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Are you interested in starting your own amateur blog? There are a ton of amateur bloggers out there! Did you know there are actually 600 million amateur blogs on the web?
That’s a lot of competition. You need to start your blog as smartly as possible to compete.
Amateur blogging is a fun hobby, but if you want to actually make a living doing it, you need to be strategic. Here are 5 amateurs who went pro and their best blogging tips.
As a newbie to the blogging world you are probably caught up in the excitement of creating your very own blog.
You are starting a rewarding and empowering journey (when done correctly,) that could provide you with extra income. Plus, it is a creative outlet!
However, the journey from amateur blogger to professional is full of traps and pitfalls.
Knowing what these pitfalls are before you start, and how to avoid them, will help you become a successful blogger. And successful bloggers make a lot of money!
So starting your own amateur blog the right way can really pay off.
I wish I had been aware of the types of amateur blogging mistakes you want to avoid when I started my blog! There are many things I would have done differently.
Follow the steps below to find amateur blogging success of your own.
What is amateur blogging?
Technically, blogging as an amateur is blogging as a hobby. When you start a blog yourself and not as part of an existing business, that’s amateur blogging.
You may not know too much about the business of blogging, but you start one for fun. The cool thing about the internet, is that literally anyone can start their own blog or website.
You don’t have to be a trained professional, you can be a newbie and an amateur just starting out.
But, can you make money as an amateur blogger?
Yes, you can. But you will have to do a lot of things the same way the money-making professionals do.
One of the most important ways to try to achieve this is to avoid these amateur blogging mistakes detailed below.
If you start making money with your blog, you won’t be called an amateur anymore!
Starting an amateur blog
All bloggers begin from the same starting point – the challenge of figuring out the gajillions of factors that contribute to a successful blog. And, the steps to actually starting a blog.
From niche choice, writing style, monetization, and SEO, to target audience and many others, the list of blogging factors can be overwhelming.
Understanding these important blogging ingredients before you even start can prevent making amateur blogging mistakes that could cost you money.
Here are a few key things to know before you start a blog:
- Take time choosing your blog niche. Research the most profitable niches and figure out what niches interest you the most.
- Understand SEO. This is one of the most important factors that determines the success of an amateur blog. I highly recommend investing in the course Stupid Simple SEO before you even start.
- To make money as an amateur blogger, you will need to invest a lot of time and even some money!
More Reading: Blog Examples for Students
How to start an amateur blog the right way:
There is a lot more in-depth information below about choosing your blogging platform, but here is the most important point:
Don’t choose a free blogging platform like WordPress.com, Blogger or Blogspot. Wordrpess.org is what you want to use -(I know it is confusing with wordpress.com sounding so similar.)
To start an amateur blog the right way with Wordress.org, you just need to sign up with a web hosting company like Blue Host for an easy and affordable start, or WP Engine if you have a little more budget for managed WordPress hosting.
Here are the basic quick steps to starting a blog:
- Visit Blue Host to start a blog-hosting account.
2. Choose the plan you want. The most affordable option is the basic plan which is just $3.95 per month.
3. Set up the domain for your blog. This is where you put in the name/url of your blog so you can reserve it. If you use this BlueHost link, you will get your domain for free with your hosting plan.
You will want to check first to make sure the url you want is available. For example, cats.com is probably not available if you are starting a cat-focused blog. You can use this tool right now to check and see if what you want is available:
4. Set up your account with Blue Host. This is just the part where you put in you name, address, payment information and create a password.
5. Install WordPress. Blue Host makes this easy, you just click a button!
6. Choose a theme (design and look) for your blog.
And that’s it! In about 10 minutes or less you can start your own amateur blog.
Those are just the basics on setting up your blog. There will be a lot more to do afterwards like setting up Google Analytics, installing plugins you might need or writing your blog description.
WPBeginner has some helpful articles around what to do once you’ve started your blog.
If you do have more budget and want to opt for WPEngine, then click this link and use the coupon code WPE3FREE for 3 months free!
Here are 11 mistakes amateur bloggers make that you should avoid
You can avoid mistakes that will cost you time and money with the proper preparation and knowledge before even starting your blog.
That said, success is just as much about avoiding amateur blogger mistakes as it is about learning from them.
