If you want to pursue a blogging career you should know that blogging is not a sprint, it is a marathon. It takes time and dedication, a lot of work, consistency, and perseverance. The good news is that, if you avoid certain huge mistakes you can definitely accelerate your journey to a successful blogging career.
My blogging journey has been difficult and too long. It took me 5 years before being able to generate sufficient revenue to support myself.
That’s only when I started to treat blogging as a job. But I will talk about it more in depth further on in this post.
I am sure that if I had avoided certain simple but huge mistakes, it wouldn’t have taken me such a long time to become a full-time blogger and I would be more successful.
But I can’t turn back time. And, to be honest, I enjoyed my journey, and I still do, even more now that blogging has officially become my full-time job with a steady income.
Besides, I am even more proud of myself because I’ve never given up despite all the setbacks, pitfalls, and slumps, which I still experience, by the way.
You need to keep in mind is that blogging has advantages and disadvantages. It’s not all fun and easy.
What differentiates successful bloggers from others is that they push through difficult times and setbacks, and never give up.
Also, now I have learned what tools I can rely on and what I need to succeed and thrive besides the good old friend “consistency”.
I know it’s more difficult to be a blogger now than 10 years ago when the market was not so saturated and it didn’t take much to rank on Google’s first page if you wrote good content.
Now writing well is not enough, there are many other factors at play.
But there is space for anyone who decides to make blogging her full-time career, and that is also true for a travel blogger or a food blogger which are the most saturated markets. If you are determined to make it work, no matter what it takes, it will happen.
Google has become more difficult to master, with many more rules and many do and don’t. The good part is that information is available to anyone and easy to find.
There are many blogging courses as well, where you have all the information at hand and they spare you the time to research and the hassle to discern the good from the bad.
Yes, there are also a lot of scams and bad information out there as well. You know how the internet is. Everybody can publish something and create a youtube channel or a course. It’s up to us to understand what is good.
Even the courses and tools I am suggesting in this post, may not be effective for you. Because we all have different backgrounds, and know-how and our minds operate in different ways.
So what works for me can be useless for you. That’s why it’s very important to take the advice but also make your own research before making any choices.
I learned it the hard way but I will tell you more about it in the next paragraph.
Now, I want to be clear. This post is not going to teach you about blogging. I am leaving this task to the masters of blogging.
However, it is a good starting point if you want to know what blogging is all about and what mistakes you should avoid if you want to become a successful blogger.
Things you should know if you want to pursue a blogging career
The below-mentioned mistakes are the blogging mistakes I made and they are not necessarily listed in any particular order. All of them are very important. So let’s start.
1. Don’t be undecided
When I started blogging in 2016 I was still working full-time at my corporate job. I was very enthusiastic about blogging. I enjoyed writing and I wrote whatever I wanted to, just for the sake of writing.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue a blogging career, so I didn’t really bother studying anything related to blogging as a profession. I had a job after all.
However, the following year I left my job to pursue a dream I had for a long time to travel around South America. I was living on my savings but I was also in search of the best way to support my travels. I loved that life and I didn’t want to go back to an office job.
So, the only way would have been to set up an online business (blogging) or freelance. But I still wasn’t sure if blogging was going to become my job. I wanted to, but there were many doubts and fears that were holding me back. I wasn’t feeling confident that I was cut for it.
I saw all those successful bloggers always showing their faces and sharing everything they were doing every day on social media, in those beautiful dresses and with impeccable hair and make-up. That wasn’t me.
I don’t really look good in pictures and I don’t always want to share my daily life. Besides, I was dressed every day in the same kind of hiking outfit which was not fancy. But very comfortable, let me tell you!
And, I didn’t think people would be really interested in knowing about my life.
I just wanted to write. But, was I good enough? English is not even my first language. What if my articles were boring or I make too many mistakes? I had the so-called impostor syndrome.
But also, do I really want to make this commitment to myself and create my own business? Am I even capable? I have never had an entrepreneurial mindset. Or so I thought.
I believed I would have probably been better off writing for others and once I delivered my assignment I didn’t have to stress about ranking on Google and other search engines, or anything else.
Because as a freelance writer I would just get paid for what I write and then move on with my life. Much easier.
So despite all these thoughts, I would continue to write for my blog. I didn’t know that at the time, but deep in my heart I really wanted to become a blogger. I just didn’t think I deserved it.
Time would go by and my savings were getting shorter and shorter while my anxiety levels, higher and higher.
