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7 Blogging Rules You Should Break Today!

With the creation of the internet, it has never been easier to access information. As of this writing, there are over a billion active websites. But with this title wave of thoughts and opinions, how can you be sure an idea is worth latching on to?

After all, nobody needs a license to create a website. A crazy next door neighbor, the old man down the street, or even an 11-year-old girl could publish their own site and say what they want.

There are a lot of blogging “rules” that could derail you. After hours of research, I’m here to separate the wheat from the chaff. Break these 7 blogging “rules” in half with your bare hands and never look back.

Rule 1: Posts should be 500 words or less

In 2010 many blogging experts preached simplicity. People don’t have time to read in-depth articles. With attention spans shrinking and the pace of modern life increasing, why waste time and effort on longer posts that nobody reads? But the data paints an entirely different picture.


In 2016 the average length of the top 10 posts about any given subject was 2000 words or more. Now, this does not mean to start stuffing your articles with meaningless phrases. People can tell when your writing is filled with fluff. What it does mean is that if you want to attract readers, find topics that deserve in-depth content. Look for the holes in similar articles and fill them.

Rule 2: Use clever, cute headlines

Headlines are the most important part of any copy. The goal of any writer should be to get read. If people fall asleep or are confused because you tried to write a cutesy headline, you lose your readers before they even begin.

Eight out of ten readers will read a headline, but only two proceed to the body of your copy. So how do you write a good headline? Start with the four U’s. Headlines should be...
  • Unique
  • Ultra-specific
  • Urgent
  • Useful
If your headline doesn’t meet these criteria forget about it. Kick it to the curb. Consider using numbered lists, verbs, and statistics in your headline. Don’t force a headline if it doesn’t fit. Consider the following two examples:
  1. 5 Ways to tie your shoe
  2. How to tie your shoe in 2.3 seconds (blindfolded)
Which would you rather read? Sure there may be five different ways to tie a shoe but who cares! Why does it matter?

The second headline is unique and specific (tie your shoe in 2.3 seconds). It is urgent (you can do this quickly even without sight). And it is useful. When you’re running away from a bear in the night you don’t have time to make a mistake.

Rule 3: Don’t use too many links

I can see why people think this. Links can be distracting. They can take you away from your current train of thought. Links can also paint the picture that you don’t know what you’re talking about. If you rely solely on linking to other sites, why does anybody need to turn to you for advice?

While too many links may distract, it’s far better to have some links then none. Is there a perfect number per post? Probably not. My rule of thumb is that as long as a link is useful, include it in your post. If it’s there just to boost your page rank don’t bother.

Search engines like Google use links to determine how important a page is. The more that others link to your page, the more important your page becomes. Links can help boost your authority. They also…
  • Increase traffic to your website if you write great content
  • Give you credibility as you piece together research from multiple sources
  • Connect your own thoughts as you link to old articles
So the bottom line here is to use links wisely. If it makes sense to connect your current article to a related past article do it. Always give credit where credit is due. Links help you do this.

Rule 4: Post more often for greater results

Again this may seem like common sense. If you want more people to read your posts, then why not post more often for greater reach? Sure setting a goal to post every day may seem like a great idea. But is it a realistic goal? And more important, is it realistic for you personally?

The first thing to think about when deciding how often to post is your own writing habits and hopes for your blog. If you set a goal to write a post every day, are you the type of person who experiences burnout easily. Can you consistently churn out creative content without facing the dreaded writer's block?

There is no magic number of posts per week that will work in every situation. Take a quick self-inventory of your own skills and habits. Ask yourself these questions:
  • Am I more technical orientated or creative?
  • Do I thrive in high-pressure situations, or enjoy taking the time to learn all the facts?
  • How much time can I dedicate every day to writing?
  • How often can I create new ideas for my articles?
Knowing exactly your blogging style is the first step. Posting every day may help you. But it may hurt you if you are more detail oriented. Darren Rowse, professional blogger and founder of, had this to say about posting new articles every day.
I once surveyed readers here on ProBlogger about the reasons they unsubscribed from RSS feeds, and the number one answer was “posting too much.” Respondents expressed that they developed “burnout” and would unsubscribe if a blog became too “noisy.”
This is, of course, one man's experience. Run tests of your own and find out what works best for your audience. Spend a month writing short posts more frequently. Spend a month writing longer posts less frequently. Compare the results to discover your optimal posting frequency.

