27 Dumbest Mistakes You Can Make as a Newbie Blogger

26 min read

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Dumbest mistakes you could make with your blog.

So, you’ve decided to start a blog.

You have big ideas and lofty goals.

You’re determined to save the world with your master storytelling, one lost case at a time.

And you’ll make a whole lot of money while at it, quit your job, and move to Bali where you’ll spend the rest of your life and be zen.

So you plunk down on a chair all serious and everything, maybe open up Wix because that’s what your second cousin recommended (hint: dumb mistake #4), and then start punching away on your keyboard, one blog post at a time.

Easy peasy!

And then, after a few weeks, or maybe after a couple of months, you start to realize that something is missing.

Something just isn’t right!

The money isn’t flowing in as fast as you thought it would.

You hardly have readers, except maybe your mom, and the few who seem to land on your blog by some chance do not seem to want to stick around.

The result?

Your determination falters and you lose all motivation. Maybe you even decide to up and quit!

Well, let’s fix that, shall we? Let me now introduce you to some of the most common mistakes you may be making on your new (or old) blog, and show you how to either mend them or avoid making them altogether.


Mistake #1: You’re not sure if you want to blog or not in the first place.

The first mistake a lot of bloggers make is that they start their blog halfheartedly. They want to test the waters first. They want to see what it feels like.

Now here’s the thing. There’s nothing wrong with testing the waters before you make your commitment, but the problem is when your expectations do not match your efforts.

For example, it’s OK to write a few blog posts to see whether or not you like writing or writing about certain topics, or maybe you just want to find out what you like writing about in the first place.

That’s OK.

But if you think you can make a business out of you testing whether or not you even like blogging then guess what? That’s not how you run a business. And yes, the moment you decide to make money with your blog, you’re venturing into a new business. Businesses need careful planning, a consistent effort towards growth, and a smart strategy laid out to go from where you are to where you want to be.

This may sound obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many people complain to me about not driving traffic or making any money when they haven’t put in the effort. One look at someone’s blog tells me whether or not they’ve done the work, or if they’re just playing at being a blogger.

If you’re just playing, you won’t succeed. Period.

There are other ways to test whether blogging is for you or not.

If you don’t know whether or not you want to blog at all, here’s what I suggest. Open an account on Medium and commit to publishing one or two articles every week. If you can continue that for two months and still enjoy writing, then I think it’s safe to assume that you’re made for blogging.

Mistake #2: You don’t know what your niche is.

Often new bloggers tell me that they’re interested in a lot of different topics and don’t know how to pick out just one of them. The result? Major confusion, both on the part of the blogger and the readers.

For example, if a reader lands on one of your blog posts about interior decoration on a budget, and that’s the only post in that niche while there are a bunch of other posts on various different and unrelated topics, chances are that you won’t come off as an authority to this reader.

Pick just one niche to start out.

Technically, having a multi-niche blog isn’t a bad idea in and of itself. But as a blogger, you’ll have to work extra hard if that is the case. If you want to grow quickly, a multi-niche blog will set you back unless you’re blogging full-time and posting every day of the week, often more than once a day.

Take the above scenario for example. Let’s say that the same blogger lands on your blog and while you have a whole array of unrelated topics, you also have a decent number of posts on the topic of interior design or design in a budget, as opposed to just one or two. As long as you give your readers enough content, they’ll see you as an authority.

The problem is that new bloggers often do not have the time to build their authority in multiple niches. Now, it’s a whole lot easier to prove your expertise in one niche than a whole bunch of niches. So, at the end of the day, it’s to your benefit that you choose one specific niche, and build up your authority on that niche before you decide to branch out. And yes, it’s fine if you want to branch out and include different types of topics down the road, but in the beginning phase of your blogging journey, having a specific niche will give you direction and momentum.

Mistake #3: You don’t know how you’ll monetize your blog.

If you don’t know how you’ll make money, then you won’t make any money.

Often new bloggers tell me that they have “thought about” adding some ads… if you’re a brand new blogger and your idea for making a thousand bucks a month is by running ads, then my dear friend, you haven’t done your due diligence and researched enough.

Ads are by far the worst possible earning model for brand new bloggers. Unless you have tens of thousands of visitors to your blog every month, your earning from ads won’t even buy you a decent dinner.

Ads are not the solution, especially for new bloggers with little to no traffic. But there are other ways, and you won’t know that unless you’ve done your research would you?

Figure out how you want to make money at the same time you decide on your niche.

When I started TSB, I decided on how I wanted to make money before I decided on my niche.

Yeah.

