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My Biggest Blogging Mistakes

observing blog numbers whathannahwrote

I’ve been blogging as whathannahwrote since November 2016. It wasn’t all that long ago, but I feel like there’s been so many changes since then! Since I went self-hosted and monetised the blog last month, I’ve had a few people ask for tips and it’s kind of surprised me because I legit have no idea what I’m doing. Like, I’m genuinely just clicking things and hoping for the best. While I don’t have any expert advice to dish out, I did have a little think about the blogging mistakes I feel I’ve carried out in the past. Either use them as guidance to avoid making them too, or do exactly the same (not recommended) and we’ll see where it leads us together!

 

Not researching services

I first started my blog on Blogger. This was mostly due to the fact that I’d previously had blogs on there, and so it was easier to understand. But as I began to make more effort with it, I soon realised that I was pretty limited in what I could do. Obviously exploring it more would have shown me that I had other options, but back then I wasn’t willing to spend money on creating a website. I was quite disenchanted with the idea of blogging due to the fact that I wasn’t happy with my design at all. I then decided to jump ship and move to WordPress, which I felt allowed me much more flexibility. Since then, I’ve come across SO many pretty Blogger websites, which I didn’t think was possible at the time. Doing much more reading into the different publishing services available to me would have saved me a lot of faffing around!

 

Writing for the sake of writing

I don’t like the idea of deleting all my old posts, because I feel like they represent the start of my “journey” while my blog changes and grows… HOWEVER. There are a few posts I look back on now and think “why did I feel the need to write this?”. At the start, I was determined to keep up my writing, and so I quite often posted random things in order to keep things moving. This was especially prevalent at times where I had other tasks requiring my attention. You can pretty much tell where I’ve had assessments and exams to focus on based on whether or not I’ve written a long-winded anecdote or a seemingly pointless list of favourites. I did actually delete one or two posts when I moved to this site; small posts that hadn’t gained much attention at the time of publishing, and certainly weren’t of any use at this stage. I now realise that I am waaay prouder of the blog when I have posts worth sharing on there – obviously it’s subjective, but my rule now is that if I’m not happy with it, it doesn’t get posted.

 

Failing to engage organically on Twitter

This is one that may not necessarily be useful to everyone; Twitter is not the be-all and end-all of “success”. I’ve been using Twitter personally for nearly 9 years (June 2009, HOW IS THAT 9 YEARS AGO), but because I had both a “blog” and “personal” Twitter, I very often forgot to post or interact with anyone on the blog account. It wasn’t until I purchased my domain last summer that I started to take everything a bit more seriously, and I came to realise how influential Twitter is for directing people to your site. Not only that, but the blogging community on there is so helpful. There are so many things I’ve learned from them, and the amount of support is unreal. So even if you’re not keen on “marketing” your blog on there, even just getting involved in the community is a big plus!

 

Trying too hard to follow the crowd

This is one that I feel kind of hypocritical about including, because I do still tend to follow the crowd to some extent. I look to bigger, more established bloggers as if to go “what do I do next?”. When I first started out, I was rushing to get on as many social media channels as I could, using tools that I had no idea how to use. I’m still at a loss over driving traffic from Pinterest. I have a Facebook page which still sits at about 20 likes and was last posted from in October. These are things I didn’t have to try and use, but it seemed like that was what everyone did. And while I admit to still doing such things (I bought a white board for flatlays the other day, after a year of saying I wouldn’t), I’ve included it in the list because it’s something I would still like to change. There’s no real formula to it all, and so basing your actions on something someone else has done previously does not necessarily guarantee success.

 

Spending loads on a domain

This is a ridiculous one which I’m still reeling over. I considered purchasing a domain for months before finally going for it. I’d studied everywhere I could purchase it from, and had found a ridiculously cheap price from somewhere like GoDaddy, I think? But when it came to purchasing it months later, I was looking into the purchasing plans for WordPress.com. I decided to go for the Personal Plan, which included my domain. Obviously now I’ve switched over to a self-hosted website, which means in the end I basically paid £30+ for my domain name itself. I totally forgot about all the cheap places I’d found before. Do not spend £30 on a domain name, please.

