The problem with advice is that it’s free. Everybody can give whatever advice they want, even if they have no idea what they’re talking about. Now, in real life, you can look somebody in the eye and get a pretty good idea if you should take their words seriously or ask them why they’re wearing a tinfoil hat. You don’t have that luxury online. Anybody can pretend they’re an expert and, so, many do. That leads to a lot of bad advice.
Every so once in a while it’s important to clear the air and point out some absolute nonsense that’s making the rounds. Here are some prime examples:
Content is King
I fell for this one for a long time myself. I created tons of great content but nobody ever really looked at it because I wasn’t pushing it. What people should say is: Content isn’t king, it’s the kingdom. If you’ve got great content then the next step is to get people to see it. And that means getting out there, sharing what you’re doing, talking to other bloggers and guest blogging (to name but a few examples). If you want to get your blog read, content is only half of what you need, great networking is the other half. Though don’t count on it becoming the next big thing. After all the second myth is:
Blogging will make you famous
Let’s be clear about it, it probably won’t. Not if you’re blogging on your own from your bedroom. The Internet no longer is the land of milk and honey it once was. Most of the major blogs (and websites) out there have serious money, experience and marketing behind them. You writing about what you love probably isn’t going to get you noticed.
Not that that should dissuade you. After all, a blog is great practice. And you’re going to need that if you ever do want to be taken seriously and there is actually money on the table. I had a string of failed blogs before I started blogging successfully and the only reason that happened was because I started having luck as a freelancer and that led back to blogging. The thing is, I wouldn’t have done half as well at that as I’m doing if not for the original blogging experience.
You can only succeed in a niche
Nonsense! Yes, in a niche there is often less competition, but there’s also a much smaller audience that is often much harder to find and reach. Don’t spend your time agonizing about what niche you can write in, write in the area that you’re good at. If your content (and your marketing) is top notch then people will still come to read your site. And there’s a lot more of them, so even a tiny percentage will make a huge impression.
Post often if not everyday
Why would you want to do that? Yes, you’ve got to post consistently so that people that like reading your stuff have something to read when they come back to your blog, but it’s nuts for you to try to write every day. It’s barely possible because most of don’t have the time or the creativity to come up with good content on a daily basis.
And besides, if you’re doing a good job then they’ll subscribe to you. That way they’ll see it when you put up new content. People don’t go to blogs and websites anymore. They expect the content to come to them.
It’s easy to monetize your blog
It might have been easy once, but it isn’t anymore. The market has long since been saturated. That’s the problem with any market that has a low barrier to entry and that everybody knows about. That’s why most restaurants and bars go out of business so quickly. Far too much competition! Blogging should not be about making money. It should be about doing something you enjoy. Yes, maybe you’ll make money from it somewhere down the line but don’t count on it.
Blog because you love it
No, that’s not actually bad advice. That’s good advice. Blog because you want to put words on paper. Blog because you want to express yourself. Blog because you want to save your stories, your thoughts and your ideas for posterity. And if you do all that and do it successfully you might end up with a bit of a readership. But don’t let that ever be the reason why you blog, because then you’ll just end up disappointed.