Also, the freelancing career wasn’t taking off and although I was always working on the blog while I was traveling, I didn’t see any breakthrough, which was for me the proof that I wasn’t cut for it. Wrong!
I ended up taking a full-time job and work remotely, and although I was trying to convince myself that that job was the solution to my problems, I wasn’t completely happy with it. Although I could work from wherever I was, I had a set schedule that was making me uncomfortable.
I wanted to be free. But I was learning a lot and I loved my remote co-workers, which was keeping me going. I needed the money after all. But I was constantly calculating how much money I still needed to resign and be free again for a while.
I was still working on the blog in my free time but still without a real plan or any strategy. I was just writing about places I was seeing in my journey, the amazing Galapagos, and other incredible places in Ecuador.
Then the pandemic happened, and I was laid off. What to do? After a moment of despair, I had a breakthrough.
I am not sure where it came from but on the very same day when I was let go, after crying a river of desperation for a couple of hours, I made my decision.
I will become a full-time blogger. That was my chance. The Universe gave it to me and I am not going to let it go wasted.
From that moment on, when I decided to become a full-time blogger, nothing special happened. It wasn’t like magic in the sense that I started to make money just because I decided so.
But I have planted the seed. I was determined to make it work, no matter how long it would take.
Once I made the decision that I was going to become a full-time blogger, and I clean up my mind from all the excuses and negative thoughts I started to think strategically and explore my options on how I could be successful.
I started to write like there was no tomorrow, following blogging podcasts, and groups, listening to the pro-bloggers, and much more. I was living for that purpose and there was no turning back. It was a matter of succeeding or dying trying. I had no choice but to make it.
What to do instead
Make up your mind. Do you want to be a professional blogger? what do you need to be that?
Set small achievable and realistic goals in the short run, make a plan, and tell your closest friend, those who will support you and encourage you. Avoid talking about your project to those who would find all the reasons why you shouldn’t do it. Don’t let anyone or any negative thoughts get in your way.
That leads you to our second mistake to avoid.
2. Have the right mindset
I may sound cheesy but the mindset is everything or at least 80% of the game in every career. As I mentioned before, if you keep changing your mind on what you want to pursue, and you don’t have a clear vision of your goals, if you keep doubting yourself, and you don’t believe that you are good enough, it’s just not going to happen.
If you compare yourself with successful bloggers, thinking that you will never be able to get there, just forget about it. Instead, look at them as an example that if they can make it you can too.
Maybe it will take longer than them, or maybe not, maybe you don’t get exactly where they are, maybe you will become even better. You never know until you put in the work and engage all your energy to achieve your goals.
When I was in lockdown in La Paz, Baja California and I was laid off, I remember I did the math and realized that I had enough money to live a decent life with my saving for another year if I was mindful with my money.
I asked the homeowner if he could meet me halfway and lower my rent so that I could have afforded to stay through the lockdown. He agreed.
And after that as soon as the airport reopened I went to housesit for a few months so I didn’t have to pay for the rent and I had the company of cute pets while I was hustling for my dream.
I have cleaned my mind from any financial worries so that I could focus on my lifetime project.
I am not sure what got into me but I was so determined that not even setbacks or slumps, or even the fact that I wasn’t seeing any progress would let me down or make me change my mind.
I just had one goal and I was going for it, no matter what.
I read a few mindset books, which help me to tune in with my inner self and stay focused on my ultimate goal. I suggest you do the same. Trust me, mindset is everything. I know it for a fact.
What to do instead
Believe you can do it, and find your “WHY”! There is no better motivation than the reason why you want to achieve something. Once you remember that, it becomes easier. Read mindset books to help you do that.
3. Don’t start writing before learning about blogging
That was my biggest mistake, after my indecision. Nowadays blogging as a profession is very competitive and it takes a lot more work and know-how.
There is a lot of technical stuff involved, that you may not like but it’s necessary if you want to pursue blogging as a full-time career and be your own boss.
Gone are the days when you could just publish a post to see it ranking on the first page of Google in a couple of months.
Nowadays it requires a strategy and implementing a lot of rules on how to write, what words you use, where to use them, the length of the sentence, you name it.
What to do instead
You must learn the basics of blogging and I would start from Google’s SEO starter guide. Who is better entitled to give you blogging lessons than Google itself?
Now, google is only telling you about SEO (search engine optimization), which is basically 70% of the blogging success and part of the digital marketing strategy that affects your blog traffic. But there are many other factors to consider. That includes:
- deciding what to blog about
- who is your target audience
- what theme you should choose
- understanding WordPress
- how to organize your content
- how to find keywords
- how to load the images
- and much more
You need to develop new specific skill sets that will help you succeed in this new career path.
