7 Blogging Beliefs You Interpreted Wrongly

Still on my quest to repurpose popular and, dare I say, pretty good blog posts that I put together, this is another article written 7 years ago where I’ve decided to keep a few of the comments because their sites are still active or their comments were stellar. I’ve got a lot of these, but I’m being choosy; let’s see how some of you new readers like this one.

Arise award
A belief I got right

There’s a lot of bad blogging advice out on the internet. There’s also some pretty good advice. However, what I find is that sometimes people are misinterpreting what they’re seeing, and that’s never good.

A major truth is that for every bit of advice someone gives you as to how you should do something, there’s someone who’s violating every one of those principles and succeeding in doing so.

Or are they? Truth be told, sometimes people are doing just what they’re supposed to be doing, but it’s not being seen for what it really is, or what it really means. It can be confusing to new bloggers, but it’s also true for long time bloggers who are trying to be something more than just another writer, yet don’t know whose words to follow.

I’ll tell you; follow mine! lol That’s a blatant throwaway statement, so let me clarify a little bit. Here are 7 blogging beliefs you’ve probably read somewhere that are both true and not true, depending on how you’re reading them. As always, I’m going to tell you the truth… MY truth. Yours might be different; heck, I know it will be for some of you because I’m going to be interpreted rather than understood. C’est la vie! lol Here we go.

1. People won’t read long blog posts.

This one is always out there on someone’s blog, with the explanation being that you can only hold someone’s attention for maybe 2 or 3 minutes. Luckily, it’s not true, and some of the most successful blogs you’ll find have very long posts, even longer than some of mine.

The problem with some long posts is they don’t advance in any way as people go through them. For instance, some people harp on the same thing over and over, thinking they’re finding new ways to tell you something or complain about something while we see it as the same thing. No one likes to read rambling thoughts that don’t mesh together in some way.

That’s why list posts are a good type of post to write. It involves putting some thoughts together up front and then writing about them, and each point is different. Thus, if it happens to go long, people will still read it, or possibly jump to the points they want to see. By the way, as I’ve done on this post, it’s a good idea to highlight either the topic line or the point number so they can jump to it easier. Some people like giving you a table of contents; I’m not doing that… ever!

Britain Going Blog Crazy - Metro Article
Annie Mole via Compfight

2. You need to have a blogging schedule.

There are some people who see the word “schedule” and their minds freeze. Suddenly, it makes blogging, or anything else they’re doing, look more like that dreaded 4-letter word “work“.

When people talk about blog scheduling, what they’re saying is to try to have some kind of frequency for writing posts that people can get used to. If you write once a week and can stick with that, then that’s your schedule, and people know when to stop by and look for something new. If you write twice a week, nothing says it has to be on the same day each week, and nothing says you can’t deviate from it every once in a while.

The basic reasons for writing a blog are to have a platform to say what you want to say and to have visitors stop by and read what you have to say, hopefully learning something or interacting with you in some way. Schedules help you keep them coming back for more, which is a good thing. You can do what you want, but if you want consistent visitors you’ll find a pattern that works for you and stick to it.

3. You must define your niche to be successful.

I know you’ve read about niche blogging; how could you not? After all, if you can find someone who’s interested in your specific topic and you can stay as close to always writing about that topic as you can, you can build up a loyal audience.

However, writing on a niche that’s too finite can spell doom for both you and your readers. Say you love humpback whales and start writing about them, and only them. How long do you think you could write on them before you have no idea what to write about next? Say you’re a person who researches humpback whales so you actually have a lot to keep writing about. At what point does your writing stop seeming to be fresh and invigorating? When does it become like a parent who takes 100 pictures of their baby every single day, seeing changes that no one else can see?

Every niche has a way of being broadened so that you, the writer, has a lot to talk about. If I decide I only want to write about blogging I can write about process, write about writing, write about blog platforms, write about plugins for my blog, write about colors, fonts, images, making money, page rank… on and on. I could write on it for years… wait, I have! And I can deviate from it here and there and not lose anyone because when all is said and done it’s still about blogging.

4. People don’t care about your spelling or grammar as long as they understand what you’re saying.

True and not true. If you have some typos here and there it’s never a big deal. If there are certain words you misspell because you’ve always done so, maybe people will overlook it and give you a free pass.

However, one of the saddest things a blogger can do is not learn anything about the craft or try to improve what they do and how they say it. Truth be told, how you write influences how people see you. If you write like a professional, people will see you as one.

