Blogging is exciting. Really, the notion of blogging means that you can, if you play your cards right, essentially do whatever you want with your life. Many bloggers just go around eating at fancy restaurants and writing about it on the web. If it doesn’t pay their bills, it at least pays for their restaurant checks.
But it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and make some mistakes early on.
Here are ten common blogger mistakes that a lot of us make when we first start out.
#1: Going Full Time
This one deserves to be listed first because it’s one of the worst mistakes you can make. People who blog full time are people who slowly built a following up over several years of blogging part time. When you first start out, you really shouldn’t be spending more than, say, an hour a day on your blog. Luckily, there are writing jobs on the web where you can hone your skills as a writer and work on your own hours in the meantime. Check out constant-content.com where you can sell your articles to various websites.
#2: Waiting to Monetize
You never know how much money you might be missing out on if you wait until you have a hundred followers before you start monetizing. Start monetizing right away, get those banner ads and affiliate links on there. At first, you won’t be making a lot of money, but along the way towards building a better blog, you may as well get every dollar you can.
When you run a poll in the beginning and you wind up with three votes total, it just makes you feel a little silly, and it makes your blog look kind of, well, pathetic to the people who stumble upon it. When someone discovers your blog, they shouldn’t feel like they’re invading on some private group that consists of nobody else but the blogger and a couple of people he or she knows in real life.
#4: Starting Without a Focus
Over time, your blog will come to encompass pretty much all of your interests. For now, though, try to keep it fairly streamlined. Keep it about movie reviews or music or cooking or whatever it is you want to write about, just keep it focused enough that, when a reader stumbles upon your blog, they know what to expect for the next dozen entries they read. If you’re looking for a niche, check out the statistics and see if you can come up with a blog that hasn’t been done before (you can check out a lot of other fascinating stats while you’re there, too).
#5: Trying to Land Big Sponsors
Just sign up for Google Ad Sense and other ad revenue programs. Worry about landing big sponsors later on down the line. Typically, Coca Cola and Maxim aren’t going to be interested in buying ad space on your site until you have tens of thousands of subscribers.
#6: Prioritizing Style Over Content
Style and content go hand in hand, and content should always guide style. Check out Theme Theme where you can get an amazing customizable & SEO friendly theme for your blog.
#7: Using an Impersonal Tone
When writing to the public, there’s a tendency to want to use third person impartial tone. This works for some blogs, but most of them use a personal tone to feel more like a real back and forth with the reader. It’s also easier to be funny or entertaining or witty or creative when writing in first person. Unless your blog really calls for an impartial tone, just write in your speaking voice.
#8: Ignoring Your Readers
You’re not a star yet. As long as you have time to talk back at your readers, do so. You may be disappointed that you only have ten or twenty of them for now, but if you don’t respond to them, you won’t even have ten or twenty a week from now.
#9: Choosing the Wrong Host
What you’re looking for is a good, basic and not-too-pricey package at a site like hostgator.com, where you get unlimited storage for four bucks a month. Some bloggers choose to go with a free host like a basic blogspot.com account, but then you may have difficulty switching over later on down the line if you want to switch to a pay host: You lose all your backlinks, your traffic, you have to move all that content over etc. etc., it’s basically like starting over from square one. You may as well start with a cheap host and just upgrade your service package if you ever need to in the future.
#10: Starting a Forum
If you’ve got fans and readers from around the world who want somewhere to talk with other readers, well, that’s when you start a forum. A forum with exactly one member (you) just looks silly.
The basic rule of thumb here is not to bother doing anything, really, until you get to a point where you absolutely have to.
Don’t quit your day job until you wind up making enough money from the blog to support yourself, and you don’t have time to work your day job anymore.
Don’t expand to a bigger host until you get to a point where your current host can’t support what you want to do with your blog.
Don’t pay a graphic designer to redo your whole blog with an original theme if your inexpensive theme is still a hit with your readers.
The bottom line is that great content and style trump all, and you can’t rush it. So have fun for now, just write about something you enjoy writing about and enjoy the learning process.
Image Credit: anvrecife