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I have been blogging for a few years now and a day doesn’t go by without me reading something I MUST do right now or my blog will implode. There’s so much advice around, and I share my own here on this blog. I thought I would look at the biggest myths about blogging and the ones you really should ignore. There is enough stress in this world without driving ourselves crazy chasing after the unicorn.
10 blogging myths you should ignore immediately
You must respond to comments or you don’t respect your readers
In the past I have tried to respond to every comment left on my blog. You know what? It is totally exhausting. I used to find myself leaving ‘thanks’ responses when I really couldn’t think of anything to say and that seemed really pointless. Then I came to realise that replying to comments doesn’t generate any more traffic than if I don’t and my readers won’t hate me. Sure if there is a comment with a question or a particularly lovely comment, I will of course respond, but responding to everything because you feel a sense of duty or guilt if your don’t is totally pointless.
You only have a certain amount of time, so use it wisely. Respond to a comment or share that persons post on Twitter, I know which will be quicker and which will reap more benefits for that person. Use your time to write good content and your readers will thank you for it.
You need to be killing it on every social media platform
Social media can be all consuming. There are the old boys Facebook and Twitter, the cool kids Instagram and Pinterest, the young guns Snapchat and Periscope and there’s Steller, the weird kid that people don’t really talk to, but would love if they did. Not to mention YouTube and G+. You could spend your whole life on all of these platforms and you know what there would be no guarantee that your blog would do any better than if you focused on only a couple. You would be consumed and probably burned out, trying to master them all.
My personal take is that you have to be on them all (although you won’t find me on snapchat, as it looks horrendous!), but you don’t have to win them all. So find the platforms that you enjoy, maybe two or three and focus your efforts there, building your audience and having fun. Possibly auto posting on the other platforms that you are less enamoured with, so you have some presence.
You must be a fabulous writer to be successful
There is no doubt that the blogosphere contains some totally amazing writers, but you don’t need to be the next JK Rowling to start a blog and for it to be successful. What you do need is a desire to achieve and the dedication to keep producing good content.
You need to post every day
O.k, so do as I say not do as I do! You might have noticed that I post multiple times a day, this is a situation personal to me (the only way I get through the posting schedule), but it isn’t something that anyone needs to emulate; UNLESS it works for you too. Writing good quality (often longer posts) that are really useful to your audience, will have the same effect (better even) than posting shorter, less useful posts every day.
You need to spend mega bucks on a flash blog design
A beautifully designed blog with all the bells and whistles will no doubt make you look professional. However, if your content sucks, people aren’t going to stick around however pretty things look. You can get a flexible theme so cheaply, even as little as £20 and there are so many tutorials around that will help you install it yourself. Spend some time on Canva or Picmonkey and you will be able to create your own header image, then BOOM your new design is up and running, looks professional and barely cost you anything.
Your blog is too niche (or) You need a narrow niche!
I hear people worrying that they haven’t got a niche and have read lots of posts about the need for a niche in order to be successful. While I agree that a blog with a strong niche can be super successful, as they are catering for a specific number of people who want that info and there will be less competition; I truly believe people connect with YOU, so if you want to write about a number of things, then your readers will go with you, as they want to hear your take on that topic.
You need sky high traffic to earn money
This really depends on which monetisation strategy you use. Low page views and certain advertising affiliations won’t result in high earnings, unless you combine it with another income stream such a sponsored content. However, if you have lower page views, but an engaged audience who you can positively influence, then brands will see this and you will be able to earn from brand collaborations. The engagement of the audience matters most for these kinds of monetisation strategies.
You must optimise all of your posts for SEO
It is unrealistic to think every post you write will be SEO gold. Sometimes you might just be updating your readers on something and these sorts of posts will be difficult to find a keyword for and it is probably pretty pointless in trying.
Blogging is easy and anyone could do it
Blogging is very time-consuming. Posts need planning, writing, promoting, pictures need taking, video need to be filmed, edited, uploaded and promoted, you need to keep on top of your emails, your blog maintenance, your brand work; the list of tasks is quite simply never ending. So you need a certain amount of dedication and love for what you do to be one of the fewer people that continue blogging post 2 years than to become one of the many people who don’t!
Bloggers are blaggers
So many people start a blog because they want free stuff. The thing is it isn’t free stuff as you trade off your time, expertise and exposure to your audience in return. If we are reviewing a holiday it is wonderful, but it’s not the same as if we were just on holiday. Often I am videoing and taking shots on my DSLR at the same time, add in some iPhone shots to share on social media, making sure you have taken everything in, while still staying present for your family is not a total walk in the park. Most bloggers I know work very hard on their blogs and on behalf of the brands they work with, often working full time or running a house and looking after children, they are hustling, burning the midnight oil and are definitely NOT blaggers.
What you should do instead?
Share yourself; be honest and truthful and people will identify with you. No-one wants to read negative post after negative post, but showing you’re human and allowing people to know when there are bumps in your road will make you relatable. Being honest with your readers will help you grow a community around your blog, which is so vital for your blog’s sake and your own.