With millions of bloggers writing millions of blog posts every day, whose words of advice should you pay attention to? In short, who’s telling you the truth about blogging?
And maybe some of the advice used to be true but no longer is – who can tell with so many bloggers having removed the dates from their posts? (Even with a date you can’t be sure – they might have updated a post that’s ten years old so it shows a current date.)
So for the benefit of newbie and other confused bloggers, I’ll examine six common blogging myths and offer you the benefit of my own experience when it comes to the Truth About Blogging:
1. You Should Post Every Day
Many experienced bloggers started out posting 5-7 times a week, only to discover later on that if they posted less often, focussing more on quality over quantity, that they actually received more traffic to their blogs.
If you can somehow post that often and still maintain a high quality then it will probably work well for you, but most bloggers, myself included, find a more sedate posting pace to be more suitable.
It’s not just about producing content of course, you also need to be working on ways to drive traffic to your blog, such as SEO, social media and email etc.
Most blogging experts seem to agree that 20% of your time should be spent producing content and 80% marketing it.
I’ve tried to adhere fairly closely to that rule and it’s working well for me so far, with traffic continuing to increase at a steady pace as SEO works it’s magic and my social media marketing skills improve with time and practice.
2. Blogging is Easy Money
If you read some of the many posts describing how a blogger is making thousands of dollars a month after only a couple of months then it might sound like easy money (Pat Flynn springs to mind here), but for the vast majority of bloggers it’s anything but.
Most experienced bloggers will tell you that you need to be blogging for at least six months before expecting to see any financial return, and for the majority it will take considerably longer.
Your traffic is also likely to be only a thin trickle for at least the first two or three months, however wonderful and exciting you think your writing is.
If you get into blogging thinking that it’s a get rich quick scheme then you’re much more likely to fail than someone who’s prepared to knuckle down and put in the hard graft for the longer term.
Adopt the mindset that for at least the first few months you’ll see little traffic and even less income and you’re much less likely to be disappointed.
Sorry for the dash of cold water, but don’t forget you’re competing with millions of other bloggers, many who’ve been blogging for many years!
3. More Traffic Equals More Money
It’s possible to get thousands of visitors a day to a blog yet make very little money if your blog isn’t set up properly to garner sales.
Unless it’s fame you’re seeking, conversions are what you’re really interested in. You want to see the numbers jumping on your income report, not just on your Google Analytics screen.
One thing you should be focussing on early in the life of your blog is the creation of an email list.
It’s not for nothing that a common saying of top bloggers is “The money’s in the list!”
This is due to the fact that anyone who’s entrusted their email address to you is usually more interested than most in what you have to say, and is thus more likely than the majority of visitors to actually purchase from one of your affiliates, or buy one of your products such as an ebook or course.
The source of your traffic is also important, since someone who’s found your blog via Google Search is much more likely to be a willing customer than a visitor who clicked through from Social Media.
This is why it’s important to spend the time to make yourself an expert on SEO, since though initially it won’t provide much traffic, in the longer term it’s likely to be your biggest and best traffic source, especially for conversions.
4. It’s too Hard to Make Money
Many people will tell you that it’s too difficult to make money blogging since people just want to read free stuff and not pay for anything.
Certainly that’s true in the early months of most blogs, but as you gradually build an audience and increase the number of your posts you can start to make some money from affiliate marketing and possibly ads.
Be aware though that several ads on a page can have an adverse impact on your page loading speed, which in turn can negatively affect your SEO and ‘bounce rate’ (if your site takes longer than 2-3 seconds to load people are much more likely to ‘bounce’).
As time goes by and you grow your traffic and email list you can produce your own products to sell such as ebooks and courses, which are usually the biggest income producers for experienced bloggers.
Some bloggers also make money by selling their services, as well as creating Webinars and speaking at conferences.
You should also ensure you’re self-hosted with a quality hosting service such as SiteGround (the hosting service I recommend and use for this blog.)
If you use a free service then you often can’t run ads or shopping cart functionality, and your customization options are also severely limited. You also won’t appear very professional to both customers and advertisers.
To give you an idea of a top blogger’s income sources, check out one of Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s Income Reports.
One common factor among the highest earning bloggers is that their income streams are usually well diversified, including affiliate marketing, ebooks, courses etc.
5. You Need to Be An Expert Writer
Certainly you won’t get much credibility if your grammar is poor and your spelling is atrocious, but good grammar is a skill that can be easily learned (mostly by reading a lot) and for spelling there’s plenty of good spell checkers around.
Spell checkers won’t catch everything by the way – for instance ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ are the kind of mistakes you’ll have to catch yourself. Tip: every time you type ‘your’ think ‘you are’. If ‘you are’ fits then ‘you’re’ is correct!
Anyway most blog visitors aren’t looking for Hemingway – they’re looking for a solution to a problem.
Much more important than perfect grammar is a good knowledge of the subject you’re writing about, along with enough passion and ability to impart that knowledge to the reader in a clear and concise manner.
I’ve seen many blogs riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, only to turn to their income report and find they’ve been averaging profits over $10,000 per month, so obviously it’s possible to be successful even with a rather cavalier approach to written English.
6. No One Reads Long Posts
Congratulations if you’ve got this far–you’re one of the few!
You’d think in these days of short attention spans with people jumping between apps, email, Facebook, Twitter etc that short posts would be the way to go, but in practice longer posts do much better with Google and social media shares.
I’ve seen several studies recently which cite an optimal word rate of around 2500 to max your chances of making page one on Google, although posts of 1000-1500 words still do quite well.
Naturally you don’t just want to pad out your post with fluff to make a higher word count, as this will only drive your readers away. As Neil Patel says, “It only matters if the content is good.”
Around ten years ago the average word count was somewhere between 500-800 words, but it’s been steadily rising since then.
This is presumably due to people discovering that their blogs performed better with Google with longer posts, then others doing the same and beating their word count, and so on with a slowly rising recommended word count.
I’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to finding out the truth about blogging here – what other truths did I leave out? Let me know in the comments.
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