I’ve made more blogging mistakes than I care to remember.
It was a rainy Sunday afternoon a few years back when I launched my blog. I typed some potential addresses into Bluehost and casually picked a name at random- Roostervane.
Blogging made me come alive. The ability to work through my ideas and create something. The ability to even earn money off of putting myself out there. It’s fun!
But the thing about this world is that I’ve made a lot of blogging mistakes. Stupid stuff. And, even two years in, if I’d known then what I know now, I can’t imagine where I’d be.
So here are my top 5 blogging mistakes after 2 years of putting my ideas online. If you’re just starting out, I hope they help you!
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1. Not being consistent
I’ve called myself a blogger for a few years now, but there have still been weeks and months when I haven’t published a thing.
This isn’t just about laziness. In that time, I was working jobs, consulting, speaking, writing a book, and co-parenting three kids during a pandemic.
Still, I have posts that I wrote two years ago that bring readers to my blog every day. And the biggest part of me wonders, what if I had written more of those posts?
I have one post that consistently makes me $100 a month with affiliate income (I’m just getting started with affiliates). And I ask myself, what if I had written twenty of those?
Because of SEO, you’re not going to know until a year from now which of your posts take off and which are duds… So the more you write, the more likely you are to have something that launches. Don’t make this blogging mistake. Be consistent. You don’t have to post like a maniac but do post regularly.
2. Not getting focused on who I serve
I’ve written to a lot of people and created posts that could be for just about anyone. High school grads. People with advanced degrees. Adults looking to start their careers again. People who want to blog (oops).
Over time, I’ve sort of settled on “helping smart people build amazing careers.” But if I were to start over, I might pick a super-specific niche. I also have a “traveling with kids” blog I putter away on.
3. Not getting really clear on my keywords
In other posts, I’ve written about the value of keyword research. Search Engine Optimization, AKA SEO, when done right, will bring a constant stream of visitors to your blog.
Now, I really do believe the best way to learn SEO is by doing it. I did a course on Skillshare that got me started, and it taught me a lot, but I still made some huge mistakes. I created post after post with the same keyword, answering the same question. I didn’t go back and measure what was working for SEO.
Some people whine about content that is only created for SEO, meaning we get an endless world of listicles telling you the “5 things to include on your resume.”
They worry that this is content without a soul. Fair enough.
But there are still people typing words into search engines looking for answers. The answers don’t have to suck, but you might as well give people what they’re looking for. I wish I had purchased ahrefs a lot sooner and got clear and how keywords work.
This is my traffic growth through SEO.
I’ve driven 3 times as much traffic on social, don’t get me wrong. But SEO is constantly growing. And if I’d done more, learned keywords better, etc., you’d be looking at a chart that went even higher. This does work… but it takes a lot of work!
One other keyword mistake I’ve made is focusing too much on the longtail–ie. specific keywords with very low monthly views. Roostervane is the top Google result for like 100 keywords with VERY LOW TRAFFIC. At some point, make sure you’re mixing in higher-volume keywords. Being the top result for a keyword that gets 10 searches a month isn’t nearly as great as being the 9th result for something that gets 20k searches a month
4. Not doing enough outreach
I have a bit of imposter syndrome around the fact that I write about careers. I have a Ph.D… In religious studies. I sort of stumbled into this, and while I’ve learned a lot, that imposter syndrome held me back from reaching out and building meaningful relationships.
This is one of the worst blogging mistakes I’ve made.
You have to do this when you are building. You do this to get your name in front of existing audiences, but also to build valuable backlinks that will help Google rank you higher. You can do guest posts on blogs, appearances in the media, podcast appearances, and any other thing that gets the attention and the links you need.
5. Chasing shiny objects
I’m going to make a course!
No wait, I want to make a living off of affiliate marketing.
No, I’m going deep on YouTube channel.
Oh but I could do institutional Partnerships.
The story of my life online has been chasing shiny objects. I do it way too much.
The truth is, you can make a living from any of these things. You can even make a living from a mixture of them. But when you are getting started, you don’t need to try to do it all. I’m not sorry that I’ve tried different things, I’ve learned a lot because of it. But I wish that I had just focussed really hard on building traffic and getting good at the craft.
The truth is, if you get good at building traffic, it doesn’t much matter how you monetize.
Conclusion – Learn from my Blogging mistakes!
This is definitely not an exhaustive list of the blogging mistakes I’ve made! But these are some of the most notable. If you’re just starting out with blogging, I hope they help you. Learn from my mistakes, and do this better! There’s still a lot of room for great blogging, even though the craft is changing. And done well, it can change your life!