The 10 Biggest Mistakes I Made in my First Year Blogging

There are some people that take to blogging and smash it out of the park straight away, getting lots of followers and views in a very short time… But like most of us, I wasn’t one of those people. When I started out writing on my blog, I actually began to lose traffic as time went on, and all because I was making a lot of the mistakes below…

I am still far from the blogging pro, but I’ve learned a massive amount in this time about what’s worked and what hasn’t that I wanted to share. So in this post I’m going to take you through the 10 biggest mistakes I made in my first year of blogging, and what I’ve learnt.

1 – Not putting my readers first

This is definitely the biggest problem I had, and probably the biggest problem for most blogs out there… Putting readers first. I’ve spoken about this elsewhere on my blog, but my first posts were more of a travel journal for myself rather than a travel guide for others. Added onto this, the posts weren’t really that well formatted or easy to read. This meant that people other than close friends and family soon got fed up with reading my posts.

What I’ve learnt is to always try and write content that is useful for other people. Unless you’re a celebrity or already have a following, people aren’t that interested in people just talking about themselves. This is especially the case when they’re stuck in an office on a rainy Monday, and you’re telling them about the amazing time you’re having in the sunshine. People subconsciously will be thinking, ‘what’s in it for me’, in reading your material, so always try and bear that in mind. What will make someone want to read what you’re writing?

2 – Not posting regularly enough

Whilst I was on the road I posted what I was up to as and when it happened, usually when I could with internet access. Which was fine. The problem was when I came back, this was just over 6 months into blogging, and I only posted a post every few weeks maybe, without any real schedule or plan of how frequently I wanted to post.

You need to stick at it! Posting regularly is the only way to build momentum for your blog, and it’s much better to post less often, but with regularity, than to post every day for a week but then not again for a month for example.

3 – Not posting in a quality format

As most of my original posts were from the road and posted from my phone they looked horrible! You’ll still be able to find a lot of them in the archives, and I’m planning to have a big sort through my old posts to bring them up to scratch. But they had different sized pictures, unclear fonts and layouts, and generally just looked very messy and not great.

Now I’ve found a format that I quite like to post in, with clear subheadings and ways of writing. A great way to find formats you’ll like to post in, is to go on other people’s blogs and see what you do and don’t like. There’s no better way, especially if you’re not that hot on design like myself, than seeing someone else successfully creating good formats for posts and then replicating that formula yourself.

4 – Not making posts scannable and easy to read

This is a big one, especially for someone like me who likes to write in a conversational style. Often I’ll write very long paragraphs without subheadings that aren’t scannable or easy to read, and often this puts people off actually reading them.

In today’s world of content everywhere, when no-one has time for anything, it’s important that you can clearly and quickly convey what you’re trying to say to your audience. Otherwise often they’ll just think ‘TLDR’ (too long didn’t read), and move on.

5 – Not making maximum use of initial momentum

When I first posted about my upcoming travels and shared it on Facebook, I got SO much traffic. I was thinking to myself, ‘this blogging lark is easy’. But gradually over time, mainly because of the reasons in the post and not knowing what I was doing, people became less and less interested in what I was writing in relation to my trip.

So my advice on this is to try and educate yourself slightly BEFORE you start blogging. I am an advocate of learning by doing however, so I don’t want to advise over researching and no action. But if I’d known what I do now about blogging, I would have no doubt been able to maximise that initial excitement more and gained more traffic in the long run.

6 – Not doing research on blogging before blogging

Lady doing research

Following on from the above. I just jumped into blogging knowing nothing other than how to start a basic WordPress blog. I signed up, picked a basic theme, and off I went. I didn’t do ANY research on what kind of content to produce, titles, post formats, images, etc etc. I just wrote about my travels, stuck a few pictures in there and got on with it.

My advice on this side is to do some research on blogging, and it will set you up for success. The best way is to be learning whilst your posting. So for example there is a great podcast I listen to by Darren Rowse called the ‘Pro Blogger Podcast’ which starts off with a feature ’31 days to build a better blog’. He basically takes you through EVERYTHING you’d need when starting a blog, and it will really set you up to do well in the future, it’s great for new and experienced bloggers alike.

7 – Not engaging with other people

I’m very ashamed to admit that I didn’t go on anyone else’s blog at all in my first month of blogging. In my defence, I was travelling, but also wasn’t really taking blogging as seriously as I should have (which I’ll talk about below) so just stuck to writing my own thing and having a ‘if you build it, they will come’ mindset.

Especially when you start out, engaging with other bloggers is so important. I didn’t realise until I started engaging more with other people that that’s what blogging should be about. It should be about community and people, not writing about yourself and hoping someone will listen. It’s a way of helping, educating and making a difference. Not to mention when you go on other people’s blogs you can learn so much about how you want to run your own blog.

