It’s not yet two years since my brother Jonathan, and I started our first blog. Of course, we had been active in content marketing and social media before. But our business went bankrupt at the beginning of the year; our brand was gone, and most of our content went down with the content publishing platform we had been running before.
So, we had to start from scratch: New brand, new blog and a new line of business.
In the past months, we have been talking to many entrepreneurs, startups, companies, and other bloggers. And often they ask us how we managed to build our new blog, how we can write such a crazy amount of content (it is actually not that much compared to other bloggers) and how we make our traffic grow. And in these conversations, I realized some major misconceptions some entrepreneurs and even bloggers have about blogging. These misconceptions often prove fatal for blogging success.
So here are some of the misconceptions about blogging, which can easily lead your blogging efforts to failure.
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1. Thinking Blogging is about writing
… or creating videos or podcast, etc. Of course, you need to create great content for your blog and content creation is essential to the success of your blog. But there is much more to blogging than the content creation. You need to set up the blog itself. You will have to work on the design and layout. You will need to learn about a lot of technical aspects to optimize the blog itself for your success – or pay someone to do it. You need to think about content distribution and building your audience, about more topics to cover on your blog and how to optimize everything.
To bring your blog to success, you need to consider much more than the content. Neglecting other aspects of blogging means you are on a sure road to failure – no matter how outstanding your blog content may be.
2. You need to be famous before you tell your audience about your blog
I have heard this many times: “I have not told anyone about my blog, yet.” “I have so few content pieces and so few readers I can’t talk about my blog yet.” “I am afraid no one will be interested when I tell them about my blog.” “I want to grow my blog first before I tell anybody about it.”
How is this going to work? Not telling anyone about your blog will certainly not help you grow an audience. That is like founding a company and not wanting to market it before you have a ton of customers.
From my experience, most people highly respect the effort of building something new and having the courage to try it. And what if you really come across people who look down on you because your blog is new, only has few readers and your content is not yet perfect? What if you still need some more practice to become a great blogger?
Who cares? Who did ever start something new and was perfect at it the first day?
A blog will not find an audience if you keep it your secret. You cannot evolve if you do not start. You won’t be able to learn from feedback if you never get feedback because no one ever reads your posts.
3. Each post needs to be perfect
A friend once told me that she never has the feeling her post is finished. So she ends up working on one article for months and publishes one perfect piece every once in a while. But that simply is not enough to build an audience.
Blogging is not about perfection – you could argue that blogging is more about imperfections than perfection. Blog audiences know that you are not the New York Times. They know that you don’t have 3 editors checking every post. They long for content that is real – that (apart from bringing value) is also written by a human being. And they want more of that content.
A constant stream of new content is the foundation for growing an audience. Each and every piece does not have to be perfect; it just needs to be interesting and valuable to your target audience.
Overthinking and over-perfecting will keep you from getting things done. When you are starting a new blog, you need to keep going and push things forward.
4. Great content will always find an audience
There may have been a time when there existed only a limited amount of great content from your niche. People searching for specific topics would automatically have ended up on your blog for the simple reason that there was not much other content on your topic.
Andy Crestodina on “Why do blogs fail?”
These times are long over (at least in most niches). With so much content around for everyone to discover you will have a hard time getting your content noticed. And it is part of your job as a blogger to spread the word about your content. To market your content. It is your job to find your audience – not the other way around. Your content alone will not be enough to find and build an audience.
5. Results will come fast
There are many stories out there of successful bloggers. But most of the time these stories do not talk much about the time it takes to get to the point of success. The result is that often bloggers expect too much in too short a time – and give up long before they realistically could expect success.
It takes a fair amount of time to create all that content, to find your (blogging) voice and to get everything into place, as you need it for success. And building an audience takes, even more, time and will never be finished.
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6. It is about them
Some bloggers start their blog as a kind of personal journal. That is ok if you do not expect much regarding results. But when you only write for yourself, you can easily forget to write for an audience.
If you want to attract a targeted audience, you need to know what your audience is interested in and provide that in your blog posts. Blogging is more about what your audience wants to read/know and less about what you would like to tell them.
Bloggers who focus too much on themselves fail most of the time – at least if attracting an audience was the goal.
7. Thinking blogging is a one-way street
Blogging success is not just publishing content and spreading the word about it. A large part of blogging is also networking, connecting and collaborating. Or in other words: Blogging is about building a community.
Treating blogging as a one-way street will make you miss out on a lot of opportunities for new business, guest posts, interviews, and speaking assignments. A large part of blogging success comes from the network you build for yourself through blogging.
8. Guest bloggers get asked to submit a post
A while back someone complained to me, that he never gets any guest blogging opportunities because no one asks him to write a guest post on their blog. That is fundamentally wrong.
As a well known and famous blogger, you may get asked to submit a guest post. Most of the time it works the other way round: Get in touch with the blog you want to guest post on, tell them who you are, what and where you have already published and suggest a post or a topic you would like to cover.
As a young blogger, guest blogging offers many opportunities for building your audience and recognition in your target market. To utilize these opportunities for your benefit you have to take your luck into your own hands, make the move and get in touch with the blogger(s) of your choice. Do not wait for them to reach out to you.
Andy Crestodina on how many guest posts are published
9. A lot of traffic automatically means a lot of money
Many people think that a lot of traffic is the ultimate success for a blogger. But the truth is that traffic does not pay rent or food. You still need to make money to live off blogging. And traffic does not necessarily translate into money.
You need a product or service to sell and a strategy for selling it. Blogging is a business and as such you have to have a product or service to sell and some sales funnel to close the deal.
There are many reasons why new bloggers fail. Some failures are unnecessary and can be avoided by clearing up some of the misconceptions about blogging.
Blogging is not an easy path to success, but getting some simple things right from the start can help you get a better start – and prevent a lot of frustration and doubts.
Good luck with your blog!
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