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Beginner Week – Discussion: What Did You Find Hardest as a New Blogger?

Theme Week

With all the chat around new blog tips, mistakes made, and resources used, we’ve got to thinking – what were the biggest obstacles to you all when you first started out blogging? Was it finding readers, tech stuff, or design? Perhaps it was navigating social media, or even finding content to write? I do know a lot of the people I’ve spoken to have all wondered how much of “themselves” they should put in their posts. And where’s the line of overshare?

Feel free to have a conversation about what stumped you and perhaps how you overcame it. I’m willing to bet it’s going to be so useful to other readers. Your tip might be the one thing they need to read today!

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Comments

  1. I Created my first website with Joomla about two months ago. The first hardest thing that I faced is building traffic to my website. I submitted my website to Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. After, I thought that if I build my website using WordPress, it is better than Joomla. Google takes about 2 weeks to index my site. My Alexa rank is 1,119,660.

    • Two months are not enough. And in that interval you made a switch. Now, just get busy with creating something great. My new project is two months old and has even worst Alexa rank… Just don’t give up

      • Stacey Roberts says:

        I agree, get busy making good content, and work the other stuff out later.

  2. Tony Khuon says:

    The biggest obstacle for me in the beginning was hitting publish on my first batch of content. But after that, it was the realization that I needed to write longer pieces in order to have a decent shot at ranking on page one of Google for my terms. Since Google also punishes you for not writing frequently, this meant my 500 word/twice a week plan became 1500 word/twice a week. Tripling my rate of output was not easy. My advice is to create a core “design skeleton” for your posts so you don’t have to rethink the structure every time.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Oh goodness yes, that sounds like a lot of work. I confess I didn’t think that strategically when I first started. I still don’t! I hope it works for you.

    • Qasim says:

      Hi Tony,

      I have to disagree with that. Google use factors to determine your website ranking and non of them include the article length and number of words. In fact this is still one of the most topics in discussion between bloggers as if we should write long posts or short posts; but even their discussion was based on the amount of traffic it will get and people would be more interested to read it; and none of them mentioned that it has a direct effect on your ranking.

      By the way all SEO experts advice that you should write for your readers and not for Search engine, If your readers like reading your long posts then fine; it’s great.

  3. Pete says:

    I’m so new to blogging that I’m still experimenting with what works for my site. I’m positive I am making mistakes but I just don’t think i’m at the point where I can recognise them yet.

    At the minute I’m focusing on improving my content yet often think that I’m not putting enough of myself into my posts. I really enjoy learning about the various aspects necessary for successful blogging but feel as though my style is too formal when chronicling my discoveries. I guess it’s the result of having only really written academic and professional papers in the past and just hope it’s something I can work through to find the balance between informative and informal.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      I hear you about academic and professional papers, I have written thousands of them. I was also once a journalist, which requires very personality-devoid copy. I actually felt writing a blog where I could be more expressive to be a hell of a lot of fun!

  4. Ragnar says:

    The hardest part for me has been finding the patience and persistence to follow the ups and downs of the learning curve without giving up. This time around I’m in a better place simply because I’ve made friends who know more than me, and reached out in times of need.

    When I started my first few blogs years ago, I quickly gave up when I didn’t see results quickly enough. But I looked at it almost like a game to be won. Something that simply required strategies and metrics and hours of work.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Oh that’s so true! I know of a lot of people who didn’t achieve their “goals” early on, and threw in the towel. It can be hard to be patient, but it’s one of the best things to be when first starting out.

  5. Sheeroh says:

    I AM a new blogger. What do I find hardest? Getting email subscribers. I feel like they are coming in so slowly… Any tips Stacey?

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      The thing I see that works quite well is to ask people to sign up – have a box at the end of your posts, and one in your sidebar. Invite people to sign up on your social media channels. maybe think of a useful thing like an ebook or some printables that come as a free download when people sign up. Make them WANT to sign up!

  6. Noufal Binu says:

    Hi Darren :) I think It depended on How Much Lucky and Hard Work

  7. David Boozer says:

    Writing. That was my biggest fear. I am still not a great writer, but what I have learned here and other valuable places online…I just needed to try and try again. It worked. Thanks Darren, and the rest of you who have contributed here, it all took some time, but it worked!