8 – Not having a list of post ideas in advance

This has really step-changed my blogging and made a massive difference in how frequently I post. When I started I’d just post things as they happened, or I’d sit down and think to myself, ‘hmm, what should I write about today’. This meant that often I’d spend far too much time thinking of ideas, thus dragging out writing and posting. It resulted in blogging seeming like much more of a pain and meant that I posted less as a result.

Now however, I have a document with probably over 50 ideas of future posts I want to write. I’m constantly thinking of new ideas of things to write on my blog and noting them down, and it’s made such a difference and saved me so much time. Not to mention, I’ve found a big benefit in having different options, because depending on my mood that day I’ll feel like writing about different things. It’s like having a menu in a restaurant that you can scan through and see what you feel like picking that day. A big benefit is also being able to assess ideas for posts in hindsight, you may think something would be great at the time, but then realise a few days later it’s actually a terrible idea, and you can only get this hindsight with planning.

9 – Not taking it seriously

You can probably guess by the content in this post, that I am now taking blogging a lot more seriously these days than when I started. If you have a mindset that blogging isn’t a priority and just ‘do it on the side’, then that will show through in your blog and you won’t get results.

The best approach is to try to always learn and improve. This might be because I’m a natural perfectionist, but I’m always now looking to do things better and look for ways to improve what I’m writing and the success of my blog. I listen to podcasts, read articles and follow influencers in the blogging and digital marketing space, as well as getting on other people’s travel blogs to engage and learn from others. We’re so lucky now that the internet just has a wealth of incredible information and ways to receive it, so get out there and take it all in.

10 – Taking a lack of immediate results personally

Blog first year stats

Blogging is a very personal thing for a lot of people, or in my opinion anyway, I think it should be. Whenever you share something personal with strangers it naturally means putting yourself out there and making yourself vulnerable to failure. The image above is taken from when I started my blog, and you can clearly see from my first posts in the first month of May last year, I started to see my traffic drop and drop as my travels went on significantly, even though I was still posting. This did affect me and put me off blogging slightly, because I was putting all this time and effort into writing posts (although yes making the mistakes above to different extents), and people didn’t seem to be that bothered.

What I’ve now learnt is to not take this personally. Most of the time if people aren’t reading your blog, either you’re just starting out so it’s completely normal, or there are simple mistakes your making and changes you can make that will turn things around. Overall though, it takes time to get people reading your blog and a lot of hard work, so don’t expect immediate results, and especially don’t be put off if your blog doesn’t go viral within a few months.


I hope you’ve found these points useful and can learn from the mistakes I’ve made in my time blogging. There’s no better way to learn than by making mistakes and fixing them. I’m by no means perfect, and am still trying to find ways to improve and not repeat previous blogging mistakes.

Unfortunately these days, and especially with blogging, it’s so easy to see successful blogs and expect quick results when we see other people being successful. But we don’t see all the mistakes, first drafts, failed posts, and time and effort, that have gone in over often years to make successful blogs. Most of all, if you enjoy it and are passionate about what you write about, that will shine through on your blog and you’ll care enough to want to make something of it even when it gets tough.

Thanks for taking an interest in my blog, it’s a pleasure to have you! If you’ve enjoyed my blog then you can also sign up for my monthly newsletter, or you can listen to my podcast all about blogging.




207 thoughts on “The 10 Biggest Mistakes I Made in my First Year Blogging

  1. Before starting my own blog, I did lot of research about blogging but never found any article as honest and beneficial as yours. I can relate myself with some of the listed mistakes and will definitely try to improve myself. I am very sure many people will find this helpful. Thank you so much for sharing this post and all the best for upcoming posts! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Good ideas here. I am less than a week into it and I realize it is going to take a lot of work to get noticed. I have youtube videos that I am including in some of my posts when relevant. I want to be confident, but am afraid of being over confident and coming off as an “I’m the smartest person in the world.” I don’t have a college education, so I certainly don’t want to come off that way. Sub Titles are a great idea for posts, I think. I for one do not like to see a ton of paragraphs running together and might not continue reading. I’ll definitely do that in my next posts. Thank you so much for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great with video, it’s always a bit intimidating not knowing how you’ll come across to people but if you’re concerned why not ask for some feedback from friends or family? They really do help and allow people to find the information they want quickly, you’re welcome!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gotta say, couldn’t have hoped to stumble across a better post! Just started my own blog, sharing reflections and to get the readers thinking. Thanks for this post Giles, really beneficial and definitely saved me from falling into a few holes which I would have otherwise blindly fell into! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As a new blogger I really like this! This is my first day engaging with other blogs in my 3 weeks of blogging and I have realized how many amazing experiences, tips and tricks that people have written about! This journey is truly not just about me!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m a noob and am always looking for tips and how to engage and retain any readers that stumble across my blog. Tags are one thing, being able to find their way around to other articles they may enjoy is another. This is a great article. Thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great post to stumble across. I only just decided to start blogging and admittedly did the exact thing you described! My first post is one of an extremely personal nature as it seemed like the most human way to deal with a difficult situation. Finding the process so cathartic has made me want to continue so any tips like these are incredibly helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome! I’m so glad, it’s natural isn’t it especially when you just throw yourself into it, but I’m really glad blogging has helped you too. It’s definitely become a passion and something I didn’t think I would enjoy as much or spend this much time on when I first started


