Blogging can be an effective way to voice your views. However, certain features may detract from its ideological impact. If you want to establish credibility and build your readership, work to eliminate the following five things from your blog.
- Animation and other techie additions: Unless you have a comic book blog or other similarly themed content, animation may add tackiness to your text. Busy backgrounds or flashy features for your blog page tend to distract readers from the full impact of your written words. Features like CAPTCHAs meant to filter spam responses can be annoying to your readers and may keep them from commenting. In general, a blog page should be clean and unobtrusive so the important messages shine through.
- Plagiarism: Stealing the words of another and presenting them as your own is never acceptable and is actually against the law. Why create a blog if you don’t have anything original to contribute? If you want to include a quotation from another source in your content, simply attribute the words to the original author, and link the quote to the original text, if possible.
- Personal information: Even though many bloggers talk about very personal topics ranging from parenting to relationship problems, posting personal statistics is unwise. For example, your readers do not need to know your children’s names or schools. You should not post your physical address or phone number. Don’t detail where your wife works. All your readers need to know is that they can find you on your URL.
- Personal photos: Take care not to inadvertently post photos that reveal any of the above information. If you post a photo of your home, be sure the house number or a street sign is not visible. Make sure any photos of your vehicles do not reveal license numbers. If you cannot resist posting that adorable photo of your daughter, make sure she is not wearing a T-shirt or backpack that displays her name. However, posting a photo of yourself is not a bad idea. It helps your readers identify with you as an individual and builds a loyal following for your blog.
- Spelling and grammar goofs: Blogging is not for everyone, especially those who cannot ably express themselves according to the laws of language. Spell check only goes so far along the road to readability. If you want to engage your readers, you must establish your credibility as a writer through proper grammar and spelling. Unless you have a plausible reason for changing the language, such as communicating with readers who speak a non-standard dialect, keep your content grammatically correct.
By maintaining a clearly understandable blog, you communicate more effectively with a broader readership. While personal topics are often engaging and informative, remember to keep your personal information confidential. Polish it all up with a final edit for originality and style, and with a minimum of effort you can tailor a new and improved format that will engage a greater following.