Everyone makes mistakes and the more things that you try along your blogging journey, the more mistakes you will inevitably make. What’s important is that you try to identify the lessons in these mistakes and then try to learn as much as possible from them to improve your own performance in the future to increase the chance of your blog being successful.
There are countless common mistakes bloggers make and I have made more than most on my own journey. Due to this, I wanted to try and share a number of common new blogger mistakes that myself and other popular bloggers who share their blogging journeys on YouTube have made when first starting out and would avoid if we could start over.
My hope is that you will be able to learn from our mistakes and prevent them from happening in your own blogging journey helping to save you time, money, and effort in the future. If this article helps to prevent you from making even one of these blogging mistakes that we cover below then I will consider this post a huge success. Ideally though, I would like to think that you will be able to learn from all of the points made to try and make your blogging journey as smooth as possible.
Only A Fool Learns From His Own Mistakes. The Wise Man Learns From The Mistakes Of Others.Otto von Bismarck
I also have the content in this post available in video format on my YouTube channel with the video embedded below for anyone who would prefer to watch it rather than read it. The content is the same in both article and video format so you can consume it in your preferred format without missing out.
What Should You Not Do When Starting A Blog?
As I mentioned above, I have my own input as well as the input from three other popular YouTubers who share their blogging journey with their audiences too. I have added the table of contents below so you are able to quickly and easily navigate to specific sections of the article if you are short on time and don’t want to read all of it.
My Thoughts On Blogging Mistakes To Avoid
Avoid Automated SEO Tools
Although I actually enjoyed it and saw it as more of a hobby and a challenge rather than a long term income source, there is no doubt in my mind that I would be much further ahead with my blogging journey if I did not spend years playing around with various black hat automation tools running churn and burn projects.
For anyone who does not know, automated churn and burn search engine optimisation was very popular amongst the black hat community until Google countered it with the Penguin 4 update in 2016. It is based around you aggressively building millions of low quality, automated backlinks to a blog to try and make it rank for its target keywords in Google as quickly as possible knowing full well that it will be penalised and lose all of its traffic on the next update.
Back when I was using churn and burn techniques, I saw blogging as more of a hobby than anything else as I was serving in the military at the time and had a steady pay cheque so had no need for long term projects. Even though Google rolled out their Penguin 4 algorithm update back in 2016, even to this day I still get people contacting me asking for help with automated SEO toolsets.
I can’t stress this enough, this is a massive mistake when it comes to blogging for an online income as these automated toolsets usually have a pretty high initial investment for anyone new to blogging and these days the provide little to nothing in return. My advice would be to avoid them and if you are set on building backlinks to your blog content, use the methods that I cover in my video below going over my current backlinking strategy as it is based around long term rankings in Google.
Diversify As Much As Possible From The Start
This is probably my biggest regret to date in my blogging journey as it is something relatively easy to do if you are just starting out meaning that you should easily be able to avoid this extremely common mistake. From my current portfolio of blogs, I am over exposed to Google as my traffic source and Amazon as my affiliate merchant.
Google have been increasing the frequency that they release major updates to their algorithm meaning that in theory, I could loose all of my traffic from them over night and be put back to square one as without traffic, you can’t make money with blogging. When it comes to the Amazon side of things, they cut their commission rates in April 2020 with some dropping by as much as sixty percent as well as a full restructure of their affiliate program back in 2017.
Although I have been trying to integrate eBay into my affiliate content as much as possible, the dominance of Amazon right now draws the majority of people directly to them. I am currently using the choice pages tool from Genius Link to try and give my traffic a choice between purchasing items via Amazon or eBay.
Unfortunately, as you can see from the pie chart above directly from my Genius Link dashboard, only around ten to fifteen percent of my traffic is clicking eBay where as the rest are opting to go to Amazon. Rather than try to change this, I am just going to leave Amazon as my default affiliate merchant for products as they are a conversion machine and try to diversify income in other ways.
My current thinking is to try and integrate display ads as best I can as it is much easier to change your display ad network than it is to change your affiliate merchant. Thankfully, gone are the days where you could be lucky to get a $5 RPM with networks such as Adsense and the newer, premium display ad networks such as Ezoic can offer an RPM of $10-$15 for the exact same traffic with some people being able to get their RPM over $20!
When it comes to diversifying my traffic source, the main thing that I am trying to implement right now is Pinterest traffic. There are a large number of bloggers out there who are pulling insane traffic from Pinterest to their blogs and not getting involved in Pinterest earlier could warrant its own entry on my list of blogging mistakes.