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      That’s so true. Lots of people who blog aren’t professional writers and that can bring with it some anxiety. But if you try hard and you’re committed to learning, you can’t go too far wrong. So glad to hear it worked!

  8. Ron says:

    I started my free WordPress themes website in 2010. The biggest obstacle i see since then is to get referral traffic from social media like facebook, twitter, pinterest etc. I know it’s quite shocking but i still have 21 facebook fanpage likes. But i mostly get organic traffic as i have my website ranking 50 in the targeted keyword free wordpress themes in google. I wish someday i would be able to see more likes and referrals from facebook.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Are you very engaged on your facebook page?

    • I haven’t used Facebook for social media because (1) Zuckerberg was very blunt in saying that they’ve changed things around so that if you don’t advertise on FB, your search rankings will go down from where they were a year ago and (2) I would rather spend my time creating more content, and responding to conversations on my blog, than having to 24/7 respond to FB comments. But, if it makes your day, I’ll like you :-)

  9. Aaron says:

    I think that blogging is a long term process. Need time to learn about blogging to the point. Many people think, blogging is easy and other people thing, blogging is so hard. I can say blogging is hard as a new blogger. I have found some problems. Such as write informative, useful and quality content. I need more time to think about content title and write article. Because My native language is not English. My native language is not support for Google adsense and other publisher networks.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Ah that’s definitely something that can be an issue for new bloggers. But I agree – blogging is definitely a long-term thing.

  10. Joe Martin says:

    for me I wanted to just toss keywords all over it :) hard to write at first when you looking to gain rank.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      haha I think a lot of people do that! I never did, mostly because I didn’t know how. But it seems gaining rank was a big thing among new bloggers.

  11. Good question that makes one think.
    1. Traffic , Traffic, Traffic.
    2. If working 9-6, then it makes harder to post at least one article a day.
    Note: This need real hard work and determination to post at least 2 – 3 articles per week, say.
    3. Ideas and what content to write.
    P/S. But i think any successful bloggers also started somewhere… and I’m sure this is part of the process. It only makes you or breaks you.. :)

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Oh you’re so right! Even successful bloggers started somewhere.

  12. I created a custom CMS with reasonable amount of SEO. I have also considered microdata. But my Alexa Rank is still 18,812,005. Till now, less than 10 schools/colleges/university are added.

    I have no idea how to promote this on-line and get users to submit data.

  13. Bella Sophie says:

    Hi Darren,

    I just started a blog 1 month ago and have so little content, still no organic search traffic but i know “patience is the name of the game” right?

  14. Chris says:

    Just wanted to thank you for all your free blogging info. I wasn’t sure if adding a blog to my business website would be helpful, but now I see it’s just as important as my website. Will be working on my blog with your help.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      That’s one of the biggest things I see recommended – add a blog to your business website. Good luck!

  15. James Frost says:

    I’ve started blogging from last year of December and I’m still struggling but also overcome a lot of difficulties that I previously faced when I started.At first it was very tough for me as what will I write and my writing wasn’t that good so readers weren’t there but now I’m becoming good day by day and now I’e doing well but the lack of time isn’t helping my cause.Tried hard to follow schedule but still I’m falling behind.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Lucky blogging is very flexible! Take it a day at a time :)

  16. Rajan says:

    The hardest thing for any newbie is always how to get organic traffic to website

  17. Alex Mitchel says:

    hardest thing is only consistency for managing blog. bcz newbie wants traffic in one day but they dont work hard.In my views not giving proper time is the basic factor.

  18. Aniruddha says:

    The hardest thing when i created my blog is the one using second level bullets. It took me close to year to know that such feature was there in blogger.

  19. shamsudeen says:

    Is hard for me to pin point one area or blogging aspect as an obstacle I came across when starting out with blogging.

    I never heard of blogging before I get started with it, so almost every aspect of it was a nightmare. I managed to learn by reading both Probloggers blogs and books, bloggers communities, forums, and most importantly, by taking actions on whatever I read.

