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5 Blogging Myths that Need to Die in a Fire

Blogging is evolving quickly and growing up. Unfortunately, it’s easy to come across outdated advice on the web that ranks high in search due to its longstanding popularity. There are things you think you know about blogging… and there’s reality (well, my interpretation of reality, anyway—we all know how subjective this is).

So it’s with a bit of vicious glee I present blog myths that need to just die in a fire, already.

Blogging is Dying

I think this one gets trotted out at least once if not twice a year now as some new social media service appears. Facebook was going to kill blogging. Twitter was going to kill blogging. If they haven’t yet, I’m sure someone will hold forth that Pinterest will kill blogging.

Blogging isn’t going away. It’s like the Borg in Star Trek: it assimilates everything in its path and just keeps going relentlessly. Only, except for the being evil part.

Now, for huge corporations, blogging has declined. But for online small business, blogging (and social media) is stronger than ever. In part I believe this is because some people would rather use Facebook or Pinterest instead of creating a blog. They’re not running a business and may not even particularly feel a strong need to express themselves—they just want to stay in touch with family & friends and share with them. That means a little less noise on the blogging front so your signal can get through.

Blogging is firmly entrenched in the online ecosystem. Some of the most powerful and visited sites in the world are blogs. Blogging… dead? It is to laugh.

You Need to Have Keywords in Your Domain Name

This is a tricky one, because as of now you can still benefit greatly from having keywords in your domain name. But it would be false to say you need to have keywords in your domain name. Google’s war against spammers and SEO hucksters rages on. As the blending of search and social continues, branding will become more important than ever.

Exact keyword match domain names just sound spammy, anymore. Nobody believes there are real people or a real business there. But a brand name communicates humanity and that is a very important signal.

Which is good, because nearly all the exact match keyword domain names for anything imaginable have already been taken.

You Should Have a Blogroll

There are several good reasons why blogrolls need to die in a fire:

  • They can get out of hand, taking up a huge amount of vertical sidebar space and making your site look ungainly.
  • They can mess up your SEO pretty badly.
  • You have to play favorites and be exclusive, rather than inclusive, for your blogroll to hold any value, but then you risk offending those who didn’t make the cut.
A blogroll is just one of those things that the evolution of social media and business blogging techniques has replaced. Linking out to your favorite sites via social media or a resources page is simply a better and more effective idea. Why? because it will fulfill the idea behind a blogroll better than a blogroll can. And without creating hundreds of links that are identical on every single page of your site.

You Should Blog Every Day

Ah, yes, the old “quantity vs. quality” debate. Let me get this out of the way: Quality takes quantity out into the back alley and does very bad things to it with a crowbar. It’s true that frequent publishing has many benefits, however if the content is crap, you don’t get those benefits. About the only way to be prolific and profitable is to have a team of people publishing around the clock. Between myself and A.J., we can come up at least one if not two good posts a day here on the Headway blog.

So take into account how much time you have and how often you can create something that actually resonates with people, and figure out your posting schedule from there. Some tips that really help:

  • Create an editorial calendar for your blog. By determining topics in advance you dramatically shorten writing times because your subconscious has already been writing the post while you were doing other things.
  • Batch-write your posts. If you can set aside a block of time to write two or three posts instead of just one, you’ll gain efficiency and productivity by not having to switch gears. You can get in the flow and get more done.
  • Write every day. Notice I didn’t say publish every day… I said write every day. Why? Discipline, for one thing. Your writing will improve immensely. And if you combine this with the other two tips, you will be able to post quality posts more frequently.
  • Create a system to follow. Check out my post on the life cycle of a blog post to see how you can create a good workflow for yourself.

Blogs are for Amateurs/Not to be Taken Seriously

Have you ever heard the word blogger used derisively?

I have, plenty of times. Usually its hurled about by people whose professions are being transformed into something scary and unrecognizable to them by the internet, such as journalists. The line between blogging and journalism is a moving target. Sometimes bloggers are treated like journalists and sometimes they’re not, and we’re not sure who’s more happy or offended about it!

But seeing as how some of the most visited sites on the web are those of the major blog services, and many news organizations’ websites are using blog software and incorporating “bloggy” elements into their designs such as comments, we can definitely let this myth die in a fire.

Only Five? Surely There are More

Surely there are! But five is enough for one post. Each myth has a decent amount of explanation and you only have so much free time.