It is important that, in the event that you do make a mistake, that you change direction and keep on going, working towards your goal and not give up.
Below are some common blogging mistakes to avoid if you want to graduate from amateur to professional.
Before you start your own amateur blog, make sure you avoid these common and costly issues!
#1: Choosing the wrong blogging platform
When setting up your blog, one of the first questions to ask is, which blogging platform do you use? This is a crucial question because it is one of the building blocks of a blog.
Do you choose a free blogging domain or a self-hosted one?
The wrong choice in platform may affect how well you are able to customize your blog and even affect the speed, which is another factor in optimizing SEO.
In addition, customization and speed enhance your blog visitors’ experience.
Other considerations when choosing a blogging platform include:
- Customer support and assistance
- Site performance
- Site security and blog backup options included
Why you should not choose a free blogging platform
One of the biggest mistakes with most amateur blogs is that they were set up on a free blogging platform like wordpress.com, Blogger or Blogspot. It may seem like it will save you money up-front, but in the long run it is a serious mistake.
With a free platform, you won’t be able to own or choose your url. It will be something like www.myblog.blogger.com instead of www.myblog.com.
If you already know the name and url you want, plug it into the tool below and see if it is available:
Bonus tip: Put some thought into your blog name and url. Choose something easy-to-spell and remember. Simple and short is good.
Here are some more great tips on how to choose a domain name.
In addition, free platforms will limit your ability to customize your blog or add all important plug-ins for things like ad revenue.
With lack of customization, a poor url, and even poor site performance, if you want to avoid an amateur blogging mistake you should opt-out of a free blogging platform.
Wordress.org is the best blog building platform to choose. There are dozens of reputable self-hosting platforms that use this framework.
You can choose from many web hosts each with their own unique set of advantages. Here are a few reputable web hosts you can use when starting your blog:
They each have their own unique set of features. All you have to do is find the one that suits you, your blogging goals and your wallet best. Most of them provide web-hosting for affordable monthly payments.
#2: Not treating your blog like a business
There are two types of bloggers: those who do it as a hobby or for fun and those who see blogging as an income earner.
Being one of the latter group requires a completely different mindset. If you want to avoid looking like all the amateur bloggers already out there, you need to start out thinking like a professional.
To generate an income from your blog, you need to see it as a business right from the outset.
As a business, your blog will require strategic planning, organization, building credibility, creating awareness and creative content.
Like most new sites, your blog won’t make tons of money in the beginning. This takes time … and consistent hard work.
Gains and opportunities do not happen by chance but they are more likely to come about with the right mindset and taking the right action. And if you do, you can end up making a lot of money!
One of the biggest amateur blogging mistakes you can make is to just publish a post about your life or your favorite subject.
In other words, starting too soon without any pre-thought or pre-planning. Or treating your blog as a hobby or an occasional diversion.
ways to treat your blog like a business
Before you start writing, make a plan for your blog and educate yourself on how to be a successful blogger. Reading this article about how to avoid amateur blogging mistakes is an ideal start!
Figure out what types of blogs make money. Learn how to set up the framework of your blog for success. You might love knitting, but if you discover it wouldn’t translate into a money-making blog find another idea.
There is a lot of advice out there about finding a subject you are passionate about for your blog. Amateur bloggers make the common mistake of blogging about something they like. However, you should really consider what will make for a viable business if you plan on making any money.
Of course, there’s no reason these two strategies can’t mix! You should also consider anything you are an expert on for your blog. It will make publishing high quality content even easier.
Do your research
Before you start your blog, learn how to make it a viable business. Research popular blogs and learn exactly what they did to become successful. Understand the pros and cons of the different types of blogs.
Educate yourself on the answers to some key questions:
- Are certain niches more successful? Or more profitable?
- How will my blog make money?
- What are the best ways to promote a blog?
- How will I get traffic to my blog?
Invest money in your blog
Not investing in your blog is a rookie mistake. You’ll see this in the list below as one of the major mistakes that amateur bloggers make, but it is worth repeating here!
Investment in your blog in the form of effort and money will make a difference in your success. Investing time in your blog can pay off just as much as money.
