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When Blogging Advice Is A Waste Of Your Time

Posted by on Mar 5, 2012
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Y’all know that I look at a lot of blogs. I’m always checking out new ones and I have bunch that I like visiting over and over. Something I’ve railed about is seeing a topic that looks pretty good, only to start reading the post and find that it’s a bunch of garbage for one reason or another. I’m going to talk about one of those reasons while pointing out why it’s garbage.


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I’m not going to link to the post because, frankly, I don’t think the post deserves it. It’s a guest post on a blog that I like, and I’m glad that the owner didn’t write it, though I’m sad that she posted it. I’m not even giving the exact title, but it gave 7 ways people could fix their blogs so that they’d work better for them.

Why is it useless? It’s useless for two reasons. One, you’ve seen it before, over and over, on other blogs. It has to be close to 100 times that I’ve seen the same advice. Two, because there’s nothing here that will improve your opportunities for more traffic. I’m not even worried that I’m listing the 7 tips because I know you’ve seen them before. You want some useless information? Here we go:

1. Integrate Your Blog into Your Website. This is great advice if the topic was how to raise the ranking of your website but it does nothing for one’s blog unless the website’s getting a lot more traffic. Also, if you move your blog people will need to be redirected to your new location, which means your blog will suffer for awhile, but it won’t ever really improve just because it’s attached to your website.

2. Write Relevant Blog Post Titles. I see this one all the time, and it’s partially garbage. You do want people to know what you’re writing about, but relevancy doesn’t always get the job done. I’ve seen people advocate writing snazzy or tricky titles to lure people in that have nothing to do with relevancy. I don’t support that type of thing, preferring relevant titles when I can. But it does nothing new in bringing you more traffic unless it ties in to things you’ve already been writing about (unless it’s about cleavage; that will always bring more traffic. If some of you don’t know what I’m talking about it’s in a previous post).

3. Integrate Keywords Into Your Blog Posts. Duh! Let me ask all of you a question. If you’re writing a blog post and you have a particular topic you’re writing about, is that a keyword? And if you’re writing about a particular topic, are you probably destined to mention that word, or phrase, more than once in your post? Isn’t this particular point a major waste of your time to read?

4. Improve the Quality of Your Backlinks. Yeah, this will work; if you have an inordinate amount of time to work on backlinks. You do a lot of this type of thing for websites, not blogs. If you want to improve your blog with links, link to previous blog posts where you can, and if your blog is with your business website make sure to link the to each other every once in awhile.

5. Plan for Social Media Sharing. This one’s not total garbage, but we’ve seen it before; heck, I’ve written about it. Most people are already sending out automatic blog links whenever they have a post go live, and if you’re not, you should be. For some sites, you’ll actually have to post the links, but that’s not such a bad thing either if you have enough people following you in those places.

6. Tell Better Stories at Your Blog. Once again a garbage point because without an indication of what a better story is the write has no real idea what it means. What it’s supposed to mean is to be real, put your own natural rhythm into what and how you write, and if it’s compelling people will like it. But will you immediately get more traffic from it?

7. Find Readers for Your Blog. This is garbage mainly because of how it’s stated. Basically, blogging works best if you’re part of a community. You don’t just up and join a community per se. You work the system, such as commenting on other blogs, writing guest posts or asking others to write one for you, sending your blog links to other social media sites, sending some posts to your friends, etc. You don’t write your blog and just expect people to show up; this isn’t Field of Dreams (one day I’m going to watch that movie).

Out of all the points above, the last 3 are probably the only ones that can help. However, I have to say that if you saw the original article (nope, I’m not sharing it), you’d have thought “hey, this doesn’t really say anything”, and it didn’t.

I do have a point here; actually, two points. One, this is an example of using what someone else has written and making it your own. The only thing I’ve borrowed from the other post are the tips, and I didn’t use anything else from the post. When people say to me that they can’t think of anything to write about, I’ll tell them to read something then write their opinion on the topic they just read. Two, originality always wins out. What this guy wrote in his post was a lot of what others have said before. The only originality in his post were a few links to something that others had said. Everything else I’d seen before, which was probably why I was irked. My hope is that everyone reading this could take the 7 tips above and write a completely different post, even if the tips were the same.

