I read so many articles on what to do and how to do it when it comes to blogging and marketing, but my biggest lessons are from my biggest blogging mistakes. I don’t know whether it’s schadenfreude or just a learning method instilled in me, but seeing failure has a tremendous impact on me. I learn from mistakes. For the most part.
My Learning Curve
Here’s the deal, I started a blog way back in 2007. Fashion blogging was picking up, but it wasn’t nearly at the level we’re seeing it right now. I remember reading a post on Susie Lau’s page Style Bubble about an experience of going into a store, trying on an outfit, and the shop owner telling her she can’t take photos in the outfit at the store. Like, man, if only that shop owner knew what blogging would become or the status Susie would reach. That was a major lesson for the store owner.
I had a lesson of my own around that time. I blogged for about a year, and ultimately was just doing it so I could go to more cool fashion events- I know, so professional (it did score me a dance with Lady Gag, though, so totally fruitful). It was fun for me. I posted outfit photos, event photos, invites, and inspiration. It was a legit fashion blog.
Then a company reached out to me. They asked for some ad space, and they would pay me $200 a month for a banner. I didn’t even know how to track stats at that point, or what stats were. I also didn’t know why they were asking me for a banner. Looking back, it all seems obvious. They were an advertiser, and I was the publisher. But, at the moment, when blogging was still that thing that came out of LiveJournal and Xanga, it made absolutely no sense to me.
I ignored them and put my blog on hold to go on with my modeling career. Holy crap is that a big regret! I wish I could go back in time and kick myself for not sticking with the blog. But, I didn’t have the knowledge and understanding of how this new publishing industry works.
So why am I telling you all this? To let you know that you shouldn’t skip out on great opportunities because you might not know how the industry operates behind the scenes. If you subscribe to my newsletter, you know the importance of being savvy with your rates and firm about sponsorship requests. You’re a discerning and educated blogger. I want to give you some of my other biggest blogging mistakes here, so you know what not to ignore in your blogging career.
My 7 Biggest Blogging Mistakes
1. I didn’t use great photographs.
Such a bummer that I didn’t focus on captivating images from the very beginning. I did Google searches and plopped down whatever I thought would fit the article. Since then, I’ve learned to find great stock photos for marketing materials and invested heavily into learning everything about photography. I’m still learning but the improvement from 3 years ago is tremendous!
2. Didn’t focus on building a cohesive brand.
My social media profiles were all over the place when I started! My avatar images were all different and don’t even mention the headers. They were just random photos. As the years went by, I learned how to tie things together, but it wasn’t until recently that I made myself a branding sheet for consistency.
3. Didn’t do any SEO.
I missed out on so much by not researching my keywords and optimizing my articles. Looking back, I don’t even know what the point was of publishing so much if no one was able to find it!
4. Didn’t focus on promotion.
This kind of ties into SEO as well. I have to say; I think this is my BIGGEST lesson. I had it all wrong. My content creation process took up most of my time. What I needed to focus on was promotion, though. Content creation should be AT MOST 20% of your time spent on the blog. The other 80% should be all about promoting your website and posts.
5. Didn’t invest in my website.
Little ol’ me thought that free tools and resources would get me to the top. I was so wrong. Once I started taking courses, reading books and getting (paid) tools that make blogging easier, I started growing. The thing is, free things will only get you so far before you need functionality to continue growing. Prime examples are scheduling and automation tools (you know how much I love CoSchedule). They free up so much time for me to do business development on my blog.
6. Didn’t know my niche.
If you know me, you know my niche rants. If you subscribe to my newsletter, you read all about the importance of having a niche. If you’ve looked through the resource library for subscribers, you’ve most likely seen the niche worksheet. Having a niche is important not only for adequate growth but also for monetization. If you don’t have a niche, you don’t have a dedicated and interested audience, simple as that.
7. Didn’t have any goals.
This one is very recent. I started setting goals a few months ago, and it’s been working out so fabulously that I started a goals series on the blog. Yes, it’s time-consuming analyzing progress and goals, but I ultimately learn what works in my attempts to grow my blog. Everything that doesn’t work I abandon. The strategies that work get more effort put into them.