24 Tips all Bloggers should read to save time and money on their blog.
I’m going to be honest, I enjoy blogging. It wasn’t until I saw an income report from Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, who made just under one million dollars blogging in 2016, that I even imaged making a career out of this. Researching the industry, I found other inspiring Bloggers and began engaging in their social media groups, pages and accounts. The more I searched, the more I learned. I met a few friends along the way and I network with a few others.
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Starting out was not easy.
I wasted a lot of time and money, ugh! Some of my wasteful habits included jumping right into things without understanding how they work. For instance, Pinterest. I thought if I “pin” a “pin”, people would “re-pin” it and it would immediately go viral…wrong! So, wrong. One of the keys to succeeding with Pinterest is joining groups, engaging with others via comments, and pinning eye-popping and appealing images.
I also spent a lot of money buying Facebook ads.
I didn’t understand how to target a specific audience or set up a pixel to understand my website behavior. Maybe, I thought, if I create an ad and have it target any and everyone, I would do good…wrong again! My expenses were over $500 in ads in my first few months, with only a few likes to thank for it.
What helped me the most starting out, was planning out my content and following an execution plan that worked like a checklist for each blog post. I created a Blog Planner to help me structure each post. You can grab you a FREE copy of it if you like.
In my monthly Roundup, I reached out to 24 Bloggers and asked them, what mistakes they made starting out that added little to no value to growing their audience. These money saving tips would help new Bloggers understand more as it relates to Marketing, Collaboration, Social Media and Content Creation. I encourage Bloggers to read through these examples and consider some of the advice these Bloggers are sharing. Keep in mind, every situation and Blogger are different.
“A smart person learns from their mistakes, where a wise person will learn from mistakes of others.-Unknown”
“I didn’t understand SEO, so I made a lot of mistakes there! I missed out on a lot of potential traffic by not being thorough with SEO and by not utilizing tools like Yoast. As a result, I have to take the time to go back through early posts and improve them so their SEO is more effective.”
“I thought that marketing agencies would help improve my following, by “buying followers”. It turns out that those are not real followers and they aren’t responsive to the content you post. I didn’t think I was actually buying followers, just getting help growing my following organically, but it’s all the same.”
“Forgetting to market the blog. I assumed that once I had written the article I was done. Later I came to realize that I needed to use various platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, google+) to push the articles.”
“I started my blog on WordPress.com. This ended up being a fairly big mistake for me. I was contacted by a well-known brand and needed to convert my site to self-hosted pretty quickly. If I had taken the time and paid the minimal cost in the beginning I would have avoided my site going down for several hours and wasting money on WordPress for a month and then a self-hosting site. I was lucky enough to have a blogging guardian angel swoop in out of nowhere (well, actually from a Facebook blogging community) to help me get my site back up and running and show me the basics. I’m now taking the time to properly understand how my site works and I’m able to advertise on my own terms, which is a huge deal if I’m going to monetize my site.”
“When I look back at when I started my website, I remember writing topics I thought were interesting. I knew nothing about SEO and hoped people would somehow find my articles, read and share them, that way I’d be able to grow an audience that I would eventually monetize. This obviously didn’t work out well for me and I became increasingly frustrated and disappointed in blogging to a point I almost quit. What I do differently now is, researching a lot on what people are having issues with and are actively looking for solutions. Then I plan my posts based on this information and I offer solutions to their problems. Also, I’m more experienced in SEO now and I see to it that all my posts are properly optimized before I press the publish button. This has been by far my most effective strategy and I’m glad to say I now live entirely on earnings generated from my blog.”
“I made a printable freebie to get new subscribers to my email list. Sad thing is, no one seemed to be interested in downloading. I worked so hard on creating the visual aspect, that I completely forgot to ask myself if many others would want it too. My advice is before you start creating an opt-in, make sure you do your research and see if people will be interested in it first. Nothing is worse than working hard on a project and in the end, you find it wasn’t worth your time or money!”
“One big blogging mistake that I’ve noticed many other bloggers make is not making the effort to network in person. Networking is so important as a blogger. You should see others in the blogging world as your colleagues and friends, not your enemies or competition. At first, I was nervous to network with others in the blogging community just because I’m a shy person naturally (there’s a reason I like working online, haha!). While this didn’t hurt me in the beginning, I have learned since to network as much as I can – it’s fun and meeting people in person can create long-lasting friendships!”
