20 Myths About Blogging That Many New Bloggers Actually Believe

Many new and upcoming bloggers have false assumptions when they come into the blogging world. It gets even worse when that blogger expects to make money (or an entire living) while blogging. It requires much work, consistency, and dedication to become a real success, but it can be done. If you are a new blogger, you might want to avoid these following assumptions.

1. You Must Write on a Daily Basis to Succeed

You probably need to write on a daily basis to get anywhere blogging, right? Oh, but how wrong a person would be to assume such a thing, and yet so many people, unfortunately, do. I recently touched on this entire issue, but to sum it up, there are many successful bloggers who only write a few times per month. Personally, I’d love to see a well thought-out post any day over the alternative.

2. You Must Have Many Subscribers to Succeed

People associate a high subscriber count with success. If you were in the magazine or newspaper business, I’d agree, but this is not. As a matter of fact, many sites have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, but a nice chunk of those subscribers are never going to actively contribute or visit that site again. I think of that subscriber number as a way to market yourself. But, just like Alexa, it could be manipulated. In other words, views are more important than subscribers, but advertisers might like to know that you have a lot of subscribers.

3. You Must Use WordPress to Succeed

Many new bloggers I have talked to assume that WordPress is equivalent to instant success. While WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems, it has little to no impact on the amount of success a blogger will experience. John Gruber, author of DaringFireball.net, uses MovableType for his blog, and he is doing quite fine for himself. There are plenty of other sites utilizing other CMSs as well, but take a look for yourself.

4. You Must Use Your Own Server to Succeed

Robert Scoble made his way to fame using WordPress.com. I also know quite a few bloggers that use the Blogger and TypePad services. I’d say that a new blogger would have an easier time by using a service like WordPress.com, Blogger, or TypePad for their blog—he or she wouldn’t have to worry about site administration or downtime. Also, for many of these hosted services, a domain name can point directly to that blog. You get more control if you have your own server, but it is absolutely possible to be successful without one.

5. You Must Write Linkbait to Succeed

Linkbait is an article that was created to, obviously, attract links. They are also assumed to be a hit with readers and usually do very well on social sites like Digg and Reddit. All this is true. However, people do not have to write linkbaits in order to be successful. A blogger could write quality and useful content instead, which everyone should be doing every time they post to their blog. Linkbait is great, but try to have substance as well.

6. You Must Be an Expert to Blog About A Subject

Let’s clear something up right now: in my opinion, there is no such thing as an “expert.” There are only people who make themselves to be as such. When it comes down to it, my opinions are just as valid as everyone else’s. If someone is willing do the hard work required, he or she will likely be successful. An “expert” is nothing more than a title people give themselves to sound more authoritative—I don’t buy it, and neither should anyone else.

7. You Can Use Any Image on the Internet

There is this vast and confusing thing called copyright law, and it is important. Many photographers have been fed up with bloogers who use their photographs without permission (even worse—without credit), and everyone should put themselves in their shoes to understand why they have every right to feel that way. I am in no position to give legal advise, but I feel obligated to tell everyone that if you want to avoid being sued, ask before using something that isn’t yours.

8. You Can Use an Image As Long As You Give Credit

To expand on the previously mentioned issue over copyright, just because a blogger gives credit to the photographer, it doesn’t mean that any particular photo can be used. It is not fair use if a particular piece of content is used in a way to increase the production value of a post. It could, however, be considered fair use if the image itself is the topic of discussion. Someone would, therefore, be using it for review purposes. However, this is a gray area, and if a blogger upsets the wrong person, it might be bad for that person’s reputation—I’ve seen this happen to several other bloggers. (Hundreds, if not thousands, of photographers would love nothing more than to spread the word about how someone is illegally using one of their friend’s pictures—it would be justice.)

9. I Will Probably Make Plenty of Money Blogging!

Are you kidding me?

10. You Must Use Photoshop to Succeed

Like WordPress, many people assume that Photoshop should be used to create great graphics and pictures for a blog. This is hardly true. As a matter of fact, not too long ago, I wrote a post where I mentioned several great Photoshop alternatives.

