At a recent department tech talk, I was asked to say a few words about blogging – as I was once known for blogging about blogging.

Over the last few years, my blogging frequency has decreased a lot. With a list of failed blogs behind me, it feels somewhat disingenuous to talk about blogging.

However, you can still learn from your mistakes. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. To that end, here are a few of the biggest mistakes I’ve made, with tips for how to avoid doing the same things yourself.

Starting a blog for the sake of it

It’s exciting to start a new blog. It’s much harder to keep it going.

It can be far too easy to come up with an idea and jump right in without thinking it through. First off, why are you starting a blog? What will it be about? Who’s it for?

It’s OK if you want to start a hobby blog just for fun. It doesn’t have to be part of a business. It doesn’t have to make money. But be clear on your reasons before diving right in.

An example of where I went wrong is I was writing about blogging, but never really had a point to it. There wasn’t a particular area of blogging I focused on. I didn’t target a particular type of blogger. The focus was very broad – and interest in the blog was fairly low.

Not having a plan

It’s easy to lose interest in a blog if you start without figuring out what direction you want to take it in.

Having some specific goals helps. For instance, if you write 1 post per week, you’ll have 52 posts if you keep that up for a year. But is that your objective? Does it matter to you?

Perhaps your goal is to learn something new, and to use your blog to write about how it’s going. Or you’d like to share your insights on a topic you already know – learning more along the way – and when you have enough posts, you could compile these into an eBook.

You don’t have to tell anyone else about your goals – they’re just for you. But it will help if you have a plan so you know where you’re going – and to see if you’re on track, or going off course.

Procrastination

Should I start a blog? What should I call it? Will anybody read it? Why even bother starting if it might not go anywhere?

It’s definitely possible to overthink things, and end up not having a go.

You can always start a blog and get some posts up without telling the world about it right away. I think it’s far better to get 5-6 posts up first, than to share your brand new blog name, design, and first “welcome!” post – only to lose interest and never post again.

Trying to go it alone

Solo blogging can be lonely. Finding other people with blogs who you can follow (and vice versa) can make blogging a much more social activity.

Having a clear focus can help. For instance, a blog about a specific topic can make it easier to find others in your field, than if you have a multi-topic blog where you write about anything and everything. I’m still guilty of this …

You can also write guest posts for other people’s blogs – or even start a group blog, where several people contribute.

Not making it a habit

You don’t have to publish a post every day. Readers might not want to read a post from you that often anyway!

But you can still do something every day, and find a sustainable rhythm for getting a new post up. You could write every day even if you don’t publish a post. Learn something every day. Take a photo every day. Post on social media every day. Or whatever takes your fancy.

I’ve tried most possible rhythms for publishing new content. Daily – 5 times a week – 3 times a week – once a week – or less. You definitely need a plan – and a lot of post ideas – to maintain a regular posting frequency. But the consistency of regular posting can be very good for turning blogging into a habit.

In summary

  1. think about why you want to blog
  2. have a plan
  3. don’t overthink it – give it a try
  4. connect with other bloggers
  5. make blogging a habit