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10 Embarrassing Mistakes I Made As A Beginner Blogger

By:     Topics: Blogging

Introduction

There’s a learning curve with everything new, and blogging is no different, in fact, the learning curve with blogging can be pretty big if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s not as simple as starting to write and finding your feet from there, it’s much more important to go into it with a clear idea of what you’re doing. So instead of learning from your own mistakes, learn from mine and save yourself some time.

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Writing the Wrong Content

I started off writing content which didn’t really have a direction, my first post was titled “Take Better Indoor Photos With An Off Camera Flash” and it actually inspired a series of posts I came up with later called “Shoot My Shot”, but it wasn’t particularly relevant to beginner photographers. When I started to write the right sort of content, my readership picked up and people were more interested in what I had to show them. I’ve even had some of these tutorials picked up by big names in my industry and shared with their followers. Of course, it always helps to throw in a top list here and there too.

No Introduction

I used to just jump right into the tutorials without even a thought about telling people a little bit about what I’m writing, or even laying it out properly in my head. Now when I write, I spend a good five minutes planning out an introduction so that I’ve clearly set out in my head, what it is I’m going to be writing about. I know that the majority of people aren’t going to read the introduction (myself included usually), but it’s important to have one anyway so that the reader is eased into post, even if it’s just a visual thing of not jumping from h1 to h3. I’ve since gone back and added introductions to all of my posts because, more than anything, it makes it look more professional.

Wasn’t Promoting Through Social Media

This was a bit foolish of me, I didn’t understand the power of Twitter at all so I was pretty late to the game. Facebook I got, but I didn’t want to start a page before I had a few fans to like it, otherwise it was going to look a bit stupid and just like all those other fan pages you see where someone has created a page for their photography, added a few photos and done nothing else to it. I knew I was going to take my website seriously so I should have gotten on there sooner because the beginning growth is the hardest to achieve, and once that’s out the way, it starts to pick up its pace a bit.

Poor Grammar

I’ll be the first one to admit that my grammar wasn’t as good as I thought it was, but I’m getting better. I knew the difference between there, they’re and their, but the way I laid out my sentences could do with a lot of work. I initially took on a friend to go through what I’d written, but it wasn’t too long before she made it clear where I was going wrong and I could learn from her corrections of my mistakes. If you want to come across as a professional, then you need to make sure that you get these silly little mistakes fixed so that your content doesn’t look like it was written by a child.

Mixed Up Content

This is a common problem with most ambitious young bloggers, they start to bite off more than they can chew and include too much in one post, and then they end up struggling to come up with blog post ideas.  When I first started, this was me all over, but since I started to plan my posts a bit better, I could look at what I did and did not want to include in my posts. A great way to learn about what you should and should not include in a post is to actually ask your readers what they want to learn – this way you’ll know that people are going to read your posts.

Didn’t Include Enough Photos

Everything is easier to read with photos; they break up the mass of text and are useful when you’re trying to describe something. One thing I’ve noticed when I’ve been writing my blog is that the majority of blogs on the internet do not include photos with their steps, which ultimately makes them harder to follow. Just by including one photo for each step, you’re separating yourself from the majority of the blogs on the internet, which won’t go unnoticed by readers. If you’d like to learn more about using photos in your blog, I’ve written a whole post on it here.

Didn’t Study my Analytics

There is so much important information that you can learn from regularly studying your anayltics. You can tell where in the world your visitors have come from, what webpage they came from, how long they stayed on your site and which pages they viewed. All of this is very important information when you know how to interpret it. As well as knowing all this information, I could track how many views I was getting each day and I could use this information to promote other content throughout my website. For example, if I was experiencing a massive peak in traffic on a certain post, I would then promote a related post at the end of the page and on the homepage slider. It was foolish not to pay more attention to my stats at the beginning.

Posting at the Wrong Time

The time of day that you post your content can really effect the amount of traffic that it receives, but to know the best time to post content, you need to know where the majority of your visitors are coming from. You can get a good sense of this once you’ve started looking into your analytics more, but for most niches, you’ll probably find that about 2/3 of your visits come from America. As a Brit, this is important to know, because if I post something at 8am in the morning, I might capture the attention of people checking their feeds before work in the UK, but in America it’ll be 3am on the east coast and 12am on the west, which is no good to me. If I post my content at 5pm GMT, then anyone in the UK will see it after work, people in LA will see it before work and anyone in New York will see it at lunch.

Wasn’t Linking Content

The hardest part about growing your website is actually getting them to come to your website, so when you do, you want to try and keep them on there. The best way to do this is to link throughout your posts to different posts across your website which your reader may be interested in. I use a plugin called SEO Smart Links which allows you to input keywords and link them to relevant posts. Since installing and using this plugin I’ve seen my pages per visit go from 1.36 in the first week to 1.91 last week. The fact that nearly all of my visitors are clicking on an extra page on my website means that this is working really well. To help this along, I’ve also added relevant posts at the bottom of each page which helps direct visitors to other pages they may be interested in.

I Never Signed Off

Whenever I finish a post, I always leave a little sign off reminding people of my Facebook, Twitter and RSS feed, which is not something I did when I first started. The end of each post is the perfect time to link to your other activities because only people who have read the whole post will read it and that’s exactly who you want to be reading it. If someone’s not willing to read the whole of your post then chances are, you don’t really need to link to anything, because they’re not the type of reader you want. Below is the sign off I use and I actually went back and added this to every post without one.

