8 Blogging Mistakes I Have Made

by Henrik Edberg

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/evilerin/ / CC BY 2.0

“What do you first do when you learn to swim? You make mistakes, do you not? And what happens? You make other mistakes, and when you have made all the mistakes you possibly can without drowning – and some of them many times over – what do you find? That you can swim? Well – life is just the same as learning to swim! Do not be afraid of making mistakes, for there is no other way of learning how to live!”
Alfred Adler

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
Albert Einstein

I don’t really write much about blogging since this is a website about personal development. But once in a while I make an exception.

However, some of the mistakes and lessons I have learned are probably still helpful even if you don’t have a blog.

1. I didn’t proofread out loud.

If you proofread your article out loud then it’s much easier to catch strange sentences or missing/misspelled words. A simple and effective tip.

2. I worried too much about negative reactions. They were mostly in my head.

Out of all the feedback I have received over the last three years very, very little has been hostile, angry or nasty. So don’t let your fears about what people may say stop you from posting something or from starting your own blog.

3. I didn’t think looks mattered that much.

I changed the design of the blog last year and the rate of added subscribers and the offers from advertisers and all kinds of personal development businesses have increased. The blog looks more professional and therefore I believe it looks more trustworthy now than it did before. It leaves people with a better first impression.

No, the surface – or what may seem superficial – is not just what matters. But it does have a big impact. Don’t neglect it (in any part of your life).

4. I didn’t focus on email subscribers.

Articles about blogging often talk about the importance of RSS subscribers. Online marketers often talk about the importance of email subscribers. I have found from my own statistics that a lot more people actually reads a new article if it is delivered via email rather than via RSS. Putting email subscriptions in the spotlight has ensured that a lot more people will actually read what I write.

5. I forgot to backup the blog. Many times.

I have been lazy about this many times and every time the blog had some problems or went down for some reason for while I got stressed and angry at myself for not doing such a very simple thing more regularly. Don’t make that simple mistake.

6. I didn’t do proper research on hosting companies.

Back in the spring of 2008 my blog went down. It was down for about nine days. I called the support desk at my old hosting company here in Sweden each day. And each day they told me they would take a look at it and fix the problem. They didn’t. So after more than a week of frustration and phone calls I finally switched hosting companies.

Before making that switch I did some research for about an hour. I read blog posts about hosting companies with the best service. I checked out the website of magazine about internet here in Swedne that does a test every year to find the best hosting companies.

I suggest that you do such research before you start a blog or if you are thinking about switching. It will save you a lot of trouble and stress down the line. Things have run so much smoother with great support people that know what they are doing and will actually help you.

7. I took the wrong perspective for what I wanted.

This is a big mistake I made. I wanted to build and grow a blog to help myself in my own personal development, to help other people who needed some advice and to make this into a full-time gig.

But I was inexperienced and naively listened to too much advice and my own laziness that told me that you pretty much just had to write a bit about things you liked and then slap on some ads and you would be set. So I blogged inconsistently and so the blog grew inconsistently. I slapped on some ads that made me a bit of money but really not that much at all.

Nowadays I don’t view this as just as a blog. I view it as a business where the blog is one part. Last week I set up other parts like a new mailing list and my first own product in the form of the free 7 Timeless Habits of Happiness e-book.

If you want a blog where you share your thoughts then view it as a blog. But if you want to grow it faster and someday turn this into a part-time or full-time gig then I have found it to be much better to view it as a business. It makes it much easier to stay consistent with your work and to find new ideas and solutions both within and outside of yourself to help you to grow your business (and in many ways grow as a person too).

8. I didn’t focus enough on what is most important.

Like with anything else in life, if you want excellent results then focus on doing the most important things. Because there will never be time and energy enough to do it all. And if you don’t focus on the most important things then they are often not done at the end of the day since you kept yourself busy with other things.

What is the most important thing here? At least for me it has been content. Focus your time on writing the best content you can manage. Yes, connecting with people via email, other blogs and Twitter is important. And checking statistics can be fun. But you have to limit the time you spend on those things because without the content you are going nowhere.

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Johnny February 9, 2010 at 9:35 pm

First of all I find it a bit ironic that a “positivity blog” would receive ANY hostile reactions from readers. Oh well… I guess you can’t please everyone.

I’m glad you wrote this post though. I find myself making the same mistakes on my blog that you have made on your own so this is kind of a wake up call for me.

By the way, not to shamelessly self promote, but I wrote a post on backing up Wordpress blogs that might be of use to readers here.

Tomas Stonkus February 9, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Hey Henrik!

I am learning things along the way as well. One that I can relate to the most is about picking the right design for the blog.

I had a design picked out, but it made my Wordpress interface crash, which tool my blog of the internet for good three days. It was really frustrating. Then I had to change the theme, and it looks like it made some people unhappy as they have unsubscribed.

That was kind of harsh. Now I am stuck with a theme, which I am not sure I like all that much, but it’s the best thing that I can do instead of having no website up.


Hilary February 10, 2010 at 12:01 am

Hi Hendrik .. thanks for those pointers and I can see where you’re coming from and the sensible points you make, especially doing the important business things, focusing on those.

Thanks – Hilary

Merly February 10, 2010 at 5:22 am

Hi Henrilk,

Just so you know you are making a difference in people’s lives. Your writing is very profound and it makes a lot of sense. You have helped me a lot. There are some things that will take time to kick in but with time and perseverance you will see results. I am very grateful for your blog.

