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10 Great Bloggers Tell What Mistakes They Made As Beginners

October 12, 2007

I’ve recently contacted ten great bloggers through email and asked them about the biggest mistakes they made with their blogs as beginners and for any advice they had to offer. By reading this article and viewing the results of the survey, you will a) learn a lot more about your favorite bloggers, b) discover mistakes to avoid in your own blogging journey, c) find tons of great advice, and more. There’s one fact that’s 100% true no matter how you look at it: everyone makes mistakes. But a big part of mistakes is to take them and transform them into a lesson learned.

Now let’s take a look at what our ten pros have to say…

Cash Quests from CashQuests.com says:

“The biggest mistake that I made was starting on Blogger – I’m sure you agree. The only other mistake that I made was not having a tight focus on the type of content that I would write from the beginning. The focus can change over time – but it should always be focused and within your specified boundaries.”

John Cow from JohnCow.com says:

“One of the biggest mistakes I made was posting too eagerly. 4-5 posts a day was a normal routine for the first month, until I realized people wouldn’t be able to keep up with the articles I was publishing. It’s one thing to have fun with your blog and post loads of stuff, but if it drives people away because it’s all going to quick for them and they don’t have the time to spare, they’d rather spend the time they have on different blogs, with just one article. Otherwise it’d end up being one way conversations. Recognizing the flaw is the first step, trying to hold back is the second :) Pretty hard to stick to a routine posting time if your an impulsive blogger. I learned that even-though I might be impulsive, my readers are probably not.”

Kevin Muldoon from BloggingTips.com says:

“One of the biggest problems I had when I first started blogging was grammar. My grammar was always good back in school but when I was writing blog posts I was being lazy. I used i instead of I and would sometimes leave out punctuation marks as well. A few people also mentioned that I was writing as if I was talking to a best friend.

Over time I began to improve my writing and in particular, I made a point of proof reading posts once or twice before I published them.

On a few occasions near the start of my blogging venture I also posted some lower quality posts because I was rushed for time. Of course, my concern was that I didn’t want my posting frequency to drop too much near the start of the blogs life however I have since learned that it’s better to spend your time writing a little of your next post instead of rushing out a poor one.”

Steven Snell from VandelayDesign.com says:

“I would say my biggest mistake was not taking my blog seriously at first. When I launched the blog I had 5 or 10 posts and only added something new every once in a while. I wasn’t really getting any traffic until literally one day one of my posts got noticed by a few social media sites and I had a few thousand visitors. From that day on (the beginning of July) I’ve been adding new content and trying to grow the blog. I missed out on about 3 months at the start of things, so I could be further ahead than I am now. I would advise new bloggers not to underestimate the potential of their blog.

Adnan from Blogtrepreneur.com says:

“The biggest mistake I made (besides not starting blogging sooner) was to start life online on a Google owned Blogger domain. I spent around 6 months on a .blogspot.com domain name because I wasn’t ready to take the plunge to my own hosted solution. With domains as cheap as $8.88 and hosting as little as $5/month, it’s never been cheaper to go with your own solution (preferably with WordPress.org too). There are so many advantages of the latter, including an increased control over your site, bucket loads of room for customisation and the ability to use plugins like Akismet – which has saved me so much time in SPAM moderation.

I would definitely recommend WordPress and a reliable host to anyone who wants to start blogging seriously, as it will really save you some hassle when it comes to inevitably switching domains.”

Becky Sanders from Preblogging.com says:

“When I started blogging back in 2004, I used blogspot. It was a big mistake, you need branding and the freedom from using your own domain(s). I would recommend someone to go with the wordpress hosted option, or if you are more adventurous get hosting and a domain name and install wordpress. If you use BlogSpot (or one of those branded services) you are not in total control of your visitors IMHO.

I see all those great bloggers who use those free options, and I think they they are somewhat limited in their capacity to grow.”

Sandra from FreeCashQuest.com says:

“The biggest mistake I made when I started my blog was when I decided to use a domain that I had laying around. I used the domain www.elizabeth-rose.info that I had registered not long before for some other purpose. The domain name had nothing to do with the topic of my blog or with my name. A lot of times people called me elizabeth or lizy despite the info on my about page. I think it is very important that when you start a blog that you have a domain name that is related to the topic of your blog or that you can use for branding.

