Blog hacks

Blogging lessons we learned in 2020 (Collab post)

Hi everyone, welcome to my collab post with Growing With Spawn. We teamed up to share our top blogging lessons from 2020. In this post, Shelly humbly shares 5 blogging mistakes she made. On the flip side, my post on Growing With Spawn today has 3 blogging tips I learned that work like a charm. We hope you find our posts useful as you gear up your blog for 2021. Without further ado, let me make way for Shelly’s brilliant post which will have you chuckling while imparting some valuable information. Thanks for writing this Shelly!

Header image. Text reads 'Blogging lessons 2020. Jan On The Blog. Growing With Spawn. Background image is a laptop next to a mug of coffee, notebook, pencil and a potted plant.
Blogging lessons 2020

Blogging mistakes I’ve made in 2020

Hi, I’m Shelly from and I’m very excited to be doing this collaboration with Jan. On my lifestyle blog, I cover mental health, lifestyle and parenting, so if that’s your vibe, let’s connect!

It’s been a very long year with everything that has happened, I’m sure you can all agree. One thing I am trying to do is be grateful for all of the opportunities and lessons that came along with this deletable year. When Jan reached out to collaborate about our blogging lessons, quite a few mistakes popped into my mind immediately. You see, this is my first year blogging… Before April, I didn’t even know what a blog really was! So it is only natural that in these past few months I committed many faux pas that experienced bloggers would know not to do. Hopefully you cannot relate and won’t make the same mistakes I did. If you have, let’s just have a giggle!

Set of stick notes. One reads 'niche' which is shown magnified through a magnification glass.

#1 Choosing the wrong niche

This one is actually the biggest mistake I made when I started my blog. For some strange reason (and I’ll happily blame hormones), I assumed that I wanted to share every single thing about being a mother on the blog. I planned on writing about every cute thing that my daughter did, every moment that made me roll my eyes and every time I felt like crying. The issue with this is that I don’t quite plan on letting the whole world into my life like that… Can you imagine how it would feel if people started criticising my parenting style? And let’s not forget the many stalkers in the cyber world. My daughter is too precious for her life to be put at risk like that! Besides, who even cares to listen to parents bragging about their lives?

#2. Branding

This obviously ties in with the first mistake I made. So when it comes down to settling into your niche, how you brand your blog is quite important. You want your readers to be clear about what they can expect from you, how skilled you are in the subject and so on. So when you come into the blogging world with a name like “Growing With Spawn”, expectations are that you’ll be full on parenting. Spoiler alert: I failed all my parenting classes and am just scraping by! 
Since I changed my niche just two months ago, I’m finding it difficult to grow my following based on what I had already worked so hard to promote. If you’re just starting out, please don’t make the same mistakes as I did! Especially if you’ll be purchasing your domain!

#3. Not learning about SEO

SEO sounds like a three eyed monster doesn’t it? That’s because it really is! Ok, that’s a bit dramatic. For any newbies out there, search engine optimisation is the thing that will get people to find all of that hard work you put into your posts, be it on Google, Pinterest or whatever search engines/social media tools people use. After 6 months of blogging my way, I learnt that none of my posts were optimised at all. So all the passion and pain that went into the posts was limited to the very few people that already knew about my blog. That’s not all that bad if your aim isn’t to become the biggest thing since the internet, but it wasn’t what I wanted. 
Looking back, I wish I had spent more time learning about how to make a blog succeed and edited my posts for SEO as I went along. Now I’m stuck with over 70 posts that I am slowly optimising… between everything else that life has to offer!

A laptop screen with text 'SEO. Search Engine Optimisation'. There's several sticky notes on the wall behind it that reads 'Traffic, Content, ranking, site architecture'

#4. Not shamelessly promoting my blog

I chuckled as I wrote that title because I know it’s something I still don’t do. Everything in me screams ‘too shy’ when it comes to promoting what I do. It’s the same reason why my boss doesn’t know what amazing accomplishments I’ve had, or why my family still doesn’t know what my job really is. When it comes to blogging, the internet is already so saturated with content that you need to promote your work. If you read ‘blogging advice’ posts, they will tell you to use social media like your life depends on it – because it does. Your blogging life that is! 
So now that I know I need to promote my blog, what is the next step? Well, it’s actually doing it! And doing it the right way. I’ve learnt the hard way that my 800+ friends on Facebook will not subscribe to my blog. My family is not going to read every word I publish and my colleagues don’t care what I do in my free time. That means it’s the other bloggers that will support me. It’s the people searching for solutions that will read my posts. It’s the search engines that will bring in the traffic. It’s a harsh reality but that means networking, growing, optimising. Once that’s done, rinse and repeat!