Have yourself a great week. How is the weather there in Sweden and time difference?
It is snowing here in Cincinnati, Ohio. Take care.

Henrik Edberg February 13, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Thanks, it’s snowy and cold here too. We have Greenwich mean Time plus one hour here.

Josten February 10, 2010 at 6:38 am

i definitely needed to read this. Some steps that i have to take as well

Jamei Favreau February 10, 2010 at 9:37 am

I have to agree with what you have said. Though I am liking commenting on other people’s blogs. I need to get to writing on mine.

Cassie @ A Very Busy Mind February 10, 2010 at 1:37 pm

I just recently added your blog to my Google Reader (‘Hey, I’d love a little dose of positivity every once in a while.’), and although this post isn’t necessarily about life-improvement, it is such a great read.

I have a blog of my own (food & fitness), and most certainly still consider myself a novice. Although the nature of the material is fairly personal and it can be somewhat journal-like at times, I would very much like to turn it into a business in the future. I’ve saved this page as a reference – so well written and informative, thanks!

Mands February 10, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Hi Henrik… I loved this article and agree with all you have to say… and I wanted to add that blogging is actually much easier than having a website – and that despite the frustrations and struggles of having a blog – blogs have opened up the internet so much… that many, many more people can actually write and have their say. Share their opinions and connect with other people all over the world, without having to know how to create and publish a website. The blog platform has become so easy. Thanks for the great article.
To your best

Clinton Skakun February 11, 2010 at 2:35 am

I think I made the same mistakes as 1 and 7. I never proof read out loud and sometimes I read it a few weeks down the road and wonder what I was on. I heard that you should but never really did it.:)

These are some fresh mistakes, maybe I should learn from them to:)

Clinton Skakun

Dan @ Anxiety Support Network February 11, 2010 at 4:29 am

Well, good to hear I’m not the only who paid for not backing up my site! These all seem like great practical tips and I think the #1 one you mentioned was treating it like a business, if making it a full-time deal is your goal. You can have the most noble and selfless idea there is, but if you don’t look at it from a business perspective, you’re idea will not spread to affect thousands of lives like you might want it to.

Tina @ SeeOneSoul February 11, 2010 at 4:35 pm

hmmm so I’m not a blogger … but I love input & stimulation, so stuff that provokes fresh thinking as I’m on this journey of life, ever evolving and expanding and growing :) So I get your blog posts as e-mails … and I thoroughly enjoy the read :)
What I see in this post is how transferrable these pointers really are … this isn’t just about blogging … in principle the pointers here can be applied ot much of what we do in life :)
For me, currently and specifically, this applies to what I’m doing in terms of my photography and and my photographic site and whatever other online profiles I run …
Thank you for doing what your doing and sharing what your sharing :)
Much aprpeciated!
~ Tina

Barrie Davenport February 11, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Thank you SOOOO much for sharing these tips. The blogging community is so wonderfully willing to “pay it forward”. I will pay it forward by sharing this post with my friends — in fact, I ‘ve included your blog in a list of my favorites on my blog! Thank you for all of your great insights and suggestions.

Dr. Samantha February 12, 2010 at 12:21 am

I like #1. Although sometimes I accidentally find myself proofreading aloud in a coffee shop… luckily no one seems to notice :)

Farouk February 12, 2010 at 10:30 am

i made some of these too but number five is fatal, its great that you managed to restore your blog again

Jörgen Sundberg February 12, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Great post and lots of wisdom there Henrik! A suggestion for you: change the name on TweetMeMe to your Twitter name so it’s easier to track back tweets etc.

Henrik Edberg February 13, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Thanks for the tip, I’ll look into that.

iSuccessBlog February 12, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Well said! Mistakes is a part of life. I’ve started a blog about personal success 2 years ago and have made every possible mistakes along the way. There will be more to come but I’m getting better at it.


Lindsey Petersen February 13, 2010 at 2:26 am

Thanks for the suggestions. As a new blogger, I have a lot to learn!!!

Lindsey Petersen

Henrik Edberg February 13, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Thanks for all the comments and added insights! :)

aDeeb February 14, 2010 at 1:47 am

Nice to know that I am not the only one making these mistakes.
Backing up data is so important. But what is surprising is almost everyone ignores to do it.

Michelle I Taming Time February 15, 2010 at 10:40 am

I don’t blog as such. But I do have a few websites…

…And one embarrassing mistake I made in the early days was to try to cram content onto my site just so SOMETHING was there. Total disregard for quality etc.

The reading out loud is a great tip I try to use.

Mr. Self Development February 17, 2010 at 4:18 am

Great post and I do like the new design….

Kat February 18, 2010 at 4:38 am

Hello and Thank you!

I started my blog recently and any tips on avoiding mistakes are highly appreciated!

Knowing that you made such a huge success out of your blog, shouts ‘This guy knows what he is talking about! Read very carefully!’

Ted Bilich February 20, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Henrik, thanks for posting this — having had a blog for only a month (about topics similar to yours), I have already managed to commit each of these mistakes. I’ve been reading your blog for a long while, though, and I have to say you get it right more than you get it wrong. Best, Ted

LTI February 22, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Great point about proof reading out loud. I haven’t actually done this for my blog posts, but I think I will start now. It can definitely help with gauging the flow of the paper.

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