No matter how successful we are now, we were all once amateur bloggers.
I was once an amateur blogger too.
If you were part of my community last time, you would have seen the transformation my brand and I have gone through – in a good way.
I made all the classic mistakes. But with each mistake I made, I fell down but got back up much stronger and wiser.
Being an amateur blogger is actually GOOD NEWS. Say what?!
It shows that you actually had the guts to start without needing to have everything perfect. If you start and have everything figured out, you have started too late.
Here are common mistakes that amateur bloggers make – if you’re doing them, stop and learn!
11 Mistakes That Amateur Blogs Make
1. Not self-hosting
Your journey starts when you launch your website, and many amateur bloggers do it all wrong.
The first mistake new bloggers and entrepreneurs commit is choosing not to self-host their website. Most don’t do so because of ignorance.
Self-hosting your website is essential because it ensures that you own your own servers. It also allows you access to a great variety of essential plugins that bring various functions to your site.
This means no wix, no weebly, no wordpress.com, etc. Only wordpress.org.
If you choose any other option aside from self-hosting (aka wordpress.org), you risk the chance of losing all your content if your the company shuts down or decides to close your account for whatever reason. You don’t own your business assets.
You can learn more here: Can’t Decide What’s The Best Blogging Platform to Use? Answers here.
If you have not started your website yet, you can learn how to start your self-hosted blog (the right way), this 4-part blogging for beginners series has been shared over 50k times and is hands-down the best resource for new bloggers to start a new blog the RIGHT way.
2. Not making it a priority
I was hobby blogging for years and years before I decided to take things seriously. Blogging as a hobby and blogging as a business owner is completely different. You invest in different tools. You spend different amounts of time. You take time to strategize and plan.
If you want to build a successful business around your website, you have to make it a priority.
When you aren’t earning a single cent from your blog, it is easy to put your biz on the backburner. It goes without saying that the amateur bloggers with the most motivation and pure grit to figure things out will be able to start and grow a successful blog.
How badly do you want it? Do you have what it takes to stick it through?
Because if you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t. Simple as that.
Amateur bloggers don’t take things seriously. But once you start making blogging and your online business a priority, things move faster and shift simply because your heart is in the business now.
3. Ugly website
Even when I was on a tight budget and was just starting out, I invested in a good theme. I scrimped and saved everywhere but I spent on a theme because I saw how important it was.
When you have a ugly website, nobody takes you seriously. People think you aren’t reliable, let alone hand over their hard-earned cash to you.
Yes, there are people who built successful businesses with ugly websites, but they are few and far between and normally have some kind of X factor.
I have seen many amateur bloggers try to wing it with a free theme. There are many reasons why you should use a reliable theme right from the start:
- Reason #1: A good theme will update regularly for bugs. Free/bad themes tend to end up slow and ridden with errors because there is no maintenance by their owners, or because they are coded with very bloated code.
- Reason #2: Good themes are used by many people – hence any errors due to updates (eg WordPress updates, plugin updates) would be quickly found and eradicated
- Reason #3: Good themes are typically better for SEO as they are faster and have in-built SEO functions
- Reason #4: Good themes are more flexible and have built-in functions that you would need, so you don’t have to hire someone every time you want to change a button.
- Reason #5: Good themes look professional and provide a great first impression
Unfortunately, I do not know of any free themes that I would classify as a good reliable theme. This is because when a theme is free, there is generally no incentive for the author to keep maintaining it. Makes sense?
I’ve been around for so many years, and I have never seen a.single.one.
Either that, or something that many themes will do is that they will market the theme as “free” but actually you would need to pay for most of the necessary functions. No thanks, I would rather pay up-front than be hoodwinked later on after I’ve spent a lot of time on a theme.
As you can see, it is absolutely essential to invest in a good website theme or you will be wasting a lot of your time trying to get a bad theme to work for you (it will never happen).
I recommend getting the Divi theme. The Divi theme is extremely customizable and can get you a personalized and professional looking site really easily. It’s drag-and-drop builder and how everything is made for someone that isn’t tech savvy is perfect. Divi is one of the most popular themes on the market today.
Another option is Genesis, a high-speed theme that I would recommend to you if you are familiar with code. It is amazing too, but may be hard to customize if you’re a beginner.
If you purchase Divi, it will cost you $249. I know this can be quite cost-prohibitive for some of you, so I created Your Stunning Website – my done-for-you website for you built on the Divi theme for just a fraction of what you have to pay for Divi.
I will install Divi to your website (I have a developer’s license) and the theme will update itself automatically, so you will have it for as long as you leave Divi on your site. I have also hired a designer to create a template which you will gain access to as well so you get a beautiful site out of the box without having to start from scratch!
I love selling things that help people save money 😉
4. Not planning your blog posts ahead
Would you believe it if I told you that I have at least 300+ blog post ideas waiting to be written? Planning ahead is crucial because it shortens the inertia it takes to publish something new.
Once you get over the “honeymoon phase” of starting your blog you would realize that you need to post regularly and it may be hard. Having a schedule and plan helps a TON.
5. Not starting an email list from day 1
I know, I know… it’s that email list thing again.
I am proud to say that I started my email list conscientiously from day 1 and it has more than paid off for me. However, I know a lot of blogger / entrepreneur friends who did NOT start their email list from day 1 and thoroughly regret it now.
Starting an email list ASAP is absolutely important because an email list allows you to nurture your traffic and get them to buy from you when they are ready. Unlike social media platforms, you have control over your subscribers and do not have to worry about sporadic changes in social media algorithms.
