Why I Won’t Be Writing Any More Blogging Advice Posts

imageYesterday, during #SundayBlogShare, a single tweet got my attention. It was a simple statement without a link – I can’t find the actual tweet now but it went something like this:

A blog post that isn’t about writing a blog post.

In the last twelve months or so, I’ve seen a huge increase in this type of content. Indeed, Pinterest and Twitter in particular are littered with them. There are entire blogs who are devoted to the complicated and time-consuming art of blogging. It’s the one type of post that any blogger can do, and fits with any niche or theme.

I’ve done a number of posts myself that I refer to as ‘Blog Advice’ – hints, tips and guidelines on everything from increasing traffic, understanding the insignificance of how many times a WordPress post is liked, replying to comments, and using hashtags and group boards to build a following and community – and I have based these on my own experiences of what has worked for me. At the time, it always feels like these sorts of posts always get more traffic than any other – there’s usually an immediate and positive response that is accompanied by a number of social media shares and comments.

However, upon closer inspection, they aren’t as successful as they initially appear. Indeed, within my ten most successful posts of all time, there isn’t a single blog advice post – my most popular posts are ones where I have shared a personal story or thoughts on teaching (and quitting it), relationships, pets and emotional intelligence. There aren’t even any in the top fifteen. It isn’t that I have done any less promotion on them than any other post, but it seems clear that, while they may be useful at the time, my readers aren’t as inclined to share or revisit them – once they’ve read it, they have the information they may feel that they need and don’t return to it again. Or, potentially it could mean that they thought it was complete nonsense, and were too polite to say anything…

Here’s a few thoughts on advice posts and why they may actually be detrimental to your readership:

At what point do we deem a blog successful enough to take their word as absolute? I started writing advice posts after I had received about 40,000 views, and my knowledge then was minimal compared to what I know now. Indeed, I see many bloggers who have only just joined the community, and seasoned bloggers with an enormous following writing posts on hints and tips. Who is to say which one is more valid? Would you follow the opinions on a post that is beautifully written, or base it on the numbers – they don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand.

There’s no right or wrong way to blog (that’s one of the many reasons why I love it).

Advice posts can be seen as negative, ie. you’re failing if you aren’t doing a particular thing, and sometimes they make others feel intimidated or disheartened, even by the titles alone, and I’ve read a number of posts recently that tell me as such.

They have started to fall into the category of writing just for a blogging audience. However, a readership does not solely consist of bloggers – I know a number of family members, friends, former colleagues and members of the public that read my ramblings regularly, and advice posts could potentially alienate those who don’t have an interest in blogging.

Not all of these posts are truly authentic in the advice that is given – a blogger will tell you to reply to comments (which, admittedly is a great way to build a community) but won’t share the fact that they paid £50 to Facebook to advertise a post, or the fact that they follow blogs to encourage a follow back, only to unfollow later on. I tried the Facebook thing once – I paid £13 and received nine extra views… total waste of money.

Of course, some posts are incredibly useful (and I’ve found some level of success myself after reading them and following their instructions) but unless somebody says ‘here’s a button that you can press to make your post go viral’ there is nothing new to say that hasn’t already been said a thousand times before, in a thousand different ways. It’s even got to the point where enormously successful posts are being stolen and passed off as their own work by other bloggers (unfortunately I’ve witnessed this on several occasions recently), purely because many people have run out of ideas. Sad, but true.

So, for the time being at least, or unless I find a new and effective way to increase my stats that nobody has used before, I won’t be writing any new advice posts. There’s nothing else I can say without the risk of repeating myself. That doesn’t mean I won’t be sharing my older ones in the way I always have, or reading and sharing those of others, and I am going to revamp the ‘Blogging Advice’ section in my menu where I can keep all of my advice posts on one area, but I’m going to return to what I originally started the blog for all those years ago: to share my life, my thoughts and my personal experiences with a community that has been an invaluable source of support.

What about you guys? Do you find advice posts useful? Do you write your own advice posts?

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199 thoughts on “Why I Won’t Be Writing Any More Blogging Advice Posts

  1. I really tend to err away from writing advice posts Suzie. I had a couple brainstormed at one point but they’ve never seen the light of day. Because I prefer to leave those posts to blogs that more in that niche. It’s not why I started blogging in the first place. It’s not my passion and I’m not convinced social media needs another one like it. Not from me, anyway!