As a digital business, you will need the help of specialized tools and software (some of which may need to be purchased) or even professional services (freelance contractors). Long tail pro and Keysearch are great keyword research tools that can help with your blog.
You should also consider investing in your education. Courses like Stupid Simple SEO are a little pricier, but I promise investing in this course when you are first starting an amatuer blog will be worth it.
You can start building a list of email subscribers from day 1 of blogging by signing up with ConvertKit.
Use a carefully-thought out business plan as your roadmap. Identify and write down your goals and put in place a timeline for when you would like to achieve them.
Don’t deviate from your plan or miss deadlines. If you want to know how to avoid amateur blogger mistakes, make a strategic plan to do so.
Detail the type of work you will need to do and allocate a schedule. Maybe you spend 2-3 hours a week on promotion and 10 hours on content creation.
Having a plan will help you stay dedicated and meet your professional blogger goals. The reason so many amateur blogs fail is because they weren’t treating like a business.
There are also a lot of tools out there like free social media schedulers that can help you strategically plan out your social content.
amateur blogger mistake #3: Not implementing SEO
The digital playground of blogging requires its own set of rules and tricks.
And, if you want to be successful in gaining web traffic, you will need to know and master the most fundamental requirement – SEO (search engine optimization).
Search engine optimization is the key to showing up higher in Google’s rankings. So, when someone searches a term like “How to make money blogging,” you will (hopefully) show up on the first page.
But if, and only if, you’ve done the work to optimize your SEO.
If you want to avoid looking like all the other amateur blogs out there, you will need to know how to do this BEFORE you publish your first blog post.
Not optimizing your blog can set you back from achieving your goals and most importantly, from making money.
SEO can be intimidating for an amateur blogger, even some of the professional bloggers prefer to hand this over to SEO specialists. But there’s no reason you can’t do this yourself.
Fortunately, there are plenty of courses and tools available to get started with SEO. A really amazing course that is worth investing in is Stupid Simple SEO. It will teach you everything you need to know to set your blog up for success.
#4: Not building an email list
Digital marketing experts know that the email subscriber list as a valuable possession of online businesses. Yet, few amateur bloggers prioritize building their emailing lists from the beginning.
Professional bloggers are fully aware of how email marketing plays into a well-thought out monetization strategy. By contrast, amateur bloggers don’t even think about it.
It is your subscribers, after all, who tune in time and again to view the content that you publish and who are interested in the solutions you put out.
More often than not they are warm leads, ready to purchase your digital products and those affiliate links. Sending out regular emails not only keeps your readers coming back, but it is also another direct revenue stream.
There are some key tactics you can use to grow your email list from the start. The more names, the better.
#5: Not choosing a niche (and sticking to it)
Narrowing down to a specific blogging niche is one of the first things you will have to do when starting a blog.
This niche will be your very own area of expertise and a specific subject your website visitors are looking for.
General lifestyle blogs target a variety of different topics and it may take longer to grow a targeted audience or earn an income from this type of blog.
Instead, a focused blog devoted to a particular niche (such as luxury travel or pets) that is found to be more relevant to your audience, increases the likelihood of bringing in an income sooner.
In addition, for some reason a specialized, niche blog is better for SEO and tends to perform well in Google search rankings.
The secret behind a niche blog is that it sets you up as an expert which helps in you attracting loyal readers.
Niche blogs target answering specific questions or problems that the audience need answers or solutions to. And of course, they are googling that!
If you want to avoid a costly amateur blogging mistake, pick a niche instead of too broad of a subject.
#6: Not investing money into the blog
You know the saying, “It takes money to make money.” This old adage is true with your blogging business as well.
Investing money into your blog, even just a little, can reap some serious rewards.
Growing a blog from scratch is hard work but newbie bloggers don’t have to go it alone.
You can help yourself out by investing in blog management tools and educational courses. Investing money in these things will save you time and effort in the long run.
It can help lighten the load of work, scale your blog and make you more money as well. Plus, investing in some courses on professional blogging can help you avoid mistakes that would set you back.
If you don’t want to be an amateur blogger, here are some must-have blogging tools:
To be a successful blogger, you will want to create content that is visually appealing and looks professional.
You need to look like you have a graphic designer, without having to spend the money on one! Most beginning bloggers won’t have the money to hire a professional designer.
