16 Misconceptions About ‘Serious’ Blogging
Last Updated on July 6, 2009 by Wong Ching Ya
In February 2009, I started my ‘serious’ blogging.
Rather an outlet to ramble, it became a niche blog. Blogging experience had never been the same after that: lots of research and readings to be done, a post won’t get published unless proofread done up to 5 times or more. Visitors are my biggest concern, and it’s always about adding value and improvise the content…
Yes, SERIOUS and a lot tougher, but I had the most satisfaction in doing.
But it was never the case before that. In fact, some assumptions were made during those period which today, will be declared as 16 misconceptions about serious blogging for my part
1. It’s all about ME !
As much we should have personal touch in our stories, doesn’t mean we need to focus on ‘ME!ME!ME!’ all the time, unless it’s a personal blog entitled ‘It’s My Life’ (yes, that WAS me). It’s good to express and share your opinions, and insert inbound links, but sometimes it’s better to be objective, and provide other useful resources instead of mainly self-promoting. Hard sell won’t work and same as in social networking, nobody likes to hang out with an indulgent narcissist all the time.
Suggestion: If you can’t stop talking about yourself, try to make a point from your stories. Share the experience/lesson learnt, or how you cope with the difficulties to evoke conversations. Make it less ‘promotional’ and I’m sure many will join in the discussions. Ask yourself, are you an Online Friend or Real World Sales Person?
2. I need to say what people like to hear to attract traffic !
Visitors come for what you can offer them instead of meaningless adulation. Write what you’re interested in and be truthful. There was once somebody asking me to write a post — ‘How to gain 15k Twitter followers in one month’ for traffic purposes but I just couldn’t do it.
At some point, we will make a stand for what we believe in that may not agreed by many. If you do, try to
back it up with relevant data/links, and be selective on the words you use to avoid unnecessary disputes. Make sure you got plenty of politeness and objective thinking before you jump into the whirlpool. We don’t blog/comment for fights but to exchange ideas (at least that’s my intention). Be nice doesn’t mean you’re chicken out, instead to learn being a bigger person.
Suggestion: Readers will most likely connect to your stories if you being honest. Not being a ‘Me Too’ author is challenging. Try to use different tactics and Eliminate The Echo Chamber . People will appreciate your effort to be different, and it brings out the charm in you. Just don’t try it TOO hard.
3. I need to be Perfect in order to blog !
You don’t have to be a Mr. Know-It-All to blog. I’m not a good writer, full of ‘unnoticed’ grammatical mistakes but I blog anyway. I particularly inspired by the post ‘The Courage to be Wrong’ by Jonathan Morrow; and ‘The Art of Getting Things Wrong’ by Chris Garrett. We are not natural born pro blogger but we could certainly learn.
Suggestion: Start your blog with honesty, admitting you’re not fully equipped with all the knowledge about your field but willing to share what you know. People will accept your sincerity and shortcomings. Don’t try to outsmart your readers. Hypocrisy is a fatal error in self-promoting so beware when you’re promising more than you can deliver.
4. I don’t have to learn about CSS/HTML codes !
If you plan to blog, there’s no escapism from HTML codes. It is still important to know some basics to have well organized, aligned post presentations, apart from good content. Visitors will notice the sense of responsibility and tidiness you have for your work. It’s not a compulsory but a big plus in one’s working impression.
5. I don’t have to learn about photo/image editing !
Suitable illustration makes a post recognizable and memorable. It eliminates the dullness while reading through a lengthy post. I’ve been obsessed with Adobe Photoshop long before I blogged, and it has been a big help for my presentations ever since. Even if you’re not a heavy image user, knowing some basics will definitely add value to your workmanship.
6. Readers will come by themselves !
Oh no, they won’t. Unless your blog has a special niche then probably some may find you through organic search. Otherwise, your readers will mostly be your family members or friends that been told about its existence. If you plan to go further, work on your social networking skills, be ready to go high and low in search of potential readers. Make them stay for your compelling content.
7. I can quit my job after installing Google Adsense !
Without traffic, Google Adsense is good for nothing. You cannot click it yourself, or asking people to do it for you. To earn a living via blogging would be a dream come true. However, it’s not that simple. It depends on your niche topic and the ultimate goal for your expertise, not to mention marketing strategy, public relations, anything that helps drive in traffic and page impressions. There’s still much to learn when it comes to monetizing a blog, hopefully I would have the privilege to share with you in future posts.