 

I’m sure there’ll be loads of little things I’ve overlooked, but these are definitely the main ones I would go back and change if I could. Feel free to comment any mistakes you’ve learned from – any bit of advice helps!

 

whathannahwrote

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58 COMMENTS

  • Alghashiyah

    Great post I researched and researched and went for the self hosted to avoid figuring out how to switch plus it’s so much more freedom. I try to write from the heart since it’s a personal blog I once felt I had to keep up but sometimes life get in the way and I’ve come to terms with it. I was cracking up 😂 when you said,” I had no idea what i was doing” bcuz I know the feeling. Keep doing what you are doing!

  • Ellie

    Loved this, so so true that we should never write for the sake of it- I now only post once a week so that I can put in a lot of time and effort into each post!
    My recent posT: https://lifeofellabella.blogspot.com/2019/01/simple-ways-to-boost-your-self-esteem.html

  • savingftkingdoms

    Great reflection and tips. I am definitely guilty of falling into a couple of those mistakes

  • Connected Horizons

    Oh yeah, you got us there! If we had to look back at our oldest blog posts, we’d definitely have a laugh over them! hahah actually rempted to change them a bit, to fit our style of writing more!

    Marta & Max | https://www.connectedhorizons.co.uk

  • I’m really glad you shared this Hannah! I’ve been blogging for 7 years and I’m still guilty of making the same mistakes occasionally. I’ve been on Blogger for the entire 7 years and I’ve been feeling pretty pressured to change over to WordPress and go self hosted if I’m to be successful in any way. But honestly after looking into it, it’s so expensive! I also feel like I’ve done really well on Blogger and I’m not sure how being on a different site could change my whole future. I would love to hear some more about you transitioning on to WordPress?

    Han, xo | http://www.safehavenanonymousletters.co.uk

  • Millennial Mom

    LOVE. It’s so important to learn from our mistakes, as it’s the only way we grow! Thanks for sharing!

  • Miriam H.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Being new in the blogging world any piece of advice can make a huge difference 🙂

    Miriam | http://www.theopiblog.com

  • kierenwindsor

    Great post and helpful to know, thanks! Do you still have separate social media profiles for personal and blog? I currently do but considering just using my personal one although then I’ll be back to square one with followers.

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      I do! I like keeping them separate, just cause my personal Twitter is very football focused and so wouldn’t really fit in with my blog stuff! Some people I know from my other profiles follow the blog ones though so I just find it easier 🙂 That’s a good point about followers! I’ve never thought that far haha!

  • kratimehra

    Excellent writeup! I am a new blogger too and really, just focused on creating a balance. This was a good read. You’ll be fine, I think 🙂

  • Zoë

    I definitely agree with writing for the sake of writing! Looking back at older posts just makes me laugh out loud, I was younger when I started too, so its even funnier! I personally have a blogger blog, and love my design (which isn’t actually a blogger design), and feel like for now I can do everything I want to do! xx

    https://zoe-ware.blogspot.ca

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      That’s the most important part! There’s no point in doing it if you’re not doing what you want to 🙂 xx

  • Maiya Newey

    I’ve definitely made some blogging mistakes along the way! Maybe one day I’ll do a post on it! xx

    Maiya | http://www.maiyabellexo.co.uk

  • hannahslifediaries

    Hey, I’ve nominated you for The Sunshine Blogger Award. Thanks for posting good content and I can’t wait to read more from you in the future. Check it out here, if you’d like. https://hannahslifediaries.wordpress.com/2018/02/11/the-sunshine-blogger-award-bonus-sunday-post/

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      Aw thank you lovely! I’d actually already been tagged in this a few months ago, but I really appreciate the nomination! So sweet to think of me! xx

  • Juhita

    This post is so relatable. I also tried to get on a bunch of social media quickly and now I don’t know what to do with some of them.

