Ask The Readers: What’s the Most Tired Advice Online?

It has been a few months since we’ve done an ask the readers post, so let’s dive right in to today’s question.

What is the most tired advice you hear online?

Here at Think Traffic we always aim for fresh and interesting content, so we’re really looking forward to seeing what you think in the comments below this post.

If you can’t think of an answer, think about it this way: What do you think are the most cliché words or phrases in blogging, online business, or internet marketing?

Last Time on “Ask the Readers”

In our most recent ask the readers discussion about whether people blog to make money, make a difference, or both we receive a ton of great answers on all sides. There were 50 comments and my favorite one came from Rachel, The Minimalist Mom:

“Create something that matters.

My blog has been a complete surprise to me and has had success despite my less than savvy technical skills. I love it but don’t really make much money from it.

What it has done is opened doors and inspired me to pursue writing in other areas. The paid areas. Which is fantastic. My goal is to have a flexible full-time income comparable to my last traditional job by the time my son is in school full-time (2 years from now). I’m 20% of the way there and only work on my blog and other writing projects two short days and one afternoon a week.”

There is obviously no wrong answer because there are a ton of reasons to start a blog that matters, but it was really interesting to read how most of the answers revolved around a combination of both money and meaning.

Alright, back to today’s question.

I’d like to know: what is the most tired advice you hear online?

What kinds of recommendations are you sick of hearing?

Let’s hear it in the comments!

Published by

Caleb Wojcik

Caleb Wojcik is one of the 3 C's at Think Traffic and He writes at and hosts the Cubicle Renegade Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @CalebWojcik.

107 thoughts on “Ask The Readers: What’s the Most Tired Advice Online?”

  1. The whole make money from your passion line is tiring and annoys me. I’ll avoid recommending people who use it. The only person who writes about it in a responsible way is Chris Guillebeau in his latest book.

    I think guest posting about guest posting is extremely cliched and meta. I know there was a recent post on here that was kinda useful, as it had templates, but seriously. It’s at the point where people guest post about the success they’ve had with guest posting. It’s like everything they do is based around them.

    I do think that a lot of the advice online is tired and irresponsible. Your site is different because it focuses on the intersection between content and promotion.

    I’m also tired of phrases like hustling and eyeballs. People interpret hustling as being aggressive. That justs put me off people.

    I will say that a lot of people in my peer group would agree with me.

    1. Jade,

      Sure it gets redundant that people talk about making money from your passion but it’s just because so many people are unhappy doing what they’re doing or they’re stuck being a cog in the wheel. All they’re trying to do is inspire people to seize the one chance we get on this planet.

      What exactly annoys you about this? Too many people saying the same thing and following people like Gary Vaynerchuk and Guy Kawaski?

      It does get to a point where things become watered down but you have the choice to stop following those blogs and reading those posts. We create so much content daily that it’s difficult to come across something unique and refreshing.

      All of us will agree that Corbett and Caleb have done that and challenged us to become better by talking about stuff other then social media and SEO.

      Personally I don’t get tired of any advice because all the books I read, blogs and people I follow are all drilling home stuff I need to do. It’s taken me a long time to find these books, blogs and people but it was well worth the effort.

    2. It’s like Baker said below.

      It’s not just passion for the topic itself, but passion for the business side of things to. Most people aren’t replacing a job with a business. They are replacing it with a job online, one that may take the joy out of their hobby and require much more hours.

      I believe that people should read The Entepreneurs Equation by Carol Roth before starting online businesses. And I believe that success in the personal development niche doesn’t provide you with the skills to teach about creating a business from your passion.

      It’s like what was said in Spider-man. With great power comes great responsibility. I think many bloggers, new and established, are abusing that responsibility. And this comes from a self employed person that has been in the industry for 4 years.

      I like Baker and Corbett because there is no BS here. I don’t read many blogs nor Gurus, but the whole concept of passion based businesses is a bunch of BS. For the most part.

  2. Write awesome content.

    To clarify: thats good advice. I doubt it’ll get old.

    But its tiring when people talk more about writing awesome content than promoting awesome content.

    I wish all bloggers spent more time promoting awesome content than they do in writing it.

    1. I’m with you on this one.

      And I think it gets tossed around with generalities by default because there isn’t a better way define the point.

      But tired nonetheless.

    2. I don’t think that’s tired at all.

      Personally I feel like many bloggers promote too much. They tweet, and Facebook, and backlink, chasing traffic like it’s going out of style.

      And yet what they put the least amount of time into is actually sitting down and doing their work. The work of creating content that will build their brand, further their reach, and attract new customers.

      Long story short: you have to write it to promote it!

    3. I think the point is: stop talking about writing awesome content, and just do it. Let the content speak for itself. The question was, “what’s advice that you’re tired of?” and the answer given was, “hearing that I should write awesome content.” The advice isn’t bad, we just don’t need to hear it anymore.

