk about the three blog posts types: list, how tos, and testimonials. You’re told if you regularly write in these formats and attempt to publish them on weekly or biweekly basis then you should be able to grow your blog in no time! Okay, I may enjoy reading how to do something or a list of recommendations but that does not mean those are only blog posts to get my attention. Constraining yourself into these “rules” makes it very difficult to write and produce content naturally.
Initially, I thought that only having the three blog type templates would help to punch out tons of ideas. But even after brainstorming a list of ideas I got stuck, unable to actually start writing. Once I realized no one was actually forcing me to stay in these formats, ideas started flowing. Take the time to explore all types of blog posts whether it’s a more journal-like entry or very classic how-to article. Ultimately, if you enjoyed writing the post and it brings you joy then what does it matter if it doesn’t list ten steps or fails to fulfill some other silly rule. Your blog is what you make of it. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, but it should also be enjoyable. After all, if you don’t love blogging then why blog in the first place?