  • Sarah

    I really love your honesty about not being an expert and sharing your mistakes THANK YOU. Very refreshing change that makes me feel less inadequate compared to all the “how I became so successful” posts. ❤ Sarah Elle

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      Hahahaha I’m definitely not cut out to be writing success posts just yet! I like seeing posts like these so I can be like “yep, me too”, so I figured I’d add my own into the mix! xx

  • Ashleigh

    going back to basics and realizing why you are blogging can be so grounding! love it

  • Chloe

    It’s so good to identify these things and make little changes as you continue your journey!

    Chloe xx

  • Bexa

    This is such a good post Hannah 💖. I totally agree that WordPress has so much flexibility although I’ve never tried Blogger. I’m also learning Pinterest – I have started a group board to share the latest posts which might help! I’ve sent you an invite if your interested 😘 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      Aw thanks gal! I’ll have a look at it… if I can find it… I really need to get learning hahaha! xx

  • falidude

    Some really useful pieces of advice here. Totally agree on the domain name. £30 is expensive. Thanks for sharing.

  • Eva

    Omg, I’m SO guilty of writing for the sake of writing and trying to hard to follow the crowd. Both are linked with me thinking that I have to follow particular rules to be ‘successful’ in blogging and to keep people engaged, but it’s weird because it becomes so obvious when your content is a.) forced, and b.) not genuine. It’s so weird how if you’re not being yourself people see right through it. These are such good tips! x

    whatevawears.co.uk

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      That’s such a big issue, and definitely why I did it too! I looked to others who were doing well and thought “okay, this is what I have to do too”. At least we’ve both realised it! x

  • Alys George

    I completely agree on the domain, I used to pay so much money for mine and I think back now and I don’t even know why anymore. It doesn’t change the quality of your content or what you right about.

    I also hate the thought of deleting all my old content even though I don’t know why I wrote what I did back then. I’ve found myself going back and improving on old posts instead when I have time (:

    Alys / alysgeorge.blogspot.co.uk

  • pinkiebag

    Hi, these are really helpful tips you often learn the most from our mistakes. One mistake I made was not interacting on Twitter for a while.

  • Sophia Whitham

    This is all great advice. Totally agree about not engaging organically on Twitter and not spending money on am expensive domain name! Mine thankfully was only 99p!

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      That’s so good! Honestly still annoyed at myself for paying £30 without thinking 😂😂

  • Nancy

    I agree with your points for blogging mistakes! Blogger is great for starting off, but if you want to grow, self-hosted WordPress is where you want to be! I made the mistake of writing for the sake of writing years ago, and my post quality ended up being quite low!

    I agree with you about spending a lot of money on a domain! Especially when there are custom TLD’s that can cost $30+ a year! Thanks for sharing!

    exquisitely.me

  • New York Cliche

    These are such common mistakes but it’s not easy to have the self awareness or drive to realize them quickly! It took me….about 6 years to learn what you have in 2! Keep up the work and ooooh I heart the color of you laptop 🙂 🙂

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      Definitely, I still accidentally do them sometimes without realising! & thank you! I love rose gold everything hahaha

  • Such good advice! I’m definitely looking at going self hosted soon
    http://www.katiemariephillips.com

  • gracietalksbeauty

    I decided to go with WordPress and I have been really pleased so far! I love to learn from posts such as this one and I’ve taken some great points onboard – thank you!

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      Glad to hear it’s helped! ☺️

  • Lena Dee

    This was a great post Hannah! I love when people give tips but this was especially nice since you shared all the lessons you learned in doing something wrong. I agree going self hosted doesn’t have to be expensive and it’s so worth the flexibility. Twitter is also very important so I like how you described growing organically. Again thanks for sharing, I love taking tips a I’m still kind of New ☺️☺️

    xx Lena | https://lenadeexo.com

  • Lupe

    This is really helpful! I’ve had this blog for 5 years and the posts have really shown growth in my passion and writing skills. I only started my twitter account two years ago and had no idea how helpful it was go network.

