Stop Blogging Right Now!

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20 responsesBlogging5 min read

Dukeo has been an extremely interesting testing ground for me for the past couple of years.

Since day 1 of this project, I’ve made it very clear that this blog was going to be some kind of Lab for me to test various assumptions about SEO, Blogging, Social Media and Making Money Online.

I’ve learned a lot about SEO by playing around with the site structure but that’s not really the point of today’s post.

In fact, I’d like to focus on the biggest virus that’s infecting the blogging world.

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Your blog sucks… big time.

You see, there are many big time bloggers out there who are doing an absolutely amazing job growing their audience and growing their list.

When you take a look at these bloggers, it may appear that blogging is an easy way to make a living online.

From my own experience, I can tell you that blogging is actually one of the most difficult ways to earn money online.

If you just started blogging recently, or are planning to start a blog in the next days/weeks/months, I would strongly advise you to reconsider.

First of all, I’d like to address one of the biggest mistakes made by beginner bloggers: starting a blog about either blogging, social media or making money online.

Ok, so you read plenty of blogs, giving advices about blogging… After some time, the only idea that’s still on your mind is that you should start your own blog… And since you spend so much time reading about blogging, it appears to be an easy niche choice.

The problem is that, if you want to take a blog from zero to hero, you need to provide value for your readers.

If I want to learn about monetization strategies, am I going to read a big blog with plenty of value, and first-hand experience, or am I going to read your blog that is rehashing the same generic posts over and over again, because you simply don’t know better.

The same goes with social media.

Nowadays, everyone is a self-proclaimed Social Media guru.

Ok, I get it, you have a Facebook account, a Twitter account, a Pinterest account,… And you’ve managed to grow your followers/friends count substantially. But what makes you different from the other 100,000 social media blogs out there?

You keep churning out hollow 500-words posts about what you read on Mashable last week or the last change on Facebook or Twitter.

Seriously, I could care less, and it’s probably the same for your potential readers.

How many second-zone blogs have you been reading on a daily basis for over 1 month in a row?

The answer is probably none.

Because, as much as you want the world to understand how unique and different you are, you are probably just contributing to the overall increase of noise in the blogging world.

It may come as a shock to you, but contrary to popular belief, the best way to start a successful blog, is to choose a subject you are knowledgeable about.

Starting a blog on Passion is the worst advice ever.

Passion appears and fades.

Knowledge flourishes.

And no, reading every social media blog out there doesn’t make you knowledgeable about social media. It just makes you an unimaginative sheep.

Where do people go where they want to learn about blogging or social media?

On the biggest sites in the blogging and social media space.

Just like you do.

Why the hell would people be interested in your 500-words regurgitation?

They probably aren’t.

Let me save you a few months by predicting your future: you’re going to start a blog about blogging and social media, even though you never had a successful blog, you won’t make a dime, and you’ll most likely give up in 2 or 3 months because nobody will be interested to read the 50th rewrite about Google Authorship this week.

And this leads me to my second point.

There’s no easy money in blogging.

In the past 3 months or so, I’ve been experiencing with hired authors on Dukeo.

I browsed several blogs which are known for accepting guest bloggers, and I emailed these writers.

To spice up the experiment, I’ve not just emailed them to ask them to contribute to Dukeo, but I offered them some cash to do so.

Of course, when I presented the offer to the writers, I insisted that, on top of the money, they would get more exposure for their own blogs by posting on a somewhat popular blog such as Dukeo.

I also explained that they had to do very basic SEO on their posts, and I required 1500 words minimum.

  • 52 people were invited to write for Dukeo.
  • 29 replies were received.
  • 13 of these replies were positive.
  • 11 people actually submitted articles.
  • 4 people submitted more than 2 posts.

As an incentive for people to do more than just submit articles, I also organised $500 monthly author awards.

The idea was to reward authors who would encourage sharing of their posts on social media, get people to comment and reply to them…

The results of these experiments have been quite revealing when it comes to people’s motives.

Out of the 11 people that submitted articles, 3 submited 400-500 words articles and asked for the same compensation as everyone else. I let them go.

3/4 of the 8 remaining people didn’t even bother following the SEO requirements when submitting articles. Upon discussion, they all agreed to revise their work.

1 of the 8 writers did absolutely 0 promotion for his articles, didn’t reply to comments, then emailed me to ask why he didn’t qualify for the $500 bonus…

What I find particularly interesting is that, even though the rules were very clear from the beginning, some people accepted them only to try to bend them and make as much cash as possible.

This is probably in our nature to try to get the biggest reward for the smallest effort, but some people are taking it to a whole new level.

What’s the point?

The whole point of this post is that people still believe that there is some easy money in blogging and writing.

What they fail to understand is that with blogging and freelance writing, the cash reward is proportional to the created value.

If you’re not bringing any value to the table, don’t expect to make any money.