8. I only hang out with the famous people/niche bloggers !
This point may evoke some controversy among you. Although I do agree by hanging out with the ‘right’ group of people would get your blog acknowledged faster if quality content is already your strongest point. However, I do find the importance of networking with other individuals, who unexpectedly turned out to be supportive, inspirational group of blogger friends that I would never trade for anything. Friendship is one of the most invaluable returns I gained from blogging.
Suggestion: Have you been giving the equal treatment to all your commentators? Do they own a blog? Do you return visits or reply their comments at all? Besides spammers or link droppers, there are bound to be some regulars that worth a bit more of your attention. Instead of constantly aiming for ‘new’ traffic, why not making an effort to sustain your ‘regulars’?
9. I could use whatever content/image on the web !
To me, copyright is about respect, and gives credit to the artists/writers who spent massive time and energy on producing the artwork. Both Content theft and scrapping are detestable, besides ruining your credibility and trustworthiness. Copyright infringement has always and will continue to be an issue on the world wide web. But it’s the conscious that we shall have as a reliable blogger or human being.
10. Social networking is a waste of time !
It all comes down to how you plan to use it and the purpose it serves to meeting your goals. Social media applications are immensely discussed and their user base is undeniably growing exponentially. As much as we love to blog, but if you care about having new readership, building new/existing connections, keen about other people’s opinions and news updates in real time manner, social networking and blogging are actually, inseparable.
Suggestion: To me, social networking adds up the value, but it’s necessary to have self-discipline as to not overspend our time in them and ruining blogging schedule.
11. Being cocky is how you show personality !
It doesn’t work in real life, nor will it work in blogging. I’ve seen some who are voicing out their disagreements using inappropriate words just to make themselves stand out from the crowd. Not knowing it has ruined own reputations for the sake of creating controversy in the comments. Yes, it may attract attention, but there’s a big price to pay. Such disrespectful manner will be remembered by many. I just don’t see the benefits of destroying the confidence of one, while showing off presumptuous behavior is anywhere likable by others.
Suggestion: Think twice before you blog or leave your comment, as word spreads; and we all know that nothing is completely ‘deleted’ on the web nowadays. Don’t let your history come back to haunt you. It’s just not worth it.
12. I only submit second best articles for guest postings !
The judgment lies within our hearts: “how much quality you’ve invested in the guest posts?” To have the opportunity to guest post is an honour. One is expecting you to have equal attention and standard for his/her blog. Write a killer post for the sake of self-standard and impression. If you’re having a hard time deciding whether the content fits, consult with the blog author. He may have a total different perspective of your writings, and may approve before you even go near to any dilemmas. A well written guest post is a way to show your gratefulness to those that appreciate your work, an opportunity to bond, while may even win you new readership along the process.
Suggestion: So now, you may need to treat your guest posts differently. Lots of possibilities may result from the post other than a backlink, you don’t wish to screw it up. Be prepared for any outcomes, including ways to handle negative comments (gulp).
13. I can decide web hosting/domain after years of blogging !
The important question here, is how serious you plan to go with your blog? If it’s just a plain letout with no future plans whatsoever, maybe you’ll be better off with free hosting platform such as Blogger or WordPress(.com) . Otherwise, I would suggest you to do the conversion as soon as you’re adapted with blogging. This is to avoid any ugly consequences including PR drop, old/new domain redirecting errors, data/image lost due to technical failure etc.
14. God! This is tiring! I might as well give up now !
Bloggers will face critics, difficulties, mind blocks that prompt them to give up their efforts easily. Be certain of your goals, and do not give in to minor setbacks as challenges will only build us up instead of beating us down. I’m glad I never gave in when I encountered disappointments, discouraged words and tiredness of managing on/offline work. Perseverance, faith and hard work are what keeping a blogger hold on to the belief that things will work out eventually.
Suggestion: What I would suggest is to have yourself a directory of ‘Happy Blogging Experience’ (get a cooler name if you like). Have a printout of your ‘evidence’ if necessary. To me, it’s a perfect way to remind me the satisfying moments I’ve had in blogging and the passion. It’s not about self-praise, but to have own confidence boosted in the most unlikely situations. Ask yourself ~ Should I Quit Blogging?
15. I don’t need to do anything else but BLOG !
Bloggers don’t have to be an outcast. Don’t always say ‘NO’ to whatever invitations or gatherings that coming your way. Sometimes even just a casual outing will give you fresh ideas and inspirations. Be an observant and enjoy being human. Be healthy. When was the last time you ever exercised or eat right anyway?
