Do You Want to Kill Your Blog Posts?

And now for something completely different. This will be an educational post!

I was doing a simple search for a problem I was having with my WordPress reader. An unrelated link Imageshowed up, but the title was interesting, so I clicked it. If you would like to bypass my babbling altogether, go straightaway here and get the professional’s original version:

12 Things That Will Kill Your Blog Post Every Time by Neil Patel at SEOmoz

Before I share the highlights of the article and my thoughts, you should know that I had to do another search to find out what SEO meant. Search Engine Optimization. Oh, I see. That makes sense. So here we go …

1. Crafting cute, clever or confusing headlines (or really bad ones)

Patel says, “The goal of the headline is to stop readers cold and draw them into your post. You can’t do that if you use cute, clever or confusing headlines.”

Strike one against me. I never craft my title with search engines in mind, but maybe you should if you want people to come to your blog. He goes on to say, “You can stop readers cold, however, if you write headlines that are unique, ultra-specific, useful or urgent.”

2. Never linking to old posts

What?! I didn’t know this was a good idea. In that case, read these posts:

Erotica (Blush) – where I freak out about today’s romance books. I had no idea mainstream romance novels had moved into the porn arena.

Always Check for One in the Chamber – where I tell the tale of the day my husband shot himself. In our house, it’s considered humor.

3. Never linking to other bloggers

I’m getting better at this now that I have some relationships with other bloggers. Here is a link to a blogImage I found 45 seconds ago. I typed the word pizza into the WP search engine, and scrolled through the posted links with pictures. I was stopped by this cute guy and his master making pizza. Stop by and take a look – This Little Italian Cooks. I am now a follower.

4. Forgetting to fill out your page title and description fields

Yeah. Ok. I don’t have a clue. I’ll need to do more research on this. Patel talks about plug-ins and Nutella.

5. Creating clunky URLs

Patel says, “If you want to give your post a fighting chance in the SEO landscape, then you have to include recognizable words in your URL. This means keywords, too.”

Ooh, I never thought about this. And I’ve had a website for sixteen years. I’m a moron.

6. Plagiarizing other bloggers

I’m not guilty of this! But I’ve seen some nasty comments between bloggers when one quotes another without credit. Don’t do that!

I don’t believe I am plagerizing Neil Patel because I’m admitting all of the intelligent stuff in this post belongs to him. Neil Patel. From a post on SEOmoz.

7. Publishing less than one post per month

There are bloggers who I wish would post more often. I enjoy their posts. But even if they only posted once a month, I would still be happy to see them in my Reader. I do understand that the search spiders won’t be kind to you though.

8. Writing big blocks of copy

Patel says, “Writing short paragraphs is a basic blog post writing law. Just like simple words and short sentences. Resort to long blocks of copy and you are stacking the deck against your blog post.” He goes on to point out that people will only stick around and read until they’re bored.

I’ve found this to be true. Sometimes, I read a blog post, and it’s good, and I think I’m at the end, but it goes on and on for as long or longer than what I’ve already read. I’m easily distracted. I sometimes leave.

P.S. – I love Patel. He just gave credence to my use of simple words and short sentences.

9. Zero presence on any social media platforms

In addition to your blog, he recommends Twitter, Facebook, and especially Google+.

Me = FAIL

I have a presence on Twitter and Facebook, but they scare me too much to use them.

10. Never inviting readers to leave comments

I’m hesitant to do this. It feels like begging for comments. I hope I will come across as approachable, and people will feel comfortable to leave comments, yet I appreciate the bloggers who ask a question, because I’m more likely to respond.

ImageFor example, Sarah at Earful of Cider is running a poetry contest about BACON until Monday night at midnight. The prize is a nifty mug. Sarah says, “Lay your bacon poetry on me – bacon haiku, sonnets, limericks, couplets, spectrism, reverse verse, Purple Cows Sows, nursery rhymes, cinquains, whatever.” She is friendly and inviting – and she’s a librarian. Hubby and I both entered her contest. Here is the poem I would not allow hubby to submit:

Slice it, smoke it, fry it up quick.
Make sure it’s done, or it might make you sick.
Splattering grease burn, it looks like a freckle.
An apron protects you, especially your schmekel.

I’ve admitted to Sarah that we are really twelve year olds.

11. Writing about a topic nobody cares about

Been there. Done that. Some days, it’s a crapshoot.

12. Giving up

Patel says some successful blogs didn’t take off until they were two years in, and most people quit by nine months.

Never give up! Never surrender! ~Commander Jason Nesmith

Seriously …

Neil Patel wrote a great article complete with graphics and loads of links to even more information. It’s extremely helpful, especially to a new blogger. There are 130 comments, and some of the information in the comments section is as good as the article itself. So, if you haven’t already done so, hop on over to read Neil Patel’s 12 Things That Will Kill Your Blog Post Every Time.

What do you think will kill a blog post? Should I teach more often? Will you be entering the bacon contest?

(Look at me! Asking questions!)

28 thoughts on “Do You Want to Kill Your Blog Posts?

  1. I must say, I disagree wholeheartedly with #11. Firstly, what ‘nobody cares about’ is COMPLETELY subjective. There is nothing on the planet that nobody cares about. Second, I firmly believe that if you want to be successful, you write for yourself first. Don’t write for an audience, don’t pander to anyone to get an increase in views. Do what you’re passionate about and people will see that. It might be more of a niche audience at first, but when I follow people on WP, Twitter, YouTube, etc. it’s not because they’re trying to please everyone, it’s because they do what’s important to them and what they like. And I like that.

