20 Ways to Be Just Another Mediocre Blogger Nobody Gives a Crap About

20 Ways to Be Just Another Mediocre Blogger Nobody Gives a Crap About

A troubling thought, isn’t it?

You’re slaving away at your blog, but you can’t help wondering if you have a shot in hell of getting anyone to read it.

What makes you any different from the millions of other bloggers hoping for attention?

You’re all doing the same stuff. Cranking out posts, messing around on Twitter and Facebook, leaving comments on popular blogs โ€“ you know, the usual.

But nobody gives a crap. Readers have seen it all before. You’re not offering anything new, so why should they hang around?

Good question. And the problem is, you don’t really have an answer.

Most of the time, you feel like you’re stumbling around in the dark. You can’t tell what’s working and what’s not. It feels like a big, never-ending guessing game.

Maybe you came here to find some answers. Maybe you’re hoping I’ll tell you what to do.

But I won’t.

Not because I don’t want to, but because sometimes you can’t understand what to do until you first understand what NOT to do. So, let’s start there.

Here’s a big, fat list of ways to be a mediocre blogger. How many are you guilty of?

1. Tell stories

People love stories, but that doesn’t mean you should tell any. Here’s why: telling a boring story is worse than not telling any stories at all, and unless you’re trained in storytelling, yours are pretty much guaranteed to be boring.

If you doubt me, go to a bar and tell a story to someone in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear. If everybody in the bar stops talking to listen to you, you’re a good storyteller. If they don’t, you suck.

And almost everybody sucks.

2. Be “true to yourself”

Let me guess. Tried-and-true marketing techniques just don’t feel right to you, so you’re scrapping it all in the name of authenticity?

Well, I’ll be damned. I must be psychic!

No, the truth is everyone feels that way in the beginning, and everyone has to do it anyway. To get good at something, first you have to follow proven techniques and screw it all up, and then you learn, and then you follow proven techniques and do it correctly, and then one day, when you’ve been doing it a long time and you’re a freaking master, you invent your own techniques. It’s the same process for learning to play the piano as promoting your work.

If it feels inauthentic, it’s not because there’s something wrong with the technique. It’s because you’re doing it wrong, and you need to keep practicing.

3. Build your Twitter / Facebook / Google+ / Pinterest / LinkedIn following first

Here’s your thinking: the reason you’re not getting any traffic is because first you need to build your following on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or <insert your social network here>. Once you start getting some traction, then you can promote your blog, and the traffic will start flowing free and easy.

Heh. Wrong.

Yes, social networking is important, but you know what’s even more important? Focus. By dividing your attention between so many different places, you’re pretty much guaranteeing you won’t do any of them well.

My advice: ignore social networks entirely in the beginning. Wait until you have 1,000 blog subscribers before you even think about building up a following somewhere else.

(And if you want to know how to get that first 1,000 without spending a nanosecond on Facebook or Twitter – here’s a clue.)

4. Write short posts

In my opinion, no beginning blogger should be publishing anything under 1,000 words. And really, 2,000 words should be your goal.


Three reasons:

  1. Readers perceive long content to be more valuable. They’re more likely to bookmark it, share it, and link to it.
  2. Most other bloggers are too lazy to write long content. If you’re willing to put in the effort, you’ll stand out.
  3. There’s some good evidence Google prefers long form content. And giving Google what it wants is smart.

The bottom line: stop writing short posts. Or at least intersperse them with much longer content.

5. Give common sense advice

Do you believe in preaching good old-fashioned common sense?

If so, I worry about your chances, because common sense is boring. Readers have already heard it so many times they tune out the minute they even catch a whiff of conventional wisdom.

“But… but… common sense is what they need!” you say. My response: it doesn’t matter. If nobody is paying attention to you, you can spout all the truth in the world, and it won’t do anybody any good. So, stop writing posts that make people want to stop listening.

6. Insist on originality

The opposite of common sense is also dangerous.

Some writers also get so obsessed with being original that they become incapable of ever publishing anything. And when they do happen to stumble across an original idea, it’s so strange and foreign to the reader that they can’t even follow it.

The better approach: find ways to approach old topics from fresh angles. It’s a lot easier, and it’s a lot less risky.

7. Be polite

Do you hold back from asking influencers for links because you’re worried about bugging them? Or worse, do you hold back giving your readers the truth because you don’t want to offend them?

Well, newsflash: real bloggers fight for their ideas. There’s no need to be obnoxious, but you can’t go around squeaking out requests for help and dancing around hard truths.

You have to demand attention. You have to take stands. You have to be totally and utterly shameless.

The world already has enough cowards. So please, don’t be another one.

8. Write “when you can”

For a lot of people, finding time to write is like packing a suitcase.

You put in all the important things first, close it to see if everything fits, stuff in more things, check it again, and so on and so on until there’s no more room. Whatever doesn’t fit gets left behind.

In life, those “important things” that get scheduled first are your job and family. If you have any room left, you stuff in friends and relaxation and whatnot. And then, at the very end of the list, you have writing.

Because it’s the last to be scheduled, it almost always gets “left behind.” Not because you want to neglect it, but because your life is already full to bursting, and you just can’t find the space for it.

The solution: schedule it first, not last. Make it one of the “important things” you put in the suitcase first. Believing you’ll find time for it otherwise is just delusional.

9. Worry about SEO

Speaking of delusional…

Lots of people see blogging as a way to get search engine traffic. Find a keyword you want to rank for, publish a post around it, and a few months later, you’ll have all the traffic you can handle.



Getting search engine traffic isn’t about keywords. It’s not even about blog posts. It’s about creating something so amazing everyone talks about it and links to it.

So do that. You can worry about SEO later.

10. Start multiple blogs

In my opinion, it’s pretty much impossible to build a popular blog in less than 10 hours a week. If you want to grow quickly, tack on an additional 10.

Say you have two blogs. 2 X 20 = 40 hours a week of work to grow both of them quickly.

Are you willing to dedicate that kind of time? Do you even have that much extra time in your week?

If not, pick the blog that’s most important to you and jettison the rest.

Otherwise, you’re not blogging. You’re just dabbling.

11. Search for the perfect domain name

Blogs are like living things. They evolve. Even if you found the perfect domain name today, you would hate it a year from now, because the focus of your blog will change.

The better solution: pick a domain name that’s good enough and go with it. Sure, changing it later is a headache, but never having a blog because you’re such a damn perfectionist is an even bigger headache.

Pick it. Register it. Move on.

12. Show the world how clever you are

Got a clever domain name? A clever headline? A clever post?

You’re probably pretty tickled with yourself, right?

Well, I hate to break it to you, but cleverness almost always backfires. People won’t get it. Sure, they would understand if they spent a few minutes thinking about it, but they’re in a hurry, and there are a gazillion other blog posts to read that don’t require so much thought.

Instead, be clear. Don’t make people figure it out. They’ll reward you by coming back.

13. Try to be Seth Godin

Every once in a while, I’ll give a student some advice, and they’ll respond with, “But that’s not what Seth Godin does!”

*strangles student*

Think of it like this. Let’s say you like to play a little US football.

If I handed you a helmet right now and pushed you into the middle of a professional game, how do you think you would do?

I’ll tell you how you would do: you would get your ass handed to you. Those guys are genetic freaks who have prepared their entire lives to do battle with other genetic freaks. You’ll never be able to do what they do, no matter how hard you try. In fact, even trying could be deadly.

It’s the same thing with Seth. He’s the blogging equivalent of a 350-pound lineman who can run a mile in under 4 minutes. In other words, he’s so freakishly talented he can do things nobody else can.

So, stop trying to copy him. You don’t have his kind of talent, and if you did, you wouldn’t want to copy him anyway. The whole thing is just silly.

14. Wait until you’re in the right frame of mind

This one is so tempting.

You’re feeling tired or frustrated or <insert your negative emotions here>, and you think, “I’ll never be able to write like this. I’ll just stop and come back when I’m in a better frame of mind.”

The truth?

You’re procrastinating. You’re scared of how difficult it is to express your thoughts, and you’re using your emotions as an excuse to quit.

It’s understandable, but that’s not what good writers do. Good writers write.