Not long after I started the blog it was PR3 and I found it hard to switch to another domain because I would lose my PR. It kept on nagging in the back of my mind though and I finally made the decision to switch to a new domain; www.freecashquest.com. Because of my mistake I am stuck with a PR0 blog until the next update. I had to start from zero when it comes to building back links, etc. If I could do it all over again I would have put more thought into picking the right domain name straight from the start.”

Michael Martin from ProBlogDesign.com says:

“Pro Blog Design is still a new blog really (2 months old), but the mistake that I know I’m making is not making enough use of social media. I write posts, I get involved with my readers on and off the blog, I promote the articles etc. I even use Digg, SU and del.icio.us as a user, but I’ve never really tried to promote my own blog on them. I’ve had a great amount of traffic from SU, but not thanks to me. I wonder how much more traffic I could be getting from them if I had a better strategy in place…”

Snoskred from Snoskred.org says:

“The biggest mistake I ever made as a blogger was not buying my own domain right at the start. If I had done that, I would have a lot more backlinks to my domain than I do now.

The second biggest mistake was going for the longest sidebar in the history of blogging. It’s cost me a lot in page load times, has probably lost me readers, and I now need to sort out what is essential, and what is fluff. ;)

The little mistakes I made constantly at first were not working on improving my writing and not managing my time effectively.”

Pelf from Chenpn.com says:

“Mistakes.. I wouldn’t say that I’ve never made them, but if I had a chance to do this all over again, I would still do it this way :) But I have an advice to bloggers who are passionate about blogging though — Get your own domain from the beginning. Let me explain:

1. I started with a Blogger blog, which lasted for 3 months. Then I migrated to WordPress.com because I love the “category” feature which Blogger lacked. I blogged on WordPress.com for 5 months before moving to my current http://chenpn.com self-hosted WordPress blog. If I started with my own domain, I wouldn’t have had to move blogs for so many times!
2. Contrary to popular belief, getting a domain and a webhost package isn’t expensive to begin with. I thought it would cost me a bomb every year,
and because I was still a student, I was reluctant. But that was when I came across a local (Malaysian) website that offers webhosting packages for as low as RM 30 per year (and that’s about USD 8 per year), which I truly believe is affordable (before this, I’ve heard from my blogger friends who
pay more than RM 200 or USD 57 for webhosting per year, and that freaked me out).

But of course, other tips would be something along these lines:

1. Don’t worry about SEO and all those jargons. They’re nothing if you don’t make the first step of WRITING CONTENT.
2. Start blogging. Start writing and start publishing. If you spent a lot of time reading about tips and tricks on how to be a good blogger, and how to attract visitors, and how to make your visitors come back for more BUT you don’t start creating content, all those tips and tricks won’t bring in any visitors at all.
3. Don’t plaster your blog with ads OVERNIGHT. It’s OK to do it gradually and see how your readers respond to it, but giving them a surprise with ads in between your content will only make them hit the UNSUBSCRIBE button.
4. Respond to your comments. Commentators are human beings too. They like to be acknowledged of their existence and of their comments. They want to hear how they have contributed to the discussion on your blog. They want to feel appreciated.

Learn to backup and upgrade your self-hosted blog as soon as you’ve started blogging, and NOT when you needed the information.

This is also from my personal experience. I had no problems with my Blogger and WordPress.com blogs because I didn’t know anything about backing up and upgrading. But when I switched to self-hosted WordPress, I had a culture shock. Overnight, I had to know how to backup my blog because nobody’s going to back it up for me. I had to learn how to upgrade my blog because nobody’s going to take care of that for me.

In fact, the first time I backed up my blog, I accidentally erased my existing database!!”

There is also another response from an eleventh blogger that came a bit late, so I’m just going to add it in and not change the post’s name. Here is the advice from the eleventh responder:

Courtney Tuttle from CourtneyTuttle.com says:

“My biggest mistake is that I thought that my SEO knowledge would be enough
to create a successful site. It turns out, SEO isn’t enough!”

It turns out that most people report their biggest mistakes as something of the sort of not having their own domain, using a free blogging service like Blogspot, etc. This was also my own biggest mistake, so if you’re going to start your own blog buy your own domain and hosting and install WordPress. There’s no other way to go about it!