    The rest I kinda agree with, but that was one I think I see opposite of the author with. I’ve found there’s a huge stigma against telling people /to/ write for audiences.

    • Daniel, I agree! When I tried to write with an audience in mind, *and I was worrying about my author brand,* I was frustrated and unhappy. When I finally decided to just be me, write what I wanted no matter how silly or immature I may seem, I was much happier and started to enjoy blogging. There are days people aren’t interested in what I write, but a couple of those posts have been my favorites. It’s definitely subjective. Of course, my husband read your comment and he agrees with you. His exact words, “Maybe someone else won’t enjoy a good post about poop, but I will.”

  2. Thanks for the shout-out, Maddie! And for the lovely twelve-year-old-style bacon poems—you were definitely writing for your audience there. 😀

    I agree with Daniel about the subjectivity of post topics—you win some, you lose some.

  3. It’s a science that I haven’t really been serious about. Big surprise, huh?

    You’re a great teacher, Ms. Cochere, but you really should keep one eye on your students. Some of us are acting up while your back is turned.

    • I haven’t been very serious about it either, but I found myself interested in several things he said that I hadn’t thought about before. Interesting stuff.

      And thank you for the vote of confidence as a teacher, but I’m sure the students are acting up because they know they can get away with it. 😉

  4. Hi Maddie… A+ for role of teacher. I found it to be not only interesting but very helpful. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of this if it wont take away from your other ‘responsibilities’. 🙂

  5. Thanks so much for this! I was wondering why my most excellent blog post of Thursday got only 4 views. GRRRRR-that was a good one. (Let’s see if this short link actually works)
    ! http://wp.me/p2BTAP-lw
    It was all about technology and what an epic fail it is for me and others in my age group at times. I had no idea what SEO was, and of course, now I must spend time digging in to this further. I have read this blog before and they have some great ideas. But, since I can barely afford the interweb access to keep this little blog going, I certainly can’t pay for any fancy schmancy add ons and plug ins, so I will keep doing it for free and see how it goes. I’m such a loser that I tried to leave a comment last night using my Droid, and it said it posted, but alas, it looks like I didn’t. I’m having difficulty even finding the time to post on a regular basis now, done from daily to little more than once a week, which I know isn’t helping. As always, I appreciate your input, whether it’s your own, or awesome info you’ve found and shared.

    • alright, the link does work. Please read my post and tell me what I did wrong. I thought I had a good title, lots of tags and other junk that made it search engine friendly. Guess not. My previous post garnered my biggest day ever, and it was in a similar vein, but not humorous.

      http://wp.me/p2BTAP-kX

      There I go again-using your advice. Commenting and shamelessly linking back to my own posts. Ha ha! See what a good teacher you are??? Let’s have some more awesome lessons!!!

      • Hi there, stranger! Good to see you! Until you posted the link here today, I had no idea you had another post, and I’ve been watching for you! You never showed up in my Reader. Robin Coyle was missing from my reader for over a week as well. Maybe your downturn in views was because it was happening to other folks, too. It was a great post, and you did everything right. Technology! I swear, it sure keeps us on our toes. You can come here any day and shamelessly link back to your posts. I might have more lessons in the future, but I have no idea if any of them will be educational. 🙂

    • Your link worked, and I’m following your blog. :o) I agree that all this stuff is confusing, time consuming and … meh. I’d rather be writing than worrying about my SEO. My hubby recently sent me 2 panicked emails about his website and SEO and (God help me ) Google analytics. I just forwarded it my future son-in-law and said, “I assume you know what this means because I have no idea and really don’t want to!”

      • That’s too funny. I love your reply to the emal. I am following you now as well. You should check out my series on blogging. It’s called Evolution Of A Masterpiece. I think it’s time for a new entry–SEO or Attention Whoring. How to build traffic. But, as long as great people who are fun to read follow me, such as yourself, I guess I’m doing great!

        http://wp.me/p2BTAP-4n

        I need to link the series together somehow. It was supposed to be 4 parts. I thought I wrote a 3rd one. Where the hell did it go? See? Like I commented on your blog, I forget shit all the time before I write it down. I think quitting my job is also in order. It tends to suck up my whole freakin day and I wouldn’t lose great ideas to the void of eternal suckage and boredom

  6. Very helpful post, Maddie, thanks. Funny though– I swear I could smell bacon the whole time I was reading it… : )

    I wasn’t tempted to click over to Mr. Patel’s site– you’re much more approachable. : )

  7. Thanks for the post! I am going to have about 5 weeks from this Monday until Nov 1 and I have promised myself that I’m going to do 2 things – figure out all this crap (oh, sorry, vital information), and read my long list of TBR books. (I’m reading your first right now, in fact!) But I think I have a blockage between my eyes and my brain.

    • Ack! I am an amateur, Jennings, and reading one of my books after doing a lot of editing will make all of the errors stand out (because they are not perfectly edited) and make you crazy! Step away from the book and set it aside for a rainy day when things have slowed down for you. 🙂 But thank you ever so much for picking it to read.

    • You comment here slipped by me for some reason. So glad you were able to find some helpful tidbits! And I’m happy we’ve been able to connect via the blogosphere. Hope you’re having a good day!

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