Blogging Guidelines: 10 Things I Wish Everyone Would Do

Steven49 responsesBlogging
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When you read as many blogs as I do you start to notice things. Little things. Things that get under you skin after a while and make you just want to slap somebody and scream, “Enough!” But, we live in a civilized world and, you know, you can’t just go around slapping people any time you feel like it, right? Here are 10 things I wish all bloggers I read would do so I can stop worrying about getting arrested.

blogging misconceptions

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Get to the point

I don’t care how busy your life is right now and I don’t care why you’ve been away from your blog for a few days. You’re here now and the title of your article says you’re going to tell me how to generate traffic with Tumblr. Please shut up and get to the point.

Learn how to format their text

Do these bloggers not understand what that preview button is for? No matter what platform you’re using there’s always a preview button – use it, please.

Learn the rules regarding paragraphs and double space at the end of each one so I can see where one paragraph ends and the next begin. One huge blog of unbroken text is almost impossible to read.

Create headings, sub-headings and bold text to pull out the important points you want me to see so I’ll be sure not to miss them – especially since everything’s all jumbled into one paragraph.

Limit their links

I appreciate you including links to relevant content in the body of the article, really I do. But please limit those links. More than three and you’re obviously trying to include too much information. If it’s that important, write another article.

Quote their sources

Don’t tell me that Matt Cutts had something interesting to say and then serve me a link. Quote him. Tell me what he had to say and then include the link. That way, I won’t have to leave your blog to get this valuable information. See how that works?

Be unique

Really? Another Top 10 Twitter Tips post? Seriously? Is that the best you could do? C’mon, man. Look, I know there’s a lot of competition out there and when a thousand other bloggers are all talking about the same thing there’s bound to be some overlap. But I read your blog because I like YOUR viewpoint. So tell me what this means to YOU.

Be concise

Quit leaving out steps. Make sure all 10 steps or 100 steps are there and make sure they’re in the proper order. And if necessary, please explain them for those of us who don’t necessarily understand the jargon or slang you’re using.

Be relevant

I didn’t come to your gardening blog because I wanted to find out how you’re using Twitter to increase your traffic. If I want to know something about Twitter I’ll go visit someone who’s an expert on Twitter, not tomatoes.

Grab my attention

I know we’re supposed to provide top quality information, but “information” doesn’t always have to be presented in a textbook format. Remember how boring it was to read an encylopedia (back when we HAD encyclopedias)? That’s what your articles are beginning to sound like. Take a walk. Visit with friends. Go out and get a fresh perspective on life and bring it back to your blog.

Stop showing off

I know you’re the expert, that’s why I visit your blog. It’s not necessary to remind me in every other paragraph “In this article I showed you…” and “In this article that won an award I said…” It’s distracting and most of those links aren’t even relevant. You’re just showing off.

Quit blogging

After you’ve been blogging for a while you tend to forget there are actually people out there listening to you. Oh, you see the traffic number, but the blush is off the rose, so to speak, and you’re just sort of operating on autopilot. You get all caught up in lists posts and How-To articles and “template-style” blog posts just because they’re quick and easy.

I wish the bloggers I read would quit blogging and get back to having one-on-one conversations with their readers. I started following these bloggers because I felt some sort of connection with all of them but now I kind of feel like there’s nobody home when I visit.

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  1. Good list s/o to Brian @bbrian017 for sharing this link interesting post.

    The quote thing is true.

    Also the linking thing is crazy I have started to use a LINKS section on my posts because it is distracting and I want to keep the reader on MY SITE.

    Why do you think successful blogs lose that edge and eventually dilute into a bland blogger tips exchange?

    1. Hi Freedom Jackson!

      IMO, the main reason why big blogs lose their edge is because they change their focus.

      The bigger the audience, the more difficult it is to be appealing to your readers. They might as well not care about pleasing anyone at all! That’s the best way to stay on the right course.

  2. Mikki Q

    I would add: don’t add too many side pop-ups (for sharing, more info, etc.) because I read most blogs on a mobile device and can’t even read the article because I don’t have a way to make them go away. In fact, let’s just say I want the blogs I follow to have mobile versions…period.

    1. I must confess that I fail for this one. The signup popup provided by Aweber is not working properly with mobile. I wish they would come up with a technical solution to this. Hopefully they will improve it as more and more readers use mobile and tablet to browse blogs.