I hope you enjoyed the survey and found it useful. A huge thank you to everyone who participated and shared their answers with me and the Super Blogging readers; I really appreciate it! To those of you who wanted to but didn’t have time to respond in time, I apologize. If you would like to be included in my text blog survey, email me. Thank you!

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42 Responses to “10 Great Bloggers Tell What Mistakes They Made As Beginners”

  1. Kathy on October 12th, 2007 6:46 am

    My problem won’t be switching to a new domain name. I know I need to do that, and plan to soon. It’s how to get a host I know nothing about. Can anyone elaborate and provide some advice for that?

  2. Sandra - Free Cash Quest on October 12th, 2007 8:01 am

    Great article Tay! I feel honored to be included in a list of so many great bloggers :D

  3. PreBlogging on October 12th, 2007 10:49 am

    Thanks for the mention. I feel honored too :D

    Kathy , you can get any cheap host, some will cost about $5/month, and then you register a domain and point it there.

  4. Heath on October 12th, 2007 11:29 am

    Very informative – I’m glad I haven’t made some of those mistakes, but I’m sure I’ve made plenty of my own :-)

    Side question – you posted earlier about the All-In-One SEO pack, which I’ve installed and have just started using…However, it doesn’t seem like it creates technorati tags based on the meta keywords. Do you use another plugin like autometa to do that for you? I currently use it, but it means now I have to duplicate the keywords i type into autometa into the SEO keyword box as well…I’m not sure I want to have to remember to do that extra step. Any advice?

  5. Michael from Pro Blog Design on October 12th, 2007 11:45 am

    Great article Tay, you found some great bloggers to join in.

    Blogger does seem to feature prominently in these sorts of list. It makes me glad that I was never a user! :D

  6. Kathy on October 12th, 2007 1:50 pm

    Thanks, but I would like concrete examples of good hosts. I don’t know what’s good and what’s not. What hosts do you folks use?

  7. Jack Page on October 12th, 2007 4:53 pm

    Reminds me how glad I am that I did a lot of research first and went with my own domain instead of something free when I started out.

    I’d like some examples of good hosting companies that are being used as well out of curiousity. Love to have some options in case things don’t work out with my current host and I’m not that well versed in what other people are using these days.

  8. Steven Snell on October 12th, 2007 5:27 pm

    Thanks for including me!

    I use Host Gator. They have an easy WordPress installation and I’ve always been happy with them. I think there prices start below $10 a month.

  9. Online Gaming on October 12th, 2007 6:15 pm

    Great resource here…I particularly liked Mr. Snell’s self assessment that he didn’t take it serious at first. I guess you never know when that great blog post is going to be taken mainstream and you better be ready for it. I’m not talented enough to run my own blog, but when blogs are done right they kick ass…nice post, keep it up.

  10. What is your biggest blogging mistake? | Free Cash Quest on October 12th, 2007 9:11 pm

    […] Tay from Super Blogging asked me that question this week and you can read the answer in 10 Bloggers tell what mistakes they made as beginners. […]

  11. Tay on October 12th, 2007 10:25 pm

    @Kathy – To be honest with you, I’m not the pro with hosts either so I couldn’t give you a good recommendation. But Steven Snell’s comment seems like one you might want to check up on.

    @Heath – For now I’m not using the Technorati Tags, actually. I’m not sure if it would help but you could try the Ultimate Tag Warrior plugin. It’s good with tags and SEO, and either way, I’m going to try and get it on this blog shortly. I’m not sure if there’s one that can do absolutely everything, but I’ll look into it.

    @Online Gaming – I agree with you on that one! Once I made a post and it was one of the only ones I hadn’t put a Google Adsense block in because I thought it wouldn’t be popular, but in fact it was huge. Stumbled by over 40 people overnight and sending me thousands of visitors. I learned really quickly that things aren’t always as they seem. Thank you! :)

  12. Weekly Links - 10/13/07 << Vandelay Website Design on October 12th, 2007 11:14 pm

    […] 10 Great Bloggers Tell What Mistakes They Made as Beginners from Super Blogging. […]

  13. site funda on October 12th, 2007 11:45 pm

    Thanks for the great articles. As starters we all make mistakes. I tried to hit the diggs homepage, and finally did it. the result was my blog got down and out of bandwidth.

