7 Lessons Learned from My Previous Blog Failures

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Yes, you read that correctly. I have had multiple blog failures. 3 to be exact! When I say failed I mean they never really took off. Sure I may have had a following – mostly family and friends. Sure I may have been promoting them – but I didn’t truly know how. Sure my most recent failed blog (Naturally Fit and Fab) provided opportunities to write for a local newspaper, speak on panels, and receive plenty of free goods. However, I still consider it a failed blog.

I don’t want you to go through those same struggles.  Check out this list of 7 lessons learned from my previous blog failures.

7 Lessons Learned From My Previous Blog Failures

Topic

Content is key in the world of blogging.  Be sure you pick a topic that you have plenty to write about and that you enjoy!  A good practice would be picking a few of your favorite topics, and then listing posts that you would write about each topic.  Can you only think of 4 posts?  That might not be the best topic.

My first blog was about my “quarter-life crisis.”  I was almost 25 and feeling confused in the world.  I had a lot of friends who felt the same way so I figured I could provide them with resources to cope.  Unfortunately, there weren’t many resources on the topic and I wasn’t 100% open to sharing my tactics of coping.  Therefore, that blog only lasted a few months.

Also, do research with friends or family.  What things do they like to read about or research?  When I first started Financially Fit and Fab, every other week I would ask my personal Facebook followers what they wanted to learn more about as it related to personal finance.  They gave me great suggestions like credit and home ownership.  Therefore, I have been able to tailor my posts to their requests.  I notice “requested” topics and posts get shared the most!  For example, how I raised my credit score 150 points and 3 apps to start investing with $5 were two requested and now are the most shared posts!

 

Invest

For my most recent blog, I started out using the free Blogger platform.  It wasn’t until about a year down the road that I ended up buying my domain name but kept the site on Blogger.  Blogger is cool but it has nowhere near the capabilities of WordPress.org or even Squarespace.

This time around I invested in a Blue Host self-hosted site through WordPress.org.  Self-hosted sites are more professional and they also allow for more customization and control.  On top of that, they aren’t that expensive.  For the basic Blue Host plan I started out with there is currently a special for $3.95 per month.

Of course, I am striving to be Financially Fit and Fab so I’m always hesitant to put money into the blog but I have begun to look at it as an investment.  After initially purchasing the self-hosting through Blue Host and a premium theme, I invested in a number of other things:

  • SEO Keyword Research on Fiverr
  • CreateHer Stock (for premium stock photos)
  • Tailwind (to schedule pins on Pinterest)
  • Facebook Ads

My next investment will be a course.  It is always important to continually invest in yourself and your site.

 

Promote Promote Promote

Now that you have written all that outstanding content it is time to get to promoting.  Personally, I spend 80% of my time promoting my blog and 20% actually creating content.  That is a much different shift from my blogs in the past.  Just because you create good content, doesn’t mean that people will find it, especially starting out.

I promote my content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.  Instead of just sharing the content to my personal pages, I created blog accounts.  In addition, I share my work in targeted groups.  Facebook groups can literally be gold for a new blogger.  Basically, many Facebook groups will have targeted days where you can promote your blog posts, social media posts, or even social media accounts.  I saw my site traffic double once I started using Facebook groups regularly.  A few of my favorite Facebook groups include:

  • Brown Blog Love
  • Blogging Newbies
  • Bloggers Supporting Bloggers

Side note, I am not saying you need to go out and get every social media account possible.  I tried that before and it was overwhelming.  Start with one social media site at a time.  For example, I am most familiar with Facebook so I started building my following on Facebook.  After about a month, I moved on to Twitter, then Instagram, and lastly Pinterest.  There is no right order, that was just my personal comfort level.

Figure out what people in your niche use and have success with.  If they have followers on those mediums, that means you can build a following and find your tribe as well.  For example, I never really understood Pinterest besides to look at pretty pictures and recipes.  I started using Pinterest for my blog in the middle of June and now 50% 65% of my traffic is coming from Pinterest.  I saw other Personal Finance bloggers having success with Pinterest so I tried it and it worked!

 

Automation

So now that you know you need to promote, how do you balance your promotion time between all the different social media outlets you choose?  This is where automation comes in.  It is so important so that you don’t go crazy trying to keep up!  Trust me, with Financially Fit and Fab I didn’t automate anything at first.  It got overwhelming quick.  Here are the tools I use to automate my social media:

  • Hootsuite
  • Tailwind

I’ve heard other bloggers use Buffer/Coschedule to automate Twitter and Facebook and Boardbooster to promote Pinterest.

By automating, I don’t just schedule a bunch of tweets or Facebook posts promoting my blog.  I schedule posts from other quality sites as well.  In addition, for sites like Twitter and Facebook, I ask my followers questions.  I like to engage them because it helps to build community.  Of course, when questions are answered I do jump on the sites to interact with my followers.

