Posted on June 6, 2015

Mistakes to avoid if you want to take blogging seriously

blog tips

mistakes

When I was invited to speak on a panel in London over the weekend about blogging, Sarah sent us four topics that would be covered during the talk.

In order to ensure I was fully clued up, I wrote posts about each of the topic on the train down to London and decided to create a mini-series of blog posts to help you take your blog to the next level.

The posts are:

Mistakes to avoid if you want to take blogging seriously

Most bloggers will go into blogging pretty blind. Unless you’re already aware of the potential opportunities around making a blog into a business, it’s probably not something you’ve spent tons of time looking into.

Many bloggers start out blogging as a hobby, then later they realise that’s a little more than just posting pictures of lipsticks and dresses.

When I first started my blog, I didn’t realise how many brands were wanting to collaborate with bloggers.

I assumed that PR samples and sponsored posts would only get sent to the biggest bloggers, leaving those like me day dreaming of opportunities such as reviewing items and even getting paid.

It’s not actually as unattainable as you think.

All you need is the right attitude, determination and ability to network and communicate.

Though there are mistakes that can be made along the way.

Most of these mistakes come from that fact that we’re just normal people that decided to start a blog one day.

We have no idea about marketing, about creating an audience, about writing sharable engaging content and zero clue about the technical side to running a blog.

But if you want to make blogging into a career, or even start working with brands and earning a bit of money – you need to get yourself clued up. And quick.

1. Not understanding the law around disclosure of sponsorship.

Though this has become something that’s been highlighted recently, with the ASA implementing the new rules that on YouTube, you must disclose a sponsored post as such by indicating it in the title, there are still people out there that don’t fully understand the implications of not disclosing.

If you receive payment for a post, you must disclose it within the post IF the brand dictate the content of the post.

Which is where things get complicated, so it’s best just to disclose all content – not only for the rules around advertising and sponsorship, but to keep your integrity and be 100% transparent to your readers.

While tempting to not disclose when brands ask – you need to ask yourself if it’s worth it if you are caught out. All it takes is one person to report a brand asking bloggers not to disclose and you can find yourself in hot water.

You can read more about the advertising code here and read about advertising features and control of content here.

2. Not understand copyright laws around images.

I was at work a few weeks ago and a girl had a photo of my place of work on a print out.

A photo that I had taken and posted on Twitter. I joked with her that I had taken the photo and she didn’t have permission to use it. She joked back to me saying she found it on Google images so it’s probably them I need to complain to.

A lot of people don’t understand the law around the use of images.

It’s often a mistaken thought that Google images is a library of pictures that are free to use.

Google images is just a search engine, that scours the web to find images that are related to your search query. These images are from websites, from social media, from blogs.

The image the girl I work with found had been pulled from the Twitter page of my works account – which I manage.

Taking images that are not yours can get you in trouble and can come back to haunt you.

Even if you posted a picture two years ago, you never know when a photographer might search their image in an image search engine and find your blog post – then send an e-mail asking for payment for the use of their work.

It isn’t as uncommon as you think and unfortunately, there are some people that will take advantage of peoples ignorance around this to make money.

Read my post on legally using photos for more information.

3. Not knowing when to say no.

It’s exciting, isn’t it? The first time you get an e-mail asking if you’d like to work with a brand. I remember my first e-mail. It felt like a massive milestone for me.

Don’t let the excitement cloud your judgement and do be aware that there are some brands or websites that again, will try and take advantage of your innocence by trying to:

  • Influence you to write a post for them with nothing in return.
  • Offer to pay a very small amount for links.
  • Offer low quality products in exchange for blog posts I links.
  • Want you to write posts as a competition entry.

Do read my post on when to say no to blog sponsors for more information

As a rule of thumb, if it make you feel icky, then don’t accept.

It is important to remember that sometimes it’s worth it to write for free. If you’re new to blogging, don’t have a large audience or want to network with a brand – you should consider accepting.