Suggestion: Make an adjustment to our busy schedules. Embrace our lives while we still have them. Blogging is not ‘everything’, but a small part of the many elements that make us who we are today.
16. I spent 4 hours++ working on illustrations !
This is more likely a confession. I spent WAY too much time worrying the images – 15 illustrations caused me 4 hours++ to prepare them. As much I valued their existence here in the post, it’s just too time consuming for the sake of originality. Certainly not a help to my already busy schedule with others work pending.
Suggestions: I shall try to reduce time spent on images, obviously. A better time management, more picture source site suggestions maybe?
Great post Ching Ya!
I think it is the continual tech learning that I did not take into account when I started. It's does not seem to be one-off – but a continuous learning process. Luckily that's OK. And it's fairly easy to start one tiny step at a time… if you have one or two geek friends near by.
Such a moral boating post for those bloggers who just start blogging thinking that they can do it . Blogging and to be a long run Blogging is not easy and that's for sure .
An Interesting and nice post .
Absolutely. I'm no Tech savvy either, baby-steps. ^^ Oh yes, reminded me to send thank-you cards for my geek friends. Gotta love them! Thanks so much for dropping by. I know you've been really busy lately.
Glad you think so. Isn't it fun to see how our minds evolved as we progressed along? Suddenly I realized why the experts are urging us to go through it all ourselves instead of just handing us the 'secrets' straight — to build us up gradually.
Besides, we won't believe it until we tried. =)
Going since Feb, blogging is still such a "work-in-progress" for me. Finding my voice, finding my niche, finding inspiration for posts! It is certainly not easy but it can be rewarding.
Awesome post Ching Ya. All your pics are fantastic! 😀
As your blog reader, I think you've done well with your site. You've certainly found your niche among the Australian Mom-bloggers community. Have seen you making steady progress with the topics discussed.
I think learning is an 'never ending story' for us bloggers. So you're not alone. =) May us all enjoy the journey, and yes, it's rewarding alright. Take care!
Blogging is always a learning curve. You always have to stay up to date with new techniques and new technologies coming out.
You have listed some good points above and I think this list will continue to grow.
As a blogger myself, I can see that you put a lot of work into this. This is a fantastic and helpful post, and I love the pictures too – even though they took you so much time.
I've now followed you. I think I want to read more.
All the best.
Think bloggers will never stop improving. We just have to test & run, and keep up in the blogosphere. Your comment just gave me an idea of doing a pt.2 for this post! Well, maybe in months/years to come, we'll see. =)
It's a wonderful pleasure to have you here. I'm sorry you have to go through no.16 to see me ramble about the pictures. Your nice words made the 4-hrs work all worth it. ^^ Thank you!
Ching Ya, this post will be a great education for the people – friends, family, and coworkers, around us, who have no idea what takes so long about a "simple" blog. But by the way, those pictures of yours are part of what makes your site unique and excellent!
Thank you so much for visiting. Actually, I was hoping my real-life friends could read this one day if they ever get interested in blogging. It's hard to see the real picture unless they're in it.
I'm grateful that you're kind enough to acknowledge the pictures. It means a great deal to me. Thank you so, so much. ^^
Great article! You have certainly come a long way in your own blogging. My blog is a personal blog and as you know I have never tried to make it all about me.
Good article with valid points. Stumbled
One thing that I can come up with for serious blogging is to migrate to WordPress platform. Not that blogger or WordPress.com is not good, just that WordPress.org gives more flexibility.
Also, while blogging is not about 'ME', it is good to inject your personal opinions/experience into the article as it will give your readers a new perspective a new way of seeing things.
Just my two cents worth of opinions.
That's correct. To personalize the message while not over-doing it, even a personal blog could have a positive impact in conveying the message. Well put.
Glad to have you back. I agree, actually I was hoping for a migration as well for a better control of the blog layout, also get my hands on the WP plugins — it'll be a big help for sure. Thanks so much for your support.
Wow, such an amazing and thorough post!
Sometimes it's hard to write a post that you know may not be popular with your subscribers but as you said at point #2, write what you are interested (and passionate) in!
Very well done.
I need to get better at photo editing. I look really junior compared to some of the pictures I've seen out there.
I tend to visit the blogs that I enjoy and try not to pay too much attention to it's popularity. Blogging is about social networking for me, the traffic is a bonus.
Adsense did not work for me at all, so I just took it out.
Great detail in your post.
I agree with everyone above on this being an extremely useful and fun post to read. Glad to have come across your blog.
