5 Small Business Blogging Myths Most ‘Experts’ Don’t Understand

by Marcus Sheridan

We’ve all heard them—the do’s and don’ts  of blogging. The ‘secrets’ that will take your personal or company blog to new heights of greatness or, if done poorly, valleys of ‘traffic despair’. And although much of what is taught as general rule in the public forum is good, small businesses must come to understand certain myths that surround this sometimes rewarding and other times frustrating animal we call content marketing and blogging.


So let’s just get right to it. I wanted to take the time today to discuss what 2 years of blogging for various businesses has taught me and hopefully it will inspire some of you to possibly take your blog and company website to new heights in 2011. Here goes:

Top 5 Small Business Blogging Myths

1. Guest Posting is the Key to Success and a Larger Audience

Ahh yes, the lovely concept of ‘guest posting’. Let me just say here I’m a huge fan of guest posting. In certain applications, it’s awesome. But frankly, there are simply some industries where it’s not worth a rip.

As an example, in two weeks I’ll be guest posting on the extremely popular blog ‘Men with Pens’. Because the blog has a huge following of people that are passionate about writing and blogging, it’s the perfect fit, and will surely garner my site hundreds of visitors and many subscribers that otherwise would not have ever taken a trip over here to The Sales Lion.

But let’s switch gears for a second. Another blog I write teaches people the ends and outs of inground swimming pools. When I started blogging in the swimming pool industry 2 years ago, guess how many companies actually understood what true blogging/content marketing was? If you guess ZERO, you’re about right. Yeah, sure there were some decent websites out there, but none were based on Web 2.0 principles. In other words, I couldn’t have done a guest post if I wanted to, and if I had, it wouldn’t have been read by anyone nor garnered me any additional traffic.

So it really comes down to your niche. Chances are though, if it’s a blue collar niche you’re in there are likely very few successful content marketers (which is good :-) ).

2. SEO is Difficult to Achieve

Again, this depends on the niche. Most people want to simply blanket search engine optimization as a difficult strategy only accomplished through the strategic use of keywords and a mountain of anchor text links coming back to one’s site.

The reality is that most industries are still up for the taking when it comes to garnering web traffic through the search engines. Why? Because there just aren’t many smart content marketers out there that are speaking ‘consumer’ speak versus ‘nerd speak’.

Going back to my swimming pool blog, over the past 2 years I haven’t spent one second on guest posting, link building, or anything of that nature. What I have done though is write articles that answer specific consumer questions, exactly as the consumer would understand and read them. The strategy has paid some major dividends and is why it’s the #1 swimming pool blog in the world today.

3. Commenting on Other Blogs Is/Is Not Important

Notice how I said here ‘Is/Is not’ important. That’s because depending on who you talk to, commenting on other blogs is either a great traffic building strategy or a waste of time. Well ladies and gentlemen, again this one comes down to your niche and industry(notice a common theme?). For example, the self improvement/blogging/SEO industry is full of people that read various blogs. And because they are such avid blog readers, the more a writer can be seen in the public as ‘participating in the conversation’ the more chance they have of gaining fans and followers. In fact, the biggest mistake I made on this blog in its first six months was the fact that I did not understand this critical concept and rarely commented on other blogs.

But the reality is that I only did this based on what I’d learned in the swimming pool industry. When I started The Sales Lion I figured I’d garner enough traffic by giving readers great content that was keyword (SEO) related. But within a few months I realized that some industries are really dang competitive, whereas others are not. Although I could gain a huge following on my pool blog by simply producing great content; I had to learn twitter, networking, commenting, etc in order to make The Sales Lion a success.

4. RSS is Used by Everyone

I’m shocked at how many bloggers in the web/blogging/SEO industry do not have ‘Subscribe by Email’ buttons on their site. The reason for this is simple—Bloggers are suffering from the curse of knowledge and assuming that everyone knows what an RSS feeder is, which is nuts.

To give a better example of this, on my swimming pool blog 90% of the subscribers are through email, and only 10% are with RSS. Compare that to The Sales Lion where the exact opposite is true—80% RSS and about 20% email.

