19 Of The Most Shocking Blogging Mistakes I’ve Made

I love the curious wonderment you’ve clicked onto this post with. You’re probably wondering why, if I teach others and have resources on ‘how to blog’, would I ever admit to making mistakes?

Well that’ll be for two reasons: I’ve never suggested I’m actually any good/an expert and WE ALL MAKE EM.

Surely I should be telling you the 19 things that have made me £3686834 in 4 days and what makes me a perfect blogger? ‘Cept I’m not and neither are you.

There’s not a blogger out there who hasn’t dropped a bollock somewhere in their blogging career so far and hearing about them makes us feel less like total failures.

So here are 19 mistakes I’ve made with the hope that you read this and don’t make them yourself! Or can at least relate and make me feel less alone…

blogging mistakes
Credit: Unsplash

1. Not Starting A Mailing List Straight Away

Aside from your blog, it’s the only way to connect with your audience that you actually own.

If I lost my Twitter and Instagram followers tomorrow, I can pop on my list and ask them to follow me on which new iteration finally comes along.

Not just that, but it’s a great way to build better relationships with those who are most dedicated to your blog. I chat to my email subscribers allll the time after sending an Exciting Email and it’s just the best!

Use MailChimp to start as it’s free for your first 2,000 subscribers and then invest in ConvertKit once you’ve built up a community.

2. Messing Around With Niches

I mainly blame my fiance, Ben for fucking up the sweet deal I had with dating blogging. There were TV interviews, radio appearances, documentaries and awards all because I was writing about something super specific.

I also had my biggest blog growth during the time I was writing solely about dating. From an average of 5,000 views per month to 10x that.

In my happy daze of being loved up and working out what the heck I could write about that wasn’t fuck boys, one night stands or awful people, I tried loads of different things – and wasn’t happy with any of it.

Now I’m back to writing predominantly about blogging and the industry (with personal posts in the mix), everything is right with the world.

So pick your niche (if you want fast growth) and stick with it, if you can!

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE.

blogging niche

3. Upsetting People

Early on I LOVED to be controversial and piss people off. I was probably unhappy. I was definitely bored. Certain types of bloggers reeeeally wound me up (still do tbf) and I’d air my dissatisfaction with those types on social media.

Guess where it got me? Tarred with the Negative Nancy brush.

Now I’m not saying you should love every blogger going. Or that no one will annoy you. Or that you won’t hate watch their Insta Stories which only make you feel worse, but what I am saying is – keep it to your bloody self.

My (or your) opinion on how others operate their blogs or their businesses is none of our beeswax and sharing those thoughts, helps no one. Especially you.

4. Trusting The Wrong People

You don’t need to tell EVERYONE your business. And if you’re a bad judge of character, I probably wouldn’t tell anyone which brand you’re working with, how much you charge, your terms or your ideas.

Because there are some out there who will not treat that information with respect.

Sure, help others. Motivate them. Inspire them. Educate them if you can. But you don’t owe anyone your ‘secrets’ if it’s going to be detrimental to you.

5. Not Pinning My Blog Posts

Sounds so silly doesn’t it? But I dread to think of the traffic I’ve lost because I was just too lazy to pin my bloody posts.

Maybe you’ll get just 3 or 4 extra views a day from it, but maybe one of your blog posts will go viral and will bring in 20,000+ views a day.

That is worth 5 minutes fannying around on Canva to make a graphic to put in your post.

6. Not Going Self Hosted Sooner

For nearly 2 of my 4 years of blogging, I was on free Blogger.

That’s nearly 2 years of no DA, no SEO building and no ownership of all my hard work.

Had I gone self hosted (especially with WordPress which I love) I could’ve met my best friend – the Yoast plugin, and revolutionised my traffic waaaay earlier than I actually did.

READ THE POST ON INCREASING YOUR BLOG TRAFFIC

increase blog traffic

7. Making My Blog Inaccessible

When I first started, I was absolutely clueless.

I thought tiny fonts looked neater. I would have my background a million different colours and I had no idea what an image description was.

That meant my site was totally inaccessible to those who are visually impaired.

