I first started my own travel blog in 2016, four years after I quit my full-time job as a website editor for one of the biggest online magazines in my country back in time. I learned a lot about the world of writing online, SEO, blogging, hosting, coding, etc. Yet I still made some rookie mistakes, which I now look back on with a knowing smile.
So, aspiring blogger, if your top plan is to start a profitable blog in 2023, stay away from these 15 amateur blogging mistakes I’ve learned since 2016. Although learning through mistakes is good, it’s also better to save yourself some time and effort by not making these mistakes in the first place, right?
What Is An Amateur Blogger?
When I started my very first blog back in the early 2000s, it was not less than a hobby for me. I wrote about whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and there was no monetary return from it nor did I expect one either. It was what I called an online diary for me. I even didn’t know about blogging back then.
So, you can say amateur bloggers are those who take their hobby of writing to the web and publish it online. Amateur bloggers are the ones who are in it simply for fun and don’t expect a monetary return from their blog. They treat their blogs as a place where they can share their thoughts, make new online friends, and read from other fellow bloggers as well.
Fast forward to around 2016, I got a little bit serious about having my own blog and learning the art of blogging from professionals online. Then, I noticed that an amateur blogger can actually turn into a professional one, as long as they’re dedicated enough to their craft and apply the right techniques.
15 Amateur Blogging Mistakes I’ve Learned Since 2016
Talking about techniques, in fact, back in time, I made some amateur blogging mistakes which cost me a lot in terms of time and energy. As I’m now looking back to that time, I wish I could go back to my old self and guide her more on the right track.
So, if you’re still reading, here are the 15 amateur blogging mistakes I wish someone had warned me about before I started:
1. Not Having a Proper Niche
As I said, I started with a travel blog in 2016. But little did I know that travel is not a niche. It’s too broad and competitive, with hundreds, if not thousands, of other micro niches and blogs that are more focused and successful.
For example, within the travel niche, you can have couple travel blogs, budget travel blogs, outdoor adventure blogs, and so much more. Now, if you want to be competitive, pick one niche and focus on it exclusively. For me, after at least one year of struggling to stand out, I finally could niche down my blog to a Europe travel blog, and that was when things started to work in my favor.
Start by writing down all the topics that you are passionate about in a brainstorming session. Look for subtopics and micro-niches from there, and eventually, you’ll find the best one to start your blog.
The same goes for all other topics. A fashion blog can be narrowed down to fashion for working women, minimalism in fashion, capsule wardrobe, or even eco-friendly fashion. Depending on which topic or topics you want to focus on, you can further narrow down the niche.
Having a niche blog will give you an upper hand in reaching the right targeted audience. Not only is it easier for you to focus, but it will also help you to stand out from the crowd. Instead of trying too hard in the red ocean, aim for the blue ocean and stand out as much as you can.
2. Starting with Free Platforms
Although there’s nothing wrong with WordPress, Blogspot, or Wix when you’re just starting out or on a tight budget, free platforms often lack the features and customization options, which is quite frustrating when you’re starting to build up your blog and want to personalize it.
The main problem with free platforms is that you’re limited to what they’re offering, and you can’t use custom plugins or themes, which are essential for any blog. Plus, these free services often come with ads on the site, which makes them look very unprofessional.
You don’t really “own” your blog, as it is hosted on their platform. Your domain doesn’t even look professional, as it has their name in it (e.g., wordpress.yourblog.com), and you don’t have full control over the content, ads, etc. In the long run, when you want to monetize your blog, this will be a big turn-down for your visitors, clients, and advertising companies.
So if you’re serious about blogging, start with a reliable and professional web host like Bluehost or Hostinger. They often have special offers for new customers, and they provide top-notch services that are also very cost-effective in the long run.
3. Not Having A Clear Goal
Whether you blog for fun or you’re serious about monetizing your blog in the future, make sure that you have a clear goal from the start. Having a plan is essential if you want to succeed in anything, especially blogging. So, make sure that you know why you’re starting a blog, what topics and niches you’ll be writing about, who your target audience is, and how you’re going to monetize it in the future.
By having a clear goal from the start, you will be able to focus on only things that help you to reach that goal. It also helps when it comes to creating content for your blog; if you know the topics you want to focus on, it becomes easier to create content, promote it, and eventually monetize it.
Let’s say, you want to start a blog as your online portfolio. You will have to focus on writing content that is related to your fields of work, such as tutorials and case studies about the different projects you’ve done, tips and tricks for working in your industry, or any other topics relevant to what you do.
Or, if your goal is to start an e-Commerce, you will have to focus on topics related to product reviews, how-to guides, customer service tips and tricks, and other topics relevant to online shopping instead of writing too much about your personal experiences.
