The 6 Ugly Truths About Blogging

By Guest Author

Not many people like to hear the harsh realities of blogging. I didn’t want to either.

Like many people, I read some of the top personality development blogs online. If there is one message everyone has to say in common, then it is “Think positive.”

In my opinion something’s in life are better said than kept silent. One of those is the reality concerning blogging.

It took me a long time to understand the how’s, the why’s the when’s of blogging and online business. I have given up blogging 2 times in the past. Then I started to focus on the facts. This has helped me sustain my blogging as well as online business. And, I want to help you too.

Ugly Truth #1: Blogging isn’t Easy

If you regularly read blogs, or have been blogging for any length of time, you’d straight away agree with me that “blogging isn’t easy.”

It takes a lot of time to set up your blog (idea, research, hosting, design, schedule, content creation), and even more time to see it build some momentum. You have to create compelling content, read and comment on other blogs, learn SEO, and write guest posts, network with other bloggers and so on.

However, blogger burn out happens faster than most people anticipate it. Lot of people lose sight of their goals when they don’t see traffic coming their way. You can’t be blamed. It’s just human nature. We want results. Our actions are inspired by results.

We need motivation to do something. If you are working on a 9-5 job, then maybe it’s the paycheck that motivates you. Sometimes it may be the work culture or even the job itself that motivates you. Whatever you do, you need to be constantly motivated. It’s no different with blogging.

When you start blogging you are really motivated and super excited. How can you be not so? You are doing it for the first time. You are thrilled by the experience. Your expectations are sky high.

Six months down the road, you still do what you were doing when you started off. You are yet to receive loyal readership or feedback. It’s kind of de-motivating. I know. I have been through it when I launched my first blog. My second blog also had a short life. Heck even my third blog suffered the same fate.

Success happens when you slowly learn to swim against the flow. You keep pushing until you reach your goal. When you exercise, you keep pushing yourself to do an extra set. Just like that, when you think you have failed, you keep on pushing until success is in sight.

Take away tip: Authority blogging takes a while. If you need instant result, either become a celebrity and start blogging or develop patience. It takes 1 or 2 or even more number of years to achieve success.

Ugly Truth #2: Blogging Isn’t a Viable Business Model

Let’s face it, blogging is not a viable business model. Sure, you can be a web publisher and make money by selling ads on your blog, but this won’t be a business per se. Plus, the people who can make significant money with this model can be counted on a the fingers of your hand.

A better way to see it is that a blog is a tool to promote your business. Not the business itself. So you need to have a product, a service, or something else that you sell/offer to your customers.

If you want to build a successful business, then you need to use the blog to build trust, authority, generate leads and build customer relationship.

Take away tip: Blogging should be taken as a means to boost your main business

Ugly Truth #3: Blogging isn’t all about you

Many blogs about blogging advice people that your blog reflects your personality. They tell that a blog is all about you, you and only you.

Well, I’d like to say a blog is all about them, them and only them. Who’d I refer to as them? “Them” are the readers who visit your blog.

If people came to your blog because they liked you, then they’d be interested in your personal life as well. Try posting articles about your personal life and you will soon see people going away. This is because people come to your blog for niche specific contents. They want advice, tips and a little bit of motivation.

If a blog is all about the author, then I’d say problogger would be dead by now. How many posts does Darren from problogger post these days? Many of them are guest articles. Yet, problogger is as heavily trafficked as ever.

Take away tip: Blog with your readers in mind. Not your personality.

Ugly Truth #4: You don’t need to interact much with your readers

Reader interaction is supposed to be one of the holy grails of blogging.

Reader interaction happens most when people comment on your article. But do you really need other people’s comments on your blog?

It depends.

Most of the time, people comment on your blogs only to get a link back to their blog. There are some exceptions though. You’d argue that we must give some sort of recognition to people who take their time to comment on our blog.

Would you really want to be thankful to someone if they hit your son with a truck and then later rescue him with the intention of getting money from you for saving your kid’s life?

I don’t want to portray other bloggers as criminals or something. It’s just that not all posts are worth commenting and not all comments are worth publishing. You have to be judicious while allowing comments and also while commenting on other blogs.

If the reader needs to ask something, let them use the contact form. If they have some outstanding contribution to make, let them provide it through the contact form and you edit the post and include it. You are now giving more value to the person who shares his ideas.

If you want to build a community, building a forum is much better where your readers can freely interact with each other. Having a forum section for your blog is also a good move.

Take away tip: Don’t worry too much about reader interaction. Provide them quality content, gather feedback and improvise.

Ugly Truth #5: Practice doesn’t make you perfect

Many writing blogs offer this advice. Write, write more and write even more.

I really don’t understand the concept. If you mix the wrong ingredients in the lab to make a new compound, you simply can’t make it. What use is it to do it over and over again, only to fail each time?

