We all know what a powerful marketing tool blogging can be. Plenty of businesses have soared as a result of regular, effective blogging. Many of us try our best to write engaging content. However your blog sucks if it suffers from any of these 10 issues (and read on for my bonus “killer headlines” tip!).
- A boring starting paragraph. It’s true; underwhelming openers turn readers off. Your blog post should start with something that catches their attention, and promises positive results from their few minutes of reading.
- Spelling or grammatical errors. It doesn’t take much to spellcheck your work, and avoid this way-too-common mistake. We’ve all read that blog post with a number of errors in it, which distract from the possibly meaningful message. I always recommend writing it, spellchecking it and then reading it again (spellcheck doesn’t catch everything).
- Lack of engaging message. It’s all too easy to pen a few hundred words that contains nothing to actually engage your readers. Before starting any writing, consider the ending first, and make sure you lead the reader to a conclusion.
- Making it more difficult than it needs to be. Keep your writing and the story simple; don’t burden your readers with a difficult-to-read post full of unpronounceable words and sentence structures that make them struggle. Complex words can often be replaced with easier ones that keep your blogging succinct.
- Lack of personality. A blog post isn’t a press release or a dry scientific paper. Let your personality in, and set the scene with emotive words (“sucks” is such a powerful word when used right!).
- Lack of frequency. Posting to your blog requires regular involvement. A blog which only gets a new posts every few months will never get a great readership – make sure to have something new posted often; I recommend no less than weekly, and for some topics, a daily blog with shorter posts.
- Long sentences that should be paragraphs. You’ve read the points above. Now imagine reading an entire blog post that rabbits on without a mental break or pause and with which the addition of shorter more succinct sentences would allow the readers … yes; it’s painful to read an extra-long sentence without a comma or full stop, isn’t it?
- You’re not on topic. Sure, my own personal blog is frequently guilty of this, yet there needs to be an underlying topic your blog is positioning itself with. If you lose focus by posting about seemingly random topics, your readers will switch off. Anyone want to read about my recent cycling adventures on SitePoint?
- There’s nothing actionable at the end. The best posts are the ones that encourage your readers to do something. It could be to research a topic further, start a new business plan or even assess their writing style. Every post should have an action or a takeaway for the reader. When you’ve finished reading this post, go check your most recent blog posts, won’t you?
- You don’t encourage feedback. You’ve slaved over that blog post for hours, you post it live, sit back and … nothing? Maybe you haven’t encouraged reader participation by closing with a question or asking for feedback directly. Readers want to engage with you; encourage them to do so!
Take a look at three recent blog posts you’ve written. Do any of them suffer from these 10 mistakes? No? Awesome! Your blog likely doesn’t suck. They do? It isn’t too late to get less sucky in your next few posts.
Here’s my bonus tip on creating a killer headline too: write a list. That’s right; headlines such as “38 Routes to Better Web Design” — or something even more full of personality such as “10 Ways your Business Blog Sucks” — gets your readers’ attention, because they tend to be succinct and easily skim-read.
What is your pet hate with business blogs? I’d love to hear about them below! (See what I did there?) Best of luck!