10 Things NOT To Do When Starting a Blog
There are lots of blogging tips out there on the interwebs, but few people talk about what NOT to do when starting a blog.
And there are some you MUST avoid (unless you’re looking to go nowhere fast…).
Having started multiple blogs that failed and two that have had great success, I feel that I can really help you with this.
By success, I mean generating at least $10k+ per month profit.
I specify profit because someone’s revenues should never impress you. If you make 10k in revenues but spend 15k in advertising expenses, then you lost 5k!
If you would like some proof (as you should be skeptical of ANYONE giving advice in this niche), you can check out our latest income report for blogging.
Here is a brief overview of what we are going to cover in this article:
- BLOG NICHES
- BLOG NAMES AND MISSION STATEMENTS
- FREE BLOGGING PLATFORMS
- BLOG HOSTING
- BLOG SOFTWARE
- PERSONAL AND BUSINESS INVESTMENTS
- BUSINESS EXPENSES
- BLOG FINANCES
- BLOG TRAFFIC
- GIVING UP
For all of you preferred video learners out there, here is a quick video on this topic from our YouTube Channel below.
. For more free blogging tips and tricks from the experts, make sure to subscribe to our Youtube channel!
Most of what we have listed below are mistakes that we personally made and we’re passing them on to you so you know what NOT to do when starting a blog!
Do NOT choose a blog niche that you aren’t passionate about.
If you try to force something in your writing, it’s going to show.
Even worse than that, you will end up building a job for yourself…
Let me explain:
A long time ago, I tried to start a website called ptformom.com, which was all about fitness tips for mothers. It’s a great demographic that is highly profitable.
I am not passionate about fitness tips for moms.
Writing the first post was EXCRUCIATING, full of fluff, and crappy content nobody was going to get any real value from. That blog died off as quickly as it appeared because I had no passion for it!
The good news?
Almost any passion you have can be monetized with the right blog and the right plan!
There are literally thousands of blogs out there making money in all sorts of crazy niches. Selecting a blog niche is incredibly easy: just choose something you enjoy talking about.
A blog is just like having a long conversation with people, so it should make sense that the things you enjoy talking about will be closely related to your passion.
Do NOT spend days perfecting your blog name and mission statement.
There are lots of really cleverly named blogs out there with great mission statements that never make a dime. It’s true.
Just go on the hunt for a domain name, and you will find DOZENS of amazing blog names with websites that failed to make any money.
We were guilty of this as well. The name of our first blog that failed always brought a smile to our faces because we thought it was so clever, but it never made us any real money.
We also don’t have a mission statement on our popular blog at Avocadu.com, and it makes well over 10k per month.
Because we know now that the content you create will do all the talking for you.
You can say your mission is about “creating a thriving community of the best content for dog owners,” but if you promote shady products, people will see right through you. It also reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:
You don’t need a flowery “about me” page to impact people. If your intention is to truly create awesomeness that the world wants and needs, people will see that.
Do NOT get started on a free blogging site.
Nothing is a bigger signal that you’re a rookie blogger than a domain like http://jennyblogshere.bloggersblogworld.com.
I can understand that starting a blog for “free” sounds sexy, but there are no free lunches in this life.
Companies like that need to make money somehow, and you will either spend the money now or later on when your website grows.
More importantly, a free blog is…
- Will make for a terrible first impression to new blog visitors
- Not owned by you, so it can disappear overnight (like if the company gets sold, for instance)
- A waste of time when you’ll need your own website down the road anyway (to make REAL money).
- You are limited in how you can monetize your blog (this is a biggie!).
If you’d like to know a little more about the differences and why free blogs are a mistake if you want to take your blog biz seriously, see our article on WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org (free vs. self-hosted blogs).
Which brings me to my next point on our list of what not to do when starting a blog…
Do NOT buy a bad blog hosting package.
We were hosting with Siteground in the beginning because we didn’t know what we were doing. Over time, our website kept crashing due to large influxes of traffic coming from Pinterest.
When I went to resolve the issue, I was told to upgrade to a package that costs around $300+ per month. Eff. That. I knew about Bluehost so I gave them a call and asked about what they could do for me.
I got on the phone with a rep that was SUPER helpful, and he assured me that they could handle all of my problems and to sign up right away.
We got everything taken care of with Bluehost and had no more crashes…
Even better than that? We had a Pinterest pin go mega viral, driving over 90,000 views to our website IN ONE DAY no more than a week after setting everything up.
If we were still hosting with Siteground, our site would have crashed and it would have cost us literally THOUSANDS of dollars if we were still hosting with them.
I’m not a big believer in miracles, but hot damn that was lucky.
Because of this positive experience and others, we have partnered with Bluehost to get our followers and readers a special deal on hosting.
The best thing is that a domain + hosting + WordPress package only costs around $3-$5/month (paid up front). You can click this link to get started or get full step-by-step instructions on our blog post: How to Start A Successful Blog from Scratch.
Do NOT buy crazy expensive, all-inclusive software.