My point here is that consumers make an industry and niche what it is. With many older, non-technical folks in their 50s, the swimming pool industry will be mainly email subscription based for at least another 5-10 years until RSS crosses over to more ‘non-technical’ households.

5. Blogging is a Waste of Time for Location-Based Businesses

This one really gets me going. You see, there are some people that feel content marketing/blogging is a waste for a small business that has a finite area of coverage. To be completely frank, whoever makes such a statement is a total idiot and has no idea what they’re talking about.

My swimming pool company only builds pools in Virginia and Maryland, yet we write a blog that teaches the entire world about our product and industry. Because of this, many people have asked me in the past why I focus on getting all that traffic even though a large portion of the vistors are not in my area. There are many answers for this question, but the main two are this:

  • Blogs aren’t just about producing search engine traffic. They teach, build trust, and ultimately earn sales with existing customers and persons in your sales funnel.
  • Out of 500 visitors that come to my site, if only 30 are in my area but came to the site because of a search engine query stemming from my blog, it was more than worth it, as those 30 visitors never would have found me otherwise.

Although I could go on and on about this subject I’m sure you’ve picked up on the theme of this article. Every industry, and therefore every blog, is different. And because they are different, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach to generating traffic and sales. The key is constant action, experimentation, and the ability to adjust as the times dictate.

So what are your thoughts? Are there any ‘myths’ or personal experiences you’d add to this list? As always, I appreciate your thoughts and comments. :-)

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe January 3, 2011 at 9:55 am

Solid post..keep preaching I’m sending a copy of this entry to a few contractors I’m trying to do some work for..they seem to think that just a few lines doesn’t make a difference…

My retort back that it isn’t just a few lines of copy. It’s starting a conversation with potential clients. I ask what is the alternative, a static piece of information about how great you are..??

Anyway, you preach to the choir, but there are still a lot of business owners that still think the 21st Century has not arrived. Keep up the good posts.



Marcus Sheridan January 3, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Very, very true Joe. There are a ton of businesses out there that simply have glorified business cards as websites….and then they wonder why they aren’t getting more traffic to their site. But more and more the pain of not being able to pay their guys on Fridays is causing some to actually open up to change.

Keep pushing it Joe, it’ll happen man.


Davina K. Brewer January 4, 2011 at 11:55 am

@Joe loved your comment about a conversation and potential vs. static copy about how great you are. So true and why I’m putting more work into my blog, forget the ROI myths.
.-= Davina K. Brewer´s last blog ..My Top 5 PR and Social Media Posts =-.


Jackie@coffeeshopmillionaire February 19, 2011 at 2:00 am

Hi Joe,

I’m sitting here and I’ve just finishing watching a TV program on cnbc about advertising and video marketing. It spoke about how advertisers have gotten on the ban wagon with their twitter, facebook, and myspace accounts. Marketing is very interactive.

If the major advertisers have crossed over to social network marketing, what makes mom and pop small business owners think they can continue with yellow page ads to garner new customers?

Remember the industrial revolution?
Remember 5 and 10 cent stores?
Change is inevitable and you either adapt and change with it or you’ll be extinct like the dinosaur


Andrey January 3, 2011 at 11:13 am

I know RSS, it is the most efficient thing to use when reading blogs. Therefore — everyone should know how to use it. :D Good thing that people at least managed to teach themselves how to use email and we have email subscriptions.

You are right, I was one of those sufferers. :) Too much thoughts about myself instead of others. I have to almost work on my commenting skills full time to move them forward. And I’m sweating right now! Phew, I did it :)


Marcus Sheridan January 3, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Yep, they did learn email, so it is just a matter of time for RSS. Notwithstanding, there are people that simply prefer email, even some that understand the merits of both.

Keep up the good work Andrey with your comments. I know it can be tough, but just be yourself, open up, and say what’s on your mind. :-)


Angela Artemis January 3, 2011 at 11:36 am

This was a fantastic article. I am in a similar situation as you with Powered by Intuition.

