5 Things I Did Wrong When I First Started Blogging / Carmen Varner // Travel Influencer, Blogging Coach, Social Media Consultant


5 Things I Did Wrong When I First Started Blogging

I first started blogging in 2011. Crazy right? My blog was mainly an outlet to put my poems, short stories, & little blurbs. Over time I grew as a person & so did my blog. I graduated from university & pursued a career in social media. These are just five things I did wrong when I first started blogging. Believe me, there were many more mistakes. Hopefully, you can learn from it all without having to experience it firsthand!

1. Not Commenting

It took me longer than I'd like to admit to begin commenting on other blogs. I didn't understand its value at the time. Commenting can improve your presence, get you more exposure, & help you connect with others. To begin, simply leave a comment on one of your favorite blogs. Then comment on the blogs who commented on that blog.

2. Ignoring Comments

If someone took time out of their day to leave you a comment, especially a thoughtful one, take the time to respond, even if it's just a simple thank you. You don't have to respond to every comment, every time. Answering even a couple comments can continue the blogger-reader dialogue, opening the opportunity for more engagement & views in the long run. This was a huge mistake on my part.

3. Failure to Link Back

As I started to blog more & more, I had a wide range of content, but I never took advantage of linking back to appropriate posts within my current post. Strategically linking to older or relevant posts within a post keeps people on your web page longer & gets them interested in more of your content. It's not cheesy or self-promotional when done with care.

Another relevant read: Social Media Basics for Bloggers

4. Crappy About Me

For the longest time, my About Me section was pretty abysmal. It was plain, uninteresting, & didn't really tell much about me, my personality, or my blog. In fact, as a social media coordinator, I've seen firsthand that brands often look at a blogger's About Me as the final touch of whether they want to pursue a collaboration or paid campaign with them. Make sure your page is updated & reflects who you are.

5. Generic Theme

I used a free blog theme for the first three years of my blog. After seeing my very same theme over & over again on other blogs, I decided it was time for a change. I bought one for $20 from Etsy & installed it myself. It took some time, some tweaking, & some frustration, but at least it was less generic. Paying even a few bucks for a theme can cut down the number of other blogs out there with the same one.


  1. My worst newbie mistake was definitely commenting & not knowing about Twitter chats. I think I blogged for about 4 months without anyone reading my blog ever. I mean, it was good practice but it was definitely not worth it. Being engaged in the community is definitely the most important thing!
    xx Lisa | Following Lisa

  2. I definitely made these mistakes too!


  3. been there, done that. Also, I didnt promote my posts at all! not good!
    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

  4. These are spot on, girl! I can totally relate.


  5. Kate from Conjuntados.comNovember 3, 2016 at 7:46 AM

    Nice post, I love it!

  6. I'm so guilty of some of these- thanks for the advice! x

  7. Great tips! I'm liberal with commenting on other blogs however I never remember to comment back on my own posts despite reading the comments! I still have a generic theme and I've been looking into getting a custom one and also a domain name but I have NO IDEA how to go about it!

    Katelyn | https://katieedidd.blogspot.ca

  8. This is such a great post, thanks for sharing these really useful tips! Also congrats on blogging for 5 years! Thats amazing!

    I write Mademoiselle Meets Maquillage and Macaroons and I would love for you to give it a read, maybe we can follow each other's blogs and social media?


    Deepti xx

  9. Love this collection of tips/mistakes; I'm a victim of not having a great About Me page (or more like never having an up-to-date About Me page). Keep forgetting that's something I should be checking in on, haha.


  10. You are absolutely right about commenting on other blogs, about blog's theme and link back to other blogs. Only thing I would not agree is answering every single comment on the blog. I used to answer comments under my blogposts before but not anymore because Answering every comment can be boring or even frustrating for my readers__ I get at least 25 comments on each post and if I answer them with my 25 "thank you" type of comments, it will look annoying for others. But I always try to leave a comment on their blogs so they know that I appreciate their time that they spent on my blogpost. Only time I try to answer is when somebody asks me something, then , of course I will answer. Have a great day, dear. xx
    Nina's Style Blog Giveaway __ Enter to win $100

  11. Absolutely. That's why I mentioned to especially respond to thoughtful comments. :]

  12. I started blogging a few years ago and I never commented or took time to engage with the community, but now I've learnt that it makes such a big difference! x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

  13. Girl- you and me both!!! I still need to be better about responding back to people and literally just upgraded my layout this past week- eek! Cheers to being blogging anniversary buddies!


