I made a lot of blogging mistakes when I first started blogging back in the late 90’s and it feels like I keep seeing new bloggers make the same ones all of the time. I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons when it comes to building an audience, growing traffic, and creating content. A lot of those lessons held me back for a long time and I regret a lot of wasted time.
There’s no doubt that blogging is hard work, especially if you intend to turn your blog into a business and make a genuine income from it. You need to take it seriously from the beginning. Plan to treat it like a business, invest in continuing education, and learn how to use the tools that will help you achieve your goals.
This post contains affiliate links which help support Honey & Pine Co.
Not treating your blog like a business from day 1
If you plan to make an income from your blog through affiliate links, sponsored content, display ads, or your own products then you need to treat it like a business from the very beginning. Make an appointment to meet with an accountant to go over your business plan (if you need a blog business plan I recommend the free templates from By Regina).
Figure out if you should treat your business like a Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or Corporation and then file the appropriate state paperwork. They’ll walk you through what those words mean and how they impact the taxes you’ll have to file on your income.
Ignoring your email list (or not starting one)
Social media is fabulous but relying on social media as the primary source of your audience is not a great idea. Your reach on social media is subject to the whims of the social media channels policies and ever-changing algorithms. Your smartest strategy is to build your email list starting on launch day with a great freebie opt-in then focus on engaging them.
I highly recommend investing in ConvertKit for your email newsletter. I have used MailChimp and Aweber in the past but eventually switched to ConvertKit for my email marketing. ConvertKit allows you to tag subscribers based on interest or engagement which is amazingly helpful when marketing your content or products. You can sign up for a 14-day free trial right here and they’ll send you training emails every day to get you up to speed.
Not reserving your social media names immediately
It’s so easy to get caught up in picking the perfect blog and domain name that we sometimes don’t think all the way through to the social media channels. I’ve seen bloggers have a blog name they love only to out it’s too long for social media so they come up with an abbreviated version of it. I’ve also seen bloggers have a blog name they love only to find that it’s taken on social media so they have to use something different.
It disrupts the branding and makes your online presence feel disjointed. When you’re choosing your blog name, reserve the same name on all networks (even if you don’t plan to actively use it) and lock it down.
Being inconsistent with your social media and blog name
It makes it really hard to find you on social media if you have a different name on each network. When you’re setting up your social media accounts, try your best to use the same name on all of your networks. For example: I shouldn’t be “honeyandpine” on one network, “honeyandpineco” on a second network, and “honeyandpineblog” on a third.
How are your readers ever going to find you if your name changes from network to network? It makes it seem complicated and it creates an inconsistent brand.
Ignoring the power of Pinterest
Other than traffic from Google searches, Pinterest drives more traffic to my blog than any other source. Most bloggers will tell you the same because Pinterest is absolutely amazing. It’s more of a visual search engine than a social network and learning to leverage it is 100% worth your time. You’ll be happy you focused on it when you watch your page views increase month after month.
My favorite tool for Pinterest is Tailwind. Tailwind provides you with impressive statistics for tracking your engagement and growth; the ability to schedule pins for future dates and times so you can pin the same image to multiple boards over a period of weeks or months; and you can join Tailwind Tribes which lets you connect with other like-minded pinners to share your content. You can check out Tailwind with a free trial right here.
Relying on FB group threads for comments / likes / follows
Facebook groups are excellent for meeting new blogging friends, getting advice, sharing tips, and (occasionally) joining promo threads. I typically join promo threads if I’m trying to build an audience on a social network or if I have a post I really need eyes on. For just your general every day post, those promo threads aren’t really going to do you a whole lot of good. Sure, you’ll get comments that day but you’re unlikely to really connect with blogger friends. Most just drop a comment and run. Sometimes people don’t even leave comments so you’re link is just lingering out there with no return.
Your best bet is to find 5 – 7 blogs that you feel are similar to yours and begin to engage with those bloggers. As you build those friendships, slowly start adding more people to your list of fave bloggers. This way you’ll create friendships and shared collaboration rather than just link dropping.
Skipping collaboration possibilities
The blogging world is based around community and collaboration is key to building and growing your blog and your blog audience. Join group giveaways. Exchange guest posts. Host a shared webinar. Create a link-up. Do something that teams you up with another blogger, or a small group of bloggers, to share audiences and expand your reach. It’s extremely helpful and one of the best ways to get yourself out there and begin to build a reputation.
Other than niche, what other blogging mistakes would you warn new bloggers about?