If you started your blog you might be guilty of having done some of these.

Today I’ll be talking about what you should focus on and what you shouldn’t when starting a blog. After taking a look back, these are some of the mistakes that I’ve made and hopefully, you’re focusing your efforts on bigger things.

DON’T check your traffic numbers every day.

Do yourself a favor and don’t check your traffic stats every day. It’s tempting, I know. On some level, you might want to check it weekly or bi-weekly to see if your averages are going up. In the beginning, it’ll be slow if you’re only working on your blog a few hours a day. But really, spend far more time on content creation and getting an intuitive understanding of the social media platform you’re driving traffic from.

And I say “intuitive understanding” because you shouldn’t let someone else tell you EXACTLY how a platform works. Sometimes what works for someone else might not work exactly the same way for you. The good news is there are many ways to get traffic and even within one platform, everyone has slightly different strategies that get them there.

If you can create great content and know how to test (and then optimize) a traffic channel, you own the channel.

DO check your analytics every two weeks.

And create more content each week based on what people like. This will be especially helpful if you don’t know what to write about.

When I began sharing other people’s pins on group boards I saw first hand which pins got a lot of clicks and which pins got a lot of saves.

That said, once you have created enough content, you want to check your stats and see what works best and what doesn’t. For me, it’s interesting. My posts about copywriting and sales pages didn’t do so well on Pinterest, but my posts on “how to design social media graphics” went viral on a few boards.

I created that post a few months back. Then last month I wrote a listicle on stock photos which did even better in terms of traffic.

Now do I consider myself a designer? Nope.

Sometimes what you intend your blog to be about isn’t the end-all-be-all. It’s fluid and since copywriting and designing are all one piece of the blogging game, it’s easy to flow between those topics.

It’s not like today I’m talking about blogging and tomorrow I’m talking about building a minimalistic wardrobe…

But my point is… once you’ve created enough content for social media, you really want to track how well it does. If it does well, go deeper on the topic in a couple more posts. Or even create a series to get people hooked!

DON’T check how many people subscribe to your list every day.

This was a huge one for me. I wasn’t as obsessed with traffic as I was with how many people were subscribed to my list every day. I figured it doesn’t matter how many come to my blog if they don’t subscribe.

The worst thing I did was have the tab open on my browser. And every day when I turned on my laptop, the number was sitting there on the front page.

This is a good number to check weekly or bi-weekly as you grow. But the truth is as long as you’re optimizing your traffic channel, the traffic will grow — and your list will too!

DO build your list from Day 1.

Or even before you start the blog.

If you have been around here for a while, you know I might have done things a bit differently if I were to start this blog again. And what does mean?

If you’re on the fence about starting a blog because you can’t commit to an editorial calendar, starting an email list is the best alternative.

This is best if your main traffic strategy is guest posting or if you’re a freelancer and don’t have time for writing blog articles.

You can always start sending people to a landing page with an opt-in freebie and email them your content. If you have a problem writing long form content, this is also a good strategy because you can get away with writing 500-word blog posts via email.

If you have a blog and starting your list from day one, I really recommend a quality opt-in forms. Not something from Mailerlite, but something like Popup Ally or Thrive Leads. Both are affordable options that complement a well-designed blog.

DON’T turn on your notifications to receive unsubscribes.

I wasn’t obsessed with unsubscribes, but it did prick me slightly each time someone unsubscribes. I didn’t have many, but it does happen to everyone.

When I used Mailerlite, their system automatically sent me notifications every morning. If you have these notifications turned on, I’ll recommend them turned off. It will really break off the noise from around you and keep you on track to doing whatever you’re suppose to be doing.

DO respond to emails quickly.

Sometimes I procrastinate on responding to emails but I know it’s good business practice to be quick.

I already create “canned responses” for as many scenarios as I can. If you’re wondering a “canned response” is an email template that you can simply insert into your emails each time you want to say the same thing. This is especially helpful for any customer service inquiries or even when you’re requesting to join Pinterest group boards.

