I know I’ve said, time and time again, that nothing about blogging is carved in stone, but I still talk about blogging “rules” all the time like they’re unbreakable and, well, carved in stone. They’re not, though. There’s really only one rule in blogging: Do whatever works best for your blog. With that in mind, here are three blogging “rules” everybody should break.
Rule #1: Make Your Posts Scannable
There’s definitely a time and place for making your content scannable, like when you’re writing lists posts, like this one. Using formatting like sub-headings, bullet points and numbered lists makes it easier for the reader who only scans you post to identify your key points.
I don’t know about you, but I kinda feel like when you make all your posts scannable, and short & sweet, eventually you kinda lose your writing skills. You find yourself communicating in short bursts all the time. And sometimes you’re actually dumbing down your content so everything lines up nice and pretty on the page.
And really, aren’t we making some pretty hefty assumptions about our readers? We’re assuming they’re too impatient to read a well-written post, we assume they’re only going to scan our content, and we assume they’re too uneducated to understand any sort of descriptive prose that might make that dull, boring content a little more interesting.
Granted, there have been studies that show the average online reader only scans, only reads about 400 words and only absorbs about 240 of the words he reads. But what about the above-average reader? Are we losing them because our content is too bland, too predictable and too… formatted?
Anyway, I think this is one of the rules you should break occasionally. Give it a try on your blog and let me know how it works out. I don’t break from tradition much here at Dukeo, but when I’ve broken this rule on other blogs I’ve always had great reader engagement.
Rule #2: Stay On Topic
Again, there’s a time and a place to stay on topic. But if all your posts are based on the same ideas, ideas you’ve already covered backward and forward, and all your content is evergreen, maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit.
What’s new in your niche? Why not interview an industry expert? How about accepting some guest posts? And if nobody sends you guest posts, how about contacting other bloggers in your niche and inviting them to be a guest on your blog?
And here’s another idea: What do you want to learn about in your niche? Even though you’re an expert there must be some little corner of your niche that you’ve never dug into. Research it, explore it, and share it with your readers.
Rule #3: Be An Authority
Honestly, I wish more bloggers would break this rule. So many bloggers are not authorities, by any stretch of the imagination, and it’s especially prevalent in the Make Money Online niche. If you’re presenting yourself as an expert and you’re really not, your readers are eventually going to see right through you.
If you are an expert, there’s nothing wrong with admitting that there’s one little concept you don’t understand, or one idea or process you need help with. Admit to your readers that you don’t know everything and suddenly you look like a real human being. You’re someone your readers can relate to, now.
So break these three blogging rules this week and give your blog some depth and excitement. And stop back here to let us know which rules you broke and how it worked out on your blog.