How NOT To Run a Blog: 27 Experts Reveal Their Biggest Mistakes

By    Last updated December 05, 2016   Marketing

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Some of the biggest companies on the planet have grown out of mistakes.

 

Mark Zuckerberg famously said, “the majority of what I’ve done has been mistakes. Unless you’re breaking stuff, you’re not moving fast enough”.

 

Mistakes are great so long as you learn from them. It helps you understand how and why things work. It shows you the right path to take instead.

 

But, rather than make those mistakes yourself, let’s learn from the biggest mistakes of others.

 

I’ve rounded up 27 experts in blogging, marketing, and startups, and asked them to reveal their biggest mistakes. I posed the following question:

 

What is the one thing you would redo if you could turn back time?

 

The answers were pretty enlightening:

 

 

1. Failing to network with influencers or outreach

 

It’s not enough to simply write great content. You need a network to help you promote and share it.

 

Ashley Faulkes

I would spend more time networking and building a community of like-minded bloggers and small business owners. This is the key to growing, learning, helping, profiting and much more!

~ Ashley Faulkes

madlemmings.com

 

Vinay Koshy

Not building relationships and reaching out to influencers or making the time to connect with other peers in the industry.

~ Vinay Koshy

sproutworth.com

 

 

2. Not actively promoting content

 

Creating content is just the start. Focus just as much energy (if not more) on promoting it.

 

Andrew Hubbard

Not spending enough time & effort on manual outreach for content promotion. I wish I did it for every post from day 1. It takes time & effort, but it makes a huge difference. Just creating a post and adding it to your Buffer queue isn’t an effective promotion strategy.

~ Andrew Hubbard

andrewhubbard.co

 

Mi Muba

I spent more time creating content than promoting it. As a result my blog remained a deserted town for a year until I rationalized my posting frequency and spent more time to promote my content. A blogger must follow the 80:20 rule. It means putting 20% of your time, energy, concentration and productivity to create a post, and use the rest of 80% for promoting it.

 

Tazim Damji

Not sharing my content enough. It’s not enough to hit publish and tweet out the post once or twice. Sharing content regularly allows more people to view it, which is actually the point.

 

 

3. Not creating content your audience actually wants

 

It’s easy to churn out content, but focus on proven topics that add real value to your readers.

 

Michael Karp

Not focusing on proven content topics sooner. When I first started writing, I would write whatever article I thought people would like, not what was actually proven to get shared and ranked in search engines. When building your audience, it’s smart to focus primarily on content that’s proven to attract attention. Then once you have an audience, you can start writing content that’s tailored to deepening your relationship with them.

 

4. Not engaging with social followers

 

Don’t just use Facebook, Twitter etc to promote yourself. Use it to connect and engage with followers. Start conversations and ask for feedback.

 

Dovile Mal

I would give more attention to my followers on social media and communicate more with them rather than just promoting my blog.

 

 

5. Not tapping into paid advertising

 

Done correctly, paid advertising can drive tons of targeted customers straight to your site.

 

Lorraine Reguly

To quote Cher, “If I could turn back time, if I could find a way,” I would’ve done two very important and connected things: 1. Created a course of my own and 2. Invested money in paid advertising to funnel people to my course!

~ Lorraine Reguly

wordingwell.com

 

 

6. Not investing in the right type of paid advertising

 

Of course, sometimes we waste money on the wrong type of advertising. Always research and test before you commit a larger budget.

 

Cristina Castro Moral

The biggest makering mistake I’ve made since I started my own business has been paying for feature posts on other Instagram accounts as a way to promote my services. There are a lot of popular profiles offering this option and while some of them have a good ratio of real followers, there are many others that base their numbers on fake followers. In both cases, I’ve found this strategy to be pretty useless in terms of conversion.

~ Cristina Castro Moral

sombrasblancasdesign.com

 

 

7. Failing to plan and map a strategy

 

A clear, defined plan helps you set targets, achieve goals, and move forwards.

 

Jason Quey

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is that they do not take the time to map out their entire process. When you take the time to plot this out, you can begin to see where your site is leaking money.

~ Jason Quey

decibite.com

 

Ryan Cote

My #1 mistake in marketing my website was not having a specific plan for new business with daily action items. I now have a clearly defined list of sales and marketing tasks that I execute every day and the compound results have been awesome.

