Becoming a blogger can be extra tricky. Not only are you unfamiliar and confused about the blogging world, you’re also unsure about what’s considered right and what’s considered wrong. This is precisely why we’ve compiled a dandy ol’ list to help you through your newfound blogging journey.
1. Using Google Images
This one is listed as number 1 because it seems to be one of the most used and abused, misemployed faux pas, many new bloggers make. And you know what? Sometimes I even come across people who have been blogging for a while and still think they can use images they found off of Google or Pinterest or Facebook, wherever. The fact of the matter is, is if you did not capture a picture, you have absolutely zero rights to it, whatsoever. The picture might of been nice, it fit your blog post well… but it is not yours. It’s important as a blogger (or any creative) to familiarize yourself with image licensing, to determine what you can use freely, what you can use under a condition, what you can use and modify, or what you simply cannot use at all. If you are going to be using images, which are not yours, off of the world wide web, you should look for what is identified as the “Creative Commons Zero License”, also known as “CC0”. This license means that the original creator of the image has waived all copyrights and any other neighbouring rights over their work. The Creative Commons Zero License, in simple terms, means you can alter, copy, distribute, and use the images, for free, without having to credit anybody for them. My recommendations for CC0 stock photos include Unsplash, StockSnap, and Pexels. They are all impeccably easy-to-navigate websites, with loads of images, and best of all, most of these images are high-quality, thus they won’t scare your readers away from you.
2. Verging Plagiarism
Every blogger first starting out looks to others as a source of inspiration. There’s always someone out there that you feel like you can connect or relate to, and they’re so experienced and successful, and you find yourself constantly on their website. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, there is a fine line between being creatively encouraged, and then just being a straight up copy cat. The reason this happens so often with new bloggers is because they’re still in that growing, awkward phase of trying to figure out which direction their blog is going to go, and most importantly, what their blogging voice is. There’s no evolution just yet because newbies are just that — new. And it’ll definitely take some time before that expansion into being your own voice and being your own blogger will take place. What you need to remember is that although there are incredible sources of inspiration out there, it’s important that you immediately recognize and differentiate the moment you begin being “too inspired”. And what I mean by being “too inspired”, doesn’t only mean that you copied and pasted an entire paragraph. It also means that you could have potentially
a) partially plagiarized, which means you stuck your own words between someone else’s sentences, or
b) patchwork plagiarized, which means you stitched together and rearranged words from multiple sources
So, if you have researched other articles for your own blog post, make sure that you give proper credit when credit is due. Also make sure to use a plagiarism checking tool to notify you of any unoriginal content. This is especially helpful if you accept any guest posts on your website. PlagScan and Copyscape are both simple to use and free. The bottom line is, if you copy, someone will find out, and you’ll get in trouble. And getting in trouble is nooo fun. Take the proper precautions to avoid a future headache.
3. Still Using a Free Web Hosting Platform
Sorry, not sorry: Using a free website platform is a bad idea on all levels. Unless you’re only a hobby blogger, and you have no interest in growing your traffic or making money from your website, there is absolutely no reason for you to not be self-hosted. Not only does it look unprofessional and cheap, but it also makes you seem untrustworthy. You’re selling $300 jewellery from your website, deezgemz.wordpress.com? Nope! Even with a funny brand, a self-hosted deezgemz.com looks a lot more credible without the added sub-domain name. The worst part of it all, is that if you don’t cough up moola for your website, you straight up do not own it. Your free hosting provider can shut you down whenever and however it wants, without notice. So although your intellectual property is yours, nothing else is. Signing up for self-hosting is not as expensive or intimidating as people think. It’s not difficult to set up, and it costs you what one cup of coffee does per month. So, if you’re looking to be taken seriously as a blogger, then becoming self-hosted is a huge step into the right direction . You’ll get your own website, you’ll own your own content, you have full control of it, you’ll receive a branded email address, search engines will send you traffic, you’ll look more professional, and so on and so forth.
4. Avoiding Investments
This topic also ties in with #3. We’ve covered how crucial it is to pay for your own website, but there are definitely other investments you need to make in order for your blog to look great and function properly. Yes, I know, times are rough and not everyone is a millionaire. But the truth is, is if you want your website to be taken seriously and to grow into something bigger than yourself, you’re going to have to fork over some money to someone else. You invest, and if you work hard and what you offer is valuable to others, that investment pays off and you have the opportunity to be successful. Putting money forth into your company will not stop at any stage, because you have to continuously learn and continuously evolve your blog and business. Thus, if you’d like to go farther as an entrepreneur, a professional looking and functioning website is a must. Every website has different needs, so if you do come across a tool that costs money which would benefit your business, research the hell out of it, find out if it’s an excellent asset, and if it is, go for it. If it makes your life easier, it’ll make your readers lives easier as well.
5. Ignoring the power of Pinterest
Pinterest is by far the most useful and necessary tool for bloggers and business owners. Pinterest allows you to maximize your reach beyond belief and allows your content to be shared all over the world. Pinterest isn’t only a social media platform, but it’s also a search engine. Meaning, Pinterest users enter what they’re looking for, and you, lovely blogger, pop up! Pinterest is also completely content-driven. So unlike other platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest users are looking for blog posts, information, and ideas. They’re searchin’ girl, and you better be there to show up! The most vital part of using Pinterest is not actually solely based on only Pinterest. You need to invest in a pin scheduler. You need to constantly be circulating your content through all hours of the day. And of course, you don’t have all day to manually repin and pin to your group boards. Tailwind is my favourite for scheduling pins as it has a super easy-to-understand platform and it definitely makes my days much easier. All in all, Pinterest is your go-to for receiving more traffic and more recognition as a blogger.
6. Comparing Yourself to others
We’ve all been there, whether it’s in our personal lives or business lives, we naturally compare ourselves to other people. This is especially discouraging when you first begin blogging because you’re examining the contrast between your beginning and someone else’s successful result. So, you’re looking at your content and work of 3 months and you feel like you’re doing well, and then you go over and look at a blogger who makes $100,000 a month. And all of a sudden, you kind of go, “hm. ouch.” Your ego immediately fuels some fear in you and you feel threatened, and somewhere inside your head, a tiny but familiar voice goes, “You’ll never get there… You suck!”. But, it’s important to remember that these bloggers you look up to have been in your shoes before. We have all felt the struggle, on different levels and in our own way. And many of these successful bloggers you look up to have been at it for many, many years. They’ve cried through it, they’ve given up at times, they’ve also had the same thoughts you do. But you know what? If you’re persistent and find balance in hard work but also taking it easy, you can get to where they are in a few years time as well. Nothing is built overnight, so allow some calmness to enter your soul, ride the wave, and take your own journey. You got this.
So, what do you guys think? What has been your greatest challenge as a new blogger? Or what mistakes have you done when you first began a blog?