4. Not Understanding SEO
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is one of the most important things when it comes to blogging. Long gone is the time when you could just write anything you felt like, post it on your blog, and expect to get readers. Nowadays, you have to pay attention to how you write your articles, add keywords in them (but don’t overdo it!), and optimize each page for search engine ranking.
Also, if you want to increase organic traffic to your blog, you have to understand the basics of SEO, know how to research keywords, use them in your articles, and properly optimize each page for the best results. Otherwise, it will be very difficult for people to find your blog when they search on Google or other search engines.
Of course, you don’t have to be an SEO expert to start a profitable blog. In fact, many bloggers succeeded without knowing anything about SEO firsthand. They learned and applied these principles after they got their blog up and running.
However, if you want to save some time and headaches, it’s a good idea to learn the basics of SEO before you start blogging. It will help you create content that can easily be found by your target audience, drive more organic traffic, and make sure your blog stands out from the crowd. That way, you can live up to the potential of your blog from day one!
5. Spending Too Much Time on Trivia Tasks
I remembered spending days and days customizing my (free) theme, which, in fact, didn’t really matter at all. For a blogger, what does matter is creating content and promoting it. Spend most of your time on the two, and don’t waste too much on trivial tasks such as customizing a theme or finding the perfect font for your blog.
Another trivia task, in my opinion, is finding the right photos for your blog posts. Yes, I’ve just said earlier that media-rich posts are more attractive, so you do need to find photos that match your content. But, don’t spend too much time on this task either; there are plenty of stock photo sites out there where you can find images, either free or paid.
The point here is, nobody will really care how pretty your chosen photo looks like, as long as you have good content. Focus on content creation and promotion first, then move to the other stuff later.
6. Not Knowing Your Target Audience
Your target audience is your readers, your potential customers. They are the ones who will be affected by the content you write and can even help spread it around. So, before you start writing anything, you need to know who your target audience is.
Are they young adults? Business professionals? Moms? Or some other demographic group? Knowing this information helps you create content that resonates with your readers and understand where to promote it.
In the beginning, when you don’t have any statistics to rely on, start with yourself as a reader. What kind of content would you like to read? What topics are you particularly interested in? What are your pain points? You know yourself best, and it will help you identify with your readers.
Eventually, when you can generate more traffic to your site and Google can start collecting user data, this will become easier. But in the beginning, this amateur blogging mistake can be disastrous. So make sure you take some extra time to reflect on your target audience before you start writing!
7. Not Promoting Your Content
Once you create content, you need to promote it. Otherwise, nobody will know that it exists. Amateur bloggers often forget this rule and think that just by creating great content, they’ll get enough readers. Unfortunately, that’s not the case most of the time, unless you own a very strong domain with extremely high DA and PA scores. But for a newbie blogger, that’s not gonna happen!
So, instead of just writing great content and hoping for the best, you should actively start promoting your content. There are many ways to do that—from social media handles, Facebook groups to search engine optimization and even paid promotions—so make sure you take the time to research and apply those methods.
You don’t need to do all of them together, which is actually another amateur blogging mistake I’m about to cover right below, but it’s good to know about each channel and decide which ones fit your blog the most. That way, you can make sure that more people will be aware of your blog and the content you create.
8. Spending Too Much Time on Social Media
While it’s important to promote your content on social media, spending too much time there can be a huge distraction. Newbie bloggers are often tempted to go down the rabbit hole of Instagram and Twitter notifications and reactions and forget about their primary goal: creating great content for their blog!
My advice is to limit your time on social media as much as possible—no more than one hour a day. That should be enough for promoting your content and interacting with your readers, but also make sure you don’t fall into the trap of obsessing over likes and retweets.
Also, if possible, try to schedule posts in advance so that you can focus on writing more interesting posts instead of just promoting them all the time. That way, you can make sure your readers have something to read and that they will come back for more!
9. Relying Solely on Pinterest Traffic
I’ve watched many interviews where bloggers admit that one of their amateur blogging mistakes was relying heavily on Pinterest to bring in traffic for their sites. Although it does work, Pinterest is just one of many tools you need to use if you want to build a successful blog. And with their ever-changing algorithm—just like the good ol’ Google—Pinterest is making it more difficult for a pin to go viral.
So, although it’s important to use Pinterest as part of your blog’s promotion strategy, make sure you don’t rely on it too much. Instead, try to diversify and use other channels such as SEO, collaborations with other bloggers and influencers and even paid advertisements. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, and you’ll be much more successful in the long run!
10. Not Doing Any Research Beforehand
Keywords research is just a small part of the whole research picture when it comes to successful blogging. For example, you may pass the #1 mistake and niche down a topic for your future blog. However, you didn’t do any further research to see if this niche is big enough to support your blog, or if there are enough competitors that you need to outrank.