I’m not suggesting you do the same, but at the very least, I want you to figure out how you’ll make money at the same time you decide on your niche. For example: If you’re a lifestyle or a fashion blogger, you might want to monetize your blog with affiliate marketing and sponsored posts. But if you’re a fitness blogger, your goals may be to make money by selling eBooks or courses (and affiliate marketing as well?). Now, what if you were a blogger who wrote about gardening? Your earning model may very well look completely different based on your niche, and that’s why it’s important to know how you’re going to make money at the same time you finalize your niche.

Now, unless you’ve figured it out already, there’s one earning model that you can apply to more or less all kinds of niches; it’s called affiliate marketing.

So, if you don’t have a clue how you can make money from your niche yet, keep affiliate marketing in mind. That’d be the easiest way for any blogger to start making money even without a huge amount of blog traffic, provided you’re promoting the right products to the right people, and figuring that out will take some research on your end.

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Mistake #4: You’ve set up your blog with the free WordPress.com platform, or worse, with Wix! (And you do not have a custom domain.)

If you want to be a serious blogger who wants to make serious money, please, please, PLEASE! Do not start your blog with a free platform. And please, purchase a custom domain.

Nothing makes you look like a bigger rookie than a domain name that says:

yourawesomeblogger.wix.com

So yeah, that’s a no go.

Do what every other professional blogger does.

Typically, if everyone likes to zig, I like to zag. However, this is one of the few exceptions. Like every other serious, professional blogger, I only ever recommend self-hosted WordPress (also known as WordPress.org. Be advised, WordPress.com is NOT self-hosted and the two platforms are very different when it comes to features and functionalities. To be clear, you want the self-hosted .org platform, NOT the .com one.)

In fact, The Side Blogger is built on a self-hosted WordPress platform and I’m hosting it with SiteGround hosting company. They’re by far the most economical hosting company with the most bells and whistles.

And in case you were wondering, I purchased my domain from NameCheap.

If you need help setting up your blog with SiteGround and WordPress, read this tutorial.

Mistake #4.5: You have signed up for a paid plan of WordPress.com

Remember how I said that you need the WordPress.org and not .com?

So, guess what? WordPress.com has a paid version that has some additional features for a hefty price tag.

STAY AWAY FROM IT.

And if you’ve made the mistake of signing up for it, my condolences. Call them and see if you can cancel the plan and get a refund.

Again, you do NOT want .com (paid or not.) You want the self-hosted WordPress.org.

Mistake #5: You’re not collecting emails from day-1.

I get an email every few days wherein a future or recent blogger will be musing over what to do with an email list.

Not “how to” build an email list, but more like “what to do” with it.

You see, an email list is THE MOST IMPORTANT asset for a blogger. Here are a few reasons (out of many) why that is:

  • When you have a new blog post and you send out a newsletter to your subscribers with a link to it, they’ll be the first ones to click that link and check out your new post. This generates repeat traffic to your blog and Google sees that! It tells Google that you have useful content on your website, which helps with your standing with Google and eventual ranking.
  • Your email list is your community. Over time they’ll come to know you and trust your advice and judgment. In turn, they’ll be your biggest supporters.
  • When you have a new product out, your subscribers will be the first ones to buy from you. Not only that, they’ll likely also be the biggest group of people to buy from you. In short, your money is in your email list.

You see, my subscribers are my biggest source of inspiration as well as motivation. It’s also a big chunk of my blogging income source. Whenever I have a new product or a course, my email list is where I make the most sales. It’s through my email list that I can run an evergreen campaign for my membership portal.

Heck, if I need a couple of hundred bucks pronto, all I have to do is bundle up some of my templates from the shop and run a discount and voila, I have my funds in just hours!

Don’t overthink it; just do it.

I understand; it can be confusing when you’re just starting out. You don’t know what to use as an opt-in lead magnet, and you don’t know what to send to your list once people do sign up.

My advice is that don’t overthink it. You’re stressing over it likely because you’re a perfectionist. Just don’t.

You have all the time in the world to perfect that lead magnet. Chances are, you’ll have multiple lead magnets as you start to grow your blog. For now, when you’re just a beginner, your job is not to make things perfect, but to get it done. Think of all the blog posts you’ll be creating as you gear up to launch your blog, pick a topic and make a simple freebie out of it. It doesn’t have to be an eBook or a free course, just a simple checklist or a one or two-page mini-guide will suffice.

Sign up for an email marketing platform (I recommend ConvertKit), and start collecting emails as soon as possible. Here’s a ConvertKit tutorial if you need some help with setting things up.

If you need ideas for lead magnets or opt-in freebies, this post has some good ones.

Mistake #6: You’re obsessed with branding and the perfect blog design.

OK, I understand wanting to make your blog look fantastic. We all like pretty things, nothing’s wrong with that. The problem, however, is that often new bloggers spend way too much time than necessary to come up with the “perfect” branding.