It doesn’t matter if they are tired. It doesn’t matter if they are going through a divorce. It doesn’t matter if their kids are screaming. It doesn’t matter if they’re sick and dying in the hospital. It doesn’t matter if terrorists drop a nuclear bomb on their hometown.

They write. End of story.

15. Agonize over your WordPress theme

It’s the same issue as searching for the perfect domain. You’ll never find it, and even if you do, you’ll hate it later. So, pick something good enough and get on with your business.

You have 15 minutes. Go.

16. Wait until <insert freelancer here> can help you

Are you waiting for a graphic designer or programmer or copywriter or WordPress specialist to help you with something?

Well, stop. If you’re ever going to get anything done, you have to refuse to wait for anyone. Ever.

A lot of times, that means doing without. You might have to give up your fancy theme modifications or custom logo or WordPress plugin. Sure, they would be useful, but do you really need them?

No. You need to get off your lazy butt and stop procrastinating.

17. Use free (or cheap) hosting for your blog

Can you get by with it?


Should you get by with it?

Not if you can help it. Here’s why:

At some point in the future, you’re going to have a problem with your blog. It’ll get hacked or slow down or just disappear mysteriously, and you won’t know what to do.

If you have a free or cheap host, you’ll be on your own, and you’ll waste days or even weeks trying to figure it out. At the end of it all, you’ll realize how foolish you were to skimp on hosting and move to a premium host like WP Engine who fixes stuff for you when it breaks.

Or you can be smart and just do it now. The choice is yours.

18. Build your RSS subscriber list

You didn’t get the memo? RSS is on life support, and it’ll die any day now.

Smart bloggers stopped depending on it a long time ago. Instead, we get our readers to subscribe via email.

So should you.

19. Publish great content – in the wrong place

Is great content important?


Should you create as much of it as you can?


But should you publish it on your own blog right now?

Probably not.

To explain why, imagine if Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech to an empty room. It’s one of the greatest speeches in history, no doubt, but without an audience, without anyone to hear it and spread the word, it loses power.

Great content works the same way. Before you have an audience, publishing it on your own blog is kind of a waste of time.

You’re better off publishing it as a guest post instead. Borrow a blog that already has a huge audience and funnel those readers into your own list.

Then, once you have a small group of dedicated followers, really ramp up the content on your blog. Just not before.

20. Give up

After reading through all these mistakes, you might feel like, “Well, damn. I’m just a screw-up. I might as well quit.”

But you shouldn’t. Here’s why:

We’re all screw-ups.

In my first three years, I made every mistake on this list. Every single one.

Not only did all my blogs fail, but I was banned by Google, my first guest post was rejected by Copyblogger, and I got so carried away bragging about my interview with Seth Godin he had to ask me to stop. Looking back, it’s horrifying how many mistakes I made.

But I’m still here.

I learned from each failure. I got advice from smart people. I mastered the craft.

Listen to other popular bloggers, and you’ll hear the same story. Over and over and over again.

It’s not a coincidence. That’s how success happens. You live and learn.

If you’re guilty of some of these mistakes, it just means you’re still in the beginning stages of the journey. Take your licks, do your best to learn from them, and never, ever lose faith in yourself.

You really can do this.

There’s nothing wrong with you.




About the Author: Jon Morrow is the CEO of Boost Blog Traffic, LLC.


  1. Ragnar
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:13:22

    I am already a master of many of these techniques! I guess that makes me.. an expert mediocre writer!

    I am going to focus more on guest posting, hopefully change my host to a more stable one, and NOT give up this time around.

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:41:59

      Ha, an expert in mediocrity. I love it. All of us feel that way sometimes, I think.

      And yes, guest posting is a great place to start.

      • Ragnar
        Oct 26, 2013 @ 02:20:37

        I wish I had phrased it expert in mediocrity.. aww man. Apparently I’m pretty average at coining terms as well!

        Thanks for giving me renewed energy and motivation to move forward and get some progress going on my blog. And always just being informative and an inspiration in general.


      • Roger Abramson
        Nov 03, 2013 @ 20:51:18

        Jon, yes, guest blogging (#19) seems more than sensible enough. I kinda like the whole “not blogging” option, too. Excuses, I know. But if you’re tolerant of a diversity of perspectives, as a personal preference, I’d genuinely rather be ignored in audio than in print. Podcasts, for instance, are an excellent way to explore my inner bore.

        Not even necessarily to beat the bushes, drum up deals, or to play provocateur, but ultimately leave a record for the mere mortal masses. (Or do the lovely multitudes prefer being called “rabble” or “mob” these days? Dunno.)

        Goodness me. Haven’t I kept it positive… completely in keeping with today’s trendy obsession of actively enabling debilitating denial by insisting on the psuedo-positive, up-beat phony-bologna rather than addressing and excising substantial issues? And you can, too! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Roy Gomez
      Oct 24, 2013 @ 20:38:02


      As a fiction writer, I want to tell you how much I enjoyed your use of a cranky persona to emphasize these brilliant tips. Creative! Entertaining!

      • Roy Gomez
        Oct 24, 2013 @ 20:42:14

        My apologies. Didn’t mean to post here.

      • Jon Morrow
        Oct 25, 2013 @ 17:09:13

        Thanks Roy. Fiction and nonfiction overlap more than most people would like to believe, I think.

      • James Druman
        Nov 22, 2013 @ 10:15:57

        Would love to see more on your thoughts about the overlap between fiction and nonfiction if you ever find the time, Jon! Your take on fiction is something I’ve wondered about a few times since starting your guest blogging program (awesome material, by the way).

    • Lucy Chen
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 00:33:46

      Haha, Ragnar, “an expert mediocre writer”! I already like you!

      Yes I love Jon, too.

    • Roger Abramson
      Nov 03, 2013 @ 20:18:21

      Most do major in minor things. Needn’t and shouldn’t be an expert in all things.

  2. Mark Brinker
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:13:25

    Another “instant classic”, Jon.

    I’ve been following your work for a while, and your advice and recommendations have helped me avoid so many traps and pitfalls, it’s not even funny.

    Thank you for allowing me to unsubscribe from so many other email lists. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:43:08

      Thanks Mark. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Rachelle Strauss
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:15:52

    Great stuff Jon – thank you.

    My favourites from this are points 15 and 16.

    I design websites and I can’t tell you how many of my clients I want to strangle for sweating the small stuff about their themes and look of their site.

    I spend at least one consultation on the ‘being good enough’ talk. We talk about the 80/20 rule and how being 80% good enough is, well, good enough!

    It’s far better to be good enough, than to be so paralysed by an aspiration to be perfect that you do nothing.

    I maintain that nobody bounced off your site because they didn’t like the theme; they bounced off because your content didn’t engage them.

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:46:42

      Totally agree.

  4. Marcus Brotherton
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:16:16

    Jon, you are truly a brilliant man. Thanks for leading well.

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:47:03

      Thanks for reading, Marcus!

  5. Willi Morris
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:17:35

    Once again, Jon, you blow me away. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 17:52:57

      Anytime. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Sean
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:19:25

    Good stuff Jon! At first I thought you a bit cynical with the stories and being true points. But the rest of your points are spot on!

    I will admit that I’ve been guilty of almost everything you mentioned. Now, I kind of don’t care. I’m just moving forward. Thank you for your well timed pointers!

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 18:34:08

      I suppose I am a bit cynical sometimes. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Esther
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:21:21

    I will get good at this…I will get good at this…Thank you for the tools because I will get good at this. Really good.

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 18:34:26

      That’s the spirit!

  8. Rebecca
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:22:31

    Thank you for this. So many ‘experts’ have stated the exact opposite.

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 19:03:18

      Yeah, drives you crazy, doesn’t it? So many people saying so many contradictory things.

      • Leigh Shulman
        Oct 26, 2013 @ 11:16:15

        Yep. That’s why you just have to choose to follow the people who make sense to you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Tim Hart
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:22:59

    The Gospel according to Jon: like the 10 Commandments, clear, memorable, and easy to follow if you’re motivated enough.

    Thanks again, Jon!

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 19:05:26

      The Gospel according to Jon! I like it!

  10. Leanne Regalla | Make Creativity Pay
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:24:00

    I’m gonna memorize this. Because as often as I hear these things from you, I still find myself falling into the traps.