  3. I feel the blogging is social, the comments with back and for with them helps to get to know one another. Yes the showing off posts can get annoying too. Sometimes being unique can be hard, or you may think you are, but someone else already did it. I guess it’s best if it is from YOUR own view.

    1. Thanks for your comment Lisa :)

      A lot of starting bloggers are missing this last point. They start writing in a “news style” because that’s what they read on big websites… They fail to understand that what people are looking for in bloggers are opinions! Not just a rehash of information.

  4. Courtney

    Interesting your last point. I agree with you wholeheartedly, but I was recently in a marketing seminar that taught list style blog posts were the way to go. People like to read them, they bring more traffic, etc. I tried to blog that way but found I was boring even myself, so I stopped…and have felt like I am failing ever since.

    Interesting points. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Courtney! It all really depends on what you want to achieve with your blog. Some quality list post might get you decent traffic, but the real question is: “will that traffic stick around?”

      Most of the time, these list posts will bring only one time visitors. After reading your bite-size list, they will go onto the next blog for another list and never come back. In my opinion, it’s all about finding the right balance…

  5. Sassy Auburn

    Great tips. Glad to see I follow most of then. After working on radio talk before I began blogging, I realized there is nothing more important Thant “talking” to the reader and enlightening them with my choices or opinions. To me blogging is a conversation between me and my friends. And I have a sense of humor so you’ll get a smile, giggle , or flat out LoL from one of my posts. Thanks again for this! Great blogger info!

    1. I always love to read about other people’s experiences. Thanks Sassy!

  6. Jon

    Great list of points, I was smiling as I read through them all (although mentally counting how many contextual links I’ve been putting into my blogs).

    May I add one? Get rid of all the distracting and annoying adverts. Some sites seem littered with junk

    1. Thanks a lot for your comment Jon!

      So, how many of these points are you already following? ;)

  7. Interesting list! I think everything should be bundled to grab the attention of the reader.Content must be relevant with good formatting and avoid any such thing that will distract and take the reader away

    1. I agree with you Enstine! The goal of any blogger should be to focus the attention of the visitors on what really matters: content! Then turn one-time visitors into regular ones.. Then into commenters… Then subscribers…

  8. Dwayne Kilbourne

    Agree on many points… especially formatting/structure. Also, blogging just to churn out a blog does little for me. Maybe, they will listen!

    1. Hey Dwayne, I see so many blogs around with very poor blog post formatting. That’s pretty scary. If you want to make money from a blog, you need to consider it as a business. Thus, you want it to appear professional…

  9. Excellent points. I agree with all of them, especially getting to the point. I can’t stand it when an author meanders and doesn’t even get to the topic until paragraph 3.

    I also don’t want to read an entire article and then find out at the very end that the article was sponsored. If someone is paying you to write the article, you should state so up front. That won’t turn me off of the article, in fact, I will appreciate the candor and honesty.

    1. Thanks for your comment Carolyn! Actually, this advice is also valid when meeting with people face to face. I hate it when people want to discuss business and it takes them an hour to get to the point! Make your point first, then if I’m interested I’ll let you expand on your ideas.. Don’t do it the other way around.

    2. So true, that advice does apply for face to face meetings as well.

      I also wanted to point out that the opposite of your advice about links can also be true. I get really irritated by articles that do app reviews or list the 10 best apps for XXXXX, and then don’t link to them. If you’re going to review an app, link to it at the very least at the iTunes App Store and Google Play (if it is available both places).

    3. Well, don’t do Apps reviews because it’s not in my niche, but these guys who review without linking to the Apps are getting it all wrong… They might think that they are keeping the link juice for themselves when in fact, linking to the App would bring a lot more value to their readers…

  10. Dawn Abraham

    I love it Ste’! You are so right and most people myself included can use a kick in the behind to get us back on track.

    I am sure that we all know these tips but do we all use them? I know that I will take a double check the next time I post a blog. I have always felt that if I can’t put out something excellent I would rather not hit the publish button.

    Ah…there is a balance and when I find it I will let you know. In the mean time I will keep my high standards without going over board so I can get out more quality blog posts. I have to remind myself I am not writing war and peace. :)

    I always enjoy your posts. Keep up the excellent work my friend. XOXO

    1. Hey Dawn, glad you liked it. I’m always happy to read your comments :)

  11. That last point hit home. I stopped for a while so I could come up with more ideas on topics and writing styles, BUT now I’m having a hard time getting back into the flow of things. Ah well… such is life. :)

    1. Hello Alana! You’re right, after taking a break from Blogging, it takes a little time to get back to it. Focus on your long term goals and you’ll find it a lot easier :)

  12. Federico Sasso

    Hi, and thanks for your article.
    A little too blunt may be, but you make good points.

