Want to know what a year of blogging taught me? I launched this blog in February 2016 and over the last 12 months, I have lost count of a number of mistakes I made! So if you are new to blogging, or thinking of setting up your own blog here are a few things to look out for so you don’t make the same mistakes as me!
Whatever you do if you want to make money from your blog don’t use wordpress.com as you will be unable to add any advertisements etc on there. Instead, choose wordpress.org. So many bloggers make this mistake and then need to fix it later which can be tricky.
Make sure you choose to self-host. I would recommend Bluehost having tried a few out they come up on top for me. Do not do what I did and go with Ipage as there are seriously slow! If you aren’t sure how it’s going to pan out then just choose 12 months but make sure you have your own domain name and email address. It will make you look more professional and save you having to change it later on if things take off.
I can’t stress how important this is. You need to have some guidelines including things like font, colour pallet and the biggest piece of advice I can give anyone is to be consistent. When I first started I was a bit all over the place. My images and text were different on each post and the hours I spend going through and re-doing all of my graphics makes me what to cry now. Get it right from the start and you can save yourself hours of work later on.
This refers to both the focus of your blog but also your own focus. Be clear about why you are writing a blog, who is it for? Who is going to read it? Who are you writing it for? And why do you even want to write it in the first place? If you don’t know this you really need to spend some time thinking about it before you launch. I learnt this the hard way! I started my blog as a bit of a travel diary telling the story of my travels. It lacked any focus and I got hardly and views. Once I figured out what my focus was I then had the task of rewriting 20 posts! This was a pretty huge task and I still haven’t finished it. Save yourself this be being focused from the start!
The only way your blog is going to start getting readers and followers is if you have great content. You can do all the promotion you want but it’s fruitless if the content isn’t great. Before you launch make sure you have a minimum of 10 great posts full of excellent content that people want to read.
6. SEO and Readability
The hours of research and online courses I’ve done on SEO and readability are hours I will never get back and I still know hardly anything about it! Save yourself the time and confusion and get the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin. It’s amazing and you will soon get the hang of it. It gives each post a traffic light colour. Just make sure all of your posts are green or at least amber and you will be fine.
7. Build Relationships
I quickly made friends with some other bloggers in my niche. Bloggers are mostly friendly and supporting people, we like to help each other out. Be nice, comment on posts you like, follow people on Facebook and give their photos and post a like and a comment every now and again. They will notice and hopefully, they will do the same.
8. Content Calendar
This is so important. One of the biggest downfalls is not being consistent with posting your content. So decide on how many posts you want to do a month or week and stick to it. Create a content calendar to keep yourself on track and stick to it! I use Asana which I love, the best bit is it’s free! It’s made a huge different to my writing and I’m not much more disciplined thanks to this.
This part is going to take up some serious time so be prepared for that. Before you even think about promotion make sure you have great content to promote. Join some blogging groups and start sharing. Make sure you are also spending time reading and commenting on other people’s blogs and you will see your readers increase.
10. Not Doing a Course Sooner
Sure you can set up a blog on your own without paying out for a course. But if you want to avoid making mistakes in all the above areas and make sure you are being as productive with your time as possible. Then I would seriously consider investing in an online course. I made a bit of a mess of my blog at the beginning I was doing too much reading and lots of free online courses and ended up in a bit of a confused mess.
Deciding to invest I took an online course to (re) launch my blog in 30 days. This was exactly what I needed to do and it was a real turning point for me. Although I already had a blog up and running it just meant I was slightly ahead of the game. Through the course, I was able to focus and tackle everything in a pragmatic step by step way. If you are serious about blogging then it’s worth the investment and will save you hours in correcting your mistakes once you have realised you have made them!
There are a lot of courses out there of varying cost. I’ve done several courses now and the one I recommend for people wanting to set up a blog from scratch or someone who has maybe started a blog but got a bit stuck (possibly due to one of the above mistakes) is Travel Blog Squad – Travel 101. Sally was one of those lovely bloggers I connected with early on and has been so supporting to me through my early blogging days to now. She has launched a course to help other bloggers get started which includes support groups on Facebook and even a shared Pinterest board (Pinterest is super important for getting blog traffic). Over the 30 days you will be guided through 4 modules to help you launch your blog and from experience, it’s worth the investment if you are serious about blogging.
So to finish on one piece of advice: Don’t set up a blog if you are just in it for the money. It’s not going to make you rich, or even earn you much money at all in the early days. If it’s money you are after there are much simpler ways of making it! That said you can make money off your blog but to be able to do that your blog needs to be good, and you need to make sure it’s set up so you can easily embed adverts and affiliate links once you’re ready. This is why investing your time and some money early on is the key.
I’m now one year in, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, I’ve learned a lot and I’ve finally started earning a small income. It takes time and a lot of effort but I love doing it and being part of the blogging community.
I hope this post has been helpful if you are new to blogging! Please do feel free to leave me a comment, drop me an email or connect on social media if you need any advice or support. If you are an experienced blogger and have any other advice for newbies please feel free to leave a comment below to with a link to anything you have written!
Are You Traveling soon?
Be sure to check Skyscanner for the best flight deals.
I never travel anywhere without Travel Insurance. If you are looking for insurance be sure to check World Nomads first.
This post was proofread by Grammarly
Book your trip now
Are you ready to book your trip? To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.
- Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with.
- Booking.com – I LOVE booking.com especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections.
- Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
- Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on Bookin.com.
- Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as booking.com, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there.
- Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership!
- Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then bookaway.com is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
- RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals.
- Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
- World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review.
- SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here.
- Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration.
- Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.