    But at least I’m not getting in up to my neck anymore. Maybe now I’m just getting my shoes & socks mucky. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 19:06:40

      You’ve been crushing it lately. But yeah, everyone falls victim to these sometimes. Including me.

  11. Leah McClellan
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:26:43

    This is great! I absolutely howled with laughter on this:

    “If everybody in the bar stops talking to listen to you, youโ€™re a good storyteller. If they donโ€™t, you suck.

    And almost everybody sucks.”

    Haha There are some other spots like that, and the whole thing is great.

    I’m guilty of a couple, like #15–yep. And #7. But never #20–yep. Live and learn and never give up.

    Thanks for the smiles, chuckles, and reminders!

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 19:07:15

      Anytime. Thanks for reading!

  12. Bob Philpin
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:28:30

    This is, quite possibly, the best blog of the year. Thanks, jon, for always stripping the bullshit away to reveal great truths.

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 19:07:52

      Best blog of the year? Wow. Thanks Bob.

  13. John Yeoman
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:29:37

    Jon, that’s a great point: ‘No beginning blogger should be publishing anything under 1,000 words. And really, 2,000 words should be your goal.’ In my direct marketing days I learned that long copy sells, short copy just gets admired. What do you want: money or love? One top site for writers where I’m a team blogger insists on 1000+ word guest posts; another rejects anything much over 700 words. Guess which gets the most traffic? And pulls in the most sign ups to my writing course?

    Yes, long copy works. Thank you for reading to the end of this comment ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 19:08:52

      Long live long copy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Don Sturgill
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:31:46

    Don’t hold back, Jon … tell us what you REALLY think ๐Ÿ™‚

    #8 is plaguing me, right now. I know I should do nothing but write from about 6am – 10am, but there is always an interruption (I allow).

    • Vivienne
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 05:16:26

      Don, I know where you are coming from.
      I work from home, my daughter is home educated by my husband and between them they always have an excuse for wanted to talk to me.
      I now ask them if the interruption is urgent or just important. If someone has had an accident or the kitchen set on fire, that is urgent. If my daughter wants to tell me a brilliant joke she has just made up, that is important but can wait till I stop for my tea break.
      I had to teach myself the difference too.
      Keep it up and respect to you for getting up early to write at 6am.

      • Don Sturgill
        Oct 28, 2013 @ 01:57:00

        Vivienne … I very much appreciate your encouragement. Actually, I get up at 5 (most days). The first hour is a mad scramble to cover any truly urgent bases and hopefully taking time to remember who I am and what I am doing. I feel like a fireman … there’s always something needing my attention. By the time the family is up, I’m drug back and forth like a mouse caught by a gang of cats ๐Ÿ™‚ Good for you, setting boundaries.

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 19:10:07

      Yeah, you have to get pretty militant about carving out time. Sometimes it even means upsetting people. That’s hard for a lot of writers, I think. Including me.

      • Don Sturgill
        Oct 28, 2013 @ 02:02:14

        I have threatened to get an office down the street (or move to the roof), Jon, but I love working from home. With others, I’ve learned to ask for time to finish whatever I happen to presently be engaged in before responding. My real enemy is email, headlines, direct messages, and other online diversions. I swear, I’m going to pull the plug on internet access for four hours a day and WRITE (I’ll start tomorrow) ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Sumitha
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:32:54

    I’m almost scared to read your posts these days, Jon ๐Ÿ™‚

    100% guilty on 9, partially guilty on another 3-4…. Thought I’d do better. Sigh!

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 19:10:43

      Yeah, I’ve been snarky lately, haven’t I? I’ll have to be a little nicer in my next post. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Harleena Singh
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:33:55

    Hi Jon,

    All I can say is – WOW! ๐Ÿ™‚

    What an awesome post! And as I was reading through the points, I was just nodding my head in agreement.

    I’m so glad you mentioned writing long post is what works nowadays, makes me feel I’m on the right track ๐Ÿ™‚ But yes, sometimes a lot can be said in a few words, though I wonder how people manage that.

    I loved your #14 too about waiting for the right frame of mind, or sometimes how some writers or bloggers get into Writer’s Block! I wonder how that can ever happen! I think if you are a blogger and writer – you just write! You don’t think of ifs and buts, nor make excuses, just as you so well mentioned. There are NO reasons and excuses, whatsoever.

    Thanks for sharing all of these gems with us. Surely sharing it ALL around. Have a nice week ahead ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 19:13:10

      Thanks Harleena!

  17. Tom
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:36:31

    Choosing a theme was driving me crazy. I don’t know how many hours I wasted looking for one that was “just right.” I’m sure I’ll change it again, but I’m going to restrict myself to once a year–if it even becomes necessary.

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 19:13:27

      Once a year is a good rule, I think.

  18. Jake Parent
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:57:38

    I was just listening to a segment by a certain “guru” (who will remain unnamed. He basically said you shouldn’t respond to people in blog comments because Seth Godin doesn’t even ALLOW comments.

    I nominated it for the “facepalm of the week” award.

    • Carol Tice | Make a Living Writing
      Oct 24, 2013 @ 13:00:43

      Oh brother! Yes, you should pattern what you do on an already wildly successful blogger…that’ll work.

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 19:14:43

      Yeah, the amount of bad advice out there is just staggering. And Seth seems to always end up as an example somehow, unfortunately.

  19. Carol Tice | Make a Living Writing
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:59:37

    Total brilliance as usual, Jon! I about fell down on #1. There are so many bad blogs out there that kick off posts with long, rambling stories that are just sorta slice-of-life and have nothing meaningful to share…somehow imagining readers will hang in until you get to the point around paragraph 20. Not going to happen!

    And many of the others hit a basic mantra I’ve got: Be a writer, not a waiter. Writers keep telling me they’re waiting to get their site up/redone/evaluated. That they need to pick a better URL before they can move forward, or figure out their niche first. No, no, no.

    Get going. Improve as you go. That’s all.

    • Lisa
      Oct 24, 2013 @ 15:47:52

      I was going to quote your mantra, Carol, but you beat me to it! I LOVE #14, especially this:

      “It doesnโ€™t matter if they are tired. It doesnโ€™t matter if they are going through a divorce. It doesnโ€™t matter if their kids are screaming. It doesnโ€™t matter if theyโ€™re sick and dying in the hospital. It doesnโ€™t matter if terrorists drop a nuclear bomb on their hometown.

      They write. End of story.”

      I’m going to change “they” to “you,” add the headline, “Be a writer, not a waiter!” above it, and hang it over my computer. Then I’ll have my motivational speech from Carol AND Jon staring in my face every morning. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Bobbie Ann Cole
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 11:20:31

      Love the voice, Jon, and the advice.
      And Carol, love the ‘get going. Improve as you go. That’s all,’ summing up.
      I’m trying. The hardest bit is being one person. But everything I’m putting in place needs my hands-on attention – only when the big decisions have been taken will I feel I can delegate (also afford to delegate).

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 19:15:28

      “Be a writer, not a waiter.” I love that.

  20. Carmen
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 13:01:01

    I LOVE this advice. So many people worry about their design and social media, etc. But the honest truth is that if your blog is interesting to read, people will find it, read it and then SHARE it because they enjoyed it.

    Great post, thanks!

  21. Don
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 13:10:36

    Hey Jon, since I am doing everything wrong right now (i’m a beginner) I am doing everything right !!! Thanks for another great article Jon.

  22. Mike Bundrant
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 13:10:49

    #5 – Ah the man who dared tell people not to give common sense advice. Jon, I’m speechless (and thanks).

    I’m friends with a top natural health blogger who surveyed his huge audience to ask them what they wanted to read about most.

    The top response – natural health remedies. He thought it was interesting that natural health remedies is NOT the topic that people read and share the most on his site, however.

    What’s the hottest topic according to readers’ actual behavior? SHOCKING NEWS.

  23. Michael Kawula
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 13:10:52

    Awesome Tips.

    #4 gets me though as I like the meat. I guess it ties more to #1 if someones telling to much of a story to hit 2000 and keeping the meat mixed throughout.

