As bloggers, we read lots of different opinions about how to blog correctly. This article in Remarkablogger by Michael Martine lists Four Blogging Myths that Need to Just Die Already. Let’s take a closer look at some of these myths and see if they really do need to die.
Myth #1: You Should Blog Every Day
I agree that you don’t need to blog every day although I think there are advantages to doing so. Staying in front of your audience keeps your name and your blog fresh in their minds. Still, for many bloggers, blogging daily just isn’t possible. Many of us have lives outside of our blogs and other commitments and responsibilities. It’s more important to set a schedule that you can keep and stick to it. If that’s once a week, then so be it.
Myth #2: You Should Include a Picture with Each Post
I used to believe this too. And I still do this on my pet health care blog. However, I have stopped including photos on most blog posts on this blog. Including a photo does allow you additional search engine optimization opportunities. However, if the photo adds nothing of value to your post, then it’s simply wasting space and possibly slowing your website’s loading time also.
There is nothing inherently wrong with including images. They do add visual interest for the reader. However, there is a payoff in other areas that needs to be balanced. As Michael points out in the Remarkablogger post, it takes time to find the right image for each post. Often, even once you’ve found the photo, it must be cropped or resized requiring even more of your valuable time.
Myth #3: Your Posts Should Be Short
I have mixed feelings about this one. I don’t think that all posts necessarily need to be less than 800 words. Some of my most visited posts are longer. However, I do think it is important to stick to one subject within a given post and not stray off into tangent areas.
I also think it is important to make posts easy to scan and this is particularly true with long posts. Online readers typically have short attention spans and many will scan through a post to learn the basics. After scanning, they may go back and read in more detail or they may simply move on. However, a post that looks like one solid block of text is overwhelming for many online visitors. Make a post easy to scan by writing short paragraphs, using subheadings, and using bullet points or numbered lists.
Often when a post becomes too long, breaking the post up into 2 or more separate blog posts is a wise strategy. A series of articles often, for me anyway, draws more attention than one long all-inclusive post. Try to break the topic down into subcategories and cover each subcategory in a separate post and then link them. This strategy will provide more content for your blog (i.e. additional blog posts) and will help keep your readers from being overwhelmed by offering too much information all at once.
Myth #4: Your Posts Should Be Optimized for Search
Not all of your blog posts are going to be conducive to optimization nor should they be. However, I do think there are huge benefits to writing some posts that are search optimized. Like many other things in blogging, there is a caveat though. Never optimize a post to the detriment of your reader. Your reader’s experience always comes first, ahead of search engine considerations. However, it is possible with a little effort to write a post that is both reader friendly and optimized for search.
These are the four myths that were listed in the Remarkablogger article. I’d like to add one of my own to the list as well.
Myth #5: If You Build It, They Will Come
Blogging isn’t a movie scenario. It’s hard work. Simply creating a blog and publishing it online does not guarantee readers. It doesn’t matter how pretty your blog is or how good your content is. You have to market your blog. SEO is one form of marketing and it’s one I would not ignore. However, it’s not the only form of marketing and it’s best not put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. Social media marketing and email marketing are other forms that you should explore. (And I freely admit I do not use email marketing to the extent that I should be using it but I do use social media extensively.)
If you want to blog simply to keep a diary and document your thoughts, there’s no need to market your blog. If you don’t mind that your mother is the only person that reads your blog, there’s no need to market your blog. But if you want your blog to be the center of a vibrant community, you need to market and you need to market effectively.
What other blogging commandments have you found to be not-so-true? Please share in the comment section below.