40 Worst Mistakes From Amateur Blogs
55 min read·by Dan·January 14, 2022
If you’re reading this then you’re likely to want to do things properly and avoid mistakes from amateur blogs in an effort to speed up the results.
Good on you! No need to repeat the same mistakes as everyone else.
It’s very easy to do something wrong when you first start though, so give yourself a break because no one is perfect at the beginning. Far from it.
Amateur blogging can turn into professional blogging if you read through all of these.
Before we get into the meat of it, here are three quick mistakes in video format from Lisa at Farmhouse on Boone.
Not Having a Plan
Taking it seriously is the first thing to do—it can’t flourish if it’s always just a hobby.
If you’re tight for time and this has to be on the side initially, then that’s fine, but still take it seriously and plan everything out.
There are a few questions you need to ask yourself when planning the blog, and most jump straight in without writing these down.
You can if you want to, but planning will enable you to go further, faster. Who doesn’t want that?
In the video below, Allison walks through 6 key steps to creating your plan.
- What am I creating?
This will focus the mind to really nail down the specifics on what it should be about without the fluff.
- Who exactly am I teaching?
Think about the ideal reader(s) to hone the topics and be more relevant. How old are they? What do they do? What do they enjoy?
- What exactly am I teaching them?
Get more specific and think about the types of content you’ll be writing. What subjects come to mind?
- How am I teaching them?
What format will you be writing them in? Think about more than just a blog post. E.g. videos, email sequence, downloadable guide, etc.
- Where will they find this information?
Your website, email list, social media (only specific ones to begin with?), etc. Pro tip: take a look around the web and see where they already hang out. You may find that a lot of them are on Reddit, for example, so if you’re not there then you’ll miss out.
- How will this financially support me?
Think of ways in which you could earn from your content. Will you take them to products with an affiliate link? Will you rely on advertising? Maybe you don’t want to do any of them until you’re popular enough for brands to reach out with influencer/partnership deals.
Also, make a note of bills to ensure that you’re not overspending, and set deadlines to keep yourself honest.
Long Term Goals
Writing down your goals for this business venture will allow you to stay focused and make sure that you’re on the right track.
Make a note of goals for 1 year and 5 years. Allison recommends filling in those for 5 years first to make it easier for 1 year.
Overlooking Legal Issues
Firstly, we are not lawyers, so If you want to be safe then hiring a professional will be the way to go. Until then, there are a few things you can do yourself.
If you use WordPress, then WP AutoTerms will help you to generate the necessary pages for your site.
You may not have looked at one yourself, but it does give visitors peace of mind knowing that you care about their privacy.
This has been a hot topic in recent years, so it’s worth taking seriously.
You may not personally know how you’re going to use it, or in fact that you’re collecting it at all, but 99% of websites do.
For example, if you have ever used Google Analytics, then they collect data to give you the important statistics you need to make decisions.
These are particularly important for subjects regarding health, money, or legal.
Just like the beginning of this section explaining that we are not lawyers. It’s important for visitors to know that they should continue to research the subject and not take your word for it.
Terms and Conditions
This legally sets out the restrictions they are abiding by when they use your website—you don’t want anyone to use or sell your content without permission!
It also states what you will do if these terms are breached.
Not long ago, no one knew there could be a digital version of something you eat. Now, everyone has been slapped in the face with cookie notices when visiting most websites.
This is particularly easy now with many WordPress Plugins available to handle it for you. CookieYes seems to be a particularly popular one.
Not Knowing How to Monetise Your Blog
Blogging can be fun, sure, but let’s face it, you’re doing this for fame and fortune. Therefore, not knowing how to earn from it is one of the biggest mistakes of amateur blogs.
There are a few ways to earn, so it all depends on what you prefer and what’s right for the blog.
This is the easiest way, and it used to be the most popular, but do you really want ugly ads among your own content?
Sure, they pay well, but only when you have a lot of visitors. If you don’t, then you’re jeopardising the experience for pennies—a small percentage will click the ads, so you’ll need large numbers of visitors to make this pay.
If you’re looking for the quickest way to start earning though, this is for you.
Potential: Reasonably large (eventually)
If you stick with it, brands will come to you and offer free products or they’ll pay for you to write about one of their products.
Alternatively, you can reach out to see if they’d be interested instead of waiting.
Either way, you’ll need a few thousand monthly visitors for it to be worth their time.
You’ll also want to make sure that you only accept products that fit the niche of your site.
This will be more engaging for your audience and they’ll be more likely to purchase the product, which in turn means the brand will want to spend more money with you.
You’re likely to talk about someone else’s product or service quite often. So, why not earn a living from the visitors you send their way?