      1. It’s one of those uniquely beautiful things where you can open up your mind to total strangers and be accepted (in most instances!) I’m looking forward to getting my head round it all and reading some other blogs- I love the suggestion of having ideas lined up. I had considered it but wondered if it made it less ‘authentic’ but I think it’ll make it seem more structured so thanks for that tip in particular!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Exactly! I always say how pleasantly surprised I am at how supportive the community is. It really helps so much, often I think of ideas at other times than when I’m sitting down to write so it’s helped me hugely


    1. Of course! It’s called ‘the blogging pod’ and you can find it through iTunes, acast or stitcher. These are the usual podcast services if you’re used to listening that way. Or alternatively I have a link to it on my blog in the main menu and there’s a page to listen directly online

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ok great, well I would really love to know what you think, and it means a lot that you’re willing to check it out! Hopefully you enjoy it, I listen to all sorts of podcasts and really enjoy that way of getting information

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Adrienne, thanks for commenting! If you mean how I’ve found the readers on my blog currently etc, or other bloggers. Mostly it’s by using the WordPress reader to search for blogs in certain topics, and visiting blogs, commenting, and following ones you like. It’s why I’ve found WordPress so useful as a beginner because it’s so straightforward to connect through the platform. Something I also need to get better at but have found some success in starting, is going on forums etc, I’ve started using reddit recently and answering questions etc and trying to add to the community there. Reddit also allows you to add ‘flair’ next to your name on certain subreddits, which can be a link to your site so it’s handy. Essentially try to identify where your community might hang out and spend time there.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you Miles! I’ve enjoyed reading your post and appreciate you sharing some lessons learned. I’m about three months into blogging and found some helpful tips and resources here. With appreciation.

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. HI Giles – great tips thanks! I particularly like the idea of compiling a list of ideas for future posts. Running out of idea is my downfall which leads to writer’s block – I like the idea of a menu too :). Engaging in a thoughtful and meaningful way with other bloggers is really important and I have developed a great ‘neighbourhood’ with other bloggers. Thanks again 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I see, well apologies for generalising, if that’s your situation then it seems the approach should be different. I wouldn’t get embarrassed by mistakes, we all make them, I’d say either if you have a friend etc who is kind enough to proof read that could work (I’ve roped in my girlfriend on occasion) or there’s various software now that you can use to help with writing and proofing such as grammarly that might be worth considering. I haven’t used any myself but just wanted to try and give potential options that might make it easier and less of a pain

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Don’t worry about generalizing we all do it. I thought about grammarly but have heard mixed things about it. I sometimes get my wife to proof read but as I’m planning on asking her to do my whole book before it goes to an editor I’m not going to push my luck! Especially as my book is a genre she doesn’t like.

        Since taking up writing as a hobby I have found I make less mistakes and I think part of that is having to continually check and re-check so it’s not all bad.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for sharing! I’ve only been blogging for a week. I’m sure half the things I blog about other people are like whatever, but if I can talk about things that people can relate to or that people find cute or funny, I’ll feel satisfied. I wanted to try blogging for awhile but my real motivation to finally get started was quitting smoking. I was craving really bad last Sunday and I grabbed my laptop and said I’m going to beat this addiction and I’m going to try something I always wanted to do at the same time! I’m already in love with the blogging community. There are so many helpful people like you! Who are giving us newbies tips and tricks to be the most successful we can be. So again thank you for sharing such a great, helpful and relatable post! Happy travels hun!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for sharing this post! I just completed my first year and it had been full of ups and downs. I have made many of these same mistakes! I find that posting regularly seems like a simple task when starting out but life gets full sometimes and finding time and inspiration the write can be more difficult than it seems! I found that a blog planner really helps! Thank you again for sharing and happy travels!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for sharing. Just like many others in the comments here, I am a brand new blogger wondering where on earth to start with gaining readers without pestering family and friends more than once (because lets be honest, if family and friends aren’t your target audience theyre not going to follow along anyway). I found your post really helpful food for thought and hope I can put as many of these tips into action asap!
    Thanks again,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting and glad it’s useful. It definitely seems like the more I blog the more I realise I did wrong or could have done better! So good luck with it all, if you keep trying to improve and learn I’m sure you’ll smash it 😊


  13. Great information. How posts are formated is important. For tutorials or posts with a lot of specifics, I sometimes put tips or asides in blockquotes so the reader can find it easily if they need to.

    I didn’t like the way my theme rendered blockquotes so I changed it using a custom CSS.

    Liked by 1 person

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