Starting out blogging can be rough. There’s all sorts of different types and styles of blogs to choose from. Everyone positions them self as an expert. And there’s A LOT of mis-information being spread around. That’s what inspired this post. I hunted down the 5 most widely believed myths about blogging and I’m gonna show you just why they are bull shit. And to make sure I get the point across I enlisted the help of some bad ass blogger friends. Stay tuned this is going to be a good one!
Blogging Myth #1 – Blogging is Just a Fad
Otherwise known as you can’t make a living blogging. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Granted I get it, in this digital age who has time to read a blog? Apparently a lot of people because blogging has been around for years. Some popular blogs report monthly views in the 100s of thousands each month.
And in terms of earning my top 2 favorite blogs constantly have blog income reports in the $100k range each month. You can check out their income reports here and here. The key to blogging for a living is in the niche you choose to blog in and the value you provide. If you blog about passive income like Pat Flynn or Financial advice like Michelle then it’s natural for your blog to gain popularity… So long as you’re adding value to the lives of your readers.
Blogging Myth #2 – You HAVE to Blog Everyday to be Successful.
Absolutely untrue. Sure for people like Seth Godin blogging everyday works just fine and if you can put out great content everyday then go for it. But if not don’t fret, other bloggers such as my friend Debbie don’t blog nearly as often and still manage to grow their audience. I’ll let her explain:
“For some reason, many mistakenly think that you need to blog every day to be successful. This is a huge myth. It’s much more about quality over quantity.
Writing long form content (sometimes called epic content) is the key. Pick a meaty topic that your target customer needs to know (I often pick a question that someone might type into google) and then answer the topic question really really well (usually 1000+ words). Many of my greatest hits are 2000+ words.
My blog is TheFlooringGirl.com where I blog about flooring, especially hardwood and sanding. When I started out, my first year, I probably blogged about once/week. Then, I probably went down to one article every 2 weeks for 6-9 months, and then I just did one high quality epic post per month for 3-4 years.
The result? Well first, I got more than enough leads each week to run a successful business and second, my blog continued to grow to over 120,000 pageviews/month.
When you write an evergreen article that gets great organic traffic, it continues to produce for you year after year. Here are 2 examples: Oil vs Water based Polyurethane – Which is better for refinishing hardwood floors. This article was written in 2011, and it currently gets around 4,000-5,000+ clicks/month and has gotten over 228,000 clicks all together…and it keeps on ticking.
This article for my yearly trend post (2017 Hardwood flooring trends) is currently getting over 7,000 clicks/month. (Last’s 2016 trend post received over 115,000 clicks for the year…and ironically continues to get around 4,000 clicks/month still.”
Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl
Blogging Myth #3 – If you Build it They Will Come
Its me again and boy do I wish this one was true! Honestly starting out I remember thinking this was a thing and that once I got my blog up readers would flock there every day, week, month. After all the big time bloggers make it look so easy to drive traffic. All they have to do is drop a new article and within a snap of their fingers it has 1,000 views.
Unfortunately, (for me and I’m guessing you as well) there’s a bit more to it all. After all I’m living proof that it’s not that easy. My entire first year blogging views fluctuated in the 200 per month range. What I found out and soon you will too is that I needed to learn the art of driving traffic. I’m not going to go super deep into the topic but here are two things that will help you never worry about traffic again:
SEO (Search Engine Optimization): In the simplest terms this is a marketing practice to increase organic (non-paid) traffic to your website via search engines. I’ll paint the picture Johnny is looking for an article on ways to make money from home. So what does he do? Obviously he types “ways to make money from home” into the search bar. What happens next you should know because if you’re reading this I think you know how a search engine works. Now if you have an article related to that topic and your SEO is on point then your article will show up somewhere in the first couple of pages (preferably in the first 10 results). If you have an related article but your SEO is not great, your article could end up on page 20 somewhere.
The better your ranking (aka position) is for certain terms/phrases the better you chances of getting click throughs from people searching the web. Everything from the words in each blog article, to the way your website is structured, to how other websites link to your website can affect your rankings on search engines. It’s a pretty complicated topic so if you want a more indepth explanation you can check out this free guide and hopefully make some tweaks to your own SEO strategy.