11. You Must Know HTML to Succeed

No, you don’t, but, even if you did, I could teach almost anyone the basics of HTML within a few minutes. Well, since I have the time, I might as well go ahead with that:

Huge text

Little smaller, but still pretty big text

A medium sized text

Still smaller

You get the idea...

Whatever text you want to be linked

Be bold
Be emphatic
Be corrective

For those long quotes

There are more things like ordered/unordered lists and CSS that a new blogger should consider learning, but the above list is a good starting point. Of couse, if you are seriously interested in learning HTML, you should check out a dedicated tutorial instead. Check out this site for more information.

12. You Can Say Whatever You Want

Defamation is a very bad thing. Bloggers can’t say whatever they want. If someone states that company XYZ is releasing product ABC tomorrow on a blog, and that company notices that, the blogger in question might be in a bunch of legal trouble. But it can get worse: what happens if their statements make it on the front page of sites like Digg and Reddit? Everyone is going to know about this. The company might be entitled to damages due to that person’s false statements (the stock market reacts to everything these days). If someone is the voice of lies, that person will likely pay the price.

13. You Must Already Be Successful to Succeed

If everyone had that attitude, there would be no successful people to speak of. Any single person who is reading this blog, right now, might be the next Robert Scoble or Michael Arrington of the blogosphere. The only problem is that many of the people reading this very article are not willing to put in the effort that such an accomplishment would require.

14. You Must Display Advertisements to Make Money

Since I just mentioned Robert Scoble, I might as well bring up the fact that Robert does not, from what I have seen, display advertisements on his blog, and he is one of the most respected people within the blogosphere. Many of us will need to use advertising, but there is the potential to be a success without it.

15. AdSense Is the Only Way to Make Money While Advertising

AdSense, for most bloggers, could be a way to make a low to decent amount of money. The effectiveness of AdSense depends on the niche, and the subject being written about. Just keep in mind that there are many other alternatives available. PerformancingAds, for example, is a way for you to set your own rates for advertising.

16. You Need a Great Domain Name to Be Successful

I have seen some of the most awkward and unbelievable domain names receive a ton of readership and success. However, I will say that it is in the blogger’s best interest to pick a name that is easily memorized instead of something that is cute or creative. Although, I am shocked that http://www.iamthebestbloggerintheworld.com/ is still available for purchase. Maybe I should snatch that up?

17. You Can’t Make Money Writing About _________

Anything, and I really mean anything, can be monetized. People are clever, and they will find a way. Bloggers are making money writing about technology, video games, travels, pets, celebrities, photography, and a myriad of other subjects as well. A blogger might actually benefit from picking a topic that few others are writing about. If that topic has growth potential, you could be setting yourself up for success.

18. You Must Know How to Write Well to Succeed

I only wish I could say yes to this (I think that many bloggers have horrible writing skills), but it would be far from the truth. Even bloggers who work for major publications, like Wired.com, seem to screw up the simplest rules of the English language, and, strangely enough, it feels embarrassing to me (probably more than them). I almost take it as an insult at times. I respect those who take the time to learn how to write well, and I’m not saying that a blogger needs to have pinpoint precision with regard to writing abilities, but knowing the difference between “it’s” and “its” would be a great start. If a new blogger wants to be seen as professional, learn the language.

19. You Must Be Controversial to Succeed

Controversy, as I discussed before, can be a great way to bring a lot of traffic to a blog, but it does have its disadvantages. The blogger’s reputation will be on the line, and that blogger could easily upset their current readers with mindless drama. I will admit that it is important to make an impact when a new blogger begins blogging, and he or she should try to constantly maintain that; however, instead of focusing on creating or discussing controversy, that person could opt to create mind-blowing content.

20. Blogging Is Easy!

Blogging can be very easy. When you think about it, the cost to start a blog could considered free. All you have to do is find an internet connection, create a free blog, and write to your heart’s content. It is definitely easy. However, if we are talking about making a decent amount of cash while blogging, well, that is a different article all in itself.

