When it comes to blogging there’s an immense about amount of advice out there. Everywhere you turn someone is giving you their take on what you should and shouldn’t be publishing on your blog. Moreover, the advice doesn’t just end with the content you publish, but also with the design of your blog and any respective pages you may have that tell readers more about you and what you may be offering for sale (or free) on your blog.
Unfortunately, not all of this advice is good. In actuality, much it is bad and will leave you wondering if someone was actually trying to sabotage you, rather than help you.
A lot of the advice in general is ill-researched and created with lackluster effort. Its a lot of people posting what they think, instead of actual facts. These are usually the posts you run across that are giving “advice” that don’t have any sourced information to backup what they’re saying. It’s usually the posts that are promising you X amount of ways to do ABC, but the post is short (not concise) and doesn’t contain any detail. This is just in example of one of the ways bad blogging advice presents itself. Below, I’m going to cover a few more of the ways the bad blogging advice presents itself, as well as how to weed it out.
At the end of the day, I want you to be able to better decipher what blogging advice you should take and implement, and which of that you should toss to the wind. Here we go!
1. Short posts that lack detail and conciseness
While I’m a huge fan of long-form blogging, there are occasions or topics that may not require it. I’m not talking so much about these particular instances, but what I am talking about is when someone publishes content on a topic that doesn’t contain enough detail and isn’t concise.
I’m all for being short and sweet, as majority of the reading I do is skimming. However, if I scan your content and it has little to no detail, along with the fact that it’s not giving me nearly enough information…that’s a problem!
Whether you post short or long-form, content needs to be comprehensive and give as much information as possible to properly get the point across. A lack of detail shows laziness and a lack of conciseness pretty much means you’re writing for the birds.
[Tweet “Content needs to be comprehensive and give as much information as possible.”]
Content should serve to educate and position the content creator as an authority or expert on the topic.
If they’ve included little pertinent information to back up the advice they’re giving, in addition to not being able to present it concisely, that most likely means they don’t know enough about it to be giving advice on it.
[Tweet “Content should serve to educate and position the content creator as an authority or expert on the topic. “]
2. Lack of sourced content in post
Just like in school, when we wrote research or term papers; we had to have a bibliography to show where we got our information. In blogging we have to do the same in a sense, especially when our content contains statistics or specific claims.
[Tweet “Let readers know where you go your info; statistics or specific claims should always be cited.”]
In a nutshell, people need to know that what you’re talking about is supported by legitimate facts. Of course you shouldn’t expect to see a full MLA or APA style bibliography at the end of someone’s post, but a link back or mention to the source where the information was obtained or researched shows us that the content publisher didn’t just pull it out of then air. When you run across an advice post that fails to source it’s content, that’s a red flag for it most likely being bad advice.
3. No personal experience to back up advice
Advice is usually given from an experience or research standpoint. If there is a lack of sourced content, the next biggest thing to look for when it comes to advice posts is personal experience. The bulk of advice people give comes from them actually experiencing what the issue is that they are speaking to. This is due to fact that we learn from our experiences, and they allow us not to make the same mistakes twice.
If a blogger hasn’t experienced a particular problem that they are giving advice on, they have no way to genuinely relating to a reader that does. Living vicariously through someone else’s experience doesn’t do the job. Advice shouldn’t be given on what said person would do in a given situation, it should be given from the position of what they did do. Hence, them actually experiencing the situation.
[Tweet “Advice should be given on what has been done, not on what would be done.”]
4. No images or graphics to support post content (includes poor quality images)
Visuals help to legitimize and support content. They allow content creators to go that extra mile and show exactly how the advice can benefit the reader. Whether is a graph or gif, images help content to better resonate with readers.
This is one major reason why infographics are so popular. They are pretty much like putting the post in image form. Advice posts should give the reader something to walk away with, and at least one component of that should be visual and somewhat tangible (able to print, save, or share).
Additionally, it’s important to pay attention to the quality of images used. They say not to judge a book by it’s cover, but in the online world, visuals trump text. If the images are poor quality, this oftentimes leads readers to assume that the content is as well.
With all of the tools available to make good, high quality images and for free too, there is no excuse for posts not to contain them. If poor quality images are included, it shows a lack of effort, skill or worst, sheer laziness. None of them give the impression that you can actually trust the content.
