Yep, you heard me.
It’s not a typo.
You’re not hallucinating.
You shouldn’t read blogs.
I know this is going to be a highly controversial post, especially because you are reading it on a blog. You might even be a loyal follower of this blog and be totally confused by me telling you not to read it anymore (I’m not saying that by the way).
I guess I should explain.
Oh, and at the end I’ll pose a really tricky question to you. I wonder if you’ll have an answer?
Why shouldn’t I read blogs?
Okay so here’s something you might not know about me: I very rarely read blogs.
Some of my competitors and critics might think, “Yeah it shows buddy.”
They might be right.
Some of you might be thinking, “But you write about blogging? How can you not read blogs?”
You might be right too.
So why don’t I read blogs?
Well, to be completely honest I do read some blogs. But even those blogs I give very limited attention.
The answer is simple.
It’s a waste of time.
I know what I’m doing with my projects I don’t need more information to distract me.
As you all know, when I was in University I sold a blog for around $20,000 and that was at a time when I knew hardly anything about the industry. I made so many mistakes and did things in a very inefficient way. And it still worked really well.
The hard truth
The hard truth of the matter is that 98% of blogs have pretty ordinary and recycled information.
And of the 2% of blogs that are left over we have some good ones and some brilliant ones.
Maybe 0.05% of blogs are brilliant. And within those select few blogs only a handful of the posts are either applicable to me or well written.
And that is why you shouldn’t read blogs. There just isn’t that much that you need to know.
Most of it is time wasting.
Why I’ve changed my tune
I used to read a lot of blogs. I am someone who likes to read a lot of anything I can get my hands on; autobiographies, biographies, news, fiction, philosophy, etc. So reading blogs and learning about my trade was something that I naturally thought was a good idea.
But about a year ago I realized I was doing it as a way to procrastinate from the work I should be focusing on like creating my own content, products and building my own web assets.
I noticed that there was a lot less relevant content out there and there really was no reason for me to keep reading it.
For a little while I totally deleted my feed reader and unsubscribed from every list I was on.
Since then I have slowly added a few super high quality blogs to my Google Reader.
But I still don’t read everything that they publish. There are literally only two blogs where I read almost everything when it goes live.
My goal is to be one of the only two blogs you read.
Occasionally I’ll scan the headings of the others in my feed to see if there is something drastically new that I need to know about for changes to Google or new WordPress features – that kind of thing. But I am definitely not one of those guys who scours Mashable for hours a day trying to stay on top of every single trend that is going on.
I just don’t care about that anymore.
I don’t have the energy for it.
Today I have only seven blogs in my feed reader.
When should you read blogs?
As always there is an exception or two to the rule.
So when should you be reading blogs regularly? Here are some thoughts:
- When you are searching for a solution
Obviously when you are searching for a solution to a problem you need to search Google and read the resulting blog posts. This is not really what I am talking about so I just wanted to be clear.
- When you are trying to develop a voice
Voice is an extremely important thing for a blogger. Without a unique and appealing voice you run the risk of merging into that boring 98% that I talked about above. And when developing a voice it can be really useful to immerse yourself in the smooth and soothing tones of someone that you admire and enjoy. That is less about the reading and more about the learning.
- When you are out of ideas
Sometimes in our careers we just run out of ideas. It’s happened to me a few times and sometimes if it goes on long enough I start to panic and think that I might have to go and get a real job somewhere outside my house (yuk!). This is a good time to increase the reading time to at least an hour a day and let fresh ideas and innovations and concepts wash over you. By doing that you let your “old” knowledge and experience mix with the “new” information to create something.
- When your ideas aren’t working
Sometimes nothing seems to work despite our best efforts. During these (frustrating) times you should perhaps try to read a few more blogs outside your usual sphere of influence to see whether you can encounter something a little different.
- When you are trying something new
If I start a new project or want to work on something I’m not really sure about I will generally find a few authoritative blogs and read everything they have to say about the topic. I used to leave them in my feed reader for all time but nowadays I delete them once I feel like I am up to speed.
You might be able to come up with a few more exceptions to the rule.
The really tricky question
Okay so here is the really tricky question that I mentioned at the start of the post:
How do you know if your blog reading is procrastination or something genuinely useful? And how do you know when you’re decision to not read blogs is doing more harm than good?
I’d really like to hear your answers to that question and anything else you might be able to add to the discussion.
149 CommentsJoin in. The comments are closed after 30 days.
I actually only read two blogs – a comedy blog (cracked.com) and the blog of the brilliant Jim Connolly (jimsmarketingblog.com). Anything else has to be exceptional or interesting for me to bother with it. It might be weird considering that my main website is a tutorials blog where “staying up to date” is important.
Truth is, you get material from your audience, your experiences, and the communities you participate in. Rarely do I find ideas being prompted from other people’s blog posts. After all, that’s been written, and I can just let others know it’s awesome and move on.
That is a freaking good comment Corey! Maybe you should be writing the posts here! 😉
Experience is a big one for me. But you hit them all on the head.
Beginner’s luck, haha. This is actually my first post of yours I’ve seen, but I might have to expand to 3 blogs regularly instead of two. 😉
In that case, please ignore the above post.
Well I search around to find out who’s who in the internet marketing world. That is my main objective. I drop by their blogs (like I’m doing now) to get to know more about them and their style and what I could learn from them.
