Whoop, it has been two years since I relaunched my Europe travel blog (June 2016 – June 2018)!!!
Before the relaunch of Misa’s Europe Travel Blog, this place was a dull corner where I wrote about my trips and some personal notes about the places and people. It was definitely just another personal travel blog or something out there, without any idea or goal or anything. Not anything like what you are (or I am) looking at today, at this very moment!
From a personal blog of just 38 readers per month, most of which was me testing my page on another device, now my travel blog has reached approx. 70.000 page views monthly (as of July 2019) and is a perfect side hustle I’ve ever dreamt about.
Methods tested, lessons learned, and tons of failures! So here in this blog post, I’m going to share about the four blogging mistakes I made during these two years, and in case you’re making them to, how to fix them to make a blog profitable.
4 blogging mistakes everyone will make first time blogging
1. Not invest enough in the blog
This is the biggest blogging mistake I can guarantee everybody will make. Everybody.
Unless you are already determined to become a full-time travel blogger on day one, most of us will simply start a blog as a side hustle, or just a digital travel journal or something where we can write about your trips, experiences and such. And then, on one beautiful sunny day, we decide to take it to the next level, to become “pro”. But little do we know that there’s just a thin line between “being pro” and “just for fun”.
On the first days, I struggled a lot deciding if my blog should just be an online travel diary or it should be something more than that. I couldn’t say if I would like to spend time on it or just treat it as a hobby with no commitment. I didn’t invest enough in my blog, both the time and the money.
I took me one year to finally decide to invest in it. I bought a hosting and domain package from GoDaddy (which sucked), a theme, some plug-ins, some Lightroom presets, and even online courses for bloggers. All of them are money well spent. They made my travel blogging easier than ever and saved me time to do other things like networking, searching for clients, pitching, etc.
My advice: Before starting a blog, think carefully what you want to do with it. If you want to make money from your blog, invest money in your blog first.
2. Use free stuff (especially hosting and theme)
You are not the only one using
As I just wrote above, it is difficult to decide whether you should invest in your blog or not if you don’t know exactly what you want to do with it. However, even when you’ve made up your mind to make it a side hustle, you could probably make the same mistakes that I did: I used a free hosting plan and free themes for a long while before changing to a paid option.
If you want to make money from your blog, you have to treat it like a business – it’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the world of travel blogging. No brand or company will offer you contract or anything if they see the link to your blog like this, mytravelblog.wordpress.com or something similar. It’s unprofessional.
I started with GoDaddy (another blogging mistake here) but switched to another service a year later. In August 2017, my blog suffered from a short over traffic period, thanks to my free travel e-book subscription. The site crashed and people were not happy, especially when they had already signed up and left their email address but couldn’t get what they wanted.
After days, the site was back again, but I knew it was time to invest a little bit more in my hosting plan. I read several reviews and decided to switch to SiteGround. I started with their basic package, and after another year, upgraded to GrowBig after one of my blog posts went crazily viral online. (I’ve got over 17.000 views on that blog since October 2017.)
SiteGround has the best customer support team 24/7 that can help you almost everything. They’re also friendly and very supportive, even when I asked simple questions like how I could get the padlock on my link or how to move a domain to their hosting service.
My advice: SiteGround may be more costly than its competitors, but invest in it, and you’ll never have to look back.
Now let’s talk about the theme. My honest advice is that, if you find a theme you love, buy it! It will save you hours trying to customise your free theme, yet you’ll end up being frustrated because you just cannot. Free themes are nice, but they are not for being customised (properly).
If you find a blog you like and wonder what theme is used, use this tool to check. Sometimes you will get no answer as it’s a bespoke theme, but must of the time, you’ll know what it is, as long as the site is a WordPress one. You can either buy the same theme or search for more options in Envato Market. They have thousands of theme suitable for different blogging purposes and niches.
3. Underestimate SEO
If you haven’t worked in the field of Digital Marketing or SoMe Marketing before, it can be quite hard to understand and master the games of SEO. I had 1,5 years working as a Website Editor for one of the biggest online publishing platforms in Vietnam at that time, so I was lucky enough to score a course from the company to help me and other editors implement SEO in our articles. Without that course, I couldn’t have made it.
However, I’m still not any SEO expert. I have enough knowledge to manage the SEO part of my blog myself, not to show anybody else how to practise it effectively.
So here is my advice: Read more about SEO and practise. Optimise old content, write new content with a clear SEO strategy, do the keywords search thoroughly before creating any new content, and so on. Practice makes perfect, they said.
4. Underestimate yourself
First-time bloggers tend to underestimate themselves. So did I.
When I thought I would like to make this blog a side hustle and earn money from it, I was so unsure and unsecured. I didn’t promote my blog enough to my readers and potential clients, I wasn’t sure if monetising from a blog was really a thing, I was afraid that people would laugh at me and ask who I thought I was to ask for collaboration… Even when I got my very first client, I didn’t know how much I should ask for and ended up agreeing upon their price. I underestimated myself. A lot.
Then one day I found this article which
changed my life forever made me realise how cool it can be to be a micro-influencer, especially when I have a nice niche with a very engaged and loyal community supporting me. As the other (Vietnamese) travel bloggers have different niches or focus on their blog, mine stands out and attracts companies that share the same customer target. My confidence was boosted, and things started to snowball.
My advice: It’s a long journey from writing a blog to making money from it. Stay focus, stay passionate, and the result will come.
DISCLAIMER: Some links in this post are to affiliate sites. If you purchase something through them, I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting Misa’s Travel Blog!