That’s it; rant over. Am I being hard or do you agree?
 

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35 Comments »

Susan Silver:

This is also my biggest pet peeve. Of course, I am sure I have done the same thing before. Is it possible the internet is just running out of original ideas? I don’t know, but I just hope I am giving my audience some insight or entertainment.

I don’t think you are being hard on anyone. It is a critique, but I wonder how much experience that writer had before the post was published. Or if we are biased by how much we already know.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Susan, I think people can always put their own spin on things. For instance, I took the same topics the guy wrote about and put my spin on them, even if I didn’t use them to tell people how to do something better. A couple of days ago I read this other post where the guy was writing about a similar topic as the one I read, but he gave examples, links, and other information and I was blown away by it and told him so.

So, it’s either creativity, lack of real knowledge, or just horrible writing skills that leave me sometimes wanting to slap myself for wasting my time. 8-)

March 5th, 2012 | 12:15 PM

I have to agree with you than many post titles can be very catchy but the article is almost useless and doesn’t add much value. I have noticed that many bloggers cultivates this catchy title thing and beginners just fallow but they forget that people are looking for good article not just great title.
Steven recently posted…Vocabulary Level E AnswersMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Exactly Steven, and I keep getting sucked up into reading these things looking for something new and interesting and getting disappointed often. Still, that means whenever I find a great post I’m elated to no end.

March 5th, 2012 | 1:52 PM

Thanks for sharing your useful tips, and I totally agree, it makes me always upset when I read the same content on the 3rd or 4th blog. Sometimes, the text is the same as well. That’s a pity, I think.
Julie recently posted…wisdom teethMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

I think so as well Julie; just a little bit of creativity, that’s all I ask.

March 5th, 2012 | 5:30 PM

Mitch, I think that this is global problem, the information is rewritten so many times, that sometimes it lose meaning, on the other hand is rewritten by somebody that don’t have any clue about blogging. Just the example about Panda update, there was so much garbage thrown and actually algorithm didn’t affected any regular website, but only autoblogs and article directories. Now, probably you will say that I am not right and will mention AdSense – this is nothing to do with Panda update, just all commissions were lowered for about 2-3 months, but get back to normal.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Carl, the reason I still think Panda hit one of my sites is not only because my Adsense dropped a bunch but traffic did as well. Even though traffic is starting to pick up again the revenue is still low. But I earn money on that site from another advertiser as well and it decreased at the same time. Has to be traffic.

As to the writing, I’m not sure that I want to give a free pass just because a topic has been touched upon many times. I will say that if one is going to touch upon a topic that they should at least make sure what they’re talking about really does what they say it will.

Carl Reply:

There were more than 3 different Panda updates last year, actually there were 2 big updates in the last 2 months and the last algorithm include more than 40 changes, but the most significant one is related to link evaluation, this is official information.

Regarding traffic drop, I think all bloggers pointed fingers to Panda update, however the reason for traffic drop is much different, since 2006 Google algorithms were tolerating WordPress a bit differently and all blogs get ranked for so many keywords, mostly because fresh content. Well this was good for bloggers, I am not sure that most bloggers have follow information related to changes that mention small businesses and big corporations. World economy is in recession for quite a while, so through the last few years, Google and other search engines are shifting the market between small and big businesses. One of the main reasons why blogs are not ranking that well nowadays. Another factor of Panda 2.5 update which most bloggers found insignificant to comment was “point of origin”, previous if a blogger mention a big brand and the blog is strong, most likely in 2-3 days this particular post will appear in top 10. Nowadays it happen rarely, I am sure that 6 months ago, if you mention for example a WordPress plugin for example “SmushIt” you will be in top 10, now it will show mostly points of origin – official site, site of developer, WordPress extension directory.

