With any skill, there's always a learning curve, and blogging is no exception. I've been blogging for over a year and a half now and I'm still learning new things everyday. As I'm constantly learning new facts and skills, it really causes me to reflect on my first few months blogging. Some of the posts I wrote back then were cringe-worthy, but most of what I did wrong was not what I wrote but what I did with it afterwards. Here are just some of the things I wish I hadn't done in my first six months blogging.
Not researching hosting optionsWhile Blogger is great (and is definitely working for me just fine), I definitely wish I had looked into self-hosting or other options from the get-go. I constantly find myself questioning if I should have gone with something else and if my blog would be better then. Even if I had ended up settling on Blogger, at least I would feel confident about my choice now, instead of constantly going back and forth about if I really chose the right option for my goals.
Undervaluing social mediaIn this day and age, social media is really a blogger's (or any business owner's) best friend. It's widely-used, accessible and the tools to succeed are right at your finger tips. I've really changed the way I look at social media since I started blogging and these are just some of the mistakes I made in this area:
Not promoting on social media right awayI was so scared to promote my posts on social media when I started and I really wish I would have taken a leap and started sharing my work. Pinterest, for one, has been an immensely helpful tool in promoting my blog and I've also seen a lot of benefits from using Twitter and Instagram as well.
Not making pinnable imagesI was pretty good at including an image with each post from the beginning, but most of the images were horizontal (which is a no-no for Pinterest) and didn't fit my personal brand or style guide (which I didn't establish on day one, but I did figure out less than six months into blogging.)
Not joining blogging groupsIn my past self's defense, I didn't even know these existed...but I sure wish I had! Blogging groups have been an indispensable resource for building relationships with other bloggers. They're also geat for using as a sounding board for blog ideas or issues.
Not automating/scheduling postsTools like IFTTT, Boardbooster and Hootsuite have helped me automate mundane tasks so I can focus on the parts of blogging I am actually passionate about and be much more productive! I used to schedule all my new posts individually on my Facebook page before I found about IFTTT, and now it's helped me automate my Twitter and Tumblr feeds too! Hootsuite is great for when I come up with a tweet in the middle of the night (which is my best time for ideas but the worst time for Twitter engagement) and Boardbooster is so useful for looping boards, scheduling pins and more!
Not learning search engine optimization
I would hear about SEO when I first started blogging and always wondered what it stood for, and I didn't even begin to understand it until months later. I put off learning the ins and outs of it for a long time as well, because I thought for sure I needed to be super techy or be on Wordpress (I am constantly hearing that the Yoast plugin is the bomb dot com.) In fact, I'm just barely gaining confidence in my SEO skills, after 19 months! I really wish I would have buckled down, utilized the great free resources out there (I have a lot in this post) and upped my game before now!
A while back ago, I decided to take all these regrets and turn them into something productive: a beginning blogging course. I fit everything I learned in the first six months blogging in seven daily emails packed with actionable content, free printables and more. While I originally designed it for people who haven't even begun blogging yet and wanted to know how to create a successful blog from day one. However, I've since realized that a lot of the content would also apply to bloggers who've set up their blog and written their first post, but still need some direction regarding social media, SEO and more. Weeklong Blog Pro will be launching shortly and will be packed with even more bonus content, as well as check-in emails after you've completed the course. Sign up below to receive updates and get the course when it's out!