Read any amount of blogs long enough, and you’ll start to see a pattern with a lot of the advice given.
Tips about blog length; blog formatting; blog subscribers and more – they’re all covered. Who knows, you might think we can be a little guilty of it here too, although we try hard to bring you blog tips and ideas you can really use.
But something that stands out a lot is the amount of advice that’s the same, yet isn’t really helpful (or it’s too generic to be of any real value).
We call them blogging myths, and here are three I want to share with you now, and why you should take them with a pinch of salt.
1. Content is King
Probably one of the most-used terms when it comes to blogging, you’ll hear a whole bunch of folks telling you that content is king. While I won’t argue that content is important, it’s not the ruling demigod that so many make it out to be.
Yes, great content will entertain and/or inform your readers. But it’s just one piece of the blogging pie. Content will mean nothing if your site looks like the cruddiest piece of crud from Crudland. So, design is important. As is SEO, to make sure your content gets found. Formatting plays a big part, too.
So, sure, write great content and wait for that to grow your readers. Then maybe ask yourself why your 2,000 word posts in a single paragraph on a fluorescent blue blog with yellow banners isn’t getting any traction.
Takeaway: Content needs a home to be great, and people need to know how to find that home. Think design; think SEO; think long-term.
2. Reply to Every Comment
First, a little bit of clarification – I LOVE blog comments and the thoughts that people share when they want to add something to a blogger’s viewpoint. Comments can give you ideas for others blogs; business ideas; research information; and much more. So, for sure, comments are a key part of any blog.
But that doesn’t mean you need to reply to every single comment you ever get.
There are a lot of bloggers that say you need to reply to everyone to build your community; otherwise you’re just talking to yourself. The problem is, they don’t define what’s a good comment worth replying to, and what’s just a filler comment (or perceived to be one).
Look at some of the most popular blogs around, and how many comments they get that say, “Great post!” or “I completely agree!” with nothing else added. Sure, you could reply to these comments, but wouldn’t your time be better spent replying to the comments that add to the post, and challenge your views, and make you think?
I know this probably won’t be a popular point of view, but sometimes you don’t have to reply to every comment when there’s nothing to really add. The choice is yours, obviously.
Takeaway: If you want to build a thriving and active community, engage the commenters that make you stop and think, and keep the questions flowing through replies that add to the post.
3. Build It And They Will Come
Probably one of the biggest myths out there is the “build it and they will come” viewpoint. You know the one – where all you need to do is build your blog, post your content, and the traffic is just going to flood in.
But (as you’ve probably gathered), there’s a little bit more to it than that.
With almost 200 million blogs fighting for a piece of the web, and the likes of Facebook and micro-blogging often taking the conversation away from blogs, it’s tougher than ever to build a sizeable reader base. Particularly in the beginning.
Instead of building and and waiting for traffic to come, you need to build it and promote – constantly. Yes, great content will help keep readers once they’re on your blog, but you need to get them there first.
Social networks offer a great way to promote your blog, as do other social media platforms. Old blog posts can also be a great way to promote your blog to a new audience. Email signatures, business cards and stationary are also great ways to make people aware of your blog.
Takeaway: Just having a blog and thinking your great content is enough won’t get you readers. Continuously let others know how great you are by providing great content and interactivity, and they’ll do the rest for you.
Blogging can be a challenge at the best of times (although a hugely enjoyable one). Make sure you’re not letting any blogging myths stop your blog from reaching its full potential.