  14. Yen Rubie on October 13th, 2007 12:40 am

    This is great information. This will certainly help a lot of bloggers, including me and my sister who is trying to creat blogs on home loan refinance.

    thanks for sharing this.

  15. Adnan on October 13th, 2007 4:42 am

    Thanks for including my quote in this Tay – I loved the other answers too!

  16. pelf on October 13th, 2007 8:49 am

    I’m not a great blogger, LOL. I’m also learning the roped of blogging, but this is quite an informative article. Thanks for including my responses, and for putting it together.

  17. Dick Todhunter on October 13th, 2007 11:34 am

    Kudo’s for the great information. New to blogging and did do some things right! Still don’t have an understanding of the various add ons or social networking. Have some research to do. I particularly enjoyed the idea of backing up my site, just need to figure out how. Thanks!

  18. Tibi Puiu on October 13th, 2007 12:34 pm

    Excellent interviews, I enjoyed reading everybody’s take on their biggest blogging mistakes. I know what was mine: “Blogging for my readers and money, instead of blogging out of passion and writing my own thoughts, not what people would tell me to write.”

  19. Tay on October 14th, 2007 1:15 am

    @Site Funda – Wow, that’s awesome! I’ve never had much luck with Digg; I’m more of the StumbleUpon type of person. Keep up the great work!

    @Yen Rubie – Thanks for reading and commenting, and I’m glad that this article could be helpful to you. Good luck with your home loan refinance blog!

    @Pelf – In my eyes you definitely are. There are some people who naturally have the talent of being a great blogger and some who don’t. You do!

    @Dick Todhunter – Thanks for reading and commenting, I’m glad this article could be helpful to you. As for backing up, check this out: http://www.ilfilosofo.com/blog/wp-db-backup/

    @Tibi Puiu – I also really enjoyed reading everyone’s great advice. Thanks for sharing your biggest mistake as well, your advice is a good one!

  20. Ruchir on October 14th, 2007 6:29 am

    Truly creative. Mind end up being as a great link bait…

  21. Best of the ‘Sphere | TechnoMoney on October 14th, 2007 7:04 am

    […] 10 Great Bloggers Tell What Mistakes They Made As Beginners – Tay of SuperBloggingTips lists the mistakes done by 10 famous bloggers. Make sure you don’t commit these mistakes! […]

  22. Weekly Wrap Up 14/10/07 | Snoskred - Life in the Country on October 14th, 2007 7:16 am

    […] 10 Great Bloggers Tell What Mistakes They Made As Beginners – Tay’s had a blog redesign too – goodbye to my favourite green theme but hello to a lovely new one. And *I* am one of the bloggers who is telling what mistakes I made so be sure to check it out! […]

  23. Tay on October 14th, 2007 3:52 pm

    @Ruchir – Thank you, I do hope so. That would be great. :D

  24. Reem on October 15th, 2007 7:55 pm

    It really helps to read about other people’s experiences. They gave some pretty good pieces of advice. Thanks for sharing this!

  25. Tay on October 16th, 2007 1:28 am

    @Reem – I’m glad you could find the article helpful! In fact, I did too, with each and every email and response I received. Sometimes you just to ask a couple questions of some other bloggers and you can learn tons!

  26. Links Roundup - October 16th 2007 | Blogging Tips on October 16th, 2007 5:02 am

    […] 10 Great Bloggers Tell What Mistakes They Made As Beginners – Tay got many bloggers (including myself) to write about the mistakes they made as new bloggers. A great read […]

  27. Chris Coyier on October 16th, 2007 10:11 am

    It is interesting to hear so many people saying starting on Blogger was their worst mistake. I couldn’t agree more. You really need the freedom of your own domain name and server.

  28. Nanda on October 16th, 2007 10:53 am

    I think people should only buy a domain name when they’re “ready” for it. A total newbie to web design shouldn’t buy a domain name because it would probably be a waste of money and they’re not able to create good-looking websites YET. I think you need a little more experience before you buy a domain name.