  2. I’ve learned some things from them, but I take them with a cup or two of salt–especially after I followed someone or other’s advice to use Pinterest and discovered that it’s a terrible fit for me (which is a polite way to say I think it’s a complete waste of time and I hate it, although, ahem, I do understand that other people feel differently). So I follow the advice that make sense to me and ignore or don’t read the rest. I’ve never been good at following the rules, but by now know how to not follow them pretty effectively.

    One of the things that struck me early on is the bloggers were advising other bloggers to ask questions in order to get reader comments, and it explained why I was seeing so many blogs that ended in awkward and uninteresting questions–questions that didn’t make me want to leave a comment.

  3. Hi Susie, I stopped reading blogging advice posts a while ago. I agree with you: they all say pretty much the same thing and what’s more they imply there’s a right way to do this – there isn’t!

  4. The more specific the advice post, the more useful I tend to find it. Eg how to use a specific widget thingummy (I’m not a techie!).

    Endless list posts of advice are often just clickbait rehashing of advice that’s been in the blog domain for some time. I don’t engage with these

  5. Hi,first I have to say new bloggers and infrequent bloggers need that type of place, where they can go and ask something or just read how a ping back works and what it is. Yes I have found it useful and if the advice or tip isn’t what I need I move on. I have never paid for follows as I think it defeats the point, for me at least. But you can probably tell that from my numbers, it is two years almost since I began and thanks to yourself and Chris the reading ape’s blog advice I have survived.

  6. I can totally see where you’re coming from. The majority of advice posts I’ve read (mainly in the first few months) are, as you say, a repeat of what everyone else is saying. There’s one site that I read a few times and often had titles such as ‘100 ways to increase traffic’. When you actually read it, there are maybe 20 points that are re-worded in five different ways to get the magic number. Bonkers!
    Commenting, sharing and being yourself are still some of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given since blogging. That said, functional advice, such as your hashtag post was very helpful – I’d have never known most of them existed without it. So thanks, I’m very glad you shared that one before signing off! 😊

  7. as you said, i tend to read them and take in the information. once i’ve read them, i don’t often refer back, though i do find them helpful, i love to learn from others who have been there.

    • I think that’s something that I’ve only realised recently – I always assumed that these would be the biggest thing from a stats perspective, but that really isn’t the case at all!

  8. I have found some advice posts useful but, like you say, I don’t really engage with them much beyond that. I also know that a lot of my readers don’t blog, plus I don’t feel anywhere near qualified enough to offer blogging advice, other than to write whatever you feel 🙂

  9. Sometimes I do because I don’t have personal friends that blog so when I started I knew nothing. The different points of view helped me be more objective with aspects of my blog. I don’t always take the advice but it is good to hear how other people have done it.

  10. I still find those posts useful as I’m still learning myself. However, I’ve started to notice that most all of those kinds of posts say the same thing. Blogging is blogging and I think everyone has their own style and different ways of going about it.

  11. I wouldn’t totally abandon the idea of these advice blogposts. Maybe you should only write them once in a while as a “special” event. I, and I’m sure many others, find them useful and meaningful. Life is full of grey areas. Nothing is ever absolute. Your blogging shouldn’t be absolute either. Just my two cents. You have a great blog. I love reading it:)

  12. My most popular post, ten times over, is How to ask a blogger to review your book. I only have a handful of how to posts. Most of mine are book reviews, but I’m trying to share more personal posts and flash fiction.

  13. I have only been blogging for two years, and often wonder if I should start writing the odd ‘about blogging’ post. I don’t really feel qualified enough to try, and after reading your post, it’s probably wise not to. We seem to be drowning in helpful advice, although most of them never seem to be effective when attempted.
    Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for all the help I have received along the way, but it might well be time to get back to fun and interesting posts. Like this one!

  14. Writing tips for bloggers is a good way of keeping one’s name in the spotlight whilst stuck for a topic to write about. Perhaps that’s why there’s so many tips about!

