The most common pitfalls that new bloggers fall into
Hi! My name is Ally Charleston and I successfully own and operate my own blog, Halcyon Girl. I’m the sole owner, sole contributor, and I built it from the ground up, gathering little bits of advice here and there from my own experience.
I love everything about blogging; it combines all of my interests and passions. I get to write, be creative, delve into graphic design, work the world of social media, and connect with people. With that said…
There is absolutely no getting around it, creating and operating a blog is a lot of hard work. Building a lasting audience takes a lot of effort and it doesn’t happen overnight, I’m constantly working on expanding. If you think it’s going to be easy, you’re going to fail. That’s actually the first (of ten) pitfall I will be talking about..
1. Thinking blogging is easy
If you go into creating a blog with this notion that it will just be a fun hobby you do on the side, you will never be successful. Blogging becomes a job if you’re doing it right. But, you will quickly realize if it’s a job you love or not. Passion is key. My dad used to always say, “You will never be successful if you don’t have passion,” and it’s extremely accurate. Also, it’s definitely something I’ve discovered through my own experience blogging.
2. Having too much content variety
Now, this may be surprising but it’s extremely important (well, all of these are important that’s why I’m including them…). If you can’t confine your content to a certain spectrum that fits what you’re interested in, it won’t be as prosperous. If you were to write about everything you love, the people that love all of those same things are few and far between. To create lasting viewership and passionate, dedicated readers (the type of audience you want), you have to figure out what theme you’re going to follow throughout your blog. Is it a beauty blog? A lifestyle blog? An everything-you-need-to-know-about-Golden-Retrievers blog? What’s different about your blog that sets it apart from the rest? Once you figure out what type of content you want,
you can design your entire blog around that.
3. Lacking a niche
Similar to #2, but something to clarify: every blog has a niche that it neatly fills. That’s what makes successful blogs, successful! Lifestyle blogs are fun because they have a little more variety, if that’s what you’re looking for.
To give you an example of the significance of this, my blog is about finding happiness. I write about philosophy, mental health, finding happiness in college, challenging traditional views of happiness, etc. Why I think I found a good niche that has led to its
success is because I am an American college student who discusses navigating happiness, myself–through this I connect to so many people who are or have experienced similar things and have similar thoughts. That’s my niche. Specific, but like I
listed, it covers a variety of topics that I’m passionate about.
Finding your niche takes a little while, but until you find it, it’s hard to truly connect to an audience.
4. Not using Wix
I created my entire website on Wix and have absolutely no regrets. I often come across new blogs that are all over the place, lack some important features, isn’t user-friendly, or is just not as modern and beautiful as it has the potential to be. Wix makes it SO easy to avoid all of those pitfalls. They also have a ton of templates that you can apply to your own website that take a lot of the time and effort out of creating a website (which is pretty tedious).
I know that WordPress is also very highly-regarded but I truly can’t imagine a better website to build a blog than Wix.
5. Not buying your own domain
This is easily my biggest pet peeve when it comes to websites/blogs. BUY YOUR OWN DOMAIN PEOPLE! There is nothing that looks less professional than this: “www.[insertnamehere].annoyingwebsiteprovider.com.” It looks terrible and I promise
that no one will take you seriously.
You can find websites that sell domain names for super cheap (under $5) like GoDaddy. And, most website-creating providers make it super easy to link the domain you buy to whatever website you create.
6. Resorting to low-quality, minimal effort graphics/pictures
Okay, maybe this is my biggest pet peeve. To have a successful, well respected blog you have to take the time to take high quality pictures for it, or purchase high quality photos. Whenever I see any website with low-quality pictures, it just looks lazy. I
immediately exit out of the window. That’s the last thing you want from your viewers. Canva is incredible. It’s a free website that provides free pictures, purchasable photos, free graphics, and an easy-to-use graphic creator. An A+ and an absolute MUST for new bloggers to establish their presence on their blog or on social media. Speaking of…
7. Not utilizing social media
At a MINIMUM, you should be linking your blog to Instagram and Facebook and constantly updating them. I recommend uploading a picture to Instagram at least once a day and posting through Facebook every 2-3 days. Pinterest and Twitter are also extremely useful. Show off those beautiful, high-quality graphics! Another component of fully utilizing our social media obsessed world is creating social networks. You can do this and build your follower count by commenting on other bloggers’ social media accounts, hosting contests, following bloggers, sending DMs to bloggers… basically just showing you’re not just mindlessly posting to your account. Build online relationships.
8. Thinking you don’t have to advertise
I am constantly thinking of ways to advertise my blog. Recently I bought 100 business cards through Vistaprint and added the link to my blog in all of my email signatures. If you just create a blog and let it sit there, you won’t be successful. That’s why operating a blog is so difficult! It takes constant effort.
9. Posts with not enough images
I wish it weren’t the case, but people get really bored if they click on a link to see loads of writing. Pictures break up text and also make it 10x more visually appealing to the reader. Add Gifs or funny memes! You can’t go wrong with adding more images and graphics. Unless they’re low quality…
10. Lacking a “voice”
I think this often goes overlooked when new bloggers are starting out. Often you just write and don’t think about it. But, what will really set you apart is truly building a voice for your blog; if you were to present 3 articles to your audience, they should be able to pick yours out without hesitation.
Well, that’s all I got for you right now, but there are a million more I could include. Blogging is tough, guys. But, in the end, it’s so worth it. I’ve made some amazing connections and get to delve into my passions every single day. There’s nothing else like it.
About the author
Ally Charleston is a Boston-born, Richmond-based college student at the University of Richmond. Her lifestyle blog, Halcyon Girl, is all about navigating happiness in the 21st century.