Think of it this way; how easy is it to define spam on blogs or email based on how the messages are written? You’d never think about clicking on any links where the language is barely understood would you (please say no lol). Well, say you’re selling jewelry; would you really expect people to buy from you if you wrote a sentence like “these ones is nice”?

We’ll give a pass to those whose first language isn’t the same as our own though; after all, most of us only know one language, and I’m always amazed that people seem to easily learn English, even if they don’t learn all the nuances. That’s why it’s true and not true at the same time; if English is your first language, you should be better because you’ve had more time to learn it. Just sayin’… 🙂

Hard Bloggin' Scientist
Duncan Hull via Compfight

5. You need to optimize your posts and titles to rank well on search engines.

Have you been paying attention to Neil Patel lately? Although everything isn’t, and shouldn’t be about Google, there are some interesting things one can learn by hearing what people have to say about ranking well on their search engine.

The biggest push Google has made over the last few years is looking at natural writing that conveys what your content is all about. You might get an immediate bump from a well written title and stuffing your content with the same word over and over, but eventually the algorithms will catch up and work on determining if what you’ve written is pertinent to anyone.

I always feel it’s best to have titles that tell people what the article is about most of the time, although sometimes a funny title will catch a person’s eye. Don’t ever deceive the audience, such as using clickbait titles; they won’t like it.

As for content, if you tell your story you’ll help get across what it is you’re writing about without having to stuff your article with a certain percentage of keywords and keyword phrases intentionally. For instance, this article is on blogging, and notice how many times I’ve used that word or phrases around that word and the short version without intentionally doing it. Think it’ll get the point across okay?

6. You can’t use too many big words.

This one makes sense but it’s not really telling you the whole story. If I wrote this blog and I used 10 large words for every 500 words written, I might lose my audience. And yet, William F. Buckley did this intentionally and his books sold millions.

Any of you ever read the New York Times? Not the news articles, but things like movie and book reviews. I do all the time, and invariably there’s going to be a word that sticks out like a sore thumb.

One of the things the New York Times seems to want to stay away from is talking down to its audience. Showing that you have some intellect every once in a while boosts the IQ of the audience you’re communicating with, whether they like it or not. In my opinion, education is never a bad thing. I’m not saying you should run your articles through something like a readability tool (though some of you will be happy to learn this article will be easily understood by 11 & 12 year olds lol), though it might be fun to do every once in a while. What I am saying is that it’s as bad to write down to your audience as it is to confuse them by using too many sesquipedalian words (I’m not telling you; look it up).

However, that’s still misinterpreting the statement. As an example, let’s look at the word “intelligence”. I could write 20 blog posts in a row and use that word in all of them, and within the same article I might use that word 5 or 6 times. At a certain point it starts to water down the content and now it means nothing to anyone. Kind of like the phrase “the shocking truth”; how many times have you seen that by now and how often do you check those types of articles out because, unfortunately, there’s not really a shocking truth?

What works instead is to use “intelligence” maybe once or twice, and if you have to go back to it again change a word, maybe saying “brilliance”, “perceptive”, or maybe even “smart”; that’s not too big a word, right? The idea is to change things up from time to time to stay fresh while elevating your audience just a little bit. Yeah, I know, pipe dreams… lol

7. Blogging is hard/easy.

Both of the above are true and not true. It depends on what you’re writing about, if writing comes natural to you, if you have a lot to say, if you’re a good or bad communicator, and if you care. I think that about covers it. 🙂

I visit lots of blogs; I love blogs. I see some good writing and I see some bad writing; that goes with the territory.

The worst thing I see are blogs that have long gaps between articles, or blogs that suddenly stopped having any new content. I know what that’s like because I’ve fallen behind on one of my blogs because of personal and family issues; sorry about that. I’m one of those folks who occasionally takes time out to go through blog comments (not only on posts I’m repurposing), and there’s plenty over almost 7 years, and checks on links to see if blogs are still around or not. Unfortunately, for of them are, but what’s worse is having a blog that’s still around but hasn’t had an article written in a few years.

In the last five years or so, there were a lot of big time bloggers who decided it was time for them to close up shop. They weren’t getting what they initially were getting out of blogging, or mentioned that they didn’t have time to keep up with it any longer, and they up and quit.

I know what that’s like. I used to write a leadership newsletter for 10 years, which I ended in February 2013. I could have continued writing it, but I’d lost passion for it, never got the type of movement from it that I thought I might, almost never got any feedback on it, and frankly I didn’t think anyone cared any longer; have you felt like that about your blog sometimes? I also gave up another newsletter based on health care finance the same month, as I’d been writing both for the same 10 years; whew, I definitely have written a lot!