      Agree, also: focus on the craft, the quality, the ideas, the curation, the editing, the honing, the voice … that’s the part that matters. Tweets are silly. We’re all in a big dang rush to have someone read us we forget to do the part that matters. [insert tired cliche here.]

    4. I am kinda tired of “write great content” not because you shouldn’t but because everyone has a different definition of great content :)

      You know that moment you write an amazing post, spend hours (or days) on it and post waiting for the flood of visitors. And they never come :)

    5. I agree. Mostly because the “write awesome content” is very vague. Like what is awesome? Long posts? A list of advice? Pictures? Videos?

      I just feel it’s similar to “have an awesome blog”. And I’m left with “Yea, and?”

  3. Difficult to say since there’s so many clichés but some of them exists because they actually work. Truth to be told, the Internet hasn’t changed that much during the last 2-3 years. So most of the ideas published back then are still valid while new blogs popup everyday and basically republishes the whole thing. Disturbing.. How many times haven’t we seen blog posts on how to guest post, build backlinks, create a WordPress blog, etc. People change one or two things but it’s still basically the same.

    My first idea was “build it and they’ll come” but no one actually says that nowadays. It’s mostly blog posts explaining why it isn’t true.

    Instead I have to say “write great content”. It obviously a great method but it should be obvious for anyone creating a blog and, as much else, we’ve already heard it thousands of times.

    Then we have the old “be genuin, “be transparent”, “give and you shall receive”, etc. Sure, they are true but we’ve heard them for years now.

  4. Thanks for the shout out, Corbett. :)

    I’ll agree with Jade, I am a tired of hearing passion is the key. Sure, I have to be passionate about what I am doing but I also have to be smart, savvy and have my eyes open to what people are responding to.

    I’ve been such a newb on the business and technical side of things and I know it has limited growth and income. In fact, it was when I started reading Think Traffic regularly that I started putting a small effort into making restructuring income sources for my blog. Removing affiliate products that didn’t sell and finally installing a social media sharing widget. Small things that have increased my blog income and upped my readership.

    BTW, I am still plugging away at my creative writing and will publish a collection of nonfiction stories in the fall. :)

  5. There are a few that have started to annoy me.

    1- Take action. – I agree that everyone needs to do that, but people are saying it too often now!

    2- Create valuable content – People are always harping on about how creating valuable content is the only way to succeed. We get the point!

    3- Don’t focus on the money. – Easy to say but not so easy to do. We have bills to pay!

    4- “I’m not one of these gurus” – No one is anymore.

    That’s pretty much it. I think the whole idea of doing everything ethically is great but it’s so old now! Practical advice is best.

  6. Blogging gurus talking about the new “content marketing” is really annoying. They pitch it like there is some new way of creating amazing content, but it’s really the same old tips dressed up with a new title.

  7. I agree with the folks here about writing amazing content. We know. Instead I’d love to hear more tips on how to dig deeper, find new takes on old subjects, flip evergreen subjects on their heads, etc.

    @Rachel – Congrats on your nonfiction collection! I write in that genre, too. Are you self-publishing or did you go the traditional route?

    1. It’s probably first about writing about what you care about. Here are some ways I use:
      Turning an idea upside down.
      Arguing the opposite of what you believe with yourself.
      Writing a rant and then seeing what you’ve said.

  8. I totally agree with Jade, the whole make money from your passion hype is so overdone. And everyone thinks they have THE way to help you find your passion. And the assumption that just because you are passionate about something means you can make money at it – REALLY????

    And I have really come to hate the word monetize! I realize that it is what most people are trying to do, but it reminds me of smarmmy, snake-oil salemen.

  9. Hey Corbett,

    Great question. It would be super hard to nail down “one” single piece of advice that’s tiring but I’d have to agree that “make money from your passion” would be at the top.

    Second would be any advice on personal development. At this point, I’ve seen so many ways to be happy and live a better life, It’s only becoming annoying noise.

    And the third one would be “build a list”. I know it’s super important and I fully realize the business value, etc. but there is so much advice on it that it has been saturated.

  10. Hi Corbett,
    I was sitting here thinking about your question and about what felt tired to me. But what feels tired to me now was extremely useful when I was first starting out as a blogger. There are so many phases and stages of blogging, so good advice is valuable to different people at different times. Even the advice that might seem tired now (write epic content, follow your passion, etc.) still has an impact on me if it is presented in a fresh or intriguing way. We all need reminders about the basics and inspiration to return to the basics when we’ve let them go while pursuing other more interesting things. I think the challenge isn’t whether or not to present “tired advice.” The challenge is to present it in a way that reminds us how important it still is or how we can tweak it to reinvigorate our efforts. Advice should be “retired” only when it becomes totally outdated or useless.