All this information is available online in bits and pieces. But if you want to cut it short and save time you can buy courses that include all this information organized and ready for you to understand and apply.
I bought a few courses and here below in this post I will share my honest review. You also have access to free blogging podcasts and youtube tutorials.
Maybe once you realized all the aspects of blogging you may decide that blogging is not your ideal career option and then it’s a good idea to shift your attention to what you really love.
If you really want to just write, the blogging career is not for you, because blogging implies learning and looking after many other factors.
Don’t get me wrong! You still need writing skills, but many full-time bloggers don’t even write anymore and have professional writers do it for them, while they focus on the strategy and on editing the final blog post.
I assure you that strategizing takes a huge chunk of the blogging job. If you decide that you just want to write, you can pursue a career as a freelance writer, which is still very lucrative and in high demand among the digital nomad jobs.
4. Make a plan before start writing
This is connected to the above mistake. It is actually what follows. Once you understand what blogging is about and you are still embracing the idea of becoming a professional blogger you can’t just start writing.
You will need to prepare an editorial plan based on the keyword research that you have learned in your courses or tutorials.
This is important to stay organized and publish with a strategy, which leads to the next mistake.
5. Write 80% of content that serves user intent and 20% about what you want to write
Here is the biggest disappointment about blogging. Although the big authoritative bloggers can write whatever they want and still rank on google’s page one, for us new bloggers (yes I am still in the beginner’s category) it’s a totally different game.
And I am not just making it up.
I’ve just listened to one of my favorite blogging podcasts that I have just discovered, the blogging millionaires, by Brandon Gaille, founder of RankIQ a new amazing tool, but I will talk about it later.
Brandon explains in his podcast that he reached blogging success by writing only 20% of the posts on topics that he wanted to write about and 80% of the posts that were based on keywords with a low difficulty score, even though they were not topics that he particularly loved.
I am sorry to disappoint you but if you want to write for the sake of writing you can write on Medium or find another platform, or start a personal blog as a hobby.
But if you want to pursue a blogging career and you are determined to treat blogging as a job, you cannot just write what you want (like I used to do until yesterday, basically).
What to do instead
Like Brandon says you must search for low-difficulty score keywords on the topic you write about of course, and write articles around that keywords. 80% of your content would be based on those low-difficulty keywords and 20% will be about anything you like to write about that you consider relevant to your blog topic.
Of course, these tips as much as all the advice that you find in courses and tutorials, must be taken with common sense. It goes without saying that if you are blogging about dogs and you find very low difficulty score keywords about cats, it wouldn’t make sense to write about it.
As I mentioned, finding the right keywords is just one side of blogging, and it’s only one of the hundreds of ranking factors but an important one.
This is also what Mike in his Stupid Simple SEO course says multiple times. I will talk about this course as well in the blogging resources section of this post.
The thing is if your posts are not ranking nobody will ever find and read them. So what is the point?
6. Invest in the right courses
There are hundreds of courses about blogging and I just found out that there are also blogging coaches. I didn’t know such a profession existed. How to choose the best one for you?
I know from my personal experience that when you are desperate and eager to know, it is very easy to fall into the trap of “making money easily” type of message. When you read this, just run away.
Also when a friend and fellow blogger that is successful is suggesting a course, you are tempted to purchase it because “If she says so…” Right? Wrong!
I made that mistake twice. I bought a Pinterest course and a blogging course just because two successful bloggers told me they were the holy grail! They were not, at least for me.
Now I am not saying that I was ripped off, by all means. I am sure those bloggers were in good fate and that those courses were indeed what they needed to take their blogging career to the next level.
They were just not good for me.
My mistake was to just follow other people’s advice without doing my investigation and determine if they were the right choice for me too. I could have asked for a refund but I felt bad.
I spent tons of money that I could have invested in something more useful. But that’s ok. I am more careful now. And I do my homework before buying any blogging tool or hiring a coach.
Then mistakes or bad judgment happen in any business. Just learn the lesson and move on.
What to do instead
There are many great blogging courses, tools, and teachers. Don’t let a bad choice stop you from continuing your search to find the right one for you. We need technology to be professional bloggers nowadays. We just need to find what works for us.
7. Be consistent and don’t give up
In my first three years of blogging besides all the other mistakes that I mentioned above, I wasn’t writing consistently. Wrong!