When you link to a website, they may have an ‘affiliate program’ where they’ll provide a unique link to use and when your visitors click it and purchase, you’ll automatically earn a percentage.
Potential: Reasonably Large
This is a very popular way to earn from your website as the product is completely unique.
Sure, the information can be found for anyone if they take the time to Google it. However, most won’t.
So, many of those who come across your offering won’t have seen one before, so they’re more likely to consider a product that they assume they can’t get anywhere else.
When you become more confident with writing for your own blog, do it for other people who can’t do it very well or just don’t have time.
Sign up to Fiverr and start selling your services. It’s quick and easy to set up, then you can just wait for people to contact you.
If you’re very confident about a particular subject, then why not coach others who are interested in learning more or simply improving themselves?
Coaching.com will help you to get started and provide you with a platform to schedule meetings.
This is something that everyone struggles with at the beginning, and not just through blogging.
Most amateur bloggers write about what they feel like at the time and then when they don’t see the results they were expecting, they give up.
This is the worst thing you can do.
It takes a long time and a lot of hard work to get anywhere with blogging, but when you do start to see some good results, it’ll spur you on. That’s why it’s important to be patient and plan everything out.
You’ll achieve better results, faster.
However, in order to wait it out, you'll need a subject that you’re very passionate about. Otherwise, you won’t make it through the tough times.
How Long Does it Take to Start Earning From a Blog?
This really depends on how much effort you’re able to put into it.
If you’re working on it every day, and you keep learning, then it should take around 12 months.
That doesn’t mean you won’t earn anything at all in those 12 months though—you can start earning small amounts, building it up gradually more and more.
Social media and Google are unlikely to promote your content to many people at all until you’ve proven that your content is worthwhile. This is why it takes so long and why you really need to be patient.
Not Promoting Your Content or Your Brand
This is another big mistake amateur bloggers make, as there’s no point writing at all if no one is going to read it.
Most bloggers think that their content isn’t worth anyone’s time, so they don’t promote it and assume they’ll do it properly once they think it’s good enough.
It’s good enough right now!
And even if it isn’t, amateur bloggers need the practice when it comes to promotion—using the right hashtags is not as easy as everyone thinks, and very few people realise that their content can be repurposed.
Guest posting on other related sites is also very important as you’re tapping into someone else’s audience for free!
Using the Right Hashtags
The assumption here is that any hashtags can be used and they just create them on the spot when necessary.
Sure, some hashtags are fine, such as #blog, but it’s used so many times that the chances of being seen in among the sea of content is very slim.
By all means, use obvious hashtags just in case lots of people see your post, but also choose medium and small ones too.
Search for keywords related to each post using Sistrix to find others the paste in.
Pro tip: change up the hashtags that you use to please the social media algorithms to avoid looking stale or repetitive.
Repurposing Your Content
Instagram is great, loads of people are on there and it’s nice to use. However, that same content isn’t always right for LinkedIn, Twitter, or YouTube.
LinkedIn is more serious than other social sites, so the same content may not always work there.
Twitter is all about short-form content, so keep it punchy. Reply to your own tweet if you really do have more than 250 characters though, as these ‘threads’ are popular these days.
YouTube prefers longer videos than you would typically create for Instagram. This is also exactly how Podopi can help: just enter your domain and we’ll automatically convert your articles into videos and upload them for you!
Take a look for yourself with the demo on the homepage.
Pro tip: Repurpose your blog articles into an ebook to sell on your website or give away for free in exchange for their email upon download.
Search for related topics on Google and find other blogs to contact about writing for them. They’d love the help to expand their own blog and you’ll get a link to your site in the process.
Trying to Be Active on All Social Media Platforms
While it may be tempting to create many different social profiles, it’s a lot of work to create engaging content for all of them.
Even with the help of scheduling software like Later, it can still be hard work. It also depends on the type of content you’re creating.
For example, photographers would be better off concentrating on Instagram and YouTube first as they’re very visual with huge audiences.
If your audience includes aspiring writers, then Twitter would be better to begin with.
Creating content for your blog is hard enough without worrying about how to promote it, so make it easier on yourself initially with just 1-2 social profiles.
Not Having a Target Audience or Niche
Amateur bloggers are distracted by topics they want to talk about which stray from their audience's main interests.
The more often this happens, the less likely visitors are to return.
Google may also struggle to understand what your website is about, and so you may find that you never show on the first few pages.
Not being disciplined enough is an obvious reason, but there are also more subtle ones too: they just aren’t sure what to write about and they don’t plan.
To begin with, remain laser-focused on the main topics that you’d like to cover.
