Writing Clinic #1: Busta’s Post
Welcome to Writing Clinic! This is a weekly series where I choose one post at random from those submitted and give feedback and editorial suggestions.
The series is now ended, but many thanks to all those who submitted posts.
Today’s post is “5 Rules to Get Out of Your Payday Loan” from Busta of BustaLoan.com. It’s already been published, but I’m assuming Busta will update it in light of my feedback, so I’ll give you the current version of the post here.
How the Post Looks
The Post Text
What’s Working Well
As the posts stands, Busta’s doing a lot of things right:
#1: The Title
He has a great title, with a number, the word “rules” (which is powerful – it implies that if you don’t do even one of these things, you’re getting it wrong). The title also contains the word “your”, which helps make a connection with the reader.
#2: The Structure
Busta’s post has a clear structure (though it’s missing a beginning and end, which I’ll come onto in a minute). He’s numbered the points within the post (sounds basic, but bloggers often forget to) and he’s using subheadings.
#3: The Writing Style
The post is well-written: not just free of sloppy mistakes, but also conversational in tone, addressing the reader as “you”. In fact, Busta uses the word “you” 8 times and “your” 17 times … and the word “I” just once.
What Might Need Tweaking
Of course, being a writer and editor, I usually find something to pick on. 😉 Here are a few suggested changes for Busta’s post. Do any of these apply to your most recent blog post too?
Suggestion #1: Add an Introduction and Conclusion
As it stands, Busta’s list of rules forms the whole of the post. I’d really like to see an introductory paragraph and a line at the end to round things off.
Why? Because a list presented on its own can come across as a bit abrupt and even not-quite-finished to the reader.
Suggestion #2: Change the Subheadings
All of Busta’s subheadings are almost the same – “Rule #N to get out of your payday loan”. While it’s great to have the subheadings in place, I’d much rather each subheading gave the actual rule, like this:
Rule #1: Payday Loan Lenders Aren’t Your Friends
Rule #2: Don’t Let the Collector Get to You
I think this would also help clarify the rules themselves; in some cases, like in point #2, it’s not 100% clear what the actual rule is.
My impression is that Busta might have chosen to use the very-similar subheadings for SEO reasons. This is a mistake: keyword density isn’t especially important, and you definitely shouldn’t allow your keyword to take priority over writing content that’s useful for readers.
Suggestion #3: Expand on Rule #5
Maybe Busta was running out of steam as he wrote the post (I know that happens to me!) or maybe he just couldn’t think of much to say. Either way, Rule #5 is less than half the length of the other rules, and this makes the post look unbalanced.
(I also think Rule 5 could do with a bit of clarifying. I think Busta’s saying that you need to be tough on yourself, and tell it like it is, but I’m not quite sure.)
Suggestion #4: Change the Link in Rule #1
In Rule #1, Busta has a link with the anchor text “payday loan lenders”. I expected this to go to a blog post on this topic – but actually it goes to his home page.
This leads me to think the link is in there for SEO reasons. If that’s the case, Busta’s worrying about SEO at the expense of creating content that’s super-useful for readers: always a mistake. I’d either take this link out altogether, or create a link to a blog post that offers further information.
The word “HOMEWORK” seemed to be crying out to be a link to another post, or perhaps a landing page for Busta’s newsletter.
Suggestion #5: Use Headers not Bold for Subheadings
HTML code has heading styles, like H1 (used for your post title), H2 (used for first-level subheadings in my post here). In the WordPress visual editor, you can select these using the “Paragraph” dropdown. Depending on your theme, you may find you need to use bold text for sub-subheadings, or you may have an H3 style set up.
Using H2 for subheadings makes them larger and more attractive to readers, and also gives a little more weight to the words in them for SEO purposes.
Suggestion #6: Expand the Whole Post
This is quite a concise post from Busta at 282 words, and I think it would work well at this length and level of depth for an email newsletter. As a blog post, though, Busta might want to consider expanding it – perhaps by adding in links to other resources (on his site or elsewhere) and by quoting from other experts on payday loans to help reinforce his points.
Busta, thanks for being brave enough to submit your post for the very first Writing Clinic. I really like your direct, forthright style, and I hope these suggestions help you and help other DailyBlogTips readers as well.
Do you have a suggestion for Busta, or do you want to point out something you really liked about his post? Let us know in the comments. (Please be polite and constructive with your feedback.)
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5 Responses to “Writing Clinic #1: Busta’s Post”
Thank you Ali for the review of my website BustaLoan.com! I think you’ve hit on a powerful strategy for helping all of us profit from your expertise.
All of your insights make a great deal of sense. And you’re right, SEO was a primary strategy for my writing approach. I guess I’m guilty of still being a bit “old school.”
Your thoughts regarding an introduction and conclusion will be incorporated immediately.
Change the Subheadings? Absolutely!
Regarding “Rule #5?” Actually I was referring to a strategy of always telling collectors who harass borrowers that the borrower has no money and zero possibility of ever having any money to make a payment; “poor mouthing.” I guess I’m too deep into my subject and lost the perspective of my readers who may be unfamiliar with the discomfort of dealing with payday loan collectors on a daily basis.
Change the link in Rule #1? GREAT STRATEGY!
Ali, thanks for investing your time and thoughts in me! I have prospered greatly from reading your book, “Make Money Blogging.” Guess I’d better review my copy again 🙂
Frank – BustaLoan.com
Congratulations Frank.You are very well fortunate to get such a deep analysis of your blog-post. I want to give you a small and free SEO advice since you are on a very competitive niche-try to write informative blog posts that are 1200+ words. This will dramatically increase your traffic within months.
First thanks for sharing this type of useful article. Ya it will help to all beginner bloggers. You have mentioned all the tips regarding using header, title, writing styles. It will improve seo. Very informative article. Thanks
I think for some, writing can come very naturally, others (like myself) can struggle over every word. Getting good advice, and actually following it, can be a godsend. I have read a number of times now about writing ‘to’ your readers, instead of writing ‘for’ them. Addressing the reader in a more personal level does make more of a connection.
At the end of the day, SEO means nothing if your content isn’t interesting.
Hello Harry,I think you have made a mistake. Its not “Frank” who gave the advice. The author is Ali Luke.
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