You must use some sort of feedback mechanism to constantly improve your process workflow. If you keep repeating the mistake, you get better at making the mistake, not avoiding it.

Take help from your friends, family members or even pay others to give constructive criticism. Forums are a great way to gather feedback for your site. And, it is absolutely free as well.

Take away tip: Use a feedback mechanism to improve your blog.

Ugly Truth #6: You don’t need a lot of blogging advice

Sad, but it’s the truth. You don’t need to read blog tips every-day. Keep the basic points in mind.

  • Understand and listen to your readers (Using analytics, feedbacks etc)
  • Write quality content and killer articles
  • Promote your blog posts through guest posts or other means
  • Observe what others in your niche are talking about

I am not saying that you shouldn’t read the tips online. It’s good that you have an understanding about these tips because it worked for some. But, it needn’t work for you.

The only thing you need to do is start doing things your way. If you keep reading articles about blogging and wait for the right moment to start a blog after grasping everything, that moment will never come.

Nothing can teach you better than experience. Go ahead, try blogging your own way, and see what works and what doesn’t work.

What do you think will add to the list of ugly truths? Do you think some points aren’t as ugly as I make it out to be? Speak up!

About the Author: Adarsh helps other people start their own online business. You can read more from him on CoversionChamp.com.

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32 Responses to “The 6 Ugly Truths About Blogging”

  • Tikyd

    I agree with you on the fact that blogging is not necessarily easy. Nonetheless, when you said that it takes 1 or more years to achieve success, while I think that everyone has its own destiny, one example given by By Michael Dunlop about making $5000 in the first month with a new blog tells the contrary.

  • Nonoy

    This is very interesting. I know bloggers who really make money through ads, particularly Adsense, but only a few. There has to be a business for a blogger and make the blog as a marketing tool. But isn’t media also a means of business? Blogging is the modern media, isn’t it? Oh I got it; that’s why they are only few of them who are really successful blogging as a web publisher.

  • Adarsh

    Hi Tikyd,

    I am not saying it’s not possible. Those kind of stories are very rare. See any top blogger in your niche and they would say how hard they hard to work till it made any money for months or years.

    While it is certainly possible, I suggest that we take inspiration from such stories and not be overly into such stories. Strike a balance. That is the key

  • James

    I agree with you that blogging can be difficult, especially after the first few months, but I don’t agree that it’s not a viable business model.

    By performing good keyword research, writing excellent content, and monetizing your blog, you can make a good amount of money. You will need enough content to make the business model viable to bring in the search traffic necessary to attract advertisers.

    While creating content isn’t always as lucrative as some other methods of making money online, it is passive income and will build over time. As with any business, it takes patience and determination to make it through the early months/years.

  • Swamykant

    Hi Adarsh

    This is an awesome post. This ugly truth is the reality which most of the bloggers forget and think it is very easy to move up and make $$$$.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge yaar 🙂

  • RealTimeTricks

    Really you reveal the real truth of blogging.

    But i do not agree to your 3rd truth: ‘blogging is not about you’. Let me correct you in other ways, it’s not about all niche blogs should start posting about themselves on their blog. It depends on the niche they are blogging and as you mentioned ProBlgger. Let me remind you buddy, Darren still advise their guest bloggers to give your voice to your article for ProBlogger.

    -Irfan

  • Marty Weil

    In regard to Ugly Truth #2, does the author mean to suggest that a blog receiving a revenue stream from Adsense and Affiliate Marketing is not a business? That is what is implied here, but I don’t see how that model doesn’t constitute a business. Some clarification here would be helpful.

  • Chiara

    What do you mean we don’t need to ready blog tips everyday??? I thought this site was called DAILY BLOG TIPS. I’m so confused!

    Just like when I search the internet for blogging tips. One site will say one thing, another will completely counteract it.

    I like your tips, though. 🙂

  • Jim Cooper

    I think it is pretty hard to blog. I’m not sure that you can build a real business from Adsense. Sure…there are a few people who can make good money with Adsense, but most people give up before they make any significant amount of money. One of the big keys to blogging is to keep doing it. You can’t blog for a week and expect to see any significant results.

  • Daniel

    Experience is the best teacher. What works for one person, does not always work for another.

    To say a blog is not a viable business model, is interesting.

    A business is a Business.

  • John

    I don’t agree with number 5.

    No one is going to improve if they don’t practice writing. Practice does make perfect, because in that statement there is implication of the feedback loop you mention. Practice implies a desire to improve.

    In my case, I started blogging about 5 years ago. When I started, I wasn’t very good. Am I a great writer now? No. But I am a heck of a lot better than when I pressed that publish button on the first post.

    Sure, if someone just facerolls the keyboard, never taking care to improve, then they won’t. I suspect though that most writers and bloggers are not in that category.