Mentally it was hard to keep doing. Technically… I can write forever, because I still have my leadership blog. So I ended the newsletters, and I used some of the early content for my 2nd leadership book, and some of the rest I repurpose and used on my leadership blog; see how it works? 😉

Anyway, there’s my take on 7 blogging beliefs. Did I touch upon any of them that you’ve believed that you’d like to offer an opinion on? Let me know; enjoy!
 

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37 thoughts on “7 Blogging Beliefs You Interpreted Wrongly”

  1. Hi Mitch

    You really busted out some of the common myths in the blogging arena 🙂 That is really at the first instance people will think that its true but a closer Look reveals that it’s really a myth. Thanks for reminding about these things

    And of course in this busy world people are in a rush to move forward when in such a situation one may think that hey, man where is the time to read such a long post, this was really my understanding till recently and while going through some of the well-established blog authors pages I have noticed and realized that it is the other way round, of course one need to have something worth in it otherwise it will be indeed a boring one.

    I have come across many popular blog pages the authors deal with the subject in an elaborate was as you did here, to tell you the truth this is my first visit to your page and I am sure I can add this in the above mentioned bloggers list as long content writers LOL With pics graphics and infographic and all such things some time the post will be really eye capturing and worth reading too.

    Coming to the point you mentioned about the myth that hey spelling and grammar are a secondary thing if your content is well understood by the reader. This is indeed a myth, if more typos and grammatical mistakes erupt surely it will give a bad taste to the readers, this happened to me several times and some of my close friends noted or mentioned to my thru mail and phone, there after I am bit careful but sometimes in a hurry things happens like that, but that is not an excuse, and I fully agree with you to that point. Altogether it’s a worth preserving postThanks for sharingKeep up the good work

    Best Philip

    1. Thanks for your great comment Philip; I had to break it into paragraphs because my mind couldn’t separate the concepts without doing it.

      I think the images go a long way in helping to break up the content in some fashion, and luckily I was able to make most of the relevant, excluding the first image which was kind of bragging. lol Everyone doesn’t have to do that but sometimes I think it helps people stay interested in what’s going on.

      Meanwhile, you made the point better than I did about too many grammatical or spelling mistakes being in posts. Sure, we might be able to figure it out, but if our brains have to work that hard to get through content sometimes we’re just not in the mood for it. I bought a book called The Millionaire Code that had some good information, but I never finished it because they’d throw in tricks like backwards writing, writing along the edges of the pages and having some pages in code that we had to break. If I’d still been in college I might have thought that was fun but as a speed reader it got on my nerves.

      Good luck to you in your blogging ventures, and hope to see you stopping by again.

  2. I have no beliefs whatsoever about blogging. I post whenever the mood comes over and I just follow my instincts on what to write and the only rule I follow is to respond to every comment that I receive on my posts. I can be like that because it is really a personal with no ulterior motive.
    Rummuser recently posted..Fading Gigolo.My Profile

    1. Rummuser, this wouldn’t be the type of post for you because you don’t conform to any of the norms, having more of a personal blog. One of these years I may go your route; it won’t be until I’ve retired though.

  3. Number 2 has definitely been the hardest for me, so I can definitely say that having a schedule is important.

    I subscribe to everything I want to read in my RSS reader, but I know many many people don’t do that, they just bookmark the site. If they keep coming back and nothing is posted for weeks or months they’ll just delete that bookmark eventually.

    I tend to write longer posts, too, but I don’t think it’s a drawback. I’ve never had anyone leave the dreaded “TL:DR” (Too Long, Didn’t Read) in my comments section so hopefully that’s good lol

    And the blogging itself is not hard, it’s the part about building an audience, ranking in the search engines and making money off blogging that’s hard. When a lot of folks realize that it’s actually *work*, they’re gone.

    The game keeps changing, man…it keeps changing…

    (i don’t even know what that last sentence meant but it sounded profound in my head)
    John Garrett recently posted..Comic: Titans-Divinity Episode 06My Profile

    1. John, your long posts are always punctuated with images, and that’s what makes you entertaining, even if I keep disagreeing with you on the Fantastic Four (since my comic book reading ended in the 70’s lol). And I think there’s a difference between trying to write at least one post a week and deciding to only write one post every six months. I had a great writing schedule until I went on the road, and these days there are times when it’s work getting one article a week onto the blog.

