Be careful who you take advice from

by Martin Reed on 15 May 2007 in Snippets

I am amazed by the number of blogs I come across that promise to impart tips and advice on how to make money online. I am even more amazed when I do some digging around and find some of these money making ‘gurus’ are pulling in little more than $50 a month!

Research and ensure credibility

Let’s say you want to start up a blog with the goal to make money from it. There are a thousand and one blogs on how to make money online, and from blogs in particular. Most of them are rubbish – they are simply jumping on the blogging train and looking to make a quick buck by imparting advice they read elsewhere.

Web users are lazy – including many of those that want to make money online. They will come across a blog containing advice on how to get rich and accept all the information as gospel. Most will not do any research into the author to establish the credibility of the advice.

It can be extremely easy to determine the credibility and authority of a blog author – let’s use Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger as an example.

Problogger authority

Screenshot of ProBlogger’s ‘About’ section

In this example, information about the blog and its author is clearly displayed on the site. We can easily find out more about the author and determine his credibility from the information provided. The additional detail of having over 23,000 RSS subscribers adds further credibility.

It may also be worth doing further research online to determine what opinions others have about the author – are they well regarded in their claimed area of expertise?


Before you accept advice from anyone, ensure they are a credible source. If someone is offering advice on how to make money from blogging, make sure they are earning good money from blogging! If someone is offering advice on how to build an online community, make sure they have experience in running a successful online community.

Have you taken advice from people before establishing their credibility? What do you think of the explosion in ‘authority blogs’ from authors who don’t seem to have the professed experience or success they claim? Whatever your opinions on this article, share them by leaving a comment below.

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Steve S May 15, 2007 at 3:24 pm

I don’t think this point can be made too often. Much of SEO is just practical advice like, “write as much as possible”. The complex maneuvering that you see a lot of bloggers say will get you to the top of the SERP is usually a big bag of nothing.


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Mark May 15, 2007 at 4:59 pm

You’re wise to give people this advice. We should all be careful about who we accept advice from. At the same time, there are a few blogs I read that give advice even though they aren’t ruling the blog world yet. I just enjoy reading them because they’re growing and gaining momentum and that’s inspirational to me.

btw, I like this theme. Unique, and the light letters are cool on the dark background.

Martin Reed May 15, 2007 at 6:46 pm

Steve – Thanks for your comment.

I think you do raise a valid point – so often I read articles from people talking about SEO that I know are complete rubbish (and I am certainly no SEO expert!).

It is very important to know just who you are taking advice from so you can make a judgement as to their credibility.

Mark – thanks for your comment, and welcome to the blog.

I too, read blogs from those who are not fully established yet – as long as you are aware of this, then you can take this into consideration when reading their advice and ideas.

Glad you like the theme – I hope to read more of your comments in the future.

Matthew May 15, 2007 at 6:58 pm

interesting article, I’m subscribing to your feed :)

Martin Reed May 15, 2007 at 7:21 pm

Hey Matthew – I am glad you enjoyed the article, and am even more pleased that you have decided to subscribe to the full RSS feed.

I hope you drop by every now and then to post comments, rather than become an anonymous stranger!!

Charity May 16, 2007 at 12:41 am

Hi Martin. Just found your blog via ZoomStart, and I’d like to start by saying this is a beautiful design! Strong emphasis on text, and a pleasure to read. As for the caution about taking advice – good advice! lol We should all be more mindful of who we listen to. It’s like the old adage about taking in, sifting out, and keeping what’s worth saving… or something like that. ;) I’m very interested in learning more about building communities, so I’m glad I found you. I’ve subscribed. Cheers!

Martin Reed May 16, 2007 at 1:07 am

Hey Charity – welcome to the blog, and thank you for taking the time to comment.

I am glad you enjoyed the article – it’s surprising how easy it is to forget to check the source of online advice; anyone can put advice online and claim it is the ‘right’ way.

Thanks for subscribing – I hope to read more comments from you in the future. I’m off to take a look at your blog now.

Wolf Stone May 16, 2007 at 1:28 am

Hey Martin
There are people masquerading as experts in almost every field…i think the onus is upon the people listening/reading the so called expert’s advice to find out how credible the expert really is.

Shane May 16, 2007 at 7:38 am

Sometimes even the most knowledgeable people don’t have the best advice because it just doesn’t fit your particular situation.

I always like to get advice from a wide variety of sources and pick out the best parts.

Martin Reed May 16, 2007 at 12:05 pm

Wolf Stone – you are exactly right. Without knowing who is behind each piece of advice, how can we possibly take it seriously?