When you’ve built up a healthy number of posts and highly-related categories, you can afford to branch out to something else—it should still be closely related though.
If you talk about dogs
Pro tip: Use Google Ads’ Keyword Planner to see which keywords have low competition. You’re more likely to show on the first few pages of Google if you target these first. It’s also free to use.
In the example below, writing about the healthiest dog breeds is a great starting point as a lot of people are searching for it but it’s not very competitive to rank for (show up on Google).
Ahrefs’ Keyword Generator is also free and does the same thing. Keep searching and making a note of the KD (Keyword Difficulty)—you’ll need the lowest number possible. Aim for 1-20 if you can, at least for the first six months of your blog.
Neglecting the Needs of Your Audience
Writing a blog post without checking to see which information people need is blogging blindly.
Neglecting audience needs will result in fewer visitors. What do they need? Find out.
Searching for ‘best trainers’ shows results on the first page for men. If you’re writing just from a female perspective, then you’ll be missing out on a lot of extra visitors.
The same goes for a focus on comfort and running—you’re missing out on a heavy fashion focus.
Also in the realm of neglect, comments on social and the blog can usually be ignored by amateur bloggers who don’t see the point or don’t have time.
This makes them look like they don’t care, which will turn people off and they’ll go somewhere else where they feel heard.
Leaning on Advice From People in Unrelated Niches
An amateur blogger will take the advice of a successful blogger in a different niche because they assume they can find the same success.
By all means, listen to what they have to say, but putting all of your eggs in one basket just because they found success with something, doesn’t mean you will too.
Focusing a lot of energy on Pinterest because someone else did won’t mean that you can expect the same results.
Spread your efforts evenly and see where your best results are, then apply the Pareto principle of 80% of the energy being spent in the 20% most successful areas.
Your audience may not be in the same place as someone else in a different niche.
This is a big one, and although less common these days than it used to be, it can still happen quite often.
Your most important visitors are likely to come from Google rather than social media.
Let that sink in, because it goes against everything an amateur blogger will believe, or at least act on.
They try hard to crack social, thinking that it’s far easier and quicker because others have done it.
Yet, if they had spent that same energy on SEO, they’d be ranking on the first page for a few keywords.
Sure, social is still worth it, and sure, SEO is hard. But consider how many times you’ve searched for something to buy rather than purchasing it from social media.
Google is for those who are serious about finding out specific information. Some will be learning more about the solution to their problem, but eventually, they will be ready to buy and they will Google the exact product they need.
You need to catch them on this journey and provide exactly the right information to help them. They’re likely to remember you and come back later. If not, they might have clicked on one of your affiliate links, an ad while they were reading your article, downloaded your guide to help them make a decision, or signed up to one of your courses.
Take SEO seriously now, because it can take 12 months to see the results you want.
However, not taking it seriously will mean that you never take advantage of the huge number of people visiting sites just like yours.
We’ll be talking about SEO a lot in this blog, so stay up to date with the ‘subscribe for updates’ in the top right of this page.
Overspending on Expensive Tools
It’s common to think that you’ll need expensive tools to get anything done when in actual fact, you really don’t.
Not at the beginning, anyway.
Some people pay for expensive SEO software like SEMrush and Ahrefs. While they are hugely important, you can definitely start without them.
You will need good hosting though.
Good hosting is worth its weight in gold as you could have any number of issues, and solid support will help you through them.
If you’re hacked or have an error in the code of your site then you can easily reach out to SiteGround’s excellent support and they’ll sort it out for you easily and quickly.
They’re both free, and they’ll both help you to discover some great keywords for ideas about what to write.
Refer to the section ‘stay focused’ above to learn how to use these.
Social Media Scheduler
It’s time-consuming to post on every social profile, but a scheduler can help with this.
While it’s smart to find out where your audience is first, you’re likely to need more than one profile.
Use Later to easily post to more than one social account at once. There’s a free plan and even when you need more, it’s only $8/m.
Copying People’s Work
Many amateurs think they can copy from other websites and it won’t matter.
The truth is, even if the visitor doesn’t know, Google definitely will—they’ll penalise you if you haven’t written it in your own words, and you’ll struggle to reach the first few pages of Google for a very long time.
It’s just not worth the risk.
Read about the topic you’d like to write, list out some short points you’d like to cover, and then write in your own words.
Not Taking It Seriously
For those who play at blogging, they’ll never see true success.
Long gone are the days when you can show on Google with just a few tweaks and reap the rewards.
Do Your Research
The Internet has exploded over the years to include so many websites that you have a plethora of options no matter what you want to read about.