  • Gail

    From my observations the blogs that have “instant success” are usually those that this is the 3rd, 5th, 100th blog the blogger has created so they have had the experience, success and failures, followers, content etc from other blogs to transfer to a new one. It’s easy to get mega hit rates or $$ in your first month if you have thousands of pre made followers transfering from another site.

    For those who are navigating the blogging world for the first time, it is hard and you have to get some experience behind you before you can compete with the professionals.

  • Adarsh

    @RealTimeTricks

    Thank you for leaving a comment.

    Yes Irfan, I do agree that Darren does accept great content only. The thing is that, he doesn’t post often as he used to. Look at the blog. It’s mostly fueled by guest posts. If Darren posts, it’s mostly about his upcoming projects or something behind the scenes.

    What I wanted to say is, people do not remember your blog because you run it. They come to your blog for the valuable content it provides.

    @Marty Weil

    I don’t say that affiliate marketing is not a business model. What I meant is, having Google adsense or selling ad space is not a very viable business model to make a living from your blog.

    Agreed, there are top blogs making money this way. But they need to constantly push their page impressions higher to make more money as their ad price depends on number of impression.

    Now imagine if you get paid 100$ for 1000 impressions instead of 10$ for 10000 impressions? This is the main difference with having your own product/service rather than relying on ad sells and also adsense.

    @Chiara

    That’s exactly what I meant. You see I countered what might be Daniels thought pattern.

    I strongly believe that there is only so much of information we need. Rest of them comes from experience of “doing things”.
    If you don’t act and simply sit there trying to soak up every bit of information, you are not going to get anywhere. Action is more important here.

    @Jim Cooper

    Exactly Jim.

    @John

    Yes John. Practice makes perfect as long as we are willing to put the effort into it.

    If you practice doing the tango the wrong way a thousand times, guess how you will end up doing it? Unless we take feedback and correct ourselves, simply repeating our actions does not guarantee any success

  • jorge jacobo

    #4: You don’t need to interact much with your readers

    I disagree! As a reader I love to read comments, if you as an author delete them or edit them because you don’t like their opinion. I won’t visit your site. I am sorry sometimes I wish I can see all the comments good and bad ones ( and I am not talking about spam like).

  • Helen Neely

    Blogging is not a business model: this is something I wish most beginners would learn before they start blogging. Most people think blogging can change their life, only to run out of steam a few months down the line and abandon their blog.

    I know this because I thought I could make a huge amount when I started blogging myself.

  • Adarsh

    @jorge jacobo- Yes Jorge. Read interaction is important. I know. That is exactly why I am responding to your comments here.

    However, not every comment is worth approving. You see good comments in here and I like responding to them. In a recent guest post i did for another blogger, I got a lot of comments and only a few were even worth replying to.

    Most people commented to get a link. it’s obvious when you read through the comments. Sad thought is that the blogger accepted all comments as well.

    It’s up to you to decide how you want your readers to respond. There are many blogs that do not have comments and still have a healthy reader base (zenHabits.net) for one such blog.

  • Nhut Le

    I agree with you about some points in the article but I think interaction is also important. Many people comment on my blog for backlinks but there are some people really put helpful comments on my posts. We have many interesting comments there and each time I have a new post, these friends come back and place some good comments again.

    About the number 5: I think experience is always important. You only have experience when you practice.

  • Claude Nougat

    Very interesting post and lots of useful advice! You certainly go against conventional wisdom when you say practice does not make perfect (rule #5) and you shouldn’t seek reader comments as a goal (rule#4).

    About the latter, I’m really glad you say that because I don’t get very many comments! Don’t know why. As to writing for practice, I guess you’re right overall, but it’s still true that after 100+ posts, I do find it a lot easier to write: it just comes more easily and faster, so I guess I did learn something through plain practice!

    The one thing that bothers me most is this concept of “niche” blogging. I don’t feel comfortable in a niche, my interests tend to fly about, from politics to economics, from big events in the news to cooking recipes, from books to contemporary art. How does one accomodate this? I did create 2 other blogs that are however linked in to the main one so that I can stuff away my flash fiction pieces and my cooking recipes, all in one place – in case anybody is interested in seeing short stories or recipes all at a single glance.

    But the “niche” concept? It reminds me of “genre” in literature: this is a society (and a market) that tags you, that pushes you into a niche. All through my working life, that’s what happened: your job specializes you. You get good at doing just one thing.

    To me blogging was a golden opportunity for (intellectual) freedom and to write about whatever I wanted without worrying about someone else’s oversight and pushing me into a niche. By the way, in French, a niche is a dog’s house…

    I would love to know whether others feel constricted in their “niche”? Do you?

  • Nick

    I think the biggest hurdle for beginning bloggers (myself included) is realizing how much time it takes. To write quality content, interact with others, do social media, generate legitimate backlinks, etc it’s very time consuming. Then as you said, unless you’re a superstar or extremely lucky, it’s going to take a while to get noticed. Just got to keep your head up and stick with it.