“My content was mostly about myself and had not much value for others. As I switched to “How to guides” and more helpful posts my audience and interaction on my blog grew. So, my top tip for any new blogger would be: Make your website and content valuable! Even though your story is important, that’s not what most people primarily are interested in!”
“I made the mistake of not networking with other bloggers.”
“Linky parties! Oh, my gosh I participated in linky parties because I couldn’t with my old blog. I was excited that I could finally participate! It was a huge waste of time! It was also cumbersome to leave my info and upload photos. The technology for linky parties is outdated which made it even harder to participate.”
“These money saving tips would help new Bloggers understand more as it relates to Marketing, Collaboration, Social Media and Content Creation.”
“Starting out, I was obsessed by numbers. I wanted to grow fast and compared myself to the top bloggers. This made me accept collaborations based on gifting, just for exposure. Sponsorships or collaborations, paid or not, take a lot of time and effort. At the end, I gained some followers on Instagram that ended up unfollowing because they were not genuinely interested in my content. To summarize, I lost time and effort on someone else’s content for nothing.”
“When I first started my blog, I was learning a LOT from others. I thought it would be a great idea to interview experienced bloggers and share those interviews on my blog as part of an interview series. I was extremely excited about the idea, put a ton of effort into coming up with interesting interview questions and reached out too many well-known bloggers, some of whom graciously agreed to be interviewed. The interviews were extremely interesting, but in the end, they did not drive a lot of traffic to my site and they didn’t solve a problem for my target audience. So, my advice to a new blogger would be to avoid doing interviews for your blog, at least in the beginning. Although the interviews may be well done and interesting, interviews won’t necessarily grow your audience or drive traffic to your website.”
“I spent too much time on getting my posts onto “one time sites” (where your posts are only trending for a short period of time- if they are lucky enough to trend at all e.g. Facebook) and curated sites (e.g. Craftgawker- I remember submitting one photo six times and still getting rejected! I’ve included the link to that photo which was of a fun pair of dangling tassel earrings I had developed a tutorial for). Instead, I should have focused on sites such as Pinterest – you know for sure your pin will be successful, and if you’ve “cracked” Pinterest and have an image Pinners like, it’ll be relevant even 2 years after pinning!”
“One of the keys to succeeding with Pinterest is joining groups, engaging with others via comments, and pinning eye-popping and appealing images.”
“One of my biggest mistakes when first starting out blogging was not connecting with others on social media. It wasn’t until about my 4th-month blogging that I joined Facebook groups. Let me tell you they changed my blog growth immediately. I love Facebook groups now, you’re able to connect with other creatives, get feedback, get new followers, find new blogs, helpful posts and so much more. Also, connecting with other creatives on Instagram is something that helped me. I wish I would have done this sooner. What you put out can really determine what you get in return sometimes.”
“Funny enough, when I started my 1st blog a few years ago, I didn’t use social media at all! I saved links to my personal Pinterest account every once in a while, but that was about it. And since I was a complete newbie, I didn’t have any followers. Now that I started my 2nd and 3rd blogs though, I’ve learned that social media is one of the best possible marketing tools a blogger has!”
“I’ve lost track of how many blogs I’ve had, and couldn’t begin to tell you how many subjects I’ve covered. I had a bunch of voices inside a scattered array of topics, and none of them were me. It seems I wanted to write but didn’t know who I was, or who I wanted to be, or even what kind of message I was trying to send. I was frustrated, to say the least. It was then I began to read other blogs and listen to experts. Then, one day, it clicked. Blogging wasn’t about me. It wasn’t just a bunch of ramblings on the internet. Blogging was passion and a unique voice. Sharing with the world your own views and opinions, your sorrows, griefs, despairs. Blogging was getting real and vulnerable in front of everyone, sharing mistakes and successes. It was about helping others. When I finally realized what it really meant, it all kind of came together. I wrote my passion, my voice emerged, and I gained followers and readers. I guess it’s kind of true what they say – write what you know, or at least, what you are passionate about. Always be yourself. And be willing to give of yourself to others. When you do, amazing things happen.”