    Just forgive me a question:
    If the bloggers you read are that terrible, why are you reading them? :-)

    1. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pointing at the negative in this article, but they still have a lot of qualities!

  13. This is a great article, but there is still something that I wish all blogs would do, including yours: Be sure your “tweet” button creates shortlinks!

    1. Thanks for your comment Angelique!

      Regarding your concern with shortlinks, keep in mind that nowadays Twitter automatically converts any link to a shortlink using their own system anyway.

    2. No, it doesn’t! Twitter is chock-full of long links, and there are more each day. I think people BELIEVE Twitter will do the conversion, but the only place I’ve seen it happen — and I find it EXTREMELY annoying — is when I use TweetChat and Twitter converts MY custom shortlinks to THEIR shortlinks.

    3. Hover any link on Twitter and look at the bottom corner of your browser… You’ll see that all links are shortened.

  14. Sherry

    Awesome post. I’d like to add those mid blog post banner ads that interrupt what I’m reading. It really devalues the post – like the author is screaming “HELP ME MAKE MONEY!” As if clicking on the ad and leaving the site is more important than the content and sticking around.

  15. Leslie

    If I might add just one more thing – don’t blog just for the sake of blogging. That’s akin to talking to hear yourself talk. Only blog when you have something relevant to say. I blog but not every day. Not even weekly. I blog a couple of times a month. Do I have a huge following? No, I don’t. But I’m ok with that as my followers are my friends and family. If you have something to say then say it. If you don’t, then please shut up. Don’t blog just so you can say you posted something today. It wastes your time, my time and makes me not want to follow you anymore.

    1. Leslie, you can’t imagine how many things I have to say :D

  16. Malika Bourne

    Ste’, thank you for spelling it out. I learned a lot.

    At first I was worried that you would singleme out on typos. I do need a suggetion. I do proof read a number of times and use spell check. I read my blogs aloud to my blind son.

    Iwill be darn, I still find some mistakes a few weeks later. I can spell, but I am getting more phsycally challenged. I would like my work to be impecable.

    Any suggestions? this is my worst fault, I think.

    1. Malika, don’t sweat it. We all let some typos slip through from time to time. The best advice I can give you is to write your posts, then leave them as drafts for 24 to 48 hours, then read them again before publishing. It will allow you to disconnect the writing and the proof-reading processes.

  17. Malika Bourne

    I just had to Pinn you. that way I can thank you. and I won’t forget where to find you, again.

    1. Thanks for the pin Malika

  18. Justin Harris

    “Stop blogging and have 1-on-1 conversations with your readers.” I love that. Blogs are started to get too cookie cutter and typical. If I’m taking 5 minutes out of my life to read your material, I want to leave feeling like you told me something I might not get somewhere else.

    1. It goes down to building a relationship with your readers. If you don’t bond with them, you won’t get out of the crowd of bloggers.

  19. Eenvincible

    You just hit the nail on the head here! Can’t get better than this. You are more like a Blog Genius!

    1. haha, thanks

  20. I completely agree with many of your points, especially the paragraphs issue. As a sub editor it really bugs me when people don’t make use of white space.

    1. When I visit a blog and the posts are not structured in paragraph,it really pushes me away… It’s so hard to read.

  21. Donna

    Great tips! As I was reading I was trying to see if I was guilty of anything you listed!lol! I definitely need to work on mine some more. I hope I’m writing articles, and not just blog posts! It is difficult sometimes to not end up in a rut! I’ll keep your tips in mind!

    1. Don’t worry Donna, we all make mistakes :)

  22. Sidney Peck

    Do you hear the sound of clapping hands? Good, because that’s what I’m doing! :-)

    1. Thank you Sidney

  23. Malika Bourne

    Oh my! You don’t read my blog, do you?
    My admin, has started editing for me or making me fix things.
    I tell you,blogging is sure not 7th grade English class in 1963. so, thank you for the tips.

  24. I taught for 30.5 years – mostly English and PreAP English. One of the points that was always a major distraction and deduction was when a student would tell me what he/she was going to tell me! Perhaps that is a personal bias, but I detested seeing that in their papers. I don’t like it in blog posts either:)

    You’ve made some good points. I hope to monitor my posts to follow your advice.

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