Blogging for Beginners: Mistakes to Avoid

When I first started writing a year ago, I was focused on just that: the written content. I spent most of my time writing and editing, and the rest of my time reading other blogs. Now, my time is divided between creating content, engaging with others, editing photos and graphics, and doing all there is to do on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

But I quickly learned there’s a lot more to it than I anticipated, which is exciting, because there’s always something to do and something, someone, or some site to discover. But there’s also a lot of mistakes to be made.

I don’t like to admit it; I don’t think any of us do, but I’m not perfect. I’ve made mistakes with my blog, but I’ve avoided some, too. I’ve compiled a list of some blogging mistakes to help make yourself, your blog, and our blogging world the best they can be.

I’ve you’ve done any of these things, or struggle with them, that’s okay. That means you’re normal, and totally human like the rest of us. But I hope you can at least find one thing to relate to or learn from.

 

  • Posting your GPS coordinates to the world… without even realizing it.

If you’ve never heard of iknowwhereyourcatlives.com, then I’m terribly sorry to ruin this for you. Your iPhone automatically saves the GPS location of every single picture you’ve taken (unless you turn this setting off)… and this data is not removed when you post the photo online. With a little work, that info can be retrieved from the photo. From anywhere. By anyone. Scary, right?!

No fear, you can turn off the setting by going to Privacy > Location Services > Camera and selecting “Never”.

Once I learned about this, I was concerned about all my other pictures… but I also learned you can access and remove this info from the photo on your Mac using the “Tools” section from the tool bar and locating the GPS info if it’s there. I’ve also noticed that when I used photo editing apps, the edited photos *usually* no longer had GPS tags. Phew. (Although I’m not sure this is a fool-proof fix… I recommend just turning off the location setting completely.)

  • Worrying about “the numbers”, and letting them have a negative impact on you.

    I mentioned this in my post celebrating my blog’s first year, but since beginning my blog, I’ve actively worked celebrate my numbers more than I worry about them. Instead of worrying about hitting a certain view count or follower count or any-type-of-count, I celebrate the followers and viewers I have. I choose to celebrate the people who enjoy my blog, instead of letting numbers on a screen negatively impact my passion.

  • Under-valuing yourself and your site.

    This is yet another incredible lesson I first learned from the lovely Erica of ComingUpRosesTheBlog.com. You can’t expect anyone to put a higher value on your blog than you do. You have to be your own biggest supporter and your own biggest cheerleader. You have to believe (and be confident) in yourself, your value, and your worth, before you can expect anyone else to, in terms of brand deals and in general.

  • Trying to do everything by yourself, without asking questions.

    I cannot reiterate how amazing the blogging world is. It is such a huge web of people who all bring something unique to the table. If you’ve got a question, there’s someone, or a bunch of someones, out there with an answer, and blog posts written about that answer. You have to be willing to ask for, and accept, help. Two, or two million, heads are better than one. Blogging Facebook groups are so helpful!

  • Trying to squeeze yourself into a “niche”.

    Keyword: squeeze. Niches come naturally to some people, but they don’t have to. I think I speak for the minority here, but I don’t think you have to stick to writing an uber-specific niche to be a good blogger. Sure, this works for some people, but I don’t think you have to write about a certain thing just because it’s your “niche”. You should write about what matters to you. You should write about what you love to write about.

  • Accepting brand deals that don’t fit your brand.

    I see way too many “micro-influencers” (a term given to influencers with approximately <10,000 followers) who post so many obvious brand deals, usually just for free product. I get emails from some of these companies too, and most want to exchange free product for a blog and Instagram post, or more. Personally, I don’t think free product is always fair payment for the time it takes me to create full blog posts and pictures. It’s obvious when the products you’re posting about don’t fit you and “your brand”. Don’t accept brand’s offers just because they’re the only brands offering… Uphold yourself to a higher standard, friend, and others will, too.

  • Not being true to yourself.

    This goes along with the previous two points. Your blog should be a reflection of you, or some part of you. You should feel free to be yourself and express yourself however you see fit. Your readers want to get to know you.

  • Not engaging with others.

    Be a reader first, and a writer-creator second! You won’t get far in the blogging world without being a good reader of other blogs. Engaging with other bloggers on their sites and social media is a great way to meet others and increase your own presence. Don’t just post and ghost. Be the kind of reader you want to have!

