Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Blogging: Seth Godin and I are doing it wrong!

According to just about every blogging expert out there, I’m doing it all wrong.  But that’s fine with me.  Apparently, Seth Godin is doing it all wrong too.  It turns out that when it comes to blogging, Seth and I are as clueless as our heads are hairless.

What I discovered whilst ruining this blog

Although I’m doing it all wrong, here’s what I’ve discovered; whilst building a daily readership of thousands and making a six figure income from this blog:

  • Your blog posts do not need to be lengthy.
  • You don’t need to use video on your blog.
  • You don’t need to offer a “weekly round-up” of your posts every weekend.  It’s perfectly fine to write something original or post nothing at all.
  • You don’t need to review every piece of crap that’s sent to you.
  • You don’t need to be an associated blogger.  It’s fine to be independent; plus you look less like a sheep when you are not part of a flock.
  • Your posts do not need to be Search Engine Optimized every time or even most of the time.
  • You don’t need a complicated commenting policy or special commenting software.  Seth doesn’t even have comments.
  • You don’t need to spend a fortune on blog design.
  • You don’t need to write a newsletter, just because other bloggers do. (In fact, it’s best NOT to do anything, just because other bloggers do.)
  • You don’t need to use SEO software, to help you write your posts.
  • You do not need to use guest bloggers.
  • You don’t need to drop the F bomb or be deliberately confrontational, in order to stand out.
  • You DO need to find out what works for you, based on what you want to achieve; then do it YOUR way.

Tip: It’s probably NOT going to help you, if you follow the pack.  If your current approach to blogging isn’t working, dump it and consider breaking a few rules.

Me?  I’m going to look for more and more rules to break and more ways to do it wrong.

Why?  Because each time I do, something wonderful happens.

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  1. I love this. You can immediately see that you write for people and not for search engines.

    I’m also lovin that you don’t use guest authors. Thats my pet peeve.

    • Hi CJ.

      I focus on a message rather than SEO and ironically, I seem to do pretty good with the search engines too. The guest blogger thing was never part of the plan here. Thanks!

      • I do have a SEO plugin for my blog but In the end I never took time to tinker with it. Sure it’s a great way to pop up higher in Google, but one can achieve same with hard work and writing something that is relevant. The more you write about the things you are focused on, the better search results you get.

        But then, is that worth the effort? Especially when it is about expertise? I am getting way more hits from OTHER blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and such than from search engines. Now, I do write about a variety of topics, but I have this strange interest to write about social media, communications and especially mobile devices. There are other posts too, but they are rare and far between. I get more hits to the “core” topics through other sites and about half of the search engine hits to the “random topics”. Go figure.

        I have thought about doing SEO, but then why bother? The ones following links generated by real people. Let me phrase that differently: WRITTEN AND POSTED by real people, are the ones that matter more. The people coming through those links care about the stuff I write and they usually read the whole post and even another. From there I have been able to collect small but loyal following. People with whom I have regular conversations on twitter for example. Now THAT is valuable.

        So I’m doing it just as wrong as you and Seth. And it feels good. 😉

  2. Awesome Jim !
    You’re making great points and precious content for everyone.
    Thank you so much :)

  3. First time I’ve read about “associated bloggers” – I thought that most were either writing for themselves or for a company of some sort. That’s the new word of the day.

    When I started blogging in 2007 there weren’t as many “rules” or “best practices” as there are today. SEO was around but that wasn’t what blogging was about. How you blog comes down to a few simple things: the community you’re trying to build, and the business (or personal) goals you’re trying to achieve by blogging. Start from there and however you do it you can’t go wrong.

    • Hi Robert.

      I agree with the majority of your comment. I think you can go wrong though, if you have the right goals and intentions, but try and achieve them, doing what “the other guys” are doing.

      As you know, the masses are usually following each other blindly: All assuming the others are making a ton of money.

      Thanks for the comment, sir.

      • “…the masses are usually following each other blindly: All assuming the others are making a ton of money” – the power of perception, not matter how incorrect it is.

  4. These are all great points, Jim, although I don’t recall anyone ever saying any of these things were “needed.” :)

    • Hi there my friend.

