10 common mistakes amateur bloggers make
November 4, 2019
It’s easy to make mistakes as a blogger. When you first start a blog you don’t always know what you’re doing and it’s easy to get a few months (or years!) down the line and realise that you’ve been doing something wrong.
But sometimes you don’t even know that you’re making a mistake in the first place. Maybe you’re not getting the volume of traffic you deserve, or maybe your blog isn’t showing up on Google. You might not know why but there will be a reason.
We’ve listed 10 of the most common mistakes amateur bloggers make so you can pinpoint what you need to work on…
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#1 Not self-hosting
Often bloggers set up a free blog on WordPress or Blogger, and this is fine when first starting out. However, when you get more serious about blogging and want to monetise your blog or customise it, you will need to be self-hosted.
This route does cost money, but we all know the phrase “you have to spend money to make money”. If you monetise your blog properly it will more than pay for its upkeep.
>> Find out what the difference between a self-hosted and free blog is in our post What self-hosting is and why you should do it.
There are lots of different hosts out there and different bloggers will recommend different suppliers. We have used several in our blogging life and the best we have found so far is Siteground.
#2 Not learning about SEO
SEO or search engine optimisation can be a scary topic to get your head around. Many bloggers start a blog without even really knowing what SEO is. It’s not something you can just ignore, if you aren’t writing SEO-friendly posts your blog will suffer for it.
Luckily, SEO isn’t as complicated as you may think. There are many WordPress plugins that can help you make sure your blog is optimised for SEO. Be careful though, as you can easily go wrong and make some SEO mistakes.
It’s important to think about SEO early on as it can take months to see the effects on Google.
>> Find out how to get started with SEO by reading our post 7 easy SEO tips for bloggers
Having a blog that is well optimised for SEO means that eventually, you’ll be able to sit back and watch the traffic roll in.
#3 Setting up the wrong format for permalinks
This is something we had no idea about when we started blogging – one of our blogs still has the wrong link structure as it’s such a lot of work to change it!
A permalink is the URL that you use to link to pages and posts on your website. With WordPress, you can choose the format of the permalinks on your blog by going to Settings > Permalinks.
Many bloggers will just stick to the default setting which includes the date in the URL, such as https://www.myblog.com/2019/11/06/blogposttitle
A neater and more SEO friendly way to set up your permalinks is to take out the date so that it looks like https://www.myblog.com/blogposttitle
To change the structure of your URLs choose the option “post name as URL”.
Once your blog is up and running you can’t change the permalink structure or you’ll break the links to your blog posts. You can set up redirects from old URLs to new ones, but if you have a lot of blog posts this will take some time.
Much better to get it right from the beginning!
#4 Choosing a theme that isn’t mobile-friendly
You will probably set your blog up whilst using a laptop or PC. Everything might look great but your blog may look totally different for those visiting from a mobile device.
It’s likely that you’ll have more visitors to your blog via mobile than desktop so it’s important your site looks great on both. A blog design that doesn’t work on mobile will annoy visitors and result in a high bounce rate.
The best way to ensure that you choose a theme that is mobile-friendly is to pay for one. You don’t have to spend too much money, there are some very reasonably priced themes that look fantastic on websites such as ThemeIsle or UpThemes,
#5 Not setting up an email list from the start
One of the most common mistakes amateur bloggers make is not thinking about email subscribers from the beginning. Having a list of blog subscribers is a great way to promote your products and latest blog posts. If you don’t have a list of people interested in your blog, how will you direct them to your latest content?
Set up a subscribers list when you start your blog. That way if you decide to sell products such as ebooks or courses later, you already have a list of people to communicate with.
There are lots of different email marketing services out there, an easy one to get started with is MailChimp. It’s free for the first 2000 subscribers and there are WordPress plugins to help you build your email list.
#6 Not using Pinterest
You’ll probably naturally think of Facebook and Twitter when you think about where to share your blog posts. However, Pinterest is where you should start as it has the potential to bring in a lot more traffic than the other social media networks combined.
Pinterest isn’t easy to get your head around and there are tricks you’ll need to learn to get the best out of it. But once you learn how to Pinterest, you’ll see a sharp increase in people visiting your blog.
>> Get started by reading our 4 part guide to Pinterest, starting with Part 1: Getting your blog ready for Pinterest
You’ll also want to sign up to Tailwind which allows you to schedule lots of pins in advance. This way you don’t have to spend hours sharing your content on Pinterest. Sign up here to get $15 Tailwind credit for free.
If you still need help on Pinterest, we can recommend this fantastic and easy to follow course from Pinterest expert Adrian.
#7 Forgetting to back up your blog
If you don’t have a plugin to back up your blog please go and get one now!
It’s rare for blogs to get hacked but it does happen, if you haven’t backed up your blog you risk losing everything. What is more common is for a WordPress update or plugin to break something. If you have a back up you can easily restore your blog back to the way it was before.
There are plenty of free plugins you can use to back up your blog, however if you have a large money-making blog (or plan to have one!) you will be better off paying for a backup service such as UpDraft Plus.
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#8 Not having a content plan
‘Winging it’ isn’t a good strategy for growing a blog and is another one of the big mistakes amateur bloggers make. You need to plan and research your content ahead of time so you know what is going out and when.
Planning ahead and running an organised blog also helps when something unexpected comes up such as illness or your social life.
We’d recommend starting by installing the Calendar plugin so you can easily see what posts you have scheduled for which days. You can also use it to pencil in drafts and topic ideas to create a schedule.
A to-do list such as Trello will help you to keep track of your ideas and tick things off as you go.
#9 Installing too many plugins
It’s easy to get carried away installing lots of amazing free plugins when you first start a blog. But installing too many can really slow down your site. It also means it can be difficult to pinpoint where errors have come from when anything goes wrong – which it will at some point if you have a long list of third-party plugins.
>> Find out which plugins you really need in our post 10 must-have WordPress plugins
#10 Not optimising your images
As your blog grows so will your media library, but large images will cause your blog to run slowly. A slow-loading website is one of the main reasons that people don’t stick around.
Don’t panic though, there are easy ways to make your images smaller so they don’t cause any issues.
You will also want to optimise the images on your blog for SEO to help your site rank better on search engines.
>> Find out how to optimise your blog’s imagery in our post How (and why) to optimise images on your blog
Mistakes amateur bloggers make – conclusion.
The most common mistakes amateur bloggers make that we’ve identified here are:
- Not self-hosting your blog
- Not implementing SEO
- Setting up the wrong permalink structure
- Not using a mobile-friendly theme
- Not setting up an email subscribers list
- Not using Pinterest
- Failing to backup your blog
- Not creating a content plan
- Installing too many plugins
- Not optimising images
With a bit of work, you can fix these mistakes and see an increase in traffic to your blog.