  29. Frank C on October 17th, 2007 1:13 pm

    On OpTempo I’m breaking John Cow and Cash Quests rules, I’m posting a lot, nearly 100 posts in the first 10 days, and making “no specific topic” my topic. It’s an experiment at this point but the results have been interesting so far.

    My take is that there are very few hard and fast rules when it comes to blogging. However, there are some things you can do that will make your blogging life a lot easier and help you reach your goals quicker.

  30. The Quest for Free Cash « Around Natick on October 18th, 2007 12:36 pm
  31. Tay on October 18th, 2007 8:46 pm

    @Chris – I couldn’t agree with you more!

    @Nanda – Personally, I think it’s still best to get a domain from the start. You learn quickly, and when you have to switch you can lose readers, along with possible PageRank, all backlinks, search engine keywords, and more. I still think it’s best to have your own domain and hosting from the start because there’s so much to lose otherwise. Thanks for sharing your opinions, very interesting point of view. :D

    @Frank C – Wow, I’m not sure if I could that myself. Actually, I know I couldn’t. Your readers mostly probably all come from search engines since the blog isn’t on one topic. That does sound like a very interesting experiment!

  32. Frank C on October 18th, 2007 9:04 pm

    Hi Tay,

    The biggest source of traffic so far was StumbleUpon that delivered about 500 visitors one day. Of course, social network traffic is here today, gone tomorrow for the most part but I’ve picked up a few subscribers and regular visitors from it.

    Search engine traffic has been growing slowly but surely, bringing in about 50 hits a day now. Hopefully this will grow as the number of articles grow.

  33. Tay on October 18th, 2007 11:00 pm

    @Frank C – StumbleUpon is my favorite social media website. It’s brought me more traffic than anything else, too!

    You seem like you’re doing great so far and your site looks good. At the rate you’re going search engine traffic should really pick up at some point in the near future, especially with all the variety and different topics. The only disadvantage is, if visitors came from search engines, there is just a vast amount of topics that nothing else may interest them.

    But your site does look well monetized, so hopefully you’re making some profits. Good luck! :D

  34. Link Love for the week 10/20/2007 | The Invesp Blog on October 20th, 2007 10:57 pm

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  35. James - DigitalKeyToInfo on November 11th, 2007 1:24 pm

    It is interesting they nearly all say the same thing with a couple of exceptions. I would agree that the domain name is probably the most important choice you would make on a new blog.
    Free Cash Quests seems to be a PR2 now.

  36. ThoughtSponge.com » Quickread for the Day | Learning More from Business and Life to Make Money on November 11th, 2007 9:23 pm

    […] bloggers in 10 Great Bloggers Tell What Mistakes They Made As Beginners include: Cash Quests from CashQuests.com John Cow from JohnCow.com Kevin Muldoon from […]

  37. Tay on November 12th, 2007 1:50 am

    James, I agree with you, it is interesting. I made the same mistake and I didn’t realize how many others were in the same boat as me at some point in time until I conducted this survey! Thanks for your response. :)

  38. Escaping The Search Engine Pipe Dream | Internet Marketing | Strategy & Services on November 28th, 2007 9:12 pm

    […] I was asked a very important question through email that I thought I would share with everyone. As part of a study, I was asked to disclose my biggest mistake as a blogger. This question brought to my attention yet […]

  39. NewSkill21 on January 21st, 2008 11:45 am

    I love it. Especially since I’m starting a new blog I can put all those tips into good use!Thanks

  40. Tay on January 22nd, 2008 10:26 pm

    NewSkill21, thanks for stopping by and for your comment. I’m glad this post was helpful to you. It sure introduced me to plenty of lethal mistakes as well.

  41. Mike on March 31st, 2008 2:12 pm

    I can see the mistakes that I was making and some that I still am!!

    Mike’s last blog post..John Chow Is Full Of Shit!! There, I said It.

  42. Clair Atwell on August 5th, 2008 1:02 pm

    I have been Blogging for abut a year and my patience is running thin as I am having a total lack of traffic. With over 200 posts in the “Health and Wealth” area, I am brginning to feel that my content material is lacking. Suggestions to abandon my niche or to do someting totally different with it. I must have a bunch of mistakes tgat I have overlooked. Thanks.

    Clair Atwells last blog post..Health and Wealth Thoughts

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