      I have heard every one of those steps given as “the way” by various experts.

      You know; you should have 300 words in a post for SEO, or Google can’t calculate the keyword density.
      You should use guest bloggers, as a way to fill in the blank days and bring their “guest post traffic” with them.
      You should use video, to engage fully and show how real you are.
      You should team up with bloggers offering complimentary, non conflicting products and pimp the crap out of each other…etc, etc.

      I agree 100% they are NOT needed – which is the point of the post. Thanks for the feedback sir!

    • I LOVE “Blog Alchemist”

  5. Spectacular, Jim! I love this post! From the typical comments you get on your posts, commenting software certainly isn’t necessary. Most of the time, I am just annoyed by the hoops I have to jump through to comment. When I briefly had two Twitter identities, I was even more annoyed. Most of the time, I couldn’t comment on the commenting systems.

    I love instructions that make sense… Thanks!

    • I agree Julie. There are some blogs I’d love to comment on, but the hurdles the commenting software puts in the way are too much.

      I’m also not sure I like giving my personal details to the start-ups who run these commenting software services. If I go to your blog, I trust you with my deets. Not “them.”

      Thanks for the feedback.

  6. John Paul Hughes

    June 25, 2011 at 21:00

    I am in the research phases of starting a blog and have been told to do a lot of those things. I was told to write 500 word articles and to optimize everything for the search bots and write controversial viewpoints which is not me. I’m also being told to put pictures of my family on the blog. But I am a voice over artiste and cant see the need.

    John Paul

    • Hey John Paul.

      The thing with putting photos of your family all over your site is a touchy subject. Personally, I don’t do it. I have a young son and a beautiful wife, neither of whom are pictured here.

      Good luck with the new blog and let me know the URL when it’s ready, so I can check it out.

  7. I’m doing it wrong too and as I’m almost as bald as you and Seth, I’m relieved to be in good company.

    I wasn’t really supposed to blog about one of my dobermans biting my testicles and talking about politics and religion is the kind of thing that has the blogging Police knocking your door down. Fortunately they don’t know where I live and my readers seem happy enough.

    I’m not a fool though, I realize it’s only a matter of time before I crash and burn 😉

    • And your approach has set you apart, as a Life Coach who has the honesty to say he isn’t Mr Perfect.

      Thanks for the feedback, Tim!

  8. You and Seth are the only marketing bloggers I read every day.

    The others use guest bloggers and the quality is too hit and miss to make me keep going back.

    I dip into and out of the other sites but my strongest connection is with you and Seth because you are part of my working day, every working day.

    • Hi there Jayne.

      I think a lot of multi-authored blog owners are unaware of the value of that 1-to-1 connection. This site is all about me connecting with you. That’s why it would make zero sense for me to have guests here.

      Thanks for your kind words.

  9. Jim,

    You have just removed a great deal of guilt off my back! Though I blog regularly, I often forget about SEO. My purpose is to educate, and feel those who want to learn about the industry will follow me whether I use subheads (optimized, of course), the main key word in the first paragraph, etc., will find me.

    There are a lot of gurus and experts a-plenty. You are one of the rare ones to don’t have to tell us you are – you show it (well, you WRITE it).

    A big thanks from across the big pond!

    • Hi there Cindy.

      You make a good point, regarding SEO.

      SEO is valid and it is important. However, no one needs to SEO every post on their blog. I get a lot of very high quality traffic from Google, because I have some great back-links and blog exclusively on the subject of marketing. That provides frequently updated, targeted content; which Google values.

      If I had to screw around trying to cram key words and key phrases into every post, I would post a fraction of as many posts. I’m not sure it would be as enjoyable ether.

      I SEO maybe 1 post in every 30 or 50. That said, I many of the posts that score highest here were not SEO’d. At least, not deliberately.

      Thanks for the kind words, Cindy.

  10. I love it Jim… these golden nuggets make for much better content, a more fulfilling experience and even money in the bank!

    Cheers to you sir : )

    • Hey Mark.

      I agree you can certainly produce more uniquely valuable content, if you give yourself the freedom to be yourself.