Interesting post. I think writing blogs is probably better than reading them because you have to do a lot more research to find great information and that helps expand your knowledge!
That’s a good point too Ian. It does often take a lot of research and that is absolutely not time wasting.
I totally agree. I used to read everything from everybody.
Now my RSS Reader is clean and almost empty.
Except for me right? Right?
I get your posts via email. That’s a higher grade 😉
That is the “circle of trust” – Meet the Parents style.
I envy you for the empty reader. I’ve wrote numerously on simplifying one’s reader but I seem to end up with a bunch of new blogs every month. It’s the collector’s part in my I guess which I should get rid of.
I guess it’s not a problem until it’s a problem. Might work well for you?
I subscribe to a lot of blogs. Like you, I don’t read them. Most are as you say, a waste of time. I do skim them. If something useful to me pops up, I read it and use it, else, to the trash and quickly on with life.
That is almost a poetic comment there Charles! Love it.
How do you prevent yourself from getting distracted by the noise?
I think your message is “stop reading and start writing” …you are such a smart blogger and I really like to read your blog posts :)….yeah I do read (some) blogs.
Thanks Zimbrul. You are too kind.
I love this post. I think I have had 4 blogs in my reader: yours, Glenn’s, Halpern’s, and Pat Flynn’s. This has been so beneficial for me. Every couple months I’ll skim Copyblogger and Problogger, but they pump out content too fast for me to keep up.
Keep up the good work, dude!
That’s pretty close to mine too! Thanks Brett.
I can see what you’re getting at and I agree that if people are using it as a way of procrastinating then they need to change their habits however, I worry that you may be running the risk here of putting some bloggers off blogging if they feel there’s no point if no-one is going to read their posts.
I have several blogs and have been blogging for quite a while now. I’m also fairly thick skinned and wouldn’t be put off easily but those fairly new to blogging who follow you because you give great advice might not be so tough. Not everyone wants to be a power/pro blogger and I think reading other people’s blogs is a great way of checking that you’re on the right track and also finding your writing style.
You’ll notice that I haven’t put a link to any of my sites. I didn’t see the point if no-one is going to read them :-))
I hope I haven’t put anyone off blogging with this post! The whole point was to get them to write MORE on their blogs.
But, I think beginners are (hopefully) covered by the dot point exceptions I wrote towards the end – it’s a good idea to read when you’re new or learning to find your voice.
Thanks for dropping a comment!
I think the argument is that BLOGGERS spend less time reading the posts of others (if this gets in the way of their own writing), not the general public…
I don’t think many read this in fear that no one is going to read our posts again!
Interesting article and good points when someone should read blogs.
I think that you can read as much as you want, but if you don’t take action you will never getting anywhere. So research the information that you want and make it your own. Help people with their problems by creating unique content that solve these problems.
Yep, totally agree. As long as it’s not becoming a distraction.
Thanx Ramsay :). And I agree with your comment.
But it’s natural of someone of your stature to think that way. You now don’t need to visit other’s blog. People visit your blog.
I always pay visit to some of the popular blogs everyday before logging into my blog. It’s benefiting me so I do it on a regular basis.
The article is great sir. Keep up the good work of enlightening us 😀
Hi Arbaz. You don’t have to call me sir! 🙂
I’m a beginner too. I’m still learning. Compared to someone like Brian Clark or Neil Patel I don’t know anything.
I just want to be sure I don’t waste time reading for the sake of it.
I cut back on the blogs I read about a year ago because I wanted to concentrate on other online and offline stuff.
My brother Marc sends me links and I always have an initial read and sometimes subscribe. If I don’t find a few posts interesting over say a month then I unsub.
I’m lucky as Marc is like a curator of content for me and I will nearly always open a link he sends me because he knows the areas I enjoy reading about.
I’ve stopped reading all the HOW TO market online blogs because the content just feels a little thin after reading stuff for 3 or 4 years.
I stay with you BT Ramsay because you don’t bombard me with content; the content is usually very practical and I can use it to fine tune my own site; and you always respond to comments and have been very supportive of my Life Dreaming work.
These days if I want to know something then I do some searching and get the info off sites and blogs but rarely subscribe anymore. I have FB Liked a few though as I enjoy short snippets on FB.
Sounds like a pretty cool arrangement Liz!
I always enjoy your comment and interactions so I hope to make content that keeps you coming back.
Your site is looking nice btw!
if you like the site now Ramsay then you’ll love it in a few weeks [ish] when Marc has done a complete revamp. took on board a lot of suggestions from your past posts and building them into the new site – particularly liked practical hints you gave in the one just before this one.
I do scan blog posts and email newsletters from time to time. Some I read and take notes from!
Basically, I set up my email to send most stuff to directories. Then when I feel like it I show all the subject lines and peek at some — and for most, I then delete the rest.
And here I thought I was being old fashioned;)
I still prefer to read books…
What is this book thing?
Kidding. I’m with you in a lot of ways. I love a good book.
That being said, I’ve read two books this week and they were both on the iPad.
Great post Ramsay, and I’ve noticed this in my own life as a blogger, too – the idea that we use the excuse of “trying to further our knowledge by reading and consuming as much content as we can as often as possible” merely to avoid having to admit we’re procrastinating.
To be honest, though, when I started writing my blog, I wasn’t already a big reader of blogs, and still aren’t – with the exception of a notable few, such as this one 🙂
For me, the blog was just a tool, a platform to get my educational messages out to other photographers.