What to do instead
Don’t let setbacks and difficulties of any sort stop you from working towards your goal. When that happens, just remember your “WHY”. You need to be consistent every step of the way.
Publishing new content, updating old posts, writing guest posts to build backlinks, and staying up to date with the latest blogging-related news.
You’ve got to do the work.
8. Don’t worry too much about aesthetic details and be practical instead
Another mistake I made was choosing a WordPress theme that was super complex and heavy. It was slowing down my site big time.
But what would I know? I didn’t do my homework, I didn’t study blogging. I was just thinking about having a nice good looking blog that everybody would have read. Wrong! if nobody sees it how they can read it?
Site speed is one of the main ranking factors nowadays.
What to do instead
If you are not techy find a good developer who can give you advice on how to set up your site. Then find a theme that is light and makes your blog run fast.
Meaning that when somebody opens one of your posts to read it, the page doesn’t take forever to open.
The lightest theme available on the market are Astra and Generate Press. I am using Trellis by Mediavine, but it’s only available to Mediavine Users at the moment. It will be public anytime soon.
My blogging resources
Although you can find all the information on your own, investing in a GOOD blogging course is the best way to reduce the learning curve and accelerate the process to succeed with your own blog.
The important thing is that you choose wisely and pick what you think it’s best for you. Read the reviews and do your homework. If you get the right one for you, you will be surprised how fast you learn new skills for your blogging career.
The common mistake that many do (myself included) is to believe that those courses are the holy grail and once you buy them, you will be magically turned into a professional blogger.
I am sorry to disappoint you but you’ve got to put in the work, a lot of hard work, including content creation, the way they teach you, and overall treating your blog as another online business. Because blogging is a real job, no matter what people say.
These below are the only courses I can talk about because I’ve taken them myself.
Blogging fast lane – By Anna and Tom from Adventure in You travel blog. It’s an amazing source of information and very well structured.
Anna and Tom, a beautiful couple and very successful bloggers take you by the hand through the wonders of the blogging career. It’s great if you are a beginner blogger who has ZERO ideas on where to start.
This course will give you a blueprint of what blogging is about and a step-by-step guide to blogging explaining every step of the way in detail with video and prints, cheat sheets, and downloadable files.
They also give you access to their private Facebook group, only available for the course student where they reply to any questions.
Not suitable for those who are already blogging and know the basics. It’s kind of pricy, but if you are at the beginning and you are completely lost about blogging AND you don’t feel like you can find out the fundamentals of blogging by doing your own research, this course is for you.
It will definitely save you loads of time. Although I was too advanced for this course, I still had good takeaways.
Stupid Simple SEO by Mike Pearson was a life-changer for me, although I still have to implement everything he taught in the course. I have just finished it.
But I can tell you that Mike is a genius and he teaches you how to find low competition keywords using ahrefs, one of the most accurate tools on the planet for keyword research and benchmarking.
Besides that, it gives you other useful tips on backlinking and other ranking factors to take your blogging business to a higher level.
Niche Site Academy – is Mike’s newest course and it teaches you to identify a profitable niche. Suitable for those who want to blog but have no idea of what to blog about. I will buy it myself because I want to build another blog and I will tell you how it is as soon as I have access.
Travel Blog Prosperity – by Jessy from Jessy on a Journey. I loved this course first of all because you don’t have to invest hundreds of dollars without knowing what’s waiting for you. Besides, with this link, you can take a free course and at the end, you will be offered to enroll in the course for as little as 9 USD for the first month.
This way you have the chance to see what Jessy has to offer (and it is a lot) and you will be free to decide if you want to continue for the next months at the full rate of 49 USD which is absolutely nothing for all the great advice she has to offer.
She also has very valuable weekly Q&A zoom calls and many other email goodies. Besides, she’s awesome.
Affiliate Marketing Superstar by Leanne Scott. One of the ways you can make money blogging is through affiliate and there is a strategy also for that if you want to succeed. In this course, Lean teaches you all of it, from the tools you need to a step-by-step guide to implement your affiliate marketing strategy.
I have gone through the course and I loved it, first of all, because Leanne shares actionable tips on how affiliate marketing works and second because she is always ready to answer your question either via email, messengers, or within her private Facebook group.
She honestly cares about your success and sometimes she also gives you individual personal audits to your posts until you get it right.
I have always thought that before implementing an affiliate marketing strategy you need to have a lot of page views but nothing is further from the truth.
On the contrary, you can start making money through affiliates while you are building up page views to qualify for the major advertising company.
Stupid Simple SEO course includes an affiliate section but it’s not so thorough, it’s more about finding the right keywords whereas Leanne’s course is more strategical.
