A troubling thought, isn't it?
To think that you can actually fail at something that you have a serious passion for?
I mean ... who actually wants to fail at blogging? Nobody, right?
But unsuspecting bloggers fail every day.
And the reason for the majority of their failures? Utter confusion.
For instance, have you ever been told, "All you need to do is just put ads on your blog and you'll make money?"
What a load of crap, right?
And even though Sarah Peterson debunked that "tip" in a recent post she did on Boost Blog Traffic, many people actually believe that. They believe that all they need to do to make money is throw up a few ads on their blog -- and voila!
Their bank account is regurgitating money.
What a bogus "tip" that is, right?
Well, prepare yourself for a real shock ...
What if I told you that more than half of the "tips" you heard are bogus.
Lies being told to you to purposely lead you astray. All because a few money-grubbing "experts," wants to be your knight in shining armor.
By continuously sharing false tips with you, and other unsuspecting bloggers.
And they do that because they want you to be so lost and confused about what "tips" you read, that you'll have no choice but to buy their course/program to do things the right way.
Fortunately, I'm going to expose each one of these "tips" for what they are ... total nonsense that needs to be ignored.
Let's start with the biggest "tip" that's worth ignoring, shall we?
How many of you actually still believe that?
Don't be shy -- there's no shame in admitting it. But the truth is, that's just really horrible advice.
Here's why: Content alone can only carry you so far, but it's what you do with the content afterward that's important. If you don't get your content out there in front of the right people, it's as worthless as an election promise.
But, this is one of those things that no matter how much you try to debunk it, it has legs. It always comes back. Sensible bloggers are suckered into believing it.
Heck, I read a blog post from a semi-pro blogger a few days ago that swore by it.
The truth is, if you truly believe that content is king, you'll be watching in dismay as it sits gathering dust.
Let me guess. You were told that one of the best ways to get traffic to your blog, is to publish on a regular basis, right?
How often did they tell you?
2 times a week? 3 times? 5 days?
Well, unless you're in the news or entertainment niche where you have to publish content multiple times a week, or even multiple times a day, then there's no need publish that often.
Let me ask you a question.
What do you seriously gain by publishing multiple blog posts a week?
Sure you may get more traffic, but is it worth it if engagement is down? Comments are cut in half -- or non-existent? You no longer enjoy it?
And how about getting time to do the most important thing?
Hate to burst your bubble but publishing every day won't help your page rank. Nor will you get as much traffic as you think you'll get. The most it'll get you is more of your content out there.
But is that really a good thing if you're not able to promote any of it?
You should publish just enough content that:
In fact, I'd suggest that you publish once a week for a while. And over time, you can bump that up to twice a week -- as long as you maintain the quality of the content. You can do that, can't you?
Did you get the memo for this one?
Even Google doesn't want you to write for Google -- or search engines. Yet there are so many bloggers out there misinformed about this.
I'm not saying that you completely ignore keywords in your posts. Just don't make that be the primary focus. Write content that your readers will enjoy, share and comment on because they're the ones who truly matter.
There's no need to stuff your post with keywords, hoping that it helps you rank.
Bottom line: if all you're doing is stuffing keywords and NOT writing for your readers, that post will certainly fail.
Speaking of certain failure ...
I'm always frustrated when someone has the nerve to say:
"All you need is good content. As long as you have that, your readers will eventually find you. In the meantime, keep plugging away."
If someone tells you this, get as far away from them as possible. Because they obviously don't know anything.
Yes, you do have to publish good content. But if you're just sitting there twiddling your thumbs, hoping that your content goes viral, keep dreaming. It'll never happen.
My advice: as soon as you publish your content, spend 90% of your time promoting it. You read that correctly -- 90% of your time. That means promoting it to your list, on all of your social media channels, through effective blogger outreach and more.
(And maybe, just maybe, through all that hard work, you'll start seeing them on your site.)
I guess that means to avoid every type of niche then, right?
Because all niches are competitive.
Think about it.
Look how many people blog about Traffic Generation. Productivity. Blogging.
I'll level with you. The more people there are in a particular space, the more potential money you can make.
I know, I know. That probably goes against everything you've probably heard before, right? But look how many people are in those spaces -- and enter those spaces daily. On top of just having a heightened interest in that niche, they know they can make money in it.
