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Most Common Mistakes When Starting a Blog

Starting a blog is a challenge. Everyone starts with different levels of understanding of what it takes to manage a blog and almost everyone has a lot to learn. It’s easy to see why. Many of you started your blog (or will start your blog in the near future) for the sole person of helping others. Knowing how to do everything related to blogging isn’t a requirement.

It should not be a surprise to us that EVERYONE makes a mistake when starting their blog. It may not be a huge mistake, but there’s something. I have been blogging for over a year now and I have come to understand many of the mistakes that bloggers make when starting out. I read tons of blogs everyday and I see these mistakes still happening, so I thought I would share some of the most common mistakes so that you won’t make the same mistake.

Mistakes when Starting Blogging

Do you make this many mistakes?

Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your Blog

Thinking People will Find You

This is the mistake that most people make when starting out. You think that there are all these great blogs out there and if you just start writing, people will find you. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but this is a LIE! The earliest that you can expect to get more than a handful of visitors from search engines is 3 months. At the earliest! It’s important to realize that you need to be active to get your blog noticed! That’s right. It takes work to get noticed on the internet. Networking is a vital part of blogging and the earlier you learn this, the more successful you will be.

Free WordPress Theme

I may get some readers that disagree with me, but one of the best ways to save yourself a lot of headache is to buy a premium theme at the beginning. Sure, it may cost you $100, but it will be money well spent. This is one of the mistakes that I made. I have switched themes 3 times now, in the first year. While I’m not concerned about how long it took me to find the best theme, I am regretting spending so much time re-designing my site over and over. If you are just starting out, consider getting a premium theme like Headway. This will not only give you a professional look, but it will be easy enough to use for a beginner. The drag and drop designer interface is one of the best.

Permalink Structure 

This is something that I make sure everyone knows about when they are starting because it is something that I overlooked when I first started my blog. The standard permalink structure has the date in the url. So it looks something like this:

HTTP://YOURDOMAIN.COM/07/04/2012/POST-TITLE

While this permalink structure is “fine,” I like to change it to the following:

HTTP://YOURDOMAIN.COM/POST-TITLE

The reasons that I like to change it to the second permalink structure is as follows:

  • I can re-publish the article without having to worry about changing the link structure and losing any incoming links to my site.
  • Visitors coming to my site are not able to easily see that a post is 2 years old

“Preachy” Voice

There’s no easy way to say it, but one of the things that I did when starting out was just listing things that people “should” do to save money or make the “best” decision. Unfortunately, this alienates or bores your readers. People do not want to be directly told what they should do. Their parents can do that for them. I have found that the most important way to communicate responsibility, especially within the personal finance niche, is to share your own story and then relate it to a more general topic. The personal story can be a mistake that you’ve made or an success story. It’s easy to fall back into this when you don’t have unique stories, but do your best!

Fear of Making a Mistake

Last but certainly not least, many new bloggers are afraid to make a mistake. They wait too long to publish something or start their blog because they are perfectionists. The great thing about blogging is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. People will still read your blog as long as you have most things right. I knew a friend that waited several months to start his own site. He was working hard on getting it perfect. What ended up happening is that he spent so much time perfecting it without making it public that he wasn’t able to see the results of his labor or that people appreciated his work. He ended up giving up on his dream despite having a good idea. Don’t let this happen to you! Start your own blog today!

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4 Responses to Most Common Mistakes When Starting a Blog

  1. I am like your friend. I wish I would have started sooner. That said I might have been to busy at the time and burned out. Blogging has been very rewarding to me and although I have made some of these mistakes, like the theme, I wouldn’t change much because of how much I have learned. Good luck to all new bloggers!

  2. Thank goodness you don’t have to know everything. I make mistakes everyday, but that’s part of the challenge is figuring things out. I will probably have to look into changing to a different theme at some point. Thanks for the tips.

  3. Te permalink structure KILLS ME! I have a ton of incoming link now, and changing it would break them all. Oh well, I just bought the .com for my site, so I’ll just reset when I “re-launch” my site in a few months.

  4. I need to disagree on the theme point. I use a free theme, Atahualpa which I have worked hard on. It is free. The thing is, why pay for a theme when you don’t know if this hobby will persist? I didn’t know and ultimately still haven’t paid for a theme almost 2 years later.

    One mistake I made early was loading my sidebars with affiliate ads. I’m talking gardening, PF products, chocolate. If you have not built trust from your readers they will have little interest in clicking on what appear to spammy ads.