“Starting out, I thought that I should only write what was popular and on what others in my niche were writing about. However, I didn’t see my audience grow until I started writing for my own passions. I think people can really tell when you love what you do, and especially as bloggers, what you write about. When I realized that, my blog started to “take off.””
“I thought if I “pin” a “pin”, people would “re-pin” it and it would immediately go viral…wrong!”
“I thought I made the mistake of not having a focus when my blog first started out. I later realized that’s the beauty of it. My focus became not really having one and being able to blog about things I like, which opened a lot of opportunities. In the beginning, it’s okay to fumble because, to be honest, no one cares as you don’t have the big numbers yet. I also was trying to pattern my blog after other blogs that I loved. And I learned it is so much better to just be you and let that come through on your site. So, it’s all about finding what works for you in the beginning and learning to come into your own voice.”
“At first I just talked about my artwork alone. That may be interesting to a few but you need a variety of posts to interest multiple viewers. Always think of your readers first and what posts will benefit them. Posting a variety of tutorials and inspiration from other artist as well as my own artwork has grown my readers.”
“I’m still sort of a newbie myself. One of the things that has been hardest to combat is feeling like I must be a pro at everything all at once. It’s overwhelming to try and figure out branding, content and social media marketing. Take your time. Doing things slowly, but informed is going to be a better long-term plan than rushing because you feel like you have to start perfectly.”
“What helped me the most starting out, was planning out my content and following an execution plan that worked like a checklist for each blog post.”
“The first mistake I made was spending hundreds of hours designing my blog. My blog was still new and no one knew about it! I wasted time on blog design, instead of creating content or trying to gain more followers. This is a mistake many people do! Second mistake was not promoting my blog. I know this is silly, but I thought that I’ll write and people will come. This is definitely not the case! When you first start your blog you have to spend double or even triple the time you do writing your post on promoting yourself and engaging with Facebook groups, communities, other bloggers, social media, etc.”
“When I started my first blog, I did not take it as seriously as I would take a real business. I, therefore, did not invest in anything except a domain name and hosting. I was dependent upon a free WordPress Theme with very limited customization options and did not understand the value of List Building. These are other mistakes I made when I started out my first blog. 1. Take your blog as a serious internet based business and have a well-documented business plan. 2. Have a dedicated business fund for regular blogging investments. 3. Do not go for FREE/Pirated Tools. 4. Publish Quality Content, Consistently. 5. Invest in a Domain, Hosting, Theme, UX and E-Mail Lead Generation.”
“Two months into blogging, I immediately wanted to be sponsored just like the others. I wrote post after post without carefully planning my content. I followed brands and e-mailed them for possible collaborations with my then-start-up blog, without offering anything in return. My page views weren’t too impressive, I didn’t have a huge following, and my content was all over the place. I realized that blogging isn’t supposed to be about the freebies and sponsors. It’s about being passionate with what you do and enjoying every bit of it. So, I started building my niche, widened my connection through interacting with different bloggers, and made sure that my content always had quality. From there, opportunities attracted themselves towards my little space on the internet.”
“My advice is before you start creating an opt-in, make sure you do your research and see if people will be interested in it first.”
“I began my blogging life by trying to please the audience. I tried to write posts which I thought would appeal to the masses and would attract them to read my works and subscribe to my blog. That was a fallacy bubble which soon burst. Here is the deal- Never write to please others. Write to share what you feel excited to tell the world about. Write about what you can offer the best piece of information to the world about, and not something that you believe is trending and can attract a lot of users. This has another crucial aspect to it. When you write about the subjects that you are well versed with and feel strongly about, you can offer the readers what most other writers or bloggers cannot. That sets apart your content from the deluge on the Internet. But, when you write on the subjects that you are not really into and write about them only to please others, firstly, your content won’t be able to give the readers something unique and different. That would have a strong negative impact as the reader may form the image of you which won’t be something that can drive them back to your blog. So, I reiterate- Write what you feel about, love to think about, and want the world to know about. When you do that, you will be masterful and unique, as no one else will be able to stand on that same dais with you.”
I want to send a special, “Thank You” to all the Bloggers who contributed to this blog post.
We’ve all been here before, or for you, you may just be beginning. What has been helpful for you along your blogging journey? Can you relate to some of these bloggers and their stories? Share with us below!
Also, just in case you didn’t get your free Blog Planner above, I’ve included it here again.