It’s a spiritually focused blog, and not technically a “self-development” blog, but yet it is. My philosophy is that people can live more satisfying, successful and meaningful lives if they learn to tune into their intuition, however – that is a very difficult niche to cultivate. I’ve been courting the self-development folks and blending in my intuition posts bit by bit. The growth has been organic and steady – and not driven by guest posting. When I have guest posted I’ve not seen a huge jump in my subscribers. I use Twitter a lot and that is where I’ve seen the most new subscribers coming from.

Thanks for all the great info you shared with us here.
.-= Angela Artemis´s last blog ..Catch &amp Release- The Creativity- Intuition &amp Meditation Expedition =-.


Marcus Sheridan January 3, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Very interesting points Angela, especially the part about twitter. I thought about discussing how twitter varies from business to business as well, as it certainly works differently depending on the niche.

The fact that guest posting hasn’t worked for you is quite interesting, and again a ‘one size does not fit all’ example.

Keep up the great work on your blog Angela and thanks so much for commenting. :-)


Christina Crowe January 3, 2011 at 11:50 am

Hi Marcus,

This is a post I think everyone should give a read. I especially agree with #2 and #4, the myths that SEO is difficult to achieve and RSS is used by everyone.

As you mentioned before, it really all depends on the market you’re working in. If you have a blog in a market with not that much competition, you have an advantage over other niches because there won’t be many blogs around that can compete against you if you strive to rank well in search engines. In fact, Pat Flynn of the Smart Passive Income blog (www.smartpassiveincome.com) was able to create a profitable niche site (and rank #1 in Google) in only 2 months. If he could do it, you can do it.

As for the other myth – RSS is used by everyone – you’d be surprised at the falsity of this statement. When I first started blogging, I absolutely had no idea what RSS was – and I spent a good amount of time on the Internet. In order to figure it out, I had to do some extensive research on subject before I got the basics of it all. And even once I did figure it out, I only became an active RSS feed reader in the last 5 months.

Unless you own a blog or know some friends who own a blog, chances are you won’t understand what an RSS feed is either – which just makes it so much more imperative to offer email subscriptions to those who want blog post updates.

.-= Christina Crowe´s last blog ..How to Wake Up Early with Enthusiasm- The Ultimate Guide =-.


Marcus Sheridan January 3, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Wow, that was great Christina, you always add so much to the conversation, and have done an exceptional job breaking down RSS feed and what it means (or doesn’t mean) to so many people.

In the past month, I’ve asked 4 or 5 bloggers why they didn’t have email subscriptions on their blog. Believe it or not, it’s a pretty common mistake that many people make, and it’s costing people major traffic and subscribers.

Thanks for all you do Christina, hopefully everyone on here has had a chance to look at your ‘How to Wake Up Early’ Article, as it was awesome. :-)


Tristan January 3, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Yeah buddy! I full on agree with these 100%.

Guest posting is AWESOME if your content, your niche and the site you’re writing form all come together well.

Regarding SEO… Yes. I agree. In most niches that aren’t internet-related, I totally agree. My personal blog (that I never promote and never really tell anyone about) gets search traffic all the time from people searching for the mountains I’ve climbed or trails I’ve biked and written about. And that’s with doing ZERO SEO, like you said. If I actually optimized it, the results would be much bigger.

Commenting on other blogs. Yup, totally depends on the niche. People in some niches just aren’t blog-savvy enough to know what on earth a comment is or why they should leave one.

RSS. YES! The vast majority of people online still have no idea what this is. And it’s not like it takes long to add this. Just a few clicks in Feedburner and you’re good to go!

Blogging for location-based businesses. I have no experience here, so I can’t give my two cents :)

Awesome, awesome post, Marcus, as always.
.-= Tristan´s last blog ..How to Turn a Lousy Blog Headline into a Great One =-.


