As the saying goes, “everyone’s got to start somewhere.” And blogging is no different. Everyone begins as a blogging newbie. And everyone makes mistakes. The key is to recognize where you went wrong, change it, and learn from it. Here are some blogging mistakes that make you look like an amateur. Avoid them at all costs!
1. Poor design—Sure blogging templates are meant to be shared. But that doesn’t mean you should pick one that screams “I borrowed this template!” In fact, do yourself a favor and don’t even use a template. Instead, hire someone with web design experience to make you a fresh design all of your own. Can’t afford it? Well maybe you can at least get someone to design a header for you.
2. Research paper-speak—Remember how in college you couldn’t say “you” in your papers? Instead of saying things like “you need to know this information” you’d change it to “one must need to know this information.” I call this research paper-speak. Well that may have served you well in college, but this isn’t the university. This is your blog. You know, where you’re supposed to foster conversation. And you do that by addressing the reader… with “you.”
3. Complex sentence arrangements—Contrary to popular belief, complex sentence arrangements are not the first sign of a good writer. In fact, all it shows is that you have a good control of grammar. However, a grammar guru doesn’t necessarily make a good blogger. Your job is to make your entries readable. And you do that by writing clear and concise sentences.
4. Collegiate-level vocabulary—Guess what big words are good for? Showing off. And if you’re a show off, no one will read your blog. Look, who really wants to have to search Dictionary.com every five seconds to make it through a blog post? Not me. And not the majority of your readers either. If you can find a smaller word, use it.
5. Rambling—Now here’s one thing you can use from your research writing experience. You need to stay on topic. How do you make sure you’re writing is focused? When you reread your article, ask yourself the following question after each sentence: “Does this have anything to do with my main idea?” If it doesn’t, lose the sentence.
6. Intimidating length of text—Big blocks of text are intimidating. Period. Break it up into smaller paragraphs. Use bolded lists, like I did in this post. It’s much easier on the eyes and more likely to be read.
7. Heavy on the syrup—Metaphors are cool and all, but don’t overdo it. I shouldn’t have to strain my brain to figure out what the hell you’re saying. Using too much figurative language will come off as showy and cheesy. Keep it to a minimum.
Are you making any of these amateur mistakes? Can you think of any that should be added to my list? Tell me about them in the comments section!