 

8. Not following that plan!

 

Always stick to the plan. Follow it through to the end. Even if the results aren’t as you hoped, you’ll learn something.

 

Bilal Safadr

Trying endless marketing strategies to promote your site/blog, but not completing any single one of them end-to-end, which negates the positive effects (if any) of your marketing efforts as a whole.

 

 

9. Not getting the branding and consistency quite right

 

Take some time in the early stages to make sure all your URLs, branding, and imaging is consistent across your site and social media.

 

Gina Badalaty

Biggest mistake: Setting up my Facebook page before I rebranded my site! Now I’m stuck with the old URL for the page. I did change the name so people know who I am but someone else has my preferred URL.

 

Maxwell Ivey

I chose a business name that only made sense in America (Midway Marketplace for amusement equipment). I have worked hard to make the site an international one, so this was very short sighted of me. So, study your market, learn the terminology, and pick a name that fits them as well as your goals for your business.

 

10. Not questioning and verifying advice found online

 

Everyone has an opinion online, but it’s not always correct. Take the time to see if the advice is right for your site, and test it yourself.

 

Jonathan Gebauer

Starting out I tried to follow advice by self-proclaimed experts. I didn’t question this advice enough – and found myself in a lot of dead ends. Not questioning and confirming it by my own research was my biggest mistake – and it sometimes took me years to recover.

~ Jonathan Gebauer

blog.thesocialms.com

 

 

11. Not optimizing for mobile

 

If you’re making this mistake, you’re not alone. Mark Zuckerberg admitted to this one too!

 

Mark Zuckerberg

We burned two years not working on mobile.

~ Mark Zuckerberg

facebook.com

 

Sherryl Perry

My #1 mistake (and one that I continuine to make) is to not replace my outdated WordPress theme with a modern mobile-responsive theme. Coupled with a WordPress plugin, my current theme manages to suffice but it’s outdated and I know better. (Yet, I still haven’t replaced it.)

 

 

12. Not building your site with sufficient functionality, right from the start

 

It’s tempting to take the easy route at the beginning, but you’ll quickly find yourself trapped. Learn the technical stuff, and put it to use.

 

Samuel Pavin

Start straight away with a self-hosted customisable platform (WP.org) instead of the general WP.com which lacks integration options and plugins and not differentiate my blog from my website (brand unity and coherence).

~ Samuel Pavin

samuelpavin.com

 

 

12. Not choosing the right platform for your users

 

Get feedback from your users and launch on the best possible platform. Even if it’s not the easy option!

 

Dave Schneider

The worst marketing decision was to launch our intial product as a desktop app instead of a web app. Of course there were reasons why we did this. Mainly, the technology we had built already was a desktop app from year prior and we were leveraging that, so it allowed us to launch quicker and with less investment. That said, the market for desktop apps is really a thing of the past, and almost no one uses them anymore, so the first few months until we switched to a web app were really slow.

~ Dave Schneider

ninjaoutreach.com

 

 

13. Not building an email list

 

Most marketers agree that an email list is the most powerful tool in your arsenal. Start building it from day one.

 

Nick Schäferhoff

My worst marketing decision was (and still is in some cases) not to build an email list from the very beginning. When I got started, I was so focused on writing content and growing traffic that I didn’t think about how I would utilize it later on. Having visitors is all fine and dandy but when they leave without being turned into subscribers, they are just a vanity metric. It didn’t occur to me that if I wanted to start selling products later, I would essentially have to start from scratch again. Big no no.

~ Nick Schäferhoff

nickschaeferhoff.de

 

 

14. Not taking advantage of guest posts

 

Guest posts are great for growing your network, establishing authority, and gaining links back to your site. Take full advantage of them!

 

Minuca Elena

A mistake that I did in marketing my blog was that for the first 2 guest posts that I did, I didn’t make an author bio at the end of the post and I didn’t include any link to my site. It may not seem much but my second guest post had over 1.8k shares. I lost so much traffic that I could bring to my site.

 

 

15. Inefficient SEO techniques

 

Stay up to date with SEO techniques that have proven to work, and keep on the good side of Google!

 

Juan Pablo Castro Mosconi

When we start with our blog, each one of our external links were follow. Over time, the amount of links increase and google penalize us for having too many external links. Sadly take us a lot of time to recover from Google penalty.