    1. The trouble with the standard advice is that every top blogging blog has a section devoted to the advice. The odds of someone outdoing all of them in clarity and depth on the basics are slim.

    2. Barrie, I agree that “tired” is all relative. These concepts were an inspiration when I first came across them. Now many of the things discussed in this comment thread make me yawn. You can only read about it so much, then becomes time to DO IT!
      There’s a place for this advice, but I think bloggers need to continually challenge themselves to find fresh new ways to say them, and more importantly find some fresh new things to say!

  11. Write articles and lots of them.

    Do they really make that much of a difference? Isn’t it better to put that content on your own website instead of someone elses? It’s a huge amount of work for me to write articles and I’m just not convinced it will give me great results.

  12. I think the most tiring advice is the Write Your Passion and all the variations that come with it. It’s true, but what’s missing is a well thought out post with Purpose.

    Anyone can use great verbs, but only a few postings really know their audience, provide proof that their spiel isn’t some whiny opinion, and use the appropriate type of post (i.e., narrative v persuasive) with a goal in mind.

  13. There are a zillion, but since I was creating ads in Photoshop when this topic came up, the one that immediately comes to mind is “work smarter”.
    When creating content and delivering epic shit, there is only so much leverage you can bring to your project.
    It bugs me because it minimizes the hard work REQUIRED for success.

  14. I don’t think its always the advice that is the problem.

    It’s like health advice, maybe I’m tired of hearing don’t drink sode or don’t eat 5000 cal a day (that’s kind of a lot).

    But I’m still not listening, so well it is good advice, advice alone is not enough to inactive change.

    I’m tired of people just regurgitating junk that heard but didn’t test.
    Repeating things that didn’t cause them to change. Them, their site, strategy or approach.

  15. I love this question.

    Key not here, some people saying that “passion is important” is tired may be justified. But I will point out one thing.

    Where the passion argument falls short is when people link it to being passionate about the hobby itself. Being passionate about a hobby or blog niche doesn’t do much for you (except maybe make producing content more bearable).

    But being passionate about CREATING A BUSINESS AROUND THAT SPECIFIC HOBBY gives you leverage that is greater than any single source in my opinion.

    Many “experts” talk about how if you are passionate about tennis – you should start a tennis blog. That’s tiring.

    The smart people (and successful people I know) say “If you are passionate about teaching, studying, and building a business around tennis – you should start a tennis website or blog”.

    That’s the secret. Having passion about a topic isn’t too much of an advantage. Having passion for learning, teaching, and building a business around that hobby… IS an asset.

    The biggest asset in my mind.

    Sorry about the tangent. :)


    1. Thanks for chiming in Baker. I completely agree with you on this.

      Joel and I got on a similar tangent in the podcast I just released today. I believe that there has to be passion there otherwise you’ll burn out.

      But, the really important part of that is you should be passionate about creating a business, legacy, and living. You don’t necessarily need to be 100% passionate about the niche or nitty gritty of what you are focusing on.

      Spot on.

    2. Good points Caleb and Baker. You have to be able to capitalize on your passion or else you will struggle to make anything off it.

      This does bring up a question, is it all about creating a blog that teaches rather than just talks about a hobby or interest?

      I still think you can make money of a Tennis blog with affiliate marketing but margins are so small in affiliate marketing that it would take a lot of targeted traffic.

      When you teach and create courses or videos, you can charge a lot more and you’re helping people learn.

    3. Hi everyone,
      Jordan i wanted to respond to what you just said. So, I think that the power in passion is that if you are excited about the idea and the brand then you will continue to push through when it looks like there is little opportunity. As you continue to push through different possiblities can come through.

      This doesn’t mean I think it is a gaurantee that if you follow your passion you will magically discover new ideas. I just think it comes down to simple math. The more you like something the more you’ll do it. The more you do it the more opportunities to learn from it.

    4. That’s a great point, Baker!

      I think that many people who start a blog on their passion (which is great) miss the point that they’re not going to become successful (with some rare exceptions) unless they’re going to learn how the business works.

    5. Well put Baker! I like your perspective on this, been wrestling with the same thing. Thanks for bringing some clarification to this for me!

  16. I get tired of people saying “you must post to your blog X times per week/month”.

    It’s such a silly idea that the frequency of your content is anywhere near as important as the quality.

    What matters is the real-world impact your content has on your readers. If you can blow my mind twice a week, do it; and congratulations on being Seth Godin.

    Post as often as you can change your readers’ lives for the better.

    Corbett said it well here:

  17. I’m tired of people that have no life experience writing personal development blogs and passing on tired/recycled tips. Using a dream board to try and get better grades on your college test or trying some ‘motivational techniques’ to get over breaking up with your last boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t qualify you to guide people through major life changes.

  18. Every variation of the following:

    1. “Develop a unique voice.”
    2. “Know your audience.”

