Let’s face it… everyone starts out as an amateur blogger. Nobody can jump in as a professional, having never blogged before, and just start nailing it from the get-go.
I don’t know a single blogger who says they had it all together from the start- we’ve all made mistakes, and we’ve all had to learn from them. I, for one, have made a TON of faux pas on my blogging journey (pretty much all the mistakes!).
However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that amateur bloggers can do to improve their craft. In fact, avoiding some common mistakes can make all the difference in whether your blog is successful or not.
And the good news is, making mistakes is the best way to learn. So if you’re just getting started on your blogging journey, don’t worry – you’re bound to make a few errors along the way.
My amateur blogging guide will show you how to avoid some of the most common mistakes bloggers make, so that you can learn from them and become a pro in no time!
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What makes amateur blogging different to professional blogging
Amateur bloggers are often drawn to the online world because they have something to say. They might be passionate about a cause, or they might just want to share their unique perspective with the world.
Whatever the reason, an amateur blogger typically writes from the heart.
They’re not necessarily concerned with things like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and while they yearn to earn money from their blog, they’re not aware of monetisation strategies yet.
They just want to get their thoughts down in writing and share them with whoever is interested.
Professional bloggers, on the other hand, are usually more concerned with building an audience and promoting their brand.
They tend to be more strategic in their approach, and they’re usually more focused on creating content that will generate income.
As a result, professional blogging can sometimes feel a bit cold and calculating compared to the more personal style of amateur blogging.
But at its best, professional blogging and amateur blogging can be powerful platforms for sharing ideas and connecting with people from all over the world.
Why should I start amateur blogging
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably always considered yourself a bit of a wordsmith. But you may not have realised that you could turn your passion for writing into something more. That’s where amateur blogging comes in.
While there are many benefits to professional blogging, there are also some advantages to amateur blogging.
For one thing, it’s a great way to improve your writing skills. Writing regularly can help you to hone your craft and become a better writer overall.
Amateur blogging can also be a great way to connect with like-minded people from all over the world. When you share your thoughts and experiences with other bloggers, you can create lasting relationships and even build a community of supporters.
Finally, amateur blogging can be a stepping stone to professional blogging. If you’re able to build a following and generate some more traffic to your blog, you may eventually be able to turn it into a full-time career.
Can you make money amateur blogging
These days, it seems like everyone and their mother is a blogger. Whether they’re sharing recipes, chronicling their latest travel adventures, or documenting their fashion haul, there’s no shortage of people eager to share their knowledge online.
But can you actually make money from all this amateur blogging?
The answer is a resounding….yes!
But it’s not going to happen overnight. And just as unlikely to happen within the first six months to a year.
While some bloggers have managed to parlay their online activity into a full-fledged career, for most people it remains a hobby blog or a small side hustle.
If you’re serious about making money from your blog, you’ll need to be willing to put in the time and effort to grow your audience, learn search engine optimisation (SEO) and develop a monetisation strategy.
Some of the best ways amateur bloggers make money to begin with is:
Advertising: this is probably the most common way that bloggers make money. You can sell ad space on your blog or join an advertising network like Google Adsense, Ezoic or Mediavine.
Affiliate marketing: this is where you promote other people’s products or services on your blog and earn a commission whenever someone makes a purchase. This can be a great way to monetise your blog if you have a loyal following who are interested in the products or services you recommend.
Sponsored posts: this is when brands pay you to write about their product or service on your blog. This can be a great way to earn some extra income, but it’s important to make sure that you’re only working with brands that are relevant to your niche and that you actually believe in.
Selling digital products: if you’re a trainer, you might be able to sell workout plans or e-books on your blog. If you’re a photographer, you might sell stock photos. If you’re a graphic designer, you might sell templates or fonts. The possibilities really are endless when it comes to selling digital products online.
While there’s no guarantee that you’ll make any money from your amateur blogging endeavors, it’s certainly possible to do so if you’re willing to put in the work. Who knows, you might even be able to turn it into a full-time career one day!
13 common amateur blogging mistakes
As mentioned earlier, amateur blogging can be a gateway to professional blogging. If you’re able to build a following and generate some traffic to your blog, you may eventually be able to turn it into a full-time career.
But before you can transition from amateur blogging to professional blogging and start making money from your blog, you need to avoid making these common mistakes most amateur bloggers make.
1. Not having a focus niche
When you’re just starting out, it’s tempting to try to write about everything under the sun. But if you want to attract the right audience, you need to focus on writing about one specific topic.