Shane – I agree. Certain types of advice can be fantastic, but completely irrelevant. That’s why it is important to have your own goals and look for advice specific to reaching them.

I like you additional comment that it is always a good idea to get advice from a variety of sources – I definitely agree.

Biddy May 16, 2007 at 5:01 pm

Totally agree, Martin. Try writing a blog about eBay, you should read some of the nonsense I come across purporting to be advice about selling.

Martin Reed May 16, 2007 at 7:42 pm

Hey Biddy – I can only image that if you operate in such a specific niche you will come across even more outrageous advice that you know not to be true!

Jacob May 17, 2007 at 5:23 am

I think that who you get advice from does not matter, in my personal opinion. I travel around a lot and read tons of different blogs. I’ve found that the smaller blogs tend to offer me more raw facts that I ask for than the larger ones. I think that, unless you’re paying for the information, take advice from everywhere. You’ll be surprised what you’ll find at these small ‘nobody’ blogs.

Martin Reed May 17, 2007 at 10:19 am

Thanks for your comment, Jacob. I agree that often you can find some real gems of information from sources who are not experts in their field. I do think this is the exception rather than the norm though.

If you want to boost traffic to your website, do you take advice from someone who has a website receiving 50 visits a day, or from someone who has a website receiving 50,000 visits a day?

I think it is important we take the credibility of our sources into consideration before acting on any advice we receive.

Psychic ability May 17, 2007 at 1:45 pm

The fact you used Darren as an example completely won me over in reading your post. I fully agree with the contents and your opinions. Darren on the other hand is one very smart cookie and a likeable guy, even though I have never met him. Now the ones who make money are the quiet achievers who get a click here and there. Thats why we blog, we like what we read, we click on the way out.

Jacob May 17, 2007 at 2:42 pm

I take advantage of each and every visitor, personally. It’s why I go and comment on a lot of different blogs, big and small. Fifty visits or fifty thousand visits, to me, what ever I get is appreciated and well worth the effort of writing.

I agree, the credibility of our sources is important, but at the same time, you should never act on a piece of advice you get unless you’ve done further research. Even if John Chow or Daron gave me advice, I’d look deeper into it. They may be experts, but everyone makes mistakes.

Martin Reed May 17, 2007 at 5:33 pm

Psychic ability – Thanks for your comment. I had heard of Darren almost since day one of my blogging journey however it is only recently that I have put his blog on my ‘daily reads’ list. I am glad you enjoyed the article, and hope you become a regular reader and contributor here.

Jacob – You make a really important point. Even if a well known ‘guru’ gives you advice, you should always investigate their claims before plunging in and taking what they say at face value.

Success Online May 22, 2007 at 4:54 am

You think that common sense would be common. I agree with your post. It’s really about being careful who you associate with. Birds of a feather flock together.

Successful people need only speak about personal experience and if they have achieved success than share.

I would never claim to be an expert in something I know nothing about.

Part of my learning online is also all in my blog. It changes all the time. The purpose and my own values don’t

Martin Reed May 22, 2007 at 10:52 am

Thanks for your comment, Stephen. It sure is interesting how ‘common’ sense is actually often rather uncommon! I am glad you enjoyed the article!

Biddy May 24, 2007 at 2:11 pm

Not sure quite where to leave this comment, but as this post is about advice, I’ll leave it here.

How about an “Ask Martin” feature – weekly? – where your readers get to ask your opinion and/or we all get to pitch in on someone’s issue?

I say this because I have a commenter on one blog at the moment who is making me uncomfortable. I’m not sure what to do with him because if I just block his posts, he’ll (quite rightly) accuse me of only wanting comments that agree with me. Which isn’t true: disagreement is fine and welcome, but telling me on my own blog that my opinion isn’t wanted is not really acceptable.

And while pondering this person and what I should do about him, the first thing I thought was “I wonder if Martin’s posted anything about this kind of issue”.

Martin Reed May 24, 2007 at 3:51 pm

Hi Biddy – that’s a great idea. I will give this a try and see how successful it is. I will use your question as the first example :)

Biddy May 24, 2007 at 9:28 pm

Yay! I should add that he’s anonymous – using a made-up name, fake email and no URL, which is one of the things really contributing to my icky feeling.

abbigliamento October 19, 2007 at 10:18 pm

Before, doing something based on other’s advices you must think on focus on what you are doing and not what others suggested you.

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 23, 2007 at 5:27 pm

abbigliamento – I definitely agree; just because something works for one person, it doesn’t mean it will work for you.