Having a very narrow niche may result in a limited readership, while having too many competitors can make it very hard to rank your blog in search engines. Also, if your niche doesn’t have any or very few products that you can monetize with, then your blog won’t be as successful either.
So, research, research, and research! Thorough research today will save you a lot of time, headaches, and maybe some curse words tomorrow.
11. Not Being Consistent with Posting
Consistency is key when it comes to running a successful blog; if your readers know they can expect regular posts from you, then they’ll be more likely to stick around than if you only post sporadically or inconsistently!
In fact, this one is a very mistake that even pro bloggers can still make, since they may have many blogs to work on at the same time. Some bloggers may opt for an editorial team or a VA to help keep up with their blog posts, but if you don’t have these resources, then make sure you plan plenty of time to write and publish your posts on a regular basis.
In the beginning, don’t aim too high like posting every day or every two days. One blog per week is a good start. If you keep posting regularly, you’ll have 52 posts after one year and that’s more than enough to have a blog that performs well.
12. Being Scared to Invest in Blogging Tools
Although you don’t have to buy all the high-priced online courses since they promised to teach you how to make millions overnight, it can still be beneficial to invest in blogging tools such as a good email provider, graphics software, or an easy-to-use keyword research tool. These will help you create better content and optimize your blog for efficiency and growth.
Also, if you are serious about taking your blog to the next level and making money from it, then investing in the right tools is essential. Otherwise, you will be running your blog on a barebones budget and it won’t become successful.
Imagine you are about to operate a small cafe in town. Besides the venue, you’ll need to invest in tables, chairs, kitchenware, utensils, ingredients, and more. The same applies to blogging: If you want your blog to be successful, investing in the right tools is a must.
The more you’re in the world of blogging, the more advanced tools you may need, but in the beginning, consider investing in a reliable hosting provider, an aesthetic theme, and the right tools to help you create content more quickly. That way, you’ll be able to run your blog efficiently even on a budget.
13. Ignoring the Analysis Paralysis
It’s a very daunting task, I can say, especially if you’re not tech-savvy. There are so many different data and analytics tools out there, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by how much data is available.
However, remember that you don’t need all of them. You just have to find the few that can help you make decisions about your blog and stick with them. Analyzing the data from these sources regularly will help you understand your blog’s performance more clearly and make the necessary adjustments in content, format, design, or any other factor.
Analytics won’t tell you everything, but they can provide important insights that will help you improve your blog over time. So, don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of data available; focus on the key metrics that are important for your blog and use them to make better decisions.
The basics you can use for free from day one to collect all the data needed for your blogs are:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console (GSC)
These tools can be easily installed and activated from the dashboard of your WordPress site, and can be connected with your Google account to access GSC data. Remember, data may or may not be fun to look at, but it can help you understand the performance of your blog and optimize it for better results. And the more you practice, the more you’ll be able to become proficient in turning data into insights.
14. Believing that You Can Earn Six Figures any Time Soon
One of the biggest amateur blogging mistakes is to believe that you can make six figures any time soon. While it’s possible to earn a full-time income from your blog, it takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And you know what? All the bloggers claiming that they have earned five, six, or even seven figures are those who have spent a decade, at least, to reach that level.
It’s true that you can start making money from your blog within a few months, but earning big money will take time and effort. You have to be consistent in producing quality content and promoting it on social media platforms as well as other websites. Also, you need to build relationships with other bloggers and influencers in the industry. All these things take time and effort, so don’t expect to make big money from your blog anytime soon.
Blogging is not a get-rich-quick kind of thing, so if this is what you’re expecting, you can just stop right here. However, if you are patient and willing to put in the work, blogging can be a great way to have financial freedom!
15. Quitting too Soon!
This one is a major amateur blogging mistake. I know it’s easy to get demotivated when you don’t see the results you’re aiming for, but remember that it takes time and dedication to grow a successful blog. Normally, you can expect to see some traffic and maybe a small income from month six onwards.
But before that, you need to build a solid foundation for your blog. This means you should be consistently creating content and promoting it on social media platforms as well as other websites. Also, you need to focus on SEO (search engine optimization) so that search engines can easily find your content. All without seeing any outcome in the first few months.
So don’t quit too soon! Be persistent and keep on working hard to make your blog successful. You will eventually see results, but you need to be patient and disciplined about it. The more effort you put into it, the more successful your blog will be!
Blogging has brought me a lot of joy and I recommend it to anyone who wants to express themselves and make money at the same time. However, it’s not easy at all to make it a success, and you will certainly make some of these amateur blogging mistakes along the way. Once you know what these mistakes are, it’s much easier to avoid them and start seeing results.
I hope this article has been helpful to you, and if you have ever made any of these mistakes, don’t worry! Just focus on putting in the work and you will eventually see results. Good luck!