I know a little something about writing. Even though I’ve been blogging on and off for a long time, I don’t know how to write a great blog. Or even a better blog. What I do know from experience is how to write a bad one. Here are 31 ways to be sure and write a blog that stops traffic.
- Write long posts. Writers making the transition from print to blog make this mistake often. Unless it’s very compelling content, readers quickly scroll and click on after about 500 words. This post is going to be a bad one. I promise.
- Write daily. The blogging experts love to point out that the most popular blogs are updated at least daily. I think that’s confusing correlation with causation. Before you’re really popular, daily updates can overwhelm readers.
- Write your diary. Many blogs read like a bad journal entry. “Today I went to the gym, did some laundry, and watched TV.” Even on Facebook, that’s not good reading.
- Write old news. Readers want what’s fresh, even if that’s a fresh take on an old issue.
- Write too personally. Reality TV has made it acceptable to bare it all, but there are still plenty of us cringing.
- Write without spell check. If you can’t spell and you post your errors, your readers who can spell are going to focus on them and nothing else.
- Write without regard to grammar. While composing your post in a word processor, pay attention to the error indicators. Here’s a great free online grammar course to get you up to speed.
- Write to get your own needs met. These kinds of blogs come across like needy phone friends who never take a breath.
- Write to invoke guilt. Asking why no one is reading or commenting on your blog is like having BO.
- Write with unnecessary cursing. Even if you are comfortable with cursing, constant repetition of the same words is just bad writing, not to mention bad form when so many are offended by it.
- Write without regard for others’ feelings. Criticizing individuals and bashing entire classes of people may generate traffic, but won’t generate any good will.
- Write what’s controversial just to build your blog. Readers who appreciate honest, thoughtful debate will eventually see through you and move on.
- Write without reading others’ blogs. Just as writers in other genres hone their craft by reading the best writers, so bloggers benefit from reading good blogs.
- Write without building relationships. While traditional writers rarely engaged in relationship building, failing to make connections with readers puts your blog at risk. Responding to comments makes your readers feel appreciated.
- Write without giving credit. If you steal others’ work, you will eventually be called out for it.
- Write without linking to others’ blogs. Bloggers appreciate the links and so do readers who are looking for good content. Here is a great post on this topic. (I need to take this blogger’s advice.)
- Write without providing resources. Giving your perspective on a subject is a great start, but readers want to know where to go for more information. I think 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is a great resource.
- Write without humor. Even blogs on depression can be funny.
- Write about how you spend all your time blogging. Many of your readers are bloggers who will be put off by your obsession, although many will stick around to see the train wreck.
- Write amidst a busy, blinking background. Your readers with ADHD won’t be able to focus on your words and may need an extra dose of medication.
- Write infrequently. If you don’t update your blog, your readers won’t care because you don’t.
- Write like you’re perfect. Readers don’t like to feel like losers. Share your perfect photos of perfect people and places and your blog will be perfectly alone.
- Write like you know it all. This is a shift from traditional writing, too, where experts were supposed to give comprehensive information. Readers like to share, too.
- Write what you want to write about. Freelancers know they can’t sell pieces that readers don’t want. Blogs have to be about the topics your readers are interested in.
- Write without paragraphs. This is equivalent to blending a main dish, sides, and a dessert and serving it up in a bowl. Mmm.
- Write without subheadings or photos. Subheadings and photos are like keeping your foods from touching each other and some of us like that. I was going to add more photos to this post, but it messed up my numbering, so I will leave it as is in the interest of not appearing perfect.
- Write to constantly pitch your products. Blog posts that start off talking about how they’re giving me something “FREE to add value” tell me that the sales pitch is coming soon and it’s a turn off.
- Write sparsely to make room for long audio and video. Many readers (like me!) learn best by reading and don’t want to spend 15 minutes watching something they could learn by reading in five. I always appreciate the content in writing, too.
- Write with links to inappropriate content. Like it or not, readers trust that you are not going to send them to offensive or spammy links. Don’t violate that trust.
- Write without purpose. We have to know why we are blogging and even why we are writing a particular post, or we’re sure to go off the rails.
- What should this one be?
What other mistakes have you seen bloggers make or have you made yourself?
This week I’ve learned how much I will suffer for the sake of this challenge–and enjoy, too. I tried to get away with hanging outside at the kids’ PE class and gabbing with girlfriends while the kids played. The photo below was going to be my 15 Minutes shot. My 12yo would have none of it and insisted I play baseball with them and a friend. Even though I was running around in boots, I honestly had a blast.
On Tuesday, we headed out with dad for a day at the Arch. It was warm, but extremely windy.
The day was cooler on Thursday, but reminded me of spring days in my childhood as we checked out the neighborhood daffodils in bloom.