~ Juan Pablo Castro Mosconi

landerapp.com/blog

 

Barry Sproston

I found that reciprocal link building was a total waste of time when I first started blogging. Emailing other websites for exchange links resulted in most of my emails getting ignored and generally a lot of effort for a few links return.

 

 

16. Obsessing over keywords

 

Keywords are an important part of SEO. But it’s far more important to produce quality content. Don’t write for search engines, write for real people!

 

Tony Mariotti

On my very first blog, I spent too much time obsessing about creating perfect keyword-targeted posts. Now I know that much more ranking “luck” comes by simply creating more volume. In other words, the way to get more oil is to drill more wells. Yes, still high-quality wells. But many wells nonetheless.

 

 

17. Not taking advantage of traffic

 

Driving huge traffic is just the start. Make sure you capture them, keep them on your site, and ultimately convert them.

 

Viktor Egri

I would have added CTAs and banners (that are linked to our landing pages) sooner to the articles. Relevant, bonus information attached to the articles create much higher value for visitors and can generate more leads.

 

 

18. Trying to be someone you’re not

 

Always be yourself! Try not to copy someone else’s style or products. Find what’s unique about you and your site, and celebrate it.

 

Andrea Beltrami

If there’s one thing I would undo if I could turn back time it would be how long I wasted online trying to be someone I wasn’t. For a long, loooong time I thought I’d be universally hated {and hunted down with a pitch fork} for my real deal sassy, sarcastic, straight talking ways. Turns out I was DEAD WRONG! If only I could get back those 2 years…

 

Cent Muruganandam

I am a big fan of Brian Dean and learnt from him a lot. Brian replied to my email when I reached out to thank him. I then created an infographic post based on Brian’s work and accidentally sent Brian an incomplete email with a link to the post that was not live. This was one of the most embarrassing moment in my blogging journey and I never heard from Brian again. It was also a beginner’s mistake not to create something that is your own idea. You can take inspiration from other people’s work but you have to tell your own story. Can I turn back time now?

~ Cent Muruganandam

yourescapefrom9to5.com


 

Thank you to all our experts for taking the time to reveal their biggest mistakes.

 

Mistakes are good. It means you’re experimenting. It means you’re trying new things and learning. We should all be using new methods, and enhancing existing ones.

 

Please do join in the conversation and share your biggest mistakes in the comments below!

 

 

Daren Low

Daren Low is the founder of Bitcatcha.com and co-developer of the free Server Speed Checker. With a decade of experience in website development and internet marketing to his name, Daren is considered a premier authority on all things related to building and managing an online presence. Feel free to pick his brain by connecting via and Twitter.

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  • Fortunately for me, I have done most of the things on this list correctly.

    I’ve included an author bio in all of my guest posts AND made sure that it’s visible on my sites, too.

    I’ve optimized my site for mobile.

    I’m building my email list every day.

    I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not.

    I create content my readers want.

    I don’t obsess over SEO but instead write for my readers!

    However, I still wish I would have built a course from Day One. But I have other projects and goals that I’m working on (including writing a series of e-books that I will sell).

    Great tips for both newbie AND seasoned bloggers! Thanks again for including me.

  • Hi Daren

    The most amazing thing I found in this roundup is your categorizing the answers and let readers pick the one which they equally feel could be a big mistake or they are committing it while blogging.

    The reply of Mark Zuckerberg is a big lesson for those who yet to have go mobile by picking a responsive theme. On one of my blogs nearly 80 per cent traffic comes through mobile devices and it shows the biggest reality of present time.

    Many thanks for including me in the list and much amazed to see so many wonderful online marketers here who I have been following since long.

    Have a great weekend ahead.

  • Hi Daren,
    a great round-up indded 🙂
    I am just back from vacation and this post is going to remind me the right way to blog!
    Thanks for sharing.
    ~ Ahmad
    P.S. Please do read my latest blog post at MeetAhmad [dot] com, I would love to see your views there 🙂
    Thanks again!

  • Hey, Daren!

    I found lots of experts roundup, but this might be the most interesting as you have collected a great question and a very fortune blogger.

    Many of us did the mistakes, but it teaches us what is wrong. Mistake is amazing.

    My mistake is not realized on own business, and wasted 3 years with free CMS.

  • Thanks for all the information. I really need to fix my mistakes I see