If you don’t know why you should start an email list, read this: Why Building an Email List is a MUST for Your Blog & Business (and no, it is not just because everyone says you have to)
If you want to start your email list TODAY, read this: List Building 101: How to Build An Email List That Makes Money (Cheatsheet Included)
6. Not optimizing your posts for Google
You should optimize your posts for Google from day 1, otherwise, you will have to go back to all your old posts down the road to update them – it is very troublesome.
There are many aspects to SEO (need SEO blog tips?), but at the very least – have your blog post title and description optimized for keywords that people are searching for on Google. This will allow your content to be found on Google.
7. Not having a plan to promote
You would soon realize that when it comes to promoting their blogs, some people recommend Pinterest, others swear by Facebook groups, etc etc etc.
The thing is, everyone has their own plan and strategy. You can’t just take a piece of someone’s promotional strategy and expect it to work.
My course, Traffic Subscribers Yours, is my complete step-by-step system to learn how to promote your blog, get more traffic and your first 1K subscribers. Enroll in TSY if you want to learn my proven traffic and list building strategies that has helped hundreds of students just like you grow their blog audience today. 🙂
I used to look at other people’s blogs and think that I would never match up. How am I going to compete with that popular blogger that everyone loves? Oh look at her shiny website. Oh look at the hundreds of customers he has.
Never compare yourself to another entrepreneur. I learnt from my mentor a quote that will stick with me for life: “Never compare your chapter 1 to another person’s chapter 5”.
Comparison is a poison to your motivation. You start feeling like you aren’t good enough. You feel like you cannot get your brand to stand out from the crowd.
I sincerely believe that everyone was created with a unique message to share with the world. Just because your message is different from someone else’s doesn’t make your message less worthy. They have simply learnt how to present themselves to the world because they have been working at this for a longer period of time.
Everyone starts somewhere so stop comparing and fight your own battle.
9. Never listen to someone that hasn’t done what you want to do
There are many gurus out there. When purchasing courses or hiring a 1:1 mentor, do not hire someone that hasn’t achieved what you want to achieve.
If you are hiring a designer and she has a crappy looking site, you probably should think twice.
Should you hire an SEO guru that doesn’t have a presence on Google?
If you are hiring a business coach, does he/she have a business that you want to reach someday?
For instance, I don’t sell courses on things I have not done. My traffic + list building course (Traffic Subscriber Yours) comes from my own experience of going from 0 – 1K subscribers in under 4 months, and I’m way beyond that now. The same applies to my course for new bloggers (Kickstart Your Blog), which employs the exact strategy I took to build my successful business from scratch.
10. Scared to invest
When I was starting out, I wanted to make some tweaks to my website to make it look nicer. Because I was on a tight budget I went for someone on Fiverr… guess what? It took me weeks of back-and-forth and the job was terrible. I ended up losing my money, wasting weeks of my time AND not having the job done. I recommend Codeable for such jobs now if you’re looking for someone to fix things!
When it comes to business expenses – there are 2 kinds of investments: Necessary and unnecessary expenses.
The problem most people face is that they don’t know how to differentiate one from another.
Some are too conservative and never spend at all, causing them to scrimp and save and waste months trying to piece together something that just doesn’t work. Some examples of necessary expenses for new bloggers and entrepreneurs include:
- Starting a blog with self-hosting via Siteground
- Getting a good website theme like Divi/ Genesis (or for my readers, Your Stunning Website which is built with Divi for a fraction of that price because I have the developer’s license)
- Starting your email list with a reliable email service provider like Convertkit
- A beginner blogging course that doesn’t cost a bomb to give you the right profitable strategies like Kickstart Your Blog
… And then there’s the other extreme of people who spend too much – they succumb to shiny object syndrome and buy random courses they don’t need at the moment.
What are some examples of things you don’t need when you’re first starting out?
- Hiring someone. At least learn how to do things in your own business first before hiring someone else.
- An advanced email service provider like Infusionsoft.
- Things like Zapier or setting up your sales funnels (not yet)
Learning to differentiate is key. Be a wise business owner – spend just the right amount on the right things at the stage that you’re in for your business.
If you can’t differentiate hire a 1:1 mentor who will guide you closely.
11. Relying on ads and sponsored posts
There are many ways to monetize your online blog + business, but they are not all equal.
It is of my strong opinion that all bloggers and entrepreneurs should NOT try to monetize their site with ads or sponsored posts because you are earning pennies and have to get a TON of traffic to your site before you can make a full-time income.
They usually don’t bring much value to your readers nor do they allow you to engage and give to your readers in the best way possible.
Instead, I suggest for people to create their own product and services to serve their community better. This means either creating 1:1 coaching programs, your own online courses and ebooks, organizing live events, etc.
In fact, it used to be difficult to create and get your own online course up and running, but with technological advancements, it is no longer difficult anymore. The course platform I use and love is Teachable.
Okay – I will end it here. If you’re just starting out, you probably would have learnt a lot from these 11 common amateur blogging mistakes.
Here are the 11 amateur mistakes once again:
- Not self-hosting your website
- Not making your blog + biz a priority
- Ugly website
- Not planning your blog posts ahead
- Not starting an email list from day 1
- Not optimizing your posts for Google
- Not having a plan to promote
- Listening to someone who hasn’t achieved what you want to achieve
- Scared to invest
- Relying on ads or sponsored posts
I hope that you have found this useful! Even if you have unwittingly committed some of these, you can always learn and move forward. There’s a certain kind of strength that comes from falling and picking yourself up.
You can do this!