      I know what the last sentence means and I like it because it is profound. Early blogging made it easy to make money but when everyone got in the game, not only did money drop off but keeping an audience dropped off as well. It reminds me of going out to dinner this evening and sitting next to an 11-year old (which I’m not used to) and having him tell me that he had no idea who Will Smith was, and him being shocked that I haven’t played a modern video game of any type since the early 2000’s. lol

  4. Hey Mitch,

    I’m not one that will read long blog posts, unless they’re yours that is. Sometimes after starting a post I may scroll down to see how much longer it’s going to take, if it’s too long I will just move along. The exception to that is if the blogger can pique and hold my interest.
    Peter recently posted..Funny Hooker Jokes Friday Funnies #116My Profile

    1. Pete, I thank you for sticking around for my long posts. I’m glad I’ve never let the length of a post determine whether I’m going to read it or not. I can usually tell pretty early on a post of any size whether I’m going to read it or not anyway.

  5. Just as there are many different writing styles, there are many different reading ‘styles’, too. Find your audience, have something to say, and make your content engaging, and you will have a successful blog – you don’t need to have a Princeton writing degree.

    1. There are definitely different reading styles, though I’d never thought of it that way before. Of course, I tend to believe someone should have something to say first and if it’s interesting the audience will come.

  6. Those are great points that you shared 🙂

    I want to add one.

    8)More is better.
    People have a mind set that their Blog should contain Bundles of Content with tons of words stuffed in them.
    For this, they also tend to write regularly and most of the time they ruin the Quality of their content.

    While it should be other way around.One High Quality Article is way better than hundreds of Low Quality Articles.

    There are already hundreds of articles and huge amount of content available in this Ocean of Internet. Adding some more content will not change anything , but adding some High Quality content will sure do.

    1. Well… I’ll agree and disagree, though not for the reasons you mention. Good articles are always preferable, but the truth is that for most people we’ll write a great article and some fairly nice articles and have a dog here and there that no one else seems to care for; that’s just life. However, every study I’ve done over the years proves that the more content one has, the higher the traffic they get because, for some reason, Google will value someone who posts lots of content, great or not, as long as it’s pretty consistent. At some point they’ll kick in the algorithms and check some sites to see if the content is junk or not but I don’t often see blogs that concentrate on junk content; stolen content often but not junk.

      Of course you stated low, and in a way it’s hard to gauge quite often what’s low quality content. There are lots of articles I think should be graded pretty low but the blogs seem to be ranked well and some of those articles get lots of comments. I have on idea why it goes that way so most of the time I don’t concentrate on it because I don’t want to judge readers of that stuff too hard. I just write as I see fit and hope that the people writing stuff that I might consider junk aren’t doing it intentionally.

  7. Yes, our blogging world is full of stereotypes and misconceptions of all types. However, most of these stereotypes have some realistic basis. For instance, the point about the need to have a schedule is significant for those who need some additional motivation and self-organization. Sure, it doesn’t mean that absolutely everything should be scheduled for half a year ahead, yet some kind of plan can help.

    1. True. As I said, making sure one writes enough so that people are encouraged to come back often should be a motivation, but otherwise working too hard at keeping a schedule isn’t for everyone.

  8. Thanks for your opinions on blogging and your efforts to help! I’m always looking for ways to improve! I’m happy to hear your opinion that it’s ok to write longer posts. Mine are usually longer because I review books and I assume my followers and visitors love to read! I am careful to break up long text into paragraphs and use subheadings, etc.

    1. Greetings Carol; thanks for your comment. If I hadn’t checked out your site I’d have deleted your comment because you broke three of my blog commenting rules… which I fixed. 🙂

      There are two ways to look at writing blogs posts. You do it for “everybody” or you do it for you and your audience. For book reviews, to be taken seriously you need to put something into them, That could mean the articles are long and detailed, which these days a lot of people like (I’m sure you’ve seen Wikipedia book reviews) or they’re short and give snapshots… which might not tell the reader what they want to know. As long as your long articles are readable, which you’ve indicated, length isn’t a problem.

  9. I’ve always subscribed to the theory that you should do whatever you want. Your ideas are probably most important to people who choose to use a blog to enhance a business.

    I’ve always been a no-niche blogger, whose posts are just as long as they need to be :). I tried a schedule for a year. That was tough! Now, I just write stories, so I can just publish whenever I have a new tale to share.

