The 5 Blogging Rules That Are Holding You Back

The rules that hold you backNow, you probably fall into one of two camps on this issue:

  1. There are no rules in blogging. It’s about self-expression and people appreciating you for who you are.
  2. Alternatively, blogging is a process that can be analysed, and following the rules works best.

Neither of those is quite right. (Sorry.)

Here’s how it really works:

Blogging is about conveying useful information in a way that your audience will stick around to read, and letting them know they’re not alone.

With that in mind, let’s take down 5 big blogging rules that have been holding you back.

Rule 1: Content is King

It’s true, content is king. But it’s a quaint fairytale king whose power isn’t what it seems. Content can’t draw an audience to your blog without promotion, and it can’t hold them there without an engaging expression. Words are not enough.

Make sure that for every piece of content you plan, you also create a marketing strategy to help your words find their way to the right people. Otherwise, you’re just shouting into the wind, and that’s a wasted effort.

Rule 2: You Must Blog to a Regular Schedule

Says who? Um, a bunch of experts, actually. But I’m not backing down on this issue.

I see some of the biggest and smartest bloggers posting sporadically, or at frequent but seemingly random intervals. They have thousands of subscribers who hang on their every word, and who don’t care if those words are published at unpredictable times.

There’s no need to add extra stress to your blogging by thinking you must publish a post at 12 noon every Tuesday and Friday.  And never publish a post that isn’t ready for your readers’ eyes. Scheduling is less important than quality.

Rule 3: Blog Posts Must Be Search Engine Optimised

OK, being genuinely search engine friendly is always a good thing. But a lot of bloggers waste an awful lot of time on SEO tasks that don’t bring them any real benefit. Worse, some of the SEO activities you worked so hard on a couple of years ago may be dragging you down the search engine result pages now!

If you’re writing clear, helpful posts then you’re already using some SEO keywords without even trying. If you also use heading tags to format your posts, that gives each post a structure that search engines can understand.

You can just leave it at that. No added SEO is necessary unless you want to go further.

Rule 4: Blog Posts Must be 300 to 500 Words Long

Why did this ever become a blogging rule? More importantly, why assume that this rule applies to your blog? Every post you write should be long enough to get your point across and stick in the reader’s memory; no more, no less.

That could be 100 words plus supporting media, or it could be a 3,000 word epic post. It really depends what you’re writing, and who you’re writing it for. Don’t count words while you write – it’s a time suck and a bad habit for any writer to get into. If you’re curious about your draft’s word count, check it during editing instead.

Rule 5: Your Blog Must Have a Profile on Every Social Network

That would be… exhausting. At least, it would be exhausting to keep them all active and up-to-date.

How many social media profiles have you set up, only to leave them untouched for weeks at a time while you were busy with other tasks? Yeah, me too. There’s no point creating a profile if it looks abandoned when your readers check you out on Pinterest, Facebook, or StumbleUpon.

Stick to the main social media channels you will actually use, and keep things simple enough to leave time for running your blog itself!

Over to You

I’d love to hear from you on this topic. If you’ve broken the blogging rules, how did it work for you? Or is there a big blogging rule you’re afraid to try breaking?

What other blogging rules are holding you back? Let me know in the comments!

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30 Comments

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