6 Major Blogging Mistakes I Made In The Beginning

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Forever dreaming of the day that some lucky geek invents a time machine. To go back and fix the major blogging mistakes I’ve made, of course. These are blogging lessons learned the hard way, and I’m putting the embarrassing truth out there so you can avoid them!

1.  Written For Nobody

Not too long ago, the Haunted Housewife was complete chaos! I had no goals, no ideal reader and wound up talking to everybody, which resulted in reaching nobody.

Imaginary Friends… But For Adults!

Creating a super in-depth ideal reader profile has made a huge difference in my blog’s focus. Diana is in dear-diana1her late 20’s, an aspiring pin-up model and hopeful blogger. She’s got a unique style that she struggles with outside of Halloween season, and she’s into all things beauty, tattoos and spooky. She’s somewhat domestic as she’s married with a small child, and her style can be described as creepy cute.

Diana and I have a few things in common but we differ in a lot of areas, too. You’re sure to spot similarities between you and your ideal reader. I now have Diana in mind in everything I write, design or do.


2. Jack of All Trades, Master Of None

My blog topics spanned from recipes and diy’s, to technical things not even blog related. I soon (but not soon enough) realized that you can’t just write about anything. As tempting it is to pump out posts left and jack-o-lantern-bats-starsright, it isn’t a good idea. Your blog needs focus.

What Would Diana Expect?

Coming up with topics that Diana would be interested in wasn’t terribly hard to do, and I simply deleted the ones that she wouldn’t enjoy. Coincidentally, those posts got the least amount of traffic. There’s a method to the madness, after all!


3. Somebody Call The Fashion Police

The Haunted Housewife‘s first couple of theme designs were done by me, and they were terrible. It my-cool-look1wasn’t until I paid for my first premium theme that things started looking up in that department.

My Style

My brand hadn’t been thoroughly developed yet, and it showed. The chosen colors were dark and ominous,  which was what I wanted but it didn’t appeal to my ideal reader. Forgive me, Diana! 💌

Since my branding overhaul, things are finally headed in the direction I want them to go. When branding, consider shapes, color combinations, your link color, font pairings, and every seemingly small piece. Everything makes a difference. If you only read one branding book in your blogging career, please consider this one: How To Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone.


4. Cringe-Worthy Graphicsscared-kitty-stars

My blog graphics were a terror, and revamping old posts isn’t one of my favorite things to do. Cringe City! These days, I use both PicMonkey and Canva For Work. [✨If you’re curious, this entire post has been bedazzled with Canva creations! ✨]

In addition to that, I really should have watermarked my photos and kept track of which ones were attached to a post. Deleting ones that aren’t attached in a media library of thousands is a thorn in my side.

Pro Tip – study design, and learn to have fun making images for your post.


5. Didn’t Treat My Blog As A Businesshaunted-headquarters

Some of the best advice I’ve read is to treat your blog like a business, and businesses grow. That advice came a little too late, after I had already made a mess of things.

Tracking data is important to analyze your blog’s growth, and while I tracked my social media stats from the beginning I missed so much more.

Things I Now Track, Analyze and Seek To Improve

  • social media followers and shares
  • ad clicks vs earnings
  • bounce rate
  • backlinks
  • pinterest and facebook groups

6. Crimes Against SEO

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is a pretty popular guy, and ignoring him seriously has cost me in a big way. SEO is all about how you appear to the search engines, and how you rank. Search engines are a huge source of traffic to my blog!

Avoiding Google’s Keyword Planner

You hear bloggers rave about Google’s Keyword Planner everywhere you look, and I wish I had taken them seriously. Why It’s Important: It will give you an idea about what people are searching Google for, and you can use this to your advantage.

Use the Google Keyword Planner in creating titles, wording your posts and coming up with post topics all based on what people are searching for on the Internet.

Heed My Warning: You Need To Add “No Follow” Attributes To Your Links

Google’s search results are based on a website’s authority. Google has it’s own way of scoring how much authority you’ve got by the number of backlinks to your blog. Backlinks are from other websites, linking to your site. The more backlinks you’ve got, the more popular you are!

If you’ve got more outbound links than backlinks, you can

checklist

lose authority. To link to other sites to your hearts content without these counting against you, add a “no follow” attribute to your outbound links. Click here to find out how to do this.

Self-Hosted Wordpress Perk: You can have a plugin do this for you.


Fact: This entire post was written and bedazzled on the spot. Within a six hour time frame with very few breaks in between! I feel like I just told a good friend about some of my most embarrassing life choices. Yep, a bubble bath is in order. 🛁

A little birdy told me you may be a blogger. These posts may tickle your fancy:

Let’s share in embarrassment together: What mistakes have you made as a blogger?!

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November 29, 2016

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  • I’m still not the perfect blogger, but one of the things I should have done sooner is care about SEO! I didn’t really understand the whole thing until I launched my own self-hosted blog, but now I can’t understand how I lived without taking it under consideration!

  • Amanda Marie

    Some great tips! I’m really struggling with the jack of all trades one. I have so many ideas yet they don’t all fit together lol

  • Chanel van Reenen

    thank you for sharing these! i love the graphics and am definitely checking out those books!

  • Michelle Beard

    that’s a great idea to create an imaginary reader profile to write to 🙂

  • Annissa Slusher

    Great tips! Sometimes I look back at our first posts and cringe. It took us a while to develop our “style”. I’m still guilty of not using Google’s keyword Planner and had absolutely no idea what a “no follow” attribute was until now. So much to still learn!

    • Yeah my old posts were painful to read haha. Yikes! We live, we learn. Hit up Pinterest, as well! It’s a blogging tip goldmine!

  • Rachel Kendall Koller

    This was a great read with great tips! I’m just starting out and had so many tips and ideas I can work on now. Thanks for sharing!

    • Take lots and lots of notes! Check out Amy Lynn Andrews’ “Knowtbook” if you haven’t already… it was super helpful for me when I was getting started!

  • Claire Melzer

    I just started blogging seriously last month and these are some great tips! Thanks for the advice – I can’t wait to incorporate them into my own blog!

  • These are great tips for things to keep in mind. Thank you for sharing!

  • Ali Mageehon

    Great tips! I made so many of these mistakes when I started blogging a year ago – I’m doing my best to try to fix them as I keep going! I think I definitely need to design my imaginary “friend” – that’s a great idea!

    • It certainly helps me keep focused. I hear bloggers talk about their “target audience” all the time. Now I finally get it 🙂

  • Yes, to all of these. I was so ill informed about SEO when I first started blogging.

  • I pretty much have made every one of these mistakes. My blog is relatively young and I have gotten a lot better in the last few months about talking to Diane and being more SEO focused. Thanks for reminding me again what I need to do to be successful! 😀

  • I can relate and I am quite sure I did each and every one in your list. But SEO is still a challenge for me. I bought this “Long tail Pro” software months a go and I still cant seem to understand how to use it for my blog’s full benefit! 🙁