Affiliate links // I’ve been blogging for a long bloody time. And I feel like it’s only really been this year that it’s really hit me HOW MUCH of my life has been taken up by this hobby turned passion turned career. I’m not complaining. Not for a second. My blog has brought me so much I never thought I’d have in my life. But it’s a little daunting to think that it’s almost been a decade.

And I’m pretty sure I wrote one of these blog posts (long deleted now) about my “blogging mistakes” back when I’d only been blogging for like a year and thinking about it now, when there’s SO MUCH involved in this industry, a year is no time at all. I genuinely don’t think anyone can really make “mistakes” after a year.

When you’re still learning. Still navigating. Still finding yourself and your voice. And yes I know I sound pretentious but really truly, it’s taken me almost a decade to get to the point where I’m happy and comfortable in my online presence, my writing and my blog in general.

I sure as sh*t didn’t make mistakes during my first year blogging.

I’ve made mistakes EVERY SINGLE YEAR since I started blogging. And I’m still making them now. 

I feel like blogging is never going to be something you just “learn” how to do and that’s it. Box ticked. An industry like this is ALWAYS changing and evolving. With new players coming in, old players leaving, new platforms to navigate, new algorithms to master, new rules, new trends, new worries and struggles.

Once you step on that carousel you really don’t step off again until you’re done with it.

So today, with over 8 years of blogging experience under my belt, I want to share some of the blogging mistakes I’ve made and what I’ve learned from them. And don’t worry, there will be PLENTY more mistakes to come.

Not learning SEO early enough

This one makes me cringe because there was a huge chunk of time where I genuinely didn’t think I needed to learn SEO because most of my blog traffic came from Twitter at the time. I thought well, as my blog grows, I’ll just get more traffic from Twitter, right?

How wrong I was. The need for multiple streams of traffics is so important. You absolutely can’t rely on one platform for traffic forever. SEO might be boring for some (it is for me) but it’s worth learning to have under your belt.

Related resources:

Following what everyone else is doing just because they’re doing it successfully

I’ve been very open and honest about my loathing for affiliate marketing and although I have included a few affiliate links within this post, that takes up literally no extra time. I found myself spending hours upon hours, scheduling affiliate tweets and affiliate content for months during the Summer of 202, even though I absolutely hated it.

I only did it because I saw other bloggers have huge success with it. Which is great for them but another thing that was vastly different between me and them is that they actually ENJOYED it. I didn’t. As soon as I stopped putting my energy into the things I hated and started focusing on what I loved doing, which was writing and working with brands, I was happier and my income boomed.

I wrote more about this in my post: We Need To Talk.

Not signing up for a stock image library earlier

I only signed up to a stock image library THIS YEAR and I literally can’t believe I left it so long. I made use of websites like Unsplash as much as I could but I definitely felt like the image side of my blog was lacking until I signed up for a membership library. It’s been amazing and saved me so much time and effort!

Related read: 6 Places To Use Stock Images

Charging too little

Oh yes, there was a long period of time where I started charging incredibly low rates for basically everything. From sponsored content to my eBooks, I was basically making pennies. I’ve always struggled with charging; not just knowing what to charge but also feeling bad for charging more which no doubt has a lot to do with my lack of self worth!

Or not charging at all

There was also a time where I didn’t charge for a lot of things – particularly reviews. I thought if I was being sent a product then I shouldn’t ask for payment because they were already giving me something. Even if the product was £20 and I was still spending hours producing content for them. What was I thinking.

Focusing too much on other people

A mistake I still make at times and one that I’m working on. And will probably be working on for a long time. Focusing too much on other people, allowing myself to compare and judge myself. It doesn’t do anyone any good. For this, I’ve started muting people on Twitter which unintentionally make me feel bad about myself and being much more conscious of who I engage with.

Overworking

This is a hard one to get right, especially if your blog is your career. And when you’re self employed, you need that self motivation to get the shit done. But there were times where my blog was my entire life. I worked on it from the second I woke up to the minute I went to sleep. And what good did that do me? None. I didn’t even see any progression in my blog during that time because I was just doing mindless tasks for the sake of doing SOMETHING.

Overworking for sake of my blog is a huge mistake I’ve made in the past and I will never go back to that hustle culture lifestyle again. No blog is worth it if it’s going to have a negative impact on your mental health or general well-being. 

Related read: Let’s Stop Glamorizing Overworking… Shall We?

I no doubt have a ton more blogging lessons to come. I can imagine for the entire time that I choose this career, I’ll be making mistakes and these lessons will be coming at me thick and fast. And that’s okay. That’s the fun in blogging, I find. There’s always something new to learn.

How long have you been blogging and what mistakes have you made along the way? Be honest! Let’s chat!

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51 Comments

  1. Hi Jenny,

    There are many that would never admit to having made any mistakes so thank you for your honesty. Frankly, there is so much to learn in the blogging world that I suspect that everyone has made at least one mistake at some stage of their development.

