The internet is full of blogging advice, and a lot of it is really useful. Unfortunately a lot of it used to be useful, but became outdated 20 years ago, and some of it is just plain wrong.
So how does a budding blogger discern the difference?
Well, it’s not easy – because it all looks legit – but I’m going to break down some pieces of advice you may stumble upon that you can just ignore.
Bad Blogging Advice #1: Post Every Day
I admit, I fully did this, and I very nearly quit blogging early on because I was burnt out after a very short period of time.
Writing a blog post every day, or even 3 times a week, is not sustainable.
It’s also bad practice.
First of all, how much time, effort, energy, research, etc. can you put into a post if you’re writing one every day? I can answer that. Little to none. And these days, search engines are putting a premium on quality content, so you’re digging yourself into a hole with this practice.
Additionally, if you’re spending all your time creating content, you don’t have any time to promote it. It’s going to be difficult for you to see any benefit from all that content if you don’t tell people about it. You need to give yourself time to share on social media, email your list, and respond to comments, which are all things that will grow your readership.
Bad Blogging Advice #2: Comment on Other Blogs
Back in the day (you know, the dark ages of the early 2000s) leaving comments on other people’s blogs was a proven method to grow your own readership. Many bloggers used plugins that even posted links to commenter’s sites to encourage comments. These comments and links would leave digital crumbs all over the internet and lead people to your site.
However, once social media became the behemoth it is, blog comments became less important and most bloggers moved their interactions to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t comment on other blogs, or connect with other bloggers on social media. Making connections and building relationships is always a great idea. But if you’ve got limited time, don’t feel the need to go reading and commenting on other blogs as a traffic building strategy.
Bad Blogging Advice #3: Use Giveaways to Grow Your List
This is another thing I’ve done with the best of intentions… and horrible results.
You may have seen people giving away an iPad or some other expensive gadget in exchange for people’s email lists – sign up today and be entered to WIN BIG! – but this method of list building was pretty well debunked as a myth years ago. Of course, nothing ever dies on the internet, so you’ll still come across this never-really-a-good-idea piece of advice every so often.
The problem with offering a raffle or other giveaway to get people on your list is that the people who join are low quality leads. They’re not likely interested in what you’re talking about. They just want free stuff. (There are people who literally scour the internet and enter every contest they can find so they can win stuff and then sell it.)
These people aren’t going to open your emails, so your deliverability is going to drop. They’re never going to become readers or customers. The best case scenario is that they unsubscribe from your list after the contest is over. The worst case is that they sit on your list for years – which you pay for by the subscriber – and suck up your bandwidth.
If you absolutely insist on a giveaway, make sure it’s something that people who are interested in what you offer would be interested in.
Bad Blogging Advice #4: Be Everywhere
There are still people who support this strategy. And to be perfectly honest, if you’re a full-time blogger or have a lot of help (like multiple VAs), there’s nothing wrong with this advice.
However, if you’re reading this, you’re likely managing your blog in your “spare time” and are currently the Chief Everything Officer. In that case, this is a really bad piece of advice.
There are entrepreneurs who built their businesses and reputations on working morning, noon, and night, operating on 3-4 hours of sleep, and doing all the things. That’s not just unsustainable, it’s irresponsible.
As a solopreneur you have to be more mindful of how you spend your time. Instead of trying to be everywhere – blogging, podcasting, YouTubing, Facebooking, Instagramming, Tweeting, TikToking… you get the idea – you need to be strategic and selective about where to focus your efforts.
I suggest that you choose one primary platform (aka your blog), and one secondary platform (i.e. ONE social media program. Only once you’ve mastered these platforms, and created systems to make it easy to manage them, should you consider adding something else. And even then it’s often best to double down on what’s working rather than adding something new.
Bad Blogging Advice #5: Posts Must Be Long/ Short
If you’re confused, you’re normal. There’s a lot of conflicting advice about how long your posts should be in order to maximize your SEO. Some say that you should keep it brief with a limit of 500-700 words. Others will tell you that if you don’t write at least 2,000 words you might as well not bother.
The truth, as it usually is, is much less black and white.
Your posts need to be the right length for you and your audience. That’s it.
You can read more about content length in this post.
The only definite rule is that you want your posts to be a minimum of 300 words so Google and other search engines can properly read and index them.
Bad Blogging Advice #6: You Must Write Guest Posts
Guest posting, writing a post for someone else’s blog, can be a great way to build your audience. However, it’s not something you should focus on right away. One of the key benefits of guest posting is having people from another, more established blog’s audience discover you through the link you place in your bio and (perhaps) in the post you share.
If you don’t yet have a good reserve of content on your blog, people are going to come to your site and be disappointed, which is not what you want.
Instead of spending your creative capital on providing content for others, focus on creating great stuff for your own site. Once you have 6-8 months of posts on your own blog, you can start to think about guest posting.
Remember that guest posting doesn’t mean you’re skipping writing for your own site. You’re writing for your site and the other person’s site, too.
Bad Blogging Advice #7: Have Big Launch
This isn’t inherently bad advice, but it can prevent a lot of people from actually launching their blogs.
Let’s be honest, building your blog, creating content, and getting your social media up and running is a lot. You don’t need to take on any more work to convince people you have a “real” blog.
If you don’t want to share your blog until you’ve got a few posts published, that’s fine. But don’t think that you need to have a big launch party, or even make it an event. Telling ourselves that we have to do things like this is one of the issues that prevents people from getting started. It’s just too much.
And it’s not necessary.
Your blog “launch” can be as simple as you sending an email to your friends and family, or posting on Facebook that you’ve got a blog and giving a link to check it out.
Done and done.
The fact of the matter is that there are very few things you have to do in order to be a successful blogger. Put out great content, tell people about it, and monetize it in some way.
In fact, you’ll notice that most of the bad advice I’ve listed here is about taking things off your to-do list. Blogging isn’t easy, per se, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. That’s the reason I’ve been able to do it while continuing to teach for 10 years!
Especially when you’re first starting out, but really throughout your blogging journey, focusing on a few key tasks (3 Fundamental Things to Focus on to Grow Your Blog) is what will make blogging sustainable and the best side hustle for teachers.
While we’re somewhat still on the topic of launches, I want to let you know that my new program, Teacher Blog Academy, is launching on April 21, 2022. This program is going to take students through my proven 5-step system for creating a profitable blog. You can learn more and sign up for the waitlist at teacherblogacademy.com. You’re not going to want to miss this. I’ll be offering a once -in-a-lifetime introductory deal on TBA for a few days only!