Don’t Do These Seven Things When Writing a Blog Post
How do you write a blog post?
It might sound like a silly question: you just sit down and write it!
In school, you probably learned how to write essays, and maybe had a go at other types of writing – like mock newspaper articles, short stories, or even poems.
It’s unlikely that anyone taught you how to write a blog post, though – and you might be going about it the wrong way.
Here’s are my top seven things you shouldn’t do:
#1: Don’t Start Writing Without a Plan
If you’re feeling inspired, it’s tempting to jump straight into writing your post. This is almost always a mistake.
Spending five minutes jotting down a plan before you begin means you’ll be much more likely to stay on track. You’ll end up with a well-structured post, and the writing process will be as quick and painless as possible.
#2: Don’t Go Off Track
Even when you have a plan, it can be easy to go off on a tangent – writing about something that isn’t really related to the main topic of your post.
Try to stay on topic as you’re writing. It’s helpful to have a pretty good working title for your post before you begin, so you can look back at it every so often and check whether what you’re writing is still relevant.
#3: Don’t Get Distracted
If it takes you ages and ages to write a blog post, it might be worth looking at whether you’re actually writing. I know that it’s very easy to get momentarily stuck, then immediately check emails / Twitter / Facebook / etc.
Next time you write a post, try using the Pomodoro technique to focus for 25 minutes at a time, followed by a short break. You might be amazed by how much you can get done.
#4: Don’t Repeat Yourself
If you can, it’s best to draft your post in one sitting. If you write it across several days, it’s very easy to end up repeating yourself – giving the same information twice, or using the same phrase several times.
You don’t need to worry about this too much in the drafting stage, but when you edit, look out for anything repetitive that needs to be cut.
Exception: Sometimes, you’ll want to repeat yourself to emphasise a point. That’s fine – just make sure it’s intentional rather than accidental.
#5: Don’t Publish Without Proofreading
Although some typos will go almost unnoticed, others can confuse readers – forcing them to read the same sentence twice. They also knock readers’ confidence in you and your blog, by making you look less professional.
Of course some mistakes creep in, but it’s a really good idea to proofread your post one final time before hitting publish. If one or two typos remain, it’s not a disaster – but you’ll hopefully have spotted and dealt with the worst ones.
#6: Don’t Ignore Formatting
Lean back from the screen and take a look at blog post. Does it look like a mass of grey text? If so, it probably needs more formatting.
Subheadings, bold text, bullet points, images and even links make your post look more interesting – and help hold readers’ attention. Yes, it’s possible to go over the top (particularly with bold text), but unless you’re writing very short posts, you should at least have some subheadings.
#7: Don’t Stop Too Abruptly
Finally, don’t end your post suddenly. Most bloggers, when writing a list post or how to post, will simply stop with the last item. Not only is this a bit jarring for the reader, it’s a massive wasted opportunity.
The final lines of your post are a great place for a “call to action” – which could be anything from encouraging readers to buy your product to asking them to share your post.
Are you making any of these mistakes when you write your blog posts? Or do you have another “don’t” to share with us? Let us know in the comments.
12 Responses to “Don’t Do These Seven Things When Writing a Blog Post”
While this fits in with the formatting, I believe it might be different enough to merit its own “don’t,” which is don’t drastically change formatting.
Your format can and should be seen right alongside your voice. If you have a specific way of formatting your site (links are a certain color, you use specific headers, you bold or italicize for emphasis), stick with it.
I’ve seen plenty of lost opportunity because of the way someone inconsistently formatted their posts.
All great tips! Thanks for sharing them.
Another one I try to implement is editing, then editing, then editing a little more. If you can say something in 50 words, don’t use 100. Twitter has created a generation who consumes information 140 characters at a time. Sometimes you’ve got to say less to get your point across.
I probably break most of these rules but the “don’t repeat yourself” is the one that I break the most. I add too many words as well. I love my topic but sometimes think that I should just stick to video and podcasting.
Nice post, I do catch myself repeating titles for my post. I do after my plan myself sometimes I go to fast, I do feel that too many bloggers don’t proofread their content.
So Ali thanks again and have a nice day.
I’m terrible at proofreading. I still can’t spot mistakes when reading through my own work- I just read it as right and don’t pick up on typos and I can’t get my partner to help proofread as he’s dyslexic! I just hope it doesn’t put off my readers too much
Surely I will follow your guide and wont do any of those silly mistake we generally do when blog posting 🙂 . Very helpful info. Thankyou so much.
now i open up my mind on writing, i miss something important here,, writing is not just a skill but also need strategy, thanks
Thanks for these nice tips. I’m adding them to my desktop note which I’ll refer before hitting the publish button. Also going through all the three Writing Clinic posts to note some more tips.
I don’t have the distraction problem because I start my drafts in a notebook, away from the computer. 🙂
About formatting, do you think it’s better to have text justified so it looks like using the whole text area all throughout the blog post?
One thing I avoid is to underline text. People tend to think of underlined text as links and mouseover them, only to feel annoyed seeing it’s not clickable.
Thanks for mentioning about pomodoro. I had tried using it about an year ago but then stopped. Now, I downloaded focus booster, a small program which sounds a sweet little alarm at 2 intervals – one for a break and another to continue work. I don’t like a 25 minute session, I like 50 minute one and then a 20 minute break and then again a 50 minute session. It’s customizable in focus booster. This 50-20-50 minute tip I had heard from Ed Gandia, a productivity pro.
@Mathew: Thanks for the tip, it’s a very nice idea to stick with one style.
I like to write a post and then let it sit for a couple of days. When I come back to it, I have a better perspective than when I’ve just written it.
Definitely great tips.
These are really some heavy Dont’s. It will be good to know some Do’s also. Hoping you will publish a post regarding some Do’s.
Great tips which certainly are difficult to follow until one pins them when it comes to blogging. Repetition is something which I always face as a challenge especially when the article is written over 2-3 days period.
[ Smiles ] Great pointers.
I am a stickler for proofreading my content before publishing.
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