I have officially completed my first year in blogging! I honestly can’t believe that the time has flown by so quickly. As I was reminiscing about what a crazy year of blogging it has been I started going through some of my very first blog posts (like this one) and had to laugh about some of the mistakes that I found. I am by no means saying that I am a perfect blogger at this point, I’ve still got a long way to go! However, I did realize and find many beginner mistakes that I made as a newbie blogger that I want to share with you so you can avoid commiting them!
Not having a great website to start off with
When I first created Part Time Tourists, I created a WordPress account and used a free template that they provided. I spent hours and hours of work designing all the pages, creating links, resizing texts & photos, etc. While this was such a great learning experience, it was quite time-consuming! I was then introduced to Showit, a website builder. While photographers are the ones that mainly use this platform, I decided to give it a test drive. I was so impressed with how quickly it took me to build a site that I was proud of. I am just using a free template that they provide and am loving the customer service help that I receive. If you are invested in building your brand, create a nice website that your audience loves to visit.
2. Worried about bothering people
I remember talking to Steve all the time that I was so nervous that I was going to bother people with my blog posts, photos that I posted, etc. I kept thinking that all my current friends were going to get tired of seeing my work and get upset by it. But you know what? I learned that if people liked what I was doing, they were going to follow along. If not, unfollow. And you know what? That’s okay!
Within my first couple weeks of blogging and posting on social media, I had a few friends that unfollowed my Instagram account. At first, I was a little sad/embarrassed that I might be pushing people away. I soon got over that and decided that I wasn’t going to take it personal! If people don’t want to follow along with your creative journey, it’s not because they don’t like YOU! It’s simply something that they are not interested in learning about what you’re promoting. Be you and those interested will enjoy your work.
3. Not starting accounts on other platforms
To begin, I only had my blog and my Instagram account. I didn’t want to create a Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, etc. account because of reason #2! Halfway through the year though I discovered that my website visitors were not growing and that it was extremely difficult to get new visitors to my page. I then decided to take the jump and create additional pages on other platforms. The extreme jump in traffic to my website was crazy! I quickly found out that I had not been taking advantage of my now two largest sources for referrals- Pinterest & Facebook! It’s like the old saying goes- don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Don’t only use one platform. Diversify to find new audiences.
4. Not understanding how social media works
I lived in Peru for a year and a half in my early 20’s and when I came back my sisters introduced me to Pinterest and Instagram. Mind blown. I was not savvy at all when it came to technology and social media but I created an account anyways. Looking back at my first couple of years of using those platforms I can honestly say I had no idea what I was doing. I accidentally would post the same picture multiple times a day, make my entire caption into a hashtag, and somehow would choose the worst filters for every photo! Yesh.
When I decided to start blogging I signed up for a course to teach me all about social media! Not just how to use it, but how to use it effectively as a business owner. I learned so much and credit a lot of those taught principles into the success that I’ve seen now. Learn everything you can about the platforms that you are going to use!
5. Not choosing a great brand name
This one is pretty explanatory. It is hard to change your name once you get going so do some time planning in advance! I originally started with “Wedding Bands & Travel Plans”. Although this is not the worst name out there, it’s extremely long as a username and doesn’t exactly flow. Within a week, I changed that name to Part Time Tourists. Shorter, and describes us a little better. Some days I will still think about changing my brand name (I focus on a lot on outdoor activities now so most times I am not a typical “tourist” ) to something that is a little more fitting. But alas, I like the name enough (and so not willing to put in all the work that goes into rebranding) not to change it! Moral of the story- pick a great name to begin with it.
Another tip is to keep your brand name evergreen. For example, I played around with using a name that had “newlyweds” or “couple” in it but realized at some point, we did want to have a family and would love to also bring the kids along on the trips. Avoid dates, current ages, the city that you live in, etc. Anything that can change. Keep it evergreen.
6. Not making Pinterest pins for blog posts
At the bottom of my blog posts, I create Pinterest optimized images that can easily be saved by readers. This is a fantastic way to attract new viewers and get them excited about reading your article. I create these images using Adobe Spark. If you don’t have an Adobe membership though, I recommend using the free version of Canva. It takes a few extra minutes but ensures that your article will be better marketed on Pinterest. You can check out my Pinterest board to see how Adobe Spark collages look!
7. Not enabling share buttons
When a viewer is totally jazzed about the article that they just read on your site, the first thing that they want to do is share it! Help them out a little by enabling the share buttons on your website! Each platform is different, but 99% of them allow you to have those precious buttons on your site. I enable the Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter share buttons but I know there are more than 50 to choose from. Pick the ones that you are most likely to engage with and make them available to your followers.
8. Not coming up with creative titles
This is one of my total *facepalm* moments where I created amazing articles and itineraries that were jammed pack with great information…and then put a boring title on it. WHAT?! If you go back through my somewhat recent past articles you’ll notice all the titles are simply the name of the place that we visited. Can’t get much more boring than that. If you are guilty of this too, read this guide! I am now committed to creating more engaging titles that entice viewers to read my articles.
9. Not checking out other blogs
Find bloggers that you look up to and check out how they are running their blog. I’m not stating that you should copy people. But finding inspiration from others that have been doing this for a while was a huge help to me. I started collecting bits and pieces of things that I liked from each blog that I visited and then, in the end, created a blog that I was really happy with!
10. Not enjoying the ride
I got caught up in wanting to make sure everything was “perfect” that at times, I lost track of the whole reason I was blogging! I absolutely love sharing travel tips and advice, helping people plan a perfect trip, working with a brand to show off their products, and collaborating with hotels to shine a spotlight on them. Not every aspect of blogging will be enjoyed. Just don’t lose sight of why you originally started. “Find joy in the journey!”- Thomas S. Monson
Hoping that by sharing these blogging mistakes that I made as a beginner will help you avoid committing them too!
Comment below if you made any other mistakes as a beginner blogger that were not covered. I would love to hear from you!
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