That said, I can still identify lots of other diversions, besides blogs, that fulfill that desire for procrastination at times!
All the best from Memphis TN
Looks like we are in the same niche, Nigel. We should connect sometime. 🙂
Awesome! Love it when people find new resources and friends in my comments.
Nigel, good point about the other distractions. There are so many…
Indeed – always great to find others who love the business side of photography!
How’s the coaching going? I find that type of online business really interesting.
It’s going very well, thanks, Ramsay, although it can be a challenge to hit the right note sometimes. Finding the right program for photographers who are already struggling can certainly be a real challenge, but I’ve just finished teaching a 2-day intensive with 4 webinars that was really well received.
Learning that you can’t please everyone at once was the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far with it 🙂
I used to read lots of stuff back when I had a day job with lots of down time where company policy said I could read the internet, but not create on it (so no blogging of my own).
Now that I’m not at the day job anymore, I only read blogs that I like enough to subscribe to. You, Halpert, and a few photo blogs that are in my niche, but that’s more for finding good content to share with my readers via social media, so I skim that more than read it and don’t do it often.
I would never have learned all I did if it wasn’t for blogs, so I’m thankful for them, but yes, at some point you know what to do and just need to start doing it and stop wasting time. And the cool thing is, it works. 🙂
Good thoughts, Ramsay!
There’s a post coming up soon here you’re really going to like. 😉
Well that’s fun! 🙂
So i should stop reading your blog? Lol
Well, to me, as a blogger, I must read as many blogs as possible to know wassup. To see the next big blog. To pitch guest posts etc…
Don’t stop reading this one! 🙂
Sounds fine as long as you don’t get distracted. That’s all.
Thanks for commenting.
I should really clean house with my own email subscriptions. Sometimes, I get so many that I couldn’t read them all even if I wanted to! There’s something so final about hitting that unsubscribe button, though, which is one of the reasons I’ve avoided it for so long…
Plus, I’m afraid I’ll be completely in the dark if I unsubscribe from mailing lists. Because I value different aspects of every blog I read, I think it would be tough for me to decide which ones to kill and which ones to keep. Do you recommend “all or nothing” in every case, or was that simply the best choice for you?
I’m really an all or nothing person. I do things far to “extreme” sometimes.
Perhaps it might be better to remove some slowly. Set some parameters like only checking once a day for 20 minutes or removing a blog if you get three posts in a row that don’t touch you.
Hmmm…I really like that 3 in a row idea! I’ll try that. As much as I’d like to be an all or nothing type, I tend to be far too contemplative about everything. I’m also a pack rat with tangible belongings, so it’s no wonder that mentality carries over into my email as well.
And don’t worry, I won’t be removing Blog Tyrant from my subscriptions. I like your posts too much!
P.S. I still haven’t gotten used to seeing your real name. When the announcement for this post popped up today, my first thought was “who the hell is Ramsay? Oh, right. Blog Tyrant unmasked!” 😉
I’m still not used to it either. Whenever I see my name mentioned on some blog I’m like “how the heck did they find that out?”
Hopefully it was the right move though. Feels more real now.
It gives you more validity. Plain and simple.
I only follow blogs on subjects I am not up to speed on and end up unsubing after a month or two. The rest of the stuff in my reader is just to quickly take a look at and skim for good nuggets to pass on on Twitter.
The internet is overflowing with bad/rehashed/unoriginal or just plain unless information. Not just blog posts.
There will soon be a paradigm shift when people realize the internet has most of the content it needs already. Well I hope so at least.
I would welcome that shift.
Your post reminds me that I don’t WANT everyone reading my blog… just those to whom the info I share is vital. Every time I post on my blog I ask myself, is this worth the time of my potential vocal or music production client to read, or would it make him/her want to unsubscribe? Am I adding to the noise for them, or might they find it so valuable they archive the post so they can always revisit the info?
Thanks for the good thought food here…
Interesting take on it all Judy.
Sounds like a good question that increases your content quality. Nice work.
I know my blog reading is not worth the time if I have absolutely nothing to comment. If I’ve read a full article and haven’t gotten anything out of it, I’m wasting my time. It hasn’t brought any value to my life. A lot of times, I will go through the headlines in my reader, and the ones that don’t stick out to me, I just mark them as read and move right along. This is a quick and easy way for me to weed out irrelavent articles.
I don’t think I would ever be comfortable not following blogs. For me, the RELATIONSHIPS are some of the most important parts of blogging. Why else do we blog? I don’t know – I guess you primarily put information out there for others to benefit from, and that’s all you need. No problem there. But I write to help people as well, and then I visit some of the blogs of people who can relate to my topic in efforts to build relationships and a community. When your blog is as new as mine (3 months), relationships are key (in my opinion) and one of the best ways you can get to know someone and enter their lives is by reading their blog posts, if they’re relavent.
Just my two cents.
Holly that second paragraph is a really good point and something I totally forgot to mention in the article. I really should make an edit tomorrow.
Thanks for pointing that out.
Really thought-provoking article Ramsay.
I only read blogs that give me a feeling (I am a chick). Consistently that is inspiration. And that inspiration drives me to think, and create, and drive change.
Other than that, as soon as I start to find a blog boring, I ditch it. It just becomes noise then.
I follow your blog because you’re cute 😉
Naaaa… not even that would stop me from ditching you if I wasn’t inspire by what you’re writing.