  14. So much truth in this post! I follow and read so many blogs but sometimes commenting can be a little scary. I think I'm getting better at it? I don't know. Hahah. The 'About Me' is tough - online or offline. But lovely tips for sure! xx


  15. OMG! I did all 5! Gosh. Thanks a lot for sharing this!

    x, Kat of Nested Thoughts

  16. I only started blogging a year ago and I am guilty of doing these mistakes. Leaving a nice comment on someone else's blog is nice, it shows not only that you are engaged in the community but it also means that you respect the person that dedicated hours and hard work to sit down and write the post, take pictures, edit, share etc.


  17. its good that you can see your mistakes from the past and act on it really! My blog is about to turn 2, and even so i am still learning I did progress since day one.
    great post !


  18. That's a very nice topic, indeed! Well, I comment on blogs, but I thank my blogger friends when I comment on their blogs. I have told them I would do that and all understood, because I was having problems with my eyes so many hours in front of the computer. I know it would be better to thank after the comment, but as I said, they told me they understand :) I really loved your post! Hope you have a very nice weekend!

  19. I totally did these as well! i also had horrible photos. But we all have to start somewhere right! haha. xo, Ellese


  20. Great tips! Totally agree, commenting is so fun and engaging! I've learned this lesson too!
    xoxo, Vanessa

  21. My blog is about to turn one year old (my little baby) and my main mistake has been organization! I suck at being organized and that's why sometimes I can go months without posting things. Since I am a student, I struggle to find time to study and keep the blog, but I've been learning a lot about that in this past year, so I'm ready to turn my blogger life around and be the most committed person on earth!


  22. Im still new to blogging. Thanks for the great tips Carmen!

  23. This is a really helpful post for new bloggers!! X

    ♡ itsjessiejane ♡

  24. This is such a helpful post! Thanks for sharing!


  25. Lovely tips, I will certainly use them! Thank you.

    Patricia / Patricia Stelmach

  26. I've nearly been blogging 5 years but not yet, so it was great to read your lessons, from someone more experienced :)

    Hope you're having a great start to the weekend :)

    Away From The Blue Blog

  27. Ahhh I agree with so many of these! Great post! I love it with bloggers offer tips to other bloggers too. It's so selfless. I was so happy when I updated my About Me. It was so insanely hard to talk about myself for some reason haha. My About Me was pretty bad for a long time. It's much better now. I've always had a paid theme and I love it! I totally agree it is worth the update. :)

    -Emily www.coatandcoffee.com

  28. These are great thoughts and I totally agree with you! "About Me" is often overlooked. I also paid some bucks for the theme of my blog and it is so worth it. Awesome post. xx


  29. I couldn't agree more. I've been blogging for years now, but because I've been ignoring the social blogging community, I hadn't really stepped up from where I began not until recently.

    Tienne | | www.foregathers.life

  30. I also made the same mistakes and many more when I first staretd in 2009 but luckily you learn from your mistakes and your blog evolves.

    The Fashion Matters- Travel & Fashion blog | Instagram: TheFashionMatters

  31. I feel like blogging is such a learning curve - I was definitely guilty of a few of these (and I'm still not 100% happy with my 'About Me' section, haha)


  32. I definitely made some of these mistakes as well, and I still want to update my blog theme! I just try to do one thing at a time though, slow and steady I suppose!


  33. Great post with some really good points. I feel like I've made some of these mistakes too.

  34. I've been blogging for about a year and a half and it took me awhile to start commenting on other sites. It's a really good use of time when it comes to growing a blog. So glad I learned!


  35. These are really useful actually! I fixed my about me last week and I feel so much better about it!

  36. Thanks so much for sharing my darling! I have to admit commenting and replying to comments is my favorite part of blogging. My webpage is still under construction and needs a lot of improvement. I can just never find the time to address this problem.
    Thanks so much for the inspirational post.

  37. I think having a good design is so key to running a blog - I always buy mine from Pipdig, he's amazing! I always take time to reply to comments and read blogs as I think it's so important to support each other in this industry!

    Hayley xo

  38. Sinéad Danielle ✿November 9, 2016 at 12:20 PM

    I love reading posts like these, blogging is such a learning curve no matter how long you've been doing it, especially as it's such a changing landscape! Adding in backlinks is so key, how else are new readers going to see your amazing content from the past!!