    If I came across a good article that teaches something about writing quality content; the next big thing I’ll do is to write my own version of same topic and used it as an experiment on what I have read in the original article.

    Then I’ll market the post through the small marketing channels at my disposal and wait for readers comments to see if I did something good or bad.

    I could remember vividly, a friend I had ask to help check on one post I believe was a good piece. The feedback made me wanted to quit blogging, I became sad and even think if writing was for me.

    I took the post again to a group of bloggers on Facebook called “BloggersLab”, the feedback was the same. I then trash everything that was written on the blog and starts all over again.

    All that has now became history; a couple of things have made me the blogger I am today and will get me to where I wanted to be with my blog in the next six months, one, two, three years coming.

    Thanks Stacy, hope you do have a lovely day.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Oh harsh feedback can be awful to digest. But it definitely makes us better bloggers :)

  20. Qasim says:

    Hi,

    The one obstacle that I had when I first started in blogging is to get traffic and people to read the articles that I wrote, I worked hard on growing my social media accounts and joined blogging communities to drive more traffic to my blog.I feel now that new blog posts get reads but my old posts are not.

    Still I didn’t reach the traffic level I want and I am still far away however at least for now, I have enough readers to write more blog posts.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      It’s always a work in progress, isn’t it!

      • Qasim says:

        Hi Stacey,

        Yes it’s. I have just stopped to think for a while and find that currently I don’t need more traffic. I need to fix my blog and get traffic to the old blog posts that never been read. After I get the traffic I want I will start adding more content.

        • Hi Qasim,

          If you have over a 100(?) blog posts, I think it’s unlikely that most new readers will click “older posts” more than five or six times before they move on. So unless those posts made it onto your home page’s “Popular Posts” listing, they are pretty much dead.

          I would therefore consider re-publishing the best of those old posts so that new readers can find them on your home page: it will give you the motivation to proofread, edit and revise them to perfection–you may be surprised how much “tweaking” those old posts need to measure up to the quality of your current content.

        • Stacey Roberts says:

          I agree, sometimes you have to stop the quest for traffic, and work on what you’ve already built. Then you can move on with getting more traffic again :)

  21. Hello all,

    My blog is 1 year-old and it is about scuba diving.

    My number one obstacle was finding readers for my blog. ProBlogger helped my a lot about it. I made field studies and started to hang out in other web-sites, forums and blogs where my target audience is. Then I started to learn about the trends and wrote about them. It worked! Don’t try to find what topic would build traffic by trial and error method. Find it directly by using Google trends, Google Adwords Keyword Tool and Quora.com and such.

    Thank you.

  22. One of the biggest hurdles for me has to be letting people in to my world. I have a daughter with Cerebral Palsy and find it difficult to express my true feelings to others concerning her condition. I have wrote a few comments on Facebook and really received a lot of positive feedback, but part of me still feels uneasy about everyone knowing one of my main hurts in life.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      I totally understand. I have lots of conversations with bloggers who are worried about revealing their true feelings, but are usually grateful that they have. It’s a wonderful thing to have such positive feedback and a feeling of support and community when you put yourself out there.

  23. Tauseef Alam says:

    Hi

    When i was a newbie the biggest problem i faced was to figure out the topics which my users will find interesting to read. Building a traffic was also a big challenge for me.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      I think we all have a period where we feel the same way as new bloggers.

  24. S jennifer says:

    Traffic. The biggest problem I had was gaining readers and making money out of them. There were several sources, organic, paid, social etc. I tried using all but ended up with none. Finally, I decided to try one by one and to move on only when I had significant traffic from a source. And today, I derive traffic from organic source which bags me enough money to live happy.

  25. Andy says:

    .Finding good blogs for commenting that are not spammed to the limit is another obstacle. I enjoy interacting with other people to gain more information and tips to improve my blog. I agree that building traffic is key.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      I agree, I find it hard to engage the writers of some of the biggest bloggers. But they must be so busy.

  26. Mi Muba says:

    Hi Darren: For my the hardest thing as new blogger is to rightly know what my readers want in terms of freebie and premium product. That is why I get confuse while deciding what to offer them free and what at a price. As a result I offer free which I could have charged to them and charge them for a product which I should have offered them for free.