This means you will always have stiff competition and amateur bloggers don’t always realise this. Mainly because they don’t do the research to find out what others are doing and how they got there.
If they don’t do the research and just see the plentiful success stories, they’ll assume it’s easier than it actually is.
You need to be laser-focused and dedicated to be heard, and rightly so—there are some great sites out there.
Even those who take their niche seriously and put effort into what they write are not necessarily going to see much success.
You can have the best website in the world, but if no one knows about it then it’s useless.
Take the time to learn about SEO and you’ll gradually start to see better results and you’ll never look back.
Not Sharing Other Bloggers' Content
Every single blogger must do this at the beginning.
They don’t want to link to other websites because they assume their precious few visitors will never return.
Firstly, while that may be possible, the advantages outweigh the drawbacks.
Google wants to see websites linking to other websites, so it’s always wise to please the Gods. Also, if you take the time to put a lot of effort into your writing then the other website could link back to you, improving your SEO.
While you should never link to gain a link, even just one now and then is hugely beneficial for a website—particularly a new one under 12 months old.
Bad Blog Design
Are you attracted to nice hotels and restaurants, aspire to drive the most beautiful cars, and wear the most fashionable clothes?
Of course you are, everyone is. That’s why it really matters what a website looks like.
It’s a fact that ugly websites will see fewer visitors than modern, up-to-date ones.
This is why you should take it seriously and not neglect the design of your blog.
Once every two years, you should prioritise a review of the design. Take a look around at other Themes or ask a designer what they would change if you hired them.
It’s not necessary to think about it every year, and the web moves too quickly to leave it longer than 3 years.
Not Self-Hosting Your Website Blog
By self-hosting, we mean buying a domain and installing WordPress or similar.
Those who add their content solely to places like Medium or Blogger may find themselves hindered in the long run.
You have complete control over your destiny when you own your website. So, you can make any decision you want.
While sites like Medium will be quick to load and look nice, it will be an ugly, unprofessional domain to tell everyone about when you promote it.
By all means, add your content there after you’ve already posted it on your own site for a while, but dave.com will always look better and be more memorable than dave.medium.com.
You can also add lots of extra bonuses like a popup to capture email addresses for your newsletter, you can completely control advertising, and a host of very helpful plugins to improve your success alongside contact forms and sliders.
Not Choosing the Right Platform
This is similar to the mistake above, but it’s important to go into more detail around which platform (or CMS: Cont Management System) you should use.
Most websites use WordPress as it’s so extensible and coder-friendly.
While you may not have to care about the code, it does mean that when you want to improve the site, you have such a huge pool of developers to help that you won’t know who to choose.
Because there are so many, prices will be competitive. However, choose someone in your own country if you can as it really helps to have a great working relationship with just one person who has control over your baby.
There are many horror stories about using cheap overseas developers. Yes, there are some great ones, but they’re not usually cheap, so you’re better off with someone you feel comfortable with, who you can stay with long-term.
There are plenty of great people on Upwork.
Not Being a Strong Writer
You don’t have to be the next Shakespear, but equally, you don’t want the blog to look like a 5-year-old wrote it.
Finding your voice takes practice, so write as often as you can, but there’s also something else that can help.
Grammarly is a free tool to help catch your spelling and grammatical errors as you type. You do have to be writing in the browser, so enter it in WordPress or draft in Google Docs instead of Microsoft Word.
It will automatically alert you as you type and it picks up on things you didn’t even realise were an issue.
Not Pay Attention to Your Analytics
Not knowing which content is performing well on their own website is another very common amateur mistake.
Google Analytics can be set up quickly, then every few months you can check to see which posts are gaining the most visitors.
This is the perfect way to guide yourself and it takes 5 minutes to see which direction your next blog post should be taking.
Not Backing Up Your Work
The last thing you want to happen when you’ve crafted the perfect blog post is to lose it.
A good hosting provider like SiteGround will back up your website for you, so you’ll never have an issue there.
Also, you could write in Google Docs before pasting it into your site for extra peace of mind.
Not Investing Money Into Your Blog
Amateurs will think that they can do everything themselves and what they’ve produced is more than good enough, great even.
False. This is rarely the case, and assuming what you’ve done is great when you haven’t done any research is bizarre.
Sure, you don’t want to spend a lot before you’ve validated the idea that what you’re doing is going to pay off in the long run. Conversely, not spending anything at all will usually mean that you won’t have a website that anyone wants to visit.
How will you generate an earning if you can only hear crickets?
Not Creating Strong, Original Visuals
Professionals take their own photos and familiaise themselves with image editing software.
When you start out, this is not only expensive but daunting.