Sometimes the post might just be a good idea that’s fun. It might provide content for you and be on a topic you want to write about.

Although your time is valuable and you may want to change for this, you need to be realistic about the size of your blog. It’s not just your time that’s being bought, it’s also your influence over your readers.

4. Not being unique.

It’s natural to want to be the same as your favourite bloggers or review similar items – but buying the latest mascara from Benefit to review it isn’t going to be unique as many other bloggers are probably doing the same thing.

The tricks is to try and keep your content unique and not review the same things as everyone else unless you find yourself getting a lot of requests for something, or you’re known for something.

For example, if you’re always reviewing the latest mascaras and people often wait for your review because you’ve built up your trust, it will work for you. One thing I do is review a Glossybox every month because I rank high in Google for them and they’re my most viewed posts.

You also want to develop your writing style – which will happen naturally over time.

Don’t try to sound like an article – you want your blog to be personal and read as if you were writing an e-mail to a friend.

People like blogs for the personal touch as it makes them more relatable.

5. Not branding.

You want to be recognisable across platforms and easy to remember.

Humans are visual and are probably going to remember your logo or pictures over your site URL and name.

There are a number of free resources available to help you create a header or logo that you can use across all social media sites as well as your blog, as I previously discussed in this post.

The means that if someone who had read your blog before comes across you on Twitter, they’re going to recognise you and are more likely to follow.

6. Not commenting on blogs.

Just writing content and hoping search engines will pick it up is not enough anymore. You need to be able to create relationships with other bloggers.

The best way to do this is by commenting on blogs or being active on Twitter.

Once you’ve established a relationship with another blogger, you have an engaged reader that’s going to return to your blog again and again.

The bloggers I’ve build relationships with are usually the ones to share my blog posts on Twitter and link them in roundups.

7. Putting to much on your plate.

Blogging isn’t just about writing blog posts.

It’s about social media, editing, promotion, planning, photography, design and more. Don’t set yourself up for failure but setting yourself unrealistic goals such as posting every day.

This is a sure fire way to make blogging become a chore rather than something fun.

Create a schedule that fits around your life but also be willing to review and amend it to suit your life style. It will evolve as you settle into blogging, but also as your life changes.

8. You don’t edit.

Don’t fall into the trap of just writing content and hitting publish straight away.

Take some time away from your writing then come back with a fresh mind.

My doing this you’ll be able to spot spelling mistakes easier and also see when your blog posts don’t flow and need rearranging.

A good way to check for spelling mistakes is to read the post backwards. When you read the words without the context, the errors are more likely to stand out.

9. You’ve not bought your own domain.

It can cost as little as £2.99 to buy a domain name and it can instantly make your blog look more professional.

If I can set up a domain name on my blog after a week of blogging with NO idea what I’m doing – so can you, too.

As well as making blog look more professional, it also means you can start building up your DA (domain authority) which is important if you’re wanting to work with brands.

If you are going to stick with a blogspot or wordpress.com domain name for a while, just be aware that when you switch over to your own domain, any links directing to your posts or site may become broken.

Have you made any blogging mistakes in the past?

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31 Comments

  • Reply Chloe June 6, 2015 at 8:30 am

    You actually don’t need to disclose if you’ve been paid for a post if you had full control over what you wrote. It’s only if you’ve been told what to write, what anchor texts to use, whether the company has had to approve it etc. It’s complicated and better just to disclose everything, but this is why some companies say you don’t need to disclose!

    I used this article which helps a bit more – https://www.cap.org.uk/Advice-Training-on-the-rules/Advice-Online-Database/Advertisement-Features.aspx#.VXKhHTY4nTY

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Student Lifestyle Blog
    Chloe recently posted…Recipe: Peach Iced TeaMy Profile

    • Reply Corinne June 6, 2015 at 9:26 am

      Fantastic! I edited it into the post along with the link. You’re right, it is complicated!

