I was talking to Elna Cain of Twins Mommy the other day about various bloggy things and she suggested I try doing blog updates – like a traffic/income report.
If you haven’t read Elna’s blog updates, they’re a good read and in them she invites other Moms to follow along and grow their blogs with her.
Instead of doing that right away, I’m going to own up to a whole bunch of mistakes I made when I first started This Mama Learns. I’ve learned a lot from them, and I hope you will too (and avoid making them yourself!).
A Little About Me
I guess I should tell you a bit about me before we get cracking.
I discovered that you could make money online using Squidoo back in 2011 and promptly quit the job I hated, because I was sure I could make it work. Bad idea.
I did start to make a little money, but called it quits and went back to work (dream job this time) a couple of months later. I’ve vaguely intended to ‘get back into it some day’, but as you’ve probably realized things put off for ‘some day’ tends to end up becoming ‘never’.
Yet, now I’m here. I needed a creative outlet while on maternity leave and thought ‘hey, if I could make a bit of money on the side I won’t have to go back to work’. So, my ultimate goal is to turn this blog into a business.
Mistake #1 – I wasn’t clear on my niche
When I first started This Mama Learns, I thought I was going to write about affiliate marketing.
It was what I knew after all.
Problem is there is definitely a seamy underbelly to affiliate marketing, but the real kicker for me was listening to a bunch of guys talk about how to sell breastfeeding as a niche in an affiliate marketing Facebook group.
Like, really? Do we not draw any lines here?
So I went searching and I found some amazing girl-boss-bloggers, femtrepreneurs and mompreneurs.
These were my people! This was what I wanted to do and I found my niche – cutting through the noise and charting a course to success for Mom bloggers.
Mistake #2 – I wasn’t clear about my audience
Was my audience Moms or not?
I wanted to write for Moms but had this weird idea that Moms aren’t interested in making money online…
Right. Not my most shining moment.
Of course Moms want to make money online as much or more than anyone else.
Mistake #3 – I was writing for Google, and only Google
Ah, the black art of SEO…
Writing only for Google using keywords from a keyword tool sure gives you some headline doozies.
In my defense, the last time I had a blog site was back in 2011 and it was perfectly acceptable practice back then and actually worked… Thank goodness we’ve moved on from there.
And I’ve moved on from SEO. I’m writing for people now. Yeah!
Mistake #4 – I didn’t have a plan
Apart from a vague intention to make money from my blog I had no plan.
I thought traffic would just happen naturally.
Social media would just happen.
My blog posts would be recognized instantly as the most brilliant thing anyone had ever written on the topic and the money fairy would visit every day and shower me with gold dust.
Say what? I’m really not much of a planner. I tend to focus on whats in front of me at the time, the problem with that is if you are going in the wrong direction you might not know it for a while. I’m getting the big picture into place.
Mistake #5 – I prioritized quantity over quality
I decided I was going to post daily (do all new bloggers do this? lol) if it killed me.
I ended up with some excruciatingly lame posts.
I’ve deleted them all now. They were just too embarrassing to keep.
Here’s the thing: to stand out in this noisy, crowded online arena you need to produce QUALITY – all the time.
Quantity is meaningless if you can’t keep people on the page.
Mistake #6 – I hadn’t looked at what was popular in my niche
I just went straight to my keyword tool for ideas on what to write about – really bad choice.
Its kind of like walking into a room blindfolded and expecting to give people fashion advice.
Mistake #7 – I didn’t know any of the bloggers in my niche
This seems like a really dumb mistake now.
I’m not sure why I thought I could just start blogging in a vacuum and it would all work out.
I literally knew no one. This is really dumb.
A lot of your potential success relies heavily on who you know and network with.
Those were just seven of my mistakes, but I’m betting they are pretty common to new bloggers.
I’m going to start doing blog reports at the end of this month to show y’all what I’ve been up to, how it’s working and what I plan to do next.
For the rest of my Jam-Packed-July, I’m going to focus on sticking to my editorial calendar and promoting like crazy (so that when I own up to my stats next month, they aren’t too embarrassing…!)
What new blogger mistakes did you make? Do you have any advice to help new bloggers avoid mistakes?