If you can’t take your own photos, then use a royalty-free website like Pexels to find interesting photos throughout each article.
If you need some graphics, then Adobe has some great software. However, they’re very pricey and complicated, so for now, try Canva—it’s drag-and-drop easy.
Excluding an 'About Me'
When visitors get to a point where they love your work, they’ll want to know more about you.
This is where the About page comes in.
Many bloggers will regularly add snippets of their own lives into each post, but it’s still important to have an About page for a rounded, detailed view—they may not have read everything you’ve written about yourself.
Pro tip: At the end, add a newsletter signup as the chances are, they’ll be even more interested in what you have to say now that they’ve read this page. So, capitalise on it.
Keep It Concise
Resist the urge to go off on a tangent here because you assume they want to hear everything. That’s not quite true. It’s far too easy to get carried away with the subject—everyone loves talking about themselves.
Add Something Personal
Think about that celebrity you really enjoy watching in a film or reading about. You want to know what they’re like when they’re not working. The same applies here: talk about your kids, what you enjoy doing outside of work, your pets, favourite places to holiday.
Why Did You Start?
What made you start the website? What drives you to contribute every time and put so many hours into it? They’re obviously passionate about the same topics, so now is a great time to really connect with them.
How did you get to where you are today and do you have any other businesses or websites?
Not Properly Linking (link schemes, not linking to others, etc)
This is an important one.
Not only do amateur bloggers not link to other pages within their site, they’re also tempted to the dark side of SEO by creating bad links on other sites.
Let me explain.
Google and visitors want to see you linking to other relevant pages when the time is right. This shows Google that they’re important pages, and it helps visitors with additional information.
Amateurs forget to do this constantly, and we admit, it’s not easy to remember, but you can go back and add links at any time.
Please, please, please, don’t do this.
Backlinks are links from another website to yours.
Amateurs will pay for links from poor quality sites such as 'link farms' which is only going to hurt you. Creating a page just for a backlink is also not a great idea.
You really want to generate links naturally through someone finding your high-quality content and thinking it’s so good that they want to tell others about it. Usually, this will just be a link to the homepage, but that’s fine. It’s happening naturally which is the main thing.
Guest blogging is also good for a backlink, where you write content on a related website and include a link back to your own. See ‘Not Promoting Your Content Or Your Brand’ further up for more details.
Not Linking to Other Sites
Every single person does this initially.
They don’t want to link to another site as they think they’ll lose visitors. And they’d never even dream of linking to a competitor.
The truth is, links to other sites will show Google that you’re not a silo in your own little world, and if you keep doing it where relevant then they’re likely to link back at some point. Or at least visit to find out who you are, and anything could happen then.
You’ll always find websites on the first page linking to others. They may not do it on the particular article that you found, but trust me, they’re doing it on some, or most other pages.
Your competitors are unlikely to link to you, but it does happen. We’d forgive you if you didn’t want to do this though, but you can link to highly related sites. It also builds credibility and helps visitors—they’ll remember how helpful you were.
Setting the Wrong Permalink Structure
A permalink is the structure of your URL. For example:
However, it’s not human-friendly and Google also prefers more concise URLs like this:
If you have already launched your site, it’s important not to do this as pages will move to different URLs and no one will be able to access them. This is advice for those who haven’t set up a website yet, or have done but haven’t officially told anyone about it online yet.
Not Growing an Email List From the Start
Beginners are only interested in followers. Don’t fall into this trap.
For a start, many followers are from fake accounts or people are using automated services to follow and unfollow random profiles.
They think they’re doing well when in actual fact, nothing has changed for them at all.
Plus, followers don’t mean prizes.
If you’re just starting out, then you need to begin building your email list straight away. This is because email addresses are like gold dust.
Facebook, Instagram, and all of the others could close, change the way you gain followers, or remove them altogether if they wanted to.
With emails, they’re yours. No one can take them away from you, especially if you download a backup list to your computer.
Email also has a very good return on investment. So, this means that they’re more likely to convert in some way than followers. Converting by clicking an affiliate link, or paying for your course or ebook, etc.
ConvertKit is one of the best, so take a look and add it to your site today.
Not Using Social Media to Grow Traffic
This one doesn’t happen as much these days as everyone knows about social, but amateur bloggers are still making this mistake.
You don’t want to put loads of effort into writing on your blog for no one to read it.
Social media is very difficult to gain any real traction, but still worth doing.
There are a few things you need to do in order to find success on social media.
Prioritize Carousels & videos
It’s easiest to produce a single image and be done with it, but Carousels (with multiple images) and videos are likely to perform better.
Canva will be your friend here as it’s easy to put a video together on there without any skills.
