Whether you are creating online content for your website, blog, business pages, or personal website, there are a few commonly held beliefs that do not hold up these days. Many of the myths in this article have gray areas because what doesn’t work for somebody will work for somebody else. However, on the whole, these are the myths you should probably ignore when writing your online content.
Myth #1 – Keep Going Back to Update Your Content
You do not have to keep going back to update your blog articles and web content. This myth is based partially on two misunderstandings. The first relates to Google’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and the second relates to how website viewers use your website.
Back in the old days, a common Google SEO method was to keep going back and updating and changing your web content, but that is not needed anymore since Google now uses big data to figure out who sees what on their search engine.
People misunderstand how viewers use their websites. For example, if you were running Wikipedia, then you must keep your information up to date. If you were selling software and were not updating your content when the software is updated, then that is a bad thing.
However, in most cases, the information doesn’t need to be updated. If you wrote an article about how your significant other sold your house during the divorce, there is no need to update the article three years later to say he found a new partner in Kevin and has adopted three stray kittens.
Myth #2 – Keep Things Evergreen For the Best Return On Your Investment
Not only has this been proven to be untrue, but also, the people who tried their best to keep their content evergreen are now suffering. They kept their work so generic and so timeless that it lacks any form of personality, entertainment value, or even worth of any type.
As we have discovered, what we consider “Not” to be evergreen is often very evergreen. Even things like in-the-moment news articles are still relevant years later, especially if similar issues return to the light.
Plus, it appears that we, as the online community, have an incredibly long memory. For example, remember the TV show “Friends” that used to run in the 90s? Well, Instagram remembers it well, considering the hundreds of groups it has posting new content daily. If you wrote an article regarding Friends back in the 00s, people will still happily read, understand, and value it today.
Myth #3 – Free E-Book Help Spread Your Brand Message
Back in the early days of e-books, the idea of giving away a free e-book was a pretty big draw. However, these days, words like “Free” are tarnished thanks to freemium games, free advert-laden apps, free software loaded with spyware, and free e-books that are crude spun content born from real books.
These days, people will not take your free book. They will avoid it like the plague. Ironically, if you give away your book for free, you will have no takers, and yet if you start charging for it, then people are more likely to buy it than they are to download it for free. It is like the old joke; if you want to get rid of your old broken fridge, do not put it outside with a “Free” sign on it; put it outside with a $210 sign on it, and somebody will steal it.
Before you dust off your book writing software to start your free book, consider creating a real e-book that you charge people for. Or, better still, charge $30 for it, or give it away free if people post a positive review about you online. Give them a discount code, so they really feel like they are getting something for free.
Myth # 4- You Can Automate Content
Automated content is content that is written by a piece of software. It is a combination of content aggregation, mixing in with a little content spinning. A program can harvest current information and then rewrite it in its own words.
Unless you are running a bot news aggregator on an ad-free website that only appears on Google News, then you cannot automate content. Even the advanced AI programs that can write their own fresh content are woefully bad at writing. It reads like a high school kid trying to write a news article for the school paper.
Myth #5 – You Can Measure The Success of Your Content
Your measurements are very skewed and only show a tiny part of the picture. Measure away if you wish but beware of making judgments based on your measurements. Your under-performing articles may be the ones that are driving most of your traffic.
To put it in another way, the jeweler sets up a display of nine items on the stand, yet only two of them ever sell. The jeweler doesn’t replace the poor sellers with something else because they are still doing their job (in this case, making the two hot sellers look good).
Take an example from a content marketing blog. The highest performing pages are large pages that are full of statistics. The smaller articles about how to find the statistics have meager numbers. However, it is the smaller articles that are doing all the legwork. Online content writers are finding the small articles about searching out statistics, and they are writing online articles and linking to the bigger articles about statistics. The smaller articles may only pull in a few people, but the people they pull in promote the other pages on the website.
By all means, measure your web pages’ success, but be very careful when making decisions based on what you have learned because online metrics and analytics do not tell the whole story.