Just keep it personal by addressing the person by name. You can turn this feature on in your Gmail settings.

DON’T follow what other people do.

Stay on your own path.

I’m not going to elaborate on this one too much because I’ve written an entire article on how to silence the noise in the blogging world and follow your own path. I’ve found that this contributed so much to my productivity over the last two months!

If there’s something I’d like to add, it would be: focus on creating your own content and consume less of others.

Consuming will only help you learn, but you’ll realize that learning is step zero. Taking action is the only way to start seeing results.

DO use Trello or Asana to break your workload down.

I’ve used Trello since the beginning, but only until the last two months did I start becoming more serious about it. I overhauled all my boards and became super specific with everything I had to do. Even though it was something simple like “SEO keywording my post”, I added it to my list.

My pro tip to you is that when you break things down to the smallest ounce, you’re way more likely to get it done. Because the task at hand seems so simple and DOABLE, you’re way more likely to do it. Suddenly, the work doesn’t seem like this massive cult that you need to overthrow.

Hehe!

DON’T log into FB group if it brings down your energy.

I started FB communities about a year ago and I loved them in the beginning. After a few months, I felt like the “drama” in FB groups really took a toll on my own productivity and even stunted my growth.

By “drama”, I really mean people who don’t know how to properly word their thoughts. Instead of asking a productive question to get a productive answer, they air their dirty laundry by “complaining” about their situation.

FB groups are great for a few reasons such as getting to know your ideal customer avatar, adding value, getting known, gaining a small bit of traffic in the beginning, and asking for help. But ever since “quitting” FB groups about 2-3 months ago, I actually felt relieved.

I’m not sure if that’s just my introverted-ness telling me “I need to recharge. Haha.”

My pro tip here is to avoid any threads that make you clam up. Don’t overthink this, just go with your gut.

P.S. There is a part of me that wants to open my own FB group, but since there are so many out there already, I just want to know what you think. Would you like one from me? What would you want differently?

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10 Do's and Don'ts of Starting a Blog | Blogging for Beginners

DO give free consultations.

This can be done via email or Skype. I primarily did it through email out of convenience.

When you give free consultations, you’re getting to know who your ideal avatar is — and who is NOT. Also, it helps you build a relationship with your audience when you just started a blog and don’t have a huge list yet.

My pro tip here is to surprise your list with a freebie consultation instead of offering it to everyone on your blog or social. I’ve done it both ways and for me, email list subbies are simply more loyal and in the long haul ride with me.

Have you made any of these mistakes of starting a blog?


Now it’s your turn!

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Until next time,

Judy

Author: Ju

Ju is a copywriting ninja for creative entrepreneurs. She also helps bloggers with their content strategy to grow their audience, customers, and online presence.

  • Sharp Blogger

    Hi Ju,
    I’ve enjoyed this post reading.

    I want to share my opinion about checking blog stat randomly.

    You are right. If new bloggers check their blog stat every, they will be frustrated. When I was new to blogging, I did this. And, it is really hard for new bloggers to keep themself away from checking blog stat.

    So, my suggestion to new blogger is, focus on build your blog first then check your blog stat.

    I just check my blog stat once in a month to keep the record in my blogging plan. I also define my blogging goal for next month based on the previous month’s blog star.

    • Thanks, Sharp Blogger! Checking your stats once a month is awesome advice for newbies! It leaves enough time for growth to happen while you focus on doing real stuff on growing your blog. And then you can come back to your stats and see what you should keep doing, stop doing, or what new things you can try to grow your blog 🙂

  • Rachel Casey

    This is a great post. I’m definitely guilty of over-checking my analytics, and it gets old after a while. Thanks for all the email tips as well, really helpful 🙂

    • Haha me too, Rachel. Sometimes it’s hard to not take a sneak peek in the morning. And on most days it’s pretty stable until BOOM, something goes viral. Then the next day, it goes back to normal again. Agree that it can get old after a while. There are other things we can and should prioritize… like taking real action 🙂