As a new blogger, it’s not only unnecessary, it’s often a waste of time (and money).

Let me clarify.

You will, most definitely, not stick with your initial design and branding for the rest of your blogging life, I guarantee that. Heck, you may not even want to stick to your blog name for very long. So, spending forever and a fortune on a unique, custom blog design from the get-go isn’t going to do you any good. if you have the money, you might as well spend it on tools that will help you grow your blog, like a good hosting, a good email marketing platform, etc.

Pick something good, and roll with it.

It is important that you have a clean and user-friendly layout, but spending a fortune before you even start blogging isn’t necessary. Do that when you’ve blogged for a while and you have earned some money. Nothing’s wrong with taking your time and slowly perfecting your “brand” as you go.

Here’s what I suggest. If you’re DIY-ing your blog, use a good theme with lots of customization options that can grow with you. One of my personal favorites is the Astra theme with the Elementor (pro) page builder plugin (for the self-hosted WordPress platform). Both of these are high-quality and they can grow and scale with you as your blog grows.

Another good option is the Genesis platform, and there are a lot of well-coded, pre-made themes for that platform. Check out the StudioPress themes and the Restored 316 themes. They’re beautiful and high-quality.

Mistake #7: Your blog is not user-friendly

While you don’t want to spend too much time designing the perfect blog, there are a few things you must pay attention to. Your blog should be user-friendly. Make your readers’ experience on your blog nice and smooth, so they continue to come back to it.

Simple UX decisions will take you far.

Here’re some things you should take note of:

  • Have a primary navigation menu and list all essential pages that a reader may be looking for. Make sure to have an “About” and a “Contact” page.
  • Make sure your blog doesn’t take forever to load. Choose a great hosting company (I recommend SiteGround) for your self-hosted WordPress blog because often a bad hosting company is the main culprit for slow-loading blogs. Additionally, a good caching plugin can also help you speed up your website further.
  • Use a font (and font color) that doesn’t hurt your eyes. After all, you want people to read your posts. Make it easy to do so. (Pro-tip: almost black fonts are easier to read than true black. Use something like #333333 or #2a2a2a for your font color rather than #000000. Make the font big enough so your readers aren’t always squinting their eyes.)
  • Don’t go crazy with colors. When starting out, if you’re setting up your blog yourself and you’re not a web-designer, stick to basic colors. [Almost] black and white with one other color for accents. No need to be fancy unless you’re a savvy designer and have a good handle on color theory.

Mistake #8: You don’t format your blog posts.

Did you know that according to studies, the average median time people spend reading an article is only 37 seconds [NewsCred], and approximately 43% of readers only skim blog posts [HubSpot]?

The fact that many bloggers write blog posts like they write essays doesn’t help. When publishing, your platform dictates your format. So, if you’re not formatting your posts for online readers, you’ll be leaving your audience on the sidelines.

Make reading easy for your audience.

You need to write in a way that makes it easy for your readers to skim. And that means certain types of formatting. You want to make sure you’re giving your readers as much information as possible so that even when they skim your post, they still get the gist of the important points. Here are some basic tips which if you follow, will increase your posts’ readability in an instance!

  • Use headers and sub-headers to separate your post into sections.
  • Use bold text for the important parts. Do not overdo it; one or two sentences per section is enough.
  • Use shorter paragraphs that are easy to read and digest.

These simple but very important formatting techniques will allow your readers to get the most out of your blog posts in a short amount of time.

Here’s a post that outlines some essential formatting techniques for your blog posts.

Mistake #9: Your blogging is inconsistent.

This is one of the biggest and most common mistakes a newbie blogger tends to make. They don’t publish consistently. They may publish 4 blog posts in one go, and then not do anything for a whole month. Nothing kills your site traffic faster than inconsistent content.

Prioritize consistency and quality over frequency and quantity.

How often should you blog? That’s a question I get a lot from brand new bloggers. There’s no easy or correct answer to this.

I wish I could just give you a number, but it’s not that simple. One of my favorite digital marketing gurus of our generation, Neil Patel says you need to write a lot if you want to drive traffic to your blog. His advice is always backed by strong analytics, so it’s definitely true that the more you write the more traffic you’ll drive.

But then again, one of my favorite bloggers, Jon Morrow, says that’s a big mistake. Hammering away on your keyboard every single day by and of itself won’t mean suddenly your blog will be #1 in Google’s SERP (Search Engine Result Page).

You need to weigh in on a few things. How long does it take you to write a quality blog post? Are you sacrificing quality for quantity? Don’t! That’s suicide!

