I read a lot of different articles about blogging all around the internet and it always surprises me that the same misconceptions about blogging are getting passed around. While I think some information you read about blogging out there might kind of be accurate, it is not telling you the whole truth about the difficulties and realities of what it takes to be a successful online nowadays. So, I am going to break the myths and misconceptions.
1. You can make a lot of money Blogging
While there are definitely a lot of bloggers who make a full time living from their blogs or writing, the vast majority don't. You need to understand that the act of writing doesn't make any money. To monetize your blog and visitor traffic you will have to display ads, use affiliate links, or possible encourage people to pay for a monthly subscription to your blog. (This is possible to do but your content better be really good and niche specific.) If your writing is top notch you might even be able to snag a book deal, but those sorts of deals are not likely to happen to an average blogger unless you are putting in a lot of time and effort.
2. Lots of Traffic is Always a Good Thing
Even if you have a lot of traffic it may not always be the best thing. If your users are not clicking on ads or converting sales via your affiliate links than all that traffic is likely to be costing your money. I know a lot of webmasters and bloggers that have high traffic sites but are spending more money keeping up a VPS (virtual private server) or dedicated server than what they are making blogging. If you ever get to this point your blog should probably serve as sales funnels for some product or service you want to sell, such as your book or web consulting services.
3. Content is King
Having great content that people like is important if you want repeat visitors, but that doesn't mean content is everything. I see lots of terrible writing and content still ranking well on Google while great content is not getting ranked and has ZERO traffic. It is honestly your ability to have good SEO (search engine optimization) and how you distribute your articles and content around the web that make the difference. Google honestly can't tell between bad and good writing. Keep in mind it is a computer (an extremely advanced one) that does the ranking and not a human.
4. Social Media is more Important than SEO
I imagine a dumbass “social media guru” started this one. While social media should be part of your blogging strategy, it is important to use strong keywords and write your articles and posts so they that search engine can find your content easily. SEO is cyclical with social media actually. If Google sees a lot of people are Tweeting your articles, it is likely you will retain higher ranks for certain keywords and therefore get more visitors via search. You will make it easier though if you use keywords people are searching for in the first place and serving up what people want to see.
5. Blogging in a Specific Niche will make you Successful
This really depends on the niche. For instance I love writing about cars and I like Japanese automakers. I can start a blog about cars that focus only on Japanese automakers, their models, and news. This way I have a niche that is specific but open enough I can find new content for the blog on a daily basis. I see a lot of people choose niches that are too specific and they don't have enough to write about to keep the blog updated. You need to ask yourself, “Can I blog about this topic and find lots of subjects to write about?” If the answers is, “No.” you should consider looking at another niche unless your goal is to build mini-websites. If you really want to be successful niche blogging you should find an area that is what I like to call “Wide Fucking Open” (WFO).
6. Everyone Should Start a Blog
No, not everyone should start a blog. It really depends on your skills and what you want to accomplish. Not everyone is a good writer and I don't think everyone can blog. Do you prefer listening to the radio? Are you more a visual person? Maybe a weekly podcast and video show in your area of interest would be better than starting a blog. Have you considered starting a forum? Sometimes forums can work better since you are not solely responsible for coming up with interesting content and can engage in great conversations with people and let them share their thoughts openly.
If you have any other misconceptions about blogging that you want to add or that I missed, please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear bloggers thoughts and anyone who is considering starting a blog to comment about what I wrote about above.
Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!