Rule 5: You have to blog about making money to make money

There is a common fallacy surrounding bloggers that you have to write about making money to actually make money. Sure people can be motivated by making money. But there has to be more substance than just making money for the sake of getting richer.

“Money is ultimately not enough compensation for investing your time and energy: there has to be a sense of purpose, meaning, and fulfillment,” said author Dan Miller.

People can make money by doing practically anything; working at McDonald's, shoveling trash, or cutting down trees. The key is to take what you know and combine that with what others want.

Chris Guillebeau, author of the $100 Startup, offers this brilliant formula for starting a business. The same can be true when starting a blog. You are a unique individual with very specific knowledge in certain fields. Use that knowledge to offer value to others so that they can achieve their own passions.

In other words, teach them how to do what you already know how to do. For example, a photographer could start a blog on photography. A personal trainer could start a blog on fitness or healthy eating. A writer could use a blog to teach others how to write. The possibilities are endless.

Rule 6: You can write about anything you’re passionate about

There is a legendary essay about the fox and the hedgehog. Author Isaiah Berlin uses two animals to describe the types of people you find in the world--specialist and generalist.

“The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”

As many times as the fox attempts to attack the hedgehog, constantly planning new ways to sabotage the unsuspecting critter, he is unsuccessful.

This is because every time the fox tries, the hedgehog immediately goes to his one constant defense. He doesn’t need to try something new or flashy. He doesn’t need ballistic missiles or state of the art defense buildings. He just needs his natural spikes.

You can be good at a lot of different things. Or you can be the best at one thing. But you can’t do both. These days everybody is a generalist. If you really want to attract an audience, write about something specific. Aside from attracting more viewers, it will be easier to make money with a specific niche.

Do you know what you can be the absolute best at? Use your unique expertise and focus on what you know you can do better than anybody else.

Rule 7: You need lots of fancy images for every post

People love images. 65% of people are visual learners, and the brain process visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Does that mean you should dump as many images as you can find into your post? Of course not.


Every image you use needs to be selected carefully with a clear purpose. The marketing gurus at Kissmetrics have identified 6 different types of visual content that prove to be the most effective. That means that aside from the common picture of a sunrise or cat, there are five other ways to visually engage your audience:
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Memes
  • Presentations
  • Screenshots
Knowing when to use each type of visual aid can make a huge difference in whether or not your content makes a real difference.

Videos are a great way to put a face to your blog. You could create a simple how-to video in order to teach your audience something about your topic of choice.

Infographics are great for displaying complex statistics and drawing attention to relevant conclusions. Infographics are 30x more likely to be read than text alone.

Memes are great for getting emotional responses from your audience.

Presentations help you display lots of information in a visually pleasing way. Sites like Slideshare allow you to turn a boring PowerPoint presentation into a graphically pleasing lesson.

Screenshots capture the essence of a beautiful product. Use them to show off the best of your gear. Screenshots also are great ways to share powerful statistics and testimonials. Always give credit for any image you use.

The Ideal Post

Remember that you can be an expert in a very specific field if you know yourself well. Coming to know your talents, skills, and passions is no easy process. But the time you put in is well worth the effort. When you write about the things you care about the most, you can make the most amount of difference in the world.

These 7 “rules” are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to terrible advice for your blog. Make sure to really test out what works and what doesn’t work for you personally, but never ignore the cold hard facts.

Here’s the bottom line:

Longer posts with well-crafted headlines, specific content, and a variety of visual aids will perform better than almost any other post.


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