  • http://internetmoneymap.com Mark

    I think the call to action at the end is my most common mistake-every piece of content needs a call to action, not just sales letters
    Thanks Josh
    Mark

  • http://reviews.davidleetong.com David Tong

    Great tips… I run a photography site myself and after 2.5 years of blind-blogging (no SEO, no visitor analysis, no nothing but write) I’m scrambling to back track on everything from optimizing threads, navigation, opt-in, connecting with readers, etc…

    Still got lots to learn and implement, and this post adds more stuff to my list of to-do items.

    Dave

  • Dahlia Valentine

    Hi Josh… I don’t really sign off either, but actually that’s a very good idea.

    Also, in regards to posting times, I find that the day of the week also has a lot of bearing on traffic levels. For example, if I make a post on a Thursday, the bulk of the traffic won’t see it until Friday (which is one of my busiest days). It all comes down to testing and learning!

    Dahlia

  • http://www.floristchronicles.com Brendon Held

    Thanks for another great article Josh!

    I think between you and Michael, you guys should do an article just on posting at the right time of the day and week, bringing in your own experience across your websites and any research that is floating around…. 😉

    I think it would be great to get all that information in one place, as I have read so many different theories and reports on the subject, but apart from Tuesday and Thursday being good days, I still don’t know much…

    Just saying… 😉

    B

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSyjdMPqgI0 Liudas Butkus

    So many great advices was given in this article, I will try to improve my posts based on this information :)

  • http://wednesdayswithnic.com Nicanor Gabunada Jr.

    The sign off is one of those things I failed to do with my posts. Your article point this out to me. Thank you for the insights!

  • Abigail

    I am definitely reading your blog for the finer blogging tips and not the camera tips, and I really get value from your posts. Good use of language in your title post, “embarrassing” is always a puller!!! OUt of the 20 emails I scan a day to see if there is something I can use, I often end up visiting your blog. Thanks from this NEWBIE!

  • http://astarme.com Danny

    I, being a new blogger, really enjoyed this post. I need to sign off my posts and use more photos. Good tips,
    Thanks.

  • Marie

    Great article! I’ve been blogging for almost four months and your tips are all very valuable for me! Thank you!

  • http://zamuraiblogger.com/3-badass-ways-to-be-a-social-bookmarking-beast/ Joshua Zamora

    Great article Josh. I did quite a bit of the mistakes you made as well.

    I would write these really long articles and then I realized that if I’m not willing to read a 2,000 word article why would my reader as well.

    Better to break it up into a short series and make it easier for the readers.

    ***And just a heads up I’m on firefox and your siderbar is showing up underneath the comments

  • JanDirk

    Great post I love the bit you talked about planing your blog post this is one thing I still want to get to 😀

  • http://www.richerornot.com fazal mayar

    what a great article josh, i did a lot of mistakes when i first started. i guess everyone does mistakes!

  • http://titiskaifa.wordpress.com/ Titis Kaifa

    Nice post :-)

  • http://www.codeforest.net Codeforest

    Thanks for this. As a matter of fact, I am still making some of this mistakes and am going to correct them now.

  • Raj @ Blogger Tips & Tricks

    These are things which should be completely avoided, these mistakes sometimes might end up ruining our online reputation.. what do u say??

  • metalpig

    great article Josh! you can even expand this article into an e-book… 😛

    thanks!

  • http://idonew.blogspot.com Do new blog ???? ??????

    At first my blog visitors were 10 per day or 20 some days!! but really after following incomediary for 2 years I’m reading and saving almost all the posts and doing what I’m told and following the instruction of bringing visitors and now I have 150 visitors every day.

  • http://www.conqueredriches.com Jamie Hudson

    Excellent post Josh! I made those same mistakes when I started at 12 years old. But I was an infant and it took a couple of years to figure it out.

    I’d say posting lots of images, not targeting keywords and writing posts that are way too long… those are huge mistakes.

    I can’t stress enough about SEO. It’s ridiculous how many bloggers just write content… totally oblivious to the fact that they won’t receive any traffic unless they syndicate it all across social media sites or do some hard core link building and proper keyword research.

  • http://samsungtabletpc.org Lalit

    Josh thanks for sharing great information and I would like to see more information on the topic.

  • http://www.bodypreserver.com Angelo

    Great post Josh! Recently started a niche website (fitness videos) and I love doing it but am looking for ways to keep traffic growing. Appreciate the tips!

  • Instant Media

    Well, Josh, like you say, there’s a learning curve to everything and sometimes we get so afraid of the pitfalls we never start anything new! I know I tend to get totally distracted with far too much research before I launch any new project, whereas it’s often better to jump in and correct your course as you go.

    I’m poving your photography and your blogging so well done you and keep enthralling us 😉

  • http://mymindcloset.blogspot.com/ Tyla

    Thanks for the tips. So much to learn. Newbie blogger.

  • Paul

    Loved the post and the comments. By the way kick butt photo on the inset with the reflection in the glasses. Dang you really can take photos :) Looking forward to seeing the future posts. By the way any plans to go to Blog World or other seminars in the future in the states? Thanks again

  • Pieter – network marketing tips

    ouch…

    did you REALLY have to tell everybody?

    this is soo embarassing

    ’cause just about all of us did it….;)

    (but we’ll rather not say how long it took some people to quit making these mistakes – ’cause that’s REALLY embarrassing…;)

    10/10 for being truthful

    great stuff

    thanx

    Pieter

  • Tram Tran

    Thank you for sharing your mistakes. I have leanrt a lot and will definitely be applying to my blog. The beginning is always the hardest but most exciting period, I believe

  • Sam

    It is a relief to hear about people’s mistakes and learning from them instead of learning the hard way from my own mistakes. Keep up the good work as I will try to do the same.

  • Prini Grace

    okay, i have to go and change a lot of things. I was wondering if you could explain to me how you link people to become subscribers on your page. I have started on blogger, and im just a tad bit confused lol :) please and thanks :)

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