So, how often should you publish? As often as you can without sacrificing quality. If that means you can only publish one blog post a week, so be it.

But if you must insist, I suggest getting on a weekly schedule. Especially when you’re a brand new blogger, anything less than at least one post per week will be hard for you to gain traction with. Ideally, I’d suggest aiming for two or even three posts per week, but if you think you can’t maintain quality, then just one per week will suffice.

Mistake #10: You’re withholding the good stuff.

Maybe you’re planning to write an eBook and sell it on your blog. Or you’re thinking that if you share all your secrets, someone else will use them and you’ll lose out in the competition.

Classic examples of a flawed mindset.

First of all, people won’t buy from you unless they’re convinced that you have value to offer.

Second, your fear of competition will only backfire. Someone somewhere will figure out your secrets without you having told them, and they will share them with their audience. Result? Your readers will flock to your competitor because they’re offering more value.

If you’re competing, make it a competition of value.

Your competitor shared 10 points? You share 15.

Your competitor wrote a 1K-word post? You write 2K words.

That’s the kind of mindset you need to succeed as a blogger.

To be successful, you need to prove yourself to your audience first and only then can you expect them to convert–sign up for your email list or buy your products. You prove yourself by giving them as much value as possible. Sure, you cannot share 100 pages worth of eBook content in a single blog post, and that’s fine. But give them as much as you can within reason and capacity. Give them the absolute best of those 100 pages!

Mistake #11: You’re a little too eager to make money.

Like I said before, people only give you money when you’ve proven your worth. You need to give and give and give before they give you. If all you’re doing is selling on every single blog post and email newsletter, people will soon get tired of you and instead of buying from you, they’ll just find another blogger.

It’s not true just for new bloggers, but for veteran bloggers too. There are some big-name bloggers who still do this. Instead of giving value, each of their newsletters is full of some form of a sales pitch.

Please don’t be that blogger. You will sell, you have to, you must! You cannot sustain your blog if you don’t sell. But in the spirit of selling, you must not forget that first and foremost, your readers expect value from you.

Find a balance between sharing and selling.

I had to learn it the hard way, but you need to be subtle about your selling. Before you ask for money, you’ll need to prove to your audience that you’re worth every penny and more than what you’re asking for. That takes time and effort. Be patient, and focus on providing value first.

Pay attention to how often you’re sending a sales pitch vs. a regular, informative email. Don’t lose your balance on that. You do not want to over-sell, but you also do not want to undersell. Find the balance that keeps your readers satisfied, and your bank account happy.

Mistake #12: You’re losing sleep over SEO.

This is a bit of a pet-peeve. If you’re a brand new blogger, you have no business losing sleep over SEO.

Wanna know a secret? NOBODY knows exactly how Google’s algorithm really works. It’s so complex that even the engineers at Google don’t know exactly how pages are ranked.

Sure, there are great resources out there and if you practice certain things, you’ll start to rank over time. But SEO isn’t that simple. And the digital marketers who actually do know a thing or two have had YEARS of experience, and the seasoned SEOs typically work with big companies.

You’re not a big company (if you are, you’re reading the wrong blog!) So worrying over SEO isn’t going to get you anywhere.

Focus on writing for your readers, not for search engine bots.

What you should be worrying about instead is writing great content that people find value in. Learn to write great headlines that people want to click and share. Learn to write your posts in a way that people can’t stop reading. Spend your time doing those instead of trying to understand how Google ranks your page.

After you’ve got all of these down pat, you can start thinking about SEO, but until then, focus on the quality of your blog and other ways to drive traffic to your blog. (Hint: Pinterest is great for new bloggers to drive traffic.)

There are a number of things that you can do to not only help with your SEO but also to enhance user experience of your blog. You can read about these on-page SEO practices here. However, aside from those, stop worrying over things like keywords and such for now, and practice writing for real human beings instead.

Mistake #13: You’re on … EVERYTHING.

This may not apply to all, but most newbie bloggers are side-bloggers like myself. And us side-bloggers do not have that much time. We need to be extra careful about how and where we allocate our time.

Growing and promoting your blog is essential but if you’re trying to do that by being on 125 social media platforms all at once, you’re setting yourself up to go to burnout factory real fast.

Pick one platform and win it big!

STOP! Do not try to conquer all the social media platforms at once. It’s mighty difficult even as a full-time blogger, but for a side-blogger to want to do it all at the same time is like suicide.

Focus on building up one platform first. When you have a few thousand followers and a good amount of engagement from that one platform, then you can start thinking about getting on another platform.

Mistake #14: Your writing is all about you.

A good blogger knows what’s important. The audience. If you’re only writing to satisfy yourself, you’re not going to last long.