    Cheers,

    Mitch
    Mitchell Allen recently posted..Anubis and ArtemisMy Profile

    1. Well, let me start with… of course they’re important to people who choose to use a blog to enhance a business! lol Otherwise, why would I continue writing a blog that’s mainly about blogging topics?

      With that said, even people who aren’t trying to write to enhance a business can pick up a tip or two in an article like this. Over the years we’ve both heard all sorts of blogging “rules” that might not be totally correct or even totally wrong. There’s still lots of people who believe readers won’t read long blog posts, while others believe the only way the search engines will list or rank their articles is if the article is long. It pays to explore the truth a little bit because, while both are true, they’re true for differing reasons. I love when I get to do things like this; I’m in my fun world.

  10. There are two ways to look at writing blogs posts. You do it for “everybody” or you do it for you and your audience. For book reviews, to be taken seriously you need to put something into them, That could mean the articles are long and detailed, which these days a lot of people like (I’m sure you’ve seen Wikipedia book reviews) or they’re short and give snapshots… which might not tell the reader what they want to know. As long as your long articles are readable, which you’ve indicated, length isn’t a problem.

    1. That’s not a bad way of looking at writing blog posts. Even though I see myself as writing for others, in the long run if I don’t like what I’m writing then why should anyone else? Actually, I haven’t seen many Wikipedia book reviews, but the few I have seen are usually short compilations of what critics have said about them. In any case, I think it’s the best blogging case to make sure one’s topic is covered to their own satisfaction first, and then they’ll see if their audience agrees with them.

  11. My blog is mainly a niche-free creative outlet like your friend Mitchell Allen’s, and I aim to entertain, so I don’t pay much attention to blogging rules. That said, I have been trying to stick to a once-a-week schedule to achieve a little consistency.

    Repurposing evergreen content is a grand idea! For me, it staves off blogger burnout plus brings in those readers who missed it the first time.
    Debbie D. recently posted..UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCESMy Profile

    1. Hey Debbie! It helps both you and your audience to see earlier articles they might have missed… or did miss. I have close to 1,900 articles on this site, and many of them have expired since I have a set time limit that, though generous in my opinion, still makes it problematic to share in case someone wants to comment; always thinking about others. 🙂

      In the case of this article, I still visit a lot of blogs on a regular basis and I see people promoting all of these same rules, almost verbatim, as if they’re gospel. Some are true, some are misunderstood, and some made no sense whatsoever. So we might as well talk about them, lay them out on the floor and look at them, and come to our own conclusions. I’m considering myself the conduit… yet no one sent me cookies. lol

      1. Rules schmules! Every blogger has a unique style. I think if you’re trying to earn a living, some guidelines do make sense, but otherwise, it’s your site to do with as you please. So, what kind of cookies do you like, MItch? If you give me your address, I’ll send you some.
        Debbie D. recently posted..MONTHLY ROUNDUP – SEPT. 2021My Profile

      2. LOL, you’re killing me! I think anyone who tries following blogging “rules” is in trouble from the beginning. Tips and suggestions work better because it gives the new blogger something to think about. With that said, some articles are garbage and give garbage information that doesn’t achieve what they say it will. I attack that in my latest article; someone’s got to help the newbies, right? 🙂

    1. I tend to believe there’s no such thing as “good” typos. If people are doing it intentionally then it’s insulting to their audience, an intentional dumbing down of grammar just to get clicks on one’s comment. My typos are embarrassing when I catch them and I always go back and make corrections, even years later. None of us are perfect, unfortunately, but aiming for perfection isn’t such a bad goal.

  12. I agree with you Mitch on these, but I think some bloggers have their very own unique styles when it comes to writing content. I usually try to write long content that answers a specific questions from all angles. If a person takes the time to Google a specific, they should be willing to read it to the end especially if it’s written very well and answers their query. Thanks Mitch for sharing this article 🙂
    Wally recently posted..How to Improve WordPress Website Speed Performance Free in 2021My Profile

    1. Wally, I would hope everyone has their own style of writing; that’s what makes blogging a unique experience. Long or short, if it’s original most people will find themselves an audience, whether or not Google supports them. If it’s business then the goal is to generate leads; if not, the goal can be whatever the writer wants it to be.

  13. In blogging we have a unique style in writing content. It varies in our experiences and actual activities in life. And sometime our creative minds will lead us to a successful blog. Personally I’m new for this platform and it is not easy to start thank you for sharing Mitch.

    1. I would use the line “if it was easy everyone would be doing it”, but in essence lots of people ARE doing it, but more quit than proceed. I wish you good luck on your writing and blogging journey.

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