  • Melanie

    Thanks for sharing such a great post! I am still a newish blogger and like you plunged straight in with Blogger and ended up quickly switching to WordPress. I really enjoyed this blog thank you 😃

    Melanie | http://www.frasersfunhouse.com

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      Interesting to hear someone else did the same thing!

  • glowsteady

    I’m so guilty of posting for the sake of it. In the beginning I was so desperate to keep posting and very low on ideas so I’d post the second I got one even if it wasn’t that great. I think mistakes like that help make your blog though x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      That’s exactly what I did! It definitely allowed me to reflect on the kind of content I wanted on there though, if I wasn’t happy to share it then it didn’t belong! x

  • I wish you could feel the happiness I felt reading this haha! I couldn’t agree more with that first point! Write what you want, NOT what you think people want you to write! I did that also and really didn’t like my first 12 months as a blogger!
    Amazing read! Love love love!

    R x

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      Hahaha aww bless you! I think it’s an easy thing to fall into without meaning to, but like you I didn’t really think much of my first couple of months doing it! Hahahah your comment’s made me feel v happy in return :’) x

  • Bookinggoodread

    Helpful post, like you Ive got Pinterest but I haven’t quite mastered it yet, also have a Facebook page that I don’t really use. Twitter is definitely my favourite platform out of all social media. I’m still new only been blogging for 6 months xx

    Emma x http://www.bookinggoodread.com

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      It definitely seems to be the easiest for gaining traffic! I hope to finally grasp an understanding of Pinterest at some point though haha! xx

  • Katie Henry

    These are brilliant tips all very important so thanks for sharing. Also I love your laptop it’s so cute x

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      Aw thank you! x

  • aysemervedemirblog

    This is such a great post! It’s amazing seeing how many things have changed and improved with your blog! I really want own a self domain and monetise my blog too but I’m waiting for summer time! Ayse x

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      That’s what I did haha! But the other way round, I was determined to do it in the summer and waited till Christmas aha x

  • Corinne and Kirsty

    These will be super helpful to new (and old) bloggers. It is good to learn from your mistake. true that writing for the sake of it is just useless! xx corinne

  • Annemieke

    Such a useful and interesting post! I’m still on Blogger but I have purchased and amended a Pipdig template which allows you to do a lot more. I’m not currently thinking about changing to WordPress because at the moment I think blogger is offering what I’m looking for. But who knows what I’ll feel like in the future! X

  • 1stephloves

    This is really useful. I am a new blogger, and honestly don’t really have any idea what I’m doing. Like yourself I’m just clicking and hoping for the best. We’ll see how it goes! But thank you for this post 🙂 xxx

  • georgiaheaddon

    For a fairly new blogger like myself this was such an interesting read and has made me realise the mistake I also made when starting out and still now even!
    Best wishes, Gee x
    thelifeofgee.com

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      I think mistakes will always be made! It’s just funny to look back and go “why did I do that?” hahaha. Glad you found it interesting! x

  • Emily May

    Thanks for posting! Xx

  • ladylikelaura

    This was really helpful and a really great read 💕 thank you x

  • Soffy

    This is very useful advice! I am a new blogger and juggled between WordPress and blogger but in the end went with blogger because of its simplicity and honestly because some of the features I wanted for my blog was unavailable in the free plan. So far I’m happy with my blog, considering buying a domain but that’s the confusing part which company to go with! Right now, I’m not considering going self hosted as I don’t see the need but who knows how I’ll feel a few months down the line. Thanks for sharing x

    Soffy // themumaffairs.blogspot.com

    • whathannahwrote
      AUTHOR

      That’s really interesting given that I went the opposite way in the end! It’s good that you found something that works for you though. Yeah, going self-hosted isn’t really a priority for a lot of people – I just kind of did it randomly hahaha! Definitely no rush in it at all x

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