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It’s all very well me telling you how to create an awesome blog, but if I don’t also tell you what not to do, it’s kind of pointless.
- Don’t create content no one’s searching for
- Don’t pick a bulky theme
- Don’t spam on social media
- Don’t burnout because you haven’t planned your content properly
- Don’t rely on social media or Pinterest for traffic
- Don’t waste time on your blog design
- Don’t try to throw money at your problems
- Don’t rely on the advice of just one blogging guru
Don’t create blog content no one’s searching for
It doesn’t matter how good it is, how funny, how useful it is you – it will simply never be found unless you spend a lot of time, money, and effort continually promoting it.
I’m a writer by trade, not an SEO guru. I want to spend my time time writing, and make money from it. The only way I can do that is to research what people was to learn about, and write the best article about it.
If you were looking for a magic blogging formula that’s it: write content people are searching for.
I know this doesn’t help you if you want to write fiction or poetry. I’m writing a fantasy novel on the side, but the cold, hard fact is that if I want to make money with any degree of certainty, I have to create useful content.
This doesn’t mean you have to write about a niche that you hate – I find it hard to believe that writing is your sole interest. Learn how to build an audience and make some money from your website. Show any potential publishers that you know how to build a fanbase.
You can even reverse-engineer the whole process and pick a niche that ha a similar audience to your future novel.
Avoid bulky themes that slow your website down
It’s no secret that I love GeneratePress. It’s extremely fast, has decent customisation options, and the free option is fine for most bloggers.
Stop spamming social media platforms with your links
Whilst I don’t use social media to promote my website, I do still use social media a lot. Niche-specific groups on Facebook and Reddit can provide a treasure trove of information.
Not only do I use them to learn more about my niche, especially upcoming trends, but I can see which areas people are having trouble with, which topics are popular, which aren’t etc. It’s a great resource for coming up with new articles ideas.
But everyone hates a spammer. If you spam Facebook groups with your links you’ll probably get removed, and if you do the same thing on most subreddits everyone will studiously ignore you.
Feel free to dump your links on Twitter, but unless you’ve spent the time building up a large, engaged, following, no one will care.
In short, dropping random links on social media platforms is a waste of time.
Avoid burnout by creating a content strategy and calendar
Most blogs fail.
But not because they weren’t any good or had no potential – it’s because the author gave up.
I get, trust me. It took me months to get views on a good website, never mind a crap one.
It will take nearly a year to see any significant traffic. To keep you from giving up, I suggest you set yourself a challenge. I promised myself I wouldn’t get hung up on my stats until I’d written 100 articles.
Since it took seven months to write those articles, traffic had started to trickle in by the time as I was done. Not a lot, but more than I’d thought, considering all I had done was research and write articles – no promotion at all. I don’t even have sharing buttons on my site.
I couldn’t have done this without a content strategy that I plugged into content calendar. I didn’t spend hours at my desk wondering what to do next, and checking my stats just to see 0 views. Again. Every time I sat down I knew exactly what I had to do.
I tried to set a goal of writing 10 blog posts per month – obviously if you can write more great, but if you can only manage five, that’s fine too.
Avoid being over reliant on social media for traffic
Social media is a fickle beast. Views go up and down depending on algorithms, how you use the platform, how your audience uses the platform.
You also have to work hard to build a following – that time could be better spent writing posts in the first year.
Write content that people are searching for and you won’t need to try to get them to notice it – they’ll be actively looking for it.
Avoid spending too much time on your blog design
Create a simple text lol in Canva. Try to keep fonts and colours consistent on your website, but then leave it alone.
- In the beginning, no one will see your blog design
- Google can’t see. As long as your site is uncluttered and fast, it doesn’t care how crap your logo is
- If your information is useful, your viewers also won’t care about your lack of design skills
Again, wait until you have 100 articles. Then you can play around with your design.
Don’t just throw money at your blogging issues
You can’t pay your way to a sustainable blogging career. No amount of courses will write your content for you.
Don’t buy followers, traffic, or backlinks. You can’t cheat the system here. If you do, you risk losing everything every time there’s a search engine algorithm change.
Don’t rely on the advice of one person/course
I’ve written a whole article here on why I don’t buy blogging courses, but if you have plenty of money – go for it. But don’t pick one person and try to copy them.
There are a TONNE of factors that influence someone’s blogging trajectory, and even if you follow exactly the same steps as someone else, it doesn’t mean you’ll get identical results.
Instead, do a lot of research and consume as much free information as you can, from a variety of sources. Obviously I have a load of information here, but check out Income School on YouTube, Neil Patel and Melyssa Griffin.
These are the mistakes I’ve made. Repeatedly. Read them – learn from them. It’s taken me nearly a decade to learn how to create a successful blog. You can grow a successful blog in less than a year, if you’re prepared to put the work in.