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Sunday, July 11, 2010

5 Mistakes You Make When Writing A Blog Post

5 Mistakes You Make When Writing A Blog Post

Written By Suzannah Freeman in Blogging


Blogging is so common these days, everyone seems to want a piece of the action.

The problem is that newbies get the idea this blogging thing is a cinch–that you don't need any particular skills, structure, or game plan to write for the internet.

It's true to some extent; you can get your own domain and start up a blog with no experience whatsoever. However, creating a blog that people will want to read, and subscribe to, requires more than that.

There are limitless wrong turns one can make when writing a blog post, but here are 5 common mistakes and how to fix them:

1. You don't know who your audience is.

Who reads your blog? Can you describe your average audience member? Do you know what they want out of life? Do you know what they're searching for on your site? If you don't know your audience, you won't be focused on writing to meet their needs. And, if your blog doesn't provide ongoing benefits for your readers, they won't be around long.

2. You don't bother to outline.

For all you pantsers out there, even outlining a blog post might go against your natural tendencies. But, I've found the best way to keep your article focused is to write the headline and subtitles first. These might change as you write, but they give you a sense of where you need to go. When I get a few great ideas for posts all at once, I write my headlines and tentative points, plus find a suitable photo first, and simply leave the outlines in my WordPress editor for later. Once my posts are outlined, they get written relatively quickly.

3. You skip the introduction and conclusion.

Just like you remember from your high school days, your writing needs an introduction and a conclusion to be effective. For example, my article would appear less-than-professional if I'd begun with my headline, then launched straight into the list, and ended abruptly with the 6th point. Many readers wouldn't have bothered sticking around to find out what I have to say. Introductions and conclusions don't have to be long, but you should write them every time.

4. You don't use an effective photo.laptoppicture

Photos aren't necessary for good content, but they help visually attract your readers and reinforce your point. A poor or amateurish photo can be just as bad as no photo at all, so if you're going to choose one, choose wisely.Flickr has a huge directory of Creative Commons photos available for use with only the need to cite the owner. While it can be time consuming searching for photos and uploading them, it's time well spent.

5. You omit keywords and meta descriptions.

When I first started blogging, I had no idea what the 'keywords' and 'meta description' boxes in my WordPress editor were for. It was only once I'd been writing for a couple of weeks that I discovered those little boxes were for important for helping people find and read my articles. SEO Logic says on their FAQ page:

Both the meta keywords tag and the meta description tag contribute to your search engine ranking, and the meta description tag influences the liklihood [sic] that a person will actually click on the search engine results page and visit your site.

If you're not using these tags, you're missing out on potential readers.

Tips for Writing Better Blog Posts

How can you make your blog posts beneficial, focused, and clear?

  • Define your audience before you launch your blog.
  • Write your headlines first and get in the habit of outlining your posts.literarycat
  • Always write an introduction and conclusion, even if they are short.
  • Choose visually appealing photos that match either the particular post or the overall themes of your blog.
  • Learn to identify keywords and write effective meta descriptions for each post.
  • Don't try to make too many points in one post. Choose one and focus on it.
  • If you want your blog to be professional (as opposed to a diary-like venture) write your posts the same way you would write an article for a magazine.
  • Solve a reader's problem or include a benefit in each of your posts.
  • Proofread your posts at least 24 hours after writing them. Fresh eyes catch more mistakes.
  • Ask for reader participation. End your post with questions or invitations for your audience to contribute through commenting.

Learn the guidelines of professional blogging, and you'll soon find your posts more engaging, and your readership increasing.

What newbie mistakes did you make when you first started blogging? What bothers you the most in other blogs? What are your best tips for writing better blog posts?

Images courtesy of B Rosen, Steve Keys, SuziJane.

Suzannah Windsor Freeman writes and teaches in Canada and Australia (but never at the same time). Pop over toWrite It Sideways for more great writing tips, or follow her on Twitter.

[Sent from Ralph Paglia's iPhone]

Ralph Paglia
Director - Digital Marketing
ADP Dealer Services
cell: 505-301-6369

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