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:
Little smaller, but still pretty big text
A medium sized text
You get the idea...
Whatever text you want to be linked
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.