Mistakes I Made As a Blogger Early On

Copy of let's go summer!

Not choosing a niche at first and then believing my niche wouldn’t be enough

Despite all the advice I could find early on when I started blogging, I decided to make my blog very generalized. I think ‘lifestyle’ was the closest niche it came to. At first, my stats soared because I could pump out a lot of posts on various topics. But I quickly realized that I didn’t have a strong audience that returned to my blog. I didn’t have a Twitter community to join. Eventually, I wised up and bought into the book blogger community, which was a good choice because it’s an active community and something that I’ve always been interested in. However, I still fought worries that my niche wasn’t enough. Sure enough, my stats dropped, but the positive side was that my engagement on social media and my blog improved. 

Lesson Learned: Picking a niche you are passionate about helps keep you engaged in the long run and helps build a more-invested group of readers.

Waiting too long to brand my blog and stick with a logo

Before Whiskers and Ink was Whiskers and Ink, it was called Stumbly. While blogs and goals change over time, I wish I had been able to foresee the consequences of rebranding. It was a lot of design work, but I also had to update all of my social feeds, delete posts that had nothing to do with my new niche, change my domain name, and hope my old readers kept up with the change. The rebranding was the right choice in the end, but I think a blog that brands itself correctly from the beginning will have an easier time of it.

Lesson Learned: Think strategically about how you want to brand your blog before you get started. Come up with a logo, color scheme, catchy name, etc. 

Investing in email marketing when I really didn’t give a damn

Sending emails to your followers has a place and time, but it’s really only worth it if you’re willing to give it a lot of time and effort. I was not gung-ho about it, but I still went through the motions because I felt pressure from the community to try it out. After limping along for a while, I finally wised up and dropped email marketing.

Lesson Learned: Only spend time doing marketing activities you actually want to keep up with and see results from. No use spending time on something that doesn’t work for you!

Committing to an unsustainable number of posts a week

When I first started, I got it in my head that one post a week wasn’t enough and I should do a post every other day! I did this for a few weeks before I got severely burned out. I didn’t want to blog, or plan, or anything. My content was Buzzfeedy crap and I began to lose my love of blogging. Nowadays, I aim for one post a week, with an occasional Tuesday Book or ARC Review. It’s been easier to keep up with and lets me plan quality posts for my readers.

Lesson Learned: Come up with a posting schedule that works for you, and don’t overcommit when you get started!

Every blogger has a different experience and maybe some of the things that didn’t work for me will work for you just fine! But I hope that my experiences might help lend some guidance so you can start off on the right foot. 🙂

What blogging lesson do you wish you had learned earlier? What do you think new bloggers should know when they get started??

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6 Comments

  1. November 30, 2019 / 1:06 pm

    These are absolutely good lessons you’ve learned! I’ve learned that strategizing is important and not just work hard but work smart instead. I’m blogging as a hobby right now without a niche and the results definitely shows (not really in a good way) so thank you for sharing your experience, I truly appreciate it! (:

    Shuana
    howivebeen.com

    • Cailin
      Author
      December 3, 2019 / 12:32 pm

      I’m happy to hear you got something out of my experience! Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. November 30, 2019 / 1:16 pm

    “Come up with a posting schedule that works for you, and don’t overcommit when you get started!”

    i think this is the biggest thing. Thinking you can post 10 times a week won’t magically and immediately get you a bazillion followers. What it will give you is instant burn out.

    You’ve got to be brutally honest about how much and what kind of content you can kick out in a week. The actual answer to that question doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have answered it honestly.

    Over the years that I’ve been blogging, the amount of quality content I can create has changed drastically. the blog survived because I was OK with those changes.

    • Cailin
      Author
      December 3, 2019 / 12:33 pm

      Yes, it is so important to be honest with yourself and accept that your blogging habits might change over time. Mine certainly did! Thanks for reading!

  3. Emily Ann
    November 30, 2019 / 7:01 pm

    These are such great ideas! I’m still kind of a niche-less blogger, though I do cover lifestyle, mental health, Harry Potter, etc. It’s just so hard for me to pick just one and not feel boxed in! And you’re right about the branding. I went through a lot of names before I picked mine and I’m glad I finally picked one, because now I can keep my brand consistent and recognizable. And yes to the scheduling and not pushing yourself! Blogging should be fun and you should never force it. I feel like my readers can tell when I force a blog post, which is why I only post once a week and really dedicate myself to that one post instead of stretching myself too thin. I wish I had had your advice when I first started blogging! It would have saved me a lot of hurt 😉 Plus I love your blog name and header! Too cute!

    Emily | https://www.thatweirdgirllife.com

    • Cailin
      Author
      December 3, 2019 / 12:35 pm

      I’m glad sharing my experience has helped! It’s such a learning process but if you love it, it’s worth it. And thanks, I wanted my blog name to be quirky and different 🙂

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