Today marks exactly 120 days for my blogging venture. The journey up till now has been a lot harder than what I had initially thought. I have an extensive list of friends from last seven years who gave up within the first 120 days of starting the blog. The reasons they cite are a dime a dozen and silly. So I got down to investigate a little so that I could avoid those traps in this quest. I am not proud to say that I did fell down the same sinkhole a couple of times. As a blogger with (finally) some experience under my belt, I can only say:
New Bloggers Beware:
6 Traps You Need to Avoid
Trap No. 1: Unrealistic Expectations
Maximum of new bloggers gets attracted to this field thinking of it as a quick money making gig. Look around and you will find guides and books and freebies stating how much money the owner made in a short period and how you can too. And we start our little starry-eyed dream of making it big. What we fail to take in is the effort of an unlimited number of hours spent in making it to that level.
What To Do:
Have patience. Blogging is money-making venture if done right and it takes time, loads of it. But if you are looking for a quick fix to your bank balance, then nope ‘tis not the right choice.
I think it will be appropriate quote here:
It takes 10 years of hard work to be an overnight success
Don’t let go of your unrealistic expectations just yet. Just let it fuel your desire to grow. Use it as your ultimate goal.
Trap No. 2: Content Content Everywhere…
Reading is a good habit. Reading too much and not acting on it is downright harmful. This is what reading too much does to you:
- You get too many ideas. It’s a good thing if you can manage to use these ideas but if not then it is just garbage.
- You tend to get overwhelmed. Yes, one of the root reasons for feeling overwhelmed is too many inputs without any output.
- You get inclined to write in a similar manner as what you are reading. It can be harmful in your path of discovering your blogging voice /writing style.
What to do:
I use a strategy against this by following what I call “Engagement strategy for beginners.” What I do is:
- Read a max of five blog posts in a day. It is a mix of 2-3 random posts from my favorite bloggers and rest for researching for my blog (or blog post I am writing.)
- Listen to select podcasts only during my drive to my day job (and back).
- I check out twitter and other forms during my coffee breaks for a maximum of 15 minutes.
Now, not everyone can follow exactly the same rules. But use this as a guide to find your right mix.
Limiting yourself will help in two ways
- You will stop meandering when you realize the negative impact on time it was having.
- You will start noticing the takeaways in a better way from these blog posts as the anxiety of too much to read will be gone.
You can decide on your own limits. BUT there should be limits on your daily intake.
Trap No. 3: The “Looking Good” Syndrome
As soon as I decided to go for the blog, I was bowled over by the choices of themes available. And I lovvveed them all.
“This one looks beautiful!
Ooh look at that functionality!
Man that sidebar’s great!”
The trap of looking good. I must have changed a hundred themes before I decided to stop. What you need to realize is that there is no perfect theme until and unless you make it yourself. And I doubt you will still be happy after that. Alas, I had already shelled out about $100-$200 before finally realizing that I need to stop.
What to do:
Plan and Start!
Yes, it is as simple as this. Plan out the basic components you will need and start with a basic theme you think will work. I am using Nirvana theme by Cryout Creations. It’s a good looking theme, and I have customized it a lot. That’s the next step. If you know how to change CSS, then do so. If you don’t, then make do with the inbuilt theme customization options. Meanwhile, keep making note of things you discover that will do good for your blog looks. It takes time to get a real clarity on how you want your blog to look.
Next step is the most logical one. Once you have a clear picture of how you want it to be, then go for it. Get it made, make it yourself or try and find a ready-made closest to it. Your choice.
Trap No. 4: Plugins Galore
There are a hundred thousand plugins available in the market both free and paid. And trust me you will be tempted to try each one out. I had tried at least 60-65 plugins with different functionality before deciding to stop.
There are two reasons for not having too many plugins
- Too many of plugins will slow down your website.
- Sometimes, two or more plugins will conflict causing massive problems. And it takes a lot of time to diagnose and solve a conflict.
What to do:
Instead, start with the bare necessary plugins. And when you need a new functionality, do a proper research and compare. See if there exists a tool, which combines two or three functionality. One example of useful multi-purpose tool is Sumome. This will help in keeping the website light and less confusing.
Trap No. 5: Just One More Tweak
I have a funny analogy for this word. Tweak sounds similar to tweet (or whatever your bird sounds like). 1,2 and a few more makes music. But get more and it will be a din that makes you want to fry ’em and eat ’em (sorry my dear vegan friends).
It’s the same with tweaks. I was never satisfied with how my blog functioned, how the sign-up forms work and etc. I am still not there, but I have stopped the craving to tinker around every moment of every day.
What to Do:
If it’s taking more than four iterations; Oh c’mon, STAHP it already !!
Schedule a day, plan out how you want it to function and look, make the changes and be done with it. After that, if you get any more ideas, jot it down and keep them in a folder for next maintenance cycle.
Trap No. 6: Post, Post and Some More Posts
One of the most talked about mistake. As a newbie, everybody suggests consistency. Often, this advice is mistaken as posting every day. Posting every day is the worst advice a newbie can get.
What happens when you commit to posting every day is
- The quality of your content may take a beating.
- You may run out of ideas too soon.
- Your readers may not have enough time to read your posts every day.
- You get overwhelmed or get writer’s block too soon
- You won’t get a chance to do other activities like PROMOTING
What To Do:
After lot research, I have seen that it is best to adopt two posts a week strategy if it is just the written content. And once a week (or five days) if you are using other mediums like podcasting, vlogging, etc. If you are really bent on more, then at most thrice a week. That’s it. Anything more and it will start hurting you and your blog and business.
Oh and Don’t forget about promoting your posts. How can anyone ever find you if you don’t spread out breadcrumbs for others to follow.
Do you think there are other trap a newbie need to be vary of? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do comment below.
And as always, let your thoughts keep ROARing!!!