7 Mistakes New Bloggers Make When Setting Up Their Website

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Guest post by Susan Osborne, SheBuildsABusiness.com

Starting a new blog is very exciting but can also be daunting at the same time.

Setting up a website can feel completely overwhelming, and it often takes a lot of trial and error. The good news is, nothing is written in stone. You can always fix, tweak, change and evolve as your blog grows.

To help you get started on the right foot, below are some common mistakes to avoid that new bloggers make when setting up their website.

These mistakes aren’t anything “bad”, they are simply things that you may overlook, or not even be aware of, when getting started. Let’s fix that!

And while content is king, avoiding these simple “behind the scenes” newbie mistakes can help give your blog growth a “boost” without too much extra effort.

7 Mistakes New Bloggers Make - Blogelina


Mistake #1: Using a poorly made theme

Not all WordPress themes are created equal, but with the millions of theme options available, how do you know which ones are good and which aren’t?

Unless you’re a coder, it’s nearly impossible to know!

Invest a little money and purchase a premium theme. Not all free themes are bad, but a premium (paid) theme will better your chances of having a solid foundation for your blog.

Genesis is one of the best frameworks for your website foundation.  You can find a lot of theme options that are available for the Genesis framework at Studiopress.com.

Mistake #2: Not using an SEO plug-in

You don’t have to be an SEO expert to apply good SEO practices to your site.

It’s very easy to optimize your blog for the search engines by simply installing a free plugin such as All In One SEO or Yoast through your WordPress dashboard.

With either of these plugins, you can enter keywords and descriptions for each blog post right on the blog post edit page – giving the search engines lots of good reasons to rank your pages easily!

Mistake #3: Not collecting email addresses

You may be thinking, “I don’t need to collect email addresses, I’m just blogging!”.

That may be true if you never plan to monetize your site, but if you have dreams of growing an online business or selling a product down the line, then you want to start collecting those email addresses now!

To do that, sign up with an email service provider such as MailChimp, Aweber or Mad Mimi and place opt-in boxes on your blog’s sidebar, at the bottom of each blog post and on your About page.

Your list will grow faster if you can offer a fun and valuable freebie when someone subscribes. This is often called a “lead magnet”.

Your lead magnet could be a free downloadable printable, a free eBook, or anything else that would provide value to your readers. Delight them with something amazing!

Mistake #4: Not putting social media share buttons on your posts

To grow your blog faster, you want to add social media buttons to make it very easy for readers to share your articles.

Install a free plugin like Simple Social Icons which will place social media icons above or below your blog posts.

If you include fun images with your posts (which you should if you can!), be sure and include a “Pin It” button so readers can share your images on Pinterest with the click of a button.

You can install a free plugin called jQuery Pin It Button that will make pinning images from your blog super easy for your readers.

Mistake #5: Using poor images – or no images

Good images can grow your site!

Whether you have a food blog, craft blog, organizing blog or parenting blog, a nice image with each blog post can really add value for your readers and create loyal followers.

Not to mention you can use your images to gain traffic to your blog through Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.

Even if your image is a simple graphic with the title of your blog post, try to use some sort of visual with every post to add interest to your content.

You can create nice-looking graphic images at Canva.com for free!

Mistake #6: Not including a call-to-action

It’s always a good idea, especially if you are trying to get your readers to do a specific action, to include a call to action.

For example, you want people to sign up for your email list, or maybe you want them to leave a comment after your blog post, or perhaps you want them to check out your services page.

In each case, you should have a clear, concise call-to-action on your homepage and at the end of each blog post.

Visitors to your site want to be led to the next action. It’s your job to lead them!

Mistake #7: Letting your blog sit idle

This is definitely one of the most common mistakes new bloggers make…lack of consistency.

It can be hard to get a new blog off the ground when you feel like no one is reading, but keeping that regular content flowing is critical to growing your blog!

Create an editorial strategy and schedule and stick to it! Consistency, even if it’s only once a week, is better than blogging every day for a week, and then not adding anything new for a month.

Give your readers a reliable schedule so they have a reason to come back!

These mistakes are easy to avoid!

Avoid these (very common) mistakes above and you are already ahead of the blogging game with a solid foundation.

Good luck!

When it comes to setting up your blog, what questions do you have? What problems are you experiencing?

Share in the comments below!

Susan Osborne is founder of SheBuildsABusiness.com, an online magazine for new women entrepreneurs. You can grab her free Build A Website Start-Up Kit at www.shebuildsabusiness.com.


38 thoughts on “7 Mistakes New Bloggers Make When Setting Up Their Website”

  1. Great post Susan! I think theme choice is a biggie for many people just starting out. We choose, tweak, then change. I started with a free theme because it’s easy, and…well…affordable! But now I’m looking at other options. What concerns me is the fear that I might mess something up as I’m installing a new theme ( I’m not techie and don’t know code at all!) and I don’t want to lose the work I’ve already done. Any advice for great companies that will walk me through the process?

