Writing Clinic #2: Raspal Seni’s post

By Ali Luke

Thanks for sticking with us on Writing Clinic! Daniel and I have made a few changes to how we’re running the clinic – if you want to submit an entry, please take a look at the guidelines and instructions here.

This week’s post is by Raspal Seni, who has contributed a couple of great guest pieces to DailyBlogTips in the past.

Thanks, Raspal, for submitting this!

It’s already published on his blog as 6 Common Blog Header Mistakes You Should Avoid.

raspal-common-header-mistakes

I won’t reprint the post here as it’s quite long, but I suggest you give it a read before taking a look at my comments. Where I comment on specific sentences, I’ll quote them.

What’s Working Well

As you’d expect from a DBT guest poster, Raspal’s doing a lot of things right. I’ll go through the three things that stand out most to me:

#1: Clear Title and Topic

Raspal has chosen one specific topic for this post: mistakes made with blog headers. (The header is the long banner running along the top of the blog, giving the blog’s title, and possibly tagline.)

The title makes a clear promise, includes a number, and has the powerful word “mistakes” — no-one wants to make mistakes, so they’re likely to click on this title to find out if they’re doing things right!

#2: Great Structure

The post is structured as a list, with six numbered sections, each with a subheading. This makes it really easy to follow and read (and hopefully it was straightforward for Raspal to write, too).

I was particularly impressed that Raspal’s kept each section to roughly the same length (2 – 3 paragraphs) and that he starts each subheading with a verb. These small things can make a big difference in how your post comes across.

#3: Call to Action

One of the key mistakes I see bloggers making is leaving off the call to action at the end of their posts. Raspal has a great one here: “Let me know if you have seen any other header mistakes, which I missed, in the comments below.”

Why is this so important? Readers sometimes need a specific invite and encouragement to leave comments. Raspal’s given a clear suggestion for what they can add.

 

So with all that in mind, this is a very strong post as is. But almost every post has room for improvement – so here are some suggested changes for Raspal.

What Raspal Might Change

1. Link to a Source for Statistics

In the first subsection of his post, Raspal writes:

“You surely know that a picture speaks a thousand words. It’s also said that images/visuals impact you 60,000 times faster that mere text. So, make sure to use your blog header to your advantage.”

“A picture speaks a thousand words” is so widely known that there’s no need to link to a source, but the statistic that “images/visuals impact you 60,000 times faster than mere text” is new to me. I’d have liked a link to where Raspal found this.

Another good place for a reference to a source is when Raspal writes, “Most people suggest a header height of 200 pixels”. It might be good to link to an example here, perhaps “Most people (such as EXPERT NAME from BLOG) suggest a header height of 200 pixels.”

Also, a quick typo heads-up, Raspal: you’ve got “that” where you want “than”.

2. Cut the Post Length Slightly

Like many blogger, Raspal sometimes uses more words than he needed. That’s absolutely fine in a first draft, but it’s a good idea to do an extra edit before posting to trim out unnecessary words.

Here are a few changes I’d make.

Original:

“If you’re not using a header, login to your WordPress dashboard (or any other dashboard, if using another blog platform) and add a nice looking header image.”

New:

“If you’re not using a header, login to your blog’s dashboard and add a nice looking header image.”

Original:

“Having a good header is important. It’s the first thing a visitor notices when they visit your blog. You have less than a few seconds to impress them or drive them away. So, use a good header and take advantage.”

New:

Cut this bit altogether. It makes the same points as the introduction.

Original:

“If your blog header’s height is more than 300 pixels, edit it using any image editor, and resize it to be in 200 – 300 pixels. Even MS Paint can resize it if you have Windows 7 or later. Otherwise, use an image editing program. I advise using SNAGGIT.”

New:

“If your blog header’s height is more than 300 pixels, edit it using any image editor (I recommend SNAGGIT), and resize it to be in 200 – 300 pixels.”

(Note: I’d add a link to SNAGGIT here.)

3. Use More than One Word for Anchor Text

This is a really picky point, but I try to avoid using single words for the anchor text for links. In the fourth subsection of his post, Raspal writes:

“You can refer this color combination chart or this before choosing your title/tagline color.”

(Typo heads-up again: the word “to” is missing between “refer” and “this”.)

On a desktop or laptop, it’s no problem to click those links. On a tablet or mobile, though, it can be quite fiddly to hit a single word link without zooming in (at least for me – maybe I have fat fingers!) It’s also often a good idea to give slightly more information in the anchor link, e.g. “this color combination chart on About.com”.

 

And that’s it! As you can see, all my suggestions for Raspal are really quite picky ones. I thought this was a great post overall, and I think with just a little bit of tweaking, it could be an excellent one.

Do you have a suggestion for Raspal? Or did you spot something that he did really well that I missed? Leave a comment below.

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4 Responses to “Writing Clinic #2: Raspal Seni’s post”

  • Raghav

    Sometimes even i feel that i am missing on call to action, but still i cant put it any where on the posts – if it is irrelevant and readers dont like it too.
    But it is great that you have mentioned the structure, I love to read when a list makes sense
    I mean if you are giving information, it should connect to something that you have previously written or worked on.

    By the way great article

  • Al-Jedidiah Aquino

    Hi, controversial headlines definitely attracts readers. While it’s not applicable in all cases, given the right context, I’ve seen a huge amount of hits for controversial headlines. The writers at onion are really good at this although they have more leeway since they write parodies. Thanks for sharing though 🙂

  • Fuadi Mukhlis

    yes, like above me, I’m missing on call to action. BTW thanks for share great article.

  • Raspal Seni

    Hi Ali,

    Thank you for using my post and for all your nice suggestions. I’ve just implemented all of the things you suggested, except for cutting the post length, which I’ll do a little later.

    I surely published the post in haste. But, I agree, I put in extra words. Thanks for showing me exactly what you would change.

    I’ve noted some of your points in my desktop notepad, which I’ll stick to the nearby cupboard, to check before hitting publish. 🙂

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