    And do you know what? That’s fine. Making mistakes isn’t the thing we should focus on – it’s correcting them that needs our attention 🙂

    I’ve been blogging for around 2 years and the mistakes I recall most vividly were:
    * Not understanding caching
    * Not understanding that an image wasn’t ‘properly sized’ just because it looked OK once it was on the web page (stop laughing!)

  2. Loved reading this! Have been blogging on and off since high school, but only lately got back to it seriously and god, the amount of things I could have learned before! SEO being the first! I completely agree on having multiple traffic incomes and also totally feel you on overworking and so owing your worth!

  3. Thanks Jenny, this is such a relief to read because it’s honest and doesn’t make blogging out to be insanely glamorous or easy! I love blogging and my latest post is actually about all the ways it’s helped my mental health – but it can also be stressful, confusing and take up all of our spare time, if we let it.

    I’m just two years in to blogging and still trying to find that balance. It’s reassuring to hear that it takes time to find your voice and work out the monetising side of things.

  4. I’ve been blogging since 2009 and I totally agree with you about SEO. I didn’t take any notice of it until recently and now with a huge amount of posts have to painstakingly try and optimise everything 😬

  5. That do it because everyone is doing it succesfully is big turn off a lot the advice out there assumes you are starting a blog ofr business reasons or to shar advice. Or not made for the early stage blogger at all.. As someone who is not using a lot of images right now and has limited money to spenad, I am focusing other stuff. When possible I use my own photos or photos that friends have sent to me whether stock or sent they all receive proper credit now.

  6. I have been writing and sharing my work online for about four years now so, yes, I too have made mistakes! I regret not going self-hosted sooner, not learning nearly enough about SEO. I am learning now since I understand it better and learning as much as I can!

    Love your thoughts on the pitfalls of overworking and charging too little for your time and efforts too. Finally, as a believer in enjoying what I do, I connect with the pressure to do what everyone else is going. I do not mind trying something to see if it works for me but, if not, I remember to move on. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. These are all such good lessons – I’ll be honest, I’m still on the *under a year* side of things so there’s a lot that I’m probably messing up at the moment.

    Particularly with the payment stuff – I cringed a little when you mentioned not charging previously for reviews/products because that’s kind of where I’m at right now… but I think everyone has to start somewhere, so hopefully it will just lead to more down the line. Either that or I’m kidding myself, lol!

    1. Oh for sure everyone has to start somewhere and I think it’s important to do what feels right for you at the time. There are certain situations where I still won’t charge for reviews / features of products on my blog and instead have the product as payment but it’s because I know where I stand with these things now!

  8. Overworking is a big one for me. That and under charging, as you’re well aware of. Thanks to you I’ve been feeling more confident about upping my prices come 2022. I need to believe in myself and my abilities or no one else will. But I think mistakes are part of life and we live and learn from them. We have a chance to grow through the mistakes we make and I’m glad to say I’m growing everyday in many ways, writing included.

  9. I’ve been blogging for 5 years now & I made some of these mistakes too. When I first started my blog, it was just for fun & I didn’t know anything about SEO. I wish learned about SEO when I started as I’m now having to go back & update my older posts.
    I also haven’t charged or charged too little for a post, but now I know what my time is worth.

  10. Thanks for sharing this! I am terrible when it comes to comparing myself to others who are way more successful than me. However, my blog has only been live since Feb this year, so I shouldn’t be comparing myself to others who’ve got way more experience. SEO is another one. It’s something I’ve committed to learning, and I’m sure will pay off in the end. Great post 🙂

    Lindsay
    http://thetravelvine.blog

    1. Woaaah no way you shouldn’t be!! You’re at the most exciting stage of blogging so embrace that and make the mistakes and find your own path without comparing yourself to others (although easier said than done, I know!)

  11. Your post speaks, “Blogging is all about doing mistakes”. Let’s do worthy mistakes and learn from them.

    SEO comes up with mental challenges. I think it’s a mindset. Some bloggers find it easy others don’t. Many bloggers copy others.

    For me, it’s a way to converse with a global audience and winning their trust for productive work. I like the energetic blogger community on wp.

    Thank you for the post.
    Blogging is the backbone of the internet.

  12. Loved reading this! I’ve been blogging for six years now and have definitely made mistakes along the way… And probably am still now. Everything you’ve mentioned in your list is exactly the same for myself too. I’m so glad you mentioned about affiliate marketing! You see so many people doing so well from it, but I really just can’t crack it. I think it’s a long game & one of those things where you need to put 110% effort into, which as a blogger who’s work is never finished, I think is really difficult to do.

    Claire.X
    http://www.clairemac.co.uk

    1. I totally agree, a lot of work goes into affiliate marketing and those that earn a bomb from it are putting a LOT into it. It’s just not for me and I’m not going to waste my time when I could be doing something else that is bringing me the results!

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