Are you a first-timer making your little wobbly footsteps into the world of blogging? Or an amateur blogger trying to write that perfect blog?
Well, here’s our list on the Do’s and Don’ts that would help you lay a better foundation in blog writing:
But if you have come past that and are worried more over tripping on writing-blunders that would rate your blog down, then here’s the solution. We have compiled some of the most common mistakes in blog writing that first time writers or amateurs often overlook.
We have often observed that the focus on information-delivery and stringent time-lines cripples the writing style of beginners to a great extent. When your concern is all about “getting your blog out there” tagged with the necessary SEO and marketing factors, your writing could end up like a half-baked cake: appealing to the eye, but inedible at the core!
Now, let’s check some of the STRICT NO-NOs of blogging and make sure you are on the right boat before pulling the cord .
1.IGNORANT OR CARELESS ABOUT YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Well, you MUST NOT even begin to write if you do not know your audience! We all are familiar with the ‘writing for the target audience’ rule. But often, when you start out with blogging, this one criterion could wane off gradually as you get busy collecting information and building the content up.
Or perhaps, you are a newbie and are not sufficiently knowledgeable in this area.
Whichever stage you may be in, it is necessary to stay clear of this ONE CRIME: taking your audience for granted!
Knowing your target audience determines your tone of writing, style and presentation.
Whether you are catering to a formal audience or a casual one, or to technical experts or high-school goers will influence the style of writing, your language and even the format of the content. Not having a good assessment of your audience, can make you miss the bull’s eye and jeopardize your blog.
Let us put it like this.
The way you write for The Times of India Metro supplement would definitely NOT be the way you would want to write for Business Standard!
You know your readers are extremely different for both the newspapers. And even if you have to present a common news story for both the papers, your writing style would still vary.
Or writing a long blog on the latest trends in tattooing can be extremely different from presenting a case study on the impact of industrial pollution!
Thorough knowledge and awareness of whom you write for, and sustaining it throughout your blog are essential to make it reach them effectively. If your audience finds your blogs relevant and useful, they would enjoy reading them and may come back for more.
So, in brief,
NEVER write a blog before doing your homework on the target audience
Your style and tone of writing MUST be in sync with the profile of your target audience
Stay focused on your audience throughout the content. NEVER let them out of your mind or you will fail in maintaining the ‘tempo’.
2. SHALLOW CONTENT - THE LACK OF INFORMATION
Writing blogs could sound easier thanks to its flexible structure and format. But writing a good blog that is interesting and informative is a whole new ball game.
One of the mistakes that beginners tend to make is writing blogs that do not serve any purpose. They neither educate nor inform nor give you any new perspective!
If you intend your blogs to be taken seriously by your readers, then NEVER GO EASY ON THE INFORMATION YOU PROVIDE! Don’t just research your target audience, but as well research on the information that you are planning to share with the readers. Nobody wants to feast on green tea and biscuits! Your readers need solid information, even if it is a casual blog on fashion trends, or micro-green farming.
Give them fresh content, or else a new perspective or unique information about the much-talked-about topics. Readers would love that. If your blogs are for technical/commercial/industrial platforms, then quote from case studies, bring in data, statistics. If it is a travel blog, drive around all the “informative corners”. From providing information on flight tickets to tips on searching for good accommodation and eateries, always HELP your readers. Provide locations, addresses, tariffs, tips, warnings and alerts; anything that would educate your readers on travelling to the destinations that you have written about. They would be grateful and come back for more.
Blogs with well-researched, resourceful content always get more subscriptions and better traffic.
If you are planning to start your own series of blogs, then plan well. Even if you have to churn in blogs back-to-back every week, make sure you have done your research before-hand. It helps to give yourself a preparation time before you begin your blogs.
Gather all the information and break them into separate units to serve as individual blogs.
This would help you write authentic blogs and give you some breathing time as well.
So here’s the nutshell:
Research well on the topic of your blogs
Enrich your content with attractive and useful information
For grave or formal topics, validate your statements with researched data and statistics
Plan and prepare well ahead for your blog series and give time for adequate research and writing before you start posting them.
3.CONTENT THAT LACKS ORIGINALITY
The whole world seems to be talking about original content. Yet there seems to be very little content that is new! Everybody is talking about everything under the sky. And you seem to be left with no chances at anything original!
Yet, one of the primary crimes in the eyes of the Google critters that scan your online content, is DUPLICATION.
So, how do you define original content?
How can you make your content original and authentic for the readers, for the Google engines and your own mortal gratification?
Being original is like when the easy-coffee that your mom made on lazy afternoons, decades back, now reincarnates and goes viral as Dalgona!
To be original, what you need to do is rework or revamp what is already available with a new and interesting angle to it. Learn about the topic and put it in your own words. Put in your reader’s perspective, bring in your personal touch, quote from various resources; Tell a different story; Sketch a unique picture. And do not COPY.
And your blog will lure in readers like bees to flowers.
Always think WHAT you can tell differently about a chosen topic. HOW many different ways you can tell that. And a new story will take shape!
Being original means:
Telling the same old folklore, yet again, in a new version, with a newer twist!
Learning about the topic and presenting the points in your words, in your style
Maintaining an original style, format or presentation that even the most morbid, over-rated content will look fresh and great on your blog!
4. CONTENT THAT SPREADS TOO THIN
Yet another silent crime that poisons your blog to death is generalised content. It happens when you lose focus or haven't done your research well enough. Then you tend to slide off from your track and be all over the place!