  24. Ravi Teja Tadimalla
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 13:18:10

    Inspired. I am going to go write my blog NOW.

  25. Renee D'Antoni
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 13:20:22

    Interesting list with some surprises. Number #3 was certainly a relief to read since social-media suck up so much time. I hate it. From now on I’ll start focusing on subscribers instead…let’s see what happens. Also number 19. I always wonder about this…does a great post belong on my site or elsewhere? I’ll give a guest post a try and see what happens.

    Cheers, Jon! I always enjoy your posts. Your emails are among the very few that I actually open. ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Michael Feeley
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 13:21:22

    This is encouraging Jon. Wild and soooo good.

    You got right into mind for the past several days. #4 is good for me. I like to write long posts. Also #13 Seth Godin and how he’s a 350 pound lineman with his blogging. Thanks for all 20. What an education!

    My very best – Michael

  27. Joyce Day
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 13:21:51

    Hi Jon,

    Thanks so much! I was struck by No. 19. I’ve been trying to post ‘quality content’ (me sharing my message) posts interspersed with lighter example posts. Should I stop writing for my blog for awhile and wait until I finish your guest blogging class? I didn’t publish anything to my blog for about 2 weeks while I got my site up and running (per your recommendation on previous posts). I was still writing – now I just have a couple of written posts built up and planned to publish every couple of days until I was caught up. What are your thoughts?

    You are awesome and I’m loving the guest blogging class!


  28. Radu
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 13:31:02

    I think this is the best article title I read this year! For this alone I’ll start following your blog.


  29. Fika Thiana
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 13:58:16

    I’m giving up working on one of my blog. From the beginning, I was not a writer, I was just trying to learn to be a writer with so little knowledge. To be a writer is hard enough for me, moreover to become an expert. But until today, I try to keep learning. Reading this post makes me ashamed, as well as capturing the new spirit. Thank you for sharing that…

  30. Lori
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 14:06:14

    I love you. Ok, not you but what you do and say for us bloggers like me that makes me feel good and gives me the needed push to carry on. I have made some of the mistakes above but keep pluggin away. Thanks for the great post. Lori from AfricaInisde.org

  31. LaCharla Figgs
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 14:23:09

    Two words, Jon: Ouch! And Thank you.

    • LaCharla Figgs
      Oct 24, 2013 @ 14:24:00

      Ok, not 2 words; two sentiments!

  32. Daryl
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 14:30:33

    Great post John! I agree with you on many of these points BUT I also disagree on one key point:

    1. No beginning blogger should be publishing anything under 1,000 words

    I DEFINITELY disagree with you here. I think the clarity of the post is far more important than length – if I can clearly and concisely deliver my message in 700 words, no sense adding another 300 words of fluff is there?

    Sure long posts are fine – but sometimes you’ve only got a little bit to say, and harping, repeating or fluffing is only going to make your readers annoyed as opposed to engaged.

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 28, 2013 @ 10:59:21

      Here’s the thing: you shouldn’t really be writing posts based on what you want to say. You should be writing posts based on what gets the most shares and links.

      That’s almost always long content. Occasionally, yes, you can write a short piece of content that gets lots of shares and links, but it’s very rare.

      • Daryl
        Nov 02, 2013 @ 22:33:27

        I’m going to challenge you a bit here Jon.

        I will of course agree that in many instances long form content gets more interaction – but isn’t this in large part due to other aspects such as your target audience or content creation aim?

        I know a number of blogs that regularly produce content well under 1000 words yet get excellent engagement from the readers.

  33. Ion Doaga
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 15:06:10

    It all resumes at “write on your blog and on other blogs”. It’s hard to believe that this simple formula will bring your blog on the wave of success.

    I have some of the sins from this list and the latest is 20. I fight with myself not to give up and keep writing.

    Thanks for this encouraging post, Jon!!

  34. Angie
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 15:12:45

    Jon…you always manage to dish out the tough love and still leave the reader feeling encouraged and energized. You’re a wizard. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I was guilty of almost all of these when I first started blogging. Except the Seth Godin one — I was trying to emulate a site — Copyblogger — rather than a specific blogger.

    The item on the list that I’m most guilty of now is #8. I manage to get my own posts written every week, but I’m not doing any guest posting (and I’m WAY behind in your guest blogging course). Gonna have to shift the priorities a bit.

    The importance of all of these points became really clear to me

    • Angie
      Oct 24, 2013 @ 15:13:45

      Er…ignore that last line. Not sure where that came from. O.o

  35. Eleanor Beaton
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 15:20:29

    On “Being True to Yourself”

    This is hilarious. I decided 8 months ago that I wanted to start a blog and build an audience. I spent a few months getting it started, trying my hardest to do the things I’d spent a good deal of time and money learning. And then it got hard. That’s because I realized it wasn’t just about writing a great blog post and sticking it on the blog. It was about figuring out where my readers are at and targeting guest posts. It’s about writing, writing, writing. And more guest posting.

    So I decided to give up their way and do it “my way.” During which time I got only a handful of people sign up for my email list.

    So a few weeks ago I went back to the proven techniques. This time with vigor. With purpose/desperation/sheepishness that “my way” didn’t work.

    The truth is Jon Morrow, you freakishly clever man, you are right. Other people do know their stuff. And when you mess up and then double back to their lessons, it’s so much more effective.

    (I’ve been getting a surge in opt-ins because of following expert advice).

    Great post,


  36. Molly (Based on a Sprue Story)
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 15:45:59

    I do some of these, and arguably also another practice that has been described as a mistake elsewhere on this site (post too often, at three times a weekโ€”almost always under 1,000 words).

    I don’t mind posting often, and I think my core readers do read most of my posts, but it doesn’t leave me much time to do the level of guest posting that I’m sure would expand my reach, and my core readership is small. But now that I’ve set the precedent, I hesitate to pull back on the number of posts per week. I did that once before and saw my stats plummet (well, if stats that are already quite modest can be said to “plummet”).

    It’s interesting to hear longer posts being recommended. I strive to write shorter posts, because I’ve found my longer ones get less interaction and fewer shares (presumably falling into the “TLDR” category). I usually spend a lot of time cutting what strike me as way too long posts, since generating lots of material is NOT my problem (which you’ll find obvious, if you’re reading this comment). I suppose the thing to do is to use better subheads that keep people from getting tired and moving on?

    I don’t mean to argue with the adviceโ€”clearly it’s working for a lot of people!โ€”but, man, is it hard to do everything right AND have a good time writing.

  37. Amandah
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 15:47:09


    Thanks for this great post.

    I have a question about word count. If you’re a reputable blogger, could you get away with short posts? For example, I’ve read short posts on Mashable, but the website reaches millions of people. What about your target audience? Maybe they prefer short posts. Is it okay to write a short post, here and there, in addition to long posts?


  38. tam francis
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 15:50:06

    I’ve got a couple of these conquered and I can’t do it all at once, but right now #4 is speaking to me. I’ll try it. I’m not a HUGE fan of long blog posts, but I may be an anomaly. I like the idea of interspersing long and short.

    Thanks for the great tips. I’ll tackle a couple more next round ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. Leigh Shulman
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 16:00:36

    The first two on the list confused me, because I am a believer in telling stories and being true to myself.

    For the record, I am the sort who tells stories that people stop to listen. But I’m a story teller. Even so, I entirely recognize that when I tell a story, it must be there for a reason which is always to benefit the reader in some way.

    As for the second, it’s not that I disregarded tried and true marketing techniques. I found them difficult. I think what makes it difficult for many is they don’t entirely believe in themselves and their work. If a person truly believes that what they do will benefit those who buy it, then it’s not just marketing, it is being true to yourself.

    I’ve been wondering, too, about RSS feeds and was leaning to not bothering. I’ll just keep going in that direction. Thanks.

    • Susan Neal
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 10:17:46

      I share your reservations about those two points,Leigh – also, the one about the length of posts. As someone else has commented, a post should be as long as it needs to be – no shorter and no longer. I don’t think it’s helpful to aim for a particular word count.

      • Leigh Shulman
        Oct 26, 2013 @ 11:15:30

        Some of the best most popular posts on my blog are short and to the point. It all depends on the type of content. But evergreen resource type posts are good when long. Even so, they are best when easily scannable, so in truth, many people will go through and only read the highlights.