[Tweet “Poor quality images show a lack of effort, skill or worst, sheer laziness. “]
5. Inconsistency throughout overall content on blog (blogs that blog about everything, no specialization in particular topics.)
For clarification purposes, I’m not talking about lifestyle blogs that cover a myriad of topics, and do an effective job of connecting them to one another. What I’m talking about is a blog that is supposed to be about one specific topic, yet the content has little to no focus.
Many times, blogs like this start off as one type of blog and the blog owner ends up becoming interested in another particular topic. Instead of creating a new niche specific blog, they post about this random, new particular topic on their current site and fail to logically connect the topic with the real purpose of their blog.
For example, a photography blog that all of a sudden starts to post about makeup. Not the best kind of makeup to wear for photos, or not how to best photograph people wearing, but posting about makeup, different products that they maybe using, and even doing tutorials on it. See there, no proper tie-in exists.
[Tweet “Insure your posts relate back to or tie into your blog’s main purpose.”]
6. Posts that don’t include links to similar content creators on similar topics
From an SEO standpoint, this one is huge. When you link back to similar content, it tells the search engines that your content is relevant to other like content, that just may rank higher than yours. There are many factors influencing how and why content ranks in engine results, but one thing is for sure, that when they see a link between your content and that of someone else’s who is already an authority on the topic, it makes yours look more legitimate.
Another point to drive home with this, is that it shows that you, the author, actually did some research and that you know what’s already out there and been said about a particular topic. Linking back shows that you’re not only bringing something additional to the table, but that you actually understand it enough to reference other resources on the same topic. In essence, linking back legitimizes you and your content and shows that you didn’t pull information out of the air.
Readers appreciate well researched and thorough content. Upon landing on your site, they assume it’s a trustworthy source of information. When you can provide them with your insight on a topic, as well as supplementary information to back it up, it’s makes their lives a little bit easier.
[Tweet “Build trust by publishing accurate content; readers appreciate well researched and thorough content.”]
A good example of this is Wikipedia. Although it can be seen as the ultimate rabbit hole, that’s the one reason is so popular and widely used. You can land on one article, only to click a link within it and learned about something completely new or gain better understanding of the subject you were originally researching. This way, the context of everything you’re reading remains understandable. Making your content that much more understandable for your reader, by linking to supporting content, shows that it is robust and accurate. It also shows that you’re putting your readers first by saving them time from having to search further for the information themselves.
7. Negative engagement on post.
Negative engagement on a post says a lot about it. It’s one thing to have one or two people disagree with the author’s take on the post topic, but when you see five or six, or more that’s a different story. It’s an immediate red flag that something is wrong, so you should take heed. If a number of people disagree with the advice, its a good chance that it’s not good, accurate, or that it’s not backed up by any real facts.
[Tweet “Take heed of negative engagement on a post, it’s an immediate red flag.”]
The thing about giving advice is that it has to be backed by actual facts or experiences. It can’t just be what someone thinks. If that was the case, we would all be award-winning advice columnists…which we aren’t.
+ a bonus, because I felt this one couldn’t go without being said:
BONUS: Advice that has a discouraging, condescending, defensive, or patronizing tone to it.
This goes within being said that if someone is saying something discouraging, condescending, being defensive, or patronizing, that it’s probably not being said from the most objective or positive point of view. Advice should seek to reassure and education, so if it doesn’t you definitely shouldn’t be following it.
If someone thinks that by lashing out or ranting is the way to give advice, they’re wrong. By nature, people aren’t reception to that and can tell almost immediately that something is off. Although it doesn’t happen too often, I occasionally come across a post that has said tone to it, and its an immediate turn off. I instantly loose trust, because I feel like the content is written from a dark place instead of a light one.
Advice should always be given with love, thought, and consideration. There is always a way to constructively state a difference of opinion. Additionally, it all goes back to having emotional intelligence. We have all seen certain celebrities that take to social media all too quickly to rant, only to loose the respect of their fans shortly there after. You never want to loose the respect of your audience and in turn you always want respect them. When you literally ‘think before you write’, you’re showing them the upmost respect and they will love, support, and promote in return for doing so.
[Tweet “Advice should always be given with love, thought, and consideration. “]
Listen to the accompanying podcast episode below:
Have you ever come across bad blogging advice? – If so, what did you take away from?
I think the last one is the most important.