Marcus Sheridan January 3, 2011 at 11:40 pm

You always bring such a smile and great energy with your comments Tristan, just as you do on your blog. When I look at your phenomenal growth, I see someone who:
-Always produces stellar content
-Invests major time in networking/commenting
-Is a master at Opt-in forms (email capture)
-Guest posts at every opportunity

You’re an impressive dude Tristan, and I really appreciate you stopping by man.


Dave Marciniak January 3, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Great post! And yes, I’m totally guilty of the RSS thing – even though I never set up a reader till my wife saw that I was going through my daily reading list via my bookmarks menu and started questioning her choice of spouse. Fixing that right now (the RSS/email thing, not MJ’s doubts)
.-= Dave Marciniak´s last blog ..Happy New Year! =-.


Marcus Sheridan January 3, 2011 at 11:42 pm

You’re a hoot Dave. :-) Glad I’ve gotten to know you man.

Have a tremendous 2011 buddy and look forward to catching up again.


Dia January 3, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Hi Marcus,

Very nice post. I agree with you my friend, it all depends on the niche. In regards to guest posts, yes for some niches, it is very helpful, others not that much. I think if the topic is about self improvement, health, or making money then it is helpful.

In regards to RSS, I agree with you, some don’t even know what RSS is. I actually was one of those people. I learned about RSS only when I started blogging, usually used to subscribe through emails.

In regards to blogging, I think it benefits every business, that is why now, there are many businesses and companies have blogs.

Thanks for sharing my friend :)
.-= Dia´s last blog ..What is a true friend =-.


Marcus Sheridan January 3, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Hey Dia, thanks for your kind words man, you’re as dependable as they get man. Looking at your blog, it appears you really go after a long tail SEO strategy, and it appears you do this very, very well.

Thanks for commenting my friend!


Jk Allen January 3, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Marcus, I find it amazing that when one is in serious search for something, it usually shows up right before their eyes. I’ve been digging for some info on two of the myths you brought up here: Guest Posting and Commenting. Most of my traffic is from a direct result of leaving comments. I’ve only done 1 or 2 guest post, so I can’t attribute much to that, but I believe in my subject matter, it’s a powerful stimulus for growth.

Beyond the direct lining of this post – let me share what I absorbed from it on an indirect level…it’s centered around your investigative position behind analyzing what “they” say, and what works for you. Imagine the number of people who lose out on significant numbers because they fail to do something just because the status quo said so. Call me a rebel, but I’m more likely to do something against the “so-called” grain than to conform to someone else’s [human] standards. This post shows that what maybe true in one area; may not hold true in another. So, anytime someone gives you a absolute no – there could be an absolute yes if you seek it – because they may not have information from all angles.

.-= Jk Allen´s last blog ..The Maturation of a Hustler =-.


Marcus Sheridan January 4, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Yes, exactly JK. ‘Having information from all angles’ is a major rarity, and most simply don’t have it– and therefore end up firing off ‘doctrine’ that in reality, ain’t doctrine. I’m sure we are all guilty of this to a certain extent but the bottom line is that we simply can’t ‘blanket’ anything when it comes to the net and what always works.

I’m glad the article helped you a bit JK. You’re the best bro.


Stuart January 4, 2011 at 4:00 am

Thanks for sharing this extraordinary article Marcus!

As someone who is still new to the website scene, I’m trying to learn as much as I can about how everything works, and what works better than others. I’ve been thinking about guest posts for a while now, and this read has helped to clarify a few things in my head, so thanks :-)

BTW, thanks for the e-mail subscription; only just got round to checking it out! ;-)


Marcus Sheridan January 4, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Guest posts can be a tough hurdle to overcome Stu. I’m dealing with the same issue. Now that I’m pretty established, I’m going after some major players in 2011 as I’m ready for the next quantum leap in this blog. If I were you, I’d pinpoint 5-10 sites that you’d like to guest post on and then produce the content and send it out. The worst they’ll say is no (which I’ve had happen to me). The best they’ll say is “Dang good post” (Men w/Pens)…

So good luck my friend and thanks so much for stopping by.