Thanks Trish. Glad it’s not all nonsense here!
I have seen to many blogs that where the auther is just stuggling for content, and just makes up stuff. Bloggin for the sake of it.
Yeah, that’s why I wrote the post a few weeks ago about not writing every week. I think there is no point if you don’t have something useful to communicate.
Ramsay, I think its about not getting distracted. I am easily distracted, and loose my focus, and don’t do the “multi-tasking” thing well. I also stopped for some time posting to my own blog(s) just to try and get a grip on what it was I’m really trying to do. I don’t think that every one has the talent to become a stay at home blogger over night. But it’s still a fun hobby, and a craft that one can try to perfect, and see if they can reach an audience, and provide useful content.
Perfect. Well said Randy.
Shucks. This is a wake up call for me to spring clean my Reader. A sign,if you will. I recently discovered that blog-hopping is SO time-consuming. For me the magnet is – besides loving to read – getting along with the blogger. And then, before I know it, I am a regular there. I don’t care about reciprocation or score keeping – I just stay in touch because I enjoy it. Plus, there’s the conversation I’d hate to miss on some of the blogs I lurrv.
You’re right though, about not overdosing on it – it certainly slows down my pace and makes me lose sleep keeping on track. Hmm.
I am an information junkie – but it helps me in my ghost-writing career, so I guess there’s a benefit. Still, I really ought to cut down.
Thanks for the nudge, BT. (Oh, always BT to me!)
So many people still call me BT. It’s kind of nice. Bit of history. 🙂
Many times after reading too much of content online I just forget that what I was searching for. So, to prevent that IS just reduced reading blogs and nowadays I’m reading only 3 blogs that are ViperChill, ProBlogger, and obviously The Blog Tyrant.
I like to read every article posted on these blogs but there some exceptions. And the answer to your question is, after reading articles on various on different blogs, you don’t get some benefit out of it then your just wasting the time instead you must be writing some killer post for you blog audience. When you run out of ideas and don’t even read the blogs that are in your readers list then your just harming yourself. My language is not perfect as I’m not a native english speaker so please regret the mistakes..
Great ideas Nabil. Well said.
Thank you for this wonderful affirmation!
I can tell when I am procrastinating when reading is a “chore” instead of a pleasure. When I am scanning the words instead of processing the message.
I find wonderful inspiration and affirmations through others stories and messages, yet I also find if I read before I write or create my own stuff I run the risk of incorporating another voice into my work. I honor my own creative process first, while my creative surge is fresh…I take a break and re-center, then read others stuff if there is time in the day. I might not read as much volume, but the connection with the material and the author is genuine and enriching.
That voice incorporation is a really interesting point. I often think about that for myself. Hard to know if it’s a problem or just how authors work though I think.
When I first got Google Reader, I went nuts and subscribed to a ton of blogs, then I never looked at them again. What I found useful was subscribing by email to a select few blogs, and then processing their emails with my greymail every morning. Interesting title (i.e. “Why You Shouldn’t Read Blogs”)? Gets read.
Uninteresting title (i.e. “How I Got 1,000 People to My Blog in its First Ten Days” arrives in my inbox this morning from Problogger, who as the person mentioned above, does just write a ridiculous torrent of information that is rarely applicable to a majority of his readers anymore). Gets deleted. After too many deletes, I unsubscribe. So I recently unsubscribed from John Chow and ZacJohnson, because they only send me rubbish and webinars (major problem with webinars, people talk four times slower than I can read and I have to get up at 2am to attend most of them. Very inefficient).
The only exception is Cracked, which as the world’s largest time sinkhole if you haven’t visited it before would be a terrible, terrible thing to have arrive in your email on a regular basis.
One thing I will say is that all the people who have explicitly mentioned what blogs they read have only named blogging-for-money blogs. Go broaden your minds people! I’d say a third of the blogs that I subscribe to are blogging about how to blog for money. The rest are just doing it on a topic I am interested in. No wonder you’re all jaded if you only read blogs in one niche!
Now, having said all that, I actually started commenting because I was interested in knowing what blogs you, Ramsay, actually read? Sounds like a good insight to have. 🙂
Yea, you wrote it better then I could have said it. I ditched Problogger, but Kept BT.
I also don’t know if I’ll ever have a blog or web site that supports me, and have stopped with that line of thinking, and moved on with creating posts that might be useful to someone else, or just myself.
My most popular post was one that I wrote for mainly myself, but with someone else looking over my shoulder point of view. So that’s the type of post that I’ll focus on.
There is still a lot of valuable information on ProBlogger. The hard thing is being able to sort through it all. I just get a bit overwhelmed.
In terms of what my two blogs are – can you guess?
I totally agree with you. Most blogs are total crap. One of the big pieces of advice everybody gives is to connect with other bloggers in your market. I blog about kids and sleep and one of the big reasons I do so is that so many of the parenting bloggers are pretty useless. So I provide an alternative. Am I now supposed to go network with the bloggers who were so lame that they prompted me to start my own?
I don’t have an empty RSS reader however it’s full of blogs on WP tech, SEO, blogging, etc. There is one peer-parenting blog in there. I’ve always felt like this makes me a bit of a superior snob. But your post makes me feel better about the whole scene. Maybe I’m not a snob, maybe I’m just a realist 😉
There are a lot of good parenting blogs out there. Some of them are perhaps a little less “defined” though. I think Dooce is sort of a parenting blog and she is one of the most successful there is!