Since coaching with Holly, who is visually impaired, I’ve learned how to make the site, newsletter and resources way more accessible and I regret I didn’t do it sooner. Read Holly’s post on making your blog accessible and make those changes today!

8. Not Leaving Comments

I’m USELESS at commenting on other blogger’s posts even though I know it’s a really good idea for link building AND relationship building.

Don’t be a me. Comment on other people’s posts.

9. Neglecting Those Affiliate Links

I reckon you’re getting a re-occuring sense of my laziness throughout this aren’t you? Many of these mistakes are borne from my own can’t-be-arsed-itis and affiliate linking was something I never bothered with.

I’d write post after post, social media update after update, recommending things that I truly loved without linking to them. And then when people asked for the links I was too lazy to go into my affiliate platform to put it through a link builder.

TBF I’m still like that. Lazy.

But again, don’t be a me – go back to your most popular posts and put some related affiliate links.

Your piggy banks will thank you for the extra pennies.

10. Tried To Blog Daily

For those who manage to bosh out reams of excellent content each week, I salute you.

I was not one of them.

I tried Blogcember once and the tripe I was bowling out after day 4 was embarassing.

I also did it again for Love Island recaps this summer and after 2 weeks I was totally sick of my own voice.

I learned that I (and my readers) are MUCH happier putting lots of thought and effort into semi-regular content than having to wade through daily waffle.

11. Not Listening To Those More Experienced

I signed up for tons of courses, followed tons of experienced bloggers and read many many e-books FULL of advice on how to grow a blog.

And I listened to precisely ZILCH.

I thought I knew better. It was MY platform and I’d do what I wanted to do.

There was an amount of arrogance and anti-authority within that, that I am not proud of, and guess what?

I’m now retaking those courses, implementing advice and rereading those e-books and I am learning SO MUCH every day.

Not only that, but I now see the results now I’ve learned about strategy and SEO. Silly, silly me.

13. Wasting Money On Trends

I can’t tell you how much money I spent on blog props for the perfect flatlay, only to never take another flat lay again.

Or on blog themes (I’ve had about 6) when I know I should just stick with the best, most faithful, Pipdig.

I learned (after a looooong time), not to buy into blogging trends. To find my own groove and invest in the things that give the most return.

14. Ignoring Google Analytics

I never used to check my stats.

I stick up a blog post, sit back and hope for the best.

I had no idea WHO I was speaking to, what posts they liked, when they were most likely to visit or how they found me and now I realise how useful that information is.

So make sure, you’ve got it installed and that you check it regularly.

And not just that, but that you use the information to optimise how you plan and produce your content.

15. Incorrectly Formatting My Posts

I honestly cringe when I look back.

Paragraphs thicker than my thighs. Reams of text with no subheadings, pictures or ANYTHING to sustain the reader’s attention. It’s embarrassing.

But then I learned how to do it properly. And then I applied it to all of my blog posts. And then my traffic exploded.

I put together a guide for this, if you’d like some guidance on how to format your posts so that they’re viral worthy.

16. Keywords What?

My writing process used to be…

Notes on iPhone >>> Paste into WordPress >>> Add a picture >>> Publish

What a fool.

I didn’t understand ANYTHING about SEO. And my organic search traffic was 0. It wasn’t until I sat down with my pal Beth, who taught me about keywords, that I realised how wrong I was going.

And in 3 months my traffic TRIPLED.

I put down what she taught me into an easy SEO guide (for beginners – anyone with more knowledge than me might not find it THAT useful) that you can grab here.

17. Tried To Force A Writing Style

As you can probably tell I don’t have the most professional writing style. It’s chatty, punny, slangy and totes conversational.

But in the early days I thought I needed to sound, ‘good’, I don’t know what to call it.

So I tried to write everything in a super profesh manner and it wasn’t profesh, it was just dry. So so dry.

But when I started writing like I was talking to my best pal, things fell into place.

I’m not saying you need to start dropping f-bombs every other word, but find the writing voice that is YOURS and roll with it.

18. Took On The Wrong Collaborations

Back in my single days, I was approached for, what would’ve been my biggest paying sponsored deal to date, with a hook up app.

