Everyone always writes about what you should do to have a successful blog but no one ever talks about what you SHOULDN’T do, so I thought I’d share what not to do – all things I’ve learned the hard way. I’d like to say I’ve had a 100% perfect blogging experience, but I haven’t. I’ve made some major mistakes over the years, and I’d like to share them so that others can learn from my mess-ups. Ready? Let’s get started.
1. DON’T copy other bloggers. If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time, you’ve probably seen that I’ve been guilty of this in the past. Sometimes, if you’re not careful, it can be super easy to copy a blogger you look up to – you might not even realize you’re doing it! Finding other people that inspire you is a GREAT thing, but if all you do is regurgitate what they’ve already done, then you’re not being true to yourself and you’re just wasting your potential. Use the inspiration you get from them to create something totally brand new and infused with your own personal touch!
2. DON’T take your readers/subscribers for granted. When I first started blogging, a new subscriber or a comment on a post completely made my day. I’d get so excited hearing from my readers! Over time as my blog grew, my “stats” starting getting bigger and I lost that joyous feeling of knowing that I was reaching out to new people. All of the people and comments kind of started blurring together. Hell, I started feeling entitled to a certain number of comments/views per post (I know, how bitchy was I? I’m pretty disgusted even typing that up). I was taking my readers for granted and that’s horribly wrong. Your readers, whether you have a few or a few thousand, are taking time out of their day to read your blog and leave comments. Guess what? THEY DON’T HAVE TO DO THAT. No matter how “popular” your blog is, you’re not entitled to comments and views. You’re being given that by people that care about what you’re sharing, so care back. Respond to their questions and comments, check out their blogs, and send them some love when you can. They deserve it.
3. DON’T try to pretend that everything is sunshine and rainbows all the time. Something I learned from taking a break from blogging and getting out of this weird blogger bubble I had put myself in? I WAS SO ANNOYING. Everything always had to be happy and sparkly or it wasn’t good enough to share on my blog. I didn’t want anyone to see any imperfections because I felt like that was showing weakness, and I weirdly thought no one would be interested in what I had to say if they didn’t think I was perfect. As many beautiful things that blogging has to offer, the struggle to portray that “perfect blogger life” is definitely one of the negatives. Thankfully, I’ve finally realized that there can be a perfect balance – I can author a blog that focuses on the good and the happy without being this annoying sunshine glitter fairy that needs a punch in the face and a wake up call. You can share positivity while still being real. Throw the idea of “perfection” out the window and stop comparing your life to what you see others sharing – usually no one’s sharing the whole story anyway.
4. DON’T forget to send giveaway prizes. Oh lordy, am I guilty of this one. I’d love setting up a giveaway and picking out an awesome prize or two for a reader to win, and then the time would come for me to ship their prize….and I’d forget…and forget again…and then a month would go by and now I’d have an angry reader that had lost all trust in me. When you offer a giveaway on your blog, people take time out of their busy day to enter (usually multiple times) and it is so incredibly rude to make them wait and wait and wait for their prize. What I do now is once I’ve photographed/filmed the giveaway prize(s), I’ll go ahead and package it up and set it somewhere where I’ll be sure to see it every day – either by my front door or on my desk. That way, once a winner is selected and I have their shipping address, I can slap a shipping label on the package and get it mailed out right away. Then everybody’s happy!
5. DON’T hate on other bloggers. This one…is a bit embarrassing to fess up to. But it’s true. I’ve definitely hated on other bloggers before. Not on my blog or online, but usually to myself or maybe to a friend who would listen. And you want to know why? Jealousy. I’d see another blogger doing something awesome and being successful, and instead of being happy for them or letting their success inspire my own hard work, I’d get super jealous and think up something snarky that’d usually make me feel better about myself for maybe 10 minutes. Such a happy person, right? Something I’ve realized is that hating on others does absolutely nothing but drags you down and makes you a petty person. Did those snarky thoughts I had about another blogger stop them from succeeding? NOPE. They kept on kicking ass and I was left dealing with my own demons. Instead of spending time dwelling on negative thoughts, you should use that time and energy to work on bettering yourself and putting hard work into whatever your passions are. Learn to be happy for others and not view someone else’s success as your failure – there’s enough room for all of us to be happy and succeed at our dreams!
I’d love to hear what you’re blogging DON’Ts are. Have you ever dealt with any of the ones I listed above? Share your stories, I’d love to read them! xo Mandy