Embellish Your Captions
It’s not all about what they see, it’s about what they read too. Posts have been known to do better with thoughtful captions and descriptions.
If they see something interesting, they want to know more without having to click a link. You’re more likely to receive a Like, which will help your post to reach more people, in turn increasing the number of people clicking a link in your Instagram bio or in the post itself.
Develop a Hashtag Formula
Amateurs are always adding a couple of useless hashtags and wondering why no one has ever liked their content.
Don’t make this mistake.
Take a look at other popular, related posts—not just any posts—and see which ones they’re using themselves. The chances are, they’ve done the research for you.
To make sure, use a site like Sistrix to find others and their popularity.
Tag Other Brands and People
Tagging others (e.g. adding @nike) will mean that they might see it and contact you, but at the very least some of their follows could see.
Make sure they’re highly related to what you’re posting though.
One of the best ways to be seen is to join conversations that are already happening in the comments. Especially if you can add real value with added context or help to answer questions.
Diversify Your ‘Stories’ Media
Use a mix of images and videos to achieve more engagement in Stories. Don’t just stick to the same kind of post.
Use 'Swipe-Up' Links
Add a link to your Stories for people to swipe up and make their way through to the exact page you’re talking about on your site.
Share Reels and IGTV Content to Your Feed
Expand the reach of your videos on Reels and IGTV by also sharing them to your feed for those scrolling through.
Designing Your Blog or Using a Free Theme
There are a few good free WordPress Themes out there, but you have to pay for the best ones. Predictably. But you could have guessed that, right?
The thing is, amateurs will always use a free Theme as they don’t consider it to be important, but your visitors will. They want a great seamless experience, and if they don’t get it, they won’t return.
Can you afford to put visitors off?
Similarly, amateur bloggers think they can do it themselves, but have you spent years studying web design like the professionals? No. So, how could it be as good?
The internet is littered with websites that people have designed themselves, and it’s always the last thing they change as it’s too personal to think that the design is putting people off.
Be more self-aware than this.
You don’t have to pay much, Fuel Themes includes some great ones for WordPress and Shopify from $50.
Ignoring Security & Backups
Amateur bloggers get hacked. Their site then gets used to sell prescription drugs or infect visitors with viruses.
It’s very easy for this to happen, especially on WordPress.
And when it does, it’s incredibly hard to get rid of the infected website files.
The site will be offline while you sort it out, and if you’ve managed to generate a living from it, that’s completely disappeared, instantly, until you pay someone a lot of money to eventually clean it and possibly move web hosts.
If this doesn’t sound good to you—it’s an absolute nightmare for anyone who’s gone through it—then you’ll want to make sure you have some protection, just like you do (hopefully) on your computer.
Talking about computer virus protection, Avast is one of the very best. Especially for a Mac.
Anyway, back to websites.
You don’t have to worry so much about Shopify, Wix, or Squarespace, but if you use WordPress then you’re at high risk every day.
Wordfence is an excellent plugin, and it’s completely free.
There are much better services available if you upgrade to the full version, but you really don’t need to for a while, and it gives you great protection. It won’t be bulletproof, but you won’t have to worry about it anywhere near as much. Still, upgrade as soon as you can though.
If you make a mistake, add a dodgy plugin, or get hacked, then you’ll need a backup to replace the site with files of when it worked perfectly.
Updraft is not only reliable, it’s free and also very convenient.
Just link it to Google Drive (an easy process within this plugin) and it will automatically take backups of your whole site periodically for when you need it. You can even download and view the files from Google Drive any time you like.
Not Making the Necessary Investments
There’s so much to think about when you begin that you start to question whether you actually want to continue.
Everyone gets overwhelmed with the sheer number of tasks initially though.
The difference with amateurs is that firstly, they don’t know what they don’t know, so they end up learning about so many different things with a to-do list the size of their arm.
But also, they get bogged down with unnecessary tasks and sometimes investments, while ignoring or forgetting the important things.
There are a few things that can be categorised as one or the other.
- Hosting - take a look at SiteGround as they’re excellent
- Professional blog theme
- Security plugin - see security in the ‘ignoring security & backups’ section above
- Paying for a social media platform or assistant - Later is free for most beginners
- Social media ads - most don’t need this at the beginning and they tend to do it without research
- Expensive SEO tool - see ‘overspending on expensive tools’ section nearer the top
Not Choosing a Good Blog Name
Most of the good domains have been taken, in .com form at least. So, there’s a tendency to come up with long ones just to avoid .net or a different TLD (the extension after the dot).
Most of the time, your name will be just fine. If that’s taken, come up with something a little more creative, but still as short as possible.