46 thoughts on “20 Myths About Blogging That Many New Bloggers Actually Believe

  1. Before I started blogging, I believed 15/20 points stated above (not 20 because I didn’t know some of the blogger terms such as ‘ProBlogger’, ‘AdSense’ etc) ; And now, as a blogger who managed 3 entertainment/personal blogs (2 active for the time being), I still believe 6/20 of the Myth !!! Enlightenment? It is.

    How do you define a successful blogger? The one who earns lots of money? or famous? Or having thousands of readers? The point, not all bloggers, who practices all the ‘myth’ above, will be as successful & rich as the already reknown ones, and vice versa. Sometimes it just works for certain people. You could try out some of the ‘techniques’ you think suit you, but more importantly, is to try breaking though the ‘MYTH’, which for the time being, I’m still having trouble figuring it out…

  2. only a person who isn’t an expert in anything would ever say there’s no such thing as an expert. Totally ridiculous, defensive attitude. An expert is someone who has accumulated far more knowledge and experience about something than you have.

  3. i guess that one reason so many of these myths find traction is because more people are getting into blogging, after hearing that there’s money to be made in it. so people want to believe some of these things, or they hear them from persons who already appear to have achieved the success they’re aspiring for.

  4. Yeah, that was going to be number 20, but I replaced it with something else. Forgot what it was though. 😛

  5. another one….acknowledge comments. Don’t want to run off readers by looking like a know-it-all/bastard snob :O

    *not talking about you…just saying that a lot of people just don’t comment back and its annoying 🙁 unless of course the comment doesn’t need to be commented back, but of course its always nice lol*…

  6. Don’t think anyone here is arguing that there isn’t anything as reality. Was just joking about the whole Matrix ordeal.

    However, everything that is real relies on the fact that the thing in question is in fact—a fact. Irony I tell you.

    However, I am of the opinion that everyone believes in their own reality. Every single living thing with a brain on this earth is capable of doing anything. I’m one of those “anything is possible” kinda people. So, it is kinda difficult to bring it all together and state that one thing is right and another is wrong.

    There might be other civilizations out throughout the universe that are capable of doing things that we could never even dream of. Should read up on Dr. Michio Kaku’s works. His thoughts and ideas about the world, galaxy, universe are astounding.

  7. Whatis really real?

    Reality is that which will hand you your ass if you erroneously decide it isn’t.

    If you ignored something – and it bit you – it was real.

    (Examples include: stone walls, loaded handguns, and human ignorance.)

  8. “there is no such thing as truth!” Damn that sucks, I’m living a lie! 😛

  9. 99% of them are probably destined to failure. How ironic, eh?

    Thanks for commenting!

  10. “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

    Oh, and there is no such thing as a person who masters something. There is no person who knows all.

    Still don’t know how all that ties into the expert discussion, but, nice try. 😀

    There is no reliable way to measure “smartness” nor “expertise,” and that is my entire point. Claiming someone to be an expert on something is nice, but I will not trust someone as a reliable resource unless I, personally, know that to be true.

    For example, if someone wins the World Series of Poker, does that make them an expert at poker? Many in the poker world would probably agree that this person is, but there is that wonderful thing called luck to take into consideration. Then again, I don’t even believe in luck.

    For every example someone could give me, I could just as easily give a counter example. It would go back and forth and back and forth. In other words, this argument is almost pointless because neither can be really proven. Regardless, there is no such thing as truth! It’s all a perception! I’m so not going back to that argument though. 😀

    Could go back and forth about this for ages. Still would get nowhere. So, I surrender, again. 😀

    Thanks for the comment Filip.

  11. In regards to “expertise”… I’ll give you a very good quote that should shed light on the particulars of this point:

    “If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it.”

    – Yogi Bhajan

    Now, which blogger are you? Perhaps a “blogger” is only, ultimately trying to understand (or come to an understanding with) the subject about which they write.