Danielle January 4, 2011 at 9:35 am

that was so great I do not know what to say so I am just going to do this B-)


Marcus Sheridan January 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Nothing like the wisdom of my 10-year old ;-)


Danielle January 5, 2011 at 10:37 am

thank you dad!!!!!


rob white January 4, 2011 at 10:08 am

I love your sound, pragmatic advice, Marcus. In business we have to pay attention to the ruthless rules of reality. At the same time, we simply can’t lose in life when we are wonderfully obsessed with our passion … no matter what the niche, as long as we are committed to giving entirely of ourselves the infinite will reward us richly.


Marcus Sheridan January 4, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Thanks so much Rob, that means a lot.

You are right. If we truly are committed to our passion we’ll find great success, whether we realize it or not.

Appreciate the comment Rob.


Lach | The Art of Audacity January 4, 2011 at 10:17 am

I think commenting is definitely beneficial in terms of relationships when you have something to contribute to the conversation, but there’s so many venues to keep up with that it can easily get overwhelming. Frankly I’m amazed how prolific you are both on your own blog and in contributing to others through discussion in the comments. I’ve got a relatively meagre following and already I’m finding blogging is virtually a full-time occupation. I’ve not been very effective at extending the reach of my blog yet. I should probably try a guest post.
.-= Lach | The Art of Audacity´s last blog ..How to Change Your World- Part 2- Choosing To Be Free =-.


Marcus Sheridan January 4, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Lach, you’ve really brought some important topics to light here. No question, niches like we’re in (self improvement, blogging, etc) are so competitive that they absolutely require time and effort. But not only do they require time and effort, they require smart time and effort. Comments, guest posting, and producing content in this niche is a huge commitment, I’m not going to sugar coat it. One must find balance and be a master at time management.

But you’re as smart as they come Lach. I have great confidence you’re on your way. ;-)


Patricia@lavenderuses January 4, 2011 at 10:42 am

Hi Marcus

Glad you put these myths out there to be busted and exposed as just that! You make a good point that it does depend on your niche, what is more popular and what is needed to get your site out there in the blogosphere.

For my small niche blog, by being active in commenting on other blogs, tweeting other people’s posts (with an add on message encouraging ppl to read it) and answering questions when people come to my blog for information, I have found it has been the means of driving traffic to my site.

Also it builds trust and community which I think is important too. Works for me :-)

Patricia Perth Australia
.-= Patricia@lavenderuses´s last blog ..Are Your Goals Attainable In 2011 =-.


Marcus Sheridan January 4, 2011 at 1:52 pm

What a pleasure it is to have my lady friend from the ‘down unda’ with us today! You always bring me a smile Patricia. :-)

What you’ve done with your niche is nothing short of amazing. I really mean that. To build a huge comment community over lavender is unimaginable, but because you’ve invested so much time in other people and their blog, it has come back to you.

Wonderfully said and done Patricia, and thanks so much for stopping by!


Rex Richard January 4, 2011 at 11:03 am

Hi Marcus! Excellent article! You are correct, most just get it wrong. In fact, if the full truth were understood, it is not content, or traditional SEO that increases rank, it is “activity”. Content on it’s own rarely drives activity, it like anything else requires “promotion”. Thus promotion on Facebook, Twitter, and external blog sites drive the traffic which become the activity… but wait. Once the traffic is there, you want them to come back for more… so you need to offer them what they are looking for… ahhh “content”. And not just “content” but interesting, thought provoking, grab you and bring you back “content”.

In reality the blogging concept is the same as the retail store model. You have to bring customers to your store, you advertise, market etcetera, they come, you need to have what they are looking for, and you want their experience to be such that they return… often.

This is outside the skill set of most people. You on the other hand, (I know you personally) are an exceptionally intelligent, focused, and dedicated person. You dug in and learned most of this on your own… (very hard work).

The lack of ability is what started the “guest blogger” idea.. the thought being, if I can’t bring them in, maybe this guy can…, and sometimes it works, and sometimes “this guy” is no more interesting than the blog owner.