Your niche should be something you’re passionate about and that you have some knowledge or experience in. This way, you’ll be able to write informative and interesting blog posts that your readers will actually want to read.
To find your focus niche, you need to brainstorm.
First, write down a list of things you’re passionate about. It could be anything from travel to gardening to pets.
Next try to ‘niche down’ a little further. What this means is, instead of writing about travel in general, you might focus on budget travel or solo female travel.
If you’re struggling to niche down, try thinking about who your target audience is. For example, if you want to write about gardening, your target audience could be beginner gardeners or people who live in small apartments.
The best blogs are those that are niched down a lot. Going back to travel, and even solo female travel, perhaps you could concentrate on solo female travel throughout Asia.
If you want to write about gardening, perhaps you could focus on container gardening for people who live in small apartments.
As you can see, the narrower your focus, the easier it will be to target a specific audience. And once you’ve targeted a specific audience, it will be much easier to scale your blog.
Many amateur bloggers end up choosing the wrong niche as they haven’t brainstormed or done the research. Don’t let this be your first newbie bloggers mistake.
2. Thinking it’s a get rich quick process
If you’re here to find a ‘get rich quick’ scheme… get out!
The truth is, blogging takes a lot of time, effort and consistency before you start seeing any real results.
Don’t give up too soon just because you’re not making any money after a few months. It takes most bloggers at least 6-12 months to start seeing any consistent traffic or income from their blog. And ultimately, the majority of bloggers quit before they ever make it to the 12 month mark.
If you want to be a successful blogger, you need to be in it for the long haul. You need to be prepared to put in the time and effort required to grow your blog organically. And you need to have patience.
Most importantly, you need to think of your blog as a business if you want to progress from amateur blogging to professional blogging someday.
Dream sequence moment…
You start a coffee shop. After 3 months, you’re still not making a profit. Do you quit? You’ve already invested so much money and time into opening your coffee shop – of course you don’t!
In reality, most businesses don’t turn a profit in their first year, and blogging is no different. Luckily with blogging you don’t have the same overheads that you would with a coffee shop so you’re already in a better place to make it work.
3. Starting on free blogging platforms
When you’re just starting out, it’s tempting to start your blog on a free blogging platform like WordPress.com or Blogger.com.
The problem with free platforms is that you don’t own your content. This means that if the platform decides to delete your blog for any reason, you won’t have any way to get it back.
You also won’t be able to monetise your blog if you’re using a free platform. This means you won’t be able to make any money from your blog, no matter how much traffic you get.
If you’re serious about blogging, then you need to start off on the right foot by investing in self-hosted WordPress blog from the beginning. This will give you the freedom to do whatever you want with your blog, and you’ll be able to monetise it from day one.
How to start amateur blogging
To start off on the right foot, you need to make sure you sign up to a reliable web hosting platform. My go to is Greengeeks. This is the only platform I recommend for new bloggers, and here’s why:
- When you sign up with Greengeeks, you get a free domain name. Many other sites charge you a minimum of $15 for this.
- As a new blogger, you’re going to run into a few technical problems along the way. Greengeeks has 24/7 customer support so you can always get help when you need it. I have called them with the most simplest of queries to the most mind boggling and nothing ever seems to phase them.
- Greengeeks is also an eco-friendly hosting platform, which I feel is pretty important. Even if you’re not living a 100% sustainable life, it’s important to try and reduce your carbon footprint where you can.
- They have an uptime of 99.9%, which means your website will almost never go down, making them a reliable hosting platform.
- The best part is that it doesn’t cost the earth to go green with Greengeeks. In fact, it’s one of the most affordable hosting platforms available. Through my link, you can get started with Greengeeks for just $2.95/month.
- If you’re already with another blogging platform, they’ll migrate your site with no extra charge.
- They offer a 30 day ‘no questions asked’ money back guarantee, so if you’re not happy with the service, you can always get your money back (but, trust me, you will be).
For a step by step guide on how to choose a domain name, sign up to Greengeeks, how to download WordPress.org (the self-hosted version – free with Greengeeks) and how to set up your new blog, sign up to my 5 day email course: How to Start a Profitable Blog: The Right Way.
4. Spending too much time on design
When you’re first starting out, it’s easy to get caught up in making your blog look perfect. You want everything to be just right before you start sharing your content with the world.
The problem is, the longer you spend fiddling with the design, the less time you’re spending on actually writing content. And content is what’s going to make people want to come back to your blog again and again.