    So, as such… all learning is somewhere on the road to mastery.

  12. @James
    If that’s the case, then our immediate perceptions are mistakes. But reality still exists. 😉

  13. We all know, deep down inside of us all, that machines are simply harvesting our body’s heat for energy. We are simply living in a matrix. 😛

  14. I agree with most of your points and the ones that I don’t fully agree with I don’t fully disagree with either. So overall good job.

  15. James, this is false: “What we both agreed on, in the end, is that there is no such think as truth. There is only a perception of truth.”

    Saying this is like saying there is no such thing as reality, only perception of reality. I’m willing to bet the farm that reality has a set of properties which exist and do not depend on our perceiving them to exist. They exist in a particular way, independent of anyone perceiving them.

    Truth, then, is the correspondence of our beliefs (based on perception) with the set of properties that reality really has. Sure, maybe we don’t have access to an objective non-perceptual measurement of the correspondence between our beliefs and reality, but to deny that such a relation does indeed exist is to deny that reality exists or, at the very least to equate reality with our perceptions.

    But James, only babies equate reality with their perceptions.

  16. Yeah, I am planning on writing an article about picking a great name/domain name for a new blog. I don’t think the name itself matters as much as it can be remembered by many. That is most important, I believe.

    Thanks for commenting.

  17. #16 gives me hope I cannot come up with good domain names to save my life. But then I see successful blogs with domains like entrepreneurs-journey.com so a hard to spell domain can be overcome with great content and marketing.

  18. Oh yes, I wasn’t talking about the rest of the points. Just #6. And yes, I know that there are always problems with being of one thought… I guess it is just how you view things. I know what you are saying with your previous comment though.

    I’m a complicated person. Anyways, thanks for the comments Votre. Cheers.

  19. This is all a very interesting discussion, and maybe you don’t agree with all my aforementioned points, but you know that at least some of them you could agree on. And if that is true, then there is a level of uncertainty. I believe that nothing is absolutely certain.”

    Ummm…I thought I was in agreement with 19 out of 20 of your points. 🙂

    Also, the argument: {if} Votre agrees with some of my points {then} there is a level of uncertainty does not logically follow. Besides, you can’t say “if that is true” because you’ve previously discounted the validity of an appeal to truth by asserting that there is no certainty.

    Not trying to be a buster. I loved your article. But hopefully you can see where your premise in item #6 leads? Next time you and you friend get together to discuss, try giving it four hours instead of three. Better yet, give me a call. I’ll join you – and buy the drinks! 😉

  20. Votre, see, this is an interesting discussion. I went three hours while discussing this with one of my good friends.

    What we both agreed on, in the end, is that there is no such think as truth. There is only a perception of truth. No one can accurately prove anything as the truth. There are hundreds of thousands of people probably locked up in jail who did nothing wrong. Nothing in this world is 100%.

    Also, scientific laws are constantly being dis-proven.

    There is indeed a thing called “expertise,” but, again, such a level can not be measured. Who am I to say someone has more expertise in something than someone else? That would be ignorant of me to do so. It would just be following the crowd. I will determine for myself who I believe holds this “expertise” you speak of, because, again, it is a perception.

    If you want to get scientific, scientists base things off of proven things. Results that can be accurately and repeatedly reproduced to confirm. So, how can you measure such a thing as expertise? Could you accurately do this for every person in the world? Could you repeat it? If you could tell me, I’d definitely be willing to give it a shot.

    “Where carefully verified facts and reasoned statements are dismissed from consideration…” Well, see, if something was verified with facts and reasonable statements, then that would be silly. I am completely aware that such things are constantly happening on a daily basis.

    Do you really believe there is no such thing as an expert? Or does so much of the blogging world tend to knock expertise because it wishes to preserve its right to spout off on any occasion about any subject, whether or not it has the slightest qualification for doing so?

