Mistakes and Lessons Learned about Blogging
by Sherdeana Brooks
In June, I hit launch on my website. I was inexperienced and knew nothing about blogging, but I was happy. I had big dreams and goals to achieve for my new journey. Now I am in my third month of blogging, but I must admit that it has not been smooth sailing.
Everyone’s blogging journey is different. It is not a one size fits all. Even though there is no secret recipe for blogging success, I wanted to share some mistakes and lessons I learned from my first three months of blogging.
Mistake #1: Launching a website without any blog posts
I spent weeks glued to my laptop looking at themes and searching for website design ideas. I felt that for a rookie website builder, my design had turned out well, and I just couldn’t wait for the world to see it and so I hit launch. Woohoo! Now I had a cute little website on the Internet, but what were people to search for? What would they see on my blog?
If you’ve read blog posts on starting a blog, you will see that one of the tips is to have at least 5 to 10 blog posts before launching. I ignored that tip and launched an empty blog. Your blog is your business; it should not only be worth seeing but also worth reading. It is important to have content ready to publish before launching your website and content to post in the first few weeks of launching to maintain readership and relevance.
Mistake #2: Not writing authentic quality content
I don't want to toot my own horn, but I always thought that my writing abilities were good enough. However, essay writing and blog writing are different. I realize now that the introduction, body and conclusion rule does not necessarily apply to blogging. At least not for the type of audience and niche I write for. Writing a blog post, with the same academic writing technique took away from my blog posts; they were hard to read and less relatable.
Personable blog posts are more interesting than essay-style blog posts. Now I ensure that I maintain my personal voice when writing my blog posts because it makes it easier for readers to relate.
Mistake #3: Not realising how important SEO is
As I stated before, writing a school essay and writing a blog post are two completely different things. Blogging is more than posting images and content. There is a lot more that goes into blogging. You may write a kickass blog post but it’s still not gaining any traffic. To avoid this from happening, it is important to employ Search Engine Optimization and link building strategies to attract readers.
SEO is the root of driving organic traffic to your blog. By using SEO in your blog posts, you can rank higher on popular search engines, therefore, driving traffic to your blog. When I started blogging, I had no idea what SEO meant. But after thorough research, I now understand how efficient it is. Creating an SEO-friendly post includes using keywords, alt text, backlinking, meta description, and so much more. I also learned that while SEO is a must-use tool in blogging, it can sometimes make your content less interesting. Therefore, balance is key.
Mistake #4: Not being consistent and having bad time management
As a new blogger, it is important to post consistently. But the truth is, it can be harder than you think. When I started blogging, I was determined to post at least two posts per week, but as time went by, I fell behind. Two blog posts per week turned into one blog post every two to three weeks. It is not that I didn't go on my blog for weeks, but I would spend my time tweaking my website and scrolling on Pinterest instead of creating content.
Now I realize how important it is to create a schedule. Having a blogging planner has made me more productive and focused. In a week, I can complete several blogging tasks that normally would take me a few weeks.
Mistake #5: Being afraid of what others might think or say
When I started blogging, I was so afraid of telling my friends. I thought that they would laugh at me. There are so many other blogs that cover similar topics to mine that I felt that my blog had no chance. I was afraid of telling not only my friends but everyone around me. I felt like I would be ridiculed and judged because I thought that I had no authority to create an expat blog. So, I hid my post and even removed my name from the articles and kept on posting.
Looking back, I saw that that was a huge mistake. My friends have been extremely supportive of my blogging journey. They have shared my posts many times and have even asked me for expat living and blogging advice. How cool is that!
I am so happy I took a leap of faith and started this blogging journey. Even though I have made a lot of mistakes along the way, it has been a rewarding and fulfilling experience.