My Biggest Blogging Mistake
There’s always something I wish I’d done differently, you know?
Left a bad situation sooner, stayed in a good situation longer.
Too many times, I feel like I’m my own worst enemy.
When I started blogging, it was hard to know if I was doing the right thing or not. As I was building up my courage to start blogging as a career, the advice I got was all over the board.
Don’t do that.
Oh wait, do that now.
Argh! What do you people want?! All the different strategies and advice are enough to make you scream.
And that brings me to my biggest blogging mistake. It was the last thing I thought would be a problem.
What was it?
I went in too many directions at once.
Lover of Learning
Learning is the love of my life. Understanding how something works, from Google Analytics to knitting, is my obsession.
Yep, Type-A lifelong learner right here. More, faster, better, now.
And yes, you need to be eager, excited and inspired when you first start blogging. You need to want to learn because, well, there’s a lot to learn.
When I wanted to turn blogging into a career, I knew I needed to learn. I looked for training, a mentor, or some specific direction to get me started.
During this time, I made a promise to myself. I promised myself I would only work on one course (strategy) at a time, so I didn’t end up going in too many directions. I would learn everything I could from one course/person/idea, then assess and move forward.
For a while, I did well.
I signed up for a year-long Blog Launch course, with one of the world’s top bloggers. It was the best decision I ever made. The team at Smart Blogger took me from newbie writer to serious blogger, fast.
Within a couple of months, I had over 1,000 email subscribers. People wanted to see more of my work–and I hadn’t even launched my blog yet!
Wondering what course I took? This is one of them. Or, grab a copy of Headline Hacks: A Cheatsheet To Writing Posts That Go Viral and check out the emails you get. You will not be sorry.
The success I found in writing for an online audience was powerful. The first course I took taught me that learning how to write, online, is more important than learning how to “blog.”
The Big Mistake
But before I had finished the course, I got sidetracked by a freelance writing course. I signed up and made $500 in a few days. Yes, I made that blogging, but freelance writing satisfied my dream of being a writer.
I went through the freelance writing door and started to ignore my blog.
The blog was there. I often worked on it, and it performed well, but there was no direction, no strategy. Frustrated, I didn’t know what to do with it.
So I took more courses.
Over the course of 1.5 years, I pursued:
Blog Launch Formula (original course no longer offered, but this one was excellent and part of it: Guest Blogging)
Was mentored by Doug Cunnington on how to find success in Affiliate (Amazon) Marketing
Hired a coach to launch my parenting writing course
(Some of the links are affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission at no expense to you if you purchase or register. Affiliate income keeps the lights on, here at LAP! If you find the courses of interest, please help support this site by clicking through on the links in the article. And know I only recommend products and courses that change my life for the better!)
Oh, and I built a few websites, wrote an ebook, guest posted, freelanced, worked on a podcast, and signed up for more writing courses.
Don’t get me wrong, every one of these courses and coaches offered me the knowledge I needed to succeed. (I’m still excited to take the courses I haven’t had time to take.)
While the various courses and mentors helped me to see what my income from blogging could be, I was trying to do too much.
Within 18 months of spreading myself too thin, I burned out.
Burned Out Blogger
I would not change the path I followed, but I want other new bloggers to know there’s a better way.
I couldn’t seem to finish anything I started because I was veering off in too many directions. Even I could see that.
The blog seemed muddled, unfocused, and was definitely not making any money. I wanted to give up, sell the site for a few thousand bucks, and move on.
I could take my skills with me, but where?
Thinking back to the promise I made myself when I emptied out my savings account to sign up for a course that my gut said would change my life, I remembered:
One strategy at a time.
Not wanting to give up (again), I finished up the courses, left the coaches and mentors, and went back to, well, blogging.
Yes, I used what I had learned from all the courses and experts. The courses are all ones I love and recommend, with a big BUT:
Don’t try to do everything at once. Choose one direction and stick with it until the end. Follow through on what you’re learning.
Bottomline, getting distracted is the kiss of death for any blog.
My blog was suffering because I needed to:
Redefine my blog’s vision
Make money (this was my career, after all!)
Plan a strategy for success
The way I found myself back on a clear path?
I signed up for a course, of course. 🙂
Being one of those people that need structure, I knew I needed help getting back on track. For me, independent courses offer me a path I can trust and follow. It’s not for everyone, but the accountability and direction work for me.
My Blogging Mantra
My biggest mistake as a new blogger was trying to do too much. I spread myself too thin and couldn’t see the future because I had so many paths.
One strategy at a time results in a lot more done, in less time. When I follow through, plan ahead, and use what I learn, things happen.
Trying to balance new strategies with old ones is tough. The urge to learn something that will offer quicker or better results is tough to pass up.
But, remembering to master one strategy before moving on to the next makes all the difference in my success rate and my mental state.
My new mantra, when it comes to blogging: one thing at a time.