Avoid Bad Blog Posts With These 3 Writing Tips

Nearly every article I’ve ever read about Professional Blogging has mentioned these fairly obvious tips for writing better blog posts:

“Proof-read for typos and grammatical errors.” — “Create original content. ” — “Write short and lively posts.”

In this article, I’ll be discussing three writing tips you may have never thought about before.

I kept a blog while attending college. In it I almost daily recorded my trials and triumphs as a college student. The blog gained an impressive audience during the two years I authored it, and I believe it was due in part to the “rules” I made for myself when creating blog posts.

The “rules” that I kept secret throughout my first blog’s existence worked well for me, so I’m revealing them now as the following “tips” below:

Tip #1 – Never Mention Your Posting Frequency (or Infrequency)

“Sorry I haven’t updated my site in a while.” — “It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything on here.” — “I know I haven’t been giving this blog much attention lately.”

Do you know what all of these phrases have in common? They are all bad ways to open a blog post. Regardless of this, I frequently read blogs that make a habit of opening a post in this manner.

When you open a blog post with an apology about or reference to your recent lack of new material, you are not earning the sympathy of your readers. What you’re really doing is:

  1. Placing emphasis on how your blog is not updated regularly.
  2. Pointing out how you lack interesting things to write about.
  3. Failing to capture the interest of your readers immediately.

In other words, you’re wasting your readers’ time.

How To Break This Habit: Open every blog post as if the reader has never visited your site before. Every blog post should be able to be read as a single, timeless, and complete story that makes a valuable point. In the event that a blog post is a part of a series, then open the post identifying it as such with links to the previous parts.

Tip #2 – Never Copy Another Blog’s Content

Not only because it’s impolite, but because it won’t accomplish what you think it will. You may believe that you can easily disguise someone else’s content as your own, or that a popular post from someone else’s website will achieve similar success on yours — but the reality is:

  1. The site that originally created the content will always be ranked highest since it was indexed first.
  2. Search engines like Google will lower your site’s ranking when it detects the duplicate content.

You’re Only Hurting Yourself: If you’re desperate to add content to your site, don’t resort to copying someone else’s. Each time you use something someone else has created, you’re losing out on an opportunity to enhance your own writing skills. Creating consistent, original, quality content is the key to creating a successful blog — you’re best off writing things of your own.

Tip #3 – Never Post Without Something Meaningful To Say

It’s good to get in the habit of writing every day, just for the sake of writing. It is not good, however, to publish a post that contains nothing meaningful.

When you force yourself to write something just so you have new content to publish, it will likely sound forced. Don’t lower the quality of your writing just to increase your post quantity.

Ask Yourself: What response would you rather receive from your readers? They visit your site, and are disappointed you haven’t written a new post — or they read your latest post, and are disappointed it was a waste of their time. In every instance, I would rather have the former, because the latter may cause a reader to leave your site with no intention of returning.

Once you’re aware of which writing trends can cause readers to lose interest in your posts, you stand a much better chance of avoiding these bad blogging habits. When you know how to recognize a bad blog post, you can choose not to publish it. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer, it just means you’re saving space on your blog for when you’ll write something better.

Remember that every writer has his or her own style. This article is not meant to be a “cheap shot” at all bloggers that do the things I recommend against. I mean only to offer some constructive criticism — and if you find that you are having trouble maintaining a persistent audience, perhaps the tips outlined in this article will help you change that.

If you've found this website helpful, please click the PayPal button. You will be helping me pursue my dream career as a writer. Thanks for your support!

22 Responses to “Avoid Bad Blog Posts With These 3 Writing Tips”

#1 Simple Choice Living on 12, May, 2007 at 8:13 pm

Bravo! #1 is something I’ve always thought about, so I rarely apologize for not posting a lot. It’s like a lesson I learned in public speaking: “The audience doesn’t know what you will give them until you give it to them”. That is, they won’t know that you should post more unless you’ve set up that expectation. There are many great blogs that update infrequently. So there is no need to repent. It only bums people out.

#2 Danielle on 13, May, 2007 at 11:45 am

As always Shawn, GREAT advice. Any blogger would do well to read this article.

#3 Shaun Boyd on 13, May, 2007 at 1:28 pm

@Simple Choice Living
Thanks for commenting. I checked out your site and liked what I saw — great site name, eloquently simple design, and very through-provoking writing. I’ll definitely spend some time reading through your archives.

#4 Shaun Boyd on 13, May, 2007 at 1:40 pm

Thanks Danielle! You’re really starting to convince me that you’re my site’s #1 Fan. 😀

#5 David Bradley on 14, May, 2007 at 12:38 pm

Sorry I haven’t commented in a while but…

I couldn’t resist.

Those are some great tips…I am guilty of posting things like that.

“Now I know…and knowing is half the battle.”

#6 Shaun Boyd on 14, May, 2007 at 4:35 pm

Thanks for the comments. I hope you and Deb are doing alright in good old South Jersey. 😉

#7 David Bradey on 17, May, 2007 at 12:47 am

We are both doing well. I hope the same can be said for you.

#8 clkl on 27, May, 2007 at 12:28 am

I agree, particularly with Tip #1.

I also tire of reading posts about traffic rank, from blogs that are not about blogging.

The “I’m tweaking my template” posts get old fast, too.

#9 Shaun Boyd on 27, May, 2007 at 11:25 am

It’s true. Reading about the newest features in someone’s blog template is almost as boring as reading someone’s post stating how they started a blog and soon plan on writing interesting things in it. What is the point? Create a blog with an intention to put meaningful content into it, and then do it — don’t just talk about doing it.

#10 Web design Newmarket, Cambridge on 08, Jun, 2007 at 10:07 am

Very straightforward post!
Thanks for the tips…

#11 Shaun Boyd on 08, Jun, 2007 at 11:19 am

@Web design Newmarket, Cambridge
You’re welcome! Thanks for commenting. 😎

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#13 Pádraig on 19, Aug, 2007 at 6:07 pm

Awesome article man!

#14 Crusader Extreme on 25, Mar, 2008 at 12:22 pm

great tips i will use some of them

#15 Stronghold Crusader on 16, Apr, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Very useful information 🙂 I see there are realy good tips. I am going to use some of them

#16 thatsme @myworkathomedaddy.com on 06, May, 2008 at 10:25 pm

I’m new to blogging and hate it when I see others mention their last of posting frequency (item #1). You’re right on with that tip, thanks.

#17 Rob Cuesta on 30, May, 2008 at 7:46 am

Great post Shaun – and I’ve given you a trackback from mine so hopefully some more readers will discover your blog 🙂

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#19 Coach TC Coleman on 20, Jul, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Excellent article! I wonder how you feel about referencing a great article, like this, for your readers and adding your own opinions. Does that count, in your mind, as not having original content? In my opinion, part of the joy of blogging is sharing information you’ve found with your readers (and I never fault a blog I read for doing this for me).


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#22 Brandon Winters on 21, Oct, 2010 at 2:51 pm

I totally agree that your content should be timeless and every introduction should be as if the person had not visited before. Great point to be made!

Nice site btw, just found it today and I’ll be back to read some more. Cheers!

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