As a reader, I have definite opinions about what makes a good blog great, and what makes a bad blog horrible. It’s not scientific by any stretch. It’s actually quite intuitive and visceral. It’s a deep, gut reaction from the moment the link turns purple. It has nothing to do with whether a blogger has a huge audience or not. It has everything to do with the quality of the content. This applies equally to personal and professional blogs.
Now, I’m relatively new to this blogging business, but even I, with my limited exposure and experience, have spotted some examples of absolutely atrocious posts that have to be called out. What’s so upsetting is that they have seemingly ignored some of the most basic blogging advice available. Far more established bloggers than me have addressed this topic, and yet, against all logic, these ‘writers’ continue to pollute my screen with their senseless syllables.
In no particular order, here are some of my biggest pet peeves:
Problem: On a good blog, I can forgive the occasional typo, sentence fragment, or poor word choice because I know that most bloggers are human and it’s an exception to the rule. But on a bad blog, their consistent use of clunky prose distracts so much from the post’s intent that I am forced to close the tab, likely never to return.
Some bad bloggers have even had the nerve to provide blogging advice, committing the very sins that they’re warning against. It’s a great way to lose credibility and authority on not just the topic at hand, but as a blogger [now, where’s that ‘unfollow’ button?].
Solution: Invest some time in proofreading. If you can’t do it yourself, get a trusted friend or colleague to read it over. Make sure they are at least as proficient as you at writing. I recently tweeted some great advice on proofing your own text that is definitely worth the read.
— Ashley Brown, APR (@ab_comms_design) July 9, 2015
A blurry purpose
Problem: If you blog about a particular topic that is of interest to me, like communications [which is a fairly broad topic], I am likely to click through and check out your post. Let’s assume for a moment that I enjoy the article and am inclined to read another. Uh oh, the next five entries are about travel, media, education, flowers and hopscotch? If your posts are as haphazard as your writing, it’s likely that you’re turning off more people than you’re winning over.
Solution: Aside from the actual posts, take a look at them as a collection. Do they have something in common? Does a theme emerge out of them? Or are they a random collection of stuff that you find interesting? Turn it around, think like your audience and have a defined purpose for your blog. If you love other topics, great! Start another blog! Your readers will thank you for it, and you might even have more subscribers as a result. Here’s another tweet that might shed some light:
Problem: There are too many beautiful templates in the world to give anyone a pass on poor blog design. If the main purpose of your blog is for people to read your posts, and I can’t read your post – because it’s too small, the background is too dark, or it is overrun with navigation – chances are I’m gone. No matter how well written or focused your posts are, you will not win over an audience that is unable to read the content.
Solution: If you are blogging on a respected blogging platform, make use of the myriad of template options at your disposal. If nothing appeals to your eclectic tastes, there is an ocean of premium themes for you to fish from. There is simply no excuse. For now, I am not even taking user experience into consideration, which looks after how people get around your site. Here’s another tweet that provides some great examples of blog design and content:
— Ashley Brown, APR (@ab_comms_design) May 28, 2015
I feel so much better after getting that off my chest! Sometimes the words just fly off the keyboard. Now I should probably go back and read through this post before anyone catches a typo! 😉
So, what do you look for in a good blog? Have you had a questionable blog experience? Commiserate with me in the comments below.