I fiddled around with a blog five years ago and only recently started getting “serious” about blogging. I had no idea what I was doing back then. I plodded along and pretended to know it all. Truth was, I was winging it – big time, and making some of these newbie mistakes...
- Stealing pictures
- Going crazy with my post links
- Publicly having a go at my friends
- Calling out other bloggers
- Competing against the world – and myself
- Thinking I was too good for other things
- Forgetting why I started blogging in the first place
So much for blogging being a fun, creative outlet, right? I obsessed about things like SEO, keywords, and blog hits. How many people were reading my blog and what if I ran out of content?! I left a full day job to follow a writing career dream; blogging was just one (big) part of my freelance day. These days, I’ve got two blogs that I’m passionate about, and they don’t consume my every waking moment. As strange as it may sound, I’m glad I made all those blogging mistakes; I think it helped me to become a better blogger... and writer.
Have you ever made any of these “newbie” blogging mistakes?
1. Stealing images for my blogs
What's easier than saving Google images onto your desktop? I did this for every article or post I published. And then a blogging buddy got sued over an image she posted. That was a huge wake-up call. Funny thing was, I never bothered too much about the impact of an image – I just put one up for the sake of it. Now, I’m really selective about what images I choose to put on my blogs.
- Great sites to use for free images: freedigitalphotos.net and flickr.com (creative commons)
- An awesome site for editing images: picmonkey.com
2. Over-sharing blog posts
Rookie blogging mistake: when you start out, you think everyone wants to read your post so you share it all over the place. In my case, I was terrified I wasn’t doing enough to market my writing. Turns out, this is a fast and easy way to put people off your writing – and you. (I had quite a few people unfriend me on Facebook because of it). So now I’m not so trigger-happy with the buttons. I aim for two or three times over 24-hours on social media sites. I put a lot more thought into what I’m sharing instead of just slapping down a link and hoping that people will take notice.
3. Having a go at friends on my blog
I had this silly fixated idea that my friends would gobble up every post I wrote and want to share it with the world. And then reality hit. I was so upset that I wrote a cringe-worthy post calling out my friends for not supporting me. Luckily for me, I have some pretty amazing friends who could see past all that pettiness (and insecurity I guess). My friends never comment on my blogs, and I’m fine with that. One or two might read a post here or there, and that's fine too, great. But my focus isn't on writing for friends anymore.
4. Offending other bloggers
I’ll admit that my grammar and spelling wasn't great when I first started blogging. I never checked for errors and assumed everything was perfect. As I started writing more and getting freelance jobs that forced me to do this, I became critical over my own style of blogging – and that of other bloggers. One day I made the mistake of e-mailing a well-known wedding photographer and telling her about a few grammar and spelling mistakes I’d spotted on her blog. I was nice enough about it, even complimented her photography, and told her how inspiring she was to me. The next thing I know, she’s mouthing off to all her fans on Facebook about it. I was mortified. But, you know, to this day I stand by what I did. I figure if you’re professional enough to rake in the big bucks and have a PA, then you should be professional on all fronts of your business – including your blog.
5. Stressing about blogging
When I first started blogging I had a rigid schedule; I posted five days a week. I was terrified that someone would stop reading my blog if I missed a single day. I became obsessed with daily hits and how many comments I was getting. It was ridiculous. And I was seriously competitive with other bloggers who weren't even in the same niche as I was. Now I know that there’s plenty of room for everyone in the big, wide world of blogging. I also know that blogging is a fun, creative outlet – for me, anyway. Now I'd rather pump out one post a week that's good quality than five or six crappy ones.
6. Being too “busy” to network
We live in a modern, digital age; that’s the reality of writing today. You can’t just simply put out a piece of writing and be done with it. Not if you’re still trying to make a name for yourself, anyway. Blogging isn't just writing – it’s about making connections. If you’re an introvert like me, going to monthly business breakfasts is just never going to happen. But that’s the beauty of social media. Twitter is awesome for connecting with other bloggers, writers, editors, and even publishers. Connecting being the operative word here; engaging in conversation (not shoving your blog links all over the place). It's also about sharing other bloggers’ posts you find interesting. Believe you me, karma exists in the “bloggerphere.” So no matter how busy I get during the day, I make a point of blocking off some time to network and connect online – even if it’s only 10 minutes.
7. Falling out of love with blogging
When I became stressed and sick of blogging every day, I stopped for a while. That mini blogging hiatus gave me time to put things into perspective. It was as though a little light bulb went off in my head because for the first time, I had a much clearer idea of what I wanted from my blogging. Business blogging is one thing, but even then I feel like you should still be passionate about what you’re writing and what the goal behind it all is.
So there you have it; seven newbie mistakes and a couple of tough lessons I went through when I first started blogging. I hope some of these tips will help you become a better blogger, or encourage you to start blogging!