To help you minimize the damages, here are some of the mistakes to avoid when blogging as a beginner.
When I started to blog for money back in 2015, I was clueless. I jumped from one thing to another, and before I knew it, I was already way out of focus.
Too Much Keyword Planning And No Implementation
I had a habit to “collect” good keyword ideas that I intend to write about.
I would do my keyword research by heart, place them by category in separate folders, and before I knew it, I already have 100 topics that I can write about. All keywords, no content.
Last 2018, I overdid it. In my Starbucks planner, I literally plotted the keyword to the months and days so I can "stick" to my goal schedule.
By the time I was about to write the review about the product, it was already nowhere in the top 100 of Amazon’s best sellers.
Nowadays, I do keyword research only until I have a month’s worth of articles. Then I proceed to write until I run out of topics.
Using Too Specific Keywords
Remember how I said that niche should be specific? I went too specific with my keyword research for most of my product reviews.
For example, according to this screenshot from my Google Search Console, I get most of my clicks for the past 16 months from the car seat called “Diono Radian RXT.”
It gave me a lot of clicks especially when the product was voluntarily recalled, and people were checking if the product was still safe.
I remember the month when the product was removed from Amazon. My affiliate links, when clicked, go to an Amazon page that doesn’t exist.
The good news? Using that traffic from the RXT article, I got a lot of sales from other car seat brands that I recommended as alternatives. The bad news is, I will have to write a new article again about the specific model that they replaced the Diono Radian RXT with because my RXT article is not "fresh" anymore.
It is still getting some clicks per month for that keyword nowadays. But people will be expecting a review of the newer version of the product.
I currently have 100 plus car seat articles with very specific "product name keywords." And you can probably imagine my headache every time they “upgrade.”
Here's what I should have done instead:
I could have looked for more generic keywords like “Diono convertible car seat.” Look! Good monthly searches, low competition.
With this more generic approach, no matter what name they give to their newer models, they are still from Diono, and they are still convertible car seats. I can just update my post without changing my title and URL.
I know it will be harder to rank for more generic terms, but believe me, low competition generic keywords do exist. You just have to dig. You can use the free keyword research tool inside Wealthy Affiliate.
Don’t get me wrong. Targeting specific keywords when doing product reviews can give you good money, especially when these products are in the top 10 best selling on Amazon.
However, if you are running three blogs in solo mode, you need to rethink your content creation method and might consider outsourcing some of the work. Reviewing products using specific names is very tiring in the long run if you do all the job.
When you write, don’t worry about the keywords. After you are done writing in a friendly tone, that's when you try to optimize your post with your keywords. Read this article to know where you should place your keywords for SEO.
I used to work in an industry wherein multi-tasking is a must. It might work for some people when blogging but not for me.
I realized that closing all the tabs in my browser, when writing, helps. I’d outline what I want to talk about and set the timer to 30 minutes and just write, write, write. Try it.
You’ll be surprised that you can finish at least three 1,000-word articles in one day.
When you write, it’s good to use a platform that reliably autosaves, like Google Docs. Also, do not worry about mistakes in grammar and spelling. You can correct it when the 30 minutes alarm goes off.
Waiting To Get Indexed Or Ranked
There are times when you thought your efforts are not working because even though you keep on publishing new posts, you just cannot find your articles on Google.
Maybe you haven’t set up an SEO plugin? You should set that up before you even start writing your first post. It’s going to help search engines know about your site and your articles’ existence.
Also, although the search engines will automatically find your posts, you don’t need to wait for them to do their job.
As soon as you publish an article, submit the URL to Google Search Console so they will be notified about the new post immediately.
Submitting the URL will not guarantee that they will immediately index (acknowledge and list) it in their search results. But it is always a good practice to notify them as soon as you hit the publish button.
Opinionated Review - Show Versus Tell
When you write a review, be different. A lot of review sites offer repetitive information such as product specifications. You can easily find that in e-commerce stores.
What you need to do is to SHOW them how the product can help them with their needs. Is it a groundbreaking product that getting it is a big deal? If not, don’t be scared to offer your opinion.
Having an opinionated product review is more unique and helpful to your readers. Remember, always “help” your readers. Don’t tell, SHOW.
Not Putting Enough Affiliate Links
You will probably hear that too many affiliate links can kill your site. I disagree.
When I was just starting out, I try to keep my links to be internal only as much as possible. That means, all my links inside my posts will point to another article that I wrote (internal links are good for ranking, by the way).
I was afraid to put too many affiliate links. But how much is too much?
