Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Oh, the blogging world. It can be a tricky minefield of complicated relationships, unrealistic expectations and technical faux pas. That's why I'm sharing a short list of "new blogger mistakes" - things that I wish I had known as a new blogger, as well as some faux pas that I often see bloggers making. Read up and don't make me tell you "I told you so." ;-)
Promoting too early.
I'm a big fan of sending messages to let people know that you have started a blog! What you shouldn't do, however, is send this email when you haven't posted anything on your blog yet. You should have at least one month's worth of posts before you start pushing your page. I personally started my blog with 20 outfits on day one, so that I could start marketing on day one (classic overachiever). But please don't send out your blog with no content! We have no idea what you plan to post until you actually show us.
Stepping on other blogger's toes.
Besides the obvious (don't use someone's photo without giving credit, etc.) I also have to strongly caution you against using another blogger's blog or Facebook page as a method of promoting your own blog. I specify in my Comment Policy that I will remove any of these promotions from my Facebook page, but people do it all the time. It's simply not the appropriate time or place to promote your blog. Either email the blogger privately to let them know about your blog, or use Facebook as your page to make a thoughtful comment, but please don't spam another blogger's page.
Doing what everyone else is doing.
Know how I came up with my blog? I did hours of research on what was already out there, and then I did the exact opposite of what everyone else was doing. Most people, I think, switch it around - they emulate whatever blog they like the best. I can't stress enough that not "doing you" is never going to work, and you will burn out quickly if you are trying to tell someone else's story. Try to find what makes you unique, and what you are good at, and blog that instead of emulating another style you liked or what is working for someone else.
"If you build it, they will come" only works in movies about baseball. To some extent, if your content is amazing enough it will catch on and you won't have to do much marketing. But for the most part you need to put yourself out there, or you won't ever have visitors your blog. (Look for my post on marketing your blog coming soon!)
Not learning the technical stuff.
Ugh, I hate technical stuff. But now that I know it, I really wish I had known it sooner. Things like installing Disqus, setting up Google Analytics, and affiliate programs - I waited a year to learn most of these things and really wish I hadn't. Find a techie friend to help if you can, or visit my friend Katy Widrick's blog for some tips.
Not being ready for criticism.
It breaks my heart when someone tells me they wanted to start a fashion blog, but decided not to because of the criticism they might face. It breaks my heart, and it also couldn't be more true. The internet is full of trolls. If you put yourself out there, be ready to deal with criticism. No matter how good your content is (or how amazing your outfits are), you can never please everyone. It gets easier as you grow, but blogging is not for the faint of heart.
Thinking it will make you tons of money.
Like anything in life, you get out of it whatever you put into it. You might be able to create a blog that supports you full-time, but not without working full-time first. Gary Vaynerchuk video blogged for something like 7 years before he made any money. I worked for 40-60 hours a week for a year and wasn't making a dime yet. It can pay off in the end, but it is certainly not easy or a great "get rich quick" scheme.
Running out of steam.
You will likely have a million ideas for your blog at first. To help you be consistent with your posts down the road, I recommend saving some of them! I used to be a posting machine when I first started and would sit down and crank out 10 posts at one time. Life gets busy though, so I highly recommend having some ammo saved for days when you run out of time.
Comparing yourself to others.
Whatever you do, don't focus on someone else's success. Oprah says her team used to bring her the ratings of other talk shows when she first started and she wouldn't even look at them. Going along with what I said in #3, you should be doing something different from anyone else, which means that your numbers and your "success story" shouldn't look like anyone else's either. Just do the best you can, and don't worry about other blogs.
This applies to all avenues in life, but burning bridges is all too easy in the blogging world. I have experienced both sides of this phenomenon - I've burned bridges when I shouldn't have, and I've also had some very popular bloggers be total b-words to me when I first started out. You never know who is going to be successful, and who you might want to work with down the road. So be nice to everyone. Nice always wins.
What are your top tips for new bloggers? Tips you wish you knew when starting out?