This blog post is pretty much just me ranting about stuff that I’m tired of reading on other blogs. I invite you to join with me in ranting. It feels good. Trust me.
Now before we get down and dirty here, I have to disclaim. Here is my disclaimer: These are not hard and fast rules. To a certain extent, you can still do the following as long as you do other things to help you stand out in your niche. But I fiercely maintain that you can’t do the things below consistently or on a long term basis and have a successful blog.
And I’m not necessarily exempt; I’m guilty of some of these offenses, too. I regularly analyze my own blogging to see how it can be improved. We all want to know how we can improve, right? So now it’s time for some introspection.
So here are 3 types of blog posts that I see on an all-too-often basis that, well, suck. And while several (though not all) of the examples I give are blogging-related, I’m sure that you can see these in whatever your niche might be.
1. The shallow analogy post
- Example: Running a business is like running a marathon—you have to work hard to succeed.
- Example: Blogging is like planting a tree—you plant it and then give it what it needs and it grows.
Reading shallow analogies is like getting punched in the face—they’re both extremely unpleasant. Just because you can create an analogy relating one thing to another, that doesn’t mean you should.
Use analogies if they truly help explain something better or truly think of something in a different and positive way. Use analogies if you can make the analogy particularly interesting or surprising and get people to rethink things. Otherwise, please don’t use shallow analogies. Because using shallow analogies is like being hungry. It sucks.
2. The predictable post
- Example: On a blog about blogging: Content is king (or Content is NOT king)
- Example: On a personal development blog: You should meditate
- Example: On a travel blog: Take only a carry-on bag
The above are examples of headlines you might see on those niche blogs. Actually, they’re the exact kind of things you’d expect to see. They’re predictable. If you’ve been involved in any of those niches for nearly any amount of time, you’ve already heard those things before.
But the “tired predictables” moniker also applies more directly to content. I’ve gotten pretty good at guessing what will be in a blogging-related blog post just by reading its title. For example, if I see blog post that’s something like 5 Essential Twitter Tips, I’m pretty sure the post will include
- Engage with people
- Reply to @mentions
- Be consistent
- Tweet valuable content
Just don’t write stuff like that! Don’t be predictable! It’ll be more fun for you to write, more interesting for your readers to read, and much better for your blog in the long run.
Now I can envision someone saying in the comments below, “But my target audience is the beginners in my niche. That’s why I sometimes write about this basic stuff.” I have a bit of a problem with that. Unless your blog is well established in your niche or your SEO skills are out of this world, the odds are very, very high that a beginner will have already read your content on a bigger blog. For example, it doesn’t really do me much good to cover the basics here on Blogging Bookshelf because a beginner has probably already read that information over on ProBlogger when he/she Googled it a couple months ago. Just something to think about, and I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts on this.
3. The hypocritical conjecture post
- Example: How to Get Tons of Blog Comments (written on a blog that gets zero comments)
- Example: How to Escape the 9-5 (by a blogger that is very much stuck in a 9-5)
- Example: How to make money with affiliate marketing (by someone who barely makes any money doing affiliate marketing)
I think this one is pretty self explanatory. I don’t want to read what you have to say if you have no idea what you’re saying. That’s dishonest on your part, plus you’re wasting my time.
Now having said that, I think it’s fine to write about things you don’t have first hand experience with… as long as you admit that. And as long as there’s a reason to why you’ve got the nerve to talk about it.
But WHY is this stuff so bad??
You might be saying, “Well, I see blogs doing these things and they seem to be doing ok!” Yeah, they might seem that way NOW. But it won’t last. It’s just not sustainable.
I recently updated the Blogging Bookshelf Blog Directory. I added a couple new blogs and got rid of a lot that are no longer active. And by a lot I mean about a quarter of the blogs that were there before, that were going full bore 4 months ago. And you know what? Very, very few (like… VERY few) of those blogs were particularly amazing or even great. There’s a correlation there.
If you’re guilty of consistently using the above-mentioned types of blog posts and have a clear conscience, let me warn you and tell you that your blog is pretty much already dead, so you might as well stop now.
I know this all too well from firsthand experience. I birth these little niche blogs and send them out into the world armed with generic, half-heartedly-constructed blog posts. The poor little guys never had a chance. They gain no traction, and I’m out the $7.49 that I paid for the domain name. It’s dumb, and it doesn’t work. Don’t do it. You won’t achieve whatever your blogging goals are. You’re just wasting your time.
Phew. End rant.
- Do you see these posts too often? Are you tired of them, too?
- What other kinds of blog posts are you sick of?
- Are you guilty of using these types of blog posts? What are you going to do about it?
- If you’re NOT guilty of writing these kinds of posts, what have you done that has helped you keep your blog posts nice and strong?