Blogging used to be a geeky thing;
now everyone seems to do it!
Photo: Petr Kratochvil,
publicdomainpictures.net

Blogging is a super fun pastime and part-time job. Since I make money doing this, I try to keep up on blogging trends. I know that the best way to become an excellent writer is to read according to my interests and hopefully develop positive writing habits.

While I’ve learned a great deal through exploring others’ blogs, I keep running into the same annoying habits from bloggers. I admittedly used to do some of these, but I’m putting this advice out there to help other bloggers.

Yep, it’s time to delve right into the topic of blogging–which used to be a geek-only thing, but is now trendy and part of mainstream movies.

As a reader, here are five things I can’t stand in some blog posts:

Song or Movie Titles as Posts

I recently encountered a blog post with the name of a comedy as the post title. While I thought it was a little trite to begin with, I read on because the blog was cute. The blog talked about the death of the writer’s dear friend, but the title had set me up for laughs.

Before you publish, make sure your title accurately reflects your blog post. Even if your post is about falling in love, you can probably come up with something more original than “All You Need Is Love,” a popular and excellent (but overused) Beatles song.

Writing All Over the Place

Some blogs focus on one topic. Other blogs are about everything in a blogger’s life. There’s nothing wrong with either approach, especially if you’re just blogging for fun.

However, within one post, you should try to stick to one topic. It’s okay to write multiple posts per day if you have more than one thing to discuss. I find that dividing up my opinions/comments/issues is often rather therapeutic, too, as it helps me organize problems and tackle them.

As a reader, it’s a bit hard for me to follow a blog post that covers relationships, pets, rap music, and fixing cars. I’m only interested in half that stuff, but because it might be in the middle of some topics, the blogger would already have lost me less than halfway through.

Layout: Ad Placement/Line Breaks

Blogs can look pretty garish. Back in the early days of Geocities (a web builder purchased by Yahoo! and now closed), it was pretty challenging to pick colors that went together and appropriate design schemes. I was the girl obsessed with ‘flying through space’ backgrounds. After all, it was totally “Star Trek.”

Now, however, you can snag free layouts and add customizations to them. There’s no excuse for something that’s impossible to read. There are also plenty of online communities. When I’m not sure about how something looks, I ask my blogger friends.

Beyond basic design, some bloggers still avoid attention to ad placement and line breaks.

An ad right in the middle of the page is distracting and annoying; most people also hate pop-up ads. (See Write, Wrong or Indifferent for more help on ad placement and how it affects your blog’s Google ranking.)

Writing for the web is very different than writing for school. You need to be searchable before sophisticated and your text must be readable. For me, that meant un-learning some academic habits like double-spacing between sentences and always putting five sentences in a paragraph.

Blocks of text should be short and readable. That means one or two-sentence paragraphs sometimes, and that’s okay.

Don’t be afraid to alter paragraph breaks to get around an image on your blog. Readers like things that make sense and look harmonious.

Infrequent Posting

I’m guilty of this one! Infrequent posting is one of the most annoying things a reader can find. I hate discovering a new awesome blog about geeky stuff only to find that the blogger hardly ever updates.

I’m trying to improve this by remaining active in a Facebook community for bloggers. I’ve also joined the 2012 A to Z Challenge in April. Sign-ups open today!

Being Self-Conscious

It takes a lot of courage to put your feelings and experiences out there on the ‘net. I’ve been doing this for fifteen years. I was in the first generation to come of age with the web. It felt pretty natural to me, but when I’m writing about personal topics, sometimes it’s still hard to share certain things.

It’s annoying enough when someone vaguebooks; if I’m your reader and you don’t trust me,then I don’t want to read your work. Spill your guts or save your topic.

I have waited up to five years to write about certain topics. If you can’t do a good job of it, just hold onto the idea and do it another time.

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