  • Reply Tania June 6, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Great post! I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. Some of these things can be quite tricky – how do you make yourself unique amidst so many other bloggers writing in the same genre as you. I found it difficult to realise that I don’t have to be completely revolutionary, just myself. Sure you could be a ‘beauty blogger’, but it could be your photography style that sets you apart or your writing style. Xx

    Tania | whentaniatalks.blogspot.co.uk (soon to be whentaniatalks.com Eeek!!!!!)
    Tania recently posted…Maybelline ‘The Nudes’ Palette ReviewMy Profile

    • Reply Corinne June 6, 2015 at 9:28 am

      Totally! I think your uniqueness is already there – it’s within your personality but it’s figuring out how to transfer that over to your blog posts. Through the language you use, the way you write but also other things such as photography style. It’s a journey and always evolving!

  • Reply Danni June 6, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Great read, I’ve been blogging for nearly two years and some of these I take into consideration but there are a few which will help. Going to read the rest of the articles now, thank you! 🙂 x

  • Reply Amy June 6, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Oh I didn’t know that about losing your links when you get your own domain! Certainly a good enough reason to do it now rather than wait until some time in the future! x
    Amy recently posted…This Month of Mine #8My Profile

  • Reply Amanda June 6, 2015 at 10:13 am

    I LOVE this post! I’m certainly guilty of a few of these things (both in the past and present!) but I’m working on it so that’s good. I really like the point you made about knowing when to say no.
    Amanda recently posted…High Heels and Long HairMy Profile

  • Reply Lucy June 6, 2015 at 11:41 am

    When you first start it is a mindfield and can feel really overwhelming. Great tips Lucy x
    Lucy recently posted…J.M. Barrie’s Peter PanMy Profile

  • Reply Jackie Harrison June 6, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Great tips you should always ask permission or mention the owner if you know or mention location of where you found image in the USA. These tips are very helpful and truthful.

  • Reply krithi June 6, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    im realising im doing lot of mistakes 🙁 after reading this post
    krithi recently posted…Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer : Cherry Pop ReviewMy Profile

    • Reply Corinne June 6, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      Don’t worry about it, I’ve made many of them myself in the past. It’s all part of learning!

  • Reply Anca June 6, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    I had no idea a blogger can be paid for a post and not disclosed it. It makes sense if the company has no input in the post.
    Good tips as always xx
    Anca recently posted…3 Hidden places in LiverpoolMy Profile

  • Reply A for Alyce June 6, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Hmmm…there are definitely a few bits and bobs to think about when blogging. This is really interesting, never looked into this side of blogging. Thanks for sharing Corinne! 🙂
    A for Alyce recently posted…DisneySea VlogMy Profile

  • Reply Rachel June 6, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Great post Corienne! My blogging mistakes include doing a post for free, or nothing when I started out and then writing a sponsored post for a possible shady site. Other than that I don’t recall blogging regrets or mistakes.
    Rachelxo

    Garay Treasures
    Rachel recently posted…High Five for Friday 5/2My Profile

  • Reply Victoria June 6, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    As always, this is amazingly written as it’s so concise and helpful.

    When I received my first email from a brand, I immediately said yes without thinking and I didn’t get anything in return even though I was promised the world. Luckily, I really enjoyed writing the post as it was a really different theme and I would never of thought of doing it myself.

    I think my biggest blogging faux par though is using images. I used to use lots of stock photo images back in the day and I’m still tempted to use them now, but not only should I not ‘steal’ them but I actually think it makes my posts look less personal. I usually don’t bother to read other blogs that just use stock images as I read a blog to get to know the person so why would others read mine if I’m doing the same?

