7 Common Mistakes Bloggers Make When First Starting Out
Blogging for some is a creative outlet from our 9-5, and for others, it is a full-time job. With 3 years of blogging experience, I have learned a lot, and the majority came from my own research, which is why I'm so willing to share it with others freely. When I first decided to embark on this blogging journey, I had no blogging friends or resources, and Google was my best friend. To this date, when I look at my blog posts from 2016, I cringe on the inside because there were several things I was doing wrong. I am going to share with you 7 common mistakes bloggers make when starting out.
Comparing yourself to others
Typically if you have a blog, you have an Instagram account, and if you don't, we need to be having a whole other conversation. We all have established bloggers that we look up to or are inspired by. It is so easy to get caught up in what they are doing and comparing ourselves to what took them YEARS to build. YOU CAN'T DO THAT! It is important to remember everyone starts at the beginning with one Instagram follower or a few page views on their site. Constantly comparing yourself to others will only cloud your creativity and have you mimicking their style. Remember to create content that is genuine to you because authenticity is what builds community.
Doing the majority of your blogging-related task manually
You don't want blogging to feel like a chore, and you want it to be an enjoyable outlet. I have found it essential to plan things ahead of time, such as the scheduling of your blog posts, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I use Hootsuite to schedule my Twitter and Facebook, and Planoly for my Instagram. This has allowed me to live my life not sucked into social media platforms 24/7. Imagine planning your Instagram posts a week ahead of time, and all you have to focus on is engaging with your social media following. Sounds refreshing? Well, get to planning!
Using Instagram Pods
I know there are some bloggers or influencers who will read this and roll their eyes at me for letting out their secrets for engagement. I joined two Instagram Pods, and at first, I thought it was a great idea. I mean, who doesn't like having a guaranteed extra 20-40 likes and comments each time you post? Instagram Pods require that you also engage with each and every person in that pod. Between creating content for a blog, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and a host of other social media platforms, I couldn't do all of that AND engage with my actually following. I had to remove myself from these groups, but it was the best thing I have ever done and made being a blogger feel like less of a chore. I recently chatted with a friend that works in Influencer Marketing, and she mentioned that PR companies notice when the same people comment on your content. To make a long story short - DON'T DO IG PODS!
You aren't writing evergreen content
I always hear people saying that they write for themselves, but in actuality, you should be writing for a purpose. The key to having people visit your blog is providing VALUE! It is important to remember that your blog content should be a mix of what you WANT to write about and things that people are commonly looking for. Evergreen content is essential to your site, and it is content that is ALWAYS relevant and never becomes outdated.
A great example of this is my Brunch in Harlem post. It is THE most visited page on my entire blog. I wrote this post because I knew it was something people commonly search for as Harlem is a destination neighborhood when visiting New York City. When you google "Harlem Brunch," this page comes up NUMBER #2, and I have beat out Trip Advisor, Infatuation, and Eater. You can use Google Trends to determine what is popular or searched frequently. It is crucial to create this type of content and keep it up to date. This evergreen content will drive individuals to your page and, hopefully, encourage them to search throughout the rest of the site and share with their friends.
Not asking for your worth when it comes to collaborations
Companies and PR firms would reach out to me directly regarding collaborations, and I was always willing to do things for FREE. Remember, they sent you an email, so they are interested in you and the service and influence you provide. I think typically, we sell ourselves short because we have a lower follower count or haven't been in the blogging game for an extended amount of time. Just a reminder that they companies are reaching out to you because of your quality content, and it never hurts to ask for compensation. There will be times when smaller companies cannot pay for your services, but they may have the ability to offer products. NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK AND CREATE A PRICE SHEET!
Not writing consistently
When I first started blogging, I would publish when I felt like it. WRONG! Provide your readers with some type of consistency. When I began Dom N' The City, I made it a goal to publish new content every Tuesday. This is a great way to provide yourself with accountability and value to your readers. Having some type of consistency on your site will allow your readers to know when you are dropping the new content and give them a reason to keep coming back. I know that my weekly goal of content can be hard to keep up but figure out some sort of schedule and stick to it. Sometimes you will experience burnout, and it is okay to take a break, so you don't feel like you are forcing content.
Not utilizing other platforms outside of Instagram
If you are not using other platforms outside of Instagram, you are doing yourself and your brand a disservice. You have to look at Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook as FREE advertising and a way to reshare old and new content. I know what you are thinking - Dom, I don't have time to tweet. This goes back to my second point of scheduling these other platforms. I typically take a Sunday and use an hour to schedule all of them two weeks or a month in advance.
I hope my reflection of my mistakes was helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments to add, please leave it below!