For eg., Assume you are writing a medical blog on the After-effects of Antidepressants. You know your target audience, you have researched your content well, and there is indeed a huge mass of data-backed content. You are all set to start! And you begin well.
You talk about the huge demand for antidepressants, why people depend on them, the cause and effect factors, the precautions required. But soon before you realise the wheels leave the track.
You start talking about the behavioural and emotional need of people to depend on antidepressant drugs and the money-minting business and the dark lobbying behind that. . . . . . . . and you roll on aimlessly!
Unless it is a case study of the antidepressant drug lobby and all that encompasses it - the medical, social and the business - you needn’t wander amidst them. You stay within your framework - the after-effects of the drugs. Thus your target audience - the users of the antidepressants - will not feel trapped in a maze of unwanted information!
Stick to your Title or the Core subject.
Prepare well on the basic structure of your blog: the topic, the points to be put across to the readers and the way or format of presenting them. Once you have a solid map to follow your blog is less likely to fall off the grid.
Here’s your take-away:
Stick to your specific topic. DO NOT WANDER.
Prepare a well-laid guideline for your content and stick to that.
Trim off all unnecessary or irrelevant information how much ever research-backed and ‘intelligent’ it is.
Edit your blog thoroughly to ensure it doesn't deviate from its track.
5. LOUSY INTRODUCTION & CONCLUSION
The two major put-offs on a blog that fails to impress the readers are: a lousy introduction and a vague conclusion.
Most of the time, while blogging, beginners focus on grooming the main body of content that the introduction and conclusion would be treated more as sidekicks in the script.
This is a major NO, NO! Having a lousy introduction for a blog is a grave crime and can destroy your blog’s traffic and its rating.
An intro, for any content, is the door; the entrance through which the traffic sweeps in. And, If the entrance is not attractive enough to spend time at, your precious audience wouldn’t advance further!
And all your hard work at building the main body of content would go down the drain.
NEVER take the blog introduction lightly. Always edit and fine-tune the Intro. Write specific. write relevant. And write attractive.
You MUST work on it once the entire content is ready. Rewrite, re-edit, and re-align. Make it look catchy and relevant. And that is applicable to the blog’s conclusion too. DO NOT hurriedly scribble off something in the name of conclusions. They too need to be treated with respect.
A conclusion is like the final episode that gets imprinted in the viewer’s mind. It would leave the final impression, or inspire or encourage your readers to remember your blog, and later come back for more. Work on it as much as you do on other sections of the blog.
The introduction and the conclusion matters.
Fine-tune them once the entire content is ready
it is important to keep the introduction attractive, extremely relevant to your topic and precise.
Enrich the conclusions with Call To Action (CAT), and an interesting summary of what you have discussed. Involve the readers - let them think over the topic - with a question or statement.
DO NOT DIGRESS into irrelevant or new subtopics in the introduction and the conclusion.
6. COMPLEX SENTENCES
Another of the lesser known crimes of bad blog writing is complicated sentences. DO NOT crowd your blogs with long complex sentences that are hard to decipher. It can be a reader-repellent!
Writing and blogging today rest on simplicity and brevity.
Long winding sentences are things of the past. No one has the time to meditate on your complex arguments or instructions. Whether technical or artistic, instructional or commercial, blogs stay within a simple framework.
The visitors to your blogs needn’t always be your specific target audience. Random readers may drop in too, thanks to Google algorithms. They may not be subject-experts on the topic but may like what you have written if it is simple and comprehensive. So don’t close your doors to such unexpected guests.
Complex and meandering sentences will distract half the readers: even if it is an interesting piece of information.
If you feel a particular sentence looks good and is informative but it ends up as a complex one, edit it. Break the same into smaller sentences. You will realise that short sentences indeed can retain and communicate complex ideas effectively. And that they may look more appealing as well.
Develop an eye for complex sentences. And re-edit them.
Instead of expressing an idea through a single complex sentence, break it down into a group of brief sentences, They will still communicate the same idea and most often, more effectively.
Think from the readers’ perspective. Will everyone understand what you have written?
Develop a nature of editing. Edit 2-3 times after you finish writing. Make your text simple and brief as much as you can.
7. LACK OF CAREFUL EDITING
The No.1 mistake new bloggers often make is NOT EDITING enough!
Well, none of us are William Tyndale or Raymond Murphy. Our grammar and syntax always go wrong. However cautious we are.
So, be humble and EDIT.
It is okay to have a few errors. Readers do not cringe at common errors that everyone makes. But too many typos, wrong syntax and evident blunders in grammar on your blog are punishable by Law!
Well, just kidding. But yes, it can look repulsive. Blogs that are not edited well – for language, format, and even information – look very amateurish. And readers do not take amateurs seriously!
Everybody wants professional advice or suggestions. The blogging world is highly competitive.
To survive you MUSTN’T stop with your SEO’s. You must ensure the quality of your text and the overall format.
Edit twice, three times, or more. Fine-tune your content, check your facts. See if you need to add more data or cut down a few paragraphs. Look for factual errors. See if the links are working. Ensure the quotes and references are authentic.
A well-edited content not only reflects professionalism but showcases your prowess as a writer.
DO NOT compromise on that. Always remember:
Always edit your content multiple times.
Keep a go-through list for you to check when you finish writing. List the essentials you need to check again without fail.
Be cautious about typos and factual errors
Always check for grammar errors and sentence structures.
Use tools if you are not sure. There are many writing tools and grammar checkers that are available online, like Grammarly, Ginger, Hemingway, ProWritingAid etc that help you chisel your writing to perfection.