I think this prove your point, that many bloggers are throwing misleading information, or information which is not verified.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Carl, when the first Panda update came through this blog did suffer a short drop in traffic for awhile but it recovered. My medical billing site isn’t a blog, but it survived the first two updates fine. I have no idea why that site fell since all the information was pertinent stuff, so all I can think of is that it wants more pages and more new stuff, and I’ll have to work on that.

Carl Reply:

Or may be more links, more pages leads to link splitting, so if you increase the number of pages, definitely need to push link building. There is one more thing, as you know I have full time job and as well consult several companies regarding SEO, at one of the companies, I saw that there are 3 new customers which target same niche as your medical billing website, for the other company I see that there is new project related to this too. I can’t say for sure as I haven’t exactly looked at the market in the beginning of previous year, but I guess saturation of this niche is possible.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

I still think pushing link building is a major waste of time. I’d rather have the ability to add more content and internally link than do that kind of link building. Look at the major news sites; do you think they do well because of link building, internal linking or new and continual content? Those are the types of sources we should be looking at. Even Matt Cutts said so.

March 6th, 2012 | 1:34 AM

I agree that some posts have a really great headline but fall way short on delivering solid content that backs up the headline. It’s unfortunate. As I read it, I think “what a waste.”

On the part of the content being “elementary” or failing to deliver something more useful… This is the part where I sorta disagree. Because ultimately, it depends on who the author’s audience is. Who specifically are they writing for? Are they writing for the social media/blogging newbie? While the advanced blogger might not find it very useful, the newbie totally digs the post.

Frankly, some people build business models that way. Just look at how @LKR is crushing it with her info products on her website. While to some people the content might be elementary, it’s just the type of content she needs to reel people in who are interested in buying her info products.
Ricardo Bueno recently posted…Notice From the Department of Procrastination PreventionMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

You make an interesting point Ricardo, but I’m going to slightly disagree for this main reason. If it was on the writer’s own blog maybe he gets kind of a pass (from me, probably not). However, it was a guest post on a well established blog and I know that woman’s audience isn’t beginners per se. And the other problem I had with it was that the first four points weren’t even close to accurate, let alone elementary.

Then I had to go look up LKR, as I’d never seen that name before, and it turns out I don’t know her at all. I’ll have to check out her website.

March 6th, 2012 | 3:19 AM
Lily Rose:

Well, I guess that the Internet is really a wast place and that there is audience for everything. For somebody, that is a first text they’ve ever read about those kinds of tips.

However, I agree with you, it’s like there is a big inflation of ideas out there.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Lily Rose, my issue is that I believe most people end up being subjected to the same junk over and over, with almost the same words from people saying they’re writing original content. That doesn’t help anyone.

March 6th, 2012 | 6:15 AM

Hi Mitch,

I don’t think that you’re being hard here. I see a lot of these types of posts, especially on the subject of how to improve your blog/website. Mostly the advice is trite at best – and sometimes it’s just plain wrong.

I think that your post raises another issue (for me at least). I subscribe to a lot of blogs that I like and where I like the content and/or writing style of the blogger. I must admit, when I get an e-mail to tell me that there’s a new post and head over to find that it’s by a guest blogger, I do find it just a little disappointing.

Nevertheless, I usually read it – operating under the assumption that if a blogger that I follow allows it on their blog then it must be relevant and of good quality. Usually it is but, as in the example that you cite above, there are also some examples of good bloggers allowing lower quality guest posts on their blogs – possibly to save them the time of posting themselves, possibly as a favour to a fellow blogger.

Whatever the reason, accepting poor quality guest posts reflects badly on the blog in question.
Hamish recently posted…Charles Dickens 200th Birthday – Celebrate With Free EbooksMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks Hamish. This is kind of funny, but over the weekend I was talking to a friend of mine and we got to the issue of accepting guest posts. He admitted that he’s allowed some pretty lousy guest posts through lately as he’s been concentrating on other things. Poorly written is bad enough; putting out information that’s inaccurate or even garbage is horrible. He said he’s going to take better ownership of that as a priority, and I’m sure the entire world is thankful for it. lol

That being said we’re in agreement on reading some of these things that offer nothing. I mean, if a person is taking a position on something and you know you’re getting an opinion, that’s fine. If you write “when people visit your blog, they’re looking for good content”, that’s a fine and true statement. However, when you say “good content will drive people to your blog”, we all know that’s a false statement. Good content will keep people on your blog, but some very well written blogs have no visitors, comments or ranking. I think that’s all we’re looking for, some honesty and maybe every once in awhile something new, a different way of looking at things.