If you’re using WordPress, there are thousands of free themes available that you can use to make your blog look great. Once you’ve found a theme you like, stick with it for a while and don’t keep changing things up.
Having a clear brand identity will help you attract readers who are interested in the kind of content you’re writing. But your blog’s brand isn’t just about choosing pretty colours and fonts or the theme of your blog.
While you should spend some time creating a cohesive brand, you shouldn’t get too hung up on making everything look perfect. Just pick a few colours and fonts that you like and stick with them.
5. Producing inadequate content
Even an amateur blogger wants their content to be seen. But in order for your content to be seen, it needs to be good
If you’re churning out low-quality blog posts, people are going to click away from your site pretty quickly (that’s if they find your content in the first place). And if they don’t like what they see, they’re not likely to come back.
So how do you make sure your content is good enough to stand out in a sea of other blogs?
Here are a few tips:
- Write for your audience, not for yourself
- Keep your posts focused on one topic
- Make sure your posts are well-written and free of grammatical errors
- Use images, infographics and youtube videos to break up your text and make your posts more visually appealing
- Use helpful, actionable titles that accurately reflect the content of your post
- Ensure your posts are SEO optimised
If you want people to find your blog on Google and other search engines, you need to make sure it’s optimised for search engines. That means learning a bit about SEO (search engine optimisation) and doing keyword research.
Keyword research is the process of finding the right keywords to target in your content. When you know which keywords to target, you can optimise your blog posts around those keywords, making it more likely that people will find your content when they search for those terms on Google
There are a few different ways to do keyword research, but my favourite is using the Keysearch tool. It’s the most affordable keyword research tool I’ve found and it’s pretty easy to get the hang of.
SEO on the other hand takes some time to learn. But it’s worth it if you want people to find your blog in the search engines.
To get you started with SEO, I recommend watching Mike Futia of Stupid Simple SEO’s free one hour SEO masterclass.
6. Not setting your blog up legally
This is a mistake I see a lot of bloggers make. They don’t set up legal pages for their blog and then they end up in a world of trouble as they’re not protected.
How important is it to your blogging success to have legal pages set up from day one? Bottom line, it’s essential.
If you don’t have your legal pages set up, you’re putting yourself at risk of being sued. And if that happens, it could mean the end of your blog (not to mention the hefty legal fees you’ll have to pay).
So just what do you need to do to make sure your blog is legally protected?
The next thing you need to do is set up a disclaimer. This is a page where you let visitors know that the information on your blog is for informational purposes only and that they should not rely on it as legal, financial, medical advice, etc.
You should also have a terms and conditions page. This is where you let visitors know that they are responsible for their own actions should they decide to act on anything they read on your blog.
There are two ways to get these legal pages for your blog:
Hire a lawyer to draw the papers up for you (this is obviously the most expensive option).
They’re extremely user friendly and only take a few minutes to customise the templates for your own blog. The best thing is that they can be used over and over again if you start new blogs!
7. Using too many plugins
One of the biggest mistakes I see many bloggers make is using too many WordPress plugins.
WordPress plugins are great because they can add all sorts of functionality to your blog. But they can also slow down your site a lot.
As an an amateur blogger, you need to know how important page speed is when adding plugins to your site.
So how do you know if you’re using too many WordPress plugins?
A good rule of thumb is to only use the plugins that you absolutely need. If there’s a plugin that you’re not using, get rid of it, delete it.
Also, make sure to do your research before installing any plugins. Some plugins are known for slowing down WordPress sites. So it’s important to read reviews and find out what other people are saying about a plugin before you install it.
8. Spending too much time on Social Media
Social media is great for promoting your blog and driving traffic to your site. But if you’re spending too much time on social media, it can be a huge time suck.
If you’re spending all your time posting to social media, you won’t have time to actually work on your blog and create new content.
The key is to use social media strategically. You don’t need to be active on every single social media platform. Just choose the ones that make the most sense for your blog and your audience.
So how do you make sure you’re using social media in a way that’s effective, but not time-consuming?
Here are a few tips:
Don’t spend hours scrolling through your social media feeds. Set a timer for 15-30 minutes a day to respond to messages and interact with your followers and stick to it.
Focus on the social media platforms that are most effective for driving traffic to your blog. For example, if you’re a fashion blogger, Pinterest is probably going to be more effective for you than Twitter.
Doing these things will help you use social media in a way that’s effective, without spending hours on it every day.
9. Being scared to invest in blogging tools
Another blogging mistake I see is bloggers being afraid to invest in tools to make a successful blog.
