Crooked house as metaphor for blogging mistakes

Mistakes will happen.  Big ones.  Lots of them.

After 6 years doing this full time I still make mistakes all the time.  Some of them in my early days were bad.  These days they’re more nuanced, but still happen.

The idea for this post came to me because I’m testing new software for a couple of sites and find myself procrastinating; avoiding learning and using this software.

Why am I procrastinating?  I paid good money for it.

I’m avoiding using the software because I’m still learning it and fear making mistakes.  My mindset is all wrong.  I think I have to perfect it before using it.

The problem with that line of thinking is I’m not ever going to perfect it.  More to the point, I’m never going to get results unless I use it, make mistakes and learn from the mistakes and successes.

Learning and making mistakes with new software is just one obstacle we face.  But there are many more any aspiring blogger will face and needs to overcome (mistakes and all).

Common blogger obstacles and how to overcome them

The following are common obstacles that stop new and veteran bloggers from moving forward.

Niche selection:  Some people spend months choosing a niche.  It’s such a shame because by the time they choose something, they could have been up and running.  I’m not saying to choose the first thing that comes to mind, but there are more than enough niche lists and ideas online that surely you can pick one within a week.

Domain names selection:  I debated whether to include this as an obstacle.  This is an important step in the blogging process because it’s very difficult to change domain names.  I changed one once after a few months.  It was a hassle.  That said, you need not spend months thinking about this.  A few days is all that’s needed at most.  Kick around a few ideas and bounce them off friends and family … then make a decision.

Website design:  This kills me big time.  I see so many new bloggers waste endless weeks on blog design.  Here’s a money-in-the-bank tip.  Use a premium theme design as-is.  Do not waste time or money on a custom design when starting.  It doesn’t matter.  If you hit a few million monthly page views and want to invest in a custom design, go for it.  Before then, this is not something you should be wasting time or money on (except for the nominal cost of a premium theme).

Keyword research:  You will pick duds; keywords you thought were good but turned out not so good.  That’s fine. I built an entire niche site on poor keyword selection.  It delayed my organic search growth big time.  The good news was I had still picked a great niche; I just had to approach it differently.  I think this is the case with many niches.  It’s not the niche that’s the problem, it’s how you approach it.

Another problem that delays aspiring bloggers unnecessarily is trying to figure out every keyword in the niche.  This is an impossible task.  I’ve been in some niches for 4 to 6 years and still find new keywords to this day.  I’ll never figure them all out.

Here’s my keyword mindset:  Find 30 to 100 in batches and get it all published as fast as possible.  I don’t worry about the next batch.  I focus on the current batches confident more ideas will come to me.  I’ve yet to run out of ideas and it’s been years.

Writing:  You do not need to be a perfect writer to publish a successful niche site.  Seriously!!!  I’m not that great of a writer.  I’ve written millions of words and do just fine despite my writing being fraught with spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes and all kinds of other problems.  The key is communicating good and helpful ideas.  I’m not suggestion you publish gibberish or fluff; I’m saying it doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective.

Outsourcing:  The big fear here is hiring someone who isn’t very good or doesn’t work hard.  It’s a valid fear.  I’ve had to fire VAs.  I hate doing it, but some people take jobs and then don’t show up or do a terrible job.  These are costly mistakes but in the long run, hiring VA’s has helped me tremendously and saved me thousands of hours of work.  I can publish 3 to 7 articles per day (more on some days) because of VA’s and writing agencies.

Guest blogging:  The fear of rejection is valid because you will be rejected when trying to get guest posts published on other websites.  Don’t take it personally.  Instead, view it as a numbers game.  Understand that 10 pitches will maybe result in 3 successful guest posts.  Don’t let the real possibility of rejection hinder promotion progress.

That said, be sure to read a site’s guest posting requirements and follow them.  This will reduce the number of rejections.  I accept guest posts and it’s astonishing how many people don’t read my guidelines.  I ignore them.  The folks that I can tell read my guidelines almost always end up successfully publishing on my sites.

Social media:  Nobody does social media perfectly.  It’s a fickle trial and error process.  You’ll have winner posts and failures.  Probably a lot more failures than winners.  The few winners make it worth it though.  Do not get dejected if you’re not getting much traction.  It takes time and practice.  Experiment and track results.  When something works, do more of that.

Email marketing:  There’s nothing like receiving emails from subscribers telling you to go F%^K YOURSELF.  I get these here and there.  At first, I was astonished.  Now I know it’s just par for the course.  Don’t take these messages personally.  You can’t please all the people all the time.  In other words, having email subscribes tell you off is a badge of honor.  You now have so many subscribers that you can’t please them all.  As long as you’re getting the results you seek, keep doing it even if some people tell you off and unsubscribe.

You will also make dumb technical mistakes such as sending emails to thousands of people with broken links and other mistakes.  It’s a bit embarrassing, but it happens.  Don’t let it stop you from emailing your subscribers or building a list in the first place.

Another obstacle is worrying about whether an optin form will convert.  You have to test these things and try different incentives, designs, placements, etc.  It’s an ongoing process that never ends.  It can take a month or two to figure out what visitors will sign up for.  It can then take a few months to figure out what they want in an email newsletter.  Just do it and figure it out.  You’ll be glad you did in a year from now (and that year goes fast).

 

Areas Requiring Special Care

While there are few mistakes that are catastrophic, some can be.  Here are a few aspects of niche blogging that require special care.

AdSense

Read and understand the AdSense terms of service.  Once banned, it’s very difficult to get back into the program.  It’s by far the highest paying ad network so you want to protect your inclusion carefully.

Link Building

Unless you’re blasting links to a throw-away churn and burn site, take care when building links for SEO.  One or a few mistakes can kill a site.  I don’t do much of this, because the risks are too high, but I totally understand if it’s something you want / need to do.  In some niches link building is mandatory.

Spam and malware

In 2016 my biggest earning site was infested with malware.  It was a disaster.  I thought I had solved it but Google deindexed it anyway.  After 3 weeks of being deindexed, I got it back in the Google index.  Malware attacks and viruses can be site-killers.

While link building and thin content Google penalties are widely known and feared, you can also get deindexed if your site is infected that impacts visitors.  G

Copyright Infringement

I’m very careful about not infringing copyright.  If found guilty or even accused, it can be costly.  Just litigating such a charge can bankrupt a business.  This is something you want to be careful with including text, images, videos, etc.

The point

You will make mistakes and many of them in every sphere of building a niche blog.  I’ve made them all and I’m doing just fine.  I’ve made huge mistakes in fact… yet I’m still going.  Don’t let fear of mistakes hold you back.

1 COMMENT

  1. I can say I’m a newbie to blogging and it is hardly 14 months since I’m publishing content but I’m still learning and blogs Link building is indeed a critical part to be taken care of.
    It was a great read and I found some areas I need to correct with my blogs too!
    🙂
    Thanks!

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