And for God’s sake, stop creating blogs about blogging and social media! Your blog will suck anyway.

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  1. Nicola Boschetti

    Intriguing post, Steven, indeed. So, let’s find a reason to keep writing on our IM blogs… don’t you think that “proving” our customers that we are updated on fresh topics could be a good reason to keep writing?

    1. Steven

      I think Michelle made a very good point in the next comment: if you’re just going to regurgitate other people’s post, why not just drive people directly to the source instead?

      You’ll still look ahead of the curve because you keep an eye on what’s happening, and you’ll save time by not having to rewrite other people’s posts in your own words.

  2. Michelle Quillin

    As I shared with you on Twitter, Steven, I sure hope people read this blog post and use it to self-reflect! I used to post about social media so our WordPress development clients could learn how to promote their websites, but then realized I was writing about the very same things everyone else was writing about — just as you’ve said here! Why not send them to my favorite social media bloggers to learn about social media?

    My passion is for business leadership, and working with and encouraging small business owners and entrepreneurs. And since business owners are our target market, I switched focus on our blog at the beginning of the year and started writing to encourage and inspire that audience, instead of teaching them tips and tricks they can learn anywhere.

    My problem is finding the time to write regularly and often, as you do. Please….tell us how you write so prolifically! Do you set aside huge blocks of time to do nothing but write?

    1. Steven

      Michelle, congratulations for your choice. I think it requires a lot of intellectual honesty to stop thinking that you can say everything better than other people and lead other your followers directly to the original source of information.

      Regarding the posting frequency, I used to write non-stop for 2 or 3 days. By writing 10 posts per day, that’s 20 to 30 posts written ahead of time. If you publish 1 post per day, you are all set for 3 weeks to a month.

  3. Jennifer Furlong

    This has got to be the best article I’ve read in a very long time. Thank you for calling us out on the regurgitation of info that has completely taken over social media. It seems all I see anymore are retweets and shares of the same ole crap day in and day out. It’s like the movie Groundhog Day but 140 characters at a time. And don’t get me started on the inspirational quotes. I think I offer a unique perspective regarding public speaking and communication skills on my blog and I’ve been running it now for just under a year. One thing I can tell you is I have made exactly $0 off of the blog. Would I like to make money? Of course! I’m not stupid. But for now, looks like I gotta keep teaching comm classes for a paycheck. That is, at least until the blog bucks start rolling in. *wink wink*

    1. Steven

      I think it’s partly a brainwashing issue, partly an ego issue.

      Everybody likes to think they are soooo original compared to other people, and that the whole world should be reading their words as if it was the holy truth.

      The problem is that when you write about such a generic theme as “how to setup google authorship”, you can try as hard as you want but your post is probably going to be (at least) 90% identical to every other post on the subject.

  4. Shailendra Kumar

    interesting post, highlighting trends, enlightening for existing and upcoming bloggers.

    one thing is to know that easiest accessible resource are always most exploited, so is digital media becoming nowadays. thanks to Google for search engine rankings, which still working help out filter more quality content from many quantity content.

  5. Lisa Goodpaster

    Interesting and makes sense. Especially since, I have yet to start a blog! I try, I pick the names, play with themes and then 5 hours later, I’m thinking….I can’t decide on a theme.

    I have no idea what all the add-on’s mean. While sorting through dozens of more themes and examples of blog’s I slowly envision myself stuck to my computer,tablet, phone trying to keep up with the bloggers! (:

    1. Steven

      Lisa, you shouldn’t think about keeping up with the bloggers. Forget about them. 99% of them will have given up in 3 months to a year.

      Either find your own niche and your own voice, or don’t even start a blog.

    2. Lisa


      Thank you, I Couldn’t agree with you more. I meant keeping up with the bloggers as a sarcastic waste of time. ( keeping up with the jones)

      I don’t keep up with them either. However, I’m am glad I clicked the link from twitter to read your article! Smart and refreshing perspective.

  6. Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Steven,

    Power post here dude!

    I enjoyed writing for for a few months. I applied the same principles on my blog, went a bit more in depth, writing 2500 word posts, and now I am snagging over 5000 or more page views daily. 7500 daily visits too. A few months ago I was nowhere near these numbers. I literally added thousands of view each day over a series of weeks, but such is the power of writing a resource versus a blog post.

    Guys, I had to learn this lesson before I changed. If you want to make money through blogging you should create resources, not blog posts.

    If it takes 1 day to research topics, research. If it takes 3 days to write a 2500 word post, research it.

    Who has time to read a 2500 word post? People who want resources…and Google loves resource-type posts, too. It makes them look good when someone searches for a term and finds an in-depth, 1 stop shopping type of resource.

    One note; do not stretch out posts. Just patiently build a resource and naturally, over time, you will hit serious word counts without trying. Half the time I need to stop myself because I have to do some touristy type stuff here in Kathmandu lol!