Luckily for you, amateur bloggers can turn to Canva which offers an extensive range of templates, fonts and images (some of which are free to access) to create those viral-worthy images and social media posts.
Canva is easy-to-use and will help you make everything from a Pinterest pin to an infographic or a full presentation.
This tool is handy for building those desirable email lists we mentioned in amateur blogging mistake #4.
The more email subscribers you have, the more traffic you can direct to your blog. And the more traffic you have, the more money you make! No amateur blog here!
Constant Contact is an email marketing tool that makes it easy to draft a template to send out to your blog subscribers. you can tell them about new content on your blog or digital products you have launched they may be interested in.
The platform also allows you to set up sign up forms for your blog so you can gain new subscribers.
Another wonderful tool for professional blogging is the Yoast SEO Plugin. This is a free-to-use blogging tool that will help you to improve your Search Engine Optimization efforts.
It can go a long way to boosting your visibility in search rankings and gaining more blog visitors (and potential customers) to your site.
Another important thing to invest in that won’t cost a lot of money is your theme. The theme for your blog is basically the design and look of it. There are a lot of free themes out there, but try if you can to opt for a premium theme.
Premium Blog Themes
In addition, and most importantly, they come with customer support. When you run into issues or have questions you can reach out to their support team for help.
There were many, many times this helped me out tremendously. The last thing you want is to spend 2 days and maybe a few tears trying to figure something out when a quick email to an expert could get you an answer.
You can also consider investing in freelance writers to help you scale your blog. With other writers working on posts, it can help you publish more consistently.
Plus, it frees up your time to work on other aspects of the blog like promotion. If you really have the budget, consider hiring a freelance graphic designer as well.
Hiring people to take on specific jobs will mean that you can concentrate on producing the best content, and with so many options to be able to send money globally now, you can hire an assistant or someone to help from anywhere in the world.
Eventually if you start making a lot of money you can hire a virtual assistant to help you with the everyday tasks of blogging like social media posts or emails.
#7: Not following all the steps of blog set-up
Setting up and launching a blog is a multi-layered activity.
In order to do it correctly, you will need to complete all the required steps including some you may not think are important.
All of these blog set-up steps will help set you up for success. They can help you enhance performance, protect your blog, improve reader engagement and analyze data on your website.
This post of 18 Things to do after you Install WordPress is a good checklist to follow. For example, below are a few items you need to take care of to avoid some common mistakes many amateur bloggers make.
- Choose a design theme and layout for your blog
- Set up your title, tagline and time zone
- Set up WordPress SEO to make sure your blog is search-friendly
- Connect to Google Analytics
- Set up security plugins and spam protection
- Determine your blog categories and submit a site-map to Google
- Ensure you are set up for automatic backups for your blog
- Make sure you have caching for speed and load performance
#8: Cluttering the blog with ads
In the hope to earn money quickly from blogging, amateur bloggers may clutter up their blog with ads.
This is not a good idea when starting out on your blogging journey. It can cause a lot of damage and actually be counter-productive to your money-making goals.
Too many ads slow down your site which will have a negative impact on user experience, and as a result, turn visitors away from your site.
If ads are slowing down your site or creating a poor user experience, Google may push you down in the rankings. There is nothing more damaging for your blog than negative SEO and lower search rankings.
In addition, ads may distract readers away from your content which you don’t want to do. Or they may even make them leave your site altogether.
If you have introduced ads on your blog and have found that you are losing readers, site speed or google rankings you should remove them.
Or better yet, sidestep this amateur blogging mistake and don’t include any ads until your site is well-established with strong traffic. You can still make money in other ways such as affiliate marketing or sponsored posts.
The potential income from ads is not worth the loss of your readers or the damage to your SEO. Plus, in the beginning you won’t have enough site traffic to make money on the ads anyways!
Just have patience, work on optimizing your content and building your traffic and eventually you can place ads without issue.
#9: Not monetizing the blog
Is it possible to earn money from your blog right from the start?
The simple answer is yes! It can depend on your particular niche and the strategies you use. Monetization is another aspect you should research when choosing a niche or subject for your blog.
Make sure your blog niche will provide some good ways to make money such as high-paying affiliates.