        Perhaps that’s the difference between blog posting and fiction writing as well?

      • Sylviane Nuccio
        Nov 07, 2013 @ 18:41:57

        Amen to that Sue. There’s a blog post to write right there ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. David Gillaspie
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 16:07:53

    Love the format Jon. Instead of asking what’s wrong, you show the stuff we all read about and put it in it’s place.

    Besides, one of my favorite phrases is “getting your ass handed to you.” And you nailed it.

    Got a feeling you’ve read lots of bloggers asking “What am I doing wrong and how do I fix it” and your advice fell on deaf ears (that’s not how Seth Godin does it.)

    This instructive post shows two paths and you lead with the one most trusted thn explain why you shouldn’t trust it.

    That is a road less traveled all the time. Thanks.

  41. Play Buffett
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 16:11:08

    Hey Jon,

    Fantastic kick-in-the-seat-of-your-pants post, as usual–thanks a million!

    One key question for you, though, re: #10 and your rec to spend a minimum of 20 hrs/week on blogging: How would you suggest bloggers best allocate those 20 hours?

    I mean, are you proposing spending the whole time on writing & revising to the point of epic awesomeness (i.e. about 3 hrs/day)? Or would you include some other key activities in those 20 hrs, too?

    I guess what I’m most curious about is what you would recommend in terms of a blogger’s Daily Routine.

    Cheers, Play

    • Julie Gray
      Oct 24, 2013 @ 23:45:39

      Thank you for this Jon – #20 especially. For me it drove home just how critical all of your other points are. I’ve got a long way to go but it is the generous sharing and motivation found in posts like this that keep me excited to keep going. Thanks.

    • Jon Morrow
      Oct 28, 2013 @ 10:54:35

      In the beginning, you want to spend 80%+ of your time on promotion, including guest blogging, outreach, and social espionage. Only 20% on your own content.

      • Play Buffett
        Oct 28, 2013 @ 18:14:50

        Wow, not quite what I expected to hear (which is great!), but a fascinating and memorable application of the 80/20 rule for new bloggers. Again, thanks a mill, Jon! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Play Buffett
        Oct 28, 2013 @ 18:16:02

        P.S. Would love to see you do a post on How to Do Social Espionage! ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. Sylvia
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 16:42:50

    This is so refreshing! I got hung up on #5 though.

    Common sense is my middle name. And I do everything I can do to cram common sense down my readers’ throats. And the worst of it is that I KNOW they don’t want to hear the common sense advice. I KNOW they want their ears tickled and their heads gently stroked.

    How do you find a middle ground without losing your “authenticity”?

    • LaCharla Figgs
      Oct 24, 2013 @ 17:34:10

      Sylvia, I’m curious; care to share an example of this common sense your readers dislike so much? Also, do your readers let you know they don’t like it?

      • Sylvia
        Oct 24, 2013 @ 23:28:41

        LaCharla, I advice entrepreneurs how to write their business plan and how to start their business. Many (most?) of them are looking for free money (grants) to start their businesses. They don’t want to hear that there are no grants for for-profit startups. They don’t like to hear they need to start saving their own money. They don’t like to hear they need to clean up their credit history if they want to apply for loans.

        They don’t tell me directly on my blog they don’t like the common sense approach. It’s more apt to come up in forum comments.

        But what Jon says makes sense. If they don’t want to hear it I need to find a way to communicate my message differently.

  43. Paul Back
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 17:56:31

    Hey Jon

    I couldn’t agree with you more on this one. The most important thing is to get started and stop making excuses as to why you can’t and start doing what you can.

    I totally relate to number 16… In fact I am doing that right now. I’m going to work on a guest blog tonight and put it up on the forums. It’s time to stop making excuses and start getting to work.


  44. jen
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 19:10:25

    I’m horrified by my mistakes, too, Jon. You are just swell!!! I love your pots, even I disagree about RSS. I heart FEEDLY!

  45. Mary Green
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 19:11:56

    I can’t even count how many people I talk to daily that say “I don’t have time to blog”. Drives me crazy, we all have the same 24 hours a day, you have time, you just choose to spend it differently. Own your choices people, if you don’t ‘have time’ it’s because you don’t make it.

  46. jen
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 19:14:21

    I love your posts, too. hahaha!

  47. Beat Schindler
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 19:39:18

    Hi Jon,

    another instant classic from the man!

    The best I’ve read on blogging – by smiles.
    I don’t think I’m sticking my neck out by predicting it will go megaโ€“viral.

    The number of blogs once started with enthusiasm but then gone dead without a whimper is staggering. Because most new bloggers apparently soon give a crap about number 20 of your 20 ways nobody gives a crap about.

    For who has given up, your fabulous post comes too late.
    For the rest of us – experts in steps 1 through 19 – it’s pure gold :-]
    Given the price of gold these day, a BIG hearty thank-you!

  48. Katy Emma
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 20:07:01

    Ha ha, Jon – we can always count on you to tell it like it is … I am guilty of too many of these to confess to here, but suffice it to say, message received loud and clear. And thanks, this is why we love you!

  49. Peggy Nolan
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 20:34:11

    Hi Jon,

    I’ve made so many mistakes! But the good news is that I’ve learned from them and continue to learn. Back in April I pitched Huffington Post and holy moly, I’m a bona fide contributor. That has been huge for me as a writer and as a blogger. I’m also not afraid to ASK – I recently wrote an article that had nothing to do with my niche audience but I sent the link to a more appropriate venue and I ended up with over 1,350 visitors to my blog…on a Sunday no less. Of course I’d like to repeat that kind of traffic on a regular basis, but until then, I keep practicing!

    thank you for this great post!

    Peggy Nolan

  50. Joshua Lawson (@Joshua__Lawson)
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 20:50:50

    Love it! Thanks, Jon. Your posts about blogging are the most helpful I have yet to read.

  51. Markรฉta
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 22:03:19

    Not bad article, but I am raging on your RSS mention.
    There is nothing more annoying that stupid sites who begs me for my e-mail. I hate it so much, but sometimes I won’t resist. Then I regret.
    And never open it.
    Which is bad. Bad for you bloggers. Because if I don’t open your e-mail for some time, and neither the next, Google will soon look at you as spammer.

    If I wouln’t able to make RSS subscription, I would not follow this blog, even if the every word would be from gold.

    No rss, no reading. Same goes for everyone I know, who spend some time on the Internet.

    Email subscription sucks and probably always will.
    Email is for work and for necessary conversation. Not for being spammed every day with 100 work emails and then tons of blogs emails.

    • Sylvia
      Oct 25, 2013 @ 13:20:38

      Marketa you have a bit of an anger management issue…

      If you refuse to read blogs that use email subscription opt ins, even though you acknowledge you are missing out on golden information…it’s your loss. Or just click the little X and continue reading.

      And here’s a little hint for you: work email should be separate from personal email.

      And one more hint: don’t click on my name because you will be met with yet another god awful subscription opt in page. It might just send you over the edge.

  52. Lauren Tharp
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 22:21:53

    Excellent post, Jon! ๐Ÿ™‚

    The only one I wasn’t full-on nodding in agreement to was #4… When writers strive to create a long post that’s long for the sake of being long, it’s hardly ever a good read.

    I’m a strong believer of “When it’s done; it’s done.”

    If it takes me 500 words to make my point, fine; if it takes me 2,500 words to make my point, that’s fine too.

    Sophie Lizard wrote an article on conciseness the other day that really spoke to me. She said, “A 3000-word epic blog post is still concise if every one of those words serves a purpose. Length is not the measure of conciseness. Value is.”

    Writing short posts isn’t necessarily a sign of a lazy/bad writer.

    The other 19 points you made? Perfect. <3

    You always deliver on value, Jon. Regardless of length. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  53. Kammie @ Sensual Appeal
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 22:41:19

    Jon, you’ve done it again – telling it how it is, no bullshit and definitely the right way we need to hear it. I definitely do do some of these in my own blogging and didn’t think they were wrong but I loved your explanations of why you think it makes a mediocre blogger, and you are SO right. You are brilliant.

  54. Sheila Bergquist
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 01:21:08

    Such great advice, as always! You just gave me a good dose of inspiration…thanks for that.