Remember earlier we said that if you want to transform your amateur blog to a professional blog, you need to treat your blog as a business?
Well, businesses need to invest money to make money. And your blog is no different.
If you want to take your blog to the next level, you need to be willing to invest in it. That means investing in things like a web hosting plan, email marketing and a good keyword research tool to begin with.
Further down the line you’ll likely want to invest in some courses to scale your knowledge so you can earn more with your blog.
If I’m honest, I’ve spent too much money on courses in the past. I was a sucker for a good sales page and didn’t do research. I ended up buying a few duds.
So my advice to you is to do your research before investing in anything for your blog. If you’re thinking about buying a course, read reviews and see what other people are saying about it.
Some of the best courses I’ve taken to grow my blog are:
- Stupid Simple SEO (indepth SEO training)
- Affiliate Marketing Superstars (everything you need to start affiliate marketing)
- The She Approach to Making Pinterest Possible (the best course to get you
- The Email Marketing Fairy (not technically a course, but rather email templates – how to write full of personality, catchy emails and makes sales through your list)
I know it can be scary to spend money on your blog. But if you want to make money from your blog, you need to think of it as an investment.
And like any investment, there’s always a risk involved. But if you’re smart about it and you do your research, you can minimise that risk and make sure you’re investing in things that will.
10. Not diversifying your income streams
When I first started blogging, I had no idea you could make money from it. I was just doing it for fun. But then I started hearing about people who were making money from their blogs and I realised there was potential to earn an income from this hobby of mine.
The great thing about blogging is that there are so many ways to make money from it. You can sell products, offer services, run ads, do affiliate marketing and so much more.
The key is to diversify your income streams. Don’t just rely on one or two methods of making money from your blog. The more streams of income you have, the less risk you have of your blog not making any money at all.
So if you’re serious about making money from your blog, make sure you’re diversifying your income streams. That way, if one stream dries up, you’ve got others to fall back on.
11. Not starting an email list from the beginning
What’s an email list and why should you have one?
An email list is a list of email subscribers that you can contact whenever you want. It’s like your own personal audience that you can talk to any time you want – not in a spammy way of course!
And the reason why you should have one is because it’s one of the most effective ways to make money from your blog.
When you have an email list, you can sell products and services to your list, promote affiliate offers and so much more. You’re not limited to just making money from ads or a sponsored blog post when you have an email list.
The key is to start building your email list from the beginning. Don’t wait until you’re getting a decent amount of blog traffic before you start. The sooner you start, the sooner you can start making money from it.
12. Replicating others’ work
When you first start blogging, it’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. You see other bloggers writing about certain topics and you think, “I should write about that too!”
But the thing is, if you’re just replicating what others are doing, you’re not going to stand out.
If you want to be a successful blogger, you need to find your own voice and write about topics that you’re passionate and knowledgeable about.
Never, ever, copy the work of another blogger.
Not only is it plagiarism, but it’s just not going to help you in the long run. You’ll be called out for it and may even get reported to your web hosting company and have your blog taken down.
13. Forgetting to network
Networking is important in any industry, but it’s especially important in blogging.
When you network with other bloggers, you build relationships and friendships that can help you in the future.
For example, let’s say you meet another blogger at a conference and become friends. A few months down the line, that blogger writes a blog post about a topic that’s relevant to your blog. They could then link to your blog in their post, sending you more traffic and helping you to grow your audience.
Or let’s say you meet a blogger who’s in a similar niche to you but isn’t direct competition. You could collaborate with them on a project or guest blog post for each other’s blogs. This would help you to reach a new audience and grow your blog.
There are so many possibilities when it comes to networking, so make sure you’re doing it regularly. Attend blogging events, join Facebook groups and comment threads on Twitter – Twitter is my favourite place to meet other bloggers – do whatever you can to get yourself out there and meeting other bloggers.
Regularly commenting on other bloggers’ blogs is a great way to build relationships. Not only does it show that you’re active in the blogging community, but you can also start some great conversations with other bloggers this way.
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Final thoughts on common amateur blogging mistakes
As a beginner blogger, it’s easy to make mistakes. In fact, making mistakes is part of the learning process. But if you can avoid making the common mistakes that I’ve listed above, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful blogger.
I hope this amateur blogging guide has been helpful. If you have any questions or want to share your own tips, please leave a comment below.
If you want to start amateur blogging, sign up to my free 5 day email course for a step by step guide to setting up your blog the right way!