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Why Bad Bloggers are Sometimes Successful


It can be hard to see “bad” bloggers become successful.

We follow the rules. We monitor our stats and strategically plan our content calendar and engage our community via social media. We write long, from-the-heart posts that are education, inspirational, and grammatically perfect. We spend thousands of dollars on domain names and themes and plugins and all of the other things the experts recommend.

And then some jerk with a brand new blog comes on the scene and just kills it. Within months, they’re surpassing you in traffic and making a livable income while you’re still struggling to get started.

You know it’s true: there are some really bad bloggers, by your standards, who are extremely successful. It can be infuriating.

It’s Time to Stop Caring

First and foremost, because I talk about the “why” behind bad bloggers, I want to make a very important note: it’s easy to get consumed by jealousy of others’ success, especially when we perceive that success to be unfounded.

The reality? In the vast majority of cases, a “bad” blogger that gains success has absolutely no effect on your blog. There are enough readers to go around for everyone. If you’re producing good content, promoting your work well, and really staying true to what you believe, than someone else’s success or failure shouldn’t matter to you.

Jealousy is a difficult emotion. For me, the best thing to do is acknowledge it and do my best to just let it go, remembering that every moment I spend worrying about someone else is a moment I could be putting energy into my own work.

“Bad” is in the Eye of the Beholder

When I’m feeling frustrated by a “bad” blogger’s success, I try to keep in mind, first and foremost, that beauty is in the eye for the beholder. I call it the Justin Bieber effect.

I have never once met anyone who admitted to liking Justin Bieber. Yet, he wouldn’t be famous if some people out there liked him for some reason.

Similarly, there’s a reason why people like the bloggers you don’t like. Maybe these bloggers are doing something completely different and readers find it an attractive break in the monotony of other blogs in the niche. Maybe these bloggers are extremely charismatic and good at building a community. Maybe people are entertained by their “bad” content. I could go on and on. The point is, when you come across a “bad” blogger who is popular, try to understand the reasons why they’ve achieved this success.

We’re All Just Sheep

Sometimes, “bad” bloggers are popular because no one is brave enough to point out that they stink.

When a blogger’s value is validated in a major way, it’s easy for popularity to snowball – even if that popularity isn’t truly earned. It’s hard to stand out from the crowd and say you don’t like someone or their work when it seems like everyone else in your niche is gushing about how awesome they are.

It’s actually kind of funny how easily people will change their tune if you’re honest about your thoughts. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to friends “I don’t think so-and-so gives very good advice,” and they’ve replied, “Oh, thank god! I thought I was the only one!” even though they’ve just retweeted that so-called expert not moments before.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in someone’s popularity too. When everyone consider someone to be a true thought leader, we start to lie to ourselves, trying to see what everyone else sees. I’m unashamed to say that I’ve been caught up in the hype of someone’s popularity on several occasions. What’s important is that you reexamine your heroes and role models often, constantly learn new things, and try your very best to live above the influence of others in your niche.


  • Amber Avines

    I am SURE I’m not alone in saying a half a dozen names came to mind when I read this post. There are blogs I’ve come back to read a few times (even though I think they’re garbage) because I have to question why so many people are tweeting them and commenting. Some are poorly written; others just offer nothing of substance. Yet, they seemingly get hundreds of tweets and a 100+ comments.

    I’m all for community and helping out fellow bloggers (I actually LOVE it!), but sharing bad posts has become all too commonplace within the last year or two. These bad bloggers drink their own Kool-Aid and believe the hype–and others seem to do the same all too willingly.

    I prefer to share good content, even if it comes from a blog with only 300 hits a day. The traffic stats don’t indicate the quality of something. The character and knowledge of the blogger does.

    • Sarah Arrow

      No you are not alone Amber.

      I think the thought must have crossed every blogger’s mind at some point in their career.

      As someone who has blogged in some real tough niches, I get frustrated when I read the “make money blogging” bloggers telling people to choose a niche in order to make a killing, ha, if only it was that easy. And then there is the bloggers that share generic advice and everyone coos over it…

      I’m closing my eyes and moving on – or I’ll wander into section three and I don’t want to be that mean 😉

  • Rick Cecil

    One of the hardest things is to ignore other people’s success. Especially when you work so hard and they seemingly had success handed to them. I read a piece of advice recently that really struck a chord — and applies here:

    One of the reasons why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our-behind-the-scenes to other people’s highlight reel.

    We have no idea how hard they worked to get where they are. And I think this is a key point you make, Allison: just because we think it is bad, doesn’t mean other people do.

    Rather than get frustrated, ask yourself: what can you learn from them to make your blog better? Even consider reaching out to some of the folks that shared the article and ask them why they did it. Now that doesn’t mean you need to do everything they do, but you just might learn a few things that can make your blogging experience more rewarding!

  • Hemendra Kumar Saini

    Really inspirational post, i really get frustrated with people who had done nothing but still successful.

  • Michael

    I have to agree that jealousy is indeed a difficult emotion. I know it doesn’t help and it eats into my time and I am better off to do without it. But there is a part of me that can’t really put a stop to it. It get even worse when I see the numbers of the post being shared and mine was like dead silence.

    I do understand that that particular blogger is better than me in certain ways. If not, his will not be enjoying the number of shares. I tried to learn what is so great about the blog but I think some time jealousy does cloud my judgement…

    Thanks to your post, I will try to be fair to the blogs and try to keep a cool head when reading their posts.

    By the way, I also like when you say “Oh, thank god! I thought I was the only one!” even though they’ve just retweeted that so-called expert not moments before and that we are all just sheep.

    Aren’t we all? 🙂

    • Allison

      Jealousy can be a HUGE time-suck, that’s a really good point. I hate when other people waste my time, so I should extend that to myself as well and try not to waste my own time. 🙂

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