    Steven, thanks again for sharing the opportunity with me dude. Awesome lessons I learned and applied to my blog to skyrocket my traffic and boost my like 13 blogging income streams lol. Happy to retweet this post and share too….it came up for a blogging search on topsy, so I see you are still rocking it out.

    Excellent share!


    1. Steven

      Hey Ryan,

      I’m really glad to hear that you’re doing so well.

      It’s been a pleasure to have you writing for Dukeo for some time.

      Now let’s hope that other people will also understand how important it is to not just regurgitate low-value content…

  7. Metz

    What a title! This is somewhat terrifying! Most especially for those blogger and freelance writers who fail to understand about blogging.

    As what you’ve said that bringing value to the table will create money. But if not, well, that is self-explanatory. :) Bravo for this article! there’s a lot of good points and really motivational. Thanks to this!

  8. Riza

    “Starting a blog on Passion is the worst advice ever.” Wow. One of the most brave declarations I’ve ever read online. I’m torn on how to feel about this. Because partly, I know this to be true.

    There are some passions not worth blogging about, especially if you’re just going to rant away your passion with no real useful content for your readers.

    I mean, you always have the freedom to do what you want, but you can only blame yourself if you blog about your passion and don’t get your desired traffic and conversion.

    One better reads this and think for a long time before doing blogs.

  9. Cathy C

    Just started a blog and true probably no one cares what I have to say. Luckly it was not started to make money or advise anyone on social media & blogging. So far I have found the value is likely more to the writer than reader. I hope over time this will at least be a win win. I enjoyed your post and agree with much of it, especially blogging is not easy.It is time consuming and the pay ($0.00 per hr) is crap!

  10. Peter Kanayo

    Dukeo what an article- you said passion is not a requirement. I beg to disagree, passion is what helps sustain the momentum when you no longer feel like writing because of writers block.

    While knowledge is essential, it should go with passion. Knowledge is the bread, passion is the butter while tea is the profitable niche.

    As for you not being so knowledgable, willingness to learn and willingness to differentiate ourselves is of primary importance. Am I there yet no.

    Should this article discourage, nope. As a blogger it only makes me look inward and see what I can do to become better. Those so called expert did not get there at once. Most were just novice but perseverance saw them true.

    While your blog may not be at the level you want it to be-steadfastness would take you there. It’s about building new and profitable relationship.

    By building relationship we receive support from those who are more experienced than us.

    This is why social media is very important. Not the rabbling type of social media but the connecting the dot type of social media.

    Ryan is a perfect example. He understood the importance of doing guest post as a tool to tap into influencers traffic widfall

    1. Steven

      Peter, passion is not and will never be a requirement.

      What will you do when passion wears off?

      Think about it for a second, passion ALWAYS wears off at some point.

      I’ve seen so many bloggers start a blog on passion, get super pumped up, post like crazy for 1 month, then give up because their passion moved onto something else.

      I’m sorry but I have to strongly disagree when you say: “Those so called expert did not get there at once. Most were just novice but perseverance saw them true.”

      Of course, they had to start somewhere, but when they started to learn about their area of expertise, they didn’t blog about it!

      First they learned, then they succeeded, then they blogged.

      As I said in my post, if you want to learn about a subject, are you going to the expert’s blog or to an average Joe’s blog who’s just regurgitating the posts of the expert?

  11. Susan Collini

    I applaud the honestly of this post. You’re absolutely right about those who think starting a blog is a sure-fire route to making money, it isn’t. There are, however, other good reasons why starting a blog is a good idea. Persistence and quality content creates value, builds loyalty and advocacy. Success with blogging, like most things, takes time and application.

  12. Fitolddog

    For me the most effective tools for marketing have been my newsletter and posts on relevant blogs elsewhere. I blog because I enjoy it, it sharpens my thinking, and it builds my credibility. I don’t blog to directly raise funds. I suspect that building trust should be the major goal of a blog – it is the most direct way to demonstrate your expertise in your chosen area. I know what I’m talking about, so I talk, and people increasingly listen and comment, and yes, I reply to all comments, which I consider not only business critical, but good manners. -FitOldDog

  13. Candace Chira

    Wow, I so loved your post here! Thank you! Thank you! When I first started out I thought that I HAD to blog about blogging and social media. Like you said, what I was doing was regurgitating the same old stuff. Fast forward to 2014 and guess what Ste? I still write about those topics on my blog HOWEVER, I write from the angle of someone who is experimenting with different things and sharing how they are or are not working for me.

    In the past, I hated blogging because it felt so fake for me. All that regurgitated stuff made me feel & know that I wasn’t providing any value. Since I relaunched my site and changed everything, I LOVE blogging because I’m able to share real experiences and the real me. It’s so refreshing and so fun now.

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m shouting to the world – I’m brand new, I don’t have a lot of traffic yet, but I’m FREE AT LAST from that regurgitation syndrome and man does it feel GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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