I am really happy with how the Murnan Creative blog is going so far. While I am still in the honeymoon stage with it still feeling new and exciting, I am confident this one will stick around for the long haul.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve started and stopped two different blogs. I had my reasons for shutting them down and after a lot of reflection, I’ve pulled together 7 mistakes that I made during my first blog attempts.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little envious with how easy my wife makes blogging look. She has built a great audience and has achieved a ton of success.
I started a blog in 2012 on productivity tips called YourProductivityCounts.com. I was so excited about it and was bursting with ideas. That blog lasted only a few months and sat around collecting dust before I eventually shut down the site.
Flash forward a year, I started a blog over at my personal website JeffMurnan.com. I felt like I did much better in that attempt and even blogged every day for 30 days! But alas, that attempt also failed to gain any traction.
Looking back, I made some key mistakes on my first two blogs:
1. Lack of Consistency
Not posting consistently is the #1 way you can lose steam on your blog. I posted feverishly for a few weeks, got burnt out, and then didn’t touch it for months. I’ve learned to set a post cadence and stick to it. Your readers will thank you and it feels great to get into a routine.
2. Too Many Topics
While blogging on my personal website, I found myself jumping all over the place. One day I would blog about WordPress tips, the other about my half marathon training. I was so inconsistent that my readers had no clue what to expect. I also was trying to be all things to all people. It would have been better to split apart the techny posts from the fitness posts on totally separate blogs.
3. Not Authentic Me
While blogging about productivity, I tried hard to portray myself as a perfect guru of time management. I came across preachy and overwhelmed my target audience. Your readers want to build a connection and can see right through the facade you put out there.
4. Too Focused On Details That Didn’t Matter
I found myself spending hours on end tweaking the order of my widgets or searching for cool plugins instead of generating content. It is so important to focus first on creating great content, the little stuff does not matter nearly as much as you would think.
5. Obsessed With Google Analytics Metrics (and Lack of Patience when they didn’t hit the mark)
Have you ever refreshed Google Analytics over and over, hoping for a huge spike in that graph? Yeah, I’m guilty of metric watching and it did nothing but bring me down. You can’t expect to be the next Seth Godin or Michael Hyatt overnight. It took them years of hard work and dedication to get where they are.
6. Did Not Connect With Audience
I never once asked prospective readers what they would like to see from me. I may have thought the posts were interesting, but in reality my target audience couldn’t care less. When I started this blog, I sent a survey to my trusted customers and I got some amazing feedback on what drives them and what content they would like to see.
7. Comparing myself to others
In every blog niche, there is a market leader. Whether it be a mommy blog, a food blog, or a business blog…somebody probably already has 6 figures in readership. I compared myself to their success and thought about giving up because they did everything better than me. I am a huge fan of drawing inspiration from those successful, but you can’t take it too far where their success stops you from going for your own dreams.
These were hard lessons for me and it was even harder to admit. As a recovering perfectionist, I’ve learned that nobody is perfect. Each one of these 7 mistakes can be flipped into a really great action list to improve. Examples: Post consistently on a schedule. Stay close to your core topics. Be yourself. Survey your readers to learn what drives them.
Your Turn: What mistakes have you made with your blog? What lessons do you wish you could tell your past self?