I decided to do an experiment. I placed all relevant affiliate links to product mentions in my articles. I also put affiliate links to call-to-action phrases such as “Check The Latest Price,” and “Check Out The Colors.” I also made sure that pictures of products have affiliate links.
Only then my income started to grow.
If the affiliate link is relevant, do not be afraid to attach it to your texts and photos.
There’s no rule as to how much is too much. Just make it relevant.
These affiliate links are the source of your salary. Without them, you are just blogging for free.
Focusing Too Much On Beautifying Your Site
I used to be a graphic artist by profession. The pressure of having a beautiful site has always been in the scene. However, in trying to find the best theme that I can use, I strayed away from what is the most important, learning and creating content.
I read reviews and tested some paid themes and ended up wasting not just money but time.
While it is a good practice always to make your site visitor-friendly, when you are just starting out, try to stay away from tweaking or learning to tweak your theme. Trust me, it’s the number one hindrance to your content creation.
Every time I catch myself tweaking my theme again, I would remind myself… "If I can only do one thing today, what would it be?”
The answer is simple. It should be creating content.
Analyzing Data Too Early
This is probably applicable to people who have already Google Analytics or Google Search Console in place. They log in every day, trying to make sense of the data available.
It’s good to analyze these data when you have enough of it.
I started taking a peek at my Google Search Console and Analytics when my site was already 6 months old. That’s when I began to realize that my niche was too broad because I was getting clicks from diapers bags, strollers, parenting advice, car seat, and other random baby stuff.
Trying Too Many Platforms
When you decide to blog for money, commit to one platform. If you choose to follow the training, commit to specific training.
I remember when I built a blog with BlueHost and Hostgator before. I didn’t know what I was thinking. I already had 3 blogs with Wealthy Affiliate, what more do I need 2 more blogs for?
Just pick one. Stick with it. Learning one platform alone can save so much time. If the platform is not working for you, by all means, switch.
But don’t do it all at the same time, unless you have the luxury of having a pool of writers and other virtual assistants.
If you run a solo show like me, stay focused. I need to repeat this over and over again. LOL.
Spending Too Much Time In Automating Social Media Sharing
This is probably my greatest struggle. I am not a very social person. I am, with people I know. But I hate to talk online to strangers.
But when you are blogging, it’s different. It is good to have a social media presence because it can help you increase your site visits.
I have jumped from one social media automation tool to another, spent money, and ended up leaving the platform. One of these days, I’ll write about them one by one.
The 80-20 Rule In Social Media
Have you heard of the 80-20 rule in social media? Many social media “experts," say that it is always good to share 80% of other people’s content and just 20% of yours.
I don’t know about you, but I tried it last November 2018. In my third month, I stopped.
To be specific, I was using Tailwind sharing 80% of other people’s content across all my Pinterest boards. My unique monthly views climbed up from 4,000 a month to almost 120k per month.
But guess what? It was because my boards were filled up with exciting stuff from different people and different websites. It doesn’t necessarily mean I am growing my presence on Pinterest.
To fix this, I stopped the 80-20 rule. I started to look for RELEVANT group boards that allow contributors and began to schedule the automatic sharing of my articles there instead.
I also loop my sharing on my own boards. I'll create a separate Pinterest course in the future. It took me years to learn Pinterest SEO, they always change!
Not Utilizing What You Paid For
If you decide to avail of a product or a service, use it. I grabbed an annual discounted offer from Grammarly before. It was like the lowest ever they have priced their product. But guess what? I didn’t use it for half a year!
I bought the Hemingway Editor for improving my writing but then, I stopped using it after it failed to autosave. I had to redo everything that I wrote. It's good though. I'll review it in the future.
I paid for an annual subscription for Tailwind but didn't use it from 4th month onwards!
You probably get what I mean.
I am impulsive by nature, but I do not think that getting these products or services is a total waste of money. Had I not tried them, I wouldn’t get the first-hand experience on how they are going to benefit my blogs - or not.
So there, 1,855 words so far, and my 30 minutes is up. I feel that I am just half-way sharing my blogging mistakes, LOL.
Don’t worry, I’ll share the rest again when I review the products and services that I have tested.
For now, stay focused. Commit to one platform. Commit to a timeline. Commit to making it work.
Then make it work. 🙂
What do you think?
I’d appreciate your thoughts in the comments section below!
Until my next rant, I mean, post. 🙂
P.S. As of updating this post, my latest distraction is the Rank Math Pro plugin. After using it for 2 weeks, I decided to stop. Rank Math Pro created too many unnecessary redirections to my two sites, including this one, so I am currently stuck fixing all the wrong links one by one.