10 blogging myths debunked from a medical blogger perspective

I have maintained Clinical Cases and Images - Blog since March 2005 and the text below is a commentary on 10 myths of blog marketers debunked by Duncan Riley:

1. Blogging is easy (workload).

False. "Successful bloggers all share the same traits: they work hard, really hard, and often work longer hours."

Writing a medical blog for more than a few months is hard work and requires discipline and finding some reasons to keep going on. Many medical bloggers start posting at a feverish pace with multiple long posts per week but soon "close shop" because of losing interest or burnout. Few last more than a year.

2. Blogging is safe.

False. "Blogging can be a legal minefield that can get you sued when you least expect it."

Blogging is not safe and at least several medical bloggers have been sued or reprimanded by their employers. For example, Dr. Flea was a pediatrician who attempted to blog his malpractice trial and was forced to settle out of court when outed. Dr. Wes, a cardiac electrophysiologist, was subpoenaed for a discovery deposition about one of the posts on his blog.

3. RSS is a license to republish other peoples content.

False."You cross the line with full posts and you can be sued for doing so. Further, splogs (blogs that republish RSS feeds) are rarely successful."

The practice of republishing somebody's full-text RSS content is not widely spread among medical bloggers.

4. Blogging is a replacement for you day job.

False. "Most bloggers start while working other jobs, and only quit their day jobs when their blogs allow them to."

I am aware of only one medical blogger who quit his job as a physician to blog full time. Dr. Kim was a nephrologist who stopped practicing in order to devote his time to his very popular blog MacRumors.com. However, several bloggers have at least part-time jobs as medical journalists.

5. Blogging will make you rich.

False. "Very few one person blogs ever bring in big money. Most large blogs today have a team of writers."

Few medical bloggers are able to earn $200-$1,000 per month from AdSense, paid links and other advertisement options.

6. You can post once a day.

True. "Most successful blogs posts many times a day, and your chances of succeeding when posting once a day a minimal to zero."

This is actually true -- posting once a day is a good routine if you can keep up with it. In most cases, quality is more important than quality but a blog that does not have 2-3 posts per week is considered "dead" for most practical purposes.

7. Traffic is easy to come by.

False. "Attracting traffic on a blog requires hard work, great content, and social interaction outside the blog. Most blogs take a good 6-9 months to truly establish themselves, not just in building traffic, but in building incoming links and good treatment in search engines."

A good stable traffic of visitors to a blog is difficult to achieve and most medical bloggers give up before they reach a significant number of daily visitors (200-300 per day).

Here are some tips for new medical bloggers who want to make their blog popular or at least read by more than just the author:

- Comment on other medical blogs and leave your URL. Make substantial comments and only do it if you have something interesting and/or important to add.

- Submit to Grand Rounds, the weekly medical blog carnival.

8. RSS subscribers are the key and are easy to get.

False. "While having more RSS subscribers will help your blog, they are neither the key to success nor easy to get."

Clinical Cases and Images - Blog has 2,300 RSS subscribers, KevinMD has 16,000 but these numbers are not easy to achieve. However, if I did it, you can probably do it too.

9. Writing for a blog is easy.


Anybody can start a blog for free in just 4 minutes at Blogger.com, one of Google services. Maintaining an interesting blog long-term and making it popular is quite difficult though. You need to publish posts at least several times per week and keep the quality constant.

10. You can blog in your pajamas.

True for most people, I guess.

10 myths of blog marketers debunked. Duncan Riley.
Dr. Flea Blogged His Malpractice Trial, Settles When Outed
Bloggers Beware. Dr. Wes.
My Son, the Blogger: An M.D. Trades Medicine for Apple Rumors. NYTimes.
Tips for New Medical Bloggers: How to Get Noticed?
Image sources: public domain.


  1. I wish I had written this! : D

    On target all the way!

  2. Thank you, Kim.

    The comments come from personal experience and from watching some talented medical bloggers prosper while others (not less talented) "flame out" during the years.

  3. Nice Job. I agree with everything you said. It ain't easy by any means.

  4. Very good and I agree too, it is work and takes time.

  5. Excellent post. A description of Grand Rounds may be found here: http://getbetterhealth.com/grand-rounds I'm the only doc I know who blogs full time for a living. Of course, my salary comes from my company's blog-related services, not the blog itself. :)

  6. Outstanding article on Medical blogging and keeping the quality constant and fresh. From experience what you say is true it takes takes hard work and time. Very good post. "The Legal RN" http://legalrn.blogspot.com

  7. I have an axe to grind with #6, because that is based a lot on your content, there are many blogs like Cal Newport's Study Hacks where he posts 1-2 times a month in some cases, and has over 15,000 RSS subscribers, or Eric Ries's Lessons Learned which has over 46,000 subscribers and he posts about once a month or so. I think almost 90% of how your blog performs has to do with content. If you have amazing content you will get visitors as long as your blog is active. If your content isn't new, eye opening, or compelling chances are blogging is going to become a chore for you.

    Other than that fantastic post.