These observations and suggestions come from a good place, so please take what’s helpful to you and leave the rest behind. If you aren’t interested in blogging and this isn’t helpful, please check out another article from the archives that is a better fit for what you need right now.
I started this blog almost 5 years ago and when I coach people who want to start or grow a blog, we talk about best practices and an approach that allows them to find joy in their work. There is so much information out there on the best way to grow fast, but growing a blog or any idea or business takes time. It always takes time.
5 simple mistakes new bloggers make (and the solutions)
Please note: I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way and continue to learn better ways to grow and enjoy my work. And, big thanks and love to my friend Heidi for photographing the making of this blog post above. Now, on to the 5 …
1. Conversion over connection.
Instead of connecting with people comment by comment, email by email, and tweet by tweet, some bloggers want to convert people from readers to subscribers with a pop-up offer (read: bribe) or convert subscribers to buyers by placing them in an annoying sales funnel. Before annoying people who want to get to know you, think about what annoys you. If it doesn’t feel good to you, it won’t feel good to anyone else.
The solution: Choose connections over conversions. Take the time to create and nurture your connections. Get to know the people who connect with your message. Help them. Give away everything you know. That’s the kind of value you need to be willing to give before you write an ebook, offer coaching, make a course, or charge one cent for anything.
2. Trying to be everywhere.
In addition to consistent blog writing, the allure of reaching everyone through every social media platform is diluting content and diminishing connection. You can’t be good at everything and if you try to be good at Twitter, Facebook, G+, Pinterest, Instagram, and everything else, you will fall short.
The solution: Choose one. Start with one social media platform that you enjoy and experiment. Be consistent and patient. It always takes time. Engage and connect in one place before developing another.
3. Random Musings.
When you try to please everyone, you please no one. If you don’t choose a specific topic to blog about, people don’t know how to connect with you. Your family might really appreciate your random musings and other thoughts, but if you want other people to take notice, help them with a specific topic. When you dial in your area of focus and expertise to offer real value, you can build a community.
The solution: Be specific. Even if you like lots of different topics, share them from a your unique perspective. Don’t be afraid to narrow things down.
4. Free hosting.
If you know that you are intentionally growing a blog to serve a community, starting on a wordpress.com or another free platform is a waste of time and money. It’s free to start, but more expensive when you have to migrate your site and upgrade to paid hosting, or compromise your site because your free hosting company shares ads on your site that don’t serve the people who read your work.
The solution: Pay a few dollars a month for hosting. Research options like Bluehost or DreamHost. Choose what works best for you based on pricing and ease of use. I also recommend using premium themes from StudioPress for a more user-friendly look and experience. As an affiliate, I earn a commission if you use these recommendations. Check out other resources I recommend, and more on why I share affiliate links here.
5. Giving up too soon.
When people switch ideas after 3 months because they didn’t notice any traction, or keep jumping to the next shiny idea, they compromise trust. I give up on bad ideas all the time, but when you are blogging about something you believe in something, give it time to take hold.
The solution: Don’t pay attention to stats when you start. Instead, focus on developing your voice and connecting with like-minded people.
I share everything I know about how to launch a blog and grow a community in Zero to 100, a microcourse to help you find your first 100 subscribers and make your first $100. To help beginning bloggers, I offer the course for only $10. Learn more about it here.