Small business advice personalized for those who are new to business
Blogs got their start in the internet boom during the late 90s. Blogs, which got their name from “web-log” (you’re welcome for that bit of trivia), are a series of self-published posts or articles on a website. There are many different types of blogs and not all blogs are created equal. Some blogs are quite casual which often seem like digital diaries, while others are quite professional. Many businesses have blogs that compliment their online presence. My purpose in this blog is to serve my current clients and to attract new clients through relevant (and helpful!) content that leads them to my small business coaching services. Since I started blogging consistently in 2018, I’ve learned quite a lot and here are five mistakes I’ve made. Learn from my mistakes and let them propel your blogging efforts even further.
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Mistake #1: Jumping Into Series Too Soon
Very early in my blogging journey I was obsessed with doing series posts, i.e. “Everything you need to know about Poshmark, Part 1” (and then later part 2, part 3, part 4 – you get the idea). One, that title alone is a contradiction in terms. Two, series blog posts don’t welcome new readers. New readers are hesitant to jump in the middle or on the end of a series, they feel like they’ve missed out. Now there’s all this prerequisite reading before they feel that they can read the post that brought them to your blog in the first place. Three, I hadn’t built up the habit of writing and publishing consistently, so I ended up overpromising and under-delivering. I never finished my series on Poshmark and I still feel guilty about it. When you’re just starting out, stay away from overpromising and series posts. Let each post be stand-alone.
Mistake #2: Not Niching Down
My first blog posts were all over the map. I thought every interest I had belonged on the same blog. And that’s a great way to alienate your audience. You need to niche down and pick a wheelhouse in which you’ll write. It doesn’t have to be super niche, but there should be a common theme. Think about your favorite magazine. Mine is Country Living which caters to a female audience who loves antiques, laid back culture, gardening, hosting, and the occasional DIY. It would be super weird if I opened up this magazine one day and found an article about men’s triathlon training. Even if the editor is super passionate about the topic, if it doesn’t cater to the theme the audience expects, it doesn’t belong. Try to identify your theme early on and stick to it.
Mistake #3: Writing Without SEO
In addition to writing whatever the heck I felt like, my blog posts were not written with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind. My titles were often something like “what I learned in December” which isn’t very SEO friendly. One part of SEO means providing the right relevant wording that your target audience is typing into search engines. No one is typing “What did I learn in December?” into Google or at least, I hope not. Now I try to write searchable content. In addition, I take an extra minute to fill out the SEO fields like title, description, and keywords on my blog platform. This helps my blog be more visible online, which is kinda the point of having a blog in the first place.
Mistake #4 Not Having an Email Sign Up
When I first started, I didn’t have a way for someone to sign up to an email list. I had ways that someone could email me directly, but not to receive emails when I published a new blog post. This was a mistake. When someone actually finds your stuff online (which is a bit of a miracle in the beginning), you want to have a way for someone to stay connected and be able to easily find you again. Having an easy email sign up is a great way to accomplish this.
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Mistake #5: Trying to Monetize Too Early
Even before I had identified a niche, I explored possible ways to make money with my blog posts, which ultimately led to even less of a niche. I tried to cover as many money making opportunities as possible, so my content was even more all over the map. Furthermore, some advertisers will do a trial run and since I didn’t have the blog traffic they were looking for, it not only meant no money, but more importantly a loss of a relationship with that advertiser because I tried to do too much too soon.
How To Start the Right Way
When you’re starting your blog, pick your theme, publish consistently, and build your audience. Everything else is just extra stuff. Building a successful blog takes time, and in a lot of cases, years. Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme. Even though it takes time, it doesn't mean it isn’t worthwhile. Put the work in and when you get a little traction, seek out a business coach to help you learn to monetize your blog and build your business.
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Hey! My name is Christine and I'm an entrepreneur and small business coach. I've learned most of what I know through trial and error. I help women who are new to business to take their next steps with confidence and clarity.