When I first started blogging back in 2014, I barely knew what a blog was, never mind knowing what a plugin was or an email list. I had tons blogging fails and it's been a challenge to go back and correct them.
However, after over five years of blogging, I actually have a clue as to what I'm doing. So if you are just starting out on your blogging journey, know that everyone makes mistakes, here are my 5 biggest blogging fails. I hope you can learn from them, or at least get a laugh from them.
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When I first started blogging I didn't know any of this (even though I’m also an attorney), so if you're starting a blog then with the first few pages you need to create are your blog page, about page, and a legal page that includes disclosures.
Eventually my passion of law and blogging collided and I started focusing on it and I started speaking about legal issues bloggers face at conferences back in 2017 and continue to help bloggers figure out the legal stuff.
I started my first blog in August 2014, I didn't start an email list until May 2015. I waited over six months.
I know starting an email list when you are just starting out and you're pretty sure the only people reading are your friends and family may seem unnecessary. However, you don't want to miss out on being able to build your community and communicate with your tribe.
What made me finally start an email list? A course I took.
I learned a lot from that course and it was my first real investment into figuring out all this blogging stuff.
I didn't invest in another course or ebook to help me with social media for over a year after that. While I learned a lot from that first course, starting from negative five meant I had way more to learn.
Take the time to evaluate your weaknesses and gaps of knowledge and be willing to make smart investments to learn and move forward.
Right now I'm in what I think is the best blogging course I've ever taken. Once I finish it, I'll post a review of it and the other courses and resources I've taken/used.
I started my first site on WordPress and looped my computer savvy brother into the fact that I had done so, so he could help me figure shit out.
He would code stuff and I thought there is no way everyone with a website is coding stuff. That's when I discovered Plugins and the sky opened up and angels began to sing.
If you don't know, a plugin does the heavy lifting for you and most of them are free.
Want people to share your posts? Get a social share plugin.
Want to have a notification bar at the top of your website? There is a plugin for that.
Want to easily put in an opt-in form? There is a plugin that will do that for you.
It's a little embarrassing that I didn't know what a Plugin was when I started my first blog. Keep in mind that the plugins available will vary by what platform you use.
Writing blog posts, scheduling social media, content planning, following up with others, networking, and that is all just for my blog, never mind my freelancing business.
There are either tools or people such as a VA that you can outsource work to.
I know it is hard to pay money for something you could do yourself, but if you can earn more in that time and the tool (like Tailwind) or a VA can do it at least 80% as well then it's worth it to outsource.
Besides all of the blogging fails mentioned above, I've had some fantastic tech failures as well.
In early 2017, so more than two years after starting my blog, my new blog posts weren't showing up on my blog page.
I only discovered this when I was showing an update to my sidebar to my accountability buddy. She didn't see the update or my last 8 blog posts. Yikes!
Turns out my cache wasn't clearing. Fortunately the WordPress guru I reach out to when I have technical issues was able to figure it out and help me fix it very quickly.
It was just one simple thing I was trying to do. I thought I had the code down and had figured out where I needed to input the code. I put it in and managed to take down my entire site. #skills.
I had to reach out to my hosting provider to fix it, then I reached out the aforementioned WordPress guru to help me accomplish what I wanted to be done.
Everyone makes mistakes and even once you get a handle on everything, there will be something you aren't good at blogging-wise. For me, that is usually the technological side, but you can always find someone you can pay to help.
Don't stress if you don't know everything and don't try to know everything. If I can do this blogging thing, you can do this blogging thing too.
Elizabeth Stapleton is the founder and voice behind Less Debt More Wine and ElizabethStapleton.com. She is a Pinterest marketer, online entrepreneur, and recovering attorney whose writing has been featured on Entrepreneur.com, The Huffington Post, The Penny Hoarder, Budgets Are Sexy, Credit Sesame, and Magnify Money. Additionally, she has been quoted in articles on Business Insider, Student Loan Hero, and Nerd Wallet.
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