Blogging is fun even when done casually. If you do not plan on making money, then you can be a bit more lax on trying to “get everything right” when you start. Whether you blog for fun or money, we all know that no one is perfect and we are bound to make mistakes that we will have to correct later. The important part is to actively monitor your blog whenever you can and address issues right away to lessen any negative impact. In this article, I show you some common mistakes when it comes to blogging.
Not Setting Up Google Search Console and Google Analytics on Day One
This could be one of the biggest mistakes to make when starting your blog. You absolutely need to set up your Google tracking as soon as you launch. The reason why is because without tracking, there is no way to know what is going on with your website. I mean you can always use the tracking that both your web hosting and online tools provide. However, they are just estimates and in my opinion, not as accurate as those from Google. We are trying to rank on Google afterall. So does it not make sense that we should use Google’s own tracking?
If you wait, nothing serious actually happens. Especially when you think about how long it takes for a new blog to actually gain traffic. If you wait too long though, you have already missed several days or even months of tracking that could have been used to see what is going on with your blog. Without any Google tracking, your blog will be blind because you will not be able to see any user activity on it.
Some people might just start blogging and not even be aware about Google traffic tracking. So this is why I placed this at the top of the article because you need all of the help that you can get when it comes to getting your blog known and found. Without the tracking, you will have to guess if your blog is actually going anywhere or not.
Choosing a Slow WordPress Theme From the Get Go
Having everything properly set up at the beginning of your blog saves the trouble of having to make major changes later. Of course, you know that I am a big advocate of WordPress. It would only make sense for me to talk about getting the best WordPress theme out there, GeneratePress. I really like GeneratePress because it is simple, fast and uses the Gutenberg block editor. No complaints here when your speed scores are in the 90s for both desktop and mobile.
Just Choose GeneratePress and Start Blogging
I used to check the page speed scores for every single article that I published. Now that I know the articles will have high page scores every time, I do not need to do that anymore. I trust that GeneratePress will do its job and keep my articles fast and speedy. Here is the thing. The last thing that you want is a slow theme that will hurt your chances of ranking. Also, such a simple website like a blog does not need to have that many fancy features anyway. We can appreciate the greatness in simplicity.
What happens if you choose a slow theme at the beginning of your blogging journey? Let us take a look at that in the next section. I will discuss some common pitfalls of choosing the wrong WordPress theme.
The Pain of Dealing With and Switching Out From a Slow WordPress Theme
There are a couple parts to this section. The first part is what happens if you have a slow theme. The second part is what happens if you try to swap a slow theme for a better one.
What Happens If You Use a Slow Theme?
The main problem with a slow theme is that there can be so many issues that are slowing your blog down. When you run a page speed test on Google Pagespeed Insights, you will get a list of speed issues with your pages. The more speed issues you have, the longer the laundry list is. Depending on how slow your theme is, you might have a longer list than you want to deal with.
Also consider that your WordPress plugins might cause speed issues too. You really have to scrutinize the list and decipher what the speed report is trying to tell you. This report can be very technical and is definitely not for someone who just wants to write articles on WordPress. So you should really save yourself the headache and choose a fast WordPress in the first place.
If you would like to learn more about some common speed issues from that report and how to resolve them, I have an article on how to speed up a slow website. Again, there is a lot of technical stuff in that article which is why I mentioned that you should really avoid the mistake of choosing a slow WordPress just because it looks pretty. I will say this as a web developer. The prettier and fancier the website, the more CSS and JS there is.
Pretty Fancy Websites Usually Have Lots of CSS and JS That Cause Slow Down
We all like pretty websites that are fun to use. They have a lot of nice colors and you can interact with them. You have to remember that all of that glitter and gold comes at a price. In this case, a pretty steep price when rankings are involved. This is why I highly recommend that you set realistic expectations when it comes to functionality versus speed. Do you want a website that has a lot of spiffy features or something simple and fast? You need to compromise because you cannot have both without major time consuming optimization.
Page speed optimization is a very long, lengthy and on-going process that never ends. So it is much better to just avoid that situation altogether than having to deal with it. That is why I said some WordPress themes can be painful to deal with if they start off as slow. Then as you build your blog with plugins, things can become even slower and then you wish you had chosen a faster theme.
Can I Just Switch To a Faster WordPress Themes?
Now that you have regrets over choosing that theme, you might consider switching to another theme. How easy it is to just switch over to another theme really depends on how customized your current theme is. The more customized your current theme is, the harder it will be to switch to a new theme without your blog looking completely different.
This becomes very complicated as just switching themes without any preparation is just a recipe for disaster. I really mean it. Switching themes is a pretty major change in WordPress. At the very least, you should have backups ready incase something horribly goes wrong. If something does go wrong or look off with the new theme, then hopefully you can just switch back to your previous theme without much trouble. No guarantees though, every website is different and not every website responds to changes equally. Remember this, this is very important to know.