    And so agree with the “keep writing and writing” to get better. Yes, that is good advice as long as you have some guidance or are constantly critiquing and getting better. Otherwise you’re just banging your head against the wall. Two of the best books that helped me are:

    The Elements of Style and On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Non-Fiction.

    Check them out if you want to better your writing. Excellent share 🙂

  • Adarsh

    @Claude Nougat

    Wonderful comment there. You don’t need to go “niche” as long as you don’t plan to make any money from your blog.

    However, if you intend to make money, there is no way you can succeed in 2011 and beyond without a niche blog unless you are some huge Hollywood celebrity or something.

    @Nick

    “The Elements of Style”- Ah, yes. The classic

  • Ranjith (SR) | A light hearted talk

    I feell funny to read how people these days talk about the things that we shouldn’t do rather than the things that we should do. I think that it is a new strategy.

    However, the above points are well explained.

    – Ranjith

  • Vasathi

    Great Info on what not to do in Blogging. This will set to a new trend for sure

    Bloggers Rock !!

  • Adarsh

    @Ranjith- Although I did include some negativity, I think i included action points in each of those points.

  • Kris

    I thought this was a great article. I just forwarded it to a friend who just asked on Facebook “Is anyone out there? Is anyone reading my blog? Does anyone care???” Your tweet was perfect timing. For me anyway.

    #5 is really essential, in my opinion. Blogs take tons of practice. Writing isn’t something a lot of people do on a regular basis anymore. Strange, but true.

    Once you start writing a blog you realize how long it’s been. It can take a lot of time, and practice, to find your voice. And sometimes it just takes a while to figure out what you really want to write about.

    I’ll stop by a poorly written blog one time. That’s it. A well-written blog leaves you wanting more.

    Writing groups like The Red Dress Club are also really helpful to get your writing in better shape.

    -Kris

  • John

    The article takes me back to the drawing board. For the few months I have been into blogging, I echo this article, its not a bed of roses, especially when you still have your 8-5 job. Blogging needs quality time, fresh and alert mind. I am not quitting though, I will keep on swimming against the flow.

    John

  • Flo | Create Your Own Website

    Ugly Truths Indeed. These are why there are much more blogs falling on the wayside than those that make it to the top. I hope people will get it and start moving back to static websites.

    I think No 4 is a bit extreme. If you would scrutinize the comments you get on your blog that way, then it would be better to go the no-comments route. And why would anybody go to a contact form to suggest something to you after reading a post? I think it would be better to make the suggestions related to a post in the comments. It will add to the post and other commenters can learn from it. Moreover it is quicker for the commenter.

    Unless maybe you prefer it behind the scenes so that others will not know that it is a commenter’s suggestion?

  • Extreme John

    I agree that blogging can be very difficult as it requires a lot of your time and patience. But it can also be fun and exciting to some especially for those who are fond of writing blogs. It all depends on the purpose or intent of the blogger – simply sharing his/her thoughts or experiences. Just help people on a particular niche and getting positive feedback is all what they need to inspire and keep writing. Blogging can be a source of income and a hobby as well. Great post indeed!

  • Eunus Hosen

    Thank you so much Adarsh, really ugly truth about blogging!

  • Jerrick

    study blog tips everyday just improve your blog or find out your mistake only and not follow them exactly. Do not think blog is easy, when think of idea and topic of a blog, you will suffer the headache.
    they are not much success blogger only and most important is it is not a place to earn fast money.

  • Jane

    You are so right Ardash..blogging is not easy. I believe the key is committment, as it’s all too eay to be become disallusioned when you’ve been at it for months and nothing seem to be happening.

    One way to help ensure committment is to write about something you are genuinely interested in. Blogging should be at least partly a labour of love..other wise it becomes too tedious and you’ll probably give up.

    Cheers

  • Jingles

    I don’t agree with two of the points.

    1) Blogging isn’t Easy – Doing it well and being successful at blogging isn’t easy. Anyone can setup a blog and start blogging it’s pretty easy, the hundreds and thousands of blogs that litter the net prove it’s easy, most of those blogs are so bad they make my eyes bleed.

    2) Practice doesn’t make you perfect – It won’t make you perfect, nobody is perfect, but practice will make you better but only if you learn from your mistakes. If you don’t learn from your mistakes you will be doomed to keep making the same mistakes over and over and never improve.

    I have lost count of how many blogs and web sites I have designed, looking back a lot of them weren’t that great but I can see that each blog and web site did improve over time. The next blog or web site would be better than the last one. I just kept practicing and i got a lot better but not perfect.

  • mohamed shajid

    yeah. Am also agree with you because it takes 1 or 2 year to success

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