  27. Jeffrey says:

    Hi Darren,

    When I started out, the hardest thing as new blogger is to build traffics to my site. After more than 5 years in this online business, PBN is the strategy to rank for most of my highly targeted keywords in google.

    Being an affiliate marketer, it pays to rank your keywords to top three and make lots of sales. Did i mention quality contents is a must.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Oh yes, the quality content is a non-negotiable! Must have.

  28. Cleber says:

    With no doubts, build traffic is the hardest part. Create quality backlinks is tedious and requires time and patience.

    I get amazed when I see some sites getting 100k visitors daily or even more. I constantly ask to myself how these guys are able to build so much traffic?

  29. Mike says:

    For me, the hardest thing isn’t writing content. It’s narrowing my focus by deciding the audience I should target, and how best to monetize my site/s. What to offer for free and what eventually to offer for a fee.

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  31. Networking! Again and again, I feared branching out, meeting new people and being criticized. I could write quite easily; no probs with writer’s block at all but the commenting bit, networking and drilling down to hang with people in my niche were uber challenging for me in the beginning.

    Great question ;)

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      I’ve actually found networking to be the single most useful thing I’ve ever done. It’s worth it to push out of your comfort zone!

  32. Hardest thing? Not stopping. It was a full year before I managed to write my first “hit” post, and that was mostly luck. It was quite a while after that before I started to feel like I had the right balance of writing style, SEO, posting frequency, design, and all the little elements that combine to make it all work.

    It would have been easier to just stop, that’s for sure.

  33. honey singh says:

    I’m so new to blogging that I’m still experimenting with what works for my site. I’m positive I am making mistakes but I just don’t think i’m at the point where I can recognise them yet.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      There’s so much to learn when you’re first starting out, isn’t there!

  34. waqas says:

    First I start my blog on blogger. Then purchase a blog hosted on WordPress. Now I am again on blogger blog. Generating good content and traffic is the hard part of blogging.

    (Content+quality) + (hard work+patience) = Beginner

  35. Sebastien says:

    I know if I want to take the blog to the next level, I have to connect with other blogger. I feel like I don’t have much to offer to them.

  36. Sahith says:

    I am bloggin over 2 years now and I still find bringing traffic is the difficult part in bloggins. I know it takes time and efforts, I am still waiting for the results ..:)

  37. Like a few others have said, my issue is now (and probably always will be) traffic. Getting it, keeping it, and generating the referrals that help build it.

    There’s a lot of competition for attention out there now on basically any topic you can name, so differentiating yourself from the rest can be a bit tricky.

    Time, hard work, and perseverance will tell, I guess.

    Also – thumbs up to you, Stacey, for replying to basically every post here so far!

    Cheers,
    Chris

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Haha thanks Chris, I love a bit of a chat!

      I agree with time, hard work, and perseverance. It seems to be the motto of all the bloggers who have seen success.

  38. Steve says:

    For me, I think it was getting my wordpress blog to look good and function well to attract people to come to it. After 5yrs of Blogging, I have a steady fan base and just now am looking to redesign my site.

    I see Problogger using Genesis theme, which I’m looking at also, just hoping it is easy to work with for people such as myself who isn’t a pro at designing a website.

    For others who have been blogging for a while, your fan base will grow. Just continue to write what your passionate about and people will see it and start to visit your blog. Took me honestly a few yrs, gotta be patient.

  39. Sean Hodge says:

    I’m fortunate, in that I have a full-time blog editing position, but with my personal blog projects it’s always been difficult to stick with them long enough for them to breakthrough and start to generate real income. It can be a tough road, but well-worth it, if you can stick with it. Thanks.

  40. Varun says:

    For me it was creating the content! I used to copy content from other sites but later on realized that it’s not a good way of Blogging :)
    and the second most hard thing was setting up site on WordPress :)

  41. Madhukar says:

    One obvious thing that I face is traffic. Time does matter for blogging as a student though content can be created easily. Three posts per week is the most difficult task!
    Blog design too can be very confusing thing if you are not good at it.