No one is perfect, and writing mistakes can number into the hundreds. Even established professionals have their days, and writing is constantly a learning experience. Maybe it’s punctuation, sentence structure or something as little as forgetting to add a comma in a couple places. Unlike our Grammar for Bloggers post, I’m not going to get super technical, and talk about things like pronouns or subject/verb disagreements.
In fact, I’m a walking contradiction, having done horribly in English class all through my school years, yet eventually becoming a writer. Rather than diving into the most basic of writing mistakes, here are six that can have a serious impact on your blog posts:
Writing For Search Engines, Not People
I touched on this topic briefly, and it is one of the easiest ways to kill interest. People can tell when you are forcing out some awkwardly worded, SEO-optimized mess of words. It has been drilled into our heads how important SEO is (which it is), and many take things a bit too far.
You do not need to have eight of the same keyword in a 350 word blog post, or always have the main keyword at the beginning of your title, often churning out yawn-inducing results. While search engines are your friend, they are not your target demographic.
Dragging On And On And On
Have you ever found yourself reading a post, and wondering when the heck they were going to get to the point? Yeah, me too. Now, rambling can turn out okay in certain situations, but it is one of several writing mistakes that will have people clicking away. Attention spans are shorter than ever, and the longer it takes you to get to the point, the more people will lose interest.
You Travel In A Zigzag
Unless you are running away from a crazed gunman, traveling in a zigzag in your blog posts are one of the more common ways of not staying on topic. Posts do not properly flow, and there is bouncing from one subject to another. Everyone runs into this mistake, and with I having an attention span of a squirrel, it requires constant awareness to keep things in line.
Whatever you are writing about, stick to your main subject, and several bullet points. Unless it has something to do with the topic at hand, stop stringing your readers all over the place.
Dull Text, Long Paragraphs
There is a good reason we have the ability to bold or italicize text. It helps to better organize our content, and bring attention to certain areas. If your blog runs on WordPress, you have the ability to easily create bullet points, and headline text. Most of us tend to quickly skim over content, and the use of bolding, bullet points or headlines, help guide your readers.
Also, long running paragraphs can give off the illusion that there is far more to read than what is actually there.
Titles Suck, Are Too Long
As harsh as it may sound, most titles are simply not that good. They invoke zero emotion or interest, and end up dying among eight gazillion other posts on a similar subject. Again, it all comes back to attention spans, and when you can create great headlines, you can increase traffic to your posts. You also need to consider the length of titles, not only for search engines which only display up to 70 characters, but social networks like Twitter where the character limit gives little room to work with.
You Believe The Saying, “Build It And They Will Come”
I considered not including this among all the other writing mistakes since it doesn’t technically have to do with writing, but felt it at least deserved an honorable mention. Although content may be king, creating that content is really only about 20 percent of the whole process. Where many people go wrong is believing that great content alone will get them noticed, drive traffic, build a community, and so on.
However, you could write the most amazing, phenomenal blog post ever, but if you are not putting in the effort to promote your content, and engage with relevant people, your work will forever remain unseen.
What other writing mistakes would you add to this?
Photo credit: Sue Richards
Mike Stenger is a writer with a love of all things technology.