    • Thanks Kimi! Definitely check out Blogelina’s design service to see if you can get a little support with your theme.
      It’s intimidating to work with a new theme, and they are ALL different. That’s why I stick with Studiopress themes…because I know what to expect with each one on the backend. With other themes, and free ones, you never know how easy or difficult they are to work with until you install it!

  2. Definitely been guilty of all of these (and then some before!) Hopefully I have stuff under control now. It’s amazing how little of the pie writing takes up when you have a blog.

  3. I’m a newbie and i have done some of the mistakes that you have mentioned here. I have not collected email address and did not use plugins like All in one Seo. But, i just installed all these now. 🙂

    • Great Rahul! So glad you found them helpful. With the All In One SEO plugin, but sure and fill in the fields on each blog post you write (it will appear on the “Edit Post” page under the content section). It will be worth extra few minutes to fill in the description and keywords for each article.

  4. I think Jimdo and Squarespace provide some really nice looking themes, and a drag and drop website builder that makes it easier for those of us without a lot of technical knowledge of WordPress to get it set up. You can also purchase a domain name, so you don’t have to keep the free domain once build out your site (unless you want to). If you have to hire someone to set up your blog for you, then you’re pretty dependent on that person when something goes wrong – when you wake up one morning, take a look at your site and realize it’s broken – the graphics look off, the store cart buttons don’t work, or any other myriad problems which can occur. When you aren’t in control of your site but have to depend on another, then you are at the other person’s mercy to get back to you in a timely manner. I had a website once on an open source (osCommerce) store platform which was installed for my by an eBay seller. She did eventually get back to me when the site broke, but it took over 2 weeks because she was on vacation with her family at the time. Word to the wise – don’t be too dependent on any one source for tech support. Make sure you know enough to get your site up and running, and to keep it running, even if you aren’t a graphic design genius. It’s easier to outsource your header and other design elements separately, than to have someone else design and support your whole site, in the long run. Just my experience.

    • It is definitely be great idea to be as self-sufficient as possible, Vicki! But, there are good and trustworthy people out there who wouldn’t let a site go for 2+ weeks without assisting. Thank you for visiting!

    • Hi Vicki – I have a hard time being dependent on someone else for updates on my website. Even if someone else creates your site, you should be given the tools and access to make edits so you are in control- and most web designers will turn over those controls to you and show you how to make updates. Good luck!

  5. Hi Susan,

    Nice points you have mentioned here. When I was a newbie, I have also made many mistakes like using free themes with poor design and not integrated social media buttons.

    Thanks for letting beginners know these points.

  6. I had been “pseudo” blogging for a few years when I had another company but now I am trying to navigate how to do “real” blogging for a new venture. Suffice it to say I’m overwhelmed and I know I am pretty much making every mistake. I just wish there was one week long bootcamp I could go to and get the major jumpstart I need. I am not the best online learner…hey, we all have our different ways of absorbing information…no judging 🙂

  7. Luv your article, but using Yoast plugin is not the guarantee of success in SEO. Yoast is based on focus keywords. Use focus keyword and targeting in everywhere will mark as Green. That is not the guarantee of success.

    • This is very true! Sometime down the road, we hope to have a series of posts dedicated to determining successful SEO.

  8. I am brand new to the blogging world and this post was perfect for me. I had no idea there was so much involved besides writing. I hope to work through these points to help grow my blog. Thanks for helping me out!

  9. Most beginners also forget to perform keyword research on their blogs. That’s the major reason why they don’t get much traffic from search engines.

    And yea, I agree with you that most beginners also use creepy themes on their blogs. Design is the king when it comes to building a successful business online.

  10. Susan. thanks for tips !
    Please tell me about the SEO plugins, you recommend All In One SEO or Yoast \.
    What the story with Easy WP SEO Plugin ? any good ?


  11. Great tips. I’m new to this, and mistakes are aplenty around here. I have GOT to get over the WordPress Hump! I’m currently using Weebly because the drag & drop is how my brain functions… I’ve tried WordPress, but I couldn’t even figure out step #1! I know I need help with this, and eventually will just have to pay for it — yuck! I’ll get there….. thanks for your tips! I’m soaking all of this up!!

    • Hi April! Thanks for visiting! What specific questions about WordPress do you have? I might be able to point you in the direction of some useful posts. 🙂

  12. I have been working on a free WordPress theme for over a year now. I’m curious how a paid theme and child theme would affect my blog. I like the simple straightforward look of the free theme and the ease of use but wonder if my blog would do better traffic wise with a paid theme?

    • Jayleen, I would say that if you’re happy with your current theme and it’s working well for your blog, there’s no need to switch to a paid theme!

  13. I’m really glad to have come across this. I have a new online bookstore with a blog and I’m completely dependent on the person who set it up for me.

    I’m reading through the Newbie Bloggers Action plan to equip myself to do more by myself.

  14. I was overwhelmed at first. I think I have calmed down a bit. It really hasn’t been that long since I started my blog. I have a niche that not everyone might care or want to know about. I just like the fact that WordPress has given me the help and tools when I do get that “I’m going to pull my hair out” day.

    I will follow your site for more tips on creating a more satisfying web presence.
    I have not written or practiced writing correctly either in 20 years so I need to definitely brush up on that.


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