We humans are a funny bunch, remarks Mark Juddery in Overrated! The 50 Most Overhyped Things in History. People seem to "find comfort in that which has been passed down as accepted knowledge."
I think perhaps there’s some over-hyping going on when it comes to blogging for business. I can think of at least three aspects of business blogging that tend to be over-emphasized (sometimes at the expense of the things that really do matter for building business through blogging):
1. Number of RSS subscribers (or repeat visitors):
You certainly want to use your blog to boost your credibility so that you’re seen as the "go-to" source for information in your field. So in theory, at least, having lots of RSS subscribers is what Martha Stewart might call "a good thing".
The reality that I’ve found, though, is that many who RSS a blog are pure information-seekers not ready to act. I’m not saying RSS is a bad thing, not at all. What I am saying is that, while you’re busy accumulating numbers of RSS subscribers and Facebook fans, keep in mind that the majority are probably not your prospects. The bottom line of business blogging is reached when the cash register rings with an online buyer at the other end of the transaction.
2. The above-the-fold rule:
Going back to an old newspaper term, where the important news was placed where it could be readily seen by buyers passing news stands, the version of the "above-the-fold" rule that’s been hyped for websites and blogs is that visitors shouldn’t need to scroll down – or across – to read the information on the blog page. While it makes sense to have the most important content on each page be the most visible, the above-the fold rule has been a bit over-hyped. Bloggers become preoccupied with finding the "ideal length" for a post. The rule I’ve arrived at is "Make your blog posts as short as possible, but not shorter!" If developing an idea means going below the "fold", I say, go ahead and do it.
3. High-tech visual effects:
I love the advice Robert Bly offers in 5 Ways to Stretch Your Marketing Budget: "Don’t over-present yourself!" "Your prospects will look at your overdone literature and wonder whether you really understand your market and its needs."
The blog site equivalent of what Bly’s describing is overdone blog pages, complete with "flash", scrolling icons, too many videos, colors, elaborate type – anything but plain and to the point. Too much garnish, too little meal. The star of a blog is the content. Period. All the rest is the accompaniment, and what you don’t want is the band drowning out the singer….