If nothing you’ve thought of is available as .com, then consider .net or your country (.ca, .co.uk, etc).
Namelix will help you to come up with some truly unique names, but there are some standard ones as well.
Then, take a look to see if it’s available to purchase on something like Google Domains.
Finally, don’t forget to see if you can also create social accounts with the same name, using Name Checkr.
Not Staying Consistent
Everyone wants success yesterday, and people still believe that it’s quick and easy to get loads of visitors to their website.
It takes a lot of time and effort to achieve any real success online. That’s why it’s so important to choose a topic that you’re passionate about—it’ll help you through the tough times. And there'll be many of them.
If you went to the gym just once, or for one week, would you have a six-pack? No, obviously not.
It’s no different online. You need to put in the time to see results.
Amateur bloggers also don’t realise that they need to be consistent when writing. Sure, there are a million things to do, but being consistent with writing for the blog and newsletter will not only please visitors, but also Google.
There’s no shortcut.
Not Learning New Techniques
This is something that most learn over a long period—they try something new now and then, but not very often. Eventually, those who are dedicated will try more and more, but do this from the start as much as you can.
While you don’t have much time at the beginning because there's so much to think about, you can be tactical with where you spend time.
Spending it on everything will mean that you give up quickly before seeing results.
The rule of 100 states that doing something a hundred times will provide enough proof about whether it’s worth continuing.
If you’re to do this with all social media accounts, writing regularly on the blog, creating monthly newsletters, and a million other tasks, you’ll find that you don’t even have time to sleep.
And this is all while not earning a single penny, initially.
So, in terms of learning new techniques, first, find out where your audience is and spend time there before eventually branching out.
One way to do this is to make a list of similar websites and enter them into a ‘frequently visits the website’ search on Sparktoro.
Here you can see that we searched for the audience of Hubspot to find out some interesting details.
There’s more than just these though, it gives you information on social accounts the ideal audience follows, other websites they visit, where they go for their news, and much more.
Use this info to see where they go and make sure you spend time there too.
Giving Up Too Quickly
This is something that everyone does regardless of whether they’re blogging, as they want results yesterday and when they find out that it’s not that easy, they stop.
If they were to continue and take it seriously, they may well have earned a pretty penny.
When it comes to bloggers, most give up within 3 months.
Don’t be a statistic.
You can do it. Anyone can do it. You can make money blogging about absolutely anything. So hang in there.
No Plan for Pillar Pages
Blogs include broad and narrow topics, along with everything in between. These broad articles are often written and forgotten about.
However, there will be many missed opportunities from a broad topic to create more articles about specific points.
The broad page can then link through to the more specific ones. Helping the reader to learn more while staying on the site, and with SEO through more relevant links.
A broad topic around creating a blog will need many supplementary pages around every aspect of the blog from the domain name to affiliate links and SEO best practice.
This also helps with writer's block, as it’s very easy to find that you don’t know what to write about next.
Plan out the main topics that you’d like to cover, the sub-topics within each, and write an article for every one.
Start with one broad topic and then link through to the specific pages when they’re created.
Uploading Unoptimised Images
Another mistake that pretty much every single person makes with their first website.
An unoptimised image is one that has been shrunk in size (the size of the file rather than how it looks on the site) and includes a description of the image in the hidden Alt Text that Google can see.
Let’s talk about both in more detail.
When you visit a website, the phone or computer that you’re using needs to download some files so that you can see the content.
If the page includes some large images, it will take a while to download them.
Visitors hate this as it becomes very frustrating. If you’re old enough, think back to the 90s when images used to take a while to load on the screen.
Technology has advanced to a stage where we can download a lot, very quickly. But because of that, if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load, you’ll lose visitors.
Google knows this too, and they won’t look favourably on you if you don’t reduce the download size.
The good news is, we can do this automatically if you’re short on time.
If you’re using WordPress, install the Smush plugin to optimise the size of each image that you upload.
If you’re using something other than WordPress, reduce their size manually beforehand using TinyPNG.
Google is much better at knowing what an image contains these days, yet it still benefits from extra context.
As previously stated, the Alt Text isn’t visible to us—unless the image fails to load and it’ll be shown instead—but Google can read it behind the scenes.
This helps with SEO, but the trick is to describe in a few words what you can see in the image.
Screen readers are used to speak this Alt Text aloud to those with poor eyesight. So, it’s nice if they can understand what the image is as well.
Installing Too Many Plug-Ins
If you’ve already been there then you’ll know, but if you haven’t started your website yet then you’ll realise quite quickly that it can be very tempting to install plugin after plugin to enhance your site.