Not monetizing your blog is a common newbie, amateur blogger mistake that prevents success. You want to capitalize on opportunities to use the blog as a valuable source of income from the beginning.
It is important to remember that there a lot of ways to earn money from a blog and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
Monetizing your blog will need a trial-and-error approach until you find the right basket of strategies that will work for you.
Some monetization strategies can be used immediately like affiliate marketing. However, other tactics like ads or selling digital products, may be more profitable when you have built up a sizable loyal audience and consistent traffic.
Here are some ways to make money off your blog:
- Displaying ads such as Google Adsense
- Affiliate marketing
- Selling your own products, courses, or services
- Sponsored posts (posts you get paid to publish)
#10: Not publishing consistently
For your blog to be considered up-to-date by search engines like Google, you will have to churn out blog posts regularly and consistently. The frequency of your posts could be daily or a few times a week if you have the time, but your goal should be at least once a week.
Amateur bloggers may find consistent publishing takes up too much of time or energy but these efforts are really worthwhile.
Consistent publishing of blog posts can help you rank higher in Google. It will increase your web traffic and conversions. If you need some blog post ideas try this list of tips.
If finding time is tricky, and you can afford it, hiring content writers to produce content for you is a helpful option.
#11: Not focusing on quality content
Another common mistake amateur bloggers make is focusing only on quantity and not considering quality.
While we already mentioned that a consistent blog post publishing schedule is important, creating high quality content is as well.
Therefore, make sure the posts you are writing are in-depth, well written without grammatical errors and include some research and statistics. In many cases, a high word count is helpful as well.
And, of course images are important also! Creative Market is an affordable source for graphic templates you can use.
#12 Not making your site mobile-friendly
The good news is that in this day and age, most blog themes are mobile-friendly. Just make double sure you are choosing one that is set up for that.
With most of your visitors likely coming to your blog from a phone or iPad, being mobile-friendly is crucial. This also means make sure you aren’t using a font that is too small or is hard to read.
Google includes mobile-friendliness now in how they evaluate your site. If there are issues, it could give you a lower score and a lower keyword ranking.
#13 Not Building Backlinks to your blog
Backlinks, which are just when other blogs and websites link to your site, are a powerful tactic.
They help raise your domain authority, and that all-important Google ranking. For this reason, backlinks should be a part of your overall Search Engine Optimization from the moment you publish your blog.
You can learn more about building a backlink profile in the Stupid Simple SEO course.
With all the millions of amateur blogs out there already, you need to build backlinks to yours to make it stand out above the crowd in Google.
#14 Not Including Links in your blog posts
This is another part of your SEO efforts. Linking out to others websites from your blog post is important. Try to link to authoritative sites.
And, especially if you are quoting statistics or research. You have to link out to the source of your quote.
In some cases, you can possibly use a link to someone for additional promotion. Reach out to the blog you are linking to and let them know, they may push out a social media post to your article.
Internal linking to your own website is equally important. With every blog post you publish, you should include some links to other your other posts within it. Make sure the links make sense with the subject though.
Internal linking not only helps reduce bounce rate, but also improves SEO your search rankings.
#15: Not spending time and effort on your blog
Amateur bloggers will have to make peace with this one fact – there is no getting around spending time and effort on your blog. It is the only way you can get the rewards you are after.
During the honeymoon period, devoting time to your blog may be easy but it is important to keep this attitude throughout your blogging journey.
You will need to constantly learn, optimize, improve and tweak strategies to find out what works best for your blog and your goals. This takes time!
Find your own amateur blogging success
The road to blogging as a business is a long and hard one, but the rewards once you get there are worth it. It requires smart thinking and strategy, and an investment of time, effort and money.
If you want to be successful, then avoid the pitfalls and mistakes we’ve mentioned. Start smart and ahead of the game!
Originally published 5/22/2022
Next Blogging Posts:
My Favorite Helpful Blogging Tools:
Tailwind for Pinterest to help boost your blog traffic
ConvertKit for email automation and landing page conversions
Keysearch for keyword research
Elegant Themes for design themes
Canva for graphic design
Stupid Simple SEO course for SEO tactics
Long Tail Pro keyword research
Fiverr for freelance designers