    Sinéad ♥ fabuleuse, toujours ♥

  39. These are such good tips, thanks for sharing!


    Gem+Elli | gemandelli.com

  40. Great tips! Years ago when I started blogging I never commented on other people's blogs because I was afraid (for some weird reason?) but when I started my most recent one I just took the plunge to leave some love on other websites and I've developed some great friendships with it! Really does make a huge difference! Great tips - I'm going to go look at your About Me page now haha


  41. Amazing tips. I'm still struggling with the about me section, describing myself and my blog is proving to be a little harder than I though. I also need to work on linking back.
    I like engaging with other bloggers but I really get annoyed when I see comments on my post that say things like "nice post, visit my blog". I think It's also important to leave meaningful comments that relate to the post.
    Thank you do much for sharing Carmen :)
    Sauniya | Find Your Bliss ♡

  42. i love your blog! thank you for sharing the mistakes you made...it will help newbie bloggers like me to learn the tricks of the trade...

  43. Thanks for sharing your tips! One of my common mistakes was not commenting on other peoples blogs as much as I should! I'm still not there yet, but I've gotten a lot better at it haha!
    Leanne ox | leannecresswell.co.uk

  44. I didn't do enough research on what was the best platform for my blog before I started. I changed from WordPress to Strikingly to Medium, and back to WordPress again. #thestruggle

    I also should've clarified my purpose (for myself) earlier on.

    Thanks for your post.

  45. Very interesting advice! It's a big help for rookies like me.
    Thank you :)

  46. I love these tips. I'm still a rookie blogger but I've learned that commenting on other blogs is a great way to build connections and drive traffic to your blog.

  47. This was so insightful! I'm definitely still a rookie blogger! I found that commenting on blogs really helped as well as getting bloglovin'! I'm also still unsure as to what makes an engaging post but I'm sure I'll get there eventually! X

    Victoria | VictoriaaHelenn

  48. very good read !!!

  49. This a great post, I made some of these mistakes too, I'm also trying to comment more.

  50. I love this post!! I really struggle with being consistent with my blogging. I'll go through phases, which completely ruins my hard work a lot of the time.

  51. Great post, Carmen!

    Before I started specializing in writing about B2B/tech topics, I didn't know much about marketing or how to increase website traffic. So, I had no idea why it was so important to comment on other blogs and websites!

    It makes a huge difference. I definitely recommend making sure there is a good headshot next to your name when you comment, though. People are far more likely to click through on your name if there is a picture next to it.

    Once again, good job! :)

    - Alexia P. Bullard

  52. Nikita Raj RaikwarMarch 9, 2017 at 10:34 AM

    Something that I regret doing is that I only wrote content for audience. It took away my essence. I later started writing content that made me feel good too. Because if you yourself don't enjoy the content how can you expect somebody else to?

    So I focused more on the quality of content and lesser on the quantity.

  53. Megan ElizabethMay 9, 2017 at 8:05 PM

    Thank you Carmen, this was super helpful! Wishing you all the best in the future :)

  54. My biggest blogging mistake I've made so far is not blogging enough or being really far behind on blogs. Being on the road it's made it really hard to write a blog 2 times a week. I finally decided it would be best and easier on me to write a blog once a week that way I could make sure I get the best pictures and write about the most interesting things I've experienced in my travels. Even with help from an awesome social media coach I'm finding myself falling behind on my blog as well as my other social media accounts. I realize it's due to not taking one day out of my busy schedule to update or schedule posts. That or not being super interactive with the blogging community or other communities that would want to read my blog. It's definitely an overwhelming learning experience!


  55. I love your blog, you share very good advice for new bloggers. At the moment I am trying to find a schedule for posting - this is one thing I have not been very good at. I have been running my blog since the beginning of this year - having debated starting one for a very long time I decided to go for it!

  56. These are super super helpful! Great to read as I start to launch my blog :)


  57. I have to say that I have come back to your blog over and over for the advice that you give. I am still trying to figure out if "Lifestyle" needs to be more narrowed down or if it really is about all the things I adore and find useful in my life - along with my obsession with make up. I only have 13 posts as I'm still a bit lost cause my blog is also about my personal business and the brand i've created for myself. Thank you for sharing all your knowledge and support!


  58. Miss Goody 2 ShoesMarch 20, 2018 at 4:12 PM

    Very helpful! Working now to get my blog all the way together.


Thanks for reading & writing. :] // ▲


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