Most free advice is unhelpful advice

fishbowl comic

What I have learned in life is that most free advice is unhelpful advice.

fishbowl comic
fishbowl comic

If you have been reading lately you know that I have been working to improve my WordPress site. The free guides that you can find about setting things up are often unhelpful, wrong, and even downright dangerous.

Take for example a recent guide that talks about how to configure WP Rocket a caching plugin. I read 10 articles full of the same bad advice, and then in my last article I found something useful. It didn’t rank as high as the others since it probably was newer and had fewer views but it was clearly the most useful information.

Isn’t this proof that your statement is wrong? No. I said Most free advice is unhelpful. I would say that the average person will trust one of the top Google-ranked choices. If your article is not at the top it is really nothing. It was clear that the search algorithm wasn’t sophisticated enough to see the value of that content.

Looking back at all the free articles I have read to learn WordPress, the highest ranked articles have been the most out of date, affiliated loaded, and honestly not honest. Even at the time they were written there were better choices, so either the author didn’t do their research or more likely they wrote it just to profit themselves.

I have no problem with people who write good content and get paid for it. I do have a problem reading a highly-rated article on Google to find out it is trash. It is a waste of time. Here is what I have learned that Google and publishers like that don’t add to the quality.

  • Long and engaging writing style. Often people just want the facts, and if you are long and engaging you have the chance to sell more ads but you also sound like a moron. I noticed this yesterday when I was trying to find an answer and the author went on and on for 3 paragraphs saying nothing! I will never pad my writing just to be Long-form.
  • Other sites pointing to you. We know that the game of site linking is stupid. Google came to that conclusion as well. Too often Google has supported ideas that it later changed its mind about. What a waste of time for everyone.
  • Authoritative for the topic. While it is great to be authoritative, too often authorities have their own political agenda to push. What should be ranked by Google is what works, what is ethical and doesn’t hurt anyone and what has enduring value. Right now authorities like the Supreme Court of the United States are making terrible decisions. Their authority doesn’t mean what they are doing is ethical, helpful, or has value.
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We have always lived with a crisis of values. Too often those in power seek to hold onto that power by making life difficult for everyone who isn’t them. Don’t play into the games that don’t hold the wealthy to account. If advice is free suspect it, and yes this includes my advice as well. I am not perfect and I do not hold the truth. I just recognize BS when I see it.