      A good writer who uses his or her creativity will produce more engaging work, than if they feel constrained to play follow-the-leader.

  11. I really enjoyed this – you kind of reassured me that I can just keep working my own way and enjoy blogging for the sake of blogging… I’m in no hurry!

    • Hi Naomi. So long as working your own way is taking you where you want to go, keep on keeping on!

      Glad you enjoyed the post.

  12. Great post Jim. My takeaway from it:

    “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” ~ Emerson Cheers! Kaarina

  13. Hi Kaarina. I love that quote. Thanks for sharing it here.

  14. Al Pittampalli

    June 26, 2011 at 19:46

    Good post, Jim. Just do great work, that’s the only rule that really matters.

  15. Bravo, Jim! You speak the truth! What most people seem to miss is that RELEVANCE is the most powerful asset of search engine optimization — that, and longevity of remaining consistent with your stated message.

    My blog is #1 on Google for the primary search term that I want it to be, and I’ve done very little to externally reinforce that over the seven years of its existence, save for writing consistently in that vein.

    Keep on doin’ it wrong, brother! maybe you’ll help to get us all ‘off-track!’ *LOL*

  16. Hey Jim

    Here’s the gold for me:

    “You DO need to find out what works for you, based on what you want to achieve; then do it YOUR way.”

    What works for Seth may not work for you. What works for Jim may not work for you. Identify your goals – and then borrow/adapt/create a ‘way’ that takes you towards your goals.

    If it means writing 5000 word posts, do it.
    If it means writing 250 words posts, do that. Creating a website/blog that aligns with what you want to achieve will almost invariably involve you doing it ‘your way.’


    • This is great, Paul:

      “What works for Seth may not work for you. What works for Jim may not work for you. Identify your goals – and then borrow/adapt/create a ‘way’ that takes you towards your goals.”

      Very well put, sir. Thanks for the comment!

  17. Fantastic post Jim.

    It is all about what works best for the blogger and more importantly, what works best for my readers. I have found that if I focus too much on SEO, I lose it and have proven with my Christian Women’s blog where focusing too much on keywords is difficult, I can still rank well in the search engines for major terms.

    • Hi Trish.

      Thankfully, Google is placing less and less weight on keywords / links – And more and more weight on things like social sharing, comments etc.

      The new metrics are human driven.

      Of course, the SEO gamers will be working on how to game the system, but Google is always trying to get the best content ranked highest.

      When you focus on the best content you can manage, you place the odds in your favour.

      Thanks for the kind words!

  18. Thanks, Jim!

    I just love the way you are “ruining” you blog. If anyone who has read any of your previous blog posts, then they could see just how you “ruined” your life.

    Great job doing what you do, and thanks for “ruining” my life.

  19. I just wanted to let you know that yours is the blog I make a point of reading and gain most from. I’m new to blogging and needed to see this particular post.
    I’ve been asking myself some of these very questions (SEO, video, guest, weekend recap…) but have been guided by your attitude and what my gut feel says is right and…well…feel better now. Thanks Jim

  20. This is one of my favorites of your posts, Jim.

    Its message is freeing me up to shrug off some older assumptions while challenging me to figure out what does work best for Barb as a blogger.

    No round pegs in square holes. Connect with humans authentically. Figure it out. Love it!

  21. Hi Jim!

    Your best post yet! I have felt like all the rules didn’t apply to me… and then there have been times I second guessed my gut instinct but thankfully haven’t changed who I am and how I blog.

    It suits me to write only once a week so I do. I tend to be verbose (but aspire to be like you!) so I am. I am usually a good storyteller to make an analogy or point.

    The only thing I am trying to perfect is giving my audience what they want and not just what I think that they need. I see this by what posts they like, comment on etc.

    Thanks for a good one!

  22. dang! all this time I’ve been tweeting and facebook sharing yours and Seth’s material only to find out you where doing it all wrong? :) Funny thing about doing things your own way and not “following the pack”, seems more want to follow you and look forward to seeing what you post next. Keep doing all the wrong things…I like it!