I know what you mean though. It can be hard in some niches to connect properly.
The goal for you, then, might be to become that authority in the niche that others want to connect to. Perhaps even set up a page promoting that and asking for tips and submission, etc.
Yeah I agree Ramsay. Still fairly new to the blogging world I started out subscribing broadly but quickly reduced that down to three I give genuine attention to – yours, Social Triggers and Stanford’s Pushing Social. Appreciate your stuff.
Never heard of that Stanford one. Will have to check it out.
Thanks for the support.
I have to agree with you on the low value of most blogs now. It seems everyone feels they have to keep pumping out content whether they have anything to say or not.
I’m gradually unsubscribing from blogs and emails, because I wasn’t reading the stuff or, if I was, it was the same old reheated leftovers.
I recently uncircled a well-known blogger-about-blogging on Google+ because he posted a link to what he called “killer content” that was just the same stuff yet again with a misleading linkbait headline.
I’m also blogging less myself, because I don’t want to be part of the problem of a mass of mediocre content. I was following the “post frequently, do lots of guest posts” model for a good while there, and yes, I got traffic and a few sales, but it just wasn’t sustainable in the long term. I was running out of things to talk about and starting to repeat myself.
Nor am I content to accept a bunch of bland guest posts just so that I can get content on my blog.
I read your stuff and a couple of others, because you’ve got something fresh to say and it’s not like drinking from a firehose, but I have to say that I’m a bit disillusioned with the state of blogging overall, and starting to pull back from that model.
Yeah I know what you mean. There was even one big blogger who posted and promoted a product that was blatantly a scam. I’ll never go there again.
I have a question. How about reading blogs of your direct competitors or rather people in your niche who you are trying to connect with and network with?
I spend a lot of time reading their blogs, not because i’ really need their perspective but to promote them and support them and they do the same for me. It does take a lot of time but when i need help, the fact that i’ve read their blogs and helped them means they will help me promote my site and posts to their network.
Do you think your rule applies when you are networking and hustling in this way?
Yeah that is something I really failed to mention in the post. Someone else brought that up above in the comments.
I think I might have to make an edit in the post.
Not a tricky question at all. In all honesty,Blog Tyrant IS one of only two blogs I read regularly. And these two blogs I read specifically because I know I will find useful (truly useful) information that I will somehow incorporate in my own blog or business.
I have been working hard to model my blog after yours. I discovered this blog around the same time I created my current blog (just a few weeks ago) so it’s been a real learning experience. I’ve had several other websites and blogs and never really had a clue what I was doing. This time will be much better thanks to you!
Thanks Sylvia. Really nice of you.
A thought provoking post Ramsay. I waste so much time visiting blogs, often those on my feeder or those who have left comments on my posts. I do declutter my feeder occasionally and I visit some blogs because I have developed a relationship with the person, rather than feel inspired or excited by what they write. I do need to think about this more. Why I blog, what I want to gain from it, and it’s cost in time and evergy. Thanks for sparking this.
No worries Sandie.
When you get a new email in your inbox, you get excited when you see who it came from and you feel compelled to not put it off as something to read later, or something that is not important enough to read right now, you know you have subscribed to one of those Top 2 blogs.
Congrats, Ramsay, your emailed blog posts are what I’ve described above.
That is a freaking awesome description Scott! Thanks very much.
Man, this post hit home. In the beginning, I justified my binge blog reading because I was a newbie and needed to learn. By now, I’ve read enough that I can skip over most “5 Quick Tips!”-type posts.
However, I haven’t matched my massive reading with massive action. Need to balance that out.
Being a perfectionist is a barrier. With so much information on the Internet, it’s tempting to think, “I’ll read everything first, then do it like a pro.” The danger is that you never get started.
I don’t want to release something until it’s good. But you have to be bad at things first before you get good. Perfectionism is the enemy of getting started. I think of how ugly my travel blog used to look like before I re-designed it. Yet my friends and readers didn’t care, as long as the stories were entertaining.
I’m running into this perfectionism problem again, because I’m experimenting with making videos. When I watch them, my reaction is like, “That’s what I look like? That’s what my voice sounds like? The lighting is terrible!” Can’t blame awkwardness on the equipment, ha ha.
An entrepreneur friend of mine said he remembers that the motivational speaker Tony Robbins used to sell cassette tapes at his seminars. He didn’t have the money for printed labels, so he’d hand-write all the labels himself with black permanent marker. Now that he’s successful, he can afford slick, professional productions in his talks. I think of the successful rappers who sold their first mixtapes out of the trunks of their cars. Everyone has to start somewhere.
This might just be an imaginary problem. Will anyone ever see your first 10 blog posts, first 10 videos, or anything else?
Breaking your rule here, but there was a good blog post titled, “5 Advantages Small-Time Bloggers Get & Lose.”
The No. 1 advantage was to try new things and fail without anyone noticing. Later, when you have 10,000+ subscribers, you can worry about how they’ll react. For now, just worry about getting started. Time to take my own advice 🙂
Brilliant comment Marcus. Love the self-diagnosis!
I read a number of blogs, mostly technology based and the majority of these blogs I receive emails with new content. Your blog reading, in my opinion, is useful when you can use the information in the blog in your work or in something you find productive. If you are reading blogs instead of doing work, then it is procrastination.