The problem is, this opens you up for more hacking attempts (especially with WordPress) and slows the site down as well. Sometimes, considerably.
Try to only install a plugin or addon when you know you’re going to use it and it’s definitely going to be useful.
If you’re not sure, or you think you’ll need it in the near future, don’t bother. Wait until you need it.
You’ll have a faster, more secure website, and what’s not to like about that?
Amateurs start writing without thinking about the way they’re structuring their categories well enough, sometimes, at all.
Would you rather a coffee blog with 50 articles in one category, or would you rather see them split up across ground, beans, machines, cafetieres, etc.?
Don’t underestimate the usefulness of categories for visitors, but also a helping hand for SEO as it gives Google extra context.
Use of Blackhat SEO Techniques
Blackhat is the term used for SEO techniques that go against Google’s advice.
Whitehat is exactly what you should be doing, and something that the Google Gods will be smiling down on you for doing. You’ll be rewarded handsomely for doing more of these in the form of higher rankings and more visitors.
Greyhat is somewhere in between where it’s not against the rules, but it’s not exactly ethical either. You’ll rarely hear about these though.
So, to summarise, avoid blackhat techniques like the plague as Google is aware of them all which means you’ll be found out.
If this happens, you can kiss your visitors goodbye as you’re unlikely to see many new ones again. This is detrimental when you’re at the beginning of your blogging journey.
We’ll be writing about SEO a lot in this blog, so stay up to date with the ‘subscribe for updates’ in the top right of this page.
Not Creating a Lead Magnet
A lead magnet is something you’ll hear quite often as it one of the main reasons that you’ll be able to grow.
A lead is someone who gives you their contact details because they’re interested in what you do, and a magnet attracts more of them.
Examples of Lead Magnets
Once you know about the list, you’ll see them time and time again. Even from other websites wanting you to download their own.
A lot of people think that a lead magnet is something you have to download, but it can also be something like a course where they stay on your website.
Essentially, it’s just quality content that you would give your email address for.
So, this could be one of the following:
- PDF: This is the most common as it’s fairly quick and easy to put together
- Ebook: A more detailed version of the above
- Email sequence: A series of emails sent out automatically at certain intervals
- Video course: A set of videos on your website based around teaching visitors about one particular topic
- Worksheet/spreadsheet: Something useful that they can use in Excel or Google Sheets (give them a choice of whether to download the file or make a copy from Google Sheets to their own Google account)
- Checklist: This will have to be a long, detailed checklist to be worth anyone providing their email address (something in Google Sheets or like this website checklist)
- Digital tool (you’ll need a developer for this, but well worth it)
Ok, so, that was a lot of negativity to take in one article—lots of amateur blogging mistakes that happen all of the time for most people at the beginning.
However, you don’t need to make them now that you’re aware.
Easier said than done, we know, but stay positive, and if you love what you do you’ll be able to stick with it. There’s good money to be made, and you can do it from your sofa!
Is blogging still viable in 2021?
Yes, and it will be for a long time to come. People still read. Sure, videos on YouTube are extremely popular, but vast numbers will still read a website. The focus is really on the quality of your work. You can even automatically convert your blog articles into YouTube videos with Podopi.
How can I practice writing blogs?
You should start on your own website. Begin writing on wordpress.com and then transfer it across to wordpress.org when you’re able to invest more time. There’s no reason why you can’t start on your own site. Choose a topic that you’re passionate about, and make a list of subjects that it covers. Then just start writing!
What has replaced blogging?
Videos have arguably been more engaging for many years now. YouTube is the second most visited website for a reason! However, that shouldn’t put you off blogging because people still read. If you want to cover both bases then automatically convert your articles into videos using Podopi while you write.
Is blogging dead 2022?
No, and it won’t be for a very long time. Words still matter. Videos will continue to be more engaging as that’s the format we’re attracted to, but everyone still reads so blogs aren’t going anywhere.
Why do most bloggers fail?
They assume that it’s easier than it actually is. As with anything to do with websites. The trick is to choose something that you’re very passionate about. That way, you’ll be able to ride out the tough times because you love the subject. Lack of visitors are also an issue for most bloggers, so start learning about SEO right now.
Do personal blogs make money?
You can make money from any type of blog through affiliate links to products that you believe in. If you have a very vibrant personality then you absolutely can make money from a personal blog. Otherwise, choose a subject that you’re very passionate about.
Do people read blogs anymore?
Yes, you’re reading one right now! Videos have been extremely popular for a long time now, but words still matter, so blogs will be around for a very long time to come. There’s no time to waste though as you’ll have a lot to learn—especially around SEO—so get started today!