As a baby in the blog game, I had Grand Plans to totally nail everything I attempted. I’m still loaded with unwavering optimism, but I definitely did not nail everything.
I’m naturally analytical, so I am constantly evaluating my progress and looking for ways to kick bad habits. But everybody knows that hindsight’s 20/20, so I can easily look back and pinpoint my biggest blogging faults. Even with my amateur status.
We all know time management is key to busy schedules. And with so many things to accomplish with a blog, these are the top time-drainers that sneak their way into my schedule. This list serves the purpose of being my reminder of how to NOT spend nap time every day.
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1. Never-Ending Theme Customizing
This is a guilty pleasure of mine, and it has completely hijacked perfectly productive DAYS of my time…. I can’t even tell you how many hours I have wasted fumbling around my tech specs…
Back in the myspace days, I was one of those that ‘coded’ and customized my layouts over. and over. and over. I remember being 14 and thinking “wow! I can’t believe I’m doing this on a Friday night…”
And here I am, over ten years later… ‘coding’ on a Friday night. Oh boy.
Instead, I wish I had taken my time shopping for themes and cataloguing EXACTLY what I liked about other blogs/websites. Not having a clear vision of what I want my blog to look like has allowed it to evolve indefinitely! Ugh. Step One, People! Idk what’s wrong with me…
I finally made the investment in a well-reviewed and obviously successful theme for bloggers. I recently cashed in on an Elegant Themes Divi Layout and it is exactly what I need! These themes are so easily customizable, I don’t waste hours with trial and error. I used to find an error and jump into finding a solution and perform a lobotomy on my source code. This usually ended with me reinstalling the original theme and losing any good changes I had made…
Now I just jump into the editor and the problem is solved within 2 minutes. AND it’s beautiful. It doesn’t get much better than that.
2. Get your Brand off the Backburner
You know that branding is key to any successful business. I know that too, and yet my personal brand has completely escaped me for YEARS. I have avoided the subject of identifying a brand for my online presence. The reasons probably require a professional, so I will spare you. But this is not something I should have put off.
After spending years with bad social media habits, I feel myself drowning in a kiddie pool full of 12 year old Instagram stars. I can’t be alone in this. Some of these kids have unbelievable skills, and I’m over here like “look at this terribly lit picture of my dog doing nothing”.
Just figuring out a color scheme should have been handled immediately. Rebranding is a thing, but it shouldn’t be done often.
It’s not perfect, but consistently combining my VIBE with the same colors and fonts will build a clear foundation enough before I truly find my brand. Because let’s be real, a brand wasn’t built in a day. I’m sure it will continue to evolve, but for now I’m going to stick with my “starter brand” until I have a fully drawn out idea of my blog.
Now, I have a phrase that I use to bring out the same vibe in every photo I choose and each post I draft. It’s still in the early stages, but you will start to see things in a more cohesive light. This is not a whole picture of my brand, but it gives me the direction I need to keep unrelated content off my handles (and blog).
I’d hire a professional, but frankly I don’t trust myself to not waste my money and end up feeling disconnected from something so personal. I do plan on reevaluating my brand each year. Find out what’s working for me and what needs to be replaced. Eventually, I will definitely be hiring a branding specialist.
3. Finding my NICHE
I shouldn’t really call this a time-wasting task, because it is a necessary part of the process. But I have had so many ideas and interests, and dialing it back is tough! I still find myself wanted to write about things that just aren’t suitable for my “official brand” above.
Finding a niche takes a lot of thought, and there are so many strategies to work in, it’s a gradual process. This is definitely something I wish I had in place before even bothering with a brand and theme.
Let it happen. But I need deadlines.
Starting a blog is a big undertaking and a long, gradual process. My niche has evolved and feeds into my evolving brand. I’ve decided to stick with my three primary talking points, while dabbling here and there to see what sticks. I gave myself 6 months to figure out which avenues I should pursue.
One that helps, one that inspires, and one that motivates.
4. Signing Up for Email Fatigue
I am very quick to give my email address to bloggers (or anyone). I know the rules, and I know that I can unsubscribe at any time. So I subscribe to anything that piques my interest. Needless to say….
My inbox is exploding! It has given me serious email fatigue, and depreciates the value of the information I receive. I find myself reading long, well-written landing pages, only to be pumped to partake in the free course/webinar/group, but never follow through.
Not only does this waste time clearing out my inbox, but it’s wasted time hunting the stuff down. AND it makes it WAY too easy to miss critical emails from clients! This is absolutely a black hole for me, and going on my list of things to NOT do in 2018.
I haven’t really found one. Have you? I need all the help I can get.
I’ve become much more particular about how many awesome incentives I opt-in to. I’ve dabbled with different organization techniques, but there just isn’t enough time in my day.
5. Rushing through setup
Plug-ins, mail providers, SEO, and everything in between. They all get installed/registered for so easily, and it can start to feel like it’s all the same story. Hard NO on this one.
With all the super helpful bloggers (and I mean no sarcasm), we all fall into the “5 best plugins for a perfect blog”. But just taking anyone’s word for it and not properly integrating or installing a plugin can make a huge impact. How would you feel if I told you there was a full 2 weeks with no google analytics attached to my site?
Would you be sick? I was. The worst part? My “best day ever” occurred during that time. No audience analysis for me.. yay.
This is a big one, a properly prepared site will have less trouble establishing itself as a web authority and rank higher with SEO.
I spent close to an entire day reactivating plugins. One. By. One. And digging into the settings as deep as I could understand. This is absolutely one of the scenarios that require the difficult (read: draining) approach.
By taking your time and wasting what feels like hours, you will actually save yourself from spoiling your precious blogging foundation. Without the right tools in place, so many elements of your hard work can be overshadowed by errors and glitches and yikes.
I hope these can spare some baby bloggers from the same pitfalls I fell into. Please share any other things to avoid. I am always looking for ways to improve efficiency and productivity, so fire away!