    Advice like this, given to newbies and seasoned amateurs, means nothing without showing *exactly* what a unique and non-unique voice looks like. Also, if an author is to talk about “getting to know your audience”, why not show and tell *exactly* what that means.

    1. I also agree. It took me 4 month before starting my blog to truly understand what my unique voice is and who my audience are.

      And that was thanks to talking with people in the real world and looking at the problems of a certain kind of people I encounter on a daily basis.

  19. This one is easy … “identify a niche not being served”.

    I know it’s standard convention, but I think its played ad nauseum for too long by blogs in the Internet Marketing niche till its spread viral as standard convention.

    I’m even beginning to think that even as sound as most online marketing advice appears, sometimes to standout is to not follow the heard marching to the same drum.

    Maybe you can help talk me off this ledge, Corbett and Caleb.

    What do you guys think?

  20. I guess it isn’t so much the advice that is getting tired, but it is more who is giving it. Over and over I listen to interviews where they are interviewing someone who is very very qualified to start a business, ex CEO, a ex software engineer, or a VP of marketing from an internet company. I really want to hear more success stories from people who don’t have the background already. I know they are out there and they are the ones that are most inspirational. I seem to really tune in when I hear about the stay at home mom turned into success.

    1. Me too mike. And I doubt there are many out there. We need to learn business – and it takes time. I think I’ve developed expertitis – and prefer stories of how normal people are doing it like My Wife Quit Her Job blog.

    2. I’m with you on that one Mike. Most of us are not Steve Jobs, and so his success story (and those like him) is hardly relevant to those of us just trying to make a living from a niche blog.

      In fact, doing a search for “Niche Blog Success Stories” is how I found ThinkTraffic.

  21. Oh, great question, Corbett! :)

    Okay, so what am I tired of hearing online..

    1. “You should write short posts”.

    That’s based on an idea that people have very short attention spans and like to skim content online as opposed to actually reading it.

    Yeah, right, great advice, except that successful people ignore it..

    Steve Pavlina, Ramit Sethi, Pat Flynn, Glenn Allsopp, you guys here on Think Traffic, Onibalusi Bamidele, Danny Inny.. That’s just to name a few successful bloggers who rarely publish really short posts and have a tendency to write some monster posts every once in a while.. Is there a correlation between the length of their posts and their success? I bet there is.

    Oh, those 500 word posts that simply rehash the same old thing that has been said a thousand times before, what could be better?

    Okay, in all seriousness, I highly doubt that this kind of content is capable of turning people into loyal fans. Also, people who skim through your content and use it as an intellectual entertainment (as opposed to actually acting on what they’ve learned) are not the people you want to target, because, from a plain business perspective, they’re not the ones who are actually going to buy something from you. You’re not likely to build a sustainable online business on 500 word posts that doesn’t offer anything new to a reader.

    Yeah, many people have very short attention spans nowadays, that doesn’t mean that you should dumb your content down to cater to them.

    2. “You have to post daily”.

    Okay, so this is a spin-off of “people like short reads”.

    Honestly, I don’t even know what’s the reasoning behind that one?

    You don’t have to post daily, you have to post when you create something really valuable to your readers. Just a simple common sense?

    3. SEO this, SEO that..

    Okay, so it’s not like I have something against SEO, but..

    It’s so annoying when people portray SEO tricks as the The Answer to people who aim to turn their blogs into businesses, because, well, it isn’t The Answer..

    I mean..

    SEO is supposed to make it easier for people to find your content through search engines. Now, no matter how optimized your site is in that sense, if your content sucks, you’re not going to make much money. What’s the point that people find it if they don’t stick around?

    4. Social media this, social media that..

    The same thing as with SEO: I don’t have anything against social media, but I can’t stand when people portray it as The Answer to success in the blogosphere..

    You can pull all the social media stunts you want, but if your content is not good enough, people aren’t going to read it, they’re not going to share it and they’re definitely not going to buy anything from you.

    5. Making money online is easy.

    Okay, so this is not an actual tip, but more of an attitude that floats around in the blogosphere..

    It’s so annoying to see when online marketers use all kinds of sleazy tactics to cash out on hopes of ignorant and naive people who are sold on dream that they’ll write an article or two and then drink cocktails in Thailand for the rest of their lives. That’s just low.

    However, sleazy marketers are not the only ones to blame, since if there wouldn’t be a demand, there wouldn’t be a supply, right?

    I guess it’s a bit of a problem with my generation (I’m 22):

    We are the rebellious ones, we don’t want to work 9-5, we want to work for ourselves, from wherever we want, whenever we want.. Which is all great.. The only problem is that although loads of people share the same dream, very few are willing to pay the price (or even accept the reality of what the price is). Very few people actually realize how much time, efforts and focus it takes to create that kind of lifestyle, accept that and are willing to pay the price. Everyone else is chasing get rich quick kind of things, like hottest SEO trends or top 10 social media tricks.

