12 Most Horrible Pieces of Blogging Advice
There is nothing more dangerous than a social media expert. For those of you who are new to blogging, be prepared to read a lot of advice from self-proclaimed experts whose only qualifications are that they’ve read a lot of advice from other self-proclaimed experts.
Here are twelve suggestions you’re likely to run into, and why you should run away from them as quickly as you can.
1. Keep posts under 300 words
Beware of absolutes. This advice stems from the generalization that all blog readers are in a hurry. However, if your blog’s purpose is to provide information or analysis, and you’re good at it, people will be willing to read five times that word count.
2. Stick to a rigid publishing schedule
Nobody gets to work and thinks, “It’s 7:25, so I better hurry up and get over to Sally’s blog to read her new post.” People are way too busy to keep track of when a blogger is publishing. If a blog is good, people will read it sooner… or later.
3. Blogs are an SEO shortcut
If your definition of a shortcut is doing a lot more work and having to wait months or years for results, than yes, this advice is accurate. It’s true that blogs can strongly bolster SEO, but it takes careful planning, consistent execution, and a lot of time.
4. Bloggers need to be edgy
No. Bloggers need to be themselves. Blogging is about authenticity, and when you try to be something you’re not, you fail. Beyond that, edgy doesn’t always work. If you’re in a straight-laced niche and you push the envelope too far, you’ll take a licking.
5. Images aren’t important
Eh? Images are what draw people in. They arouse curiosity and drive home key points. They clarify complex ideas. Furthermore, artful handling of images and captions creates SEO and even conversion opportunities.
6. Blogs should be monetized
Loading up a blog with ads is a compete waste of time for new bloggers. Advertising is a numbers game, and you need a mighty big audience to make it work — and even then, it’s iffy. Unless your blog’s purpose is to generate ad revenue, all ads will accomplish is turning off readers.
7. All it takes to succeed is quality content
This is the build-it-and-they-will come philosophy, and it only works if you already have a humungous reputation. But most of us don’t, so we need to market our content and patiently build a following. Blog marketing can easily be more time consuming that writing posts, and that’s OK.
8. Cultivate reciprocal links
This is an outdated SEO tactic that can now do more harm than good if you have links coming in from bad sources. For audience building only, reciprocal linking is OK, but only when you are selective in terms of the relevance and quality of your link partners.
9. You must use a custom design
In theory, this sounds good: a fully customized blog design creates a unique brand. In practice, though, I’ve seen too many bloggers succeed with the most vanilla stock templates you can imagine than to buy into that theory. More important is to select a template that delivers an outstanding user experience.
10. Blogging has been replaced by social media
Blogging may have changed because of social media, but it isn’t going away on that account or for any other reason. In fact, blogging has become so intertwined with a firm’s other web assets that it is sometimes not even thought of as a separate “thing.”
11. Corporate blog content can be outsourced
Some, but not all. Business blogs become indispensable when they convey insights readers can’t get from outside sources. Nobody knows more about your industry than you do, and by withholding that value from readers, you lurch toward mediocrity.
12. It’s all about subscribers
Having email and RSS subscribers is a good thing, but readers find blog content in many other ways — through social media mentions, bookmarking sites, and Google searches, to name three of the most significant. Smart bloggers keep a close eye on all traffic sources and continually adjust their marketing and syndication strategies.
This is bad stuff, alright, but we’re still scratching the surface. What bad blogging advice have you heard… and did you find out the hard way?
Featured image courtesy of kimrose licensed via Creative Commons.