  55. Heidi Pungartnik
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 04:06:07

    Great advice, as usual. I see a paradox in the #19: you need to publish the best content to other blogs, but you also need to publish your best content to you own blog, so people can see that it wasn’t just a one-off. Tough one ๐Ÿ™‚

  56. Ken @ HappinessInternational.org
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 04:46:24

    At the risk of violating #5 about common sense advice, let me suggest #21:

    21. Have nothing original to say

    How often have you read a blog post and all it is is a rehash of something you’ve already read?

    What unique voice, experience, personality, and perspective can you bring to the discussion?

    That’s what I want to read, not your high school level essay of “What I learned reading somebody else’s stuff.”

    Admittedly (and in clear violation of #5) we are all learning from each other. It’s what makes us humans what we are but if your blog is another “me too” site, you won’t compete with the successful originals.

    If you are writing a blog it better be because you have something to say.

    Be passionate, be relevant, be yourself.

    Anything less isn’t worthy of your precious time and energy.

    And, Jon, thanks for absolutely killing it on this post. You’re true vanquisher of #21.

  57. Razwana
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 05:07:28

    Yikes – add to that ‘send more time tweaking your site design than promoting’ and you basically have my life ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Well, I haven’t made aaall the mistakes listed, but have crossed off a fair few. Learning is progress, right?

  58. B(r)ouillon
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 05:45:23

    Thanks for this post… you’re inspiring!

  59. Silviu
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 07:26:36

    Well damn. This advice is so powerful that probably 99% of people will get a headache and run for their lives after reading. Never to return again. Yes, all those millions of bored visitors who have gazillions of blogs available to read and just look for the best entertainers. Do we really need them?

    Now, this style of yours is strange. I still cannot figure out the real Jon Morrow. On the one hand, when I look at your photo, you seem a good man, open, warm and friendly.

    When I read your posts, I see a very clever writer and marketer. To tell people the truth, to throw it on their faces and then make them think it is for their own good and make them thank you in the end … . This is the mark of a very, very clever and tough marketer.

    I think the only reason you are still alive and well is the fact that you are Jon Morrow and you have an established and powerful reputation. Otherwise, advice like this will quickly left you alone in the dark in a desert bigger than Sahara.

    Yes, all you said is true. However, now I wonder who you really are. Are you an open, warm, friendly person who loves to help other people or just an extremely clever writer and marketer who knows well the psychology of human beings? Time will tell

    Have a wonderful day

  60. Cathy Testa
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 07:33:56

    I’m so glad I discovered you – and found your links and articles. I’ve been sharing with a group of CT bloggers. Thanks so much! Cathy Testa

  61. Mr.CBB
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 08:28:43

    Excellent post.
    Many people do give up because blogging can be very overwhelming. I found this read to be encouraging.

  62. arnold singson
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 09:42:58

    Anak ng Pusa! (Filipino exclamation “son of a cat” for such a great post). I plan to unsubscribe you but..,just have changed my mind!

    Keep piercing,Jon!

  63. Deanna
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 12:08:28

    I agree on some of your points(don’t worry about your theme and just post already) but your other points work depending on what type of blog you have.

    I am part of a women blogging community that is really supportive that includes many mom and food bloggers who are doing opposite of what you are doing: storytelling, boosting their Social Media numbers,etc.

    These women are getting many opportunities to write sponsored posts and paid advertisement on their sites.

    Not sure if you have heard of Massive Sway? Look it up. I am amazed. These women are making the car payments basically. Campaign programs like Sverve highly encourage storytelling.

    I think people need to just continue to do trial and error and not follow too closely at all these blogging gurus that are out there-there are TONS of them. What works for some, doesn’t work for others.

  64. Jessica
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 12:33:47

    Just what I needed to read this morning. I’ve been fumbling all over the place with mistakes, but I know I just need to get up and get going. Thanks a bunch, Jon!

  65. Vukasin
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 14:27:54

    I definitely love what you are writting and I’m pretty much have same opinion about most of the things you write on your blog. But I can’t agree with number 3. All Social Media accounts must be built with blog together, started at same time.
    And I can’t agree more with number 9. Lot of people worry about SEO to much and forgeting the most important part of it- Creating quality content that matters.

    Thanks Jon for such nice post.

  66. Kevin
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 14:44:17

    First of all, I LOVE the headline to this post. You could have added choose lame headlines as a big mistake too. The one I used to be most guilty of is writing for SEO purposes. I found that really put a clamp on the creative flow and quite frankly, took the joy out of writing. I really like the tip about writing longer blog posts too. You’re right, most just don’t take the time to do this.. or maybe they don’t have that much to say about their topic. Another big mistake I see is assuming that your content will get noticed without a marketing plan.

  67. Linda Formichelli
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 17:43:26

    Especially love the tip to write long content. My blog posts have always averaged 800-1000 words, and for a while I wondered if I was doing it wrong because the conventional wisdom was to keep posts under 300 words. Ha!

  68. Rhonda Kronyk
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 18:33:11

    I can’t get enough of your advice, Jon. In this instance, I am happy to say that I don’t make all of these mistakes – I’m doing something right! Now, to work on the rest ๐Ÿ™‚

    For me, #14 (along with Carol Tice’s comment about waiting to write) is my biggest kick in the ass. I’m getting better at it. Now I’m going to turn my wireless off and get to work on my current writing project!

  69. Halona Black
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 19:24:37

    I thought I was doing it right by writing 500 to 600 words!!! Back to the drawing board… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  70. Rob Schneider
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 23:32:07

    Time for me to set up an email list.

    It seems to me that a lot of your excellent tips could be summed up in a sentence: “Return to the original spirit of blogging.” Blogging was originally all about sharing information and only later about traffic and profit. That led to keyword stuffing, “500 word maximum” rules and the rise of blogging gurus, 9 out or 10 of whom simply copy what they read on other blogging gurus blogs.

    Okay. Now it’s time for me to take 10 points above, write “10 Reasons Why Your Blog Sucks” and pretend the ideas are original. I’m no fool. I’ll copy you instead of Seth Godin!

  71. Surat
    Oct 26, 2013 @ 01:21:18

    Wonderful content. A good article to read and follow after a long time. Never thought of these topics these way. Mostly I have done these mistakes in all my blogs and articles. Was finding out where I was lacking and this post helped me out in finding the loop holes in my seo.

  72. Sarah
    Oct 26, 2013 @ 17:38:46


    Thank you so much for this inspiring article! I am going to try to do better at many of these points, including trying to blog more regularly than what I have been for some time. I am a homeschool mommy blogger, and I can only blog about fun and interesting things they learn and do in our homeschool day. Nobody wants to read that today my 1st grader did another # of workbook pages between breakfast and lunch, then played an online learning game before having free time to build Lego projects in the afternoon. My readers like when we show fun crafts, or tell about a unique way of getting children to have fun while learning.

    My readers are busy homeschool moms who are searching for a quick and fun activity to use with their child in a hands on way of engaging their child’s mind without the child realizing that they are doing school. These moms scan homeschooling blogs looking for things they can quickly recreate with what they already have in the house. They are not going to sit and read a 1,000 word blog post, while lil Jimmy and Jenny are eating the paste, dumping the Legos, writing on the walls with crayons or markers. They have 5 minutes to find something to utilize to get their school day under control. I have to do school during the day with my 1st grader, take pics for blog posts of the interesting things that we do to give other moms ideas, occupy my 2 year old, feed them, potty train the younger one, give him a nap, and nurse him to sleep. Clean house, cook dinner, greet hubby, keep big brother who has ADHD from hurting lil brother with his Star Wars lightsabers. Feed dinner, give baths, tick kids in. The only time I have to myself to think in a quiet room, and put something together that comes across as half way intelligible is at night, in the dark, while both of my two young, very active boys are peacefully sleeping. How do you propose us homeschool mommy bloggers do it, when our first priority has to be keeping our children alive and taken care of. Please keep on mind, we have multiple age children at home, all in different learning stages and with different needs as far as paying attention to them and reading to them, and having to answer to outside people about how much schoolwork we get done with our kids each day. I cannot afford to put my children’s physical, emotional, or educational needs after blogging. Also, there has to be something interesting done and taken pictures of to go in those blog posts, or there wouldn’t be a blog. My children are the reason I do what I do. Not the other way around. I share tips with other moms if I feel I have something useful to share.