Friday the kids played tag for co-op. I didn’t play, but comforted kids complaining that the rules were unfair. We played “stoop tag.” You can duck down and not be tagged 3 times. The problem was the taggers would swarm the stooper like a brood of vultures waiting for them to stand up. For some reason, I have horrible facial expressions when taking pictures of myself. Sorry you don’t see any kids running around either, but believe me, they’re there.
On Saturday, we played kick ball. I experienced the joys of little ones crying because they kept getting out and the frustration of the big ones dominating even ME.
On Sunday, it was cold and rainy, so I decided to have the kids blow bubbles with me in our covered drive-through. We had to use a timer for this one! The kids complained quite a bit, but you know what? It was frivolous and refreshing. I tried to create a game where the first one to pop 20 bubbles won and it became tackle bubble. Not good.
What I Learned This Week
- Being outside is really refreshing!
- Being outside brings back really wonderful childhood memories
- My kids love the time I spend outside with them
- I need more rain gear and outdoor sports equipment and toys
- I’d love to have some fellow outside moms to spur me on and give me ideas!
I’m having a cranky day when I’m wondering why I bother to:
- Write what few people read
- Clean when it gets messed up again
- Buy things that are broken right away
- Be kind when I don’t get kindness in return
- Teach my kids when the lessons seem quickly forgotten
- Work toward my goals when almost no one cares what I do
I’m sick and tired, thus I am vulnerable. At these times, I hear the voice of my enemy saying, “Why bother?” He knows well how I depend on encouragement from others. When it isn’t there, he knows how to turn my funk into a fiasco. When he is done talking, I want to go back to bed and forsake writing, homemaking, kindness, parenting, and working forever.
But the same question that I asked myself I have to ask my enemy. Why bother? If I were an insignificant woman, why would you spend your time and energy trying to talk me into giving up? Jesus breaks into the discussion.
“Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” – Matthew 4:10
We bother because we are serving the Lord. He reads every word we write and He sees us cleaning, returning kindness for evil, teaching the resistant learner, and achieving His purposes for us. He likes it all.
So why do we bother listening to any voice but His?
If you love to read blogs like I do, you have probably subscribed to a lot of them. I have my family’s and friends’ blogs in my Google reader as well as blogs in areas of interest to me. Subscribing is easy; reading them all is hard! But I’ve found a solution that works for me. Maybe it will work for you, too, regardless of which reader you use.
- Purge all blog posts from your reader. Yep, you read that right. The only reason I wouldn’t suggest you do this is if you haven’t subscribed to many blogs and you’re keeping up with what you have. But if that’s the case, why are you reading this post? Start fresh. I know some of those posts may be life-changing, but be strong and click “mark all as read.”
- Set up folders based on day of the week, subject, or both. You can keep up with your blog reading by dividing and conquering. Using your reader, create folders labeled for days of the week that you know you have time to read. If Mondays are never a good day to read, don’t create a Monday folder. Alternately, you can simply create subject folders that you will then assign to days of the week. I suggest using subjects that correspond to the first letter of the week day to help you remember (Money – Monday; Teaching – Tuesday; Food – Friday). That way you don’t have to include the day in the folder label. I use both day folders and subject folders because sometimes I have a hankering to read more on a given subject, even if it’s not the day for it. I’m like that.
- Assign each blog to a day and/or subject folder(s). I assign most of my family and closest friends’ blogs to every day folder. Why? Because then I won’t feel guilty when they ask, “Did you see my post on…?” Ree Drummond will never ask me that so I don’t assign Pioneer Woman to every day. Her food blog posts get assigned to Recipes and to Wednesday which is when I do my meal planning. Not sure a blog is for you? I assign those to a Try It folder.
- Schedule a time to read your daily blog folder. If you don’t think about when you can and will read, you just won’t. Of course, if you’ve decided that this is all too much bother, and you don’t want to read blog posts, I’ve just done you a favor. Unsubscribe from blogs and do something more productive, like pin pictures to Pinterest. If you do want to read, then make a habit of it. The best time for me is at lunch on my iPad. I love Flipboard.
If you haven’t added Wonder Women to your reader, I’d be honored if you did! Do you have any other suggestions for keeping up with blogs?
We’re always being told not to try and be Wonder Woman, but that’s exactly who I want to be! While we are ordinary women who will never be perfect, God created us to be extraordinary in His Super Power.
This blog and the book that inspired it, So You’re Not Wonder Woman are dedicated to helping women:
- Get organized
- Increase productivity
- Achieve optimal fitness
- Find joy in daily living
- Improve relationships, and
- Grow spiritually
I’m a Christian psychologist turned homeschooling mother of six who writes and speaks for myself first. I research what I most need to know as a woman who struggles and then share my best tips with you. If you’re a fellow Wonder Woman (or even just a wannabe), please leave a link to your blog here. I’d love to learn from you!