    That’s why whenever I say someone saying something like “No, it’s not easy, it’s going to take you longer than 3 days to succeed in blogosphere”, I make a mental note “Oh, this guy/girl is legit, let’s listen to what he/she has to say.”

    Okay, so that’s my top 5, end of rant.. 😀

    1. Agota you and your generation of rebels give me hope for the future. I’m 53. Stay rebellious and build the better future. And, yes, the current mess IS the fault of my generation.

    2. Thank you for kind words, Evan! :)

      P.S. Lol, I noticed that post was written by Caleb and my comment starts “Oh, great question, Corbett!”.. I guess I was a bit overworked that day.. Sorry about that, guys! :)

    3. Interesting correlation with the longer posts and great bloggers. I never really gave it much thought, but now that you point it out, I seem to realize it myself. I tend to skim over short posts (just read the sub headings or bullet points) but I read the longer posts from people I trust in depth.

  22. Content is King! I can’t stand that phrase and I’m a copywriter. It doesn’t tell you anything and if you’ve been listening for 5 seconds, you should already know that.

    I also think I run the risk of fully losing my mind if I read one more article about Pinterest. Yes new things are exciting, but marketing articles on Pinterest are like Katie Perry songs on the radio. They’re all basically the same and each one makes me want to pull my hair out.

    That is all. Haha thanks for giving us all an outlet. I think everyone needed it.

    1. Dead on with the pinterest hype! Finally someone who agrees with me. Thanks for pointing it out. And loved the analogy to Katy Perry songs lol!

      Internet marketers are always so ready to jump on whatever bandwagon is popular.

  23. I think it’s interesting people are tired of the “create great content” advice. Lots of people roll their eyes and say “yeah yeah I’ve heard this a million times, I’m tired of it!”

    Well, that still doesn’t mean you should ignore it, and I think that’s what a lot of people are still doing.

    Bad idea.

  24. It’s hard to pinpoint this one for me as I think the things that are most oft-repeated are the things that actually work, which kind of automatically means they’re not ‘tired’ in my book.

    The one thing I do get tired of, though, is the same as Ankesh and Stefan: write awesome/great/brilliant content.

    To me, if you want a blog to be successful, OF COURSE you’re going to have to write awesome content. I’ll bet not one of us has a blog in our daily RSS feeds that writes TERRIBLE content.

    I should point out, though, that’s a very different thing to Corbett’s mantra of writing EPIC content —

    I recently started focusing on publishing less but working harder on my content to create long, more in-depth posts and as soon as I did I noticed a rise in readers almost immediately, as well as a huge jump in the number of shares and RTs I got.

    You should be writing great content anyway, whatever you want your blog to achieve.

  25. I am kind of tired reading about minimalist living.

    I understand that this is a fulfilling lifestyle for many, but, it seems like lately, blogs are popping up everyday where the “minimalists” running them are as concerned about getting book deals as they are about getting rid of stuff.

  26. “Become THE go to expert in your niche” .. tiring

    As if there is only ever going to be one!
    Plenty of space for
    people with different perspectives and personalities.

  27. I guess my least favorite would probably be “Take Massive Action”. Just those three words given as advice and leaving off the need to take action in a directed way have a tendency to produce short bursts of activity which is not so useful, but feels like we should be seeing some results.

    I see a lot of comments here about pursuing your passion and many of them seem to be in the negative. In my opinion, if it is your passion you are writing about or working with, then the advice probably would not sound so tired. I ma not sure about that, but having spent a great part of my online career on min sites and niche blogs and super SEO’d pages, none of which were about topics I really cared about, I see pursuing my passion, as being a refreshing idea.

    The idea that we have to discover is a difficult one. It has been my experience that passions are more often realized than discovered. I mean more like you find something you kind of like and then realize after a while that your world is centered around that idea. But you didn’t know it was your passion when you discovered it.

    Hard to say, perhaps this experience is different for everyone. But the idea that its important to live your life around what you love instead of existing throughout your day and then pursuing your passion in the margins of your life is sound. If it sounds tired, maybe that subject which w say is our passion is really not.

  28. “Become the expert!”

    Nothing is more insulting than hearing those three words. I use that as the standard to determine if I should run in the other direction.

    The old adage, “it takes about 10,000 hours of doing something before you become an expert at it,” is actually true. I’m a musician (35+ years) and a graphic designer (around 23 years). If you put about 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year into something, you really will be an expert at it in about 5 years. The experience, repetition, and brain and muscle memory can’t be developed any other way. I think back to where I was as compared to where I am now and it’s night and day.

    If you can do, whatever it is you do, backwards and in your sleep, then you can call yourself an expert — as opposed to, “read a couple of books and if you know more than the other guy, you’re an expert!”