    Thank you for all that you do for us bloggers! Please remember that we are not made from cookie cutters. It is not a one size fits all world. The challenges that we face I. The homeschool blogging mommy niche is pretty unique. Yes, 24 hours in each day, but they are all spent as wisely as we can spread ourselves thin to get everything IRL done that has to come first! We are raising human beings! If I do not have time to hear my sons’ brilliant jokes or their laughs and give them a big hug, then blogging would be taking away from the kind of mommy I am proud to be!

  73. Sarah
    Oct 26, 2013 @ 17:49:45

    Probably many corrections that I could make to my comment above, but definitely would like to replace laughs with laughter. Although, if Jenny McCarthy can write books titled Belly Laughs, and Baby Laughs, then hey, I guess hearing my sons’ laughs is not too much of a mistake. I happen to have all of this time to write this on my phone, while my left arm is trapped under a nursing, sleeping baby. I hate blogging on my phone. I have to be sitting upsi the blood flows, and sitting I front if my open laptop to feel inspired to write. It’s a personal thing, just like each writer has their own way of sitting down to write. Thanks!

    • Fika
      Oct 28, 2013 @ 03:58:56

      Great story, Sarah…
      I’m a mommy blogger too… ^_^ Read your story give me a new spirit.

  74. Dave
    Oct 27, 2013 @ 13:46:32

    very good points, but people have to learn on their own — that if they go through the process on their own without one-on-one mentorship. But that’s exactly where the fun comes from, just starting and failing and learning all these things eventually as they move along.

  75. Terry Gurno
    Oct 28, 2013 @ 08:53:03

    Jon, great stuff! I’ve been a speaker for 20+ years and now I’m focusing on writing as well. It’s completely different. I have made all these mistakes so far. I got a nice slap in the face with a “whatsa matta you” when I read it. Just what I needed.

    Thank you!

  76. Judy
    Oct 28, 2013 @ 11:35:05

    Have we met before because this post is about me!! I want to start my blog…and have been waiting for a *techy freelancer* to grace me with their time, choosing my domain name and wordpress theme is and has taken eons, and I thought I had to figure out Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and A NEWSLETTER before my blog could see the light of day. I’m so glad RSS won’t be needed anymore coz it was on my list of ‘techy’ mountains to conquer. Close call. Your’e the greatest…thanks for saving my life.

  77. Annette Skarin (under pen name Annie Freewriter)
    Oct 28, 2013 @ 16:24:30

    I’m at the bottom of the comments finally. It took me most of the day and now I’m overwhelmed with advice. I don’t know how to guest post. I don’t do well in groups, but I do well in bantering with others. I do have a lot to say, so I want to blog. The number one thing I’m trying to accomplish is writing my memoirs, but I don’t want to blog my memoir. I’ve been told by everyone who knows me, that I’m a great storyteller. Do you have a post about guest posting? I need help with that.If you don’t have time to find me down here, maybe someone (commentator) can show me where to find info about guest blogging. Thanks Jon

    Going to print and read all your advice until I get it.

  78. Jenny
    Oct 30, 2013 @ 16:22:47

    Thanks for a great post! I learned loads, I especially like point 16 if you’re procrastinating then give yourself a kick up the bum, there are always other things you can be getting on with!

    Oct 31, 2013 @ 08:19:14

    John, amazing post here. I got so much out of this. I recently posted a blog of over 2,200 words on year end tax planning. I was afraid it was too long. Also, the at least 10 hours a week idea is probably true. As to the 1,000 subscribers that is a lofty goal as I am only at 450 or so. Thanks very much for this informative post!

  80. Scott Ayres
    Oct 31, 2013 @ 12:30:52

    First time I’ve ever seen your blog or heard of you to be honest. But I love this article! As someone that has blogged a shit ton the past 3 years I can so relate to all of these points and have been guilty of each and every one of them at one time or another!

  81. Amber Argyle
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 21:36:44

    Well, it’s a good thing I make a living as a novelist then. *throwing rule 1 out the window* ๐Ÿ˜‰

  82. Gail
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 22:43:58

    That’s a lot of attention on mediocrity in blogging and well deserved. I would add trying to tackle too many changes at once. Focused takeaway gems for me: not sweating the small stuff and #19 – guest posting. Thanks!

  83. Ash
    Nov 06, 2013 @ 17:28:27

    A beautifully crafted work of art! Engaging, incisive and delivered with surgical precision. Thank you.

  84. Sylviane Nuccio
    Nov 07, 2013 @ 18:39:43

    Great post, Jon.

    Sorry if it’s my first time commenting here. Don’t know where I’ve been.

    I love all the points but especially the one you’re saying that it’s useless to post great content before getting traffic. That makes sense, but actually goes against what most people say. I guess they are just not thinking ๐Ÿ™‚

    I know of a few blogs where they had excellent content before getting any traffic and those posts went to waste no doubt.

  85. Stephen Reed
    Nov 09, 2013 @ 02:54:48

    Hey Jon,

    Great post, just in time to remind me how off track I am, and how, if I want a successful blog, one that is flourishing in 6 months time, I need to really change mindset from what I ‘thought’ would work, to what actually might.

    Guest post in has got to be where it’s at, and I’m also going to start a podcast series, and try to interview some of those same people who’s blogs I hope to post on.

    Thanks for the tips

  86. Arbaz Khan
    Nov 12, 2013 @ 09:32:16

    Hey Jon,
    That are some really cool tips on how we can avoid becoming just another blogger. I have too committed some of the mentioned things and never approached any blogger with a proposal.
    Got the first of my guest post rejected by some top blogs but now I am happy and making enough online to go ahead and experiment with my dreams and goals ๐Ÿ™‚

  87. Daniel
    Nov 12, 2013 @ 14:08:25

    Avoiding these mistakes sounds like a great start, but not doing any mistakes at all is a mistake in itself (Oh boy, we’ve gone meta and paradoxical in one sentence).

    I think people would have a hard time figuring out how to solve a problem if they haven’t experienced a mistake in approaching it.
    They might remember this list, and consult it, but perhaps a year filled with mistakes (like the year you had, for example) will temper them to what’s to come, and teach them how to move among the flow of things.

    Perhaps it’d be a good thing to go to encourage people to keep an open mind about mistakes, but also teach them how to learn from them. Avoiding alone won’t suffice.

    Like that saying goes: “Teach a man to fish…”

  88. Haopee
    Nov 13, 2013 @ 11:14:28

    LOL. So much for entrusting my blog to Blogger. I’m no blog expert. I just want to talk about dogs… and I can’t even get past the 100 mark in subscribers. I guess I am doing some things right– and a lot of things wrong.

    I actually stuck to finish reading the entire post. How in the world do you do that?

    I have no idea who Seth Godin is. As for Jon Morrow, all I can say is, “Oh, he’s the guy that crossed out half of my “Blogging To Do List” because it was full of crap.” And I say that with all due respect. ๐Ÿ™‚

  89. Toby
    Nov 17, 2013 @ 20:36:45

    I love this post, written with such style. I was just thinking how awash the internet is with forgettable blog posts and then I read this memorable, insightful and compelling piece. How refreshing! I found myself nodding grimly at some of the points you mention that I’m guilty of. Not being in the mood to write, procrastinating, trying to find the perfect domain, perfect theme etc. I need to just get on with it and quit monkeying around. Thanks for the kick-in-the ass Jon, just what I needed to read. Bookmarked.

  90. Dani
    Nov 24, 2013 @ 14:57:54

    Great post. The one that wow-ed me the most was when he said to not be concerned with SEO and keyword but instead to concentrate on creating content that is others will share for you.

    I am guilty of that one AND of building a social network ๐Ÿ™‚

  91. Anna @ thelondonscrapbook.com
    Nov 27, 2013 @ 16:12:36

    Brilliant! One question on #19: What if the reader who loves your great content on a guest blog gets to your site and finds not-so-great content? Do you rely on the original post to get people hooked, and ‘convert’ (to take a sales term)/follow?