Ads: Advertisements have come a long way. What used to be in print, on TV, on billboards, and the radio, has shifted online as well. There’s a lot of different options too. You can run ads on most of the major social media platforms (IG, FB, Twitter, etc) and you can also run ads on search engines. Paid ads can be used to increase your visibility. In terms of search engines this translates into your content showing up at the top of search results for specific words. On social media this translates to more people seeing your content than what you would typically reach on your own.
All avenues are worth checking out of course BUT if I had to choose one I would go with Facebook. Facebook has the best bang for your buck when it comes to ads. They track a lot of information about their users so it makes targeting specific groups of people fairly precise. You can target based on activity, interests, age, gender, location, and much more. Don’t believe me? Check out this clip from marketing genius Gary Vaynerchuk.
Further learning: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Story in a Noisy Social World and #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self Awareness both by Gary Vaynerchuk.
Blogging Myth #4 – More Traffic = More Money
So you wanna make money blogging right? Will you know and I know that you can’t make money if you don’t have viewers. And if that’s the case all we have to do is get a bunch of traffic to the website and we’ll get a bunch of money right? Not so fast, as nice as that would be it doesn’t quite work like that. Now I could tell you my experience with traffic and money but I thought I’d turn to an expert for this one. Here’s what my friend Yuwanda had to say:
“One Really Common Reason More Website Traffic Doesn’t Necessarily Mean More Money
The common accepted wisdom in blogging is that more traffic leads to more sales. However, this is a big blogging myth. There are niche blogs without hundreds of thousands of visitors that earn tens of thousands of dollars, and those with millions of pageviews per month who only earn a few thousand.
In a post on her blog, Michelle, the creator of the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing e-course, said the following:
No, you don’t need millions and millions of pageviews to earn a good living from blogging. In fact, I know some bloggers who receive 1,000,000 page views yet make less money than those with 100,000 monthly pageviews.
It’s what she says right after this that brings me to the reason more traffic doesn’t automatically equal more money, ie:
Every website is different, but once you learn what your audience wants, you can start to really make money blogging, regardless of how many page views you receive. Having a successful blog is all about having a loyal audience and helping them.
Know Your Niche
If you don’t take the time to get to know your niche intimately, they will bounce right away from your site. What many bloggers fail to realize is that you don’t make money from traffic – you make money from engaged traffic. And engaged means giving them content that solves a problem they have.
The only way to accomplish the above is to get to know your audience intimately, ie, their demographics, sociographics and psychographics.
3 Ways to Get to Know Your Target Audience Better So You Can Earn More
You might be thinking right about now, “Well how do I learn more about my audience?” Following are a few simple, free ways.
1) Ask them: If you publish a newsletter, send out a “getting to know you” email seeking answers to two or three pertinent questions. Don’t go overboard with a lot of questions all at once. Readers tend to be turned off by long surveys.
Send out a newsletter like this once a month, or every two or three months. Over time, you’ll start to get a really clear picture of exactly who your target audience is.
2) Poll Them: Place a poll on your site. There’s tons of free polling software you can use.
3) Troll Q&A Sites: Sites like Reddit, Quora and Yahoo! Answers are great places to conduct research on what your audience wants to know more about. For example, my main website is about how to make money writing.
If I’m stuck for an idea on a blog post, I’ll log onto one of those sites to see what the most commonly asked questions are about this topic. Then, I’ll write up a post answering it. This way, I’m guaranteed to be talking about what my target audience wants to know about.
Getting to know your audience is an ongoing thing. While they may have core wants and needs that will remain evergreen, the research of them never stops because their needs, wants and expectations are constantly changing.
It’s your job to stay on top of that – and deliver.”
Yuwanda Black is the publisher of Inkwell Editorial, a blog about how to make money writing … for yourself (eg, self-publishing, affiliate marketing, e-course development), and for others as a freelance writer.
