Since I wrote Rockstar Blogging last fall and launched my Blogger Coaching services, I’ve learned a lot about the pain points many bloggers have when they launch their blogs. When I started my blog two years ago, there was less information out there for newbie bloggers, but now, there’s almost too much information, and additionally, too many blogs to compete with! I love helping bloggers sift through all of it and find quick, actionable steps to take out some of the overwhelm that comes with trying to grow your blog.
I’ve gotten a plethora of emails from bloggers who wonder why their blog isn’t making the money they see other blogs making, or their social media reach and readership hasn’t grown the way they’d like. Whether you’ve been blogging for 3 weeks or 3 years, if your blog isn’t where you’d want it to be with monetization, brand collaborations or social media reach- chances are you, you could be guilty of one or more of these blunders that will kill your blog’s success. Don’t worry, even I have been guilty of several of these blunders as I grew my blog! 😉
Let me be the first to say, I was SO guilty of this. It took me a year, (yes a whole year!) to invest in a professional designer and work with a coach to help get me through the blogging slump I stuck myself in. I couldn’t understand why I had to spend money on a blog- until I had the painful epiphany that even if my content was awesome- on a first impression basis, my blog, with it’s ugly free layout, was scaring people away with how boring it was.
Do you know how many blogs are started every day? Estimates are in the 100,000’s. If you don’t invest in your blog with a beautiful, unique layout that includes a logo and interesting tagline and really get serious about what you’re offering readers to make them fall in love with your blog, you’re already sunk. Think of how many blogs you read and never come back to, why? Chances are they didn’t capture your interest on a first impression basis.
It is key to invest time and yes, money, into your blog’s success. It is not enough to hope you’ll be “discovered” as the next big thing. Bloggers that are successful have a plan and make sure that within seconds people have reasons to fall in love with their blog and come back with a beautiful layout, strategic message and the necessary components to make it stand out from in an over saturated online space. If you use a free layout on a free blogging service and free everything- you’re just like everyone else that started blogging 13 seconds ago. Sad, but true. Spend the time and money to develop your unique selling point!
It’s overwhelming when you first start a blog, to figure out how to set up your social media accounts. One thing you need to do- if nothing else, is to be consistent and be easy to find. For my blog, I set up all of my accounts to be @frugalbeautiful. You can use your personal name if you wish, but one of the biggest mistakes is to use your name when it makes no sense- like @myname44482 when it’s not easy to remember, and not easy to connect with. Are your social media accounts stupid obvious to find? If not, you might consider switching over. See this article on switching your Twitter handle.
Additionally, when people load your social media pages, do they look like they’re connected to your blog? Do you have a background or avatar that matches your blog’s look/feel or incorporates your logo? Do you include your URL in an easy to find place on all of your profiles? Do you share all of your posts (without being obnoxious) on your social media accounts so people can find it? Don’t assume that people will track you down, click your profile on Twitter and read your latest posts. Updates come a million a minute in Twitter feeds- your followers will not remember to check in.
Many new bloggers undersell themselves simply because they’re new. An advertiser will find them, (hooray!) and offer them a free $5 product if they’ll put together a blog post review for the brand. Awesome right? Nope. You’ll never make it big if you nickel and dime yourself with projects that don’t pay. Think of how long it takes you to put a post together with pictures, videos and all the time it takes to promote. Are you working for less than you’re worth, or worse, nothing at all? Many bloggers eat up promises for “better projects later,” or promises of “cross promotion,” and devalue their blog by working for less than they’re worth..or nothing at all.
Admittedly, I sometimes take projects for less than my going rate-but only if a brand really resonates with me or it’s a good cause, I’ll make exceptions. But, here’s where I differ: I still articulate how much value my blog provides and how much time it takes me to produce a post. I know exactly what my blog is worth for a brand in backlinks, brand awareness, exposure and potential sales. A brand won’t respect your worth if you don’t even know it! Promoting brands not only takes your precious time (which time is money), but you are giving them a lot of advertising value by exposing their message to your readership- make sure it’s a triple win and everyone is valued fairly.
When you start blogging, you’ll see there’s a lot of offers for bloggers out there- sometimes, offers even find you. You’ll get “freelancers” emailing you, brands that want you to be an “ambassador,” and sites you’ve never heard of that want you to install a widget on your blog that promises to get you tons of free traffic. Bloggers even get asked to take free guest posts or write guest posts, on the false premise that working with that brand will launch their blogging career, though it never does. You’ll start to get emails from the most random people looking for favors- while it’s good to be courteous, don’t be gullible…they wouldn’t be asking you for a favor unless they were getting paid for it.
It’s hard to know what opportunities to take and which are scams- but if you are being asked to post things on your site for free, be wary. You can get penalized by Google if you post links to questionable sites, but more often than not, you’ll find that you’re putting your credibility on the line for absolutely nothing worthwhile. I sadly even feel for a few “freelancers,” and “journalists” that were actually just link farmers getting hundreds of dollars to dupe me into posting their “guest posts,” on my blog- full of questionable links I didn’t catch. Luckily, I got wise.
As a heads up, most bloggers charge a fee for guest posts from websites or “freelancers” they don’t know. Feel free to take guest posts from bloggers you know personally, but do not link to anyone- in your posts or in your sidebar, that you cannot vouch for. People profit off bloggers who build links for them without payment!
Google Adsense will make you pennies if your traffic is horrible. Is it worth annoying potential readers if you put in a TON of ads and affiliate links that make no sense for your blog? I’d say not. Many bloggers are desperate to make money, or they see that other bloggers are making “tons” with ads and affiliate sales and launch their ads prematurely and obnoxiously by plastering whatever will pay all over the blog.
I have ads on my blog- I think all bloggers should, but if you’re making less than $20 on Adsense a month and you have 3 banner ads and some affiliate banners all over, is it really worth crowding up your blog? Do not post anything that isn’t helpful to your readers or helping you pay the bills. Ads are a great way to make money- but use ads with finesse and class. Don’t try to pitch your readers on every post just to make a 5% cut of products you sell if it won’t actually help them. People can see right through you- monetize with respect to not only your blog’s worth, but the worth of your readership.
If you want to start or jumpstart your blog to earn more income, grow your readership and work with major brands, I offer competitive pricing and a “kick butt guarantee,” that will help you earn your coaching costs back within 30 days!
All new coaching clients will receive a $54 value bonus in February & March- A Gold Version of Rockstar Blogging & a free sidebar ad on Frugal Beautiful!