    My rant for the day. :)

    1. I do think there are better and worse ways to learn. The better way is to learn in meaningful chunks. And be clear on the skills. This takes time and effort – it is also a pleasure to know you are getting better at what you care about.

  29. “Don’t do it for the money.” I get what people mean by this and you don’t want to be doing it just for the money but at the same time if I didn’t need to worry about money I would not be putting the time in to get where I want to get to. I guess it is all about the balance of it all but sometimes I get sick of hearing about that.

  30. Anything that should have been obvious from the outset, saw a few good posts, then was driven into the ground by a million me-too posts. There’s too many “You need to…” posts and not enough “here’s how to/how I did” posts out in the wild.

    1. This is one of my biggest pet peeves as well. Especially from traffic posts that receive little traffic. Practice what you preach people!

  31. Answer: Diversify your income.

    NO, that doesn’t mean you should build 10 sites at the same time. Stick to one site until you make money, hell, diversify the traffic and sales funnel if you really want.

    Just don’t make 10 stupid sites and be stuck in the same position after 2 years.

    I read a thread on a forum a few days ago. The question was whether you would rather have:

    A – 200 sites that bring in $2 each per month ($4,000)

    B – 4 sites that bring in $2,000 each per month ($8,000)

    These guys are so conditioned to think Google traffic is the only answer, they would rather manage 200 sites and take home half the money just so there business would be “safe.”

    I think this really needs to be addressed.


    1. Amen to that, Jamie. Everyone talks about the “do something you love to make money” as clique and maybe that is the case if you are a blogger but on the marketing side, it’s the other way around with the caveat “diversify your income”.

  32. My least favorites are:

    “Do what you love, the money will follow” – as if it were really that easy.

    “The Law of Attraction” – total bunk. As Larry King once asked, “If the Universe manifests abundance at a mere thought, why is there so much poverty, starvation, and death?”

    1. When asked my opinion of the Law of Attraction once, I said, “It’s not a law, and I don’t find it attractive” (because it often amounts to blaming the victim).

      Why it remains popular is a very interesting question I think

  33. I am going to second the “Create Great Content”/”Create Killer Content” cliche.

    Sure…I have this pile of great content and this pile of lousy content lying around and I didn’t know which one to use. But after hearing this wise advice I now know that people want the *good* content and not the crappy content. I never would have figured that out if 517 internet marketing gurus didn’t repeat it over and over again!

    We are supposed write blog posts with killer content. We are supposed to create information products with killer content. We are supposed to write guest articles with killer content. We are supposed to produce online videos with killer content. We are supposed to contribute to social media sites with…you guessed it…killer content.

    If there is really someone out there who is able to produce “life-shattering content” (yes, I actually heard some IM guru use this phrase) every time a synapse in his or her brain fires, then I guess this would be useful (if redundant) advice.

    For the rest of us, producing compelling content is a hard process of development. Yet gurus act as if it just as easy as remembering to walk the dog every day. It is especially hard if your topic is not something you are an expert in. So maybe the “follow your passion” cliche is meant to help people with the “create great content” cliche.

    1. And there is a difference between producing killer content and saying that your content is killer content (gurus please take note).

  34. “tribe” and “niche” – I am not someone who at all likes cliches. In fact, I will sometimes do something or not based on others doing it or not. Need to work on my rebellion a bit. I would rather it be called what it is. – “readers” and “focus.” Do we always have to cone up with trendy words for everything?

  35. Not one specific thing, but I hate reading bloggers regurgitate vague, meta bullshit.

    “When should you post on your blog?”
    “10 more ways Twitter is cool.”
    “How to choose a niche you’re passionate about!”

    Who cares? No really. Everybody and their mother has been regurgitating this same blogging advice since 2004. Show me something that will actually grow my business, not something you reworded from an old Problogger post.

    And thats my rant for the day. :)


  36. Hey Barrie, your exactly right. The tiring stuff will always be new to someone starting out. A vet just needs to start weeding out what their going to spend time reading.

    1. Yes, vet bloggers should follow the early adopters, the change-makers, those who are seeing trends and emerging new technology. But there will always be new bloggers coming on the scene who need to understand the basics. I think those of us reading this blog are fairly jaded as we’ve read everything and seen the advice everywhere. But there are millions who will ask, “what is SEO?”

  37. Hey guys,

    I’m FED UP on the gurus recommending to start a marketing blog.

    They teach that and they have a blog with three posts from two years ago and zero readers.

    Then they say stuff like adding your friend’s Cool Links, and the services you like, blog about your cat or whatever and then expect the money to come rolling in.

    Yet they make a FORTUNE out of their idiotic courses. Seems like I should be doing what they do, not what they teach.