Here are some examples of real people making thee dumb mistakes:

  • One blogger had no formatting to speak of. They had long-form paragraphs and their posts sounded like a long excerpt from a textbook. When I mentioned formatting, they dismissed me saying that’s not “real” writing. In short, they didn’t care to make their posts readable, they only wanted to satisfy their own ego.
  •  Another blogger was writing about all the wrong topics. They were not bad topics, but from a reader’s point of view, they weren’t exciting enough. Here’s the thing. When you blog, you create products (think of your posts as products in this scenario) for others to consume. So, when you create products that nobody wants and even after pointing that out you refuse to heed the advice, then you have no right to complain.
  • Somebody else had the wrong approach to blogging. Instead of focusing on their readers’ pain points, they focused on how great they are, what they can do, and all that. They were all about the blogger… “me me me me me.” This just doesn’t work.

Prioritize your audience’s needs.

It’s your blog, and I get it, you want to write about what you want to write about.

However, if you’re blogging to make money, then you have a customer, and unless you make something your customer wants, you won’t be able to sell, will you?

Here’s the things, if you’re always concerned about you and what you want to do, you may luck out, but you may also not. You have to pay attention to what your customers (in this case your readers) want from you.

That’s not to say that you can’t ever write about what you want. The trick is to find the sweet spot in the ven diagram of what you want and what your audience wants; it’s the region where both circles coincide, where what you want matches what your audience wants. Find as many such topics as you can and both you and your readers will be sufficiently happy.

Ven diagram showing where writer's intent and readers' anticipation coincides.

Mistake #15: You treat your blog posts like academic essays.

A lot of bloggers lack creative writing training and the only writing they know is what they learned in English Composition class.

In other words, boring and essay-like academic writing.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to read a good essay any day! But a blog post is not an essay. A blog is a genre onto itself, don’t take it lightly.

Show some personality.

Blogging has its own style. The closest comparison would be with a blend of creative writing with copywriting. Readers like to relate to bloggers. So, obviously, essay-style blog posts do not help with that. You need to be personable, relatable, and you can only do that if you infuse your personality in your writing. Here are some tips:

  • Tell a story.
  • Use a lot of “I” and “You” so that it sounds like you’re having a conversation with your readers.
  • Use contractions to make your writing more informal. (A contraction is a word that’s a combination of two words. For example, instead of saying “I am” say “I’m”, instead of writing “that is”, write “that’s”, write “don’t” instead of “do not”, etc.)

Mistake #16: You’re busy trying to show off.

You know what will definitely, a hundred percent, have your readers running away from you?

If you make them pull out a dictionary in the middle of reading your blog posts.

Or, if you make a joke that lands flat or worse, doesn’t land at all.

Be safe than sorry.

Bad jokes are bad, but so is cleverness. Using difficult words may make you feel smart, but as far as blog posts are concerned, you’re better off using the plain tongue.

I’m not saying you should compromise the quality of your writing. Nor should you compromise your personal style and quirkiness. Just make sure not to isolate the vast majority of your readers.

I’ll explain with a couple of examples from my own experiences:

1. I often say things like “hey guys” or “c’mon dude”. That’s my personal quirkiness. By “guys” or “dudes”, I’m not addressing men, but the general population that consists of my readers. In fact, over 85% of my readers are women! So, of course, I’m not addressing the less than 15% of men in my posts. I’m addressing everyone here, men, women, non-binary alike. And I’m not the least apologetic about my choice of words. But I once had an angry reader email me saying she was not a “guy”, and that I’m a condescending person. Now, am I alienating a couple of people by using the words “guys” or “dudes”? Maybe, but it’s not the vast majority, so I’m cool with that.

However, even though only 15% (less than, in fact) of my readers are men, I’ll never ever address my readers as girls or women.

2. Here’s an excerpt from an actual comment I once received in one of my Medium posts:

“This is all sage advice, and yet we should all remember that a little orthodoxy, as the saying goes, can be a dangerous thing and obscure or camouflage the real problems a sentence may have. An example of why worrying about adverbs, adjectives, participles, and verbals or nounal phrases might not be warranted? Take a look at the prose of anthropologist Clifford Geertz or historian Diarmaid MacCulloch. While I hew to what the writer here wisely advises, neither of these writers worries about adverbs and their prose does not suffer for the lack of it. In Geertz’s case, his prose leads the reader into a dizzying and annoying labyrinth of thick descriptions, cultural criticism, and theoretical propositions. While there is affectation in his work, present in my mind to a very irritating degree of intensity, the sentences are shot through also with such sublime wit they are worth twisting your brain to follow the sinuous grammar.”

