I started my blogging journey in 2014, and while I have learned a lot (and still am learning!), there are things I wish I would’ve known during the process. I would’ve been a lot further than I am. Well, hindsight is 20/20. When I first started my old blog, I was a senior in university and didn’t have the time to work on it. I was busy passing my classes and graduating.
Here are some things I wish I would have done differently:
Using Blogger instead of WordPress and not having a domain.
I get the appeal of Blogger: it’s super simple and no fuss. And I now use self-hosted WordPress. It’s more complicated, it’s frustrating, and I’ve dealt with a lot more glitches than I did when using Blogger. However, the plug-ins are awesome and I can truly customize my blog more. There is a lot more flexibility. Also, self-hosted WordPress means that you own your site. Blogger owns your site, and God forbid something happens to Blogger and you lose everything.
Not learning SEO from the start.
I know some very basics such as renaming image files, putting alt tags in them, etc. However, I know there is A LOT more to learn and I am still having a hard time wrapping it around my head. I got lucky where some of my posts have shown up on the first page on Google (mainly reviews of indie beauty brands). I could be a lot better though, no matter how complicated it is.
Not utilizing Instagram before the algorithm change.
When I started blogging, I did create an Instagram…I think it was called hannaheunice.hearts.makeup, then floraful_blog, now hannahthemaddog, I can’t remember, and I posted a little bit, but not everyday. I certainly didn’t know what hashtags to use besides #beautybloggers or the hashtag of a beauty product featured in the photo (such as #toofacedchocolatebar). If only I posted a lot more and connected with other bloggers before the algorithm. Now it’s much harder to engage with others and to gain followers. And followers really matter on Instagram if you want to work with brands in the future.
Not using social media schedulers.
Part of it was because I didn’t want to seem like I was spamming on Twitter promoting my posts. You cannot be shy about promoting if you want to increase traffic. There’s a reason why most bloggers follow retweet accounts: to promote the shit out of their posts. Social media scheduling tools such as Buffer, Hootsuite or Tailwind. I’ve heard of bloggers scheduling 100 pins a day on Tailwind. These schedulers allow you to promote your posts every few hours or so, and you can schedule as far in advance as you need to. Don’t forget to follow some of the Retweet accounts.
Buying a whole bunch of makeup just to review it on the blog.
This goes for all of my fellow beauty bloggers out there. How many times have you bought one of the newest makeup releases, even if you felt “meh” about it, just to be one of the first to write it on your blog and get good SEO from that post? What a waste of money. Now, I buy the things I truly want. If I have to keep questioning about whether to buy something, then I won’t get it anymore. If you need ideas on beauty topics without hauls, click here.
Not using a post as a way to solve a problem for the reader.
It’s fine to post about yourself and your day. I love reading recaps about what’s going on in other peoples’ lives. But you should also balance it out with posts that will help them too. Posts such has “How to ______” or “# ways to ______”. People will want to get to know you, the face behind the blog, but they also want to know how you can help them. For example, instead of having “London Travel Diary” as your title, you could put, “First-timers Guide to London” for people who have never been there before while tying in the things you did, ate, or saw during your trip.
I deeply apologize for those who saw my tweets bemoaning about “nobody reading my blog” or “nobody cares, I should stop blogging now!” I actually haven’t tweeted that in months. Part of it was because I am learning to create my own community in the blogosphere. I know it’s really hard to put all your blood, sweat and tears into your blog, your baby to get very little in return. Trust me! Even after 5 years I still feel like I am flailing behind. I completely sympathize with you if you feel like no one reads or supports you. I will. It’s okay to get frustrated and tweet about it once in a while, but if that’s all you’re tweeting about then people will get turned off and not want to follow you.
What mistakes have you made in your blogging journey?
Hannah is a travel writer, graphic designer, and the founder/editor of Hannah on Horizon. She is based in Sacramento, California, living with her husband and two adorable dogs. She shares tips on how to experience luxury travel on any budget, and how to maximize time at each trip or destination, no matter what your budget or amount of vacation time at work. She enjoys making you feel like you have visited each destination with her through her storytelling and informative writing style.