  23. Nice post and subsequent discussion. So I don’t have to shave my head? hehe

  24. Thank you, Jim! The pressure is off!

  25. Thanks Jim.
    I’ve got me wee blog.
    I do my way all the time.
    I come here to get another dose of simple.
    Always enjoy that from you.
    You make it look easy, and in truth when doing your own stuff, it can’t be any harder than that!

  26. Hello! You get a precious idea here:
    “write for people not for SEO”
    You are right but this is a culture which is hard to break, as we all are obsessed with SEO, Google ranking which is changing so rapidly… so we always have a guilty feeling…
    What I think is that we must find the right balance between:
    1) writing for the people
    2) being ourselves and not a sheep in a flock
    3) still have basic elements of SEO

    What I like about your post is that you demonstrate that “the content is king” and this is true!
    Thanks for an inspirational post which make us think.

  27. Very good advice indeed. For a while, I was writing more for search engines, although I was doing it more on a subconscious level (if that makes any sense).

    I didn’t really want to publish short articles either because I thought the big G would consider it “low-quality.”

    Now, I try extra hard to focus on creating value and a good experience for people that visit my website. If Google is on board with that – great.

    Thanks for the tips.


  28. People also say that you don’t need to reply to every comment, but it looks like that’s what you do Jim.

    So obviously, I’m going to comment.

    (Isn’t that what bloggers want?)
    (And as a commenter isn’t that what I want,to be recognized? It’s a win-win!)

  29. Hello Jim!

    I’m totally new here and I think it’s going to be a genuine privilege!

    My blogging is like my entrepreneurial journey – my own, wacky, haven’t-got-a-clue what the “norm” is and if I tried to follow it, I fail miserably and just plain be miserable. I’m finding my way by stumbling along and minding my own business (well sort of ;)). I appreciate everyone’s journey and accept that there will always be greater and lesser than me so if I just do my own thing, heck who knows! This post makes me feel pretty ok, so I thank you sir for that!

    I’m glad to be here and look forward to your greatness! Thank you, thank you!

    Have a superior weekend!

    Much kindness,


    • Hi Elena. Firstly, thank you for the kind words and welcome to the blog.

      In my experience, the more uniqueness you invest into your business, the easier, more enjoyable and more profitable it will be. It’s hard to stand out as having unique value, when you are one of those clones, who are forced to compete on prices or fees, because the marketplace can’t tell them apart.

      The trick is to do the right things correctly, using your unique style. That’s what I see in the most successful people I meet.

      Thanks for the comment!

  30. Seems I am late to the party. Loved the post Jim, and I believe that is why I always have your blog in such good memory. It is short, to the point and always Bufferable! :)

  31. Great post. I’d recently come back to blogging after about a one year hiatus and went to catch up on some of the major pro blogging sites I used to read and it slowly dawned on me…

    These guys are all talking out their back sides rehashing the same stuff over and over again.

    I removed all but a handful of them and just picked a choice few who show some originality.

  32. I feel so liberated now!
    Thank you Jim!

  33. Where I have messed up in blogging in the past is going too far in the direction of what is considered “correct blogging”. Too much controversy and SEO is a good way to get a search engine penalty.

  34. You’ve made me feel much better! I violate the sacred “write a new article every five minutes” rule. As I state on the “About Me” page, I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. The only articles I post are designed to provide practical advice. If I don’t have anything of value to communicate (or if I’m slammed with paying work) I don’t post an article.

  35. You’re only doing it wrong if it doesn’t work.

  36. Hey Jim,

    This was one of those blog post that I really liked reading.
    I agree when you have a blog you run the show. Period.

    I had to tweet this!

  37. Great to have you endorse how I feel. I write/blog because I am passionate about women over 50 making the absolut best of their lives. I try not to get sidetracked by all the tips on how I ‘should’ be blogging, but if I look at keywords when I write I feel I lose the flow and the passion behind the words. Thank you for encouraging me to ignore the rules!

  38. Love this post Jim, and it made me feel better. I haven’t gotten into newsletters, felt like it would just duplicate the blog for what purpose? Thanks for taking a load off my plate.

  39. I try to focus on writing blog posts.

    It’s (mostly) worked since 1997.

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