When it comes to this particular blog, I am also going to be trying a number of different traffic leaking experiments using platforms such as Reddit and Quora to further diversify my traffic sources. Unfortunately, unlike Pinterest, both Reddit and Quora do take a large amount of time to grow your traffic so it is likely that I will only be sticking with trying to add Pinterest to the other blogs in my portfolio.
Not Factoring in The Google Sandbox
Although some bloggers do not agree with the concept of the Google Sandbox, I am a believer in it and have never had a blog not display the symptoms of the sandbox. For anyone new to blogging reading this, the Google Sandbox is essentially a four to eight-month wait period for new blogs before content starts to rank in the to three of Google for its target keywords and pull traffic.
If you would like to know more about the Google Sandbox, I go into it in much more detail in the video below as well as share a number of screenshots from my analytics to go into why I personally believe that it is something you should factor in when blogging.
The main blogging mistake that I see people make when it comes to the Google Sandbox is that they will start their blog really motivated, churn out a large number of articles, and then give up after two month or so as they are not getting any traffic. Not only does this waste the money you have paid for your blog hosting and domain registration but it also wastes a all of the time that you have put into creating and publishing your content.
I have close friends who have approached me about starting their own blogs who I have sat down with and explained exactly what they have to do and shown them my analytic screenshots showing the sandbox effect. Still, after a few months of blogging, most of them give up and just cancel their hosting package and let their blog go offline.
This is one of the main reasons that I recommend that you pick-up one of the twelve-month hosting packages from a reputable blog hosting company. Going with a low quality, over priced hosting company is another common blogging mistake that I see people make time and time again too so be sure to avoid companies such as Bluehost as people usually only recommend them due to their much higher commission rates that are often three times higher than other hosting companies.
Although the main benefit of choosing to go with a twelve-month offer with your blog hosting company from the very start is that it can drastically reduce the cost of your blog hosting when compared to paying monthly for it. The benefit that I want to focus on regarding the mistake of giving up before the Google Sandbox time period ends on your blog is that it gives you a set and forget option.
Just like many bloggers, you can start your new blog with lots of motivation, churn out a large number of articles and then if you do get burned out, you can simply take a break. Make sure you have a tool such as Google Analytics installed on your blog and then check your traffic a few months later. With any luck, you will see your month on month traffic slowly starting to grow as your blog ages in often giving you a second wind resulting in more blog articles being published.
Input From Leon Angus On Blogging Mistakes He Would Avoid
Leon is another blogger who documents his journey on his YouTube channel while also running his own personal blog in addition to a number of other blogs in his portfolio. He has been earning money online from his blogs via affiliate marketing for many years now and offers the below input.
Choose A Broad Domain Name
The first blogging mistake that Leon shares is that he would go back and start with a domain name that is as broad as possible for his projects. I have actually fallen victim to this mistake myself with one of my blogs with the domain name that I initially registered just being too niche specific to expand on making it a pain to constantly grow the blog.
Leon mentions how he would now only register broad domain names with his domain registrar that ensure that you have plenty of room to grow the blog into other niches in the future if needed. For example, rather than registering the blog name pencrazy.com that is specific to the sub-niche of pens, you would register crazyaboutstationary.com so you can expand into other stationery items in the future if needed.
Leon then goes onto how he has had to do a blog wide redirect for one of his domains to allow him to expand it under a better suited domain name. He then mentions how his income from that particular blog did drop initially after the redirect and is still recovering now three months later without reaching its previous income levels.
Build Your Own Team Of Freelancers To Help You
Leons second blogging mistake that he would avoid is using random short term freelancers from sites such as Upwork. I totally agree with his points on this as it can be a total pain to put the time and effort into constantly finding new freelancers to work with for long term projects and at least if you add them to your own in house team, you can train them up to get exactly what you want.
Another great benefit of working with freelancers, particularly writers over an extended period of time is that they will often give you a much better rate for their content. This can sometimes be as high as a thirty percent discount on their initial price per article helping you save a large amount of money over the course of a blogging project.
Personally, I prefer to work with managed writing services where the person who owns the business will do all of the vetting for their writing team and then work with a number of clients. This offers similar benefits of having your own in house team with the added benefit of saving you the time required to find, vet, and train new writers on the team. If you are looking to try the managed writing service that I use and recommend, you can use the discount code shaunmarrs at checkout to get a 10% discount on your first order.
Perfect Your Keyword Research Method
The final point from Leon is that he would work on working out how to qualify low competition keywords as quickly as possible. If you are new to blogging then this is a very common mistake that people make and they will often do no keyword research at all or target keywords that are far too high competition for them.
He then mentions how he used to use many of the premium keyword tools out there and just presume the keywords that they give you are low competition. This is another very common mistake that I see people new to blogging make and in my opinion, many of these popular keyword research tools are a total waste of time.