But if you can think of any other blogging myths that need to just die in a fire, already, post ‘em in the comments below and I’ll incorporate them into another post. Or maybe you want to defend your blogroll or your keyword-rich domain name? Please, be my guest! We love to discuss in the comments. :)

Spread the word!

29 Responses

  1. I dunno about “keyword rich,” but depending on your goals, at least one keyword is probably a good idea. My site would be a different place if it said “wp theme expert”. I’d say for major brands, tho, lose the keywords

    • @HeadwayExpert Actually what you’re doing is the best thing at the moment but I didn’t want to write a damn novel of a blog post. I call it a “branded keyword” name, which is simply incorporating the keyword into the brand rather than unrelated branding or exact match keyword names.

    • @HeadwayExpert I think a little is helpful, but sometimes, it’s overdone. Too many dashes make for a long and confusing URL, and it does appear spammy, I agree. Less is more, I think.

    • @HeadwayExpert said: “…at least one keyword is probably a good idea.”

      This is a good place to clarify with everyone not familiar or just getting started with blogging or search engine optimization/search engine marketing, “keyword” is interchangeable with “term” or “phrase.” “Keyword” does not necessarily mean “one important target word,” but does mean to imply any word or group of words (term or phrase) used to search for or promote a website page or blog post with relevant content. Anyone who has ever searched the Internet for any topic, whether it’s something like [leather] or [how to spit shine leather dress shoes] (please ignore the square braces), then whatever phrase you’ve used to search on your topic *is* the “keyword.” A “keyword” is what bloggers are targeting to attract their visitors. (How they do that is entirely another series of articles.)

      Consider the title of this post:

      1. The word [blogging] is a “keyword.”

      2. The two words [blogging myths] used together is a “keyword” (not to be confused with ‘keywords’ (plural) just because there is more than one word).

      3. The four words [die in a fire] used together is a keyword (again, the phrase is the “keyword” here).

      Using the plural form “keywords” is to reference more than one term or phrase, not more than one word in any given term or phrase. in the case of this post (safely assuming), it’s primary keyword is [blogging myths], though the post may also be targeting more than one of the three keyword examples mentioned, or (for the sake of an example) some other keyword like [business blogging techniques].

      “Keyword” and “keywords” are commonly used very loosely, which is OK, so long as everyone understands the context in which it is used, but often the true definition does get lost in translation. Just realize that “keyword” doesn’t strictly mean “one important target word.”

      P.S. If you search on the keyword [blogging myths] this article shows up at the very top of page 2 on Google. Working it’s way to the front, very good! For the keyword [die in a fire] this article currently shows up near the bottom of page 5 of Google. Interesting! ;-)

      • @Metarazzi @HeadwayExpert Thanks for adding to the discussion. :) Yes “keyword” really should be more like “keyphrase” as people often enter multiple words when searching.

        The rankings currently enjoyed by this post may not be all “that” for a couple reasons: one, you need to make sure you’re not logged into any Google services or your results will be personalized (where you search from also matters, so it’s good to search through proxies). And two: results change over time and only the web pages that receive backlinks maintain their authority and remain near the top. Otherwise over time they sink in position.

        • @remarkablogger … I never really thought about having to be logged out of Google services to avoid personalized results. I mean, now that you mention it, it’s pretty obvious to me. Nonetheless, despite my inadvertent disregard, ironically I do check rankings through a proxy. :-)

  2. I hear these all the time, and it’s frustrating when people claim that you missed the boat for blog profitability. Thank you for these tips and the insight. Very helpful post.

  3. I read the rumors that Google was denigrating the value of keyword rich domains, but I haven’t seen that demonstrated in real life. I’d love to be pointed to some published results of AB tests on the topic, but you have certainly made an excellent point about ‘usability’ and branding when choosing a domain.

    • @m_j_taylor The domain name is just part of the overall package when it comes to entire websites. Exact keyword match domain names tend towards the spammy side with regards to content and linking practices, and we know Google is going after these kinds of sites.

      So while there is no proof that I know of regarding exact match keyword domain names vs. branded domain names, it seems pretty safe to say you don’t want your site to trip any spam triggers. The less your site resembles a spammy site, the better.

      And maybe I’m splitting hairs, but I would say there’s a difference between a keyword rich domain name (your phrasing) and an exact match keyword domain name. As a totally made-up example:

      howdoigetmygirlfriendtolikevideogames = exact match keyword spammy-sounding domain

      videogamegirlfriends = keyword rich, brandable

      • @remarkablogger I understand your spammy point, so here’s a real life example. A client just launched a new business and website; it’s a fishing boat called ABSOLUT. Does the domain http:www.ABSOLUTFishingKeyWest.com feel spammier than ABSOLUTFishing.com? Or isn’t it simply much more clear to the user that they found a Key West captain. I agree that the latter is probably more brandable and I recommend the client use that for his business card and park and point the domain to the longer domain.

