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8 Ways to Screw Up A Good Blog

The Web is full of would-be bloggers that really want to make it in the world. They could potentially all do it, but a great many of them are going to screw it up — and a large portion of that great many will do it using one of these tried-and-true techniques:

Posting Irrelevancies
Just because an idea is good doesn’t mean a blog post based on that idea will be good. Blog posts have to be relevant to your blog’s purpose. They should all tie-in in a way that makes intuitive sense to a surfer — or at worst can be explained in a single line at the beginning of the blog.

Writing Like You’re in School
No one wants to open a blog and see some stiff, college-paper diction. We like to read like we talk — so write like you talk. If that means you have to talk into a recorder and then play yourself back until you can transcribe yourself (or just get Dragon Naturally Speaking or some such), do it.

Thinking People Give a Crap
Sorry, bloggers: unless your name is Adrianna Huffington, people care about you for exactly one reason — the problem that made them do a Google search that took them to your blog. Don’t blog about anything that isn’t intended to help your audience make their life better — at least not until you’re famous enough that people will read anything you write just because you wrote it. Until then, don’t hesitate to pepper your blog with clever puns, pop culture references, or other things that make your writing entertaining.

Not Getting Specific Enough
Don’t ever write a blog called “How to Make Food.” If that sounds ridiculous to you, believe me, people who know better think that “How to Make Money on the Internet” or “Things That Are Wrong With America” are just as silly. A blog post — even a long, in-depth blog post — isn’t the right format to blast out an entire manifesto on the problems with Libertarianism or the benefits of taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Pick a very small, specific topic, and do it well in a single post — and then do it over and over until you’ve written out your entire manifesto over the course of a year or two.

Streams of Consciousness
People don’t read blog posts — they skim them. If your blog posts look like a wall of text, ain’t no one gonna take the time to work their way through it, end of story. Make an outline, use bullet points, use subheadings, and organize your words.

Stealing Content
People know when you’ve copy-pasted someone else’s text into your blog. Don’t do it, straight up. It’s debatable whether or not you have the skills to paraphrase well enough to get away with rewriting someone else’s text — it’s always best to read the text you want to write about, take notes, write an outline based on it, and then write based on your outline.

Finishing the Writing and Pushing ‘Publish’
Don’t ever fail to edit your writing. Re-read it — out loud — and make sure it’s ship-shape. Get yourself one of the many editing checklists available online and use it, every time.

Letting the Perfect Become the Enemy of the Good
The last major blogging mistake is thinking that you have to get a post absolutely perfect before you unleash it on the world. The fact is, if you never post it, no one will ever read it — and it’s far better to have 10 good posts than 1 perfect post, every single time.

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