Also, when you automate a social media site the work isn’t over.  I will still jump on Twitter for a chat every once in a while.  Twitter chats are a great way to network within your niche and for your tribe to find you if you appear to be an authority.  For example, every Wednesday Experian hosts Twitter Chats about various finance topics.  I get new followers on Wednesday if I am able to share wisdom during the Twitter Chat.

 

Collaboration

So now that you have found your topic, made a few investments, promoted, and automated, it is time to collaborate with others.  Collaborating with other bloggers was never something that I was previously good at; however, things have changed dramatically.  Ways to collaborate with others bloggers include:

  • Guest Posting
  • Co-Hosting a Twitter Chat
  • Co-Hosting a Webinar

Collaboration doesn’t stop with other bloggers.  For example, I have a themed Instagram where I share quotes, posts, and scenery pictures.  Although I love to travel, I don’t take that many pictures.  To combat that I have reached out to friends that are photographers and they allow me to use their pictures (as long as I give them credit).

In addition, find networks of people in your niche.  For example, the folks over at Modest Money have an awesome list of the top finance blogs.  I added my site to their growing list of over 600 finance blogs.  In addition to adding my site to the list, I have been able to check out other blogs on the list.

If you are interested in Guest Posting on this site, check out what I am looking for here and shoot me a message!

 

Support Others

One of my favorite things about blogging, this time, is being apart of a community.  The personal finance community is literally amazing.  I have met so many “online friends”.  We will share each other’s work, comment on each others posts, and help each other in any way we can.  I appreciate it tremendously.

With that being said, find others in your niche.  Reach out on social media and say hello.  Check out their blog posts and comment.  Now, when I saw comment don’t just say “That is awesome!”  I did that at first and it really does nothing for the other person.  Leave a genuine comment.  Not only does it go a long way for the blogger, others will see it in the comments and want to check out your site.

Honestly, the bloggers that you reach out to don’t even have to be in your niche.  You will see a lot of the same people in Facebook groups and then follow them on social media.  If I haven’t seen someone post in a while, I will reach out to them and make sure everything is okay.  It really is like an online family.  I want everyone to succeed.  Also, other bloggers will understand you when family and friends may not.  I am sure people think I am crazy when they ask me what I am doing and I always say “blogging.”  Other bloggers understand the time commitment.

 

Time Commitment

The last but probably most important lesson I learned was really putting in the time commitment.  Although I spent hours upon hours on my latest blog, it was nothing like now.  I will literally spend all weekend writing, researching, contacting others, and promoting.  I am sure I could shorten that time with increased focused and fewer distractions but it is still a HUGE time commitment.

The thing is, though, I don’t mind it.  This goes back to finding a topic that you truly care about.  I am passionate about helping millennials achieve financial freedom!  Therefore writing and promoting never seems like a chore.  It is a chance to reach a new person and educate them regarding budgeting, saving, investing, and being financially responsible for travel hacking.

 

Bonus Tip

During the beginning of August, my site got the most traffic ever from the post How MJ paid off $39,000 of Debt in 21 months.  The increase in traffic was actually more than my site could handle and it was down for a few hours!  I was distraught!  The thing I learned from the fiasco though is that I am always learning.  We are all always learning!

Just when you think you may have your techniques down something else will throw you for a loop – whether that is increased traffic or social media sites changing their algorithms.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, read from others, and learn more to be the best.

 

Are you ready to commit the time necessary to achieve your goals?  Let’s do it together!

 

 If you want to start a blog or are a blogging newbie, checking out these 7 lessons learned from my previous blog failures. I don't want you to make the same mistakes I did.

 

What advice do you have for newbie bloggers or those considering starting a blog? Have you experienced any blog failures?  If so, how did you turn it around?

 

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32 comments

  1. Great post! 🙂 . I also had a blog years ago that just petered out after about two years. I had started it during the financial crisis of 2008 and let it go once l was back on my feet financially. I am still learning everyday and trying to implement new things. Networking is a biggie as is having enough to talk about. You’re right, you don’t have to stick with just your niche. Mine is travel, but l try to mix in a lit bit of finance, and food and follow a whole range of people.

  2. Great tips all around Tia. There is so much to learn to blogging it is crazy! I think investing in your blog is key to growth and will reward you in the long term. I see blogging as a long term reward rather than a short term one so I may be bias haha.

    Which course were you planning on taking as your next investment?

    1. So I’ve heard awesome things about a few Pinterest courses. I’ve been trying to do it on my own. Just got the paid version of Tailwind and I’m going to see how that goes for a month. If I still need a boost, then I will take a course.

  3. Love this post, some absolutely great tips. I always think you learn so much from ‘failures’

    It’s a long game and the more you put in the more you get out.

    Laura @ elleblonde.com

    1. I agree with you Laura! I see bloggers excited to get free stuff and make money immediately from their blog! It really is a labor of love that takes time.

  4. What a great post. I just started my blog up again and I am really putting in the effort now too. I have learned a lot of the same things you have, but haven’t done automation yet. I’m going to try that!