I believe I don’t need to point out the obvious flaw in the above excerpt. I mean, goodness! Please make sure your blog posts do not sound like that for God’s sake. I mean, sure, go ahead and use words and phrases like “hew” and “affectation” and “sublime wit” and “sinuous”, just make sure not to use them all together in one paragraph.

People don’t like to read much in the first place, don’t make it worse by making your prose hard to read. This ain’t literature!

Mistake #17: You’re failing to engage your readers.

Do not end it all with your blog post, because once your readers leave, they’re not coming back!

At least, most of them aren’t, unless you’re actively making sure that they do.

Ask them for their engagement.

Readers come back to your blog when you engage with them. Invite them to share their thoughts on the post with you. Ask them a question relevant to the blog post — something that requires them to put some thought into answering it. Ask them to take a certain action.

When a reader leaves a comment, craft a thoughtful response to it. Don’t just end it with a simple “thank you” (although sometimes that’s unavoidable, make sure to leave a thoughtful response to a thoughtful comment.) If they ask a question, take the time to write a response and provide value in your comments whenever possible.

Mistake #18: You’re Not Using an Opt-in Form in Your Blog Posts

To piggyback on mistake #17, one of the best ways to ask your readers to engage with you is by asking them to join your email list. I get almost a third of my daily new subscribers from opt-in forms that I have on my blog posts. If you’re not utilizing this method, you’re letting go of precious subscribers!

Always make sure to have an email opt-in form within your blog posts.

Even if you have an email opt-in form on your home page or on your sidebar, you should always add an opt-in form inside your blog posts. Let’s say a reader loves your content and they want to sign up for your email list. Then that form is right there for them to subscribe.

Thing is, you have to make it easy for others to take action. Do not count on your readers to hunt down your email opt-in form. Put it right there for them to use, Make it as easy as possible. If not, you’re letting go of potential subscribers just like that. Don’t! That email list is precious, and you need to be vigilant when it comes to growing this list. Much more so than growing your followers on social media.

Mistake #19: All of your focus is on creating content.

It’s 2020 and yet some bloggers still think that if you just create content, people will come to you.

Nope! Not gonna happen!

Promoting is half the work.

Writing quality blog posts is a must. BUT! You also need to get eyeballs on your awesome blog posts. How do you do that?!

You need to promote your posts. Whether on social media, or Pinterest (preferably Pinterest for potentially more traffic than any other platform), or blogging groups, whichever platform you’ve chosen to focus on, you need to go all out on that platform and make sure you’re able to drive traffic to your blog.

Mistake #20: There’s no way for your readers to share your awesome posts.

Your readers are lazy. Yep. We’re all lazy readers. That’s a universal truth. You, me, us all. Unless you make it way too obvious and easy to take a certain action, rest assured, we won’t take that action. There’s no way I’m gonna go out of my way to share your awesome blog post unless that share button is right there dangling in front of me, begging me to click it or tap it.

Make it easy for your readers to share your content.

If you want your readers to take certain actions, you have to make it easy for them to do so. You want your readers to share your posts? Then make sure it’s easy to do that! Add a social sharing plugin and make sure people can share without having to dig through your site for a way to do so.

For example, on this blog, I have social sharing buttons floated on the left (or at the bottom, based on your screen resolution), and I also have these share buttons at the beginning and at the end of a blog post. Having these buttons on multiple locations increases the chance of someone sharing it.

Mistake #21: You’re not utilizing internal links.

Again, we’re lazy and we’re forgetful on top of that. If you want your readers to remember you or stay on your blog longer, no matter what you want your readers to do, unless you’re intentionally enforcing the action (that you want from your readers), it’s just not gonna happen. For example, if you want your readers to stay on your blog longer, you have to do something about it. Because most readers will just skim your post and leave right away. So, what can you do to keep them on your blog longer?

Sprinkle internal links whenever it’s relevant.

Want people to stay on your blog? Give them something to do. Add internal links (links that take your readers to another piece of content within your blog.)

But more importantly, it’s for the benefit of your readers. If you’re writing about a topic and think another post will complement the particular topic you’re writing about, then share it! It will not only help your readers, but it will also lower your bounce rate, and the average time a user spends on your site will increase.

(Pro tip: When adding internal links, do not write “click here”, instead, write a meaningful phrase, such as: Learn more about ‘How to Do XYZ’ — the section within quotes being the hyperlinked text.)

Mistake #22: You don’t have shareable images.

People like to share things that are pretty and worthwhile. You may have a blog post worthy of the Pulitzer prize, but nobody will share it unless you’re making a pretty blog image.

Sad, I know, but it’s the truth. On the flip side, you could be writing a mediocre post (try not to though) but have amazing blog graphics, and that’ll get way more shares. Lesson? Create graphics for your blog that makes people want to share your posts.