There are moments that we're struggling with what readers want? and what I want?. I figured the best way is to write what you're passionate about, and make it understandable and entertaining (if can) to our readers. Or creating a balance of the two.
Huge lesson isn't it? We can't please everyone. But we could start by being honest to ourselves though. =)
That's a good point — 'visit the blogs that I enjoy and try not to pay too much attention to its popularity'. I actually enjoy learning from popular blogs while building relationships with other bloggers, we could all use a little support and friendship in this journey, right? =) No problem, we're all here to learn so glad to exchange ideas with you in photo editing anytime.
How great to see you here! Welcome! Hope I gave an 'ok' first impression so far. ^^ Thank you, I could learn more from your writing tips though.
Best wishes to all!
Hi Ching Ya! Another great post from you. The illustrations look great! Keep posting 🙂
great entry! i totally agree with your opinions on blogging! =D
Reply: Thanks! =D
oh btw, great illustrations! =D
The busy bride-to-be, how nice to see you here. =) Thank you so much for visiting, have missed our chat. Hope you're coping well with the preparation on your part.
Thank you, Ken,
I appreciate your visit and kind words. =)
Oh my gosh…you did a wonderful job in summing up all the myths about blogging. I was LOL as I read the captions! I especially love "Readers will come by themselves"…if only that were true. Great content on debunking these myths and thanks for the suggestions.
As for pictures, I use http://www.123rf.com. Lots of images to choose from and they have a loyalty rewards program as an incentive. Plus, they offer new "free" pics everyday. I try to check out the selection at least once a week because sometime a picture sparks the idea for a post.
Wow, this post is by far (I think) the best work I've seen from you! I'm impressed… excellent write up! Way to tell the truth on several sensitive areas… along with clearing up common misconceptions people might carry as they approach the blogosphere. Talk about Myth Busting! You rocked it! 🙂
On another note, don't know if you heard, I started a more personal site called MiguelWickert (dot com). Come check it out if interested.
I'm so glad you think so. I was intended to make it less serious while sharing some lessons learned. ^^ Your visit means so, so much! And thank you for sharing about 123rf, I'll check this one out for sure!
You're way too kind. I'm flattered by your kind words. I believe everyone has their own list, and to have others responding to it with encouragement and understanding, nothing is more valuable than that. Thank you Mig, and yes, I'll visit your new site shortly. ^^
i am sure you have put much time in making this excellent article. i am not really a blogger, but i like to call myself a blogger.
i work as an editor of local magazine. writing maybe very easy for me, but to invest much time on it seems still difficult.
thanks for the '16 principles'. i think you have unveiled what's required from a blogger.
It's a pleasure to have you here. I must agree, time management is one tough lesson to master in order to be productive. I appreciate your comment. Whether an editor or blogger, you are always welcome here. ^^ Thank you.
WOW! I really like how you put this together. Great points accompanied by great illustrations. You really put a lot of effort into this.
My favorite point is point #1. I've recently wrote an email to my subscribers talking about the same thing, how you should not just be interesting, but you need to be INTERESTED as well. It's really one of the most important keys to successful blogging. Maybe that's why it's #1 on your list 🙂
Thanks for the post, I enjoyed it!
To love and be in love of what we do could be the best thing after all. I'm glad you feel the same about blogging. ^^ Although it's at #2 of the list, but it could be just as important. They are not in particular order.
Thank you for visiting. Great seeing you here again.
Hi Ching Ya,
I came upon your blog at the Bloggeries forums. You have a unique and informative approach to blogging tips 🙂
While I agree with all the points above,
on no.13: I can decide web hosting/domain after years of blogging !
Can't we just set it up so that the old url for the old blog redirects automatically to the new url?
Thank you, Salute.
I'm glad you enjoyed the post.
Yes, the setting could be done so your blogspot will redirect to your new domain. However you need to configure the Forwarding at the Domain control center after you purchased your domain. The process is not complicated but there will be temporary drop of your PR; also if you ever plan for a hosting, the data-transfer will be slightly complicated. I just may do a posting regarding the complete migration once I did mine. ^^ Thanks for bringing this up.
Great tips! I agree with your points there.. It's good that you include details and also include links with it. Thanks for sharing!:)
Holy cow, Ching Ya — This was soooo AWESOME! You are such an amazing writer and person.
I have read all this and am actually going to come back tomorrow and read it again.
And I find it hard to believe English is your second language, you are so intelligent.
Thank you Cashmere.