  5. Girl, I am in the process of doing these very things since I rebranded to the Real Wife Movement. Thank you for a the few tips I didn’t know about.

  6. Love this post, Tia! You are so right about the time commitment and thanks for sharing the groups you are apart of, I see one that I need to join!

  7. I am on my third blog too, and have been blogging for 9 years. I made many of the same mistakes, but the major one was to be casual about posting and writing only when I felt like it. My first blog, an infertility blog, got me writing work, but I didn’t want to write about that topic forever. You really have to choose a topic that can sustain your words for the long haul.

  8. I had a few blogs prior to Young Adult Money and they all failed for various reasons. With each failure I learned a little bit more. I think my biggest tip for new bloggers – or anyone trying an entrepreneurial project – is to consume massive amounts of info and turn it into actionable items. I’m looking to become more of an authority on content marketing so I’m diving into the content that is available on the topic. I’ll test out some strategies and see how they work, always looking to learn a little more and become a little better.

  9. Ohmigosh, I GET you, girl. I have had a few websites fail, too. Oh, I’ve made money, but it just didn’t click for me until I realized that I actually know how to build an online business – I just need to stick with it long enough to see it grow! So, that’s the plan now. To share everything I know and give my readers an over-the-shoulder look into blogging for business.

    Like you, I can work for HOURS because I LOVE what I do! There was just this mindset shift.

    And those mistakes? They were some of my most valuable lessons because I learned something from them!

  10. Excellent advice. I’m happy I found you because I love your posts. I am going to take your advice and ask my few followers what they would like to see on my site. Thank you!

  11. I think these are really great tips. I’d recommend all of these, and just to make sure that the name you choose is not being used and really represents your brand long term.

  12. These are really great tips. As someone who has been blogging for 5 years I have seen a lot of blogs come and go. It definitely takes all of what you mentioned. Investing in my brand made a huge difference as well.

  13. I’ve definitely had my share of ups and downs with my blog, but this past year I decided to rebrand and hone in my subject matter. Now I focus more on family than I’ve ever done, ethnic skincare, food and beauty. Before I was kind of all over the place. I did well, but not as well as I would have liked to. It only took me 4 years to focus lol.

  14. Thank you so much for sharing! I wish I had know of these resources when I first started blogging. I though that if I wrote it they would come.

  15. Wow, you provided some great tips on blogging!! I love the invest section and guest blogging. I’ve had guest bloggers on my site and that has always worked out great for me and my site.

  16. Great info. I love the info about the automation because I do need to do that more often but the supporting one another is real important. So many people can be competitive in the blogging world because of the different opps but always support because a win for them can be a win for you!

  17. I had no idea this wasn’t your first blog. I absolutely love reading your tips on personal finance and blogging. With working full time, my goal is to start working on automation. I’m hoping that will free up some more time to work on other things.

    1. Yes! Automating social media literally helped my sanity! Now I can tweet and pin all day without being on the apps.

  18. These are fantastic tips that I just bookmarked 🙂 I love the Facebook tip because I haven’t been utilizing it that often but I think that will change soon once I educate myself more in it. I also agree on that it’s a huge time commitment. It may seem simple, just putting up a website with learning minimal (if any) coding to someone but marketing, creating content, networking, and contributing to the community takes up so much time. The only thing that’s helping me go on is the fact that it’s so fun and hopefully the fun never dies out!

  19. I really enjoyed this post. I have experienced failure at blogging myself, mostly because I didn’t have enough experience to really make an impact at the time (and my career started to become more time consuming). I’m back at it 7 years later and am enjoying sharing my experiences and knowledge gained over that time period. Like you, I’ve switched to BlueHost and WordPress.org and love it (previously used 1and1.com and Squarespace). Thanks for the Facebook group information as well. I love the sense of community that you promote. Looking forward to more posts and success for you.

  20. Thanks for sharing your tips. As a relatively new blogger I’m trying to figure it all out. Luckily my business partner is my husband and we could talk about money until the sun goes down. Basically we are personal financial gab masters. But we love it and look forward to years in this awesome community. Thanks for the inspiration.

  21. I just discovered this post on Twitter (see? Social media works). While it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t technically already know, it does a good job of reiterating a lot of what goes into a successful blog. I just completed my second year, and I can tell you that you can’t just write and expect to become popular. Guest posting and social media are key, as well as being able to commit tons and tons of your free time to blogging.

    Cheesy as it sounds, love of blogging is also necessary for success. If you don’t love blogging and you don’t get a sense of pride having created an online community out of nowhere, then you won’t make it. I get that a lot in Reddit’s banking subreddit where people will reach out to me to tell me that they love my blog and that they deal with a lot of the same stuff I do all the time. It’s really nice and motivates you to keep going.

    Great post!

    Sincerely,
    ARB–Angry Retail Banker

  22. THANK YOU! This post seems to be superful helpful. I really want others to read my content and need to find a better way to reach my target audience. I’m still off today for the Holiday and will be implementing some of your tips immediately.

    Sincerely,
    Alex

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