  15. Not a fan of you stopping this…..I like posts from “regular” bloggers sharing what they’ve learned. I found those the most helpful as I was starting out because I shied away from anyone who only wrote about blogging. I would read them, but they were intimidating and seemed too advanced for me. However, whenever a blogger I followed shared a post about something they learned? I was all over it. I prefer the ones that do share a story of how the blogger learned the information.

  16. Great post Suzie! I have found that they seem great until I dig into them. Then I see two things, 1. repetitive jargon that helps no one and 2. things I wouldn’t do nor have time to do. I like to write with my own voice and title my posts accordingly. I know that’s not a popular way of building up traffic but that is the way that works for me. The top 5/10,20 thing also isn’t my thing. You can see how I failed that one with an Info graphic to boot. I just don’t like forcing things. Especially writing.

  17. My most popular posts include Advice posts – but not advice about blogging. My posts with advice about Work, Marriage, and especially Getting Older – those are the ones that seem to resonate with readers. And I keep it personal – what works (and what hilariously doesn’t work) for ME.

  18. Interesting points. I found these type of posts very helpful when I first started blogging and still read the occasional one to make sure there isn’t something I am missing. But I think you are right — the posts I have loved reading the most are more personal. Best of luck to you!

  19. Wow – a thought provoking post! I have found your blogging advice to be really useful and I think blog advice posts are always good if you are thinking about revamping or renergising your blog. They have their place. You have achieved a lot with your blog and I think insight sharing on what has worked for you is valuable to us smaller bloggers. I wouldn’t write these sort of posts off. You are an inspiration and someone we can all learn from.

    • Thanks so much Lucy, as always. It’s got to the point where I haven’t got anything new to say. I’m waiting for that magic button to appear which guarantees thousands of views just by pressing it!

  20. I had to laugh when I saw that tweet. Yes, so much advice. And there are really only so many readers. I have seen some super advice but usually from bloggers who are professionals, do it more than full time and have a huge following.

  21. There is a lot of “know-how” advice out there, and not much “know-why”. Blogging is like starting a business; you need to know why you are doing it. Is it to make money? Is it a lifestyle thing; you’ve got something you need to say? Think Tesco versus the charity shop. Advice that works for one is complete b*llsh!t for the other.
    I’m in the later group and if what I write reaches someone, even if I never know that it does; then it has been worthwhile.
    So, choosing not to give “know-how” advice without asking the “know-why” question, is probably a wise choice.

  22. Susie don’t stop writing blogging get advice on the strength of an mystery link. So even one could be jealous of your following. I for one like your post and follow them a lot. I’m sure many of your readers feel the same. Keep writing blogging advice.

    • Thanks! It’s got to the point where I haven’t got anything to say that hasn’t already been said a million times over. If I find something awesome that has worked well, I will certainly tell you all about it! I’ll still share my older posts, but for now i’m just going to concentrate on writing about what I enjoy!

  23. In the early days they helped me understand some people’s thinking but gradually I worked out what I liked to do and what mattered and thus advice posts – reply to comments, ignore likes, note views that sort of stuff – became less helpful. How to posts still help though, if I can make that distinction. Fr’instance your post about pintrest and linkage, or a post on some widget I didn’t know existed or fixing issues around adding media to a post.

    • Thanks Geoffle! I have found targeted posts on a particular part of social media to be really useful, but this whole ‘How to Increase Your Blog Stats’ thing is really beginning to frustrate me…

  24. I started to notice the saturation on this topic as well. And you’re completely right about the fact that most of these sites are fairly new, but they call themselves “experienced”. Although sites like that get a lot of exposure soon enough they’ll fade out because they’re not doing it for the love of the craft, but instead for follows and likes. With great content we can all achieve that without constantly blasting people things they can read anywhere. Great post, thank you for sharing!

  25. I rely on WordPress’s and Hootsuite’s blogs for tips on not just social media but successful blogging too. For personal or other branded blogs, I am not as attracted to the “blogging about blogging” niche as I am to writing, photography, food, and lifestyle blogs that give infrequent advice about things they have learned along the way about blogging (how to set up email, ads, connecting with other bloggers, etc.). This adds a more personal touch, and isn’t an instruction list that demands to be followed. I infrequently write advice posts about certain facets of blogging that I’m learning about or have experience with, and hope that readers can adapt my knowledge to their own blog regardless of their genre. I think that is more helpful than a genre specific or broad post about “what not to do” or “ten things you need to do” on your blog, because it’s not always just a repetition of information you already know.

