The internet is full of advice for bloggers. Most of these guides are written by bloggers and amazingly I see more and more guides out there from bloggers who have only been blogging for a few weeks at most themselves.
Needless to say, there is a lot of misinformation out there. There’s also a lot of conflicting views on best practices as a blogger.
"Write great content and they will come"
I recently read one of these so called guides and it prompted me to write this blog post. The advice was ‘write great content and they will come’. If by ‘they’ they actually mean tumbleweed might roll by, then they are on to a winner. Of course, you need to write great content. That’s a given. But they most certainly will not come just because you’ve written it. Unfortunately that’s not the way the internet works.
When I set up my website (originally just as a shop) I naively thought people would find me on Google and I’d have a ton of website traffic. After a few days of NO traffic, I quickly realised I needed to shout about my website from the rooftops to get people to visit it. It’s exactly the same with my blog today and I’m sure it’s exactly the same for 99% of new bloggers. The other 1% will be masters in SEO and never need to promote as they’ll get so much Google traffic instantly – do these bloggers exist? Perhaps they can give me some training if so.
In my experience you must promote your blog tirelessly to get traffic. You must be active on several social media channels and post often. You must engage with your readers and the blogging community. You should learn some basic SEO at the very least. You should take part in linkies, comment on other blogs and constantly think up inventive ways to entice people to your own blog. You must tell everyone about your blog so they know it’s there. That’s how ‘they will come’. At first anyway. And yes, once you have enticed them in, if your content is great they will return. Perhaps that’s how they should have worded their advice.
Simply building something and expecting people to find it is not realistic. You need to have a strategy to how people will find your website whether that's through social media, SEO or ads. Your website is competing with billions of other websites, so it needs to have a way of being found.
Blogging advice you should ignore
I decided to ask other bloggers what advice they have read in so called ‘blogging guides’ that they think is a load of rubbish too. Here's what they had to share.
Ask other bloggers to retweet you - Don't annoy other bloggers by randomly asking them to RT your latest blog post to their followers... especially if you don't even follow them in the first place and have never spoken to them before! www.scrapbookblog.co.uk
Leave your website in every comment box available - No this isn't a widely appreciated thing as it ends up making your comment look really spammy in my experience. www.rtoatsblog.com
Free exposure is the best thing going - It's a fine line between being good and being taken for a ride by companies. Know your worth and stick to your guns instead of feeling obliged to say yes to everything Twinderelmo.co.uk
Set your fees and stick to them - Different brands will have different budgets, some more some less - being strict with exactly what your prepared to take can lose you future work, or stop you from getting more money in the first place. The best thing I've done in terms of monetising is be open to a good old haggle. www.lifewithboys.co.uk
Fake it ‘til you make it - The "fake it til you make it" mentality with social media, i.e. buying a bunch of followers to boost your numbers and make real people follow you too. It's totally illogical and adds absolutely nothing for potential working relationships or your real readers. Daftest advice I've ever heard. http://www.mightyduxburys.com
Be organic as possible - Utter drivel. Honestly, organic is a vegetable. Get out there, promote yourself as much as possible, but also promote other bloggers. Build each other up but never listen to advice that suggests you should sit back and wait. http://tobyandroo.com
Find a blog you like and try and emulate it - Erm, nope, be yourself! Take inspiration sure but don't just copy someone else to try and be something you're not. https://pinkpearbear.com
Stats aren't everything - No, but you're not going to make good money without good stats! Monkeyandmouse.co.uk
Know your place, wait your turn - No - work like a dog and work some more. Success is self-made not handed out when you reach a milestone number or timeframe. Http://hibabyblog.co.uk
Just write it down and press publish - No mention whatsoever of editing, finding appropriate photos or looking for ways to better your post! www.fivelittledoves.com
Don't plan posts, just go with the flow - Maybe that works for some but not with big posts which include loads of photos, a day out or a video! That would be seriously stressful doing it all in 24 hours www.tripswithatot.com
Some great advice on advice to ignore there! Ultimately what works for one person might not work for you. Don't be overwhelmed by all the 'how to be a blogger' advice out there. Read what you can and keep an open mind!