  • Not utilizing the power of social media.

    This is a huge one! I was totally clueless to the world of “Instagram-blogging” for the first few months. Now, I get about a third of my blog traffic directly from Instagram, and about a fourth from Facebook and Pinterest, which is huge! Social media is a powerful tool, but you definitely have to work for it, and again, engaging and being active is the best way to do it.

  • Not backing up your stuff.

    From the very beginning, I’ve written my post drafts as word documents and saved them all in folders on my computer. I save all my posts’ pictures and graphics in these folders, too, so that I have copies of everything saved independently of WordPress! Then, once I edit the post, I copy, paste, and format it through WordPress. This super useful in terms of always having a backup in case anything should go awry, and I find it much easier to edit in a word document than in the WordPress interface. I’m not sure if everyone does this, but I recommend saving your posts elsewhere instead of leaving all your hard work solely in the hands of your blogging site!

  • Not taking a step back.

    Although social media is a powerful tool, it can sometimes become a black hole of comparison… You can’t compare your worst to someone else’s best. We all put our best selves out there on the Internet, so it’s vital to keep perspective. Breaks from blogging and social media (even just for a few hours) can help clear your mind, refresh your spirit, and get you back on track. I also wrote this post all about how to re-inspire yourself when you need it!

 

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen my updates about going through sorority recruitment the past two weeks. Bid Day was yesterday, and it was so rewarding to welcome home 95 beautiful new members! Today was my first day of classes so I don’t really have any time off to recuperate, but I’m back, and back to blogging as usual.

By popular request, a Sorority Recruitment Look Book with the deets on what I wore all week is coming soon!

 

I hope you enjoyed this Blogging for Beginners series! In case you missed ‘em, find the other two posts in this series here and here.

 

Have a great week, y’all!

 

14 Comments

  1. Mihaela Echols
    August 28, 2017

    This is why blogging is fun for me! I stay true to myself and dont see it as a chore. Some ask me how I keep up with posting. I just write and post when I want to. No dead lines.

    Reply
    1. kristenshaneblog
      August 28, 2017

      I’m the same way! I just let myself do it as I please, without worrying about fitting to a certain topic or schedule!

      Reply
  2. Allison Marie
    August 30, 2017

    I absolutely love this post! I agreed with it all, and it also encouraged me to be myself and enjoy blogging.

    Reply
    1. kristenshaneblog
      August 31, 2017

      Yay I’m so glad you enjoyed it and helped to motivate you!!

      Reply
  3. Maggie
    September 1, 2017

    Thanks for sharing! This is a super helpful post…I am currently trying to grow my blog and so I found this post very useful.

    Reply
    1. kristenshaneblog
      September 2, 2017

      Thanks, girl! I’m so glad you found it helpful 🙂 I’d love to check our your blog!

      Reply
  4. Makaela | Uniquely Mickie
    September 1, 2017

    I really love this post! I just started my blog only three months ago and its so hard not to focus on the number or amount of followers you have, but its a work in progress. I also love that you mentioned how the blogging world is so supportive and welcoming. I get a lot of the answers to my questions by asking other bloggers inside or outside of my niche.

    -xo, Makaela
    http://www.uniquelymickie.com

    Reply
    1. kristenshaneblog
      September 2, 2017

      Thanks so much girl! I’ve actually read your blog before and I’m so impressed but how successful you’ve been in just 3 months! I definitely wouldn’t be able to do all that I do without such an awesome blogging world!

      Reply
  5. Alice Mills
    September 3, 2017

    I have been blogging only six months and have learned many of the same things. I have to regularly divorce myself from the numbers, remembering that I am not doing this just to gain readers but to create a legacy.

    Reply
    1. kristenshaneblog
      September 3, 2017

      I totally agree. I have to frequently remind myself why I’m doing this! But that’s a beautiful way to put it.

      Reply
  6. Ashely Derr
    September 4, 2017

    Nice article. I enjoyed reading and learning more about search engines. Thanks.

    Reply
  7. Hi, happy that i stumble on this in yahoo. Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Raising Up Teens
    October 6, 2017

    You are 100% right one point! I absolutely love this post! Your site looks very chic,as well!

    Reply
    1. kristenshaneblog
      October 16, 2017

      Thanks, Amanda! I appreciate it!

      Reply

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