Create at least one graphic that people can share on social media or Pinterest.

Pinterest is big in the blogging society, so ideally, you should have at least one pinnable image for all of your blog posts. And by pinnable image, I mean, a vertical image at least of 2:3 aspect ratio but not more than 1:2 aspect ratio, with the blog post title on the image, nice and bold. Add your blog’s URL on that image as well.

Additionally, I suggest having another image that people can share on Facebook or Twitter. Pinterest graphics are vertical and tall, so they often get cut off by most social media platforms. So, having a square or a horizontal blog graphic can also increase your chances of being shared across multiple platforms.

Mistake #23: You don’t have long-form blog posts.

Ideally, a blog post should be as long as it needs to be.

That said, long-form blog posts are always preferred over short ones because longer posts tend to be more value-packed.

So, when I say a long-form post, please know that I’m not suggesting you take a short post and add filler redundancies to make it long. That’ll tank your post faster than you can blink. (OK, not really, but you get my point.)

Write in-depth and valuable content every single time.

If 50% of your posts tend to be over a thousand words, you should be good to go. Try not to go below 600 words. If you’re wondering how to make a post longer, don’t ramble on, just keep adding [real] value until you have a decent-sized blog post. I’m not saying you have to write a mini-eBook every time like I tend to do (good heavens! Look at this post!!!), but try not to write too many posts that are below 1000 words.

Mistake #24: Your topics are too broad.

Often new bloggers are too scared to focus on a small group of people. The problem is, they don’t understand that a small group of laser-focused audience is way more desirable than a large group of unenthusiastic and unimpressed readers.

Don’t be afraid to niche down even within a single blog post.

Your blog posts should be specific. For example, compare the following two topics.

The first one is: How to use social media to get clients as a fitness coach.

The second one is: How to use Instagram to get clients as a fitness coach.

The first is a broad topic and likely, you’ll be sharing small chunks of advice about using social media–some advice on using Facebook, some on using Twitter, some on using Instagram. The result? Your readers don’t learn a whole lot, and they come out of your blog without the wow factor, or without taking any specific action. The bottom line is, a post like that doesn’t really teach anything of value and is not worth coming back to.

However, the second topic is very specific and you can share a whole bunch of information on using Instagram to book clients specifically for fitness coaches. These are going to be very specific instructions and tips and directions, and the post will be a much more actionable.

You may have narrowed down your targeted readers by doing so, but it’s much better to have 50 readers who read your post top to bottom, heed your advice, and take certain actions such as sign up for your newsletter or buy your products, than to have 500 people read the first few lines and then leave your blog without taking any further action, and then promptly forget about you and your blog.

Mistake #25: You’re not editing your posts.

I’m guilty of this. You’ve probably already found a ton of mistakes in this post. Even though I use Grammarly and other tools, somehow or other I always manage to miss a few spelling and punctuations.

After writing thousands of words, sometimes I just don’t want to bother editing the entire piece. The editing process bores me to death.

It’s bad, don’t be like me.

Read and re-read your posts before publishing and trim down as much as possible.

Writing is an art. If it sucks, people won’t read. You want readers? Make sure your blog posts are not full of silly mistakes and overall well written in a way that captivates readers–enough for them to want to come back to your blog and read more. Too many mistakes will hinder that process.

Use Grammarly. It’s a good tool to catch common errors. I use the Grammarly Premium version because I like how it catches repeated words or words that are too common, and even suggests alternatives. Even if you don’t want the premium version, the free version is still better than nothing.

I also like the Hemingway App for catching overused adverbs and passive sentences.

Mistake #26: You’re excluding people.

This is somewhat subjective. For example, if you’re a mom blogger, and you’re writing about breast pumps, then yes, the ones reading your post are likely all women with little kiddos or women about to give birth.

But in most other cases, you should never exclude a whole gender or non-binary folks. Write for both male and female readers even if your target audience avatar is a male between 25 and 45 years of age. If a topic can be applied to either gender (or non-binary), use appropriate words. I suggest using they/them over using he/him or she/her.

Mistake #27: You’re Bored

This can happen. Maybe you’ve blogged for a few weeks and you’re starting to get bored. The problem is, if you’re bored, your writing will also be boring, and as a result, your readers will be bored too. The worst thing you can do when you’re bored is continuing to write boring things. You don’t want to do that to your blog.

If boredom hits, it’s best to take a break. Take a week off. Go ahead, do it! I know I said you need to be consistent and be on a weekly schedule, but if you’re bored and you don’t do something about it, your blog’s quality will only get worse and worse.

You may lose a little bit of traffic during your break, but that’s better than writing boring blog posts that neither satisfies you nor your readers.

