I read a lot of blog posts. Occasionally I write them. I’m easily annoyed. So who better than me to give you some much needed lessons in how to blog better and annoy me less? Let’s dive right in with the top five things that are frequently seen in blogging today that I take issue with:
1. Getting confrontational in the headline. For some reason it’s become common for online magazines or blogs to title articles with accusatory statements about how the reader is doing something wrong, doesn’t understand something, or HAS to start doing something RIGHT NOW. I don’t like being told I’m doing something wrong before I’ve even engaged with an article, I need it to be eased into it, and let the error of my ways slowly wash over me like a judgmental yet well-intended friend instead of an angry stranger yelling at me on the street. I’ve demonstrated this style of article-titling in this blog post so you can also experience the aggression and hurt that it causes.
Blogger that gets it right: Sophie. Short, to the point, sometimes very literal and often very intriguing.
2. Promising a list but losing me with a long-winded introduction. When people click on a link with the hope of a fun list about what kind of shoes a blogger thought about wearing one day or their favorite places to run, don’t make them scroll through a ridiculously long preamble. Readers just want that list! Note: I am guilty of many of the things I’m condemning. Especially this one, but I maintain that it’s okay to loudly protest faults that I’m guilty of as long as I am aware of them and make some effort to improve.
Blogger that gets it right: Janae. She uses lists quite a bit, and gets right to it, just how I like it.
3. Providing way too many unnecessary details. Running bloggers are especially notorious for this one. Things that people need to know about you and your running: What inspires you? What race are you training for? How many hobos did you see on your run? How bad did you have to go to the bathroom? Details that belong in your running log: how many 400s you ran, what your splits were, how many strides you did, the specifics of your workouts for the rest of the week, etc. Don’t say things like, “I know nobody cares, this is for my own reference.” If it’s that important that you remember, get a running log. Or a bit of paper to write it down on. Do NOT go through my blog archives and tell me how guilty I am of this one. Probably very guilty.
Blogger that gets it right: Sam. He provides so few details that there aren’t even any words beyond the title, just the picture.
4. Not including enough pictures, or using stock pictures. Boring! Nobody actually wants to read the words you write, we all want pictures! My number one blog resolution is to work on giving you all way more awesome pictures, because I haven’t been very on top of providing good ones lately, and that makes me (and probably you) sad.
Blogger that gets it right: Kim. Okay, obviously she has a lot of pictures because she’s a photographer, but I just found her blog on Pinterest and she takes amazing pictures and is from Portland, so I wanted to share.
5. Getting braggy. Most bloggers aren’t too bad about this, but it’s not that infrequent that you come across a blog that seems to be dedicated to broadcasting how amazing and perfect the blogger’s life is. Pride in accomplishments, excitement about good news, and showing gratitude are one thing (okay three things, but you know what I mean), but some people use these as guises for being braggy. I’m just grateful that I have been blessed with the brilliance and acute self-awareness to avoid this super-annoying behavior.
Blogger that gets it right: Lauren. Some people deserve to be a little braggy, and still don’t go that route. Those people are pretty great.
I made myself stop at five so I didn’t start complaining too much. I do love complaining, but I think it’s best to keep the extent of my love for complaining off the internet so that at least some of what I say sounds valid and not like I just want to complain. And, as I pointed out, I am guilty of some/all of these bad blogging behaviors. So please, go forth and blog better – I will try to do the same.