Infusionsoft – I am looking at you. I don’t want to get to far into it, but they basically stole about $1000 from me as a newbie blogger and refused to refund me.
It was without a doubt the worst experience I have ever had working with a company.
I even filed a complaint to the BBB, and it took Infusionsoft 4 months to respond to the claim. It’s been over a year since that experience, and I still have not forgotten how poorly they treated me. But there’s a more important point than just my bad experience:
It’s why I quit using them in the first place.
Infusionsoft and other “one-stop shops” for software are horrible for an online business and are the reason I left.
When a company tries to do everything, they end up becoming really mediocre at everything they do as the software progresses and needs to be updated.
For example, when I was using the software in 2015, Infusionsoft’s checkout pages were not even mobile responsive. I almost laughed when I learned this (probably cried a little too as I was paying $250/month for a software that was 3+ years past its time).
When looking for software for your blog/website, look for software/products that actually have a key focus.
ConvertKit does nothing but email, so they rock at it (cost is very small for a newbie blogger).
WordPress does nothing but be a platform for bloggers, so it’s fudging incredible (it’s FREE).
Do not buy these “one size fits all” complex software machines and if you do, for the love of god do NOT buy Infusionsoft.
Do NOT forget to invest in yourself and your business.
I have spent dozens of hours and hundreds of dollars investing in furthering my education and research into blogging.
Because knowledge is power, people!
One of the most influential things we did for our business was continuing our education and buying some of the latest programs.
We’re not just talking about straight business types of books and articles either.
Books like The Slight Edge go a LONG way towards helping you build better habits that you can apply towards your business AND your personal life.
Investing in ourselves has been incredibly important to the growth of our businesses.
- Products and Courses
- The RIGHT Software
Has helped us speed up through a lot of the pain new blogs and websites face. Please please please, remember to invest in yourself. You’re fudging worth it.
We create our blogging courses based on the knowledge that we wish we had when we were starting our blog and everything that has helped us get to the point we are at today (making over $100,000/month blogging)!
Do NOT mix business expenses with personal expenses on your credit card.
As you start investing in yourself and your business, tracking things can get a little messy. “
Was that Amazon purchase a book or those rad _____ I wanted???”
We’ve asked this question a bunch.
The good thing about having a blog is that you can write off all sorts of things. The bad thing about having a blog is it becomes easier to justify certain expenses.
I highly recommend you get separate cards for business and for pleasure!
Do NOT forget to keep diligent records of blog finances.
Lauren and I neglected this our first few months of blogging and ended up regretting it.
Charges and payments from 3 months ago will really escape your mind and will be hard to track down and consolidate later on.
At the beginning of every month, sit down with a spreadsheet and look at the numbers.
Ours is just a simple Excel spreadsheet with revenues and expenses broken out for each month, and then a tab for yearly earnings.
This helps us keep track of our growth, figure out where we can cut costs, and keep track of how much we owe in taxes.
Do NOT ignore the power of Pinterest for blog traffic.
Think of Pinterest and Blogging like peanut butter and jelly… Like milk and cookies… Wine and cheese…
Enough food talk. I’m getting hungry.
The point I am trying to emphasize is that if you’re not using Pinterest for your blog, you’re crazy.
We drive over 15,000 views a DAY from Pinterest alone.
Not a typo. That’s over 450,000 views a month!
There are some additional resources about Pinterest below, so check them out after you set up your blog.
Related Topics and Resources:
- 10 Pinterest Tips and Tricks for Beginners
- How to Drive 300k+ Views to Your Blog with Pinterest
- Pinterest for Business – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
And our ultimate resource for success on Pinterest: Pinterest Traffic Avalanche
DO NOT GIVE UP!
There were some trying times for us in the beginning.
Heck, there still are.
I remember a few nights in particular just feeling like I got my teeth kicked in by our blog only to wake up and do it all over again. Lauren and I both went through a lot of painful nights turning down invites from friends only to work on a blog that wasn’t making us a dime at the time.
While things sucked at times and we did what felt like millions of things wrong, we did one thing right.
We never gave up. No matter what, we just kept moving forward.
It doesn’t matter whether it takes 7 months or 7 years to find success, what matters is that you don’t give up until life gives you what you deserve.
Commit to yourself not to give up no matter how painful it gets!!!
Do NOT put off starting a blog any longer!
Many of you have been debating starting a blog for a while and haven’t made any real moves.
The time is now.
There will not be a perfect time, idea, moment, or day for you start. The sooner you give up those thoughts and DECIDE to make moves and create awesomeness, the faster success will come to you.
You can get started on your blog tonight by using our step-by-step guide here:
You’ll have a domain, hosting, blog, and theme set up less than an hour if you move quickly! Andddd if you set up your blog with us, you get a discount on hosting. It’s only $2.75/month with our exclusive deal for our readers!
So get started on your blog, and go create something awesome today!
If you liked this article on what NOT to do when starting a blog or have any questions for us, please leave them in the comments section below!
Co-Founder, Create and Go