Boredom is a sign of a depleted soul devoid of creative energy. When this happens, the best thing to do is to try and replenish the lost energy. Do something different, have some fun, read a book, enjoy nature, or whatever else fills you up with inspiration. Go ahead, do what you need to do to get back on track.

We all need a good old break every now and then to avoid burn-out. No shame in that.


So, how about it? Are you making any of these mistakes? If so, STOP! Take a hard look at how you’re approaching your blog and course-correct when necessary.

Also, if you’re making any of these mistakes or if you have questions regarding any of the pointers here, feel free to leave a comment and address your concern. Share your journey with me and the other readers so that we may all benefit from your experiences.

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Dumbest mistakes you could make with your blog.

A list of 27 dumbest mistakes that make a new blogger look like an incompetent fool, drive eaders away, and set the blogger in the course of failure.A list of 27 dumbest mistakes almost all newbie bloggers make when they're first starting out. Read today so you can avoid these at any cost.A list of 27 dumbest mistakes that newbie bloggers often make, to help YOU stay away from making them yourself! - The Side Blogger #bloggingmistakes #blogging #bloggingtips #blogger #blog

31 thoughts on “27 Dumbest Mistakes You Can Make as a Newbie Blogger”
  1. Yes!! Maliha, thanks so much for these. #26 definitely hits home for me as a non-binary person. I really appreciate it when people use gender-neutral terms. “People who write” instead of “women who write” or the like. Makes me feel like I belong 🙂

    – syd

  2. Great tips. I am a new blogger, and after reading this, it definitely gave me some insight on what to improve with my blogging efforts so far. Thank you!

  3. Hi Maliha. Thank you so much for this post. I hardly ever comment or engage with authors, but definitely should do this more. I enjoyed your tips a lot and will surely use them to better my blogging experience this year.

  4. Thanks for the information! You have given me a lot to think about and I’m excited to start using it on my blog.

  5. This is one of the most helpful blog posts I have come across in a while. You have some real actionable stuff. Thank you ❤️

    1. Wow! I really needed this. I too am experimenting with blogging and I didn’t even consider most of these tips. I appreciate the helpful content and will be putting these to use. I am currently trying to connect with new bloggers and am curious how long you’ve been blogging?

      1. Hi Timara, thanks for the kind words. I’ve been blogging for, I believe, over a decade at least. But I only started blogging seriously about a year ago. TSB is going to be 1-year old in just a few days 🙂

  6. Great advice – food for though for sure! I need to go back and check I’m writing for my audience (not just talking about myself) and also consider the guys who might be reading. I hadn’t considered writing for men and women – thanks for this!

  7. Just the post I need as I would like to bring my blog to life in the next month. Like Heather, I also get so carried away with the look. I just need something simple without a lot of bells and whistles. I really do need to check into your launching checklist. Thanks for the great blog Maliha!

    1. Hi Donna, Thanks a bunch for your kind words; I’m glad this post was helpful to you. Here’s how I see it — Good design is important, but good design isn’t necessarily complex design. Simple is often more effective. There are great Genesis based themes that are great looking right out of the box. Feel free to check out the Resources page for some of my recommended blog themes.

  8. This is full of great advice and tips. I’m spending too much time reading about SEO, and it is counterproductive. No longer! I’ll do what you suggested and just write.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Allison Marks

    1. SEO can be a rabbit hole. As great as it is, I do not recommend new bloggers to spend a whole lot of time with this. Some things are good to know, such as what are metadata? What are long-form keywords? Some basic understanding of how to search for keywords with Google’s keyword planner will come in handy. But don’t worry too much about it. Instead learn more about writing awesome blog post titles, amazing introductions, and then pick a social media platform or Pinterest, and then learn that platform so you’re able to drive traffic even without having to implement SEO.

      In any case, the hardest part is starting, and you’ve already done that, so congrats! And good luck!

      Also, thanks for reading and commenting, appreciate it.

  9. Thank you for all the valuable information, I too like Heather have made some of these mistakes. I just put in an opt-in form for my blog.

    1. Hey Chelsey, thanks for the kind words! The good thing about some (I’d say most) of these “mistakes” is that they’re easily fixable, and none are bad enough to bring the world to its demise. So what if you didn’t have an opt-in form from day 1? You have it now! And that’s all that matters. My hope for sharing this information is that if you’re making some of these mistakes, you’ll catch yourself, and change course as needed 🙂 Good luck!

  10. These are some good ideas, and a few I’m guilty of. I’m in the process of launching, but I’m obsessed with the homepage design. I need to let go and let flow!

    1. Oh, I hear you! I’ve had my share of obsessions! Just start something as long as it doesn’t suck! You can always tweak things as you go.

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