5 Mistakes I Made Starting my Blog (Now You Can Avoid Them)

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Percy Jackson the dog frolicking in the river while we were traveling through Covelo, California.

This is a slow start blog.  What does that mean?  It means that I’m publishing slowly but regularly, and my audience will grow with my blog.  This is not a money-making technique.  It may take several years before I see enough traffic to make any serious income from this blog.  But my followers will be people who love my writing and are here for the long haul.  This may be a sound investment in the long run when it comes to building links and earning back links.  It can result in consistently higher search engine ranking as time goes on.

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If you are in the blogging game for the money, start big.  Before you ever publish your blog have at least 30 completed posts ready to go.  Do not build your site piecemeal.  Launch it fully formed with all the basics in place.  A start like this will garner more traffic in a shorter period of time once it is indexed by search engines.  If you are completely unknown, like the pen name this blog is posted under was when I launched (and still pretty unknown at the time of this publishing), this is a great way to boost your visibility really fast.  Not many people are interested in new blogs with sparse offerings.  Only those who truly appreciate your content are going to be with you at the very start of a slow growth blog.

For earning income quickly, it was a mistake to make this a slow growth blog.  I had intended to have at least 30 blog posts online and another thirty more to schedule and publish over the course of the year for my launch.  Life got in the way and being a dedicated full-time blogger was also difficult when I have a full-time job that keeps me away from home for over 55 hours a week. So on to my list of mistakes.

Mistake number one: I didn’t launch fully formed just so that I could launch on schedule.  I was running behind, so instead of making sure I had the bones of a decent blog site, I went ahead and started publishing slowly.  I have completed posts scheduled out a few weeks in advance, but not enough to take a real vacation from research, photography, writing, and editing.  When launching a new blog, the more completed posts active on the site the better.  If you have blogger friends who are willing to guest post for back-links that is even better.  It means you can pad your start numbers and network at the same time.  

Paid blog posts are also a great way to earn extra income while padding your post count.  Try not to have more than 1 guest post for every five of your own posts and no more than one paid post for every 10 of your own post.  When the intention is to post once a week once the blog is live, I believe at least 30 active posts is best.  If the intention is to post twice a week or more, then I recommend 60 active posts at launch. Why? Because people can count.

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The point is to look like an established blog. It may not make a whole lot of difference to your search engine rankings. But it will make all the difference to the people who are diligently reading through your blog for all the things you’ve written that interest them. Only thirty, well they post once a week so that’s over six months worth of posts and still going strong. If someone’s posting twice a week, or worse, every day and there’s only thirty posts, that’s three months and one month respectively.

No I don’t look like a long established blog or website at the time of this publishing. Because this is not a well established blog and website. This is a blog I’ve been writing little bits and pieces of in my spare time between a full time employment, publishing two books, writing three more books, photography, painting, traveling, single-parenthood and helping my son prep his YouTube Channel for growth later this year. Not nearly so much as more accomplished bloggers out there, but a far site much for me.

One of the great things about WordPress is that a site can be created for free and hidden until it is ready to be revealed. Same for blog posts.

Mistake number two: I didn’t have all of my pages active.  There are certain pages which all blogs should have.  I did not, and as of writing this post, do not, have all of them active.  However, I do have most of them.  So, kudos to me despite my lazy jack-assery. Necessary pages;

  • Home Page/Landing Page
  • Blog
  • Contact
  • Social media (if it isn’t on all of your blog posts already)
  • Sales/product/store page
  • Legal Disclaimer for liability, affiliate links, and paid posts (Not including the required notice with every single affiliate link on your site.)
  • About (sometimes the same as the home/landing page)
  • Guest post information page. (Info for other bloggers on how to get their posts on your page and what the criteria are. Also, how other bloggers can request you to post on their pages.)
  • Sponsor information page.  Say someone wants to pay you money to talk about their stuff.  A page about what you are willing to do would be a good place to start.

Mistake number Three:  I didn’t pay for the business account on WordPress.com so I couldn’t monetize my site through Word Press or have the built-in store features.   This here bit of Tom-Foolery was because I was uncertain whether or not I would get any traffic or views.  I was insecure about the success of my blog.  Which is silly of me.  I’ve been writing blog posts for other people and writing some fairly successful SEO articles and advertising copy for over a decade.  I know I’ll eventually get traffic if only by sheer dumb luck and random statistical factors. 

Because I chose to wait for a larger audience to monetize, I’ve lost out on months’ worth of income.  I also risked losing dedicated fans when the switch happened, and they decide that they don’t want to deal with the ads on my page.  (I understand.  I really do.  I hate advertisements with a passion.  They slow page loading, and I abhor the fact that I’m going to have to upgrade my super-slow, low memory incredibly cheap smart phone to something faster, and unnecessarily fancier just so I can read web pages with ads on them.)  But when I make the change to a better plan, I’ll be able to sell my products directly from my page; like my books, art, and book review services.

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Mistake number Four: Not posting my scheduling calendar.  I blog about multiple topics.  Travel, events, restaurants, writing and book reviews; and not all of those topics are posted on the same day.  Because of the variety of topics I publish, I have people who will follow me for different reasons.  Maybe I should have made two blogs.  In the future I may chose to separate them out.  For now, though, critiques and reviews will be published side by side with my articles about writing.  There is a schedule. 

At the time of this writing, I was publishing my event/travel/restaurant review posts on Sunday mornings at 5:00 AM and my writing posts on Thursday mornings at 5:00 AM.  Topics will expand to include cooking, DIY, gardening, and book reviews.  Not all book reviews will be paid books reviews, some will be books I reviewed just because I happened to read the book and needed a post spot filled.  (Any authors reading this who would like to be reviewed on my blog can request paid reviews via my contact page or at contact@delightingdelilah.blog

Mistake number Five:  I didn’t network with other bloggers before launching this site.  What?  That’s just nutty!  Right.  I know.  Properly chastised.  It’s not that I didn’t want to, or that I didn’t feel that it was necessary.  I just didn’t want to inconvenience others, as an unknown entity, and solicit their attention.  Letting others stumble across my work is great to me.  Reaching out and asking for attention is not so great.  Something that I wouldn’t hesitate doing for a client, I am uncomfortable doing for myself. Go figure.

However, in the months leading up to launch, networking in the communities of other blogs would have been a great way to make myself familiar to others who use WordPress.  When my blog finally launched, individuals who were familiar with me would be more likely to read my page and posts.  I would also be “out there”, with my name all over different posts on different blogs with links back to me and my work.  The pre-launch phase, when all those posts which are supposed to be on the blog before launch are being written is a good time to do this.

So, what are the things I should have done differently? 

  • Start blog fully formed with at least 30 to 60 active blog posts before publishing and at least 30 more blog posts scheduled for publishing.
  • Make sure all my site pages are active at the time of publishing.
  • Monetize from the start of blog launch.
  • Post a calendar of blog posting so that readers know what to expect and when to expect it.
  • Network prior to blog launch to create back links to blog before launch.

So, readers.  What do you think?  Not the largest list of mistakes, and I’m sure there are a few I missed.  But, now that you know, aspiring bloggers can avoid the down fall of my mistakes. And psst, you can follow me for more awesome posts about writing.

Fiction writers can also follow my Twitter for Tuesday #TwritingPrompt. Every Tuesday a new writing prompt for short stories to help you develop your skills as a writer.