March 6th, 2012 | 6:53 AM

As Ricardo Bueno says, the post can be aimed at new bloggers. But still a personal touch or a New element should be a minimum for any serious blogger. I also think guest blogging is a part of the problem. More and more are using the guest logging as a kind of link building strategy. An to produce many guest post( in-links) some writers care less about the content, at the same time as they write smashing headlines to get the posts published by bloggers hungry for new content.
I have to admit I do pick guest post with great headlines myself. But on my own posts I to put my own touch and am trying to make “hands on’” problem solving posts my speciality. I also try to practice what I preach.
Bjorn recently posted…10 steps to a better and more professional blog.My Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks for your comment Bjorn. I’m not sure if it was the guest post part of it that irked me or the fact that the first four points addressed were absolutely false. If the article was aimed at new bloggers then the article was misleading and the author should be ashamed of himself. I’m kind of passionate about the topic of blogging; with 5 blogs I’d better be. I write guest posts when asked, and for the most part I’ll ask someone every once in awhile to write one here. But everyone knows that their guest post better rock and be something special, otherwise it’s not going on this blog.

And I’ll admit that I’m a lousy headline writer, but I hope that at least most of my content works well for people.

March 6th, 2012 | 9:47 AM
Liz:

Hey Mitch,

You’re not being hard, you’re being honest, and isn’t that what folks want?

The moral of the story is not to simply keep regurgitating what we see all over the web, instead offer new insight, thoughts and opinions.

With all the advice floating around we need advice backed by reason and experience and I think that’s what you give us.

Good stuff as always Mitch.

Thanks,
Liz

March 6th, 2012 | 3:46 PM

Hey Mitch,

I agree with you. There are a few blogs about blogging that I used to enjoy reading, but I don’t like reading them at this time. Mainly because of what you say in this post. It’s the same ole information without any twist to it, after a while it gets boring and then I stop reading.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Glad we agree on this one Evelyn. If we’re not going to be informed then at least entertain us, right? :-)

March 6th, 2012 | 7:02 PM
mdenise | Brochure Printing Services:

You have very good points, Mitch. Sometimes when I think of writing a guest post, I am also stuck with how to write a unique content with an interesting topic. I mean with the number of bloggers out there, what could not have been written about yet? But I guess that there are different perspective of a certain subject and all these have to be explored…then I get to generate ideas from there. I also agree that reading leads to a flow of ideas.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

There’s always a new way of looking at things or commenting on something, even if a topic has been explored already. For instance, I bet someone else has ranted on the same thing I ranted on, and yet here we are. lol

March 8th, 2012 | 3:33 AM

Much depends on what your writing about and who your aiming at.

If you are blogging to drive traffic and keep people interested in your site, then you do need to pay heed to searched keywords without making it look obvious or keyword stuffing.

The integrated blog with website bit is right – the reason you do this from a search perspective is the web is always looking for new content and most new content comes from blogs due to their dynamic nature.

You also must plug into social media and be active there with followers so they see your content as well – its a tough ask so automation is needed to free you up to do other things – done and automated properly these will also bring you the best backlinks of all.

The hardest thing of all is content. If you are talking general information and marketing, this is largely opinion based and is easy to put together.

If you are talking about something more technical then research comes into being. If you don’t have the capacity to conduct research then consider using your blog to publish other peoples content (curated content) – as long as its relevant, its linked back to rather than just copied as your own and you have divided it between your own writing and clearly identified where it has come from in quotes or a block then this is an effective way of creating good content.

How much did the Huffington post sell for?
How many readers do they have?
How do they get their content?