    I really believe that people believe people to be “experts,” but I don’t believe in such things. Again, what I said before is what I really do believe. An expert is nothing but a perception, and if you can make people believe that you are an expert, than all the better. I am no expert, but I am a person who just loves to learn things and share that knowledge with others. If people want to call me an expert… well, I certainly won’t argue.

    But not everybody has an opinion worth listening to.

    Well, that is also subject to debate. Let’s just say I completely disagree with that statement.

    Earth is round. Well, back in the day, that was only a matter of opinion. People thought the truth was that Earth was square. That was their truth. They would sometimes kill people who opposed it. However, now we know differently.

    This is all a very interesting discussion, and maybe you don’t agree with all my aforementioned points, but you know that at least some of them you could agree on. And if that is true, then there is a level of uncertainty. I believe that nothing is absolutely certain.

    So, yeah, I don’t have the energy to argue about all this. I already put more effort into this comment than I wanted to.

    I recently debated this with a friend for three hours, like I said before. This only happened around a week ago… maybe less. Very interesting discussion. I’m just a very open minded person who tries to remain open to any idea.

    That’s just me. Maybe that makes me unique, who knows. I’m weird like that.

  21. Much as I like your article, I think you’ve wandered seriously off base with item #6. While there may be doubts as to the legitimacy of an individual “expert” there still remains a thing called “expertise.” And I think you’re seriously confusing (or at least equating) the two.

    There is a certain mentality circulating on the web (and in real life) which holds that everything is a matter of opinion. Some take that premise even further and conclude that all opinions are equally valid. I think you really need to rethink your position on that one.

    Relativism is a dangerous road to go down. That mind-set has given us a world where scientific research and verifiable events are routinely dismissed by political leaders as being “a matter of opinion.” Where carefully verified facts and reasoned statements are dismissed from consideration with the comment, “Well, that’s your opinion.” A world where discredited sportscasters have been elevated to the status of political advisers. And all because “It’s just a matter of opinion, and their opinions are every bit as good anyone else’s.”

    Do you really believe there is no such thing as an expert? Or does so much of the blogging world tend to knock expertise because it wishes to preserve its right to spout off on any occasion about any subject, whether or not it has the slightest qualification for doing so?

    Anybody is entitled to their opinion. But not everybody has an opinion worth listening to.

  22. 12. You Can Say Whatever You Want

    James, the proper counter-balance to this myth is the one that actually leads to success -> give your readers what they want. In other words, even IF you could say whatever you wanted, you shouldn’t if you care about your readers.

    14. You Must Display Advertisements to Make Money

    Lots of my friends, like Randa Clay, make money by gaining paid consultant or design work through their blogs. If you make it clear how you can help other people, they will often pay you for it.

    Advertising is really a compromise. If you have your own product or service, you can make far more money that way.

  23. There are no experts. Labeling someone as an “expert” is nothing more than a perception, which a group of people could agree upon. For example, I regard Leo Laporte as a smart man—an expert, even—but how could you say that his opinion is more valid than anything I say? It is nothing more than a marketing gimmick—a.k.a. the way you perceive someone.

    By definition, an expert is “a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.”

    If an “expert” gets in a serious accident and has serious brain damage, is he no longer an expert? By definition, he would not be. But people would still refer to him as one because it is just a perception.

    Regardless, there is no way to accurately and reliably measure the comprehension or authority that oneself has. Authority, in itself, is a perception. Comprehension is also unmeasurable. So, it is only what people want to believe of it. So my belief that it does not exist is completely valid. 😀

    Anyways, that is my argument for my claims.

    In any case, I guess I am an expert—everything I just said sounded brilliant! 😀 (I kid, of course.)

    As for your 21st suggestion, I completely agree. It would help, but there is, indeed, a lot more involved than just being a blogger who can push out quality content.

  24. 21. Content is king
    You will never succeed if your only online strategy is to produce quality content.

    6?? There are experts. Everyone is an expert in something. An “how-to” post is not a matter of opinion. If I believed the blogosphere was nothing more than opinions, I wouldn’t be here.

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