    Something I also hate about photos which happens ALL the time. I am always the one person who remembers to take a camera on days out or trips with my friends and it bugs the hell out of me when they are begging to see the photos so I send them to them and they end up on THEIR Facebook page. They are my photos and often I edit them too so why do they think it’s okay to save them and upload them to their page?!
    Rant over 😛
    Victoria xx thedaisyjaynes.com
    Victoria recently posted…5 places you MUST visit in BathMy Profile

  • Reply Melanie June 6, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    These are great tips! I hate that people can just take your images without asking!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com
    Melanie recently posted…Austin ShotsMy Profile

  • Reply CELLY thesnowflowerrr June 6, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Enlightened! I feel green as a blogger and I am glad you’ve shared so much for me to learn!
    CELLY thesnowflowerrr recently posted…{ Beauty } Floral Make UpMy Profile

  • Reply Isabella Wong (Life as a Petite) June 6, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    This has been such a useful post, although now I’ve realised that I’ve done a few things wrong gahhh! Hopefully it’s not too late to rectify the problem! xx
    Isabella Wong (Life as a Petite) recently posted…When You’re Handed the Wine List…My Profile

  • Reply Kelsey&Kenecha June 6, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    This is so helpful, I think it is very important to know the dos & don’ts on bloggin 🙂 Loved reading this x

    Florals&Smiles
    Twitter

  • Reply Oksana June 7, 2015 at 1:14 am

    As always very useful post! It’s really very helpful for me. Thanks for sharing Corinne!
    Oksana recently posted…NewDress.com….My Profile

  • Reply Vanessa June 7, 2015 at 1:42 am

    Thanks, for this post, it was really interesting. 😉
    Have a nice Sunday…

  • Reply Akaleistar June 7, 2015 at 2:38 am

    Great advice! I went into blogging blind, and even though I’ve been doing it for years now, I still have so much more to learn. Things keep changing 🙂
    Akaleistar recently posted…Close the (Thigh) GapMy Profile

  • Reply Bash June 7, 2015 at 5:31 am

    Hahaha, I wish I knew this when I just started out blogging. I didn’t know anything about blogging when I started, but now I do! Hahaha, this is such a great and welll-informed post! Thank you so much <3

    xx Bash | Bash Says Hey | bloglovin’
    Bash recently posted…Knits | The Darcy HatMy Profile

  • Reply M June 7, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Thinking google images is a library? That’s so me. I’d better stop doing that. And I think uniqueness is definitely important. These are great tips, not that I take blogging seriously x

    -M
    The Life of Little Me
    M recently posted…Parental ExpectationsMy Profile

  • Reply Dannie June 9, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    I definitely think knowing when to say no is important. It is tempting to say yes to everything, but more likely than not you’re spreading yourself thin and could let people down.

    Dannie x
    http://www.famousinjapan.co.uk

  • Reply Kezzie June 16, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    This is a very good post! You write very clearly, not surprised you’ve been asked to speak at a convention!
    Hmmm, still haven’t done anything about getting my own url- still scared!x
    Kezzie recently posted…Hide Clara, HideMy Profile

  • Reply missydress June 27, 2015 at 6:23 am

    I like your blog – its so usefull and helpfull. Thank you so much!!!

  • Reply Ghybz January 1, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    Great read! I’m a noob at this and finding this kind of article just helps you to steer towards a clear and maybe even safer direction. Thanks.

  • Reply OneDizzyBee January 11, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    As always, I learn so much when I come here. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    OneDizzyBee recently posted…Cauliflower Crust Pizza! It’s Low Carb and Gluten FreeMy Profile

  • Reply Phoenicia January 18, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    You have mentioned some important points that bloggers can overlook. There is a tendency to become over excited about your content then a wave of disappointment follows if you have few followers.

    Judging by twitter, women are lured to one of three subjects; fashion, beauty and babies. There are multitudes of blogs on twitter and it can be overwhelming.

    My blog covers business, shaping your character, developing your skills. Still trying to find my audience.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Multitasking: The good and the not so good!My Profile

  • Reply Brittany April 1, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    This was extremely helpful. I will definitely be using this later in the future.

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