  38. All the standard lines which aren’t followed up by telling you HOW!

    All the advice using the word ‘niche’. It has so many meanings – a market, and audience, your own USP, even your own voice.

    And o marketer has ever been able to tell me what the right size for a niche is. Their advice is to test. Which means they can’t say!

    So I think the most tired advice is, “Find a niche”.

  39. I guess the advice that ticks me off the most is the words ‘killer content’ of the phrase ‘content is king’. It’s not that I think the advice is wrong. It’s just that it isn’t helpful. WTF is ‘killer content’? That is the question and if I knew, then I would create it. And it is more than accurate information and clear writing style. Somehow you have to hit the nerve that is tingling for the customer now. How are you supposed to know?

  40. There are wise & basic strategies I hear over and over that I really do believe in: start with your passion, create great content, build your email list, offer an opt-in ebook with real value, niche down, be everywhere. I AGREE!

    What’s missing for me? Success stories from folks who are making a go of it in an area of passion other than making money online. It’s challenging to see myself succeeding online (in my mind) without models in my area of passion.

    Then again maybe I will be the trailblazer in my industry someday!

  41. There are three that I just had enough of, “finding Google Loopholes”, “becoming a Twitter or Facebook guru” and creating content for serch engines and not for people.

    The best thing I’ve learned with you guys is that “content is king” ….

  42. I get really tired of the money is in the list. It is hard enough to get people to your blog and then to entice them to sign up for something. I have yet to break 20 subscribers on 3 mailing lists. I know, many people will say it is something I am not doing but I have been kind of disheartened with it.

    1. What worked for me was offering an email course on my topic in exchange for signing up. Now get one or two sign-ups each week.

  43. The passion thing for sure. But I also liked Baker’s take on that. Very true.

    Also agree with Daniel about all the meta post bs. That’s “online fast food” at its best (or should I say, worst) that pretty much makes you feel sick after reading.

    It’s really hard to pick one “favorite” actually. The whole online business niche (niche.. there’s another one..) has become so saturated that even the most valuable posts seem to got forgotten almost instantly. It’s a bit sad, but that’s how things just are.

    It’s been almost a year when I last checked (through BlogPulse) the amount of new blogs started within every 24 hours. The number then was 64,747. I’m scared to even try to guess what that number might be now… How many of those blogs do you think share advice about some aspect of online business? Makes me nauseous to even think about it! :)

  44. I’m always (not) surprised by the endless variations on
    “Make Amazing Content”
    If everyone could make amazing content,
    then us folks making really amazing content would no longer stand out!
    Am I right?
    In my opinion it’s the King Cliche!
    It’s along the lines of telling someone to “Be Happy” or “Be Creative!”
    Way easier said than done…
    I’ve gotta get to get back to exploiting my teeny-tiny niche market..
    ~ Dawn Devine ~ Davina ~

  45. Hi,

    I agree with many of the comments above. The whole “Follow your passion and the money will come” is getting really tiresome. To make matters worse, most of the articles covering this are basically the same most of the time. A lot of them just has tons of ‘fluff’.

    Another thing that annoys me, and this is not exactly a piece of advice per se but more of a trend that we are seeing, is the number of people out there who calls themselves life coaches, etc. Especially, and this may sound a bit harsh, when they have not even lived a remarkable life in any regard themselves.

    Kind regards,


  46. I come from a different background than many of you in that I haven’t been in the blogging space – although I know several bloggers like Clay Collins pretty well. I have been a product creator and paid traffic guy. So I haven’t been as inundated with the follow your passion stuff. Which is fine by me, because I sorta like some separation from my work and my passions. So, the tired advice I would share is maybe a little different than most who read here.

    With all that said, the cliche/tired advice that I have seen vomited all over the web is “the money is in the list”…

    I see that mantra repeated daily online and the truth is that the money is very much NOT just in the list. Like the cliches mentioned above, there are tons of factors which effect whether your list will be worth big bucks to you or not. Things like how the list was built. What did the person get in exchange for their email? What are they expecting going forward from being on your list? etc…

    Like everything in this business, there is way more to it than this particular “tired cliche” would imply.

  47. I’m tired of reading about successful blogs that happen to be blogs about blogging, SEO, traffic or some other blogging/internet income related niche.

    Over it.

    Talk more about the strategies that smaller niche or hobby bloggers like myself should use.

  48. I think its all kinda tired. Seems to follow the same cycle…”Do This” then “Don’t do that that’s old” then “Don’t listen to the people that tell you its old”

  49. Many how-to websites tell you what to do, but being that they are how-to websites it would be nice if they told you how to.

  50. Be authentic.

    That really doesn’t mean much except being of ‘undisputed origin’. So what? What about the usefulness of your content? The ability to get a focused message across? The marketability?

    Sure you want to be true to yourself and real. But that’s just steps for life. Most people who are searching out blogging advice want to do it for a living. Be authentic is just grazing the surface.