I’m extremely sex positive, so even when I got with Ben, I explained that I really believed in people’s rights to safe hook ups and that I wanted to produce the content.

Well it all went wrong from there. The brand didn’t pay, they changed their core messages during the campaign and they were just generally horrid to work with. And I bloody KNEW it would happen. I had a feeling!

Now I’m extreeeeemely vigilant with my collaborations. I only work with brands I truly love. And I ensure there is a brief and agreement in place so that there is no room for shady business.

I’ve produced a document you can send brands that you work with to ensure everything works well, which you can grab here.

19. Didn’t Start A Blog Sooner

Honestly, it was 2 years of stalking my faves and being obsessed with blogs before I took the plunge myself and sometimes I kick myself for not doing it sooner.

But the important thing is that we’ve started NOW. We will make way more mistakes. But we’re in it together!

I’d love to know what your biggest blogging mistake has been!

blogging mistakes

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15 Comments

  1. January 11, 2019 / 9:20 am

    Some great advice in here. I definitely struggle to find a writing style, and sound far too formal in many of my blog posts. Trying to write like ‘you’ is harder than it should be!

    Sarah | https://www.dreamofhome.co.uk

  2. January 11, 2019 / 10:40 am

    I struggle with my mailing list – I have one but never use it! Great list though and definitely thought provoking x

  3. January 11, 2019 / 3:19 pm

    This is really helpful, thank you! One thing though re: commenting on blog posts. I always feel stupid when I do it as if you, I and everyone knows that a percentage of the reason I’m commenting is to get my link out there. Maybe I’m overthinking it but I feel like sometimes commenting on someone’s post can be seen as beggy or ingenuine – even if you’re commenting purely because you adore the post and the blogger. I think that’s the kind of attitude surrounding commenting on posts now!

    Shamefully signing off with my link,

    Siân x
    positivelysian.co.uk

  4. January 11, 2019 / 6:05 pm

    I can definitely relate to SO many of these! I first began blogging in 2009 and the blogging world has changed so much since then. I’m not on my fifth blog (habitual clean slate-r) and am trying not to bugger up this one like I have the previous ones ha ha!

  5. January 12, 2019 / 12:25 am

    Why do I feel like I made a lot of the same mistakes you did? Except I started self-hosting right away and then did nothing with my blog for the first 3 years of it’s existence. Sad I know because I paid for the domain and everything!

  6. Erin
    January 12, 2019 / 11:16 pm

    YAS! I love this! I suck at some blog stuff, and I’ve only just started pinning posts properly and I’m kicking myself now. I got 2,000 views in one day, I was gobsmacked. Pinterest is awesome lol

  7. January 13, 2019 / 7:47 am

    I’ve done or do pretty much all of these! I’m way too nervous or scared to do stuff, like starting a newsletter. I have ideas and plans for one, but I can’t figure out how to use Mailchimp and for some reason I’d prefer to not do it at all instead of doing it slightly wrong. You’ve inspired me to give it a go though, so who knows what will happen!

    Bella x

  8. January 15, 2019 / 1:32 pm

    I can definitely relate to so many of these! I really want to start a newsletter this year but I’m struggling a little with Mailchimp’s accessibility and I need to map out what kind of content I want to write about in it, hopefully it’ll all come together soon! Loved this xx

    Elin | https://myblurredworld.com

  9. January 17, 2019 / 8:58 pm

    This post brought a smile to my face – so many similarities between your journey and mine. I definitely need to work more on my mailing list – that’s one of my goals for 2019, and a bigger focus on Pinterest is another one.

    But the good news is, someone decided this is the best post they’ve read all week and so they chose to add it to the BlogCrush linky for you. Hurray! Feel free to bob over and collect your “I’ve been featured” blog badge #blogcrush

  10. January 18, 2019 / 6:44 pm

    I love this – it definitely given me a spur on to get going with my grand mailing list plans.

  11. January 21, 2019 / 10:13 am

    Oh I don’t pay attention to any of the above, despite people approaching me to say I should be doing more, but for whose benefit? I choose not to do many review and paid for pieces on my blog as it takes a way what my blog is for, but I get approached through my blog on a regular basis tio produce content for other sites which suits me #blogcrush

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