If I got a dollar for every time some guru said something like ‘blogging is dead’ or ‘you need an email list’ I would stupid rich! (one of the blogging myths that keep people confused and stuck). The tricky part is that these myths are perpetuated by some well-meaning and well-respected blogging gurus. If they say you should do something, then it must be true, right? Not so fast.
After three years of blogging full-time, I’ve seen firsthand what it actually takes to build a successful blog. Some of the things I thought were so important in the beginning turned out not to be. On the other hand, certain things I thought wouldn’t be important became absolutely critical. There are so many myths about blogging, and I’m here to debunk them. Let’s jump right in.
Blogging Myth #1: Blogging is dead
The need for valuable, helpful content that solves people’s problems will never go away. So, the idea that blogging is dead doesn’t hold water. Yet you’ll hear digital marketers proclaim that the days of profitable blogging are over. A more accurate statement would be this: the days of easy traffic and fast money are over. That was circa 2010. If you’re starting a blog today, you need to have a solid marketing strategy that you execute consistently. There are now 1 billion blogs on the internet competing for attention.
The blogging landscape constantly changes as the way people consume information evolves. For instance, there’s a growing demand for video content. That’s why you see more and more bloggers adding a video summary to their blog posts. Voice search is on the rise so we’ll see blogs including more voice recordings in 2021 and beyond. Successful blogs need to adapt their strategy to keep up with the latest developments. Blogging is always changing. It’s only dead if you can’t keep up.
“Blogging Myths” #2: You should only blog about your passions
There’s definitely merit to the idea that you should choose a blog niche you genuinely care about. After all, building a successful blog can take years. If you don’t give a crap about the topic you’re writing about, it’s tough to stay motivated. You may also struggle to write long-form, quality content unless you intend to hire writers.
The problem with the recommendation to only blog about your passions is that your passions may not be profitable. For instance, you might be passionate about collecting dolls, but it doesn’t mean you should start a blog about it. If you want to blog as a hobby, go ahead. However, if you want to start a blog-based business, you need to be more deliberate about choosing a niche. Before choosing a blog niche, you must answer the following questions:
- What I’m I knowledgeable about?
- Is there an audience for this topic?
- Can I make money writing about this topic?
- How do bloggers in this niche make money?
- How much competition is there in this niche?
Answering the questions above will help you determine whether you have a profitable blog idea. It doesn’t matter how passionate you are about a topic. If the marketplace doesn’t care, you don’t have a business. Remember that you’re starting a blog-based business, not a hobby blog. What your target audience wants trumps your passions.
“Blogging Myths” #3: You need to build an email list
You’ve probably heard a million times that the money is in the list. It’s true that an email list is a valuable asset to any online business. Unlike your social media followers, you actually own your email list. When people give your their email, they are allowing you into a sacred space – their inbox. That means you can connect with your email subscribers at a deeper level and win their trust. This can convert to more sales for your business.
Here’s the problem: many bloggers start an email list just for the sake of having an email list. They don’t know what actions they want their email subscribers to take. They have no idea how to write a compelling email copy. Starting an email list is all about checking a box instead of building a relationship with their audience. That’s why you’ll often come across questions like ‘What should I send to my list?’ If you can’t answer that question, you shouldn’t be starting an email list! It means you don’t have a purpose for building a list, and you could be wasting your time.
No, the money is not in the list. The money is in an engaged list! If you collect a bunch of people’s emails and don’t communicate with them regularly, they’ll forget who you are. Email marketing is effective when you cultivate a relationship with your audience and win their trust. Then you can sell your offers to them. Do you have the time to sit down and devise an email marketing strategy? Are you willing to commit to writing to your list regularly? If not, then focus on writing or SEO.
You do not need an email list to be a successful blogger! If you want to sell your own product or promote affiliate offers, it can be helpful. However, you can generate ad revenue, land sponsored posts, make affiliate sales, and even sell your own offers without an email list. Don’t rush out and start building an email list just because others say so. Determine how you want to monetize your blog and evaluate whether an email list would be beneficial. However, building an engaged email list takes time, creativity, and lots of effort. Make sure you do it for the right reasons.
Blogging Myth #4: You need hundreds of thousands of pageviews
An ice cream shop gets only three visitors a day won’t stay open for long. In the same way, a blog that can’t attract visitors won’t make money. Traffic is the lifeblood of any blog-based business. It doesn’t matter how you plan to monetize your blog. You need a steady traffic of people to see your offers, purchase through your affiliate links, or click on your ads. The more traffic you get, the higher your income potential. That said, you don’t need hundreds of thousands of page views to make a full-time income with your blog.
Case in point: Suzi of Start a Mom Blog went from $0-$9,000 a month in less than a year. Her peak traffic during that period was only 40,000 monthly page views. How did she do it? She targeted a specific audience, stay-at-home moms, and created low-cost products to sell to them. Due to savvy marketing, traffic Suzi gets converts well. She made most of her money from selling her own products on her blog. Similarly, Leanne of The Globetrotter GP, made over $5,700 blogging in one month with 58,000 visitors. She made the majority of her money from Mediavine ads and affiliate marketing.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t put in the effort to grow your traffic. Just don’t obsess over the number of page views you have. It’s not the be-all, end-all when it comes to monetizing a blog. The quality of your content and the quality of the audience you attract also matter.
Blogging Myth #5: You must be an expert on your niche
‘But I’m not an expert! I can’t write about that.’
That’s a common sentiment among new bloggers. They think they need to have a New York Times best-selling book about a topic before they can blog about it.
The expert approach to blogging is only one route. You can also take the journey approach. That means you’re upfront with your audience that you are learning about a topic and sharing your journey with them. A new mom can go on a weight loss journey after having a baby and share her findings of health and wellness on her blog. A college graduate who is paying off debt can start a personal finance blog to share tips and lessons. Neither of these people is an expert on wellness or personal finance. However, they are one step ahead of their audience and can still share valuable advice.
The journey approach was also my strategy for this blog. I haven’t yet hit seven figures in my online business, but I have three years of experience. I’ve tested different online business models, made tons of mistakes, and had many successes as well. On my about page, I make it clear that I’m not a marketing guru but a regular woman with a love of learning, experimentation, and growth. That would resonate with people who are just starting their online business journey and can’t relate to the big gurus. Your lack of expertise can be an asset depending on how you frame it.
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