And you can too. End of story.
Life is so full of contradictions, isn't it?
Birds of a feather, flock together -- but opposites attract.
The pen is mightier than the sword -- but actions speak louder than words.
Slow and steady wins the race -- but time waits for no one.
Truthfully, you should focus on creating amazing content that gets links and worry about SEO later. But, that doesn't mean to completely ignore it.
In my opinion, this is the epitome of horrible advice 101.
Because when you write for everybody, you're not only catering to no one, but your content won't appeal to anyone either -- and that's the last thing you want.
So, what are you supposed to do? Well, did you use to have an imaginary friend as a kid?
Probably, right? And they were someone you could talk to no matter what the situation was, right?
Newsflash: just because you've grown up, doesn't mean your imaginary friend disappeared.
As a blogger, that imaginary friend is your avatar. It's your ideal reader. The person who asks all the questions that they, and every other reader, wants to know.
If you don't know who your avatar is, then I suggest you follow this awesome step-by-step by Regina.
Can you get away with not building an email list early on?
But why would you want to?
Let's say you decided to follow through with this foolish advice, okay? You'll eventually come to the conclusion that having a list is valuable. That you need to start one. And you'll probably regret every day that you didn't have one -- because you'll realize that you should have started building a list sooner.
Don't believe me?
Here's what Adam Connell had to say about it:
It's incredibly valuable. Building a list isn't just important, it's
Not just as a way to sell more products but also as a way to promote your content more effectively.
An email list gives you a direct route to the inbox of your readers. It's personal and it's immediate.
Better yet, it's more reliable than any other promotional channel. Facebook can drop organic reach as much as they like but you'll still have your email list.
- Adam Connell, blogger at BloggingWizard.com
Make the smart choice and just do it now. Start that list if you haven't done it already.
But the sad truth is, even if you try, you won't make much -- if any.
People tend to buy from those that they trust and have a relationship with.
For example, my friend, Don Purdum, had an eBook come out a few months back that did pretty well. The reason for that eBooks success was the relationships he built with other bloggers and entrepreneurs for as long as he's been blogging.
And from those relationships, those bloggers and entrepreneurs purchased and gladly promoted his eBook to their readers. He even leveraged the success of that eBook and created a vibrant Facebook group:
Think that could have happened if he tried to sell a product the very first day he started his blog?
(If you doubt me, and you're brand new to blogging, go try to sell a product to your readers. If you even sell 5, consider yourself lucky.)
My advice: focus on building relationships with other bloggers first. Connecting and engaging with them will lead to you making more money down the road.
Anyone caught muttering that phrase to any blogger, sucks.
Plain and simple. They just suck.
Because if blogging is so easy, why do so many people abandon their blogs within the first two years? Why do so many people struggle to grow their email list? Why do so many people make less than $1,000 a year blogging? And why does less than 1% of bloggers actually create a popular blog?
Newsflash: Blogging is much tougher than it seems to be. And real bloggers know and understand that. The best thing you can do is take it seriously, but know that it takes work to truly be successful.
Are you kidding me?
The days of throwing up posts on a poorly designed site, and still getting a lot of traffic, is over.
These days, design has never been more important than it's ever been.
My friend, Ashley Faulkes, shares why that it:
Design, and it's best friend branding, are very important to a business or blog because they are your first impression. This is especially true online where your impact on a visitors, whether it be visuals or design of your website, comes entirely down to your website.
How this is done in practice depends on your personal taste, design experience and budget, but the following are crucial: have a clean, easy to read blog, that is well laid out, easy to get around on and stands out from the crowd. If you really have no idea about such things, simply find other blogs you like, find easy to use visit again and again, and use them for inspiration.
And if you need even more details, I have a small post on the topic, complete with sexy infographic to help.
- Ashley Faulkes, Blogger & Web Designer at MadLemmings.com
Bottom line: take the design of your blog seriously. Don't settle for just generic -- take action to make yours special and memorable.
Did you know that writing only short posts are like making Ramen noodles?
Sure, you know it doesn't take much effort and is very quick to create, but after you finish it, you're still left unsatisfied.
Just imagine if the "Special Of The Day" at your favorite local restaurant was Ramen noodles. How fed up and unsatisfied would you be about that?