      • I’ve written about refreshing/updating/reflecting on “old” blog posts in terms of pinpointing ways to create more developed and thought out content, as well as the many behind the scenes aspects of a blog non-bloggers may not think about, and those that bloggers should (IMO) think more about. Just recently I upgraded to my own domain so I’ve been working on a “things I’ve learned” sort of post – but I don’t feel like I have enough experience (it’s been about 2 weeks since the switch) to publish that one just yet 🙂

  26. SO MANY PEOPLE do advice posts. They’re helpful but after awhile they’re full of all the same information. Unless they are filled with outside of the box thinking, then yes, they’re a bit overdone.

  27. Truthfully, yes, I’ve found blog advice posts helpful, including a few of yours. I’m still unwilling, however, to add the social media links that seem to really promote a blog. So thanks for all the advice, looking forward to your next post, Suzie.

      • I just meant that I’m getting less interested in reading posts about blogging. I’ve taken blogging 101 and I think I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve seen and read most of the advice that’s out there. Some of it I follow and some of it I don’t. My blog is really for me first, kind of a personal journal. I love having readers and interacting with them, but the blog is not primarily there to promote my book, or anything else.

  28. I started an advice column giving tongue-in-cheek advice on life’s annoyances. So far, one person has submitted a question. Not very successful, I’d say. Yeah, the posts that get the most readership on my blog have to do with my personal experiences about universal themes.

  29. Hi. Now one of your followers. This was an excellent post. I do find advice posts useful. I take from them what I need. Yes, everything has largely been said. But maybe new bloggers will find them useful. Hey … all the best. Kris.

  30. My 5th most popular post is a blogging post. I start it by saying I have never had a post go viral (despite the title how to make a post go viral.) Then I share the tools I use to try. Hopefully it is in my voice…One of the toughest things for me is to determine my audience. It is important though and hopefully I will begin to drill down and understand it better. For now it is a mix of friends, people interested in sex, people interested in mental health, people interested in parenting, and general bloggers. So you see this broad is too broad. That said I am so glad that you have come to a conclusion that will help you speak to and interest your audience.

  31. Great post. It still amazes me that there are blogs which are just about blogging and some of these are by people who have just started blogging. I’ve been blogging for a year now and don’t write blog advice posts. If anyone asks me, I just say blog about what you know and what you like and then you are bound to connect with the people you want to.

  32. I have to agree that there is an (over) abundance of blogs on how to blog, and they do tend to blur together after a while. I applaud your honesty and commitment to do what feels right for you.

  33. I agree with you. It is been done to death. I’m tired of it. My blog is growing slowly. Possibly it is growing slowly, depending on who you ask, but I am happy to make it my own and not do things so many other people are doing just because it’s popular.

  34. I love the posts that share your thoughts and things about you. It feels refreshing and natural, I even hear your accent lol. I am trying to start blogging myself and you truly motivate me. Keep it up.

  35. I do write blog advice posts, but very much from the mindset of do what works best for you. And it’s on it’s own blog, so my other 2 blogs don’t have to get swallowed by that type of content.

  36. I loved your blog advice and I have done a few hints and tips posts myself but mine aren’t soley related to blogging as some of them even show people that we have been peeling oranges wrong or tips and stuff from Microsoft which I actually do as a job as well. Everyone should just do what’s right for them. There’s no blog rule book or if anyone finds one then show it to me and I’ll show you how to break all those rules! Maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to say you won’t do any more of those posts again. Never say never yadadada but do what you wanna do, when you wanna, for why you wanna do it because all I wanna do is have a little fun before I die, said the man sitting next to me out of nowhere. Am I rambling yet? Is it Saturday? Am I on the mother f***ing radio again? Lol X

    • Been on the wine again Steve haha! You aren’t rambling (any more than usual anyway), and what you say makes a lot of sense. I loved your videos and instructions on how to do things from an IT basis, as you know my tech skills are minimal, but it’s got to the point where I haven’t got anything to say that hasn’t already been said a million times over. If I find something awesome that has worked well, I will certainly tell you all about it!

