I started my personal blog ScottAlanTurner.com in 2015. I share my past money moron moments and all the things I’ve learned along the way to becoming an early retiree. I love helping people with their finances.
Along the way, I built a very successful blog in a short period. What’s more amazing is I hardly spend any time blogging. Most of my time is spent hosting my show and answering listener questions about money.
ScottAlanTurner.com is my first blog, and I wish I could tell you it was smooth sailing, but I wasted a lot of time, money, and brain power on stuff that didn’t work.
If you want to be successful at anything, find someone who’s done what you want to do and do what they did.
Here’s my list of mistakes you should avoid so that you can become a successful blogger faster.
Also known as shiny object syndrome, it’s constantly getting distracted.
I spent the first six weeks of my blogging life not writing for my blog. I did work on about 50 variations of my logo and trying to get the layout ‘just right’.
It’s easy to try every blog add-on you can find.
Guess what – what your blog looks like doesn’t matter if you haven’t written something.
I have a rule I live by each day in my business – get the most important stuff done first. Then if I have extra time – 30, 60 minutes or whatever – I’ll mess around with the low priority stuff on my schedule. Or go check out shiny objects.
Choosing a writing platform that looks unprofessional and is inflexible.
Free blogging services like
limit you to what you can do. If you want to build a house exactly like you want it to look and have it function as you want it to function, you wouldn’t rent. Renting means you can’t knock out a wall, redo the kitchen, or even paint the walls.
Pay for hosting. All of them come with a money-back-guarantee. If you decided you don’t want to blog ask for a refund and move on with your life.
I recommend Bluehost for first-time bloggers. Check out my How To Start A Blog Step-by-Step Guide to to get discount pricing. Bluehost is what I used to start ScottAlanTurner.com and two prior businesses.
Having a way you can stay in touch with your readers.
Ask any blogger who’s been blogging for a couple of years, and they will tell you the same thing – ‘I wish I had started my email list sooner.’
Everyone has email, and everyone reads their email. When you want to let as many people as possible know about a new post, product, or your wicked awesome vacation, you send a newsletter.
Use a free service like SumoMe to start collecting email addresses. Once you have setup your blog, sign up for SumoMe. It’s free, and it will give you all those annoying popups in a jiffy.
You’ll also need a place to store those addresses. I use MailChimp (also free).
Writing only when the mood hits you or you have some extra time.
Think about your favorite radio show, TV show, band, or book series. What if it disappeared for five years? Would you still be into it? Doubtful.
You’ll lose your audience if you don’t deliver on a regular basis.
Keep a content calendar and stick to it. Commit to a schedule, even if it’s writing once every two weeks (a minimum in my opinion).
A well-written article shows you’re educated and a trusted source of information
People can’t stand poor writing. You’ll lose readers and get nasty emails from people telling you how bad your writing is.
This is my writing process:
What isn’t in there – hiring someone to proofread. Reading aloud is the best proofreading you can do.
Affiliate marketing is a type of advertising. You get a commission (the affiliate commission) if someone clicks on a link from your blog and then purchases the product your article linked to.
At some point, you’ll be talking about products on your website. Even if it’s the new pair of shoes, you bought. If you’re not using affiliate links, you’re missing out on earning affiliate income.
The easiest (and free) affiliate program to join is Amazon Associates. The world’s largest online store can earn you commissions for just about anything. If you link to a book you’ve read or like, and someone buys that book after they clicked your link, boom, income.
There are lots of affiliate networks, but Amazon is by far the biggest and easiest to start.
Caching lets your blog send the page to visitor’s faster.
Website speed is critical. Nobody is going to wake 30 seconds for your blog page to load. Google also rewards faster page load times in their search engine rankings.
On WordPress install the W3 Total Cache plugin (free). Here is good tutorial on how to do it:
Relying on your existing writing skills – whatever they are.
Nobody starts out as an expert writer. It’s a learned and practiced skill.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you don’t critically analyze your writing and figure out how to improve it, your blog growth is limited.
I made the mistake of not listening back to episodes 20–50 of my show. When I finally did, I found the audio quality was not up to my standards. It was a problem that could have easily been avoided.
Read other popular blogs and ask yourself what makes them popular. Duplicate what works for others.
Read books on how to become a great communicator and storyteller. Implement what you learn.
Copying images or content from other websites without permission
It’s illegal, and you could be fined and have your blog shut down
Use free/low-cost stock photography. You can Google ‘free stock photography’ and find tons of sites.
I use Adobe Stock and pay $1 per image. The search feature saves me time, and time is money.
When referencing other articles include quotes and citations. Do not copy entire articles without written permission
Google provides free tools to analyze your website and provide user information.
You can’t manage what you don’t measure.
Analytics about your visitors provides valuable insight into how your website is performing. Over time do more of what’s working and less of what isn’t.
Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools. Read the webmaster material that Google provides.
If you haven’t started your blog, it’s time to get your blog going. Read How To Start A Blog: A Step-by-Step Guide. Then it’s time to start writing!
Know that mistakes are part of the learning process and everyone makes them.
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