  4. Great post! I would also add that bloggers should put a priority on blog commenting, social media group participation and other link-building and audience bridge-building activities. Collectively, these activities, with consistent blog writing and post SEO can do a lot for increasing traffic and visibility for a blog. Thanks again for your great post.

    • @Paul_Pruneau While correct, doing it just for those reasons comes off as hollow and manipulative. I suggest you comment because you care: about the topic and the people involved. It will be much better for you in the long run.

  5. I’d like to add that the business owners who don’t ‘get’ blogging are missing the point of one the main reasons to do it – that of giving prospective clients a great way to get to check you out – which massively reduces the know, like and trust phase (if done well of course!!). Great post and food for thought!

  6. Hi I didn’t read who had written the post until I had read it , deliberately, but I guessed instinctively this was remarkablooger, pertinent concise and on the nail! Thanks as ever…

  7. Great blog post title! Especially if your keyword is “blogging myths” or “die in a fire.” ;-)

    I’m so glad that you touched on keywords in domain names. Gah! That drives me crazy. If you’re really going to blog… not just drive traffic to an adsense site, then be serious about your domain name and brand it.

    Funny story… I have a friend that setup his own domain. His company is called “The Good Acme Co.” (fictionalized). He was going for short and sweet, but “acme,” “acmeco,” and “goodacmeco” were taken, so he settled for “thegood.com.” Why didn’t he just go with “thegoodacmeco.com?” (Pshaw… amateurs.) ;-) So, yeah, branding is important, whether or not your can get your keyword in it.

    Also, I agree with what Tanya said. Also, the a main goal of adsense sites is undoubtedly to garner traffic by virtue of high rankings. I’m not against adsense sites (keep the domain name real). But for the rest of the bloggers getting started if you have something really worth coming to the site for, you will be able to reach your target audience without additionally spamming the Interwebs with crappy backlinked content. Indeed, ranking helps, but as it was suggested, quality versus quantity.

    • @Metarazzi The reason why the advertising model can be problematic is that the results of successful advertising tend to be bad for the site owner: people clicking on ads and leaving. Magazines, television and radio don’t have this problem.

  8. I totally agree with the myth about the blogroll. Occasionally, someone on BlogFrog will ask for a review of their site and request comments about how to make it better. Almost invariably I will find that they have a sidebar crammed with stuff like “Google Friend Connect” and blogrolls among other worthless (in my opinion) material. You practically can’t even look at their sidebar without getting a headache! I will always tell them, get rid of the Google Friend Connect, get rid of the blogroll, get rid of…whatever other junk they have there that clutters up their sidebar. A sidebar should be for sign-ups for your e-mail newsletter and RSS feed. It should be for highlighting recent posts and listing topics of information on YOUR site. It can also have links for Facebook or Twitter and a reasonable amount of ads. But clutter is distracting and unproductive.

    And I love your “quality takes quantity out to an alley” analogy. I found it so funny I had to read it to my son. I don’t have the time to post more than about twice a month which for most bloggers would sound ridiculous, but my posts are not a bunch of cute pictures of my kids and pets – my posts are heavily researched, full of links and they are what I consider “meat” – because that is the kind of site I am running and what I believe my readers should get from me. No, I’m not making money from my blog – but that’s not why I started it (though I like money as much as the next person!) And I’d love to get more traffic and comments but I continue to steadily build my list and I get enough people telling me from time to time that my posts have touched their life in a profound way…so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and let the rest of it take care of itself.

    • @homeschool911 A fair amount of time between posts can allow for more comments and backlinks to happen, but only if you remember to keep promoting it via social media and email marketing. Something I like to do is say “great comments on this post, come see and have your say” as a way to get traffic without being repetitive. You can say “check out the latest post” only so many times…

      • @remarkablogger @homeschool911 Good point! I tend to see most of my traffic from Twitter and fortunately get a pretty good amount of RT’s on my posts. One thing I used to do, but haven’t done in a while, is to tweet some of my “pillar content” which is a good thing to do, because there are always new people who haven’t been exposed to my earlier content that is still very relevant (“how to” posts, for example). This is a good reminder to me!

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