I have this playlist on my YouTube channel where I share all of my keyword research related videos in one place. My keyword research method uses the Google search engine results page rather than any premium keyword research tools and provided you have the time available to go through the process, you can land yourself some great low competition keywords from it.
Input From WP Eagle On Blogging Mistakes He Would Avoid
Alex who runs the WP Eagle YouTube channel has built up a huge following in the YouTube space when it comes to blogging-related channels and at the time of writing, he has just crossed the fifty thousand subscriber mark. He also runs WPEagle.com as well as a number of additional blogs in his portfolio too.
Quality Over Quantity When It Comes To Content
The first point that WP Eagle makes is that he would go with higher quality content on his blogs rather than lower quality content at scale. Not only can this help to build a stronger community around your blog if that is on of your goals, it can also help build a following within your niche where people may directly visit your blog just to get high value, in-depth content for the niche that you are blogging about.
He then mentions how he has increased his budget for his content to ensure he is getting the best quality possible for his content while also working towards building a strong working relationship with the freelance writers too. Although working with writers from platforms such as Upwork is tempting when you are new to blogging, unless you are planning to build a working relationship with them and work with them for a long period of time, this can end up taking up a ton of time and ultimately be a mistake when the writers ghost on you and miss deadlines.
Plan Out A Strong Structure For The Blog
The next point that WP Eagle makes is that he would take more time when initially planning the blog to try and get everything correct from the very start. So many people who are new to blogging make this mistake and just jump in with both feet and give little to no thought for the future. This is one of the reasons that so many people have issues with their domain name not being broad enough to grow the site as Leon pointed out above.
As WP Eagle then goes on to say, changing the structure of your blog can be an absolute nightmare once you have a large amount of content and images on it, especially if you have basically been winging it from the start. Putting a few hours in to actually plan out your blog categories, how you want to format your articles, the image resolutions that you want, and how your theme will render everything can save you a bunch of time later down the line.
Choose A Broad Domain Name
The final point from WP Eagle is the same point raised by Leon earlier in the article. WP Eagle has posted a number of case studies and follow alongs on his YouTube channel for some of the blogs in his portfolio and often used exact match domain names. For example, bestpens.com for a blog about the best pens. Going with a broader domain name from the very start such as beststationary.com allows him to keep on constantly growing the blog as large as possible without having potential issues with the domain name.
Input From Chris – Niche Safari On Blogging Mistakes He Would Avoid
Chris runs his Niche Safari YouTube channel and his Niche Safari blog while also running a number of other successful blogs in his portfolio. At the time of writing, he has recently become a full time blogger and is rapidly scaling his blogging projects to increase his online income sources.
Get Involved In Blogging Communities
The first point that Chris makes is that he feels his larges jumps in knowledge when it comes to blogging has been when he has been talking to other bloggers in a one on one conversation or in a blogging community. This can definitely be an excellent way to grow your blogging knowledge but it can be a double-edged sword as it can be hard to work out where you are able to get valuable information on blogging.
Although there are a large number of groups on social media, skype, discord, and other platforms similar to these, I personally feel that communities such as Just Start on Reddit are going to be the best option. Although the Just Start moderation team have recently changed their rules, there are still a large number of blogging case studies running that are updated on a monthly basis.
Checking in on the community even once per month allows you to read other peoples experiences with their own blogs and can help you avoid making the same new blogger mistakes as them with your own projects. The Just Start Community has had a high number of successful case studies where people have been able to rapidly grow their blogs to over $1000 a month while also having other members of the community reply to their threads offering advice too.
Get Involved In Affiliate Marketing As Soon As Possible
The second blogging mistake that Chris brings up is that he would get involved in affiliate marketing as an income source for his blogs as early as possible. Affiliate marketing can allow you to make much more per visitor to your blog than using something like display ads allowing you to become a full time blogger sooner. This means that you are able to quit your traditional job and put more time into growing your blogs to increase your online income.
Although there are some people who earn a very high income online from display ads, trying to integrate affiliate marketing as soon as possible can drastically increase your online income. Even if you build your blog around informational content rather than buyer intent content, you can still find ways to add affiliate links to your blog. This article serves as a good example, throughout the article, I have added a number of affiliate links even though the article is an informational article.
That concludes my article going over the blogging mistakes that we would try to avoid if we were able to start out blogging journeys again from scratch. I hope that you have enjoyed that article and that it has helped to identify some common blogging mistakes that you can now try to avoid when growing your own blogging projects.
I am a huge believer in just how important it is to get out there and test as many things as possible as a blogger. You have to realise that it is highly likely that you are going to fail many times along your journey, just try to identify the lessons in the failures to prevent them from happening again in the future.