Marketing at it’s core is entertainment. Some are entertained when they are made to laugh, some when they must face reality, some when they are educated.. but hey must “enjoy” the experience or they just will not be back.

I am convinced not everyone “can” blog effectively, in fact few can. Also I am convinced the more who enter this arena the more competitive it becomes.

When .05% of the internet population was blogging, it was interesting, unique, effective, easy. When 5 or more % are doing it, it becomes diluted, competitive, difficult. The blogs that now “stand out” will be the ones that work. They will be used as evidence of effectiveness by those who are successful…. back to the retail store model… there are many retail stores, but only .05 – 2% ever become great hits. The average retailer lacks the skills to take it to the next level.. the average blogger… you decide. : )

That said… yes anyone can do this. If you are as intelligent, disciplined, articulate, and focused as Marcus, you WILL be a great success. Short of these you will fall short to the degree of your ability… or lack there of.

If you CAN do it… do it. If not, find a competent company who will create the strategy, has the team, and who will do it for you… then focus on your product… that’s where the business will transact.

Love your blog Marcus! Take care!


Marcus Sheridan January 4, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Wow Rex, that was down-right awesome man. So glad you stopped in for a visit, very thought provoking words you’ve shared here.

You are right though. Blogging is getting more difficult with more and more players entering the fray. I’ve seen this first hand. Heck, I’ve hoped it would happen because I believe in open source principles and the education revolution.

But I also believe that blogging is a must, and that everyone should be active with it if they want their biz to succeed. For some, this may come in the form of video, for others via text, but the key, at least in my opinion, is that business owners have a ‘culture of teaching’ within their company. But, like you said, this may require outside help as well…although it must be done.

Anyway, that was a heck of a comment Rex and really added to the conversation. Look forward to catching up at another the next conference.


Davina K. Brewer January 4, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Marcus, This was a great find as I was just drafting my own MythBusters post on Sunday, so expect a trackback sometime. I agree with all of these and it all comes down to: Mileage may vary. Or like @Patricia said.. it’s what works for her, so what’ll work for you may not for me. FWIW:

1. Guest posts. Haven’t done it yet, on the agenda for 2011.. strategically per the readership and audience, the content.
2. SEO is hard. Well it is, but there are tools like plugins and a gagillion posts out there on keywords and content development and link love. Takes time and effort but it can be done.
3. Commenting is important but again it’s the strategy. Is it just on blogs about blogging for attracting readers and comments from those who are other bloggers? Yes I read, comment and share posts like this one.. but where I really want to be is where my potential clients are reading, commenting.. i.e. where the fish are biting.
4. RSS. I have one, don’t pay attention to the analytics. I’m more likely to add a Twitter follow, or maybe to the “marked all as read” overloaded Google reader.
5. Blogging or any social media can be a waste of time and effort, always varies. I have learned a lot, become a better writer, better at my PR job via connections I’ve made and posts I’ve read so it’s been well worth my time.
.-= Davina K. Brewer´s last blog ..My Top 5 PR and Social Media Posts =-.


Marcus Sheridan January 5, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Hi Davina, heckuva comment their lady and thanks for stopping in :-)

You’re right. You need to be where the fish are biting. Can be tough. I think that’s where you’ve got to have a mix of SEO traffic and ‘other blogger traffic’, you know what I mean? I think other bloggers lend the credibility factor and help ‘spread the word’, where as organic search consists of the people who have a need, and are looking for an answer.

Anyway, thank again for stopping by Davina, I’m taking a little trip over to see your blog now. ;-)


Davina K. Brewer January 5, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Marcus, You’re right about the mix, the need for SEO and community and organic, that balance. The big catch is some of the fish aren’t even fishing, you know? They’re not out there looking for answers, so we have to find where else they spend time, or tap those vertical channels they do search. Nice to have found your blog, on my ever growing reading list. ;-)
.-= Davina K. Brewer´s last blog ..My Top 5 PR and Social Media Posts =-.


Keith Davis January 4, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Hi Marcus
Judging by the comments, you have certainly got everyone thinking and talking.