Yes, these links are actually pretty useful. Glad you notice. ^^
Not as sweet as you though. =) So happy to see you here. Oh no, I'm far from intelligent, I would hope to enrich my vocab if possible. Glad you've enjoyed the post, pleasure to see you.
Well, perhaps 4hr photohsopping on ~every~ post may be a little too much .. sometimes it is worth it, on monumental posts such as this one!
Although, I'm sad to say that on your #5th image .. the BEFORE looks much tastier 😀
Ha.. at least we know it's chicken though, but I have to admit the 'After' piece does lose some of its juicy-feel. =P Yes sir, I will improvise my work.
Thank you so much for the comment. Great to have you.
Great post! #16 is big for me. Sometimes getting the pictures together takes so much time, that I have to put the post off. Learning when to say enough is enough is part of the learning process.
That's right. I need to be more discipline about that either, like HART said. ^^
Working on images is just like writing — both require inspirations and hard work. I wouldn't feel right if there's no at least 1 'media' within the post. Maybe that's just me. =)
Thanks a million for this one. I will use it again and again. Right now I am going to take your suggestion and respond to those who commented on my blog. MOLLY
You are the best…
Great seeing you here. I hope you'll have a great time blogging what you love. That's the satisfaction that even money can't buy. Take care. =)
Wow great great analysis…am not getting anything else to add your list of 16 🙂
really good one 🙂
especially , quit job after installing adsense one 😀
Appreciate your comment. We're all in the process of learning. Welcome to share your experience anytime.
Welcome and thank you so much for expressing your opinion. I'm glad you like the post. =)
My myth would be: I have to go pver and over a post rewriting it, using up a lot of time, to make sure it is perfect, before posting it!
This of course is a major waste of time and is poor time management, and I am guilty of it sometimes.
Another myth might be: My subject for my post today is not "spectacular," therefore I won't bother to write it.
This of course is not true either — there could be quite a few readers that may find the post quite interesting and helpful. I should stop thinking my posts aren't "good enough."
Another myth would be: A blog should be a "dear diary" blog and not a niche blog.
I made this mistake when I started 5 years ago when I began blogging. I was told that this was how we were "supposed" to blog! Now turning my blog from a "diary" to a niche blog is impossible, so I'm going to have to start some niche blogs. Actually I'd like to!
Thanks for such a great post! And thanks so much for being a friend on Twitter and for commenting in my blog Sometimes I Think. You're the best!
my main blog: http://sometimesithink-krissy.blogspot.com
follow me on twitter:
I really appreciate you sharing these. Very true! Us bloggers are more or less, suffer from perfectionist syndrome. =P That's inevitable, at least we all show that we're serious about our writings, isn't it?
Time management.. yup, I gotta learn to be more efficient myself too on this subject.
Thank you Krissy, well discussed.
I really like all the information you have here.
Much of my free time is focused on writing and I love it but there are times when I need a break.
A distraction and come back with new ideas,even having to edit an article is easier. A fresh new perception on things.
I really enjoyed your article.
Also, thanks for the link back! 🙂
Yes, you got a point there. Frankly, that's how I got the pictures up too. I agree completely, to get away temporarily and come back with a fresh mind. Sometimes you may even surprise yourself. ^^
You're most welcome. That's a good source, happy to include it.
I love all the pictures above and I believe those pictures are not easy to create. Between, great examples for those new blogger who aspires to become authority blogger. Well done. 🙂
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I am quite new to blogging (at least as an active blogger by myself). However, I did read tons of “how to blog” advices over the whole web. Reading your post I have to attest that you are quite spot on and formulate all your suggestions in a really fresh and entertaining way. I enjoyed reading your suggestions and relating it to my very own (and quite young) experiences was really funny and inspiring in the same time.
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Appreciate you stopping by although your busy schedule. It means a lot to hear you say that. ^^
Welcome! It’s a pleasure to see you here. Being ‘young’ and willing to learn, get inspired, I’m sure you have a great future ahead of you. =) May we all learn from each other. Best wishes.
In regards to images, if I don’t have a photo of my own handy that will do the trick I simply use an image suggested by Zemanta.
I noticed you mentioned commenting a few times. I’ve always felt that commenting is as important as blogging itself, not only to respond to your commentators but also to search the web for content where you can leave a well structured comment. Every one of these that you leave are like crumbs that will lead others in the direction of your blog. After that it is up to your content to enthrall them so that they keep coming back.
As for your English, considering it is not your native tongue I think you are doing extremely well.
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