Why Does a Blog Post Fail?

Filed as Editorial, Features, Guides on June 23, 2008 4:13 pm

In Blog Challenge: What Are Your Most Favorite Blog Post Failures, one of the regular blog challenges I issue to “kick your blogging butt,” Atul Sabnis of Gaizabonts accepted the challenge to describe one of your favorite blog posts to write, one you were sure would get a lot of attention, but didn’t.

The challenge was to figure out why the blog post didn’t work. Sabnis wrote in Failed in Abstraction that the blog post titled A Discrete Process of Abstraction didn’t work for some very good reason, reasons we could all learn from:

This post deserved more attention than it got because it summarised well, my thought process of all that goes into most of my blogs; especially this blog…Why do I think this post failed? It was very dogmatic, to begin with. Its statement left no crack even, to pry open a possibility for a conversation. Then, it used artistic metaphors for something that isn’t often considered artistic. Finally it got tangled in its own wordsmithery. It still makes meaning to me, even if I shed the context I have, but I can imagine why, somewhere towards the end of the third paragraph, the reader may get lost. Anthropomorphism abounds.

Why do our blog posts fail? Not every blog can be at the top of the charts, but learning why they fail may help you understand what works and doesn’t work, on your blog with your readers.

Here are some of the reasons some blog posts fail:

  1. Never Assume: Don’t assume because you thought this was one of your very best blog posts that your readers will think the same. You know the backstory to how you came up with the idea, the excitement of the research, the challenges to find the information, to put it all together, the extra time spent editing it to make sure it’s just right, and all the enthusiasm you have for the story – the reader is seeing it for the first time and they don’t need to know the backstory. They shouldn’t have to. The blog post must speak for itself. Don’t assume that their enthusiasm will match yours on every blog post.
  2. Failure To Connect: Forget about your visitors, the fly-by-night folks that drop in from the search engine bushes to take a peek and disappear. Your loyal readers are the ones you service on a regular basis and if you can’t connect with them by giving them what they want, need, and rely upon, your post missed the connection.
  3. Can’t Get a Word in Edgewise: As Sabnis said, if there is not even a crack open for a conversation to get in, there won’t be a conversation. If you’ve said it all, there’s nothing left to be said. However, if good enough it could be pointed at, through links, so there is usually more to the problem if the blog post fails on this point.
  4. Death by Wordsmithery: If you use words and language over the heads of your readers, or use too much imagery before getting to the point, you can lose your readers quickly. Long rattling-on introductions lose readers fast. Blog writing is different from print writing in that is concise and gets to the point faster.
  5. Off Topic Content: If your blog is about car racing and you write a blog post about growing roses, there needs to be some kind of connection between the roses and the race cars. If not, a regular reader will be confused and a visitor attracted to the article on roses will be lost. For the most part, disconnected content loses interest for visitors and readers, thus fails as a blog post.
  6. No Findable Keywords: It’s an old saga: If you aren’t findable, you won’t be found. If your blog post doesn’t have the keywords and search terms within the post content used by searchers to find your blog post in search engines or searches on your blog, the odds are that it won’t be found, thus won’t be read.
  7. Title Disconnect: If the title of the post doesn’t compel a click to read, then the odds are it won’t be read. If the title of the post doesn’t match the first paragraph or two of the post, then they won’t read on nor click through.
  8. Blogger Disconnect: If a blogger doesn’t have much interest in what they are writing about, the reader knows it. The post lacks sincerity. It lacks enthusiasm. It lacks passion. It’s boring.
  9. It’s Not Linkable: While many measure their blog post success on traffic or comments, another measurement is linkability. If your content doesn’t make other bloggers want to link to your blog post, then you are missing another level of success.
  10. You Didn’t Say Anything: If your blog post doesn’t say anything, then, honestly, why should it be a successful post. Really look at the content to see if your post said anything worthy of being considered, commented on, and linked to.

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