If you decide to not read blogs and the quality of your work decreases, then you know you are doing more harm than good.
Great points Jordan. Thanks for commenting.
This is exactly what I’ve been thinking of doing lately. There are SO MANY blogs that used to be awesome but are now just churning out some crappy content that I’ve essentially read 5 times before on other blogs. Would be a huge time saver as once I start reading one blog post, I usually get sidetracked and end up reading about 3-4 posts from that blog before moving on to the next new blog post.
Yep, you got it.
I do get your point, though I still read a few blogs. I really get your point about going to blogs to search for solutions and def agree with you about searching for a voice, though I think that ‘voice’ when it comes to my blog is both copy and visuals to build a brand.
Yeah that voice is so important. Thanks for stopping by Thang.
very interesting but confusing as well
i think established blogger dont need to read other blogs,
but when someone just starts blogging dont they need to basically interact with the other blogger in there niche?
for a person who just wants to make it in a blog in any niche, and they didnt make a name for them selves, i think most of there time shouldnt be writing so many blog post, but promoting there blog
and a part of getting there blog out there is to go to other blogs and start interacting, and isnt that done by reading and then commenting on the blog post?
so i am confused, as a new blogger i really dont know what to do now to promote my blog
what is the most important for a blogger to do (if they are fairly new) to get more pple to see there blog?
this question is not just for blog tyrant this is for anyone who can give me tried and tested methods LOL
cuz seriously this is a little confusing for me.
i hear alot of different advice from so many “expert” bloggers
maybe thats what you are saying ramsay not to get overwhelmed with other advice and just start doing stuff
but what if you dont know what to do?
god i need a shot of turkish coffee now LOL
Sorry to confuse you. I think I need to make some edits to the post.
Down the bottom I mentioned that it’s a good idea to read blogs if you are new or trying something new. That networking is really important.
Hope that helps.
I always read that you should read other blogs and comment on them to get comments on your blog. I however really cannot find the time to do that with a full time job plus my blog which is being more successful as it continues on. I do have blogs emailed to me that I really do enjoy reading and I do a Top 5 Must Read Blog posts on Sundays to try to show my readers other good sites.
Commenting is very important. I guess you just have to do it carefully and strategically.
I do agree with what you’re saying, Ramsay. I do think people should read less. I still like to read blogs and do it for pleasure, but I can see why doing it when you should be working is a bad idea.
I’m pretty old school. I’ve tried twice to use Google reader and I can’t do it. I just have about 20 sites in my bookmarks and if they don’t post on a schedule I usually check them a few times a week to catch up.
I’m into my podcasts just now. I always listen to the lifestyle business podcast and foolish adventure every Thursday. I’ve enjoyed your last few posts. I think I like your blog a lot better now that I know who you are.
Podcasts are cool cos you can sort of do it while you’re doing other things like exercise or travelling.
I used to have a lot of blogs that I followed, and some were posting every day (or more) and was driving me insane.
I “only” have 12 blogs that post twice a month on average which keeps it clean, but also not a distraction as what they write is good (SPI, Viperchill, Sparring Mind, Nichepursuits, Lewis Howes, Sean Malarkey and a Dutch blog and a few others)
They are motivators for me and also help me determine / fine tune my strategy.
For entertainment, procrastination, I “read” likecool.com and a dutch movie blog (I love movies)
SEOMoz i read when the topic is relevant for me, if not I’ll skip it. Whiteboard Friday is something that I find interesting.
Techcrunch I skip through once a week for some things I find interesting. Also a bit more quality articles.
Mashable once every two weeks, as they just bombard me with articles when I had them in my reader.
Kickstarter is interesting of what people are up to.
TC, Mash and Kick all provided me with business ideas that I can start in Australia which is one of the reasons I read them. I always have ideas on businesses and these sites help me.
Well.. if you liked it or not, this was a short glance in my life haha 🙂
Ha ha. That last sentence really made me laugh Ralph.
I agree, the blogosophere is crowded, really crowded, and a lot of the blogs are not remarkable. Here is my attempt to answer your questions:
How do you know if your blog reading is procrastination or something genuinely useful?
If you are getting good value out of a blog, you are not procrastinating. For example, if you read a post and have some thoughts like “Wow! This piece of advice is gold!” or “Hmm. Interesting, I never thought about it that way…” Then, you are using your time to read a blog in a useful way. If you start to notice the content being a repeat of the same themes, then you are procrastinating because you already know the basic principals. Finally, I perceive a blog as more useful if there is a human element involved. If the writer genuinely cares about his readers (and you can sense this through their writing and actions), then that is a useful blog for me.
And how do you know when you’re decision to not read blogs is doing more harm than good?
Some blogs motivate me. If I stop reading and feel less motivated, then it is doing more harm than good. There’s probably more to this answer, but I don’t want my comment to become a short story.
Have a great weeekend!
Great comment Ryan. Good insights.
I write my own blog and it can be challenging to find the time to read other ones. A solution is to speed read and limit to less than an hour a day. No harm done! I try to keep up with a handful that are high quality, well-written or relate to my own in fashion & culture.
Yeah I think you are right. Setting a time limit can be very helpful.
Great post and relevant. I visit other blogs when:-
They Tweet something interesting on Twitter.
They reply or comment regularly on my own blog.
I subscribe to their mailing list (generally because of the first two reasons above)
I like it. More spontaneous!