Leanne is an affiliate marketing wizard and she has a lot to teach you (us).
Podcasts on blogging
Here are the podcasts that I follow. They have been very helpful in many ways. It’s a good strategy to bombard yourself with blogging-related news and information and a great way to become a pro.
The Blogging Millionaire – by Brandon Gillie who is also the founder of Rank IQ an amazing tool for keyword research.
Theory of Content by Joshua and Don. They also have a Facebook group where you can ask your questions.
The Smart Passive income by Pat Flynn. Pat was one of the first bloggers that I was following back in the days when I was exploring the area. He’s always spot on. But he doesn’t talk about blogging only, but about every possible way to generate passive income.
Make Money Blogging by Sharon Gourlay, the founder of Digital Nomad Wannabe and the related group. I suggest you join the group. It’s free. She also has a blogging course but I have never tried it.
If you google blogging podcasts, you will find many more. If the ones I suggested above don’t satisfy you you can try others and choose the one that resonates with you. They are free after all and a good productive way to spend your free time.
Blogging free tutorials
All the free tutorials are made to show the author’s knowledge so that you can decide if you want to ultimately buy their courses.
But if you are tech-savvy and with constant hands-on blogging you can get away with the free material.
However, if you can afford it, buying the course will definitely give you extra input that sometimes you can find a ha-ha moment, while other times is a money waster. 🙂 but you will never know until you try. so go with your gut feelings.
The above are the mainstream blogging schools with free content and optional paid content. There are tons of others that I have never watched so I am not comfortable sharing.
But you are welcome to share your thoughts in the comments below if you have other free sites or tutorials worth reading or listening to.
Blogging plugins and tools
Here are the plugins and tools I am using for my blog.
- Great features
- Customizable displays
- Awesome personalized customer service
- Frequent updatings
- Amazon cookies 24hrs only
- No other integrations (for now)
Blogging groups on FB
Following blogging-related groups is most of the time a great experience because you can share your frustration with fellow bloggers who totally get it, and find support both mental and technical.
Most of the time fellow bloggers that are more experienced are willing to help and share their tips and knowledge. I even made virtual friends with some of them.
You can use blogging groups also to stay up to date with the latest blogging news, exchange links, and create collaboration posts. Here are my favorite groups.
How you make money blogging
I am sure that if you are determined to become a professional blogger you already know how to make money blogging. But in case you don’t here is briefly how bloggers make money blogging (mainly)
DISPLAY ADS – Advertisement is usually the best source of relatively steady income for bloggers. To qualify for the major advertising companies, you need to have reached at least 10K page views a month with Monumetric, 50K Sessions with Mediavine, and 100K with Adthrive. Sometimes they accept you with less, depending on your niche and the quality of your site.
Once you are accepted they set up the ads placement and you don’t have to worry about anything else. You can have control over the ads through a dashboard where you can also check stats and reports and use them to implement your next strategy. It’s so much fun. I am with Mediavine and love them.
AFFILIATE MARKETING – Almost every company has an affiliate marketing program where you can sign up. Some of them are direct with the company, for others, you can sign up with aggregators, such as Awin, CJ, Share a Sale, Impact, and of course Amazon, the king of every affiliate.
You create your affiliate links and place them into the post, where appropriate. Of course, there is a strategy to follow and there are courses to teach you, such as Leanne’s course that I mentioned above.
PRODUCT SALE – you can create your products, depending on your niche it can be physical such as paintings or any crafts depending on what you are blogging about, or digital such as ebooks, or printables and sell them through your blog.
SPONSORED PARTNERSHIPS – If you become an authority in your field there is a good chance you can pitch main brands for a sponsorship collaboration. It means that they let you try their product in exchange for an article, or social media exposure, or more.
It depends on many factors and you both must agree on the terms that are different for each company.
Ok, guys! I believe I covered the most important mistake about blogging that will sabotage your blogging career if you don’t do something about them. I hope it was helpful. Please let me know if you think I have missed something or if you have any questions. I hope I didn’t make you change your mind about blogging. It’s a beautiful profession and I am loving every bit of it. I hope you do too.
About the Author
Hello there! This is Isabella, the author of this blog, and a cat lover. I am an Italian expatriate with a Mexican permanent Residence. After 7 years of living in Cancun, I have decided to leave my job and explore my beloved Mexico and the rest of this beautiful world, starting from South America, while sharing my travel stories and offering useful travel tips about traveling as a solo female traveler and digital nomad.