  51. I’m not sure this is any more legitimate than the rest, but perhaps this idea, ‘discover your passion, and start a blog’.

    First, if you don’t already know what your passion is, forget it. If you have to search for your passion, it’s not your passion. Your passion should be instinctive to you. It’s what you spend your free time on.

    Second, the advice to start blogging isn’t right for everyone. In fact, it’s wrong for more people than it’s right for.

    Blogging is hard work, and just because something is your passion, doesn’t mean you’ve got the will to put hard work into what is essentially something different than your passion, i.e. enjoying your passion and going online with your passion, are two totally different things.

  52. Start a blog.

    There’s way too much mediocrity in the world, there is absolutely no need for yet another mediocre blog. So people should stop telling people to start blogging! And if they do blog, they should start a blog that matters ;P

  53. Looks like “create great content” is a clear winner in the tired advice.

    I’m convinced that great content is one of the best ways to build the audience. Just look at some of the best films around, they typically have the best stories.

    The problem is that many people just aren’t capable of creating great content.

    Great content comes from being able to articulate in a way that takes time to develop. It doesn’t always have to be dramatic, but it does have to be engaging and leave me challenged to do something new, or go and do something I knew I should do … but needed reminding.

    Not everyone can write with flair…

    Not everyone can engage…

    Note everyone can write EPIC content week in week out..

    BUT … Here’s the BUT …

    They can learn it if they are willing to be dedicated to the process and dedicated to the audience.

    That is my shiny little 2 pence.

    1. Interesting observations, Chris. Especially this, “Just look at some of the best films around, they typically have the best stories.”

      That’s a great analogy.

      ‘Great’ because it raises the question, what is a ‘typical’ great movie?

      Having a look at the highest grossing movies is the easiest way to see the fickleness of ‘greatness’.

      Indeed, it illustrates the importance of a great marketing, rather than great content.

      And that’s perhaps shows the true vital aspect of building a successful blog. Great marketing.

      Just like movies, mediocre content and great marketing may be the fastest way to ‘greatness’.


  54. “Know your audience” is one of the most annoying pieces of advice I have seen on so many articles giving blog tips. A variant is “write for your audience.” This should go without saying.

  55. “you must first become a leader”, “you must first brand yourself”

    I feel like throwing up whenever I hear these sentences. The fact of the matter is: people do not care about who you are until they know how much you care. Just serve your clients/audience/customers by fulfilling their needs and expectations, then in return they will award you.

  56. Hi Caleb

    The most tired notion for me is that everyone can be their own boss and make a living online.

    It’s probably going to be unpopular to say this – but not everyone has the skillset, ability, personality and commitment it takes to run their own business (I’m talking to myself here too so don’t shoot me down :-))

    However, we’re lead to believe that we can all easily ‘live the dream’ by so-called gurus who’ve either got lucky, know the right people, built their huge lists years ago when it was easier – or have the unique drive and skillset needed to succeed online.

    I wish some of these tin pot gurus would actually tell the truth – that we shouldn’t all get too carried away because statistically it’s as hard to make a living online as it is in any other type of career. Obviously, if they did this they wouldn’t make any money out of us though, so don’t hold your breath :-)

    Oh well, I’m off to buy the next big ‘get rich online’ e-course :-)



  57. It goes without saying that you need great content. My suspicion is that the secret sauce is in being about write relevant content. And relevant content generally implies you have a specific audience. Make it relevant and useful for them and things then start to perk along.

    Of course, that means you need to stay in touch with your audience, and follow them through the changes they are going through. Nothing stays the same.

    Ever onward!

  58. I think that the most tired advice I hear is “Write epic shit” or “Write Awesome Content”. That is such nonsense because it is never defined. It is meaningless because we cannot even point to examples. Does Stephen King write epic shit? Not in my view, it leaves me cold. What about JK Rowling write awesome content? Not in my view, I gave up reading her first book because it bored me. Am I saying that they are rubbish authors? Certainly not. I am merely saying that they do nothing for me. What about Tolkien and Shakespeare? Well I like them but my wife doesn’t.
    And what makes it annoying is that it is so mean as well. It says, “I am going to pretend to give something when I’m actually giving you nothing”.
    Now if you say to me, “You must give your best effort to this writing in the same way that you give your best effort in all parts of your life.” I can understand that. If you say to me, “Write about things that matter to you and tell people why they matter to YOU as a unique human being” then I can understand that too. However if you say to me, “If you choose to communicate, you have a responsibility to communicate clearly and for the benefit of the person you are communicating with otherwise you might just as well babble incoherently”, then I would truly understand.
    At this point, I would like to thank you for saying “Write Epic Shit” because it was only in trying to make sense of it and getting frustrated with that I remembered this earlier advice about the point of communication. So in that respect, it was epic for me

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