Have you ever heard the saying – You don’t know how much you don’t know?
To be honest, I’m not even sure that’s a real saying.
I might have made that up. Anyway.. It appies here.
I had no idea how much I didn’t know when I first started blogging.
I just wanted to “make some extra money”. I thought I could do that just by getting a blog up and writing about things that I thought people would find interesting or useful.
Let’s just say that didn’t work.
I got my blog up, I wrote some posts I thought were good anddd.. Crickets.
Fast forward to today and I had no idea it was possible to make it to the point where blogging is a FULL TIME, WORK WHENEVER YOU WANT, JOB!
If only I could go back in time and teach myself what’s wrong with all the the mistakes I made back then and get to the money making part faster.
Unfortunately for me, I can’t do that.
Fortunately for you, I can tell you how to avoid all those mistakes!
1. Not know the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
Let’s start at the way, way beginning. All I knew was that “Wordpress” was the go-to thing to use if you wanted to start a blog.
So I Googled WordPress and I found… WordPress.com.
I had no idea there was a difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
WordPress.com is a service that will host your blog for you – at a price, a monthly price that goes up as you want to do more with your blog.
Want your own domain name? That will be an upgrade.
Want to monetize your blog? Oh, that will also be an upgrade.
WordPress.org is a platform you can install on your self-hosted site. It’s free and give you complete and absolute control over your site and anything you want to do with it.
Had I known this, I would have made a ton more being able to monetize my site sooner and I would have saved all the work it took to eventually migrate from my crappy WordPress.com site to a self-hosted version.
2. Not Creating Goal Driven Content
Starting out, I had a “If you build it, they will come” mentality.
I thought just getting my blog up and writing about stuff I was interested in meant people would just somehow, show up.
But I launched my blog, I wrote some (what I thought) were great posts and you know what I got? Crickets.
I had no idea there was a whole strategy behind content creation.
I didn’t understand the importance of knowing, understanding, and writing for your audience.
I could have saved a ton of time writing those crappy posts.
3. Not having a lead magnet.
The thing about this one is, if you would have told me years ago that I should have a lead magnet, my response would have been, “What’s a lead magnet?”
For those of you who are currently where I was just a few years ago, a lead magnet is what attracts people to join your mailing list.
You might have noticed one as you were reading this. My free 5 Day Blogging 101 Course is technically a lead magnet.
It’s a valuable item that I offer to you in exchange for getting your email address.
I guess the cats out of the bag now!
4. What’s a Mailing List
Yea, so that would have been my next question.. Why would I want my readers’ emails?
Well, as a blogger, your mailing list is the most valuable thing you own.
Cherish it, take care of it, never abuse it.
I’m exaggerating, but seriously.
The emails on your list are your audience aka what makes or breaks a blog.
Create a lead magnet and start collecting emails as soon as possible, even if you don’t send them anything right away.
5. Picking the wrong niche.
The first blog I ever started was about home decor, pets, and DIY projects.
There was no theme really. The theme was just things I like.. And that’s not a theme.
Just like everything else with blogging, there’s a winning strategy and if you want to create a blog that’s not just for fun, but one that succeeds as a business, you’ll want to follow that winning strategy.
6. Not having a monetization plan.
I didn’t know how people were making so much money blogging, I just knew I wanted in on it.
I figured if I built my site, I would eventually figure out how to make money off of it.
That was true, I did eventually figure it out, but geeze did I waste a lot of time form not having a plan upfront.
I didn’t understand how to make money with ads (not just a dollar or two, but real money), I didn’t understand what affiliate marketing was, making a product or service seemed way out of my league.
Here’s a tip though – none of those are that difficult. It helps significantly if you have a plan on how you want to monetize your and then you can plan your site around that.
7. Not optimizing for ads.
Until you have a solid following and a great product to sell, ads will probably be the first source of revenue your blog generates for you.
The first ad network I got accepted to was Google AdSense. I was so excited!
My first week I made $0.58. No, that’s not a typo.
It took me way too long to figure out the strategy for making hundreds and then THOUSANDS a month with ads.