I’ve always thought that the RSS thing was just a tad too difficult for the average blog visitor to get to grips with, but everyone understands email.

I think that the Feedburner email subscription is the quickest and easiest way to keep in touch with any blog and I’m going to work hard to increase my subscriber numbers this year.

As for SEO – I’d advise anyone interested in SEO to start visiting the SEOMoz blog – some great stuff especially the Whieboard Friday videos.
Just Google to get the link.
.-= Keith Davis´s last blog ..Public speaking humour =-.


Marcus Sheridan January 5, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Nothing like promoting conversation Keith. I think that’s what it’s all about my friend.

Yeah, SEOMoz has some great tips. Whiteboard Fridays are full of value.

Appreciate very much you stopping in Keith and joining the discussion. :-)


Alex Blackwell January 4, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Thanks for a good list Marcus. You have motivated me to re-consider guest blogging – thanks for the nudge.



Marcus Sheridan January 5, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Anything I can do to help Alex ;-)

Good luck with the guest posting….


Matt January 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm

according to me If you have a blog in a market with not that much competition, you have an advantage over other niches because there won’t be many blogs around that can compete against you if you strive to rank well in search engines.


Marcus Sheridan January 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Exactly Matt. Low competition is a beautiful thing, hence my huge success in the swimming pool industry.


greg urbano January 4, 2011 at 6:15 pm

some great insights into how to define success on the web depending on your goals ,product and target audience, what works for me as a travel photo blogger may not be applicable for a swimming pool how to site!
.-= greg urbano´s last blog ..Seminole Indians Attack! =-.


Marcus Sheridan January 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Hi Greg, great to see you on here man. :-)

Keep up with the great photography and hope to see you on here again.


Sarah Arrow January 4, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Congrats on your upcoming guest posts. I too understand how hard it is to blog in a niche where there are almost no other blogs :( on the plus side I can guest post on industry magazine sites :D.

Some really great advice and a good read that has had many of us nodding in agreement .
.-= Sarah Arrow´s last blog ..Another route to market for your blog =-.


Marcus Sheridan January 5, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Hi Sarah, a pleasure to meet you.

Every niche needs a great blogger(s). When I consult with companies, they’ll ask, “Why would anyone read a blog of ours?”

My answer is simple: “Has a customer ever asked you a question about your product or service?”

Hope to see you again Sarah!


Jens P. Berget January 5, 2011 at 2:07 am

I did focus on guest posting for a while, and it got me extra traffic and readers. But as you’re saying it probably depends on the niche, and writing for the right blogs (Men with Pens will definitely bring a lot of traffic and readers for your blog).

RSS is interesting. I have been thinking that most people are using it and understand what it’s about, but you’re absolutely right. Even in the marketing niche, most people don’t use RSS… they want e-mail (or via Facebook / Twitter). It’s important to distribute the post in various media.

I never focused on SEO before I bought Scribe, I thought it was too difficult and too time consuming.. but not anymore :)

When it comes to commenting, I believe that it’s always a good thing. I focus on relations, and usually don’t comment on blogs I don’t read frequently. Even though it might not bring me extra traffic, I’ll be either helping another fellow blogger or receiving useful tips, and that’s awesome.
.-= Jens P. Berget´s last blog ..The Blog Sidebar and how to improve it =-.


Marcus Sheridan January 5, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Interesting Jens, I’ve looked at little at Scribe and have thought about using it. You ought to write maybe a review post on your experience with it, I’d be very interested.

Regarding commenting, you’re certainly one of the better ones I’ve seen out there. You leave many and they always add to the conversation.

Thanks for dropping by Jens, have an awesome 2011 :-)


Jens P. Berget January 7, 2011 at 4:50 am

Thanks a lot for the kind words, I really appreciate it.

I have written a short post about Scribe and why I’m currently using it. It’s fairly expensive (I pay $47 a month), but to me, it seems to be worth it – I get more traffic from search engines now than before I started using Scribe.
.-= Jens P. Berget´s last blog ..The 4 Things I Do The First 30 Minutes At Work =-.