#5. Selective connections

Firstly, I would really like to apologise to all the bloggers who have worked really hard with others to create a blog. It took a while to realise that if a blog had two authors, you can’t just befriend one or promote one. You need to support the blog as a whole! For the most part I dodged this mistake by not directing any comments to one specific person, but in the recent weeks I did make a massive mistake of asking one blogger from a certain site to collaborate. 
It’s not detrimental to my blog’s success, but from a networking perspective, you need to keep in mind that behind each blog is a person with feelings. Selecting who you interact with from a blog with many authors can actually hurt people’s feelings! The other thing is not knowing how they come up with the content they have… Do they split the work? Does one write and the other proof reads? Are they working on every post together? You never really know any of that, so just avoid any issues!

A web of interlinked circular icons each with an outline of a person.

There are quite a few other blogging lessons that 2020 has sent my way, but of the list, these are the ones I’d hate to see new bloggers make. So if you’re new to blogging, please make sure to do your homework! Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to other bloggers for help. Most of us really enjoy the interactions and helping others grow! I absolutely love finding new blogs to follow so if you’d like to connect, head on over to my blog and let’s connect on the socials!

Also, before I forget, make sure to check out Jan’s post on my site too! She’s an awesome writer so of course I’m gonna shamelessly promote her work to everyone! Until next time, Happy Holidays! Hugs, Shelly.

What’s the biggest blogging mistake you made in 2020?

I love hearing your views and thoughts! That’s what keeps me blogging. Leave me a comment below.

If you thought this post was any good, don’t forget to Like it 🙂 Follow or connect with Jan On The Blog to stay updated on new posts.

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25 thoughts on “Blogging lessons we learned in 2020 (Collab post)”

  1. Great collab post Shelly and Jan! I think it’s great to be aware of these tips no matter how new or experienced you are as a blogger. The most valuable thing is connecting with the blogging community for support because we’re all here to help each other 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shelly indeed does make some great points! Trust me, even I’m shy about self promoting but I try to just do it.
      Thanks for heading over to Jan On The Blog! ☺️


  2. I am still too shy to promote my blogs to others lol
    Don’t even start with SEO —I don’t think I could ever get my head around it.

    Great collab you guys —I loved all of it✨🤗 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just love this collab post! And I agree 100% on all of them! I’ve made a lot of the same mistakes when I started blogging again this year, especially optimizing my post with SEO. I think the main reason that my posts have been optimized correctly is because I wasn’t using any keywords. Now however, I ask myself (before writing) what the keyword or keywords are and make sure of these things: 1–use the keyword at the beginning of the post 2–use the keyword about 3-4 times throughout the content of the post
    I mainly use Pinterest & google.trends to help me discover keywords. What sites do you use for keywords?

    And yes I agree that shamelessly promoting constantly is a must! I share several blog posts to my twitter account and that helps to get me some views. I also share throughout the night as well (when I’m sleeping) so that I can continue to share throughout the entire day. I do feel a little guilty or bad about sharing but at the same time I”m trying to make this a part time job that pays so we gotta do what we gotta do. And it should never be thought of as bad to promote our own work or writing. We are sharing knowledge with the world and that can only be a good thing.

    I think the biggest blogging mistake that I made was not really planning. I just jumped right in and started writing. In retrospect, I wish I had done some more research on how to use WordPress editor effectively (like blocks, headings, alt text for images, etc), SEO optimization, etc, etc.But I am learning and hopefully will continue to grow my blog…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts Helen!
      Hats off to you for using key words the right way! Right now I just go with keywords I think works for the post. But using google trends or similar like you is the smart way to do it.
      That’s great that you promote often on Twitter! You’re right, absolutely no shame in it. In fact we should probably be proud to share our work – if we don’t sing our own praise who will?!
      You’re doing fantastic. As I’ve said before your writing and posts are spot on! Keep at it. Like you, it’s all about the learning for me.
      Stay safe xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. How unbelievably imporant web traffic is for any website! All the backlinking, syndications, etc. You made awesome points! Thanks for sharing!


  5. This was an awesome post! Thank you for sharing. Web traffic is crazy important in any aspect whether you just want good SERPS or are trying to sell products whether it be your own or as a affiliate. Keep up the good work!


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