  92. Simon Anthony
    Dec 04, 2013 @ 11:24:19

    OK, I feel embarrassed now. I can identify with quite a few of those. Right now I am struggling with the question of “Should I just be me ?”, or “Should I try to look smarter/more interesting than I think I am ?”. A lot of people say “write like you talk to a friend”, so I am trying that out. Shame I have no traffic to read my posts because my blog is so new, so I have no idea if it works or not !

    For now I’ll keep plugging away and keep coming here for advice.

  93. Meggan Hill
    Dec 04, 2013 @ 21:23:32

    I laughed out loud at so many things in this post. Nothing beats important subject matter told in an interesting, hilarious manner. I bet people listen when you tell stories at bars!

  94. Stan Eigi
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 08:08:13

    This is an amazing article! Hard to believe we make so many mistakes… Well, I suppose no one’s perfect.

  95. Richard Haynes
    Jan 05, 2014 @ 06:30:33

    Its amazing how much I still have to learn about what I am doing with my blog. Thanks for the valuable information. I myself as well have made these mistakes plus others and trying to uncover many more I may be making right now.

    One thing, I do wish I would have researched more before starting my blog I may have gone with Word Press rather than blogger.

  96. Joseph Ratliff
    Jan 14, 2014 @ 13:18:00

    Guilty of all 20 of these at different points in my career.

    But the “Seth Godin” part was fantastic. Seth can do what he does because he has busted his ass writing 14 (count them, FOURTEEN) best sellers. Most people dream of writing ONE best seller.

    But aside from that, to me, using Seth as an example to strive towards is not a good idea for two reasons:

    1. Seth is the result of what HE did (think about that).

    2. You, the person who is reading this, are not Seth… nor should you want to be. You should want to be you, that is the person I am waiting to hear from.

    Those, and the NFL Lineman analogy you used Jon.

    This post should be required reading once a year for every writer. Excellent.

  97. Alicia Rades
    Jan 17, 2014 @ 10:23:03

    This advice is insanely true!!! Thank you for sharing what NOT to do in the world of blogging.

  98. Konrad Sanders
    Jan 27, 2014 @ 16:42:24

    This is brilliant, thanks Jon! I’m definitely guilty of a number of these crimes…one of which being my incessant need to perfect every post – instead of just knocking them out as I should be doing! I like the point you made about stories… I sure have read some crappy stories on people’s blogs. Which is a shame, as storytelling can be such a powerful tool. One thing I have learned to do, is fearlessly approach and interact with big influencers such as yourself – so expect to see a lot more of me and my hat around and about

  99. shushraj
    Feb 05, 2014 @ 05:00:55

    very nice content.thank u ..

  100. Abhishek Tavasalkar
    Feb 19, 2014 @ 09:21:31

    Most of these were really what I was thinking should be good work and you just blew all my thoughts into vain. Thank you for that because now I could start with something new. You make me hang on to every word you say and gets me inspired. Thank for this post. Consider me a worshiper of BBT.

  101. Allyson Stroschein
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 11:21:12

    In a few months I’ll celebrate my one year anniversary for the launch of my blog. I needed to read this a year ago, but I don’t think I would have fully absorbed it because I didn’t know what I was doing it. Not that I’m a blogging toddler, I’m grateful to be reading this now. It’s finally starting to become clear. I love your content, Jon.

  102. Nikki Powles
    Mar 12, 2014 @ 09:53:42

    Dear Jon! im new to blogging and have been scouring the internet for weeks getting confused and not knowing where to start your blogging is inspiring and direct which i love… Thankyou The tip about news letters directed to the blog seems a great idea I feel more prepared to move on ๐Ÿ™‚

  103. Jennifer Sheldon
    Apr 20, 2014 @ 18:58:18

    I am writing because to my surprise I read every last word of the article, something I rarely do. An article about how to write should itself be written well, and this was masterful. By the end I was like ‘hot damn that was super’. Thanks for offering a relief from the tedium of those who think they can write.

  104. Frank
    Jul 04, 2014 @ 08:03:12

    Just love these no-no articles. Personally I have been reading hundreds of “how to do something” articles, and finding a funny reverse of this style of article gives me a good laugh. And it also tells me how to improve my blogging skills without patronizing me.

  105. Hadia
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 00:59:54

    You are sooo amazing and this article, I had to bookmark it! I can honestly relate to and made almost every mistake on this list as well. I am really going to take your advice and strengthen my blog… Expecially the tip on writing quality articles but don’t post all of them yet until you have some traffic coming in, or there’s no point.

  106. Ben Brearley
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 19:23:04

    This list was daunting. Especially since I’m violating many of the points already.
    Should give up….but…your last sentences….Just…Keep….Going!

    Ok, I’ll keep going.

    Thanks for the post

  107. Pina
    Sep 14, 2014 @ 03:45:53

    You forgot one final piece of advice: if you’re a mommy blogger, give up now. They are almost universally boring, overuse cliched words like ‘nurturing’ to an extreme degree, and contain boring posts about people’s uninteresting trivia. They all sound the same too: utterly non-judgemental (everybody’s allowed to be as neurotic as they are, everybody’s ‘entitled’ to their reactions), although there are a few exceptions where it’s fine to judge others. It’s OK to whine about people (men) who don’t make a big deal out of mommiehood for instance, likewise anyone who doesn’t agree with them on everything (they take disagreement as a threat to their identities, which it is given so many of them are vaguely insecure). Mommy bloggers always claim they’re kids are the ‘most amazing little people’, and continually congratulate themselves over the fact they’re a mom given how hard it is. They also stray into areas no-one wants to hear about: like their kid’s vomiting habits, toilet training regimes and over-the-top birthday celebrations. Ban them all I say: with few exceptions, no-one reads them anyway, so the world will hardly notice. Mommy bloggers sites are like Etsy for breeders, but even crappier and uninteresting.

  108. Brandon Patros
    Oct 07, 2014 @ 08:16:40

    Loved it! Especially about making mistakes, thankfully I haven’t noticed any major ones yet but time will tell I suppose!

  109. Brandon Patros
    Nov 04, 2014 @ 07:37:46

    Love number 14!!

  110. Devidasan S D
    Nov 16, 2014 @ 04:32:41

    Interesting and very useful article.. never thought success was far away from me unless i change my course by reading something like this..

  111. Margaux Daughtry
    Dec 12, 2014 @ 20:15:46

    Thank God I found your website! You are the Dr. Phil of blogging! I think I am in love! lol Not in a psycho stalker way, in a professional, finally I have found someone who knows what they’re talking about way! ๐Ÿ™‚

    You finally are giving me all the answers I have been searching and asking and searching and asking for! All I kept getting was the same ole generic spew copied from someone else’s blog!

    I also wanted to tell you that I followed your advice on the headline hacks and it has already started to get my posts noticed more! Pure genius! Thank you!

  112. vidya
    Jan 08, 2015 @ 11:37:34

    Hi Jon, I found this post through blogher just yesterday and so glad I did – this made me smile while I realized how many mistakes I have made :). I am sure I will learn a lot as I go through more of your posts. Thank you

  113. Laurie
    Feb 02, 2015 @ 19:15:09

    Loved all the advice. Only confusion was that Seth Godin tends to do very short posts. Some are one paragraph long. Personally I like the bite-size pieces thing, but wondered how you felt about that.

  114. Anil Agarwal
    Feb 08, 2015 @ 08:19:42

    Hi Jon,

    Another kick-ass article from you. I always love reading your stuff. Most beginners always lack of one thing: “vision”.

    If they don’t know where they are going, they are not going to get the right kind of traffic, links or leads. It’s where you need to start focusing on your main goals that give you more returns in the long run.

  115. Marlena B
    Feb 19, 2015 @ 15:17:49

    Hi, Jon, I just stumbled upon your beautiful post and I have to say that it helps me understand blogging a bit more. Your writing style is refreshing!

    I agree with Carol Tice, ‘be a writer not a waiter’. I, too, spent a lot of time (months) just for choosing a theme. Now I spend time decorating and preparing my blog, in other words, procrastinating.

    I’m not sure about #7. If you’re an introverted person, it takes time to learn how not to ‘be polite’.