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Peter, I’m not sure if you’re on subject or not here, but I’ll go with two points. One, I still believe that no matter what it is you’re doing that if all you’re writing is, well, junk that everyone else has already said in the same manner and using the same words that someone else has already written elsewhere, it’s a waste of time for most readers and reflects badly on whatever blog that article is on. Two, if it’s a guest post and the owner allows it without looking at it first, it reflects on their credibility to bring their visitors quality stuff they can use as well as different perspectives on things, and people start staying away. At least I do.

March 8th, 2012 | 4:56 AM

I think my biggest peeve about those tips are that some of them offered absolutely no value to the aspiring blogger. “Find Readers for Your Blog” What’s with that anyway? Then again it all depends on how he expands on the topic which on it’s own is pretty nonsensical.
Sire recently posted…Increasing The Potential To Make Money With The Real Estate Above The FoldMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Sire, if it was on his blog and he said he was going to write a second follow up post then I might give it a pass. But this was a guest post, and thus the reason I hated it so much because you knew that was the best this person could do.

Sire Reply:

As a guest post it makes you wonder why it was accepted in the first place doesn’t it?
Sire recently posted…Fridays Funnies #6 Mrs Hughes, Controlling Women And The Horse WhispererMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Yes it does Sire, and I’m thinking it was just a bit of sloppy acceptance, which happens with some folks from time to time. That’s why I’m uber picky here and why on my finance blog I look at everything.

March 9th, 2012 | 8:01 AM

You aren’t being hard you are being honest. I have stopped reading some blogs because it is clear to me that they haven’t anything to offer any more.

Every post is their half hearted spin on material that has already been covered. Or alternatively it is a weak attempt to promote themselves and their services.

It is just boring and time is too precious to waste upon it.
Jack recently posted…Yoda’s Life Lessons For Business & Raising ChildrenMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks Jack. Glad I’m not the only one who’s been disappointed by some of what I see.

March 16th, 2012 | 3:05 AM

Hi Mitch,

Sorry it took me so long to get over here. I’ve been ridiculously busy lately, and my online work has suffered because of it. But, I wanted to stop by because you’ve been so generous in visiting my blog.

Anyways, I agree that way too much information is the same stuff spun and spun and spun without much real addition. The big problem that nobody thus far has touched on is that I think a lot of these posts come from people who simply don’t know any better. They simply don’t have the real experience necessary to provide any valuable insight on the topic they’re discussing.

In my opinion, this comes from people getting online to try and make money. People talk about making money from blogging, so they start up a blog without first thinking about finding a topic that they’re both very passionate about and have some sort of knowledge on. Sooooo, they jump in and start talking about the same thing everybody else is. In short, their posts are shallow because their knowledge base on the subject is also. Certainly they shouldn’t be writing on a topic like that, but they simply haven’t looked for, found, or been given proper advice in this arena.

That’s the big reason I chose the primary topic that I did for my blog. Leadership is something that I have some training in, have been practicing for 15 years due to my career, and am extremely passionate about. Although I certainly want to make money from my blog, I truly enjoy writing content for it. And, based on the feedback I’ve gotten from people I know, I’m writing content that people can use, which makes it all worthwhile.

That’s just my $.02. Maybe I’m wrong, but I truly think the biggest problem lies in the explosion of people wanting to make money online and not having the requisite information to do so.

I hope you have a great weekend!

~Barry
Barry Overstreet recently posted…The Compound Effect Is Working In Your LifeMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

That’s a great comment Barry, and I fully agree with you. I think many people fall into that “make money” thing and come up with niches where they really don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s the reason I’ve spread myself into 5 blogs, because each one talks about something different that I pretty much know something about. That and you have to have at least a certain bit of love for the subject or the yearn to learn, if you will.

So many guest posts are so disappointing in not really saying anything. If I’m asked to guest post, you can bet I’m gonna “bring it”, try to be something as spectacular as possible, maybe even better than anything I write here. I think that’s how you earn more than a “nice post” comment that means nothing.

Thanks for visiting; glad we’re connected!

March 22nd, 2012 | 10:17 PM