I think reading tons of other people’s blogs is an important step in the process of becoming a blogger. I was more ambitious than all you guys with RSS. I set myself up to read all the landlord news written in english to give me ideas about interesting ideas to blog about. It would take about 2 hours each day and RSS quickly became a source of anxiety as the unread articles piled up to the thousands. This article just reminded me about it because I haven’t even checked it in a year.
I have a few blogs in my email and those are the ones I read. I don’t read any blogs about blogging for the most part.
I think after a while you become a victim of your own success. I miss the days when I could spend hours writing an article or farting around the internet. Maybe someone will fire me, I could rest lol.
I actually find twitter very handy for keeping in touch with the bloggers I care about when I have time, I get their articles and some new articles they’ve retweeted. It’s nice that way.
I’m pretty sure I’m one of the 7 blogs on Ramsay’s feeder 🙂
Rachelle, one thing I have learned about you is that you don’t do things by halves.
An example is when you know how to promote your blog online and offline and still go out to read articles that share what you already know – may be in search for other people’s experiences.
Yeah that is a good one.
I DEFINITELY get where you’re coming from with this post.
As someone who is just starting out in the whole ‘making a living online’ thing, I initially found myself actively seeking out as much info as I could read/watch/listen to. The result?
Total and utter information overload – NOT GOOD!
Yeah I know what you mean Patrick. It can be a little overwhelming.
I came to the same conclusion recently, but only with respect to blogs about blogging. It’s the same-old, same-old and it can be overwhelming to boot. In fact, I only read this blog post via email because you mentioned something I shouldn’t do. I’m weary of all the webinars on one more 40-hour a week commitment I need to take up.
Yeah I think the blogging about blogging niche is pretty saturated. And we’re aware that most of our content is read by beginners so sometimes it’s hard to write stuff for the advanced segment of our audience as well. I’m never really sure how to balance that.
This post really struck a chord with me. For many days I had been ignoring and not reading many top blogs subscribed in my Feed Reader. I realized it one day and removed many blogs from my feed reader. Today I just read the title of the posts and if found interesting I read them. The point is that most of the top news are covered by most of top blogs so subscribing one or two blog/s would suffice. Blogs on blogging and SEO or most of the over popular niches are little different, most of them just recycle and post it as their own. Blogs with original content are rare. Thus not reading everything is very important or else you would never see the world above your laptop screen. A line should be formed as to what and how many blogs should one read. The list might be different for everyone but everyone should prepare one for better Time management.
I reckon maybe choosing one in each niche is a good idea. SEOmoz for SEO is all you need, for example.
You can only stop reading if and only if you have been in this jungle for long and not like a newbie like me to stop reading then you not advicing me very well.But all the way,thanks for the wonderful post
Yep, makes sense.
You’re right so much of blog material is recycled. I have often read a blog thinking there was some original and insightful content in it, only to read later another blog with the exact same contact written at a date before. Disheartening to say the least.
I think that is part of the problem for bloggers reading too much – you forget that you read what you’re writing about just a few days ago.
I have come to realize, slowly, like an alchoholic, that I have a problem with respect to technology blogs. I constantly scan the headlines “looking for something new”.
This is a huge waste of time. Also, the vast majority of technology blogs are garbage anyway. If I hear another recycled Apple rumour, I think I’ll be sick.
As of right now, I’ve blown away everything in Google Reader…and also a bunch of similar stuff in Twitter.
Thanks for this post, it finally opened my eyes to how much time I’ve been wasting.
Enjoyed your comment, Jeff. I subscribe to this post’s comments and yours caught my attention.
It’s great to get moments of clarity that help us realize that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result – much like your analogy of the alcoholic and the compulsive blog reader – just aren’t healthy behaviors. Or productive ones. Like the time wasting that you mentioned; that’s huge.
May have gone a bit far with the alcoholic thing. However, I think it’s pretty close to the truth.
It’s easy these days to get addicted to the free flow of information. I find that it’s become an escape which prevents me from accomplishing things.
I actually think a significant portion of the western world is addicted to their phones and checking for new information.
Every time you check FB or the news you get a dopamine hit from the brain. Makes you feel good. So you keep coming back for more.
That feeling you get when you want to check just one more time is the brain crying out for more pleasure from the dopamine.
Yep…can vouch for that. 🙂
There are actual studies done on this for video game addicts and war of the world addicts. Maybe now we have facebook addicts?
Lucky for me I’m a speed reader, so I read a heck of a lot of blogs that don’t take me a ton of time. But I’m also picky about what I read because, well, even speed readers can’t read it all. Thus, I saw this on Twitter and it intrigued me and I had to come over to see if it was an controversial as the title. lol
And was it? 🙂
Well who knows if my blog is great, but it’s all about projects that I do, so most of it isn’t recycled at all. I suppose I have that going for me, and it’s been growing pretty steadily! Actually, that was part of my thought process thinking that a lot of people write blogs to tell others about original material, maybe the original material (in my case hobby robotics, CNC machining, electronics, etc) is in relatively short supply.
As for “do I read blogs?” Not a whole lot, unless I’m researching for another more well known site I write for. I think I’m subscribed to one blog besides my own.
Simple really- I just know if reading is useful only when it answers some of things you mentioned above as reasons why to read them. Other than that it’s procrastination for sure. Maybe even worse than just procrastination; when I look in retrospect, it is an energy drainer for sure. And I used to read them a lot, but alas, one becomes aware only by feeling the negative effects by himself.