That's how your readers feel when you only deliver them short posts. First of all, you're no Seth Godin. You can't get away with short posts like Seth can. For example, do you think you can get away with it if you wrote this for your readers?
Because you're not as established or as big a name as Seth to get away with that.
My advice: You should try to aim for posts that are 1,000 words or more. To do that, focus on writing blog posts for your readers that actually answers their questions in detail. For instance, say you decided to write "10 Ways To Grow Your Email List With Evergreen Content." You'll need to cover important points like:
At the end of it all, you would have answered their questions and probably written more than 1,000 words too. Don't focus on the word count when you write. Just get everything out as best you can.
Are images important?
Are they as important as content?
You better believe it.
Imagine this: you create an exceptional piece of content that you spent hours on.
Your headline is click-worthy. Your opening is captivating. You create a very conversational structure throughout the post. And, your closing paragraph not only sums up the post beautifully, but has a deliciously tantalizing CTA.
But, at the end of the day, your post doesn't get shared as much as you'd like.
Not because your content isn't good enough.
But because your feature image is unoriginal. It doesn't live up to the post. In fact, it diminishes the entire post because so many people have used the same image before. And believe it or not, images contribute a lot to how often your post gets shared.
I asked the branding superstar, Dre Beltrami, what she thought about original images and here's what she said:
Images are a visually recognizable path to your solutions.
Without infusing your branding and signature style, which is what fosters brand recognition and awareness, you're turning that path into a dead-end. The truth is, branded images increase that 8-10 seconds we're always told we have as marketers.
See, by appearing in someone's social feed with consistent visuals you can build a familiarity that often leads to their desire for deeper exploration into your brand.
That familiarity builds trust, and trust is where it all begins. When you skip branding your visuals you lose all of this brand building boom juice!
Dre Beltrami, branding expert at TheBrandedSolopreneur.com
The last thing you want is for your images to be unoriginal and uninspiring. And I learned that from a comment left on one of my posts from Carol Amato:
So true, don't you agree?
Bottom line: Spend a decent amount of time on your images. Especially your feature image. If you don't want to put out something that everyone else has, get creative. Creating your own images makes it truly unique to you and help you stand out.
You've wondered about this, haven't you?
"Why would I give away my best posts on other sites as a guest post? Why would I be foolish and give that away?"
Because more than likely, you're a nobody.
Let's check that for a minute: You create some unbelievable content and decide to publish it on your blog. What's it going to get? Maybe a handful of comments and 100 shares?
If you're lucky, of course.
Compare that to if you originally published that same content on an A or B-list blog. What do you think it'll get? Maybe 100 comments and close to, or more than, 1,000 shares?
Pretty easy decision, right?
My advice: Save your absolute best posts as guest posts for other, more popular blogs. The exposure, backlink, traffic and potential subscribers you'll get from that guest post will benefit you more than if you published it on your blog for very little people to see.
There's a reason 99% of people who do this get exposed.
Because you're doing a disservice to your readers by being fake. Faking your success. Faking your following. Even faking your results.
Though you may think you're not hurting anyone, what happens when you get found out?
Let me ask you a question.
Do you know how smart your readers are?
The short answer -- very. And any claim that you make, they'll look into it. And if they catch you lying about something, they'll expose you. And if that happens, what do you think will happen to your brand?
Bottom line: Be as upfront and honest as possible. Transparency is a big thing and people will respect you more if you're truthful and not trying to deceive them.
How many of these "tips" have you fallen victim to?
A couple? Maybe more?
Thing is, you're not alone. We've all fallen for one of these at some point of our blogging journey. To be completely honest, I've applied every horrible tip on this list.
Every single one.
But I learned that these were tips worth ignoring.
If you’re guilty of following some of these tips now, then you have two choices:
I can't tell you what to do, let alone which choice to choose. But isn't it time you start making decisions that can help you grow your blog -- not keep it in mediocrity?
The choice is yours.
What do you think about these tips? And do you have any other horrible tips that you've been told to follow? Leave a comment below and share it with us. We'd love to hear your thoughts and comments.
Andrew M. Warner is the content writing mastermind behind ContentRanked, a site that helps marketers and businesses create content on their site that converts. When he's not creating content, he's usually networking on Twitter, over at @CopyWarner