Steve Youngs January 5, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Hi Marcus!

It just goes to show, you should never blindly follow what the so-called experts are saying. I would say that even of the experts who are in your industry or niche. You have to take the info and see how, or even if, it applies to your specific situation. Sometimes it will, sometimes it won’t, and sometimes it might with some tweaking and massage.

Nice common sense article, Marcus. I really enjoyed reading it.

Kind regards,
.-= Steve Youngs´s last blog ..Free Your Mind By Exercising Your Body =-.


Marcus Sheridan January 7, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Hey Steve, great to see you here man! It’s all about tweaking..changing..updating….The person that is willing to have such an attitude is going to do great things within their niche.

Hope to see you again Steve :-)


Bryan January 6, 2011 at 12:44 am

Marcus, I really like this post. I was just thinking about this very thing today – all of the ‘expert’ bloggers keep saying the same thing – but it’s really all about niche. I made the same mistake you did in your first six months – only I did it for FOUR YEARS! And I really didn’t understand the principle of replying to my generous commenters. Hence, I didn’t have a lot of blog traffic (or commenters at the very least) for a long time. Happy New Year!
.-= Bryan´s last blog ..Why You’re Getting the Results You’re Getting and How to Change It =-.


Samuel January 6, 2011 at 9:46 am

Awesome post Marcus. Commenting on other blogs is not mandatory. But if you have something good to say, you can do that. Guest posting helps a lot. provided you are doing it in the right way. Thanks for sharing. Have fun.


Charlie January 28, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Great post ! Lots of great suggestions. I have been blogging part time only (before and after work) every day for the past 2 years. Given my limited time I do not spend alot of that precious time commenting on other people’s blogs. I would prefer to spend the time I have creating content for my own blog.
I have a blog, am on facebook, flickr and twitter. I like twitter the most for immediate interaction and I have slowly been able to build up a following. The interesting thing about Twitter is it works best if you support others by retweeting or mentioning them rather than mentioning yourself all the time.
Leaving comments on other people’s blogs does not in my view generate an instant response. Compared to twitter I find interactions on blogs slow.
I also follow one very popular blog which regularly receives at least 50 comments. When you read the comments most of them are boring, inane remarks and I get the feeling the only reason they leave their comments on the blog is in the hope someone will visit their blog rather than leaving a comment on the blog because they actually have something to say about the post.
I am new to facebook and so far am not convinced of its value. I do not find it intuitive to use. But then I must be in the minority given the huge success of facebook.
The cold hard reality is that there are so many blogs competing for attention. Only the very best will rise to the top and they will rise to the surface whether the blogger omments on other people’s blogs or not.
I still believe that creating good content and blogging consistently and above all being persistent is the key to getting there in the end. I certainly intend to keep going. If people think they will become rich overnight with a blog 5 minutes after they start then they are going to be disappointed. Two years of blogging has taught me that there is alot of noise on the internet and it is filled with millions of voices and only the very very best will be heard. The rest will just swim along for the ride.
I have also found it interesting that in the 2 years I have been blogging many blogs I followed either stopped blogging for months or stopped blogging all together.
Thank you for your post. It certainly motivated me to leave a comment which is not something I usually do ! :)


Marcus Sheridan January 29, 2011 at 10:26 am

That, my friend Charlie, was a stinking awesome comment!!!

You’re story is a powerful one, and it is symbolic I think of just about anyone that is dipping their toes in this world of blogging and internet marketing and all that other jazz. Like you, I’m constantly in a state of experimentation and growth. There are so many mediums and methods that it gets pretty dang confusing.

When it comes down to it, I think the key for a blogger is purpose— What is the underlying purpose/goal of your blog—and only one answer is allowed. It’s amazing how many people I’ve asked this question and they simply don’t know the answer.

I hope I’m never that guy or gal that stops blogging Charlie. It would be a shame. Like you, I’ve seen many persons go in and out of this medium. And again, I think it goes back to purpose.

So glad you left such an incredible comment Charlie. I sincerely do hope we chat again.


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