Now I have only couple of them in my reader, with the tendency to replace some for better ones out there, once I stumble across such.
And this mindset is not limited to blogs as a source of information only. I tried to delve deeper into the problem in this article http://www.lifestyleupdated.com/2012/07/02/too-much-information/
Energy drainer is really true. It can take a lot out of you.
Yes I agree that Most of the blogs are kinda lame, information processing centers, money making machines, opt-in machines and what not. Well, I am a culprit of wasting my time too much on blogs when I was trying to get a head start in IM, SEO and Blogging. But with experiments and mistakes comes wisdom isn’t it Ramsay? what are your mistakes?
I’ve made too many mistakes to list. This is just one of them! 😉
So I guess each mistake of yours would be a detailed blog post, that would be good learning curve for others.
I guess I’d say “know your reasons” for reading the blogs you read.
…to get action points that you can put into practice on your own blog? (if so, read with notebook and pen in hand – and take action!)
…to build relationships and comment on others’ blogs in your industry? (if so, this can be “batched” – set aside a specific time each week to do it)
…just to kill time and consume tons of information that neither helps you move forward, nor enriches your life? (this is OK, but put a time limit on it – “I will only spend 20 minutes per day on this type of blog reading”)
I think a lot of people unconsciously fall into #3 and may need to reevaluate. I recently cleaned up my feed reader myself, and I try to only do #3 when I can’t do any genuinely productive work (waiting in line, on the bus, etc.)
Well said Shayna. Perfect.
I won’t always read a blog. A few I do because I always learn something. Most often I’ll skim through it. More importantly, for me anyway, I do look at the design and structure of blogs.
I’m always open to learn something.
Stay Strong and Be Inspired.
Thanks for commenting Geoff. Appreciate it.
It actually depends on what you are looking for, as Shayna said.
…And here’s an interesting thing that NOT ALL big blogs are good. Only a handful are worthwhile.
At the same time, some small-time ventures DO provide quality at times.
Just consider yourself, didn’t you start out small some day? Weren’t your posts worthwhile now and then?
…You have to sift the quality ones, and that may not be just two I believe.
Yep, I agree with you Ron.
Your article “tickled” me. As a mom, wife and friend I am constantly working on dual communication – the listening is as important as the talking. Surely reading other posts/articles and blogs is the bloggosphere answer to listening. In face to face world there is nothing worse than a person that yabberyabbers on without giving the other a chance to even open their mouths. I think is is the reader of a another blog privelege to be the listener and the talker in blog land.
Yes I am going to read your blog, and others and enjoy them.
Hi Tanya. Were you trying to comment on the previous article?
Most blog reading, for me anyway, is just an exercise in procrastination, unless I’m after specific information. You are right, most of the information is recycled and re-spun. I think most bloggers, myself included, could be a lot more productive if they were not so distracted. Learning to focus then becomes a very important skill to acquire if you want to be successful in blogging.
Absolutely. Focus is a doing word.
Once upon a time, I read dozens of blogs each day.
Now, I read maybe 5 blogs on a regular basis. The others are fly-bys based on a Google search.
I completely agree with your “Run out of Ideas” reason. But, often the ideas come from the commenters rather than the author of the post. Typically, commenters will indicate what they want to read about in their comments. I take this cue and write about it.
Thanks for a great post.
One of the ways I judge whether or not anything I’ve consumed has been fruitful is if my behavior has changed.
I’ve come to the conclusion that “new insights” do NOT equal learning and that only “Behavior Change = Learning”.
So in this perspective, anything I’m reading, watching, or listening to can be considered procrastination if it’s not backed up by implementation of what I’ve consumed.
And this is why I’m 1,000 percent on board with your guidelines for when to go into “consumption” mode with my primary fav being “to solve a problem.”
But we must beware of mistaking activity (reading, listening, watching) for achievement (taking action that gives you the crucial feedback you need in order to improve your situation) and I’m grateful to you Ramsay for reminding me of this and for bringing consciousness to this topic.
From the few posts that I’ve read of yours, I appreciate the advice and opinions that you give to your readers. I definitely feel like I’ve added way too many people to my blogroll and maybe spend too much time reading other people’s blogs. This post just reinforced my resolve to stop adding anymore blogs to my reader and to remove the ones that I really don’t have a connection with — so thanks for that. On the other hand though, I do notice that visiting other blogs usually leads to reciprocal visits on mine. And having my comment/gravatar left as a “footprint” on their blogs usually leads their other readers over to my blog as well. So I can’t say it’s a total waste of time.
I did agree with what Denise said regarding some readers potentially getting turned off from your message. (I’m not talking about myself, but I did feel a bit surprised when I first read the post, and I can see her point). I don’t think it was clear enough in your post that the intent was to encourage other bloggers to focus more on their writing and less on reading other blogs. Hopefully anyone who was turned off got down to your response to her comment and took no offense 🙂
What?? it was my first expression after reading the Title. Hummm I agreed with most of point you have mentioned here. As per my think of view before choosing a blog think about their writers and authority of the blog. And ask your self, Do we can truest on the blog content?
I love reading blogs, particularly the ones that deal with personal stories and experiences. With the professional ones (make money online blogs), I do agree with you to some extent. Yet, I am here reading your blog. That’s ironical.