  37. It depends on the post, it can often feel that blogging advice post can feel samey, but every now and again someone has a different take on the topic. I’ve written a few posts about blogging, but I’m aware that many of my readers are not interested in blogging so I only write one if I feel I have something informative to share.

  38. I have always appreciated your helpful posts on a range of topics. I just nominated you in the most helpful blogger awards last week! I understand what you are saying though.

  39. This resonated strongly with me Suzie! I blog about recreation and leisure, yet I threw my hat into the blogging advice arena, too. But some of my better views came from how to use images on our blog which is close to what I blog about, too.

  40. I’ve never written a blog advice post. I worry that the readers who come to me for humor would just walk away and not come back. The Hubster, even though he’s married to me, would probably be the first one to do that! I also don’t think I’m necessarily qualified to give blogging tips, because what works for me may not work for them and I don’t want them to get frustrated because they wasted time doing what I said.

    • Thanks Heather – your comment is the perfect example of why these advice posts can have a negative effect. You have a blog, so of course you’re qualified to write whatever you want, including an advice post! You should do it!!

  41. Suzie,

    I can easily see both sides to this question. Admittedly, I could have NEVER have set up my blog properly without the advice and tips of many, many blog posts. So, in that way, I find them crucial. However, I also see the point that blogging should be more about just telling others how to blog.

    I guess I would say it falls into the category of advice. If you have a tip or tutorial to share, I would say let others in on it, but stop short of philosophical blog advice.


    • Thanks Shellie! When I first started the blog I genuinely didn’t know of these sorts of posts, so everything I did, I did from scratch and by using trial and error. Some of it worked, so didn’t. Totally agree about the philosophical approach too!

  42. I am so glad you wrote this! I just started blogging at the end of February and as a fellower blogger you know it’s kind of addicting. You are always looking for content, inspiration, and a few blog friends! I’ve joined numerous blog share/creative groups on facebook and was astonished at the amount of articles posted about “how to blog”, “how to drive traffic”, etc. I’ve left a few of these groups because they didn’t feel supportive it just felt like I was in a group with a bunch of salesman. (On the flipside if it’s just a group discussion within the FB group I’m all for it! Cause as we know they’re just trying to drive traffic to their site by talking about driving traffic. ha!) The blogs I like the best are the ones that share original content and give me a peak into their life in general. So back to my original thought…. thanks for saying what I’ve been dying to say lately. LOL

    • Thank you! I’m a member of just a few facebook groups that are run by bloggers that I respect, but aside from my own Facebook blog page I generally stay away from it, for the same reasons that you listed.

  43. I read these types of posts just because I’m hungry for info and I find it interesting to see what works for others. I do take them with a grain of salt, however. I know that nobody is spilling all their secrets, and that some “magic formulas” aren’t magic at all. In true journalistic fashion, I’d say, “Your info is only as good as your source.”

    • Absolutely! I think that there are many that aren’t totally prepared to share all their secrets, which they have every right to, but it means that I also take many posts with a pinch of salt…

  44. I’m so new at blogging that I read everything I have time to read without judgement one way or the other. There are bloggers that I absolutely look for advice from and others I like a tip or two every now and then.

    I also enjoy blogging because there aren’t any hard rules to follow. It’s total freedom of expression. I agree with you on the types of blog posts that get the most response. I have also noticed it.

    This was a good post and I will be more intentional going forward when it comes to what I am reading and the advice I am taking.


  45. I read a couple of blogging advice posts, when I was ‘new’… These days, I just do what I want, write what I want, and follow one rule. Rule #1 Be polite at all times. Works for me.

    • Yes! You wouldn’t believe the amount of comments that I get with a simple ‘reblog this’ and a link to a blog I’ve never seen before. Being polite is so important!

  46. I blog about travel, and when I first started blogging, I used to write about my experiences rather than a list of Top 10 or Top Things To Do. After some time, I found numerous bloggers are writing about travel lists, hence, I switched my style. It gained traction and traffic to my blog but I didn’t enjoy writing such posts because it’s really not my style. Now I realise that it’s better to be authentic and write according to the way we want and yeah, perhaps tweak it a little to suit our audience. But we should not change ourselves just because everyone else is writing that way. Your true readers/followers will prefer your original self 🙂

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