Sacrificing your theme in order to gain speed can be worth it if you are willing to “start over”. It really depends on how much of your customization is tied to the theme and not plugins. Plugins will carry over between themes. Theme customizations are tied to each theme so you will have to transfer those modifications over to a new theme if you want your new theme to look as much as your previous theme.
Not Knowing What To Blog About or Running Out of Steam Early
Another mistake that is made is we are so eager and zealous to set up a new blog but we do not even know what we are going to write about yet. Have we even chosen a topic to write about? You can write about your favorite hobby or profession. Just make sure to pick something that you can write a lot about and will give value to your readers. Make it fun also, even if you are writing about a very technical topic.
Know What Topics You Will Write About
Before you start with your blog, plan out what topic you want and at the very least get some good article topics going. You should really start with a set of related topics that can be used to internally link to each other. This will help you get your links up early and tell Google how your articles are related to each other.
This will also prevent your blog from just sitting around for long periods of time with no new content. Not the ideal situation if you are being serious about getting traffic. If you are casual then breaks are fine, but not at the beginning. The start is where you really need to hit the ground running and build up some steam. Take breaks once you have your blog routine up with some articles first.
Letting Your Blog Sit Too Long Without Any New Content
The problem with letting your blog stagnate for too long is that the search engines will think that you stopped writing. Having to go through writer’s block is probably a top concern for many bloggers. We try really hard to come out with fresh new content without repeating what we said in another article. I understand, it is not easy because you want to publish something good without writing for the sake of pushing stuff out there.
The Fear of Running Out of Steam Early is Scary
Hitting a writing wall early is scary and is the mistake of choosing a topic that sounded good at the beginning but loses steam later on. We really do not know how long a topic can last for a blog. That all depends on how specific your topic is and how much you know about it. Research goes a long way but even then research takes time. Research takes time away from writing and causes delay in publishing new articles.
This can be said for an activity that diverts us from writing. This is why I say that when it comes to blogging, you will spend the majority of your time writing. I mean, this is what we are here for, to write and share our thoughts, opinions, experiences and knowledge with the world. So if you cannot keep that up at a reasonable pace, we start to panic and question the topic that we chose.
So spend some time really thinking about the topic that you really want to do. You can only do a small pivot as long as it does not stray too far away from your topic. If you do go too far away, then you will have to tie the two distant topics together somehow.
Need To Switch Topics? How to Change Between Topics That Are Completely Unrelated
For example, you started talking about food and then all of sudden you want to switch to sports because you no longer have anything to write about food. So now you want to go from food to sports. Those two topics on their own are not related. You will have to tie them together and bridge the gap. This means writing articles about food and sports. So naturally you can talk about the kinds of food that are served at sports parties. I still do not suggest that you make such a large pivot because your blog will be all over the place.
I am suggesting though, that if you choose to do so, you have to be ready for the impact that such a switch will have on your blog and rankings. Your readers who were used to reading about food are now reading about sports. Your audience will diversify because your food articles are still there. Just now that you will have sports ones along with them.
Not Checking Your Email and Comments Daily
Checking your correspondence is critical because you do not when someone will message you about your blog. You might even get an opportunity to receive backlinks or learn more about your niche from someone else. If you neglect your users, then you might miss opportunities that might go to someone else. Remember, if you do not take what is given to you, then it will be given to someone else. So make sure to check your message regularly.
Respond to People Quickly
Also make sure to respond right away to inquiries because it might be something that can help your blog grow. This is where things get fun with blogging because it is a great feeling when someone finds your blog and likes it enough to actually reach out to you. The more that this happens, the more that you know that you are putting quality content out there that people are not only reading, but also responding to.
There are a lot of common blogging mistakes that you can make when you first start blogging. I just took some common mistakes that I feel will hurt your blog if you ignore and neglect them for too long. This is definitely one of those articles that I will probably have to update with more mistakes in the future as I think of other stuff to talk about.
Let us recap what I talk about here in this article. Never launch a website without proper Google tracking. You need this, seriously. You will not know what direction to take your blog with website traffic.
Choosing the right WordPress theme from the beginning will save you the trouble of having to change it later. Make sure that when you are deciding on your theme for the first time, that you run page speed score tests against it. GeneratePress gets your score in the 90s so settle for nothing less than that. Heavy theme customization can make it hard to switch over to a faster theme if you do not like your current slow one. However, if you are willing to tackle speed issues that can take hours to resolve, then maybe you can just optimize your current theme instead of switching it out.
Choosing the right topic to blog about is hard. You really need to sit down and have a list of article topics and even articles ready to go on launch day. You should also feel confident that you have enough content to write about on your blog before you hit writer’s block and run out of steam. The last thing that you want to do is switch topics and then have to bridge the two distant topics together.
Whatever mistakes you make with your blog, know that nothing is perfect. No one gets everything right on their first time. Everything is trial and error. This is how successful is built, from falling down and getting back up.