Blogging Myth #5 – If You’re Not Seeing Immediate Results You’re Not Cut Out for Blogging
I have some mixed feelings about this one. Honestly this one is subjective to the person you’re talking about. On one hand, if your blog isn’t seeing some sort of traffic in the first few months then maybe blogging isn’t a skill you possess. On the other, traffic and conversions don’t paint a complete picture of if you’re cut out for blogging or not. Confused? I’ll elaborate.
For some the amount of preparation and knowledge they have coming into the blogging game is above average. From day 1 they already know the importance of promotion, SEO, and Marketing. So when they get started they hit the ground running, driving traffic and making sales in their first couple months. For others they go in basically blind. Other than reading other blogs, they often know little to nothing of what was mentioned above.
SO I’ll say this, give it time. Blogging is a skill and like all skills takes time and practice to develop. Pay no attention to the bloggers that come in and seem to kill it from day one. Those are exceptions to the norm, most of us take a while to start seeing success. Focus on the process and improving by 1% every day. And remember one view is better than none at all.
Blogging Myth #6 – I Can Wait Till I’m Making Money to Self-Host my Blog
No. No. No. NO! As far as blogging myths go this is probably the worst one spreading around. This idea that starting a blog on a free platform like Blogger, Tumblr, or WordPress.com, is a good idea is laughable. Now I’m not trying to be a jerk even though it sounds like it but think about it for a min. If the ultimate goal is to self host anyway why not just start there? I know you want to save money but here are a few reasons that you might want to reconsider that plan:
They OWN your content – Anytime you use someone else’s website to host your content any and everything you post becomes something they can take control over. While this doesn’t necessarily mean you will see that company republishing your content as their own you can be subject to censorship. This is because the company has to consider its own brand over yours. All it takes is enough bad press or negative feedback or violating their terms of service.
I’ve known people that have had YouTube channels shutdown due to haters. Channels that they’d spent 4-5 years growing from scratch. No this is not YouTube but you’re crazy if you think the same can’t happen to you for an arbitrary reason. My point is when you host your own website you retain 100% control over everything you post and you never have to worry about someone else deciding if what you want to talk about is appropriate.
Platforms are limited – It terms of customization and features many of these free platforms are limited. You can only do so much with them because I lot of the tools/plug ins we bloggers use are designed to be used with self hosted websites. As you grow you’ll find you might need more features and you won’t be able to add them. If you need more storage you have to pay or move, if you want to run ads you have to pay or move, if you want more customization you have to pay or move. So again, why not just start where you’re eventually going to end up and save yourself many headaches later.
You’re NOT Saving That Much Money – Many like to start with the free option as they get their feet wet in the blogging game. I can understand that sentiment. Blogging is NOT for everyone let me tell ya. Still you really don’t save much money in the long term. It doesn’t cost much to start a legit blog, just $3.95 a month if you go through my link or roughly $50 bucks a year.
But let’s say you go the FREE WordPress route instead of self hosted. It starts out as free but quickly starts to cost as you grow. Don’t want to run WordPress ads on your site? That’ll be $36/year. Want to monetize your site? That’ll be $99 per year. Want to improve your SEO and have freedom to brand yourself/website and not WordPress? That’ll be $299/year.
Plus if you decide to move to a self hosted site later down the line it’s going to cost you time or money to transfer all your content over to your new home. Trust me when I say this you don’t want to be bothered with that. Put your time, energy, and money to better use and go self hosted from day one! I promise you will thank me later.
If building the blog itself is what scares you then don’t worry I’ve been working on a step by step course to help you go from zero to hero in no time at all. You can get on the exclusive waiting list by entering your info below.
So what did you think, did you think 1 or more of these myths were true before you started reading? I hope you gained immense value from this massive article. I want to take a second to thank both of my contributors for offering their expertise on the topic of blogging myths. Be sure to check out Debbie’s blog at The Flooring Girl and